Bhagavad Gita is perfect fusion of four yogas – karma yoga, jnana yoga, raja yoga and bhakti yoga. Self realization or God realization is the essence of Bhagavad Gita. Although goal is one, there are many ways to reach it based on your temperaments and circumstances. When you use your emotions and try to reach the ultimate, we call this bhakti yoga. This is the path of love and devotion. The raja yogi controls his mind until it becomes perfectly still. Raja yoga works with internal actions. Karma yoga is mostly about external actions. Karma yoga is path of selfless service. “Work hard and enjoy your work but do not get attached to the fruits of your action” is the essence of karma yoga. Jnana yoga is the path of wisdom and knowledge. They use their will and power of discrimination to transcend the veil of ignorance and attain the truth. You need a combination of these four yogas to reach the ultimate.
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The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita has 18 chapters. It consists of 700 verses. Each chapter talks about ultimate objective of life with its own flavor. The word Bhagavad means God and the word Gita means song and , hence the Bhagavad-Gita is called as the Song of God. Bhagavad Gita is written in Anustup rhythmic meter and contains 32 syllables in each verse. Bhagavad Gita is communication between Lord Krishna and Arjuna written by Sage Vedavyasa. Bhagavad Gita is a part of the Mahabharata’s Bhishma Parva.
Bhagavad Gita and the Four Yogas:
Bhagavad Gita is perfect synthesis of dharma-and-karma-based householder life, enlightenment-seeking life of renunciation, and devotion-oriented general life. Bhagavad Gita is perfect fusion of four yogas – karma yoga, jnana yoga, raja yoga and bhakti yoga. Self realization or God realization is the essence of Bhagavad Gita. Although goal is one, there are many ways to reach it based on your temperaments and circumstances. When you use your emotions and try to reach the ultimate, we call this bhakti yoga. This is the path of love and devotion. The raja yogi controls his mind until it becomes perfectly still. Raja yoga works with internal actions. Karma yoga is mostly about external actions. Karma yoga is path of selfless service. “Work hard and enjoy your work but do not get attached to the fruits of your action” is the essence of karma yoga. Jnana yoga is the path of wisdom and knowledge. They use their will and power of discrimination to transcend the veil of ignorance and attain the truth. You need a combination of these four yogas to reach the ultimate.
Read: The Ultimate Wisdom of four Yogas
Summary of Bhagavad Gita:
Bhagavad Gita has Gita Dhyanam and 18 chapters. The details of which are as follows:
Gita Dhyanam is the 9-verses that are associated with the beginning of the Bhagavad Gita. The first verse opens by affirming an act of meditation. Bhagavad Gita is like loving mother and praised as the destroyer of rebirth and the shower-er of the nectar. The Upanishads are the cows milked by Lord Krishna, the son of Nanda, and Arjuna is the calf. Wise people and pure persons drink the milk, the supreme, immortal nectar of the Gita.
Read: Essence of Gita Dhyanam
Chapter – 1: Arjuna–Visada yoga (The Distress of Arjuna):
It contains 46 verses. This chapter introduces the scene, the setting, the circumstances and the characters involved determining the reasons for the Bhagavad–Gita’s message. It introduces the location, the action and the theme. Addressing Lord Krishna as Acutya the infallible one, Arjuna requested Krishna to drive his chariot into the middle of the battle. In the battle field, Arjuna saw fathers, uncles, sons and grandsons and others as well as associates, friends, and well wishers who had rendered some favor in the past. After seeing all these relatives and friends in the battle field, Arjuna became overwhelmed with compassionate. By seeing them all, his hands, legs and other bodily limbs became numb and drying up. His growing dejection is described as he fears losing friends and relatives as a consequence of war. Arjuna vividly illustrates how the shock and horror of the upcoming war is starting to affect him. His physical body is being attacked by weakness of limbs, trembling, and hair standing on end. Even his famous Gandiva bow is slipping from his hand. Arjuna exclaims that he cannot foresee any benefit from slaying his own kinsman in battle. Arjuna describes the evil consequences of war.
Read: Essence of Bhagavad–Gita Chapter-1: Arjuna–Visada yoga
Chapter – 2: Sankhya yoga (The Book of Doctrines)
This chapter is often considered the summary of the entire Bhagavad Gita. It contains 72 verses. After asking Krishna for help, Arjuna is instructed into various subjects such as, Karma yoga, Jnana yoga, Sankhya yoga, Buddhi yoga and the immortal nature of the soul. Sankhya here refers to one of six orthodox schools of the Hindu Philosophy.
Read: Essence of Bhagavad–Gita Chapter-2: Sankhya yoga
Chapter – 3: Karma yoga (Virtue Of Actions)
It contains 43 verses. Krishna explains how Karma yoga, i.e. performance of prescribed duties, but without attachment to results, is the appropriate course of action for Arjuna
Read: Essence of Bhagavad–Gita Chapter-3: Karma yoga
Chapter – 4: Gyaana–yoga (The Wisdom of Knowledge)
This chapter contains 42 verses. Krishna reveals that he has lived through many births, always teaching yoga for the protection of the pious and the destruction of the impious and stresses the importance of accepting a guru.
Read: Essence of Bhagavad–Gita Chapter-4: Gyaana yoga
Chapter – 5: Karma–Sanyasa yoga (Religion by Renouncing