tam vidyaadyuhkhasaiyogaviyogam yogasanngitam |
sa nischayena yoktavyo yogonirvinnachetasaa || 23 ||

 
You should know the definition of yoga as that which severs connection with sorrow. You should engage in yoga with firm conviction and a non-despondent mind.
 
tam : that which
vidyaat : you should know
duhkha : sorrow
saiyoga : connection
viyogam : sever
yoga : yoga
sanngitam : definition
saha : that
nischayena : firm conviction
yoktavyaha : should engage in
yogaha : yoga
anirvinna: not despondent
chetasaa : mind
 
Shri Krishna motivates and inspires the meditator to attain perfection in meditation in this shloka. Only through meditation can the meditator completely sever all sorrows. He urges the meditator to follow the path of meditation with a firm and unwavering determination. No obstacles should deter the meditator from his goal.
 
We are introduced to yet another definition of yoga in this shloka. In the second chapter we saw two definitions of yoga: yoga is equanimity, and yoga is dexterity in action. Here, yoga is defined as “duhkha saiyoga viyoga”. Let us examine what this means.
 
Sorrow has an intimate relationship or connection with our live. We do get glimpses of happiness, but this is due to the degree of sorrow declining temporarily. This connection is termed as “dukha saiyoga”. We never lose this connection with sorrow throughout our life. Shri Krishna says that the yoga of meditation is the only means by which we can sever or separate this connection with sorrow. This is why the yoga is meditation is defined here as “duhkha saiyoga viyoga”.
 
In other words, if we have perfected ourselves in meditation, sorrows can never touch us. Even though we cannot stop sorrows from approaching us, we will not associate with them ever again after meditation. This capability comes as a result of the fixity of mind developed through meditation. So in addition to progressing in our spiritual journey, meditation gives us something which we continually seek on the material level as well – freedom from sorrows.
 
Now, Shri Krishna says something that he has not said anywhere else in the Gita. He says that we must make a firm determination to attain the state of the perfected meditator. He emphasizes that the state of the perfected meditator is the goal that we should aim towards. It is like a parent telling his child that he should focus on obtained his graduate degree. It implies that the child will put effort in school, high school and college, all the way until he gets his graduate degree. If each part of the curriculum is followed, the goal is attained easily.
 
Similarly, the Gita gives us a curriculum for attainment of liberation. It introduces us to the eternal essence in the second chapter. In the third chapter, it explains the method of giving up the sense of “mine” through karma yoga. In the fourth and fifth chapter, it explains the method of giving up the sense of doership i.e. “I am the doer” through karma sanyaasa. When the sense of I and mine is given up, our mind is then ready to get established in the understanding that the eternal essence is our own self through meditation.
 
Having said this, Shri Krishna is extremely pragmatic. He knows that this goal is not easy. It is going to take a long time. We will encounter obstacles in the way that may demotivate us or make us despondent and frustrated. So therefore, he says that we should not let the mind become despondent. Each time we encounter an obstacle that pushes us off the path of meditation, we get up and continue, again and again.
 
What are these obstacles and how to deal with them? This topic is taken up in the next shloka.
 

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