There are really only two paths to Realization. Both paths are Yoga by any name, and one is not better than the other. We will all use them both at one time or another.
I do not see how this Yoga, which you call ‘sameness’, can have any lasting foundation because of instability.
Arjuna is asking Lord Krishna how one can enter a state of sameness in a situation in which nothing is stable because of the actively changing nature of life.
The mind is unsteady, harassing, powerful and unyielding, Krishna. I think holding it down is, like the wind, extraordinarily difficult to do.
Even the mind is always changing and busy with something or other. It seems impossible to Arjuna that all this activity in the mind can be held in stasis long enough to reach the goal. But Lord Krishna has the solution…..
The Blessed Lord spoke:
Without doubt, the fluctuating mind is difficult to restrain, except by practice and indifference to worldly affairs.
Even though this is true about the mind, there is a solution: the practice of Yoga, and indifference to worldly affairs.
The outcome of the practice of Yoga, is yoga (union). Yoga takes place in the midst of action (change) but culminates in a state of sameness. The yogi experiences happiness in his practice, and gradually becomes indifferent to worldly affairs in favor of yoga.
In order to reach this state of union, one chooses the one thing that is eternally the same—Absolute God—and surrenders to That in meditation.
Equality, equanimity, evenness, homogeneousness,
Yoga is difficult to attain for one who has no self-control. But if one is self-controlled, it is possible through the proper means by striving. This is my view.
This verse exposes two paths: The path of the will and the path of surrender. This has been the case all along, but this verse was crying out to make it evident. Here are two more translations to demonstrate this, both taken from the Sanskrit:
Yoga is difficult to attain by one who has no self-control. But for one who is self-controlled, it is possible to attain by striving. This is my view.
For one who has no self-control, union (yoga) is difficult to attain, except for one who is submissive (surrendered). This is the proper means. This is my view.
There are two different words being used in this verse that are translated as ‘self-control’. One means ‘attentive, self-contained, subdued’. The other word can mean either ‘subject to the will, desire, or control’, or ‘willing, submissive, subject to or dependent upon’.
Will – Desire based action. Subdued by controlling the attention by means of using one’s willpower.
Surrender – Surrendered action. Willingness to subject oneself and be dependent upon God through surrender.
Translators of Sanskrit mystical texts must settle on something, and are inclined to settle where their training takes them. Some are scholars with little or no personal experience of yoga sadhana to draw from. Those who do practice Yoga will draw from the teachings of their own path, most of which will be technique-oriented (using the will). Both of these make up the published translations of this text with one exception: those practicing non-technique-oriented yoga sadhana, which are few, and which represent my own translations.
The issue of self-control is valid for both the path of the will and the path of surrender. If one has not developed any self-control in life, they are not likely to want to follow the path of surrender anyway, for there would be little to surrender, and the experience would be weak and uninspiring. The path of surrender is really only useful to those who have had enough of control and the responsibilities and repercussions that go with it.
Whether the path of the will or surrender, self-control is necessary just to get yourself into the meditation room, espceially in the beginning. So we can’t ignore it. But we can look at it closer:
- Using the will (to try to achieve a goal)
- Self-discipline (going ahead no matter what)
- Self-motivation (you don’t need to be told to do something, you just do it)
- Correctly and honestly monitoring one’s practice of spiritual principles in life (Yama and Niyama)
In the beginning, it is difficult to keep the attention on one thing long enough to reach a state of yoga. This is true of either path. In the path of the will, you will use your will to try to remedy this. In the path of surrender, you will continue to surrender yourself to God in meditation and let Shakti work this out. Both paths require enough self-discipline to meditate regularly.
“The proper means” for the path of the will is to follow the directions of the guru. The proper means for the path of surrender is to follow the directions of the guru to leave everything to God/Shakti and accept what happens or doesn’t happen in your meditation.
The practice of Yoga as it is presented in the previous verses, and verses to come, will deliver you from any concerns. All you have to do to reach a state of sameness (yoga, samadhi) is to follow these teachings.
Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),