Meditation you have to do with vigor, with alertness. If alertness is a bit lessened, gone! There is no God consciousness. So this is a trick. When there is śaktipāta (grace), you become focused. ~Swami Lakshmanjoo

Extracts from Bhagavad Gita on Meditation

We have taken three extracts from the earlier Bhagavad Gita Sanghas, to answer the question:

What is conquering the mind and what is being un-minded?

In the first section, Swamiji explains meditation and draws on the classic understanding of the five states of the mind as explained in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. (Swamiji uses the term “Parabhairava” which means the supreme state of Shiva, which Swamiji refers to as the state of God consciousness.)

Bhagavad Gita – Sangha 15 (43:03)

DVD 2.3 (28:32)

ध्यायतो विषयान्पुंसः सङ्गस्तेषूपजायते 

सङ्गात्संजायते कामः कामात्क्रोधोऽभिजायते  ॥६४॥

क्रोधाद्भवति संमोहः संमोहात्स्मृतिविभ्रमः 

स्मृतिभ्रंशाट्बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात्प्रणश्यति  ॥६५॥

dhyāyato viṣayānpumsaḥ saṅgasteṣūpajāyate /

saṅgātsañjāyate kāmaḥ kāmātkrodho ’bhijāyate //64//

krodhādbhavati sammohaḥ sammohātsmṛtivibhramaḥ /

smṛtibhramśāṭbuddhināśo buddhināśātpraṇaśyati //65//


Anybody who is thinking of . . . one who is meditating upon God consciousness, [he goes] on meditating, meditating, and at the same time he thinks, “this meditation of God consciousness is very sweet.” And this is one thought, this is temptation; temptation is there, it is māyā. And this thought focuses him to things other than Parabhairava.

And afterwards, [the mind] goes [to another similar thought]; this [initial] saṁskāra (impression) gives move to another saṁskāra, and another saṁskāra, and he is on the inferior plane of the world.

JOHN: The saṁskāra that, “this meditation is sweet”?

SWAMIJI: Not meditation.

He is dragged away from God consciousness by and by – this is māyā!

You must be so alert and so . . . you can’t remain idle. Meditation you have to do with vigor, with alertness. If alertness is a bit lessened, [awareness is] gone! It will carry you to the ordinary course of Being. You become just like dogs in the street. There is no God consciousness.

So this is a trick. This is a trick when there is śaktipāta. When there is śaktipāta (grace), you become focused.

Kṣiptam, mūdham, vikṣiptam, ekāgram, niruddham – these are the states of mind. The states of mind are five: kṣipta, vikṣipta, mūdha, ekāgra, niruddha.

Meditation you have to do with vigor,
with alertness. If alertness is a bit lessened,
gone! There is no God consciousness.
So this is a trick. When there is
śaktipāta (grace), you become focused.
~Swami Lakshmanjoo

Kṣipta is for yogi – these [states of mind] are for yogis kṣipta is:

om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya . . .

I had been there, I will go to some other shop tomorrow . . .

“om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya . . .

O Denise is a very good disciple of mine . . .

“om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śiv̄āya, om namaḥ śivāya.

Like that, he is dragged [away from one-pointed-ness]. It is called kṣipta; this is the nature of kṣipta. This is the first yoga, the first start of yoga. At that time [when these intervening thoughts arise], you should not allow [your mind] to think other things that are similar to these. It may be similar. Do you know “similar”?

And there is another [stage of yoga]: vikṣiptam. Vikṣiptam is:

om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya . . .

(what are you doing?)

“om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya . . .

I have to go there, no! . . .

om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya.”

Just at once you . . .

JONATHAN: Become aware.

SWAMIJI: No sooner has it taken a step outside, you . . .

JONATHAN: You pull it back.

SWAMIJI: . . . you pull it back at once. That is vikṣiptam.

If you do it like this, then there is the third state, that ekāgra. Ekāgra is:

om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya . . .

“om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya . . .

“om namaḥ śivāya . . . and go on [reciting], “om namaḥ śivāya, and [yawning] . . .

“om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya . . .

“om namaḥ śivāya, [scratching],

“om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya.

This is ekāgra. But these things happen. These things, they destroy your one-pointedness.

Then it is nirūddha. At once [you recite]:

om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya . . .

“om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya . . .

“om namaḥ śivāya, om namaḥ śivāya . . .”

Then it goes on in one chain.

[Lord Kṛṣṇa] says in that [śloka]:

yatroparamate cittaṁ niruddhaṁ yogasevanāt /

yatra caivātmanātmānaṁ paśyannātmani tuṣyati // BG 6.21


[Lord Kṛṣṇa]: Yatroparamate cittaṁ niruddhaṁ yogasevanāt. At that time when, by yogābhyāsa, [the yogi] reaches the state of niruddha, the fifth state of yoga – what happens then?

