hriyate hy avaśo ’pi saḥ
jijñāsur api yogasya
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 6.44
By virtue of the divine consciousness of his previous life, he automatically becomes attracted to the yogic principles—even without seeking them. Such an inquisitive transcendentalist stands always above the ritualistic principles of the scriptures.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Advanced yogis are not very much attracted to the rituals of the scriptures, but they automatically become attracted to the yoga principles, which can elevate them to complete Krishna consciousness, the highest yoga perfection. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.33.7), such disregard of Vedic rituals by the advanced transcendentalists is explained as follows:
aho bata sva-paco ’to gariyan
yaj-jihvagre vartate nama tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuh sasnur arya
brahmanucur nama grnanti ye te
“O my Lord! Persons who chant the holy names of Your Lordship are far, far advanced in spiritual life, even if born in families of dog-eaters. Such chanters have undoubtedly performed all kinds of austerities and sacrifices, bathed in all sacred places, and finished all scriptural studies.”
The famous example of this was presented by Lord Caitanya, who accepted Thakura Haridasa as one of His most important disciples. Although Thakura Haridasa happened to take his birth in a Muslim family, he was elevated to the post of namacarya by Lord Caitanya due to his rigidly attended principle of chanting three hundred thousand holy names of the Lord daily: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. And because he chanted the holy name of the Lord constantly, it is understood that in his previous life he must have passed through all the ritualistic methods of the Vedas, known as shabda-brahma. Unless, therefore, one is purified, one cannot take to the principles of Krishna consciousness or become engaged in chanting the holy name of the Lord, Hare Krishna.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Attracted by previous practice, he becomes inquisitive about yoga and surpasses the path of karma mentioned in the Vedas (sabda brahma), but this time remains fixed on the path of yoga.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
6.43 – 6.44 There, in that existence, he regains the mental disposition for Yoga that he had in the previous birth. Like one awakened from sleep, he strives again from where he had left before attaining complete success. He strives so as not to be defeated by impediments. This person who has fallen away from Yoga is borne on towards Yoga alone by his previous practice, i.e., by the older practice with regard to Yoga. This power of Yoga is well known. Even a person, who has not engaged in Yoga but has only been desirous of knowing Yoga, i.e., has failed to follow it up, acquries once again the same desire to practise Yoga. He then practises Yoga, of which the first stage is Karma Yoga, and transcends Sabda-brahman (or Brahman which is denotable by words). The Sabda-brahman is the Brahman capable of manifesting as gods, men, earth, sky, heaven etc., namely, Prakrti. The meaning is that having been liberated from the bonds of Prakrti, he attains the self which is incapable of being named by such words as gods, men etc., and which comprises solely of knowledge and beatitude. After thus describing the glory of Yoga the verse says:
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
The reason why such a person comes in contact with spiritual knowledge is because of the practice of yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness is because the potency of it irresistibly propels one towards realising the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence and even if one is oblivious or is beset by obstacles the efficacy of the yoga automatically makes it happen. Thus although one may be struggling from the reactions of previous activities still they will gradually in subsequent births attain moksa or liberation from the material existence. Lord Krishna makes the meaning even more clear in the second half of the verse with the words jijnasur api meaning even a mere inquirer or novice who has interest in the nature of yoga but falls from it due to desires and material attachments still transcends the results of ritualistic activities for fruitive results prescribed in the Vedic scriptures and achieves greater results and in a future birth wil have the opportunity for moksa or liberation from material existence.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Even one who is merely an aspirant seeking the process of yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness, even such a one will be invariably attracted to moksa or liberation from the material existence and transcend the ritualistic ordinances in the Vedas and achieve the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. This is the meaning Lord Krishna is conveying.
Now begins the summation.
This verse clarifies that even the aspirant seeking the process of yoga is superior to one who only studies the Vedic scriptures without actual realisation of them. What is the special need of knowing about being established in yoga? This was from the Parama Yoga scripture.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Now Lord Krishna explains that one digressing from yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness who subsequently takes birth in a humble family of enlightened Brahmins may regain their previous spiritual insight early on in life. This is because by such a birth which they had acquired by dint of their spiritual insight from the previous birth, the everyday environment would be conducive to spiritual development right from the beginning of one’s life. How could an aspirant to perfect yoga enhance their development which they had acquired being born in the home of the rich and wealthy where one would be distracted by abundant pleasures or diverted due to exorbitant opulence? The words purvabhyasena means by the prenatal impressions from the previous life and by this even one born in a rich family will feel drawn to the practice of yoga and seek enlightenment easily transcending the ordinances of the duties laid out in karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities for fruitive results. The understanding is that due to prenatal impressions one will be indifferent to performing actions and will strive by jnana yoga or cultivation of Vedic knowledge for atma tattva or realisation of the soul.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
6.44 Hi, for; tena eva, by that very; purva-abhyasena, past practice-the powerful habit formed in the past life; hiryate, he, the yogi who had fallen from Yoga, is carried forward; avasah api, even inspite of himself. If he had not committed any act which could be characterized as unrigtheous etc. and more powerful than the tendency created by the practice of Yoga, then he is carried forward by the tendency created by the practice of Yoga. If he had committed any unrighteous act which was more powerful, then, even the tendency born of Yoga gets surely overpowered. But when that is exhausted, the tendency born of Yoga begins to take effect by itself. The idea is that it does not get destroyed, even though it may lie in abeyance over a long period. Jijnasuh api, even a seeker; yogasya, of Yoga from the force of the context, the person implied is a monk who had engaged in the path of Yoga with a desire to known his true nature, but had falled from Yoga-; ;even he, ativartate, trascends-will free himself from; sabda-brahma, the result of the performance of Vedic ritual. What to speak of him who after understanding Yoga, may undertake it with steadfastness! And why is the state of Yoga higher?
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
6.43-45 Tatra etc. upto param gatim. For a full success : for emancipation. Being not a master of himself : Indeed being exclusively under the control of other [force], he is forcibly driven towards the practice of Yoga by that [mental impression of his] former practice. This is not an ordinary thing. For, his act of passing over what strengthens the [sacred texual] sound is only due to his desire for knowing the Yoga. He passes over, i.e., he does not undertake, what strengthens the sound i.e., that which is of the nature of hymn-recitation etc. After that : after [the rise of] desire for knowing [Yoga]. Striving by method of practice, he attains the Vasudevahood (identity with the Surpeme) at the time of destruction of his body. It should not be regarded that he has achieved success by [his pratice in] that single body gone. Instead, it should be regarded that he had practised during the course of many a life-period. Therefore, it may be conclude that the fallen-from-Yoga is he who craves continously for activities of [attaining] the Bhagavat by abandoning all other activities. The superiority (or importance) of the Yoga, [the Lord] describes:
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
hriyate hy avaso ’pi sah
jijñasur api yogasya
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
pūrva — previous; abhyāsena — by practice; tena — by that; eva — certainly; hriyate — is attracted; hi — surely; avaśaḥ — automatically; api — also; saḥ — he; jijñāsuḥ — inquisitive; api — even; yogasya — about yoga; śabda-brahma — ritualistic principles of scriptures; ativartate — transcends.