Definitions of yoga in Gitaabracad, · Categories: externally authored, yoga
By Lt Col R K Langar
If one truly wants to understand what is YOGA there is no other book other than Bhagavad Gita which can give a comprehensive meaning of the word yoga. Bhagavad Gita as a scripture is Brahmavidya and to realize It Gita teaches Yogashastra. The yoga of Gita is a practical discipline for realization of God or Brahmavidya, the philosophical wisdom. Each of the eighteen chapters of Gita are titled as Yoga chapters with the subject and at the end of each chapter definition of Bhagavad Gita as science of the Absolute and the method to realize It through practice of yoga.
Yoga is a very popular word in India and the West but not many are aware that the origin of Yoga is India. We commonly hear these days that ‘I am doing yoga’ which involves certain body Asanas and Pranayam. Some of them openly declare that after doing yoga, they have got rid of certain body pains and they feel better. So far so good. But the aim of yoga is not to relieve people of their physical pain. It is to join the individual soul or Atma inside the body with the Supreme self of which the soul or Atma is a part. Yoga is a spiritual discipline to link one’s divine Self to Supreme. We all are divine at the core and the aim of yoga is to free the embodied soul from its involvement with matter or body, mind and intellect so that the individual soul regains the three characteristics of Brahman which are SAT (Truth), CHIT (Knowledge and Pure consciousness) and ANAND (Bliss which is never ending). Bhagavad Gita mainly gives four methods through which we can have a permanent realization of divinity within. These are Karma yoga, Gyan yoga, Dhyan yoga and Bhakti yoga which suite different temperament of people who are of extrovert of active, introvert, contemplative and emotional types. All these types of yoga are deeply interconnected and Gita recommends synthesis of all types of yoga to attain divinity even though one type of yoga may be the start point of a spiritual aspirant. Other definitions of yoga are given in subsequent paragraphs. Yoga is to realize oneness with others as God is present in all as unmanifested form.
Buddhi yoga or the yoga of wisdom or Karma yoga or the path of selfless action which emphasizes on the performance of action from a higher level of consciousness dedicated to God without any attachment and without bothering about the results of action. In this type of action a little effort results in purification of mind and saves one from the great fear of being caught in the cycle of birth and death.
Yoga as evenness of mind (Samatvam) Here yoga is defined as evenness of mind or perfect serenity and inner poise of mind remaining unconcerned if the result of action is favorable or unfavorable towards us.
Yoga as skill in action (Yogah karmasu kausalam) When you invoke God in your actions then you even do not claim the doership of actions. The action loses its power to bind you and your action become efficient means for liberation. For this one has to be endowed with wisdom. There may be other skillful workers but since they do not invoke God or Yoga, their skillful work does not contribute towards their liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Bhagavad Gita asks us to work without making the fruit of actions as our motive because we are not the author of results of actions. This is explained in chapter 18 of Gita where one cause of action out of five causes is not under control. This is called Daivam, fate or destiny. Yoga gives efficiency in the completion of work in addition to character efficiency inwardly.
Lord Krishna states in chapter 4 of Gita that He taught this yoga (which He is teaching Arjuna) to Sungod first and now He is teaching the same secret to Arjuna, since it has been lost because of long lapse of time. Lord Krishna further states in ch 5 that without Karma yoga it is difficult to attain Gyan or Knowledge as action is easier and more natural to us. Yoga also leads one to see with an equal eye(Samadarisnah) and equality. Yoga leads one to see with an equal eye a Brahmin a cow, an elephant, a dog and an outcaste. Karma yoga leads one to wisdom which enables one to have equal eye and a sense of equality.