Yatra caivātmanātmānaṁ paśyannātmani tuṣyati, where he realizes his own nature and he is enjoying the super-consciousness of that nature.

sukhamātyantikaṁ yattadbuddhigrāhyamatīndriyam /

vetti yatra na caivāyaṁ sthitaścalati tattvataḥ // BG 6.22


Sukhamātyantikaṁ yattad [BG 6.22], and the glamour of that sukham (sukham means godly . . .

JOHN: Pleasure.

SWAMIJI: Not pleasure, you can’t say pleasure.

JOHN: Super-pleasure?


. . . buddhigrahyam, it is buddhigrāhyam. You can only calculate it with intellect, not with the body. Atīndriyam, it is beyond, that sukha [joy] is beyond the cycle of organs. Organs cannot experience that ānanda (that bliss).

And once he is established in that, na calati tattvataḥ, he is not moved at all; for one second also, he is not moved from that [bliss].

JONATHAN: But to achieve that state you have to have that śaktipāta, isn’t it?

SWAMIJI: Śaktipāta means you have to maintain your vigor, you have to maintain your will. There must be firm will. That is śaktipāta. Śaktipāta is not derived from other sources. You have got śaktipāta, you have got the power of śaktipāta, i.e., to have it. You [must] possess it with vigor, with force, because you have got that power.

But you don’t like it [laughs]!

You don’t like it and you go on meeting others and everything.

DVD 2.3 (37:16)

Now this is the 70th śloka finished.

JONATHAN: Can I just ask one question? What causes that change? You said you possess that śaktipāta, that power, but you don’t like it, you just go to these other things. What makes that change, when you suddenly are not worried about these things and you dive into that?

SWAMIJI: When śaktipāta comes from within. From within! Śaktipāta does not come from without. It is not [from] without.

JONATHAN: It is there already.

SWAMIJI: It is there. Because when God is united with limited God, [this is possible only because] limited God is not separate from unlimited God.

End of Bhagavad Gita – Sangha 15 (54:04)


Now we move to verse 3 of Chapter 6, which is the chapter where Lord Krishna teaches Arjuna the formal practice of Meditation. In verse 3 Swamiji emphasizes the value of Meditation in action.

Bhagavad Gita – Sangha 44 (44:17)

DVD 6.1 (10:28)

आरुरुक्षोर्मुनेर्योगं कर्म कारणमुच्यते 

योगारूढस्य तस्यैव शमः कारणमुच्यते  ॥३॥

ārurukṣormuneryogaṁ karma kāraṇamucyate /

yogārūḍhasya tasyaiva śamaḥ kāraṇamucyate //3//


Ārurukṣormuner. Munir, that yogi who is ārurukṣoḥ, who wants to rise step by step; who wants to rise step by step and meditates by successive meditation. Successive meditation does not mean that you meditate one hour in the morning, one hour in the evening – no, it is not that. [You should] go on meditating day and night. Don’t forget your meditation of thinking of the Lord with breath. Go on watching your breath, day and night. Try with all your might to watch it. If sometime you miss [a breath], that doesn’t matter, but it does not mean that you meditate only one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening, and in the remaining period you will do activities [such as] gupshup (idle conversation) and bakwas (nonsense) and everything. Because that impression [of worldly activity] will be stronger, that impression will subside your abhyāsa (practice).

Do you understand?

So you should not work in that way. Abhyāsa is to start [watching your breath] just like in chain form [i.e., continuously]. Try your best [to practice] that way.

ārurukṣormuneryogaṁ karma kāraṇamucyate /

yogārūḍhasya tasyaiva śamaḥ kāraṇamucyate //3//


Ārurukṣormuneryogaṁ. Yogam ārurukṣor muner, the one who is trying to reside in yoga abhyāsa, for how long [should he practice]? Day and night. According to his capacity, he should [practice] day and night. But the balance should be of abhyās, i.e., [abhyās should be] more in weight than the daily activities of your worldly affairs. Worldly affairs should be less in balance [in] scale. Worldly activities [should be much] less, just four anas (16 cents) in one rupee, even two annas (8 cents) in one rupee. The [remaining] period of your time must be devoted to abhyāsa, to meditation. That is yogam ārurukṣor muni, one who wants to rise in yoga, who wants to step into yoga.

Karma kāraṇam ucyate. Karma kāraṇam ucyate, karma, abhyāsa in action. You should not sit idle, you should go on walking [etc., while] practicing yoga. And it is kāraṇam, these [worldly activities] are the means (upāyas) for him.

Abhinavagupta has, in a unique way, translated in two ways kāraṇam and kāraṇam. There are in two places kāraṇ and kāraṇ.

End Bhagavad Gita – Sangha 44 (49:02)


In this next excerpt from Chapter Five, Swamiji explains what happens in meditation when the breath becomes more and more refined.

