śrī bhagavān uvāca –
anāśritaḥ karma-phalaṁ kāryan karma karoti yaḥ
sa sannyāsī ca yogī ca na niragnir na cākriyaḥ
Do not think that one becomes a sannyāsī by being a nirāgni, in other words, by giving up karma such as agni-hotra etc. or that he is an aṣṭāṅga-yogī because he ceases all bodily activities and keeps his eyes half-closed. But both the name sannyāsī and yogī can be applied to one who conducts all his duties and abandons the results of such deeds.
yaṁ sannyāsam iti prāhur yogaṁ taṁ viddhi pāṇḍava
na hy-asannyasta-saṅkalpo yogī bhavati kaścana
O Pāṇḍava! What is known as sannyāsa can also be called yoga. If he does not reject the determination to desire material things, the jīva can never become a yogī. I will now show you the unity of aṣṭāṅga-yoga and karma-yoga, as I previously showed you the unity between sāṅkhya and karma-yoga. In reality, sāṅkhya, karma-yoga and aṣṭāṅga-yoga are not different. Only fools consider these to be separate processes.
ārurukṣor muner yogaṁ karma kāraṇam ucyate
yogārūḍhasya tasyaiva śamaḥ kāraṇam ucyate
Yoga is a type of staircase. From the lowest state in the life of a jīva, namely the stage of becoming like gross matter and being engrossed in material sense-objects, up to the stage of pure transcendence, there is one staircase. Every division of that staircase has a name. However, the name of the staircase as a whole is ‘yoga.’ There are two gross divisions to this staircase. Karma is the means and the goal for all the yogārurukṣu-munis, in other words those who have begun the ascending process. For those persons who are arūḍha (those already fixed in yoga), equanimity and tranquility are the means and the goal. These two gross divisions are karma (action) and śānti (peace).
yadā hi nendriyārtheṣu na karmasv-anuṣajjate
sarva-saṅkalpa-sannyāsī yogārūḍhas tadocyate
When a yogī is longer attached to satisfying all the senses nor to karma, and he fully engages in sannyāsa, then at that time a jīva can be said to be yogārūḍha (fixed in yoga).
uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ nātmānam avasādayet
ātmaiva hy-ātmano bandhur ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ
One must deliver the ātmā, in other words, the jīva who has fallen into the well of saṁsāra, with a mind devoid of attachment to sense-objects. It should not distress the ātmā by desiring to enjoy saṁsāra. It is both a friend or an enemy depending on the condition of the jīva.
bandhur ātmātmanas tasya yenātmaivātmanā jitaḥ
anātmanastu śatrutve vartetātmaiva śatruvat
The mind is a friend of the jīva who has conquered the mind. The mind is an enemy for the person who has not conquered the mind.
jitātmanaḥ praśāntasya paramātmā samāhitaḥ
śītoṣṇa-sukha-duḥkheṣu tathā mānāpamānayoḥ
All these symptoms can be perceived in that person who is yogārūḍha. He has conquered the mind. He is devoid of material desires etc. He is situated in samādhi. He is undisturbed by heat and cold, happiness and distress, honour and dishonour.
jñāna-vijñāna-tṛptātmā kūṭastho vijitendriyaḥ
yukta ityucyate yogī sama-loṣṭāśma-kāñcanaḥ
He is satisfied by knowledge that he has gained through instructions, and realised knowledge that he has gained through direct experience. He is situated in his inherent transcendental nature. He has conquered the senses. He perceives clay, stone and gold as equal transformations of matter – he conclusively connects them in this way.
sādhuṣv api ca pāpeṣu sama-buddhir viśiṣyate
One who sees a best companion, a friend, an enemy, one who is indifferent, an arbitrator, the envious, the friendly, the pious and the impious all with equanimity has achieved greatness.
yogī yuñjīta satatam ātmānaṁ rahasi sthitaḥ
ekākī yata-cittātmā nirāśīr aparigrahaḥ
A person who is yogārūḍha always remains in seclusion and fixes his mind in samādhi. In engaging in all the activities to maintain the body, he rejects extraneous things, namely abandons material possessions and he is devoid of the desire to enjoy the results of his actions.
