Friday, February 4, 2011




We will now examine very briefly, the first  three chapters of Bhagavad Gita, which is pure Yoga Sasthra

Arjuna Vishada Yoga (Ch.1): Arjuna comes to the Maha Bharat war, fully prepared and determined to fight and kill all his adversaries. He has secured the deadliest of weapons from the greatest of the greats like Lord Siva himself and Indra and other Gods. He has mastered their usage. There is no human being who is his equal in war. He has used the Art of Dhyana and thapas in successfully securing this aim.  

But, when he sees his beloved grandsire and  his great Gurus on the other side – his heart sinks in deep grief. This starts the first chapter called Arjuna Vishaada Yoga. Arjuna’s mind turns inward. He becomes remorseful and sorrowful. He doesn’t want to kill his grandsire and his great Gurus, for any earthly purpose what so ever. He talks of so many reasons for NOT FIGHTING the war now.

At the end of the first chapter, he says in deep sorrow, Krishna, I am your disciple. I surrender to you, do tell me what I should do.

Lord Krishna waits till the surrender happens. This is crucial. The surrender must happen. Then begins the yoga.

In Patanjali Yoga Sutras, the first sutra is “Atha Yoganusasanam”, meaning, now begins the discipline / instruction of Yoga. Patanjali doesnot use one word meaninglessly or uselessly. This “atha (Now)” has deep significance. Yoga does not happen any time, or to any body, or any where. The surrender must happen. The ego must surrender itself. 

To whom do you surrender? To the Guru. Yoga is the most practical science. It needs a Guru. Our surrender is to the Guru. Were there any people who attained Samadhi without the aid of Guru?It has been said that – your attainments in yoga in a previous birth come along with you and you can start off where you had left it. It won’t go a waste. A person who falls off from his Yoga due to any reason in this birth does get a chance to renew from where he left off, quickly going through the previous steps easily.

Sankhya Yoga (Ch.2) : Krishna starts his advice with Sankhya yoga. At the very beginning, he says – “kshudram hridaya daurbalyam.” This weakness of heart in you is despicable. Leave it forthwith. There is no place in Yoga for fear and weakness.

…Do not grieve for any one or any thing. All physical bodies are made to go through various changes from birth to death. Do not worry about them.

…You, the Atma, is deathless and permanent while the body is subject to the cycle of births and deaths.

…keep your self steadfast and unwavering in sorrow and comfort, in loss and gain, in victory and defeat.

…Go beyond the three Gunas of Sathva, Rajas and Thamas.

…..You have total Adhikaara or right for choosing and performing your action (Karma). You are the chooser of your actions.

…You have no such adhikaara on the Karma phalam; yet, you must perform your actions, according to your dharma, without worrying about the fruits of your actions. Perform all of your  actions remaining steadfast in yoga.

…In vs.30,Krishna, excellence in action is Yoga in itself.

..Go beyond the mind, which is seeped in delusion or Moha.

…In vs.53, Krishna speaks of a mind which is unwavering and is in Samaadhi.

…At this point, Arjuna seeks to know – who exactly is a sthitha prajna, what exactly is, being in Samaadhi .

…Krishna’s explanation for this is very detailed and extraordinary. At the end, Krishna stresses the need to go beyond Ahankara (Ego), Mamakara (mine – feeling). The one who goes beyond the ‘I’ and’ mine’ – becomes Sthithaprajna. Any one who wants to get into Yoga cannot afford to miss these teachings of Yogeswara, the Lord Krishna.

Karma Yoga (Ch.3): In 49th verse of Sankhya, Krishna hints that Jnana (wisdom) is better than Karma (Action). Arjuna asks, why then are you asking me to indulge in this war which is cruel action, instead of seeking Jnana? Krishna’s reply is categorical. He says, the wise men will follow the route of Sankhya (or Jnana) while Yogis follow the route of Karma.

