yogi yunjeeta satatamaatmaanam rahasi sthitaha |
ekaakee yatachittaatmaa niraasheeraparigraha || 10 ||
The yogi should constantly engage in his self, establish himself alone in a solitary place, having subdued his mind and body, without expectations, giving up all possessions.
yogi : yogi
yunjeeta : should engage
satatam : constantly
aatmaanam : in his self
rahasi : in a solitary place
sthitaha : established
ekaakee : alone
yatachittaatmaa : subdued his mind and body
niraasheehi : without expectations
aparigraha : giving up all possessions
Shri Krishna gives us an introduction to the topic of meditation in this shloka. He says that the main goal of meditation is to absorb our mind into our self or aatmaa. It is not something that we “do”, but it is a state that we aspire for, just like we do not “do” sleep. We achieve this state by gaining control over the mind and the body and by dropping off all worldly identifications and expectations. One who practices meditation in such a manner is called a dhyaana yogi.
First, Shri Krishna speaks about the preparation for meditation. He says that that we should sit in a solitary place and should constantly tried to quieten the mind. Why the need for solitary place? Meditation is not a group activity, but ultimately it is an individual activity that is for the yogi alone. It has nothing to do with what other person is doing. Also, it means that we should not depend on anything or anyone for meditation. Some people think that meditation needs a special mat, furniture, tea etc. No external aids are needed.
Furthermore, the solitary place chosen for meditation has to be free from all distraction. It should not occur in a place where there is too much noise. Just like we choose a quiet place when we want to sleep, so too should be the place for meditation. The time we choose for meditation has to be conducive as well. It should not create inconvenience to anyone. If other family members are dependent on you at some time, that is not the right time for meditation.
The notion of “ekaaki” or solitude has another aspect. When we sit for meditation, we should drop all other roles and relationships that we identify with such as father, daughter, wife, boss, employee and so on. Otherwise thoughts of family, employees, meetings and so on will pop up during meditation. At least for that period of meditation, we should assume the role of a renunciate or sannyaasi. Usually, meditation is one of the few times in the day when we are not “doing” anything. If we are not careful, we will worry about things that we normally do not have time to worry about during meditation. So Shri Krishna asks us to be mindful of this.
“Yatachittaatmaa” means that the yogi thoroughly has controlled his mind and body through continuous practice of karma yoga. As we saw earlier, Shri Krishna stresses sense control in almost every chapter in the Gita so far. It is probably the biggest qualification for meditation.
Another preparation for the meditator is the quality of “niraasheehi”. It means that the meditator does have any expectations from anything or anyone. Through his own direct observation and analysis of the material world, he has concluded that external things are not going to give him what he is looking for. He has developed the quality of “vairagya” or dispassion.
“Aparigraha” is the last quality mentioned in this shloka. Parigraha is storing or hoarding things, so therefore aparigraha means giving up all notions of “mine-ness”, this is mine and so on. The meditator should drop all baggage, in other words he should be free of all thoughts of past and future. It also means that one must give up expectations of any gifts from other people.