Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 6, Verse 12-13

तत्रैकाग्रं मन: कृत्वा यतचित्तेन्द्रियक्रिय: |
उपविश्यासने युञ्ज्याद्योगमात्मविशुद्धये || 12||
समं कायशिरोग्रीवं धारयन्नचलं स्थिर: |
सम्प्रेक्ष्य नासिकाग्रं स्वं दिशश्चानवलोकयन् || 13||

tatraikāgraṁ manaḥ kṛitvā yata-chittendriya-kriyaḥ
upaviśhyāsane yuñjyād yogam ātma-viśhuddhaye
samaṁ kāya-śhiro-grīvaṁ dhārayann achalaṁ sthiraḥ
samprekṣhya nāsikāgraṁ svaṁ diśhaśh chānavalokayan

tatrathere; eka-agramone-pointed; manaḥmind; kṛitvāhaving made; yata-chittacontrolling the mind; indriyasenses; kriyaḥactivities; upaviśhyabeing seated; āsaneon the seat; yuñjyāt yogamshould strive to practice yog; ātma viśhuddhayefor purification of the mind; samamstraight; kāyabody; śhiraḥhead; grīvamneck; dhārayanholding; achalamunmoving; sthiraḥstill; samprekṣhyagazing; nāsika-agramat the tip of the nose; svamown; diśhaḥdirections; chaand; anavalokayannot looking

Translation

BG 6.12–6.13: Seated firmly on it, the yogi should strive to purify the mind by focusing it in meditation with one pointed concentration, controlling all thoughts and activities. He must hold the body, neck, and head firmly in a straight line, and gaze at the tip of the nose, without allowing the eyes to wander.

Commentary

Having described the seating for meditation, Shree Krishna next describes the posture of the body that is best for concentrating the mind. In sādhanā, there is a tendency to become lazy and doze off to sleep. This happens because the material mind does not initially get as much bliss in contemplation on God as it does while relishing sense objects. This creates the possibility for the mind to become languid when focused on God. Hence, you do not find people dozing off half-way through their meal, but you do see people falling asleep during meditation and the chanting of God’s names. To avoid this, Shree Krishna gives the instruction to sit erect. The Brahma Sūtra also states three aphorisms regarding the posture for meditation:

āsīnaḥ saṁbhavāt (4.1.7)[v5] “To do sādhanā, seat yourself properly.”

achalatvaṁ chāpekṣhya (4.1.9)[v6] “Ensure that you sit erect and still.”

dhyānāchcha (4.1.8)[v7] “Seated in this manner, focus the mind in meditation.”

There are a number of meditative āsans described in the Hath Yoga Pradeepika, such as padmasan, ardha padmasan, dhyanveer asan, siddhasan, and sukhasan. We may adopt any āsan in which we can comfortably sit, without moving, during the period of the meditation. Maharshi Patañjali states:

sthira sukhamāsanam (Patañjali Yog Sūtra 2.46)[v8]

“To practice meditation, sit motionless in any posture that you are comfortable in.” Some people are unable to sit on the floor due to knee problems, etc. They should not feel discouraged, for they can even practice meditation while sitting on a chair, provided they fulfill the condition of sitting motionless and erect.

In this verse, Shree Krishna states that the eyes should be made to focus on the tip of the nose, and prevented from wandering. As a variation, the eyes can also be kept closed. Both these techniques will be helpful in blocking out worldly distractions.

The external seat and posture do need to be appropriate, but meditation is truly a journey within us. Through meditation, we can reach deep within and cleanse the mind of endless lifetimes of dross. By learning to hold the mind in concentration, we can work upon it to harness its latent potential. The practice of meditation helps organize our personality, awaken our inner consciousness, and expand our self-awareness. The spiritual benefits of meditation are described later, in the purport on verse 6.15. Some of the side benefits are:

It reins the unbridled mind, and harnesses the thought energy to attain difficult goals.

It helps maintain mental balance in the midst of adverse circumstances.

It aids in the development of a strong resolve that is necessary for success in life.

It enables one to eliminate bad sanskārs and habits, and cultivate good qualities.

The best kind of meditation is one where the mind is focused upon God. This is clarified in the next two verses.