Then, Krishna stresses the need for Karma, and elaborates the inevitability of Karma, karma translating into Yagna when done without attachment, the mutuality of relationship between the gods (universal powers) and human beings, the cycle of nature and many other matters relating to the science of action. This has been covered earlier in this blog. Some of the special practical features of Karma Yoga will also be covered in a few posts in future. Krishna tells Arjuna, look at me; I have nothing to seek in this universe; Yet, I am always involved in Karma. So must you.

It is not proposed to deal with other chapters of Gita here. Each chapter is a huge repository of wisdom.

Lord Krishna after the Arjuna Vishada Yoga (1st chapter) talks of 17 Yogas. The sixth chapter is Dhyana Yoga or the Yoga of Meditation.

DHYANA YOGA (Ch.6): There are 47 verses in the chapter of Dhyana Yoga.

Krishna talks of meditation in this whole chapter. Coming from Krishna himself, this chapter becomes a must for any one who aspires to become a meditator. There cannot be a greater exponent of meditation than Krishna himself.

Since the topic of this chapter is DHYANA YOGA, every reference in the chapter is obviously to the one who wants to be a practitioner of Dhyana Yoga. We may call him by any name, Sadhaka, Yogi and so on.

Lord Krishna starts this chapter by defining that a man of true renunciation is one who performs actions without clinging to a deep desire for their results(Vs.1).

Krishna does not support action-less laziness or action with deep desire for results. This is the first verse of Dhyana Yoga. While Krishna ordains that Yoga implies excellent in every action ( Yogaha karmasu  kausalam), he also says, do not cling on to a desire for results. In modern terminology, we can say – enjoy the action as you perform it and perform it to the best of your ability.

What we call as Sannyasa is itself called Yoga. This is also called, SANKALPA SANYASA, the renunciation of selfish desire (verse.2).

If you are already a meditator, you will have instantly experienced the fact that Meditation is the best possible action, without desire for its fruits, that any one can perform.

Until one attains the state of Yogi, however, Karma becomes essential. After you become a Yogi, Karma comes down significantly. Once you are deep into yoga you get cleansed in mind automatically(Vs.3).

Now, the question is – when are you called a Yogi? Yogi is not only one who has attained to samaadhi but also any one who is a determined practitioner. A determined practitioner is called Sadhaka, but he is Yoga practitioner and therefore a yogi.

When one adopts an attitude of non-attachment to sense objects and sense related actions, one becomes firmly entrenched in Yoga (v.4).

As discussed earlier, the very purpose is to discover our self, which is not possible when the 5 senses are active. All five senses are outward bound while the self is deep inside, beyond all the 5 senses. A sense-bound search discovers external world but not the internal world – not the self.

If the senses, and the mind are under one’s own control they are one’s best friends while uncontrolled senses and mind are one’s worst enemy. (Vs.5).

That person who practices self control becomes a friend of himself. If he does not control his senses and mind, he becomes his own enemy. (Vs.6).

The controlled person is unconcerned with external dualities  – like pleasure and pain, cold and heat, praise or blame and between gold, stone and mud and also between enemies, friends, and so on. (Vs.7 &8).

All these arise in us – because of the actions of the 5 senses and the effect they create on the mind. The Yogi is never bothered by these, and sits alone striving to discover and unite with the Self.

The world has all types of people good and bad, friends, indifferent people and enemies. A Yoga aspirant must see all of them equally (Vs.9),

The Yoga aspirant – must choose solitary, silent places for deeper journey into his inner world. The Yogi must reduce his desires and must desist from receiving gifts etc from others.(Vs.10).

Yoga needs out silence and inner silence both. Hence the need for yoga practitioner to choose solitary, silent places. In such places, desires also come down significantly. A desire-ful mind is an outward bound mind and cannot turn inward easily. Therefore desires for external objects must be reduced to the minimum.

We must not accept gifts etc from others. They increase our attachment to gifts and to the persons who give them.

These conditions can also be found in Patanjali’s Yoga sutras approximately in the same terminology. And, Dhyana Yoga of Lord Krishna came 4000 years earlier to Patanjali.

We will continue further with Dhyana Yoga in next Post.

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