śucau deśe pratiṣṭhāpya sthiram āsanam ātmanaḥ
nāty-ucchritaṁ nātinīcaṁ cailājina-kuśottaram
tatraikāgraṁ manaḥ kṛtvā yata-cittendriya-kriyaḥ
upaviśyāsane yuñjyād yogam ātma-viśuddhaye
The rules for practicing yoga are this – in a place which is not too high and not too low, one should place deerskin on top of a kuśāsana and then place a cloth seat on top of that – in this way, one should establish this āsana on pure earth and sit on it. Sitting there and controlling the mind, senses and actions, and focusing upon purifying one’s consciousness, one should practice yoga.
samaṁ kāya-śiro-grīvaṁ dhārayann acalaṁ sthiraḥ
samprekṣya nāsikāgraṁ svaṁ diśaś cānavalokayan
praśāntātmā vigata-bhīr brahmacāri-vrate sthitaḥ
manaḥ saṁyamya mac-citto yukta āsīta mat-paraḥ
Keeping the body, head and neck erect, without looking in different directions, gazing at the tip of the nose, with a calm mind, devoid of fear, fixed in the vow of brahmacārya, a man’s mind should be restrained from all mundane sense-objects, and being devoted to My form-armed Viṣṇu form as Paramātmā, he should practice yoga.
yuñjann evaṁ sadātmānaṁ yogī niyata-mānasaḥ
śāntiṁ nirvāṇa-paramāṁ matsaṁsthām adhigacchati
By practicing yoga in this way, a yogī’s mental disposition in relation to matter, ceases. If there is no lack of dedication to bhakti, then gradually the yogī achieves the supreme tranquility of nirvāṇa situated within Me, in other words, he attains a transcendental nature and liberation from matter.
nātyaśnata stu yogo’sti na caikāntam anaśnataḥ
na cāti svapna-śīlasya jāgrato naiva cārjuna
Yoga is not possible for that person who eats too much or eats too little, and who sleeps too much or sleeps too little.
yuktāhāra-vihārasya yukta-ceṣṭasya karmasu
yukta-svapnāvabodhasya yogo bhavati duḥkha-hā
For a person who gradually tries to be regulated in eating, regulated in recreation, regulated in all activities, regulated in sleeping, regulated in waking – it is possible for such yoga to eradicate material miseries.
yadā viniyataṁ cittam ātmany-evāvatiṣṭhate
nispṛhaḥ sarva-kāmebhyo yukta ity-uchyate tadā
When a yogī’s mental disposition is suppressed – in other words, when the mental faculties reject absorption in matter and is specifically focused upon that which is aprākṛta (divine), i.e. fully established in ātma-tattva (the principle of the ātmā), then devoid of all material desires, he become connected with the Supreme Person.
yathā dīpo nivātastho neṅgate sopamā smṛtā
yogino yata-cittasya yuñjato yogam ātmanaḥ
Just as a lamp in a windless room is motionless, so too is the consciousness of a yogī, having controlled his consciousness.
yatroparamate cittaṁ niruddhaṁ yoga-sevayā
yatra caivātmanātmānaṁ paśyann ātmani tuṣyati
sukham ātyantikaṁ yat tad buddhi-grāhyam atīndriyam
vetti yatra na caivāyaṁ sthitaś calati tattvataḥ
yaṁ labdhvā cāparaṁ lābhaṁ manyate nādhikaṁ tataḥ
yasmin sthito na duḥkhena guruṇāpi vicālyate
taṁ vidyād duḥkha-saṁyoga-viyogaṁ yoga saṁjñitam
sa niścayena yoktavyo yogo’nirviṇṇa-cetasā
By practicing this form of yoga, the consciousness gradually becomes withdrawn from all material sense-objects. Then the state of samādhi manifests. In that state, through contemplation on the Paramātmā, one directly perceives Paramātmā through the antaḥkaraṇa (mind and intelligence) and achieves bliss. The philosophical text revealed by Patañjali Muni is a śāstra that deals with pure aṣṭāṅga–yoga. Unable to understand its true meaning, commentators state as follows – “Vedāntists claim that mokṣa is the ātma’s state of cidānandamaya (complete pure consciousness and bliss).” This is illogical because if one accepts bliss in the state of kaivalya (oneness), then kaivalya will be lost due to the duality of the experience (saṁvedana) and the one who experiences (saṁvedya). Patañjali Muni does not say that. He merely says in his final sūtra:
puruṣārtha śūnyānāṁ pratipasavaḥ kaivalyaṁ svarūpa-pratiṣṭhā vā citi-śaktir iti
(‘When the primary goals of life are removed, then kaivalya, which establishes the ātmā’s inherent nature, or it’s spiritual potency, manifests.’)
