Gita 06.20-23 explained

Link to purport by A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada

Transcript of Bhakti-Shastri class on this verse by Chaitanya

  • 10-32: From practice to perfection in yoga
    • 10-32 defines how one will achieve perfection when one is practicing yoga.
  • 16-23: Realization of Paramatma

Now Sri Krishna will give description of Samadhi, how one attains perfection. And what is the vision of the person who attains perfection.


These are most beautiful verses which gives most thrilling description of Samadhi in BG. So here Srila Prabhupada combines 3 and 1/2 verses in one narrative and one purport.

Bg 6.20-23

yatroparamate cittaṁ
niruddhaṁ yoga-sevayā
yatra caivātmanātmānaṁ
paśyann ātmani tuṣyati

sukham ātyantikaṁ yat tad
buddhi-grāhyam atīndriyam
vetti yatra na caivāyaṁ
sthitaś calati tattvataḥ

yaṁ labdhvā cāparaṁ lābhaṁ
manyate nādhikaṁ tataḥ
yasmin sthito na duḥkhena
guruṇāpi vicālyate

taṁ vidyād duḥkha-saṁyoga-
viyogaṁ yoga-saṁjñitam

Word for word: 

yatra — in that state of affairs where; uparamate — cease (because one feels transcendental happiness); cittam — mental activities; niruddham — being restrained from matter; yogasevayā — by performance of yoga; yatra — in which; ca — also; eva — certainly; ātmanā — by the pure mind; ātmānam — the Self; paśyan — realizing the position of; ātmani — in the Self; tuṣyati — one becomes satisfied; sukham — happiness; ātyantikam — supreme; yat — which; tat — that; buddhi — by intelligence; grāhyam — accessible; atīndriyam — transcendental; vetti — one knows; yatra — wherein; na — never; ca — also; eva — certainly; ayam — he; sthitaḥ — situated; calati — moves; tattvataḥ — from the truth; yam — that which; labdhvā — by attainment; ca — also; aparam — any other; lābham — gain; manyate — considers; na — never; adhikam — more; tataḥ — than that; yasmin — in which; sthitaḥ — being situated; na — never; duḥkhena — by miseries; guruṇā api — even though very difficult; vicālyate — becomes shaken; tam — that; vidyāt — you must know; duḥkhasaṁyoga — of the miseries of material contact; viyogam — extermination; yogasaṁjñitam — called trance in yoga.


In the stage of perfection called trance, or samādhi, one’s mind is completely restrained from material mental activities by practice of yoga. This perfection is characterized by one’s ability to see the Self by the pure mind and to relish and rejoice in the Self. In that joyous state, one is situated in boundless transcendental happiness, realized through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth, and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of greatest difficulty. This indeed is actual freedom from all miseries arising from material contact.


yatroparamate cittaṁ
niruddhaṁ yoga-sevayā
yatra caivātmanātmānaṁ
paśyann ātmani tuṣyati,


 yatra means this stage, which stage? When a person will become Yukta and become situated in transcendence. 

Uparamate, means stop. At the time what is stop, Yatra-Uparamate Cittam, Citta means consciousness and how consciousness stop, 

niruddhaṁ yoga-sevayā, by the practice of Yoga niruddham

niruddham means cessation stoppage. 

We discussed earlier five levels of mind control, Mudha, Chikpta, VikChipta, Ekagrata and Nirodha. Sri Krishna is talking here at 5th level. Ekagrata means concentrated and Nirodha means absorbed / stopped. 

niruddhaṁ yoga-sevayā, one has controlled the mind. Then what happen Yatra Chaiva Atmananam, and at that stage Yatra Chaivae, Atmana one turns the mind inwards Atmananam, the purified mind turned inward and perceived the self, 

paśyann ātmani tuṣyati. ātmani tuṣyati, one delights within.

So Sri Krishna is saying Cittas, external activity is stopped, turn the citta inwards and delight inwards. 

Here we need to understand the difference between Cit, Citta. So Cit the consciousness is the original faculty of the soul, that is always there Sat, Cit and Ananda, these are three defining attributes of the soul. So consciousness is the innate faculty of the soul that is always there. On the other hand Citta is the faculty that is routed within material activity. Cit is the original spiritual consciousness of the soul, Citta is consciousness routed in material energy e.g. a person seating in movie theater there are so many things around front screen, on side other people are there, down floor, top ceiling , entrance gate, etc. so he is aware of all these things that is like Cit, but when the movie starts he becomes fully absorbed in it then the person’s whole exterior is centred on the events that are happening in the movie, and the emotions that come from them, so the consciousness of the spectator focused on the screen and on the events on the screen that is like Citta, So Cit is the souls original awareness, Citta is souls awareness routed into matter, so the original soul has nothing to do with sensual matter because soul is spiritual and things of this world are material but the soul’s consciousness is routed into matter, and caught in matter then the souls gets entangled, souls gets distracted that entangles consciousness is called Citta

So yatroparamate cittaṁ, that means the citta which is entangled in matter stops acting there off, that mean the person stops watching the movie. yatroparamate cittaṁ and then when one stops watching the movie they come out of it and sees things around again and felt that they didn’t realize their surroundings, they are so much captivated by the movie

So in Nirudham the absorption of consciousness in matter stops. And then the person is able to turn around, yatra caivātmanātmānaṁ, impure mind wants to focus on matter. The pure minds wants to turn away and focus on God, focus on absolute truth, niruddhaṁ yoga-sevayā, so by yoga this is what happens, our connection with illusion decreases and our connection with reality increases. And then yatra caivātmanātmānaṁ, then with atma one sees, paśyann ātmani tuṣyati, one becomes joyful within.


