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The Gita and Yoga

perform his duties, merely for the sake of duty, or he may devote himself to meditative concentration and union with the higher self or with God. Thus the Gita says that the person who has conquered himself and is at peace with himself is in touch with paramatman. Such a person is a true philosopher; for he not only knows the truths, but is happy in the inner realization and direct intuitive apperception of such truths; he is unshakable in himself; having conquered his senses, he attaches the same value to gold and to stones; he is the same to friends and to enemies, to the virtuous as to the sinful; he is in union (with paramatman) and is called a yogin.(1) The fact that the word yogin is derived here from the root yuj, to join, is evident from a number of passages where the verb yuj is used in this connection.

The Gita advises a yogin who thus wants to unite himself with paramatman, or God, in a meditative union, to lead a lonely life, controlling his mind and body, desiring nothing and accepting nothing.(2) The yogin should seat himself on level ground, in a clean place, and, being firm on his threefold seat composed of kusa grass, a leopard skin and soft linen, he should control his thoughts, senses and movements, make his mind one-pointed in God (tatra), gather himself up in union, and thus purify himself.(3)

(1) Yukta ity ucyate yogl sama-loshtashma-kancanah, VI. 8. Sankara, however, splits it up into two independent sentences, as follows: ya idrsho yuktah samahita iti sa ucyate kathyate; sa yogi sama-loshtashma-kancanah. Sridhara, again, takes a quite different view and thinks it to be a definition of the yogarudha state and believes yukta to mean yogarudha, which in my opinion is unjustifiable. My interpretation is simpler and more direct than either of these and can be justified by a reference to the context in VI. 7 and VI. 10.

(2) Ekaki yata-cittatma nirashir aparigrahah. VI. 10. The word atma in yata-cittatma is used in the sense of body (deha), according to Sankara, Sridhara and others.

(3) Both Sankara and Sridhara make tatra an adjective to asane. Such an adjective to asane would not only be superfluous, but would also leave ekagram without an object. The verb yunjyat, literally meaning "should link up," is interpreted by Sridhara as "should practice," apparently without any justification (VI. 12).

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