When one is free from all the puruṣārthas (primary goals of life), dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa, which are produced by the modes of nature, do not produce any temporary transformations. Then oneness with consciousness and bliss appears. Through that, the svarūpa (inherent nature of the jīva) is established or fixed. This is known as cit-śakti. In the deepest sense and at the highest stage, Patañjali does not accept the extinction of the ātmā’s qualities. He simply accepts that no transformation of any of the ātmā’s intrinsic qualities takes place in that state. The word cit-śakti should be understood to be cit-dharma (intrinsic spiritual nature). When a states of unchangability is established, the inherent qualities of the svarūpa arise. The state of the ātmā in connection with material nature (prākṛti) is called ātmā-guṇa-vikāra (the transformation of the inherent attributes of the ātmā). When that happens, the potency of the ātmā, the qualities of the ātmā, and the intrinsic nature of the ātmā are extinguished – this is not the teaching of Patañjali. Bliss free from material transformations is awakened. That bliss is one’s natural intrinsic pleasure. This is the ultimate goal of yoga. This is known as bhakti and it will be revealed later.
Samādhi is of two types – samprajñāta and asamprajñāta. Samprajñāta-samādhi has many different variations such as savitarka, savicāra etc. There is only one type of asamprajñāta-samādhi. In that asamprajñāta-samādhi, one achieves unlimited bliss which is perceived through the direct intelligence of the ātmā and is devoid of connection with mundane sense-objects. The consciousness of a yogī, who is situated in the pure bliss of the ātmā, never becomes deviated from this principle. Aṣṭāṅga-yoga is not beneficial for a jīva who cannot achieve this state because if he becomes attracted to attaining all sorts of irrelevent mystic powers, he will be diverted from the bliss of samādhi which is the ultimate quest of a yogī’s heart. Due to all these hindrances, during yoga-sādhana there are many fearful tribulations. There is no such fear in bhakti-yoga – this will be discussed later.
The yogī does not consider any other kind of happiness greater than that which is found in samādhi – in other words, during the maintenance of the body, all the fleeting pleasures that are produced by the contact of the senses with all the sense-subjects are only accepted for the purpose of maintaining the body. Enduring all great sufferings such as accidents, pain, deprivation and death, he enjoys discovering the happiness of samādhi. Driven by all those sorrows, he does not forsake supreme bliss.
saṅkalpa-prabhavān kāmāṁs tyaktvā sarvān aśeṣataḥ
manasaivendriya-grāmaṁ viniyamya samantataḥ
śanaiḥ śanair uparamed buddhyā dhṛti-gṛhītayā
ātma-saṁsthaṁ manaḥ kṛtvā na kiñcid api cintayet
The first activity in relation to yoga is that all the senses must be fully regulated through through the mind by yama (following certain rules), niyama (following certain restrictions), āsana (sitting postures), prāṇāyāma (breath control) and rejecting all desires originating from the determination to achieve the results of mystic powers. Through intelligence which is gradually attained from the limb known as dhārāṇā (concentrating the mind), one should observe abstinence. This is called pratyāhāra (withdrawing the senses), and by controlling the mind through dhyāna (meditation), dhāraṇā and pratyāhāra one achieves ātmā-samādhi. The one no longer contemplates the material objects of the senses. Even when one contemplates material objects of the senses in relation to maintaining the body, one is not attached to them – this is what has been instructed. This is the ultimate goal of yoga.
yato yato niścalati manaś cañcalam asthiram
tatas tato niyamyaitad ātmany-eva vaśaṁ nayet
The mind is fickle and restless by nature. When it becomes perturbed, one should control it with great care and bring it under the control of the ātmā.
praśānta-manasaṁ hy-enaṁ yoginaṁ sukham uttamam
upaiti śānta-rajasaṁ brahma-bhūtam akalmaṣam
One whose mind becomes tranquil by following this practice and eliminating obstacles, is situated in the brahma–bhūta state and devoid of pāpa. Having conquered the mode of passion, such a yogī achieves the aforementioned highest bliss.
yuñjann evaṁ sadātmānaṁ yogī vigata-kalmaṣaḥ
sukhena brahma-saṁsparśam atyantaṁ sukham aśnute
In this way, the self-restrained yogī becomes free from contamination and enjoys unlimited happiness in connection with Brahman. In other words, he achieves bliss in the form of following the para-brahma-tattva (the Supreme Rality) whose very nature is transcendence. That is bhakti.
sarva-bhūta-stham ātmānaṁ sarva-bhūtāni cātmani
īkṣate yoga-yuktātmā sarvatra sama-darśanaḥ
I will briefly describe that complete bliss arising from Brahman. A yogī who has achieved samādhi has two types of activities, namely bhāva (rapture) and kriyā (action). His conduct in relation to bhāva is like this – he perceives the ātmā in all beings, and perceives all beings in the ātmā. *His conduct in relation to action is that he perceives everything with equanimity. In the next two ślokas I will explain bhāva and in one śloka I will explain kriyā.
