CHAPTER 6: DYANA YOGA: VERSE 5
ātmaiva hy ātmano bandhur
ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ
Translation: One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself.The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.
Before proceeding to this verse mentioned above, it is better to have a recap of what all we learned in the previous chapters of Bhagavad Gita.
In the first chapter, “Observing the armies on the battle field of Kuruksetra” shows the dilemma of Arjuna whether to fight his own Kinsmen to attain the Kingdom.
In the second chapter,” Contents of the Gita Summarized” we learned that we are not this body but spirit soul and soul is eternal, and our body is compared to our dress which we are wearing, we keep changing it. We also learned that we should be tolerant, should not be attached to any results of our activity but offer that results to Krishna and the importance of surrendering to Krishna. The whole Bhagavad Gita was spoken at the moment when Arjuna surrendered to Krishna.
In the third chapter “Karma yoga”, starts with Arjuna asking a question,” Why do you want to engage me in this warfare if intelligence is better than furtive action?” so Krishna is telling Arjuna to perform his prescribed duties without any attachment because attachment causes bondage and to avoid that we have to worship Krishna. This chapter also says that we don’t have to worship any demigods. By worshipping Krishna itself all the demigods will be pleased. The importance of eating prasadam (spiritual food that is food offered to Krishna) is
said. And also this chapter teaches what false ego is. We often think that we are the doers because of our false ego but actually it is done by the three modes of material nature, so surrendering to Krishna with full knowledge of him then we will be free from reaction.
This chapter talks about a most devouring sinful enemy of the world which is lust. And our senses, the mind and intelligence are the sitting place of this lust so we have to put our maximum effort to regulate our senses, mind and intelligences this can be attained only by cultivating our spiritual strength.
In the fourth chapter, “Transcendental Knowledge” talks about the importance of spiritual master because only he can teach us the truth and impart us with real knowledge so as to make progress in life and to attain the Supreme. And the Guru should be from the disciplic succession (From Krishna- sun god (Vivasan)-Manu, Ikshahu etc.). And in this chapter says about the importance of remembering Krishna. Krishna says,” If one who knows the transcendental nature of my appearance, they won’t take birth again”. Krishna will reward according to one’s surrender. And here Krishna also talks about the Varnasrama system how
different people should do their duties and it also talks about action and inaction (Karma (furtive action) and akarma (inaction), and Vikarma (forbidden action).
In the fifth chapter, “Karma yoga Action in Krishna consciousness” Arjuna asks Krishna which is better renunciation or work with devotion. Krishna says work with devotion is better. And when our intelligence, mind are fixed in supreme our ignorance will be gone, we will treat everyone with equanimity. Also it talks about that a person who fully knows that Krishna is the ultimate benefactor of all sacrifices attains peace. This chapter also talks about Ashtanga yoga.
Now in sixth chapter,” Dhyana yoga”, teaches us the next possible way to attain liberation. Dhyana yoga which is also ashtanga yoga where the goal is to control mind and senses. But this method is very difficult to do in this Kaliyuga but this method was possible in Satyayuga. So Dhyana yoga is one of the recommended bonafied process. Better than Dhyana yoga it is karma yoga action is Krishna consciousness is recommended.
Now in this material world people are interested in doing yoga, but the main purpose for them is to stay physically fit but it does not focus much on mind or spirit at all. But Dhyana yoga which is also ashtanga yoga or 8 fold yoga system basically is about “Dhyana and Dharana”- they are meant for controlling the mind so that a person can elevate himself. Our mind is compared to a driver and our body is compared to a chariot (or for example a car). The driver can take you anywhere your destination is and that is his duty. It is our duty to control the driver. If the driver acts on our order then he is our friend, but if the driver acts
whimsically according to his ways then he is our enemy. We should understand that we are all part and parcel of Krishna who has also given us free will, and that means we have little independence to make decision. It is up to us to make the right decisions in life. If mind is controlling our independence then it is not our friend.
For example you want to go to attend the programs in temple and do Krishna consciousness activity but your mind forces you to do something which is not Krishna conscious then it is the mind driving you. So our primary goal in life should be to fix our mind upon Krishna and do Krishna conscious activity like Chanting, Deity worship, Association of devotees, Attending Kirtan or Bhajans,utilize your time and money , whatever way you can doing activities in temple.
Basically when we do this we are engaging our mind to do good things. By this way we are preparing ourselves so that we won’t be carried away by various temptations of this material world. Whatever activities we do our mind stores it. So that is why we have to strengthen our Sadhana like chanting, by doing scriptural studies so when temptations come instead of acting impulsively thinking our mind is always right we will take time to think about it and then act on it. Discerning powers comes from spiritual practice only. If Krishna says we can
control our mind then definitely we all can.
