dhārayann acalaḿ sthiraḥ
samprekṣya nāsikāgraḿ svaḿ
manaḥ saḿyamya mac-citto
yukta āsīta mat-paraḥ
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 6.13-14
One should hold one’s body, neck and head erect in a straight line and stare steadily at the tip of the nose. Thus, with an unagitated, subdued mind, devoid of fear, completely free from sex life, one should meditate upon Me within the heart and make Me the ultimate goal of life.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The goal of life is to know Krishna, who is situated within the heart of every living being as Paramatma, the four-handed Vishnu form. The yoga process is practiced in order to discover and see this localized form of Vishnu, and not for any other purpose. The localized vishnu-murti is the plenary representation of Krishna dwelling within one’s heart. One who has no program to realize this vishnu-murti is uselessly engaged in mock yoga practice and is certainly wasting his time. Krishna is the ultimate goal of life, and the vishnu-murti situated in one’s heart is the object of yoga practice. To realize this vishnu-murti within the heart, one has to observe complete abstinence from sex life; therefore one has to leave home and live alone in a secluded place, remaining seated as mentioned above. One cannot enjoy sex life daily at home or elsewhere and attend a so-called yoga class and thus become a yogi. One has to practice controlling the mind and avoiding all kinds of sense gratification, of which sex life is the chief. In the rules of celibacy written by the great sage Yajnavalkya it is said:
karmana manasa vaca
“The vow of brahmacarya is meant to help one completely abstain from sex indulgence in work, words and mind—at all times, under all circumstances, and in all places.” No one can perform correct yoga practice through sex indulgence. Brahmacarya is taught, therefore, from childhood, when one has no knowledge of sex life. Children at the age of five are sent to the guru-kula, or the place of the spiritual master, and the master trains the young boys in the strict discipline of becoming brahmacaris. Without such practice, no one can make advancement in any yoga, whether it be dhyana, jnana or bhakti. One who, however, follows the rules and regulations of married life, having a sexual relationship only with his wife (and that also under regulation), is also called a brahmacari. Such a restrained householder brahmacari may be accepted in the bhakti school, but the jnana and dhyana schools do not even admit householder brahmacaris. They require complete abstinence without compromise. In the bhakti school, a householder brahmacari is allowed controlled sex life because the cult of bhakti-yoga is so powerful that one automatically loses sexual attraction, being engaged in the superior service of the Lord. In the Bhagavad-gita (2.59) it is said:
rasa-varjam raso ’py asya
param drishtva nivartate
Whereas others are forced to restrain themselves from sense gratification, a devotee of the Lord automatically refrains because of superior taste. Other than the devotee, no one has any information of that superior taste.
Vigata-bhih. One cannot be fearless unless one is fully in Krishna consciousness. A conditioned soul is fearful due to his perverted memory, his forgetfulness of his eternal relationship with Krishna. The Bhagavatam (11.2.37) says, bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad isad apetasya viparyayo ’smritih. Krishna consciousness is the only basis for fearlessness. Therefore, perfect practice is possible for a person who is Krishna conscious. And since the ultimate goal of yoga practice is to see the Lord within, a Krishna conscious person is already the best of all yogis. The principles of the yoga system mentioned herein are different from those of the popular so-called yoga societies.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Kaya refers to the middle section of the body. One should hold the middle of the body, the head and neck straight without movement. Withdrawing the mind from objects (manah samyamya), the yogi remains thinking of me, the beautiful form with four hands (mac cittah), absorbed in devotion to me (mat parayanah).