Bhagavad Gita – Sangha 42 (32:30)

DVD 5.2 (32:04)

स्पर्शान्कृत्वा बहिर्बाह्यांश्चक्षुश्चैवान्तरे भ्रुवोः 

प्राणापानौ समौ कृत्वा नासाभ्यन्तरचारिणौ  ॥२७॥

sparśānkṛtvā bahirbāhyāṁścakṣuścaivāntare bhruvoḥ /

prāṇāpānau samau kṛtvā nāsābhyantaracāriṇau //27//


[Lord Kṛṣṇa]: Sparśān kṛtvā bahir bāhyāṁ. Bāhyāṁ sparśān bahi kṛtvā, those outside sensual objects, you should keep them outside. Cakṣu caivāntare bhruvoḥ, [your mind should be focused] in between the two eyebrows; you must feel the sensation inside, between two eyebrows. Prāṇāpānau samau kṛtvā, nāsā abhyantara cāriṇau, you should breathe out and breathe in, in samatā. Samatā means . . .

No, this is very important.

For instance, you breathe in and you breathe out. Not like [you normally do]. You have not to breathe in and out like that. You have to breathe in your own nāsa (inner consciousness).

For instance, you have to breathe like this and this; only this much:

[Swamiji demonstrates by showing the tiny distance between his thumb and index finger].

You have not to breathe [heavily] – not like this. You have to breathe very slowly, very slowly. [So] slowly that [you do] not breathe at all. It takes only [a small] space to breathe. Only this much. This is the reality of one-pointedness.

JONATHAN: But Swamiji, when you do that though, sometimes in breathing, you don’t get enough breath; it feels like you’re not going to get enough . . .

SWAMIJI: (laughs . . .) No, it is not suffocation. You will never become suffocated because it is life; it is life-full at that time. You know when in my courses I was not breathing. I was breathing like this [Swamiji demonstrates]. When I was out [of my courses], then I would [breathe heavily].

JONATHAN: Yes, suddenly you would breathe.

SWAMIJI: Yes, that is outside. Inside is this [Swamiji demonstrates again], i.e., when you don’t breathe at all. You breathe only from here to here, bas! That is all.

So there is no breath. It is only the glamour of madhya nāḍi, the ‘central vein’. You are residing in the central vein, suṣumnā nāḍi. It is in suṣumnā nāḍi. It goes in suṣumnā nāḍi and [breath] is finished.

JONATHAN: But from a practical point of view, you were demonstrating that to me one day when you went to Harvan, and you stopped on the side of the road and you said, “the breath must only go this much.” But if a normal person sits down and makes their breath go like that, then they are short of breath, isn’t it? Or does that feeling go?

SWAMIJI: No, shorter breath.

JONATHAN: But there is that feeling that you need more breath.

SWAMIJI: No, you don’t get urge for breathing. You don’t get urge for breathing. This is something different!

JOHN: My experience is though when you try to be one-pointed on watching your breath and so forth . . .

SWAMIJI: When it is one-pointed, then you don’t breathe.

JOHN: Breathing slows down automatically.

SWAMIJI: Not in so much space.

JOHN: So it becomes less and less as you . . .


JOHN: When you are breathing and you are becoming more one-pointed then your breathing becomes less and less.

SWAMIJI: Less and less, less and less. And in the end, it breathes only this much.

JOHN: But my problem is before I get to that point . . .

SWAMIJI: If it comes down from here, it goes up to this, then it returns there.

JOHN: My experience is, when I become more one-pointed and it becomes less and less and less, all of a sudden that panic comes and I go, “aaaaaaaahhhh,” I take that, like I’m not breathing, I get a shock that, “no, I’m not breathing and then I take a breath.”

SWAMIJI: (laughs . . .) That is because you are not focused in that Parabhairava state.

When once you are focused in the Parabhairava state then you won’t breathe because you are life-full.

JOHN: So how do we get over that gap of that panic of not taking full breaths?

SWAMIJI: Yes, in both ways it is divine. Both ways. If you breathe, that is also divine; if you don’t breathe, that is also divine. It is this [Swamiji demonstrates the short distance of the movement of breath]. I showed you.

JONATHAN: You showed me that day.

SWAMIJI: It is said, nāsābhyantaracāriṇa, only breath does not move out from nāsa, out from nāsika [between the eyebrows]. It moves only this much, this much [Swamiji demonstrates]. So there is no such breathing.

You should not examine it. It is automatic. It will happen automatically some day when you are glorified with my grace.

JOHN: What do you mean, Swamiji, when you say ”lengthen the breath and make it flow longer and longer?” When we were meditating, you said we should lengthen the breath, make it slower and longer – what does that mean?

SWAMIJI: Lengthen? Lengthen, not. You should breathe very slowly.

JONATHAN: You mean length of time and less in space.

SWAMIJI: Less space.

JONATHAN: And length in time.


JONATHAN: So it should take longer to go even that little distance.


JONATHAN: But you shouldn’t make your breath long.

SWAMIJI: Long? No [laughs].

JONATHAN: That’s what I am saying. You shouldn’t do that! You should only do this much. But time should be longer . . .


JONATHAN: . . . and space should be less.


How wonderful!

End Bhagavad Gita – Sangha 42 (38:56)


Source: Weekly Sangha – Bhagavad Gita in the Light of Kashmir Shaivism by Swami Lakshmanjoo

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