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Yoga Philosophy in Bhagavad Gītā Epic Essay

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Updated: Aug 15th, 2020

Bhagavad Gītā is commonly referred to as Gita. It is a Hindu scripture that was originally written in Sanskrit. It was part of the Mahabharata, a Hindu epic. It has 700 verses in total. The Gita was set in form of a narrative. It is in the form of a dialogue. On one side is Arjuna. He is the prince of Pandava. The other party is Krishna. He is the prince’s guide and companion (Besant, 2009). At the time the exchange was taking place, the prince had resolved to fight a religious war between Pandavas and Kauravas. As usual, Arjuna is seeking the counsel of Krishna. The guide advises him to fulfill his duty as a warrior.

In Bhagavad Gītā, Krishna highlights the possibilities of salvation by means of Yoga. He describes yoga as one type of spiritual connectivity. To this end, he analyzes how people take actions without taking into consideration their outcomes and consequences. According to Krishna, this brings about purification of the mind. Only a mind that is free from desire (or which is purified) is capable of engaging in constant meditation.

To support these claims, Krishna states that desire often results in imagination (Mukerji, 2009). As a result, the soul will be driven to the field of action. For this reason, no one is capable of achieving permanent tranquility and freedom without first having to denounce their desires. According to Krishna, the higher self must control its lower counterpart (Mukerji, 2009). In this case, one must be in control of their senses, body, and mind. Krishna refers to those people who have achieved this form of purity as Sannyasins or Yogis.

It is noted that a Yogi is united with God. As such, they see God in all beings and objects around them. Such a person sees no differences between gold and stone, the righteous and the unrighteous, as well as friends and enemies. Krishna’s sermon to Arjuna suits the larger context of Mahabharata. According to Flood (2006), Mahabharata places a lot of emphasis on the four goals of life. The objectives are often referred to as purusharthas.

The four are Dharma, Artha, Kāma, and Mokṣa. The first, Dharma, refers to righteousness. It is mainly associated with adherence to moral values. Artha, on the other hand, revolves around economic prosperity. The goal of Kāma touches on love and other pleasures of life. As a goal in life, Mokṣa holds that people should seek liberation and spiritual values (Besant, 2009). In Mahabharata, Mokṣa is considered to be the most important value for humans. It is the same value that is pursued through meditation and Yoga.

At the time Krishna was preaching to Arjuna, war had broken out between kinsmen. The war is between two groups of cousins originating from Kuru, an Indo-Aryan kingdom. The Kauravas and Pandavas are fighting for control over the Hastinapura throne. Arjuna is the prince of Pandava (Mukerji, 2009). After the sermon given by Krishna, he finds himself in a dilemma. He is confused on whether to fight the war or seek for peace between the two rival groups. In Mahabharata, Dharma is considered to be the most important goal in life during conflicts (Mukerji, 2009). As a result of Krishna’s sermon, the two parties explore the option of peace.

References

Besant, A. (2009). An introduction to yoga. Waiheke Island: Floating Press.

Eknath, E. (2007). The Upanishads (2nd ed.). Tomales, CA: Nilgiri Press.

Flood, G. (2006). The tantric body: The secret tradition of Hindu religion. London: I.B. Tauris.

Ludden, D. (2005). Making India Hindu: Religion, community, and the politics of democracy in India (2nd ed.). Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Mukerji, A. (2009). The doctrine and practice of yoga. New York: Floating Press.

The Upanishads. (2011). Auckland: Floating Press.

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