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Yuktatama—A Devotee is the Best Yogī
Articles by Satyanarayana Dasa

Yuktatama—A Devotee is the Best Yogī

In Bhagavad Gītā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa uses the word yukta many times. The word yukta is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, “to join or to meditate,” by applying the kṛdanta suffix kta in the sense of an agent. The word yukata can mean a person “balanced or regulated,” “endowed with,” “appropriate,” or “perfected or accomplished in yoga.” The word yoga and the word yogī are also derived from the same root.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa primarily describes four types of yoga in Bhagavad Gītā, namely, karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga, rāja-yoga, and bhakti-yoga. At present, when the word yoga is used without any qualifier, it generally means rāja-yoga or aṣtāṅga-yoga.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa uses the word yukta in various senses. Its meaning must be understood from the context. As said above, one of its meanings is “balanced or regulated.” It is used in this sense in the following verses:

“Controlling all the senses, a regulated person (yukta) should sit with his mind fixed on Me. One whose senses are under control, his wisdom is steady.” (GĪTĀ 2.61)

“A wise person should not cause confusion in the minds of ignorant people who are attached to karma. He should make them perform all their duties while duly performing (yukta) his own.” (GĪTĀ 3.26)

For one who is moderate (yukta) in diet and recreation, regulated (yukta) in performing actions, and regulated (yukta) in sleep and wakefulness, yoga destroys all misery.” (GĪTĀ 6.17)

One of its common meanings is “united or joined’, as in the following verse:

“Those who know Me, along with adhibhūta, adhidaiva, and adhiyajña, with their minds fixed on Me (yukta-cetasaḥ), know Me even at the time of death.” (GĪTĀ 7.30)

The word yukta has been used in the sense of “accompanied by or endowed with” in the following verses:

“I have spoken this wisdom to you in relation to sāṅkhya-yoga (the path of detachment based upon the discernment between body and self), now hear the same in relation to karma-yoga (the path of selfless action offered to God). Endowed with (yukta) wisdom, you will cut completely the shackles of karma.” (GĪTĀ 2.39)

“Endowed (yukta) with that faith, the devotee worships that particular deity and obtains the desired boons through that deity although they are indeed granted by Me alone.” (GĪTĀ 7.22)

“One who, endowed with (yukta) devotion, carefully fixes the life air in between the eyebrows by the power of meditation and at the time of death meditates with a steadfast mind attains that Divine Supreme Person.” (GĪTĀ 8.10)

“Endowed with (yukta) pure intellect; controlling the mind with fortitude; forsaking sense objects, such as pleasing sound; giving up attachment and hatred completely; living in a solitary place and eating little; controlling the body, speech, and mind; being ever devoted to the yoga of meditation on the Lord; fully taking refuge in dispassion; giving up egotism, the force of material desires, arrogance, desires for sense pleasures, anger and possessions; and being free from the notion of ownership and serene at heart, one becomes qualified to realize Brahman.” (GĪTĀ 18.51–53)

The usage of the word in the sense of an “accomplished yogī” is found in the following verses:

“A karma-yogī (yukta) who knows the truth thinks, “I do nothing at all,” even while seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, walking, sleeping, breathing, speaking, excreting, grasping, and opening and closing the eyelids. He knows that only the senses are engaged with their sense objects.” (GĪTĀ 5.8–9)

“Giving up the fruits of his actions, the karma-yogī (yukta) attains everlasting peace. But a selfish worker (ayukta), being attached to the fruits of actions through desire, gets bound.” (GĪTĀ 5.12)

“Holding the trunk, head, and neck straight and steady, remaining firm, fixing his gaze in front of the nose and not looking in any direction; being tranquil in mind, fearless, and firm in the vow of celibacy; and with the mind held in restraint and fixed on Me, the yogī (yukta) should sit fully absorbed in Me.” (GĪTĀ 6.13–14)

“Verily all of these people are noble, but the learned is My very self. This is My view. For this person, with his mind fixed on Me (yukta), accepts Me alone as the highest goal.” (GĪTĀ 7.18)

The definitions of the word yukta or an accomplished yogī, in relation to different paths of yoga, are found in the following verses:

“One who sees inaction in action and action in inaction is wise amongst people. Such a person is properly situated (yukta) and a performer of all duties.” (GĪTĀ 4.18)

This verse is spoken about a karma-yogī.

“One who can tolerate, in this very life before casting off his body, the urges arising from desire and anger, is a perfected yogī (yukta) and a happy person.” (GĪTĀ 5.23)

This verse is in relation to a sāṅkhya-yogī or jñāna-yogī.

“The yogī whose heart is satisfied through knowledge and direct realization, and who is steady under all circumstances, has the senses under control, and considers a lump of earth, stone, and gold alike, is said to be accomplished in yoga (yukta).” (GĪTĀ 6.8)

This verse is spoken about a yogī who has practiced niśkāma-karma.

“When the well-controlled mind remains fixed in the self alone, and one is free from the hankering of all sense enjoyments, then one is said to be established in yoga (yukta).” (BG 6.18)

This is a verse spoken about rāja-yogī.

The superlative form of the word yukta is yuktatama, or the best among all types of yuktas. Śrī Kṛṣna uses the word yuktatama only in relation to a devotee, as in the in the following two verses:

“Better than even all yogīs is someone who is full of faith and worships Me with his mind fully absorbed in Me. I consider such a person to be the greatest yogī (yuktatama).” (GĪTĀ 6.47)

“Those who worship Me, are absorbed and ever united with Me and endowed with transcendental faith, I regard them as the best knowers of yoga (yuktatama).” (GĪTĀ 12.2)

This means that although followers of other paths can reach the state of yukta or perfection on a specific path of yoga, only a devotee can attain the height of perfection. Thus, although Śrī Kṛṣṇa prescribes karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga, and rāja-yoga in Bhagavad Gītā, His ultimate prescription is bhakti-yoga.


  • Vraja Kishor July 1, 2024

    Is it OK to say Gītā describes THREE categories of yoga, and fold “Rāja-yoga” into “Jñāna-yoga”?

    • Babaji July 2, 2024

      Actually Gita describes 18 types of yoga, each chapter being a yoga.
      Besides that, it uses different yoga terms, such as ananya-yoga (13.10), abhyāsa-yoga (8.8) etc

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