November 24, 2010

Gita in a Nutshell #3: Focus the Mind.

(Complete contents at
Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas and Best Quotations.
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It’s a great revelation to read the Gita by major theme instead of in the order it’s written. Today let’s talk about the third major theme:


The Gita contains many powerful passages about meditation and focusing the mind, but they are scattered throughout the text. When you read them all together, as below, the main ideas jump off the page with crystalline clarity.

Read though these stanzas slowly and thoughtfully, jotting down your reactions as you go. Share your comments and questions, and we’ll get some conversation going:

(For those new to Gita in a Nutshell, the main voice speaking here is the infinitely wondrous universe itself, what some refer to as the “Unfathomable Life Force of the Universe” and others choose to call “God”. In the Gita these are one and the same.)

He who controls his mind
and has cut off desire and anger
realizes the Self; he knows
that God’s bliss is nearer than near.

Closing his eyes, his vision
focused between the eyebrows,
making the in-breath and the out-breath
equal as they pass through his nostrils,

he controls his senses and his mind,
intent upon liberation;
when desire, fear, and anger have left him,
that man is forever free.   (BG 5.26-28)


The man of yoga should practice
concentration, alone,
mastering mind and body,
free of possessions and desires.   (BG 6.10)

he should concentrate, with his whole
mind, on a single object;
if he practices in this way,
his mind will soon become pure.   (BG 6.12)

Constantly mastering his mind,
the man of yoga grows peaceful,
attains supreme liberation,
and vanishes into my bliss.   (BG 6.15)

You are right, Arjuna: the mind
is restless and hard to master;
but by constant practice and detachment
it can be mastered in the end.   (BG 6.35)

Meditate on the Guide,
the Giver of all, the Primordial
Poet, smaller than an atom,
unthinkable, brilliant as the sun.   (BG 8.9)

…to those who meditate on me
undistracted, and worship me
everywhere, always, I will bring
a reward that never can be lost.   (BG 9.22)

Concentrate your mind on me,
fill your heart with my presence,
love me, serve me, worship me,
and you will attain me at last.   (BG 9.34)

Those who love and revere me
with unwavering faith, always
centering their minds on me—
they are the most perfect in yoga.   (BG 12.2)

Concentrate every thought
on me alone; with a mind
fully absorbed, one-pointed,
you will live within me, forever.   (BG 12.8)


He who has let go of hatred,
who treats all beings with kindness
and compassion, who is always serene
unmoved by pain or pleasure,

free of the “I” and “mine,”
self-controlled, firm and patient,
his whole mind focused on me—
that man is the one I love the best.   (BG 12.12-14)


Give up all actions to me;
love me above all others;
steadfastly keep your mind
focused on me alone.   (BG 18.53)

#4: Each of Us Is Already Infinitely Wondrous
(Divine if you prefer)

#2: Experience Infinite Wonder in All Things

(Complete contents at
Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas and Best Quotations
To receive notice of each weekly blog,
please join our Facebook group.)

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