Gita in a Nutshell #11: The Yoga of Meditation.

Constantly mastering his mind, / the man of yoga grows peaceful, / attains supreme liberation, / and vanishes into my bliss. (BG 6.15)

(Complete contents at
Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas and Best Quotations.
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As you recall from “Different Yoga Strokes for Different Yoga Folks“, the ancient Yoga sage(s) who wrote the Gita recognized that different people would need different types of Yoga to match their personality types:

Yoga of Understanding / Yoga of Meditation / Yoga of Love / Yoga of Action

Today let’s look at specific passages in the Gita that describe the Yoga of Meditation or Dhyana/Raja Yoga.

(For those new to Gita in a Nutshell, the voice speaking here is the infinitely wondrous universe itself, what some refer to as the “Unfathomable Life Force of the Universe” and others choose to call “God”. In the Gita these are one and the same. See GN #2.)

The man of yoga should practice
concentration, alone,
mastering mind and body,
free of possessions and desires.

Sitting down, having chosen
a spot that is neither too high
nor too low, that is clean and covered
with a grass mat, a deerskin, and a cloth,

he should concentrate, with his whole
mind, on a single object;
if he practices in this way,
his mind will soon become pure.   (BG 6.10-12)


Constantly mastering his mind,
the man of yoga grows peaceful,
attains supreme liberation,
and vanishes into my bliss.
(BG 6.15)


With a mind grown clear and peaceful,
freed from selfish desires,
absorbed in the Self alone,
he is called a true man of yoga.

“A lamp sheltered from the wind
which does not flicker”—to this
is compared the true man of yoga
whose mind has vanished in the Self.

When his mind has become serene
by the practice of meditation,
he sees the Self through the self
and rests in the Self, rejoicing.

He knows the infinite joy
that is reached by the understanding
beyond the senses; steadfast,
he does not fall back from the truth.

Attaining this state, he knows
that there is no higher attainment;
he is rooted there, unshaken
even by the deepest sorrow.
(BG 6.18-22)


You are right, Arjuna: the mind
is restless and hard to master;
but by constant practice and detachment
it can be mastered in the end.   (BG 6.35)

Meditate on the Guide,
the Giver of all, the Primordial
Poet, smaller than an atom,
unthinkable, brilliant as the sun.
(BG 8.9)

But to those who meditate on me
undistracted, and worship me
everywhere, always, I will bring
a reward that can never be lost.   (BG 9.22)

Concentrate your mind on me,
Fill your heart with my presence,
love me, serve me, worship me,
and you will attain me at last.   (BG 9.34)

Those who love and revere me
with unwavering faith, always
centering their minds on me—
they are the most perfect in yoga.   (BG 12.2)

Concentrate every thought
on me alone; with a mind
fully absorbed, one-pointed,
you will live within me, forever.   (BG 12.8)

Give up all actions to me;
love me above all others;
steadfastly keep your mind
focused on me alone.   (BG 18.57)


#10: The Yoga of Understanding.

#12: The Yoga of Love.

(Complete contents at
Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas and Best Quotations
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10 replies on “Gita in a Nutshell #11: The Yoga of Meditation.”

This is the only part of the Gita that I don't need to contemplate – the words are just so obvious to me. This is personally where the call to meditate begins. You don't have to be perfect to be promised perfection. No matter where you are as a meditator whether it be brand new or master this will always be a very practical guide to the experience as well as the most inspirational call to give it a go. Thank you for pulling all these parts together.

I've been reading all your Gita posts Bob, and as someone newer to yoga (who is on the verge of heading for one month intensive 200RYT course with the Gita on the lengthy reading list) you have made this a very accessible and comprehensible group of posts.

This was the post I have REALLY been waiting for – as I feel that meditation is the next piece of my yoga puzzle that I need to put solidly into place. That being said, it really has been the easiest to understand – and I am rejoicing!

My favorite part – which may seem strange – is:

Sitting down, having chosen
a spot that is neither too high
nor too low, that is clean and covered
with a grass mat, a deerskin, and a cloth

Obviously, I'm not going to go find a deerskin to sit on – but what really resonated with me is that it seems that the passage is simply saying that you don't need a special "perfect" place to meditate – just pick a safe place (that won't suck your energy from you) and sit. Meditate. That's it. It is that simple.

I love this post, thank you for your efforts and contributions.

Hi, Robyn. Thanks for commenting.

You know, I love that stanza, too, but I hadn't thought of it the way you did, as an expression of simplicity and "anywhereness". I think you're absolutely right.

The other reason I liked it is that it shows how down-to-earth the Gita is. We think about it as this grand high-falutin' ancient Yoga text, and yet here's the author taking the time to tell us to find a grass mat and a deerskin.

It makes the whole text seem more personal and immediate somehow, even though the objects themselves are not relevant today (or maybe they are. I live in Wisconsin. Should be easy to find a deerskin during hunting season… )

Thanks again for writing.

Bob W. Yoga Editor
(Join Elephant Yoga on Facebook)
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Here is what my teacher told me about 6:10-12. Hope it helps.

"A Yogi, yunjita satatamatmanam, a yogi always worships his soul, which he has conquered, his self which he has conquered. And he lives in his soul, or in his self – they're synonymous, self or soul. ekaki, And he's alone in his self. Yatachittatma. And the ego of his past, of his form, has been totally and absolutely under control. nirashiraparigrahah. And he never looks forward to any profit, or receipt from anybody. And he never accepts anything from anybody.

Though he has risen to the summit; he comes down, and places his seat, neither too high nor too low in a world of ignorance. He never gets out of touch, for the ignorant world, so that he does not lose contact with the ignorant world in which he was born. And the seat, where he makes his seat, that seat is pure, so that it does not become polluted by the sin of' the lower world from which he has arisen.

And he comes down from the summit and places himself in a pure place, where he cannot become polluted by the infiltration of his past. And there he begins to act for the purification of his soul through his form."

Thank you, Bob. Best to all.

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