* Translator’s Note: In this context, the word ātmā refers to the Paramātmā.
yo māṁ paśyati sarvatra sarvaṁ ca mayi paśyati
tasyāhaṁ na praṇaśyāmi sa ca me na praṇaśyati
One who sees Me everywhere and sees all things in Me, I become his! In other words, he crosses beyond śānta-rati (neutral affection) and a relationship of prema (divine love) arises within us that “I am his and he is Mine.” When that relationship is born, I will not give him complete annihilation in the form of dry impersonal liberation. Being My servant, he cannot be destroyed.
sarva-bhūta-sthitaṁ yo māṁ bhajaty-ekatvam āsthitaḥ
sarvathā vartamāno’pi sa yogī mayi vartate
At the time of sādhana, a yogī is instructed to meditate upon the four-armed form of the Supreme. At the time of attaining the stage of nirvikalpa–samādhi,* and at the time of attaining perfection in his sādhana to the Supreme Truth, his intelligence becomes free from duality and his intelligence attains oneness with My sacchidānanda form of Śyāmasundara. That yogī who worships Me, who is within all beings, in other words, who engages in bhakti through hearing and chanting, despite performing karma at the time of duty, jñāna at the time of analysis, and samādhi at the time of yoga, is situated in Me. In the instructions on yoga in Śrī Nārada Pañcarātra, it is mentioned:
dik-kālādy-anavacchinne kṛṣṇe ceto vidhāya ca
tanmayo bhavati kṣipraṁ jīvo brahmaṇi yojayet
“When the consciousness is fixed upon the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is not bound by space, time etc. and through the jīva’s absorption in and contact with the Supreme Brahman in the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, bliss arises.” The highest stage of yoga-samādhi is kṛṣṇa–bhakti.
*Translator’s Note: At the stage of nirvikalpa–samādhi, one’s false ego and saṁskāras (material impressions) vanish, and one becomes fully absorbed in the bliss of Brahman.
ātmaupamyena sarvatra samaṁ paśyati yo’rjuna
sukhaṁ vā yadi vā duḥkhaṁ sa yogī paramo mataḥ
Listen as I speak about a yogī’s conduct in relation to action. One who perceives everything with equal vision is the greatest of yogīs. Equal vision means that he considers all other jīvas as equal to himself when dealing with them. In other words, he considers the happiness of other jīvas as his own happiness, and he considers the sorrow of other jīvas as his own sorrow. Thus he always desires the happiness of all jīvas and acts accordingly. This is called sama-darśana (equal vision).
arjuna uvāca –
yo’yaṁ yogas tvayā proktaḥ sāmyena madhusūdana
etasyāhaṁ na paśyāmi cañcalatvāt sthitiṁ sthirām
cañcalaṁ hi manaḥ kṛṣṇa pramāthi balavad dṛḍham
tasyāhaṁ nigrahaṁ manye vāyor iva suduṣkaram
Arjuna said – O Madhusūdana! How can the yoga you have taught be kept steady with an intelligence of equanimity? I do not understand this. O Kṛṣṇa, you have said that the restless mind must be controlled by discerning intelligence, yet I see that the mind has the ability to disturb even discerning intelligence. Therefore, it is very difficult for me to control the mind which is extremely fickle just like that wind. Specifically, it is only possible to maintain equanimity towards an enemy or a friend for two of four days. I am unable to understand how to execute yoga with such a temperament.