Then what happens after that?


sukham ātyantikaṁ yat tad, ātyantikaṁ sukham means ultimate happiness so at that time when one get this happiness
buddhi-grāhyam atīndriyam, one perceive this happiness, Sri Krishna is saying over here atīndriyam, so it is not involving senses, generally people think of happiness means senses has to be involved, if senses enjoy then we get enjoyment, Sri Krishna is saying it is atīndriyam it is ultimate happiness and it is beyond the senses. And then
vetti yatra na caivāyaṁ, once one is situated in this happiness one never leaves one never departs from this happiness, so here Sri Krishna is describing that ultimate happiness is so rich so deep so fulfilling that one doesn’t want anything else, one become situated in that happiness and one become satisfied in that happiness and then Sri Krishna further says what is the character of such happiness because of which one will never leave it, generally in this world whatever we get we want something more,  what is that after achieving this, Yatra chaiva, yatra nachaivyam one is not chalati. Arjuna will talk later in this chapter Arjuna will talk how mind is Chancala, means mind is going round and round and round. But Sri Krishna is telling over here na chalati.
sthitaś calati tattvataḥ, there is no chalati happens, the mind will not move here and there So why that is described in the next verse. 


yaṁ labdhvā, having attain this cāparaṁ lābhaṁ, some greater Labha, having gained to think this is having some greater gain,
manyate nādhikaṁ tataḥ, one doesn’t think that there is any greater happiness
yasmin sthito na duḥkhena, one is situated thus then no matter how great the misery.
guruṇāpi vicālyate, even the greatest misery doesn’t agitate the person. 

So this actually gives us two characteristics of real success.


Life’s greatest achievement: 6.23

Should take us beyond:

  1. Hankering: 6.23ab
  2. Lamenting: 6.23cd


What it means anything we achieve in this world it keeps us vulnerable to these two things, hankering and lamentation. No matter how much I achieve I always hanker let me get this also let me get this also. Even if I become the wealthiest person in the country I wanted to become wealthiest person in the world. I wanted to become wealthiest person in the history of the world. And like that it keeps going on and on and on…This hankering is infinite and it never ends. Because it never ends therefore it keeps us always hankering. 

Now all of us if we look in our heart we have our own definition of success, we may think I get a job in that company or if I get salary of this much or my child becomes an engineer or I get big enough house and in our material life we do have some goal and we can move forward for achieving goals but if we let ourself just absorbed completely in our material ambitions then we miss out something that is far higher than that which life offers, most people think that there is nothing higher that life can offer but it has to be, we want perineal fulfilment, lasting fulfilment but none of the goals we set will give us lasting fulfilment, why is that? Even if we achieve that what happens? We want something more? I got a bigger house but after that we want even something more bigger, where will this end? Actually it will not end anywhere. It will just go on and on therefore we have to be steady. Hankering is always going to be there but when we achieve samadhi, for a devotee samadhi is love of Krishna, when we will achieve love for Krishna at that time there is no hankering it will be complete satisfaction. Perpetual satisfaction. Achieving love for Krishna will totally satisfy us it will free us from all hankerings. Not only that second aspect is lamenting, Even if someone will be the wealthiest person in the history of all wealthy person in world, will that person is free from hankering, NO. All that will be taken away at the time of death or before that. And when all is ripped away the person is going to lament tremendously. In fact the more we possess the more we enjoy in this world if we don’t have a spiritual conception of life then the greater is the sense of loss when we lose everything, I work so hard I got so much and now everything is ripped away from me one merciless moment that kind of death is there or gradually our faculty will go away. A person may become president of America and after that he gets some disease (enigma / Parkinson) he may even forgets that he was a president also, forgets who I am. Actually all of us have forgotten who I am, in absolute spiritual sense, but we try to build up a material identity for us, but the nature of material world is even a material identity can be taken away from us. We are left with nothing we lost our spiritual identity we lose our material identity also, those things can happen, so whatever one achieves one is always vulnerable to lamentation, and it is not just a possibility it is a certainty, in material life lamentation is not a question of if, it is a question of when but once we achieve love for Sri Krishna then there is absolutely no lamentation, there is eternal happiness because the love for Krishna which one achieved in heart will never-ever be taken away it will forever be there with us and it will  forever give us ecstasy, that is why we may have various conception of achievement in our life but BG gives us the highest standard of achievement, that achievement which free us from hankering and free us from all lamenting, that is like supreme achievement, guruṇāpi vicālyate, no matter how great are the miseries the devotees are never disturbed because devotees have Sri Krishna and Sri Krishna is the ultimate source of greatest joy, noting higher has to be achieved if one has achieved Sri Krishna, and then Sri Krishna describes further, 