Chapter 6 of Bhagvad Gita though devoted to the path of meditation is very important from the part of view of definitions of yoga as used in the Gita. Lord Krishna states that yoga is not for him who eats too much or too little. Yoga is attained by him who is moderate in all his activities, like sleeping, walking, eating or that who leads a regulated life and does not go to any extreme. Buddha called this moderation in action as the middle path while Greek philosopher Aristotle described this as Golden mean. By leading a moderate life, yoga becomes the destroyer of all sorrows. Yoga is also described a state in which by practice of meditation the mind becomes still and by seeing the Self (soul) by the self, man rejoices in the Self. Yoga is supreme delight which is perceived by purified intellect and which is beyond the grasp of senses and established wherein one no longer swerves from Truth. Having obtained yoga man considers no gain as superior to yoga and having established wherein man is not shaken by the heaviest sorrow. Yoga is also called a state which is free from the contact of pain. A yogi gets supreme bliss where mind is utterly quiet and whose passions are at rest and who has become one with Divine. The Gita calls him the highest of all yogis who looks at the joys and sorrows of others as his own. This is the feeling of oneness with others. This is in confirmity with Isha Upnishad which says that he who sees all things in his self and his self in all beings he never suffers. When he sees all creatures within his true Self, the jealousy and hatred for others disappears and he can only Love.
The beauty of Gita is that it praises all yogas and none is considered superior than the other. Meditation is praised when Lord Krishna tells Arjuna to became a yogi (6/46). Devotee is praised in verse 22 of chapter 8 where Lord Krishna states Supreme Purusha in whom all beings abide and by whom all this is pervaded is attainable by unswerving devotion. Knowledge is praised in verse 18 of chapter 7 where Lord states that he holds a Janani as his very self. Action is praised in verse 19 of chapter 3 where Lord states that by doing his duty without attachment man attains to Supreme. In a number of verses of the Gita knowledge, devotion and action are combined to enable a devotee to come to God. An example of this is found in verse 65 of chapter18. Some of the commentators of Gita feel that there is a tilt of Bhagaved Gita towards devotion. In my opinion it may not be so because knowledge and devotion are interlinked to that extent that a devotee is a janani and a janani has complete devotion towards God. This could be found in verse 16 of chapter 7 where Lord Krishna said that among the four types of men who worship Him, one out of them is a man of wisdom. In verse 10 of chapter 13 where qualities of man of wisdom are given, one of the qualities is unswerving devotion to Lord. The more you know about God, the more you love God. The more you love God, more knowledge about God you will have. Devotion being as easier path than knowledge, is often quoted in the Gita. When Lord Krishna shows his cosmic form to Arjuna He states that by single minded devotion to Him, His cosmic form can be seen. It should be clearly understood that all forms of yoga given in the Gita when clearly understood and practiced they end in wisdom which is enlightenment, perfection or attainment of Brahm Vidya. Again a deep inter connection between work and devotion is shown in verse 46 of chapter 18 wherein it is stated that man attains highest perfection by worshipping God through performance of his natural duties. It is emphasized here that it is the intention of God that man should perform his natural duties which is equivalent to worship of God. Elsewhere it is also stated that one who is perfect in Karma yoga obtains wisdom through purity of mind.
Lastly we come to the last verse of Bhagavad Gita (18/78) which is also referred as Gita in one verse. It is stated here that wherever there is Krishna, the Yogeshvarah or lord of yoga and where there is Arjuna the man of action there shall surely be prosperity, victory, welfare and unfailing righteousness. Yogeshvarah or the lord of yoga is already in side us(I am seated in the hearts of all-verse 14 of chapter 15). What is required is that we all have to become Arjuna, the selfless man of action and a true devotee of Supreme. A sincere disciple of Lord Krishna with a questioning mind to clear his doubts, he shall have all the four qualities in life as stated above. Such is the great power of yoga which can not be found anywhere except in Bhagavad Gita.
Yoga is not to be practiced mechanically but it should be done so with zeal and joy. Buddhiyoga has given above is that intellect which is suffused by Atma inside us. It has great importance since it is the faculty of reasoning , logic, analysis, discernment and judgment. Buddhi or intellect should control our mind , senses and feelings for self evolution.
Filed in: externally authored, yoga