Understanding Arjun’s question on Mind Gita 6.33-34

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    Sri Vasudeva Das

    Hare Krishna prabhuji

    Why is it that Arjun asks this question on the restless mind only in this place of Gita?

    Prior to this also there have been many verses where Krishna is giving a very high spiritual ideal like in 5.18, 3.30.

    Ashish Dalela

    The mind is involved in everything from jñāna yoga to aśtānga yoga, to karma yoga, to working for Krishna, to regulated bhakti yoga, to pure surrender. But in all the other forms of yoga, except aśtānga yoga, the mind focuses on the surface phenomena while in aśtānga-yoga, the mind focuses on the deep reality. There are many deeper levels of reality. However, the deepest level of reality is the Supersoul in everything.

    In jñāna yoga, we can talk about specific principles and concepts such as in Sāñkhya philosophy. In karma yoga, we can talk about the specific duties and activities. In regulated bhakti-yoga, we can talk about the service to a deity. While doing Krishna’s work, we can talk about the various ways in which Krishna is served. During pure surrender, we can say Krishna is like a dark blue cloud. But in aśtānga yoga, we have to develop mental perception to perceive the deeper realities one after another.

    Factually, Sāñkhya depends on this deeper perception developed through aśtānga yoga which is why Sāñkhya is so difficult to understand for many people. Sāñkhya and Yoga are joined at the hip because of this, and they are generally treated as one system with two parts. It is because we can see the body, but we cannot see the senses, the mind, the intellect, the soul, and the Supersoul. But the mind can see all these if the mental perception is developed. That perception is developed by the aśtānga yoga process.

    If we chant the Hare Krishna mantra with concentration, we are actually doing dhyana which is the 6th stage in aśtānga yoga. But the mind is always wandering. So even as we try to do dhyana, the mind is not concentrated. Without concentration, mental perception is not developed. Then the philosophy seems very difficult. This is because there is repetition involved in dhyana. Our mind wavers less if the activity is not repetitive.

    At the point of death, the mind is fully concentrated. Whatever we think of at that moment, we become that in the next life. If we chant Krishna’s name at the point of death, we will go to Krishna-loka because at that moment we have become pure Krishna conscious. So fear of death brings concentration. But otherwise, the mind wanders whenever the activity being done is repetitive. Hence this path is not easy.

    In comparison, non-repetitive tasks are easier because there is so much variety and much less repetition. The Brahmanas who were doing yajñá earlier had developed the power of concentration even on repeated activity. This was their training. So they could chant a mantra a thousand times during a yajñá and the mind remained concentrated. This was the training for a Brahmana from childhood.

    Hoewever, Kshatriya, Vaisya, and Sudras are not trained like that. In the present time, nobody is trained like that. Hence, many decades pass and we are not able to perfect the chanting of mantras. But Brahmanas were trained from childhood to perfectly concentrate the mind. Since Arjuna is a Kshatriya and he is not trained for such concentration, he rejects this path.

    Sri Vasudeva Das

    This is very understandable and relatable. Thank you very much for the in depth clarification.

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