In the Bhagavad Gita there are three kinds of Tapas

  1. The austerity of the body: which is simplicity of life, a certain pleasantness, a certain uprightness and honesty; not being pleasant to people faces and stabbing them in the back, but the control of the senses.
  2. Then there’s the austerity of speech: which consists in saying what true, useful, pleasantly uttered and not provoking people.
  3. But the highest austerity: is the austerity of the mind which is inner calmness and finally silence.

Shankara in his commentary to Upanishad says this tapas means the highest form of tapas: meditation.

And he defines it: one pointedness and samadhi, and he says, “and these are methods, this is the method by which Brahman is known”

and twice he says this is the only method.

© Trevor Leggett