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
6.13 – 6.14 Keeping the trunk, head and neck erect and motionless; well seated in order to be steady; looking not in any direction but gazing at the tip of the nose; serene, i.e., holding the mind extremely peaceful; fearless; firm in the vow of celibacy; holding the mind in check; and fixing his thoughts on Me — he should sit in Yoga, i.e., remain concentrated and intent on Me, i.e., he should concentrating on Me only.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
The posture of the body that is optimal for concentration of the mind in meditation is being described by Lord Krishna. The word samam means straight. The back, neck and head which is the seat of the muladhara or sacred plexus in the top of the head must be perfectly straight while at the same time sitting with legs crossed in a lotus position or half lotus position keeps them straight. Furthermore being firmly situated in celibacy is essential and then one is then able to properly meditate on the Supreme Lord immersing oneself in Him.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
After the description of the seat Lord Krishna speaks of the posture of the body. The word samam means straight and this is how the back, neck and head should be. They should never be bent or hunched. The compound word bramacari-vrate means one must be observing strict celibacy which controls the eightfold emotions related to the generating organ. The Agni Purana states that the eightfold emotions regarding sexual congress are: thinking about it, talking about it, joking about it, envisioning it, desiring to do it, wooing to get one interested for it, enticing one interested to do it and finally engaging with another in sexual congress. All these things must be thoroughly scourged and completely purged if one is to be considered celibate. In this way one should yukta asita mat-parah meaning to sit with legs crossed in a lotus position or half lotus position and engage themselves in meditation of the Supreme Lord, becoming immersed in Him, who bestows ultimate bliss and who is the ultimate goal of human endeavour and existence.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
6.13-14 Dharayan, holding; kaya-siro-girvam, the body (torso), head and neck; samam, erect; and acalam, still-movement is possible for one (even while) holding these erect; therefore it is specified, ‘still’-; sthirah, being steady, i.e. remaining steady; sampreksya, looking svam nasikagram, at tip of his own nose -looking at it intently, as it were; ca, and; anavalokayan, not looking; disah, around, i.e. not glancing now and then in various directions-. The words ‘as it were’ are to be understood because what is intended here is not an injunction for looking at the tip of one’s own nose! What then? It is the fixing the gaze of the eyes by withdrawing it from external objects; and that is enjoined with a veiw to concentrating the mind. [What is sought to be presented here as the primary objective is the concentration of mind. If the gaze be directed outward, then it will result in interrupting that concentration. Therefore the purpose is to first fix the gaze of the eyes within.] If the intention were merely the looking at the tip of the nose, then the mind would remain fixed there itself, not on the Self! In, ‘Making the mind fixed in the Self’ (25), the Lord will speak of concentrating the mind verily on the Self. Therefore, owing to the missing word iva (as it were), it is merely the withdrawl of the gaze that is implied by sampreksya (looking). Further, prasantatma, with a placid mind, with a mind completely at peace; vigata-bhih, free from fear sthitah, firm; brahmacari-vrate, in the vow of a celibate, the vow cosisting in serivce of the teacher, eating food got by beggin, etc.-firm in that, i.e. he should follow these; besides, mat-cittah, with the mind fixed on Me who am the supreme God; samyamya, by controlling; manah, the mind, i.e. by stopping the modifications of the mind; yuktah, through concentration, i.e. by becoming concentrated; asita, he should remain seated; matparah, with Me as the supreme Goal. Some passionate person may have his mind on a woman, but he does not accept the woman as his supreme Goal. What then? He accepts the king or Sive as his goal. But this one (the yogi) not only has his mind on Me but has Me as his Goal. After that, now is being stated the result of Yoga:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
6.10-15 Yogi etc. upto adhigacchati. Self : the mind. Let him yoke it : let him make it single-pointed. Always : not for a limited period of time. If the conditions like remaining alone etc., are fulfilled, this [controlling of mind] is possible and not otherwise. On account of the firmness of seat, the time-nerve (or the body ?) remains firm and due to this, mind remains firm. He, by whom the mental activities i.e., those that are in the form of intention, and other activities of the sense-organs are subdued i.e., are brought under full control; [he is the person of the subdued mental and sensual activities]. Holding : i.e., with effort. If the nose-tip is looked at, [it is possible] not to look at [different] directions. Let him remain endowed with the state of having Me alone as supreme goal. This is the meaning [here]. He who yokes i.e., concentrates his self (mind) in this manner, there arises for him Peace in which the culmination – as far as the end-is the same as attaining Me.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
dharayann acalam sthirah
sampreksya nasikagram svam
manah samyamya mac-citto
yukta asita mat-parah
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
samam — straight; kāya — body; śiraḥ — head; grīvam — and neck; dhārayan — holding; acalam — unmoving; sthiraḥ — still; samprekṣya — looking; nāsikā — of the nose; agram — at the tip; svam — own; diśaḥ — on all sides; ca — also; anavalokayan — not looking; praśānta — unagitated; ātmā — mind; vigata-bhīḥ — devoid of fear; brahmacāri-vrate — in the vow of celibacy; sthitaḥ — situated; manaḥ — mind; saḿyamya — completely subduing; mat — upon Me (Kṛṣṇa); cittaḥ — concentrating the mind; yuktaḥ — the actual yogī; āsīta — should sit; mat — Me; paraḥ — the ultimate goal.