taṁ vidyād, know this Arjuna,  duḥkha-saṁyoga-, all of us have made contact with Duhkha, all us entangled with Duhkha
viyogaṁ, viyoga means separation. So all of us have contact with Duhkha but we have Viyogayoga-saṁjñitam, perfection of yoga, this Viyoga from Duhkham is yoga-saṁjñitam, perfection of yoga. In yoga, Sadhana stage refers to practice we do, perfection stage refers when we are connected with the absolute truth then that lead to Viyoga from Duhkha. Viyoga yoga-saṁjñitam. Know Arjuna that this is the ultimate achievement of the life, now you are thinking if you fight this war then your relatives will be killed, and there will be so much lamentation for you, so don’t think that just by avoiding fighting lamentation will be avoided, lamentation will come on everyone, but if you connect with the absolute truth, if you attain samadhi, that actually is yoga, that is Viyogam. Viyoga  yoga-saṁjñitam contact with misery will be freed from it. In material world trying to free from miseries is like trying to be in ocean and trying to be avoiding getting wet, we just can’t do it. We try to move here and there but there is water everywhere so how much can we avoid it, so in this material world we cannot avoid miseries no matter how much we try, so it will come but when we are taken out of this material world, taken back to spiritual world then Duhkha Sango Viyoga, there will be Viyoga from all Duhkha, Sri Krishna has talked about Samadhi in two ways (1) is liberation from miseries (2) contact with happiness.

Little bit more of this concepts how it works: 

Two ways of dealing with emotions on the path of transcendence

Dhyana-yoga: Silence & stop all material emotions

Bhakti-yoga: One does the same thing but by Kindling spiritual emotions 

That means material emotions are the cause of miseries, and one has to give up material emotions, come what may, but how does one give up material emotions, that varies according to time place and circumstance, or according to the path one is practicing,  So in astanga yoga in Patanjali, doesn’t describe much about positive emotions there is some indication but not much positive description, So chita vriti nirodha, Chita Vriti is the movement of consciousness so he describes what is perfection what is Samadhi, chita vrithis the tendency of the consciousness is to go to the material things, citta the consciousness that goes inside matter, conditioned consciousness, so Nirodha stopping that Sri Krishna uses the word Nirodham over here so Chita Vrithi Yogas Chita Vrithi Nirodha, so the perfection of yoga is to check the citta consciousness to going into the matter, so in the path of yoga one is cutting down or eliminating material emotions, but in the path of Bhakti Yoga same result is achieved but something more is achieved by different process, we kindle spiritual emotions and by that material emotions go away, so devotees becomes attracted to Krishna and when their heart is filled by love for Krishna and the desire to serve Krishna and glorify Krishna the material desires finds no room in such a heart, e.g. An Indian is going to America, a land of dreams and thinks O’ I will go there and I will enjoy there, But when Srila Prabhupada went there what was his emotions? His heart was so filled with spiritual desires that he had no room for material desires he doesn’t think that America is a place of enjoyment and I will enjoy over there, he simply thought this place is full with those who are forgetful of Sri Krishna, and they are suffering because of forgetfulness of Sri Krishna, so let me remind them, let me help them remember Krishna, let me give them Krishna and Srila Prabhupada pray to Sri Krishna over there please allow me to turn them towards you, this was Srila Prabhupada compassion which was based on profound spiritual vision, his heart was filled with spiritual desire and he saw everything spiritual, So when spiritual desires are activated automatically materials desires are eliminated and that is the process of Bhakti Yoga, so in Bhakti Yoga our process is not rejecting the negative our focus is on taking on the positive, so in Bhakti Yoga the focus should not be on giving up desire but the focus should be on taking up spiritual desires. Now Srila Prabhupada has given up material desire by taking Sanyas but what distinguishes him from his god brothers, his god brothers were illustrious, we should not have too much negativity about them that they fought and broke up the Gaudia Math or like that, before that when they were serving the spiritual master they helped Bhakti Sidanta Srasvati Thakur build 64 Gaudia Maths, and many of them were powerful preachers, and lifelong they stayed devoted to Bhakti Sidhanta Srila Prabhupada also, But among all the disciples of Bhakti Sidhanta Srasvati Thakur what distinguishes Srila Prabhupada was his spiritual desire, he took up the desire to share Krishna Consciousness to the world far more seriously far more fearlessly far more tirelessly then did anyone else so what defined Srila Prabhupada was not absence of material desires that is definitely there but what defined him as distinction as unique was presence of the spiritual desire the desire to glorify Sri Krishna the desire to love Sri Krishna just not by meditating in Vrindavan but the desire to love Sri Krishna by sharing the love of Krishna with the whole world and it was that desire which animated Srila Prabhupada even when his body was old and sickly that is how he was constantly preaching Krishna Consciousness to the whole world so it is that desire that is perfection of life and that is the perfection which Bhakti Yoga offers us.

End of transcription.

Author: Vallabhi

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