śrī bhagavān uvāca –
asaṁśayaṁ mahā-bāho mano durnigrahaṁ calam
abhyāsena tu kaunteya vairāgyeṇa ca gṛhyate
Bhagavān said – O mighty-armed one! What you have said is true. But the yoga-śāstra specifically teaches that the fickle mind, which is difficult to restrain, can be gradually subdued through practice and renunciation.
asaṁyatātmanā yogo duṣprāpa iti me matiḥ
vaśyātmanā tu yatatā śakyo’vāptum upāyataḥ
My instruction is this – one who does not endeavour to control the ātmā or the mind through practice and renunciation can never achieve the aforementioned goal of yoga. But he who takes care to subdue the mind by adopting the proper procedures will surely become perfect in yoga. In relation to the proper procedure, this alone can be said – he who constantly practices focusing the mind through niṣkāma-karma-yoga offered to Bhagavān, and engages in its division of meditating upon Me, and at the same time accepts material sense-objects for maintaining the body with dispassion, eventually achieves perfection in yoga.
arjuna uvāca –
ayatiḥ śraddhayopeto yogāc calita-mānasaḥ
aprāpya yoga-saṁsiddhiṁ kāṁ gatiṁ kṛṣṇa gacchati
After listening, Arjuna said – O Kṛṣṇa! You said that perfection in yoga is accomplished with great endeavour through practice and renunciation. Yet many people that have faith in yoga progress a little but cannot become sannyāsīs – in other words, their endeavours are meagre. The minds of such persons become attracted to sense-objects and they are deviated from yoga due to lack of practice and renunciation. What is their destination?
kaccin nobhaya-vibhraṣṭaś chhinnābhram iva naśyati
apratiṣṭho mahā-bāho vimūḍho brahmaṇaḥ pathi
One cannot attempt yoga without rejecting sakāma-karma (selfish actions performed with the expectancy of results). Sakāma-karma is only auspicious for foolish persons through that they attain pleasure in this world and through puṇya they achieve the higher worlds such as Svarga etc. Being inclined towards yoga, a jīva distances himself from sakāma-karma, but due to the aforementioned reasons, he does not achieve perfection in yoga. Therefore he becomes bewildered and has no support in attaining the path of Brahman. Being deprived of both paths, will he be totally destroyed like a riven cloud?
etan me saṁśayaṁ kṛṣṇa chettum arhasy-aśeṣataḥ
tvad-anyaḥ saṁśayasyāsya chettā na hy-upapadyate
The authors of the śāstra are not omniscient – You are the Parameśvara, the Supreme Controller, and thus you are omniscient. No one but You is able to cut asunder this doubt. Therefore kindly destroy this doubt of mine completely.
śrī bhagavān uvāca –
pārtha naiveha nāmutra vināśas tasya vidyate
na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt kaścid durgatiṁ tāta gacchati
(Bhagavān said) O Pārtha! Neither in this life nor in the hereafter does the practitioner of yoga perish. The practitioner of yoga attains auspiciousness and never suffers. The main point is that humans are divided into two divisions – avaidha (those that follow rules of śāstra) and vaidha (those that do not follow rules of śāstra). Those who are simply sense-enjoyers and not subject to any regulations, are as lawless as animals. Be they civilised or uncivilised, foolish or learned, weak or strong, the behaviour of persons who are avaidha is always like that of a beast. There is no possibility of them achieving any benefit from their actions. Humans that follow vaidha are divided into three categories – karmīs, jñānīs and bhaktas. Karmīs are divided into two groups – sakāma-karmīs and niṣkāma–karmīs. All the sakāma-karmīs pursue very meagre pleasures, in other words, their desires are selfish. They attain Svarga etc. and worldly prosperity, however, all such happiness is temporary. Therefore they never achieve that which is auspicious for the jīva. Auspiciousness for the jīva is eternal bliss (nityānanda) which is attained after being delivered from matter. That section (of śāstra) where such eternal bliss is not attainable is useless. When the goal of karma–kāṇḍa is connected to the attainment of eternal bliss, then that karma is called karma–yoga. Through such karma-yoga one achieves citta-śuddhi (purification of the consciousness), then one attains jñāna, then dhyāna–yoga and ultimately bhakti–yoga. In sakāma–karma, by following regulations for rejecting all personal happiness and accepting difficulties, a karmī is called a tapasvī (ascetic). No matter how much austerity is there, it is all for the sake of sense-enjoyment and nothing more. Through austerities, the Asuras gain results and gratify their senses. By crossing beyond the boundary of sense-enjoyment, one easily comes to karma-yoga which aims at benefitting the jīva. A dhyāna-yogī or jñāna–yogī situated in such karma-yoga is benefited even more. The results of all the stages of an aṣṭāṅga-yogī are better than what a jīva attains through sakāma-karma.