There are usually three types of people.
1) People in the mode of ignorance: They think that there is nothing is in my control.
2) Person in the mode of passion: They think that everything is under their control.
3) Person in the mode of goodness: This person knows what is in his control and what is not in his control.
So if mind gives some idea we can take a look at it and act on it. Scriptural study and doing spiritual practice like chanting is very essential so we know what is in our control and what not our control , what is right according to our scriptures and what is not right according to our scriptures and act accordingly so we will never make a wrong decision.
By chanting what happens is how the dust accumulated in the mirror is removed, it removes the darkness of our heart. HareKrishna Mahamantra is spiritual it is not material, if we practice constantly we can see a change slowly but gradual. It is like waking on mountain filled with gold, we are walking on gold we don’t know there is gold. Mahamantra slowly cleans, we won’t see the results immediately but it is happening. If we pray sincerely and
practice it then eventually we will definitely get there. When we chant Krishna give intelligence to chant better.Mind can be our enemy or friend. You can use it is like instrument either to achieve higher goals in life or we can use to degrade that is totally up to us to decide. How the mind is considered as enemy is totally interesting. If you have an enemy in this material world the worst thing he can do to you is to kill you. But our mind kills us in different way. When you die and come back again it will the same mind which comes back to you. Mind is one of senses. We have several sense, 5 gross senses and 3 subtle senses which is mind, intelligence and false ego. Mind is a driver and we are the spirit soul not this body. Mind and soul are different things. The soul in the body remains the same, it does not change as the body changes from young boy to an old age person. And when we die the same soul take a different body, it can be an animal or a human being. The subtle body
which is mind, intelligence and false ego is carried to the new body. This is called as transmigration of soul. Mind kills you in this life but if not properly trained it comes back again in next life taking us down so it is better to train our mind now itself and keep it control by doing devotional service and come out of it forever .
When we do various devotional activities in temple then slowly our mind become our friend. As soon as Krishna is seated on our mind, no darkness can cover us. It is just like if the sun is on the sky there is no scope for darkness. Krishna is like a sun, if you keep your mind fixed on Krishna then darkness or MAYA will never able to conquer us. This is the first-class yoga system that lead to perfection, never deviating from the Supreme.
It is said in Srimad Bhagvatham (9.4.18) “Savaimanaḥkṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ”.One should fix up your mind on lotus feet of Krishna. For example like how Ambarīṣa Mahārāja fixed up his mind only on Krishna so Durvasa muni could not defeat him at any cost, same way if we fix our mind on Krishna then no one can defeat us. If the mind and the driver is stronger there is no question of fall down, our mind cannot take you anywhere unless we desire, it will totally be under our control, then we are the conqueror or victorious and become topmost yogi.
After all, the yoga system is, “yogaindriyasaṁyama”. Yoga means to control the senses. And above the sense, is the mind. So if we control the mind, the senses are controlled automatically. Now we can control our senses as well our mind. For example your tongue wants to eat outside food, but if your mind is strong, mind says, “No. You cannot eat anything from out except kṛṣṇa-prasāda.” Then tongue is controlled. So senses are controlled by the mind. Above the mind is the intelligence. And above the intelligence is the spirit soul.
If one is on the spiritual platform, on the soul platform, then his intelligence is spiritualized, his mind is spiritualized, his senses are spiritualized, and he is spiritualized. This is the process of Krishna consciousness. Actually the spirit soul is working like a master and servant but he has given his power of attorney to this nonsense mind. He is sleeping. But when he’s awakened, the master is awakened,the servant cannot do anything nonsense. Similarly if you are awakened in Kṛṣṇaconsciousness, your intelligence, your mind, or your senses cannot act nonsensically. They must act according to Krishna conscious only. That is spiritualization and also purification. “Kṛṣṇasūrya-samamāyāhayaandhakāra.Krishna is just like sunlight and Maya is just like darkness. This Maya is the illusionary energy that covers the conditioned souls, so we keep identifying ourselves with this material body and fail to understand that we are spirit souls and part and parcel of Krishna. So if we are being dictated by Maya and act
according to it then we become more and more entangled in this material world,so we have to get out of this entanglement by this perfect yoga of Krishna consciousness focusing our mind on Krishna and do devotional activities. What darkness will do in sunlight if we keep ourselves in sunlight that is Krishna conscious activities, the darkness will fail to act upon you. This is the whole philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness or Bhakti yoga to free our mind from all
contamination so as to attain peace and make it our friend.