prāpya puṇya-kṛtāṁ lokān uṣitvā śāśvatīḥ samāḥ
śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yoga-bhraṣṭo’bhijāyate
Those who deviate from aṣṭāṅga-yoga are divided into two categories, namely those who practice yoga for a short time and those who practice yoga for a long time. One who deviates from yoga after a little practice achieves those planets such as Svarga which are attained by persons who perform sakāma–puṇya (pious deeds performed with selfish desires) and reside there for a long time, then take birth in the homes of virtuous brāhmaṇas or in the homes of rich and wealthy merchants.
athavā yoginām eva kule bhavati dhīmatām
etaddhi durlabhataraṁ loke janma yad īdṛśam
Those who deviate from yoga after extensive practice are born in the home of jñānī–yogīs. You should know that it is rare to take birth in such a pious family. This is because if one is born in there, then from the beginning it is possible for the jīva to easily advance due to higher association.
tatra taṁ buddhi-saṁyogaṁ labhate paurva-dehikam
yatate ca tato bhūyaḥ saṁsiddhau kuru-nandana
O Kuru-nandana, being born there he attains a connection with the intelligence of his previous body. Therefore with a gradual and natural taste, one endeavours again to achieve perfection in yoga.
pūrvābhyāsena tenaiva hriyate hy-avaśo’pi saḥ
jijñāsur api yogasya śabda-brahmātivartate
Due to his nature and previous practice, a person becomes inquisitive about the yoga–śāstra and crosses beyond the path of sakāma-karma as mentioned in the Vedas. In other words, he achieves greater results than those specified on the path of sakāma-karma.
prayatnād yatamānas tu yogī saṁśuddha-kilbiṣaḥ
aneka-janma-saṁsiddhas tato yāti parāṁ gatim
Then by practicing with care and in a proper manner, his yoga becomes mature and all defects are removed. After practicing yoga for many births, all faults are gradually eradicated and the yogī attains mokṣa in the form of the supreme destination.
tapasvibhyo’dhiko yogī jñānibhyo’pi mato’dhikaḥ
karmibhyaś cādhiko yogī tasmād yogī bhavārjuna
By higher analysis, it is seen that a karma–yogī is superior to a tapasvī who follows sakāma–karma. A jñāna–yogī is superior to him. Even greater is the yogī.* Therefore O Arjuna, become a yogī.
* Translator’s Note: Here, the word yogī refers to the bhakti-yogī.
yoginām api sarveṣāṁ mad gatenāntarātmanā
śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ sa me yuktatamo mataḥ
Of all types of yogīs, the yogī who engages in bhakti–yoga is the best. One who has śraddhā and performs bhajana of Me is superior to all yogīs. Among those persons who are vaidhas, the sakāma–karma-yogī cannot be called a yogī. The niṣkāma–karmī, the jñānī, the aṣṭāṅga–yogī and the one who performs bhakti–yoga are yogīs. In actuality, yoga is one, not two. Yoga is a specific path with one staircase. By taking refuge in this path, a jīva ascends the path to Brahman. Niṣkāma-karma-yoga is the first step on that staircase. Combining jñāna and vairāgya with that, it becomes jñāna-yoga. the second step. Again, when this is connected to thinking and meditating on Īśvara, this becomes the third step in the form of aṣṭāṅga-yoga. When this is integrated with love for Bhagavān, it becomes the fourth step in the form of bhakti–yoga. Yoga is the name of the large staircase that connects all these steps. In explaining this yoga clearly, the divisions of yoga have been mentioned. Those who strive towards eternal auspiciousness exclusively take support from this yoga. But progressing with each step, having first achieved steadiness, one should give up that step in order to go to a higher step – in order to achieve a higher step, one abandon the previous one. Those who remain bound to any step, their yoga will not be complete. Thus, when one is bound (to a specific step in yoga), one is associated with the name of that step and established in that particular type of yoga. This is why some are known as karma-yogīs, some as jñāna-yogīs, some as aṣṭāṅga-yogīs or some as bhakti-yogīs. Thus, O Pārtha, one whose ultimate aim is to only become devoted to Me is superior to all those yogīs. Become that kind of yogī.
Through niṣkāma-karma one attains jñāna. Through that, one attains dhyāna-yoga, and finally the jīva achieves bhakti-yoga – this is the meaning of this chapter. Thus ends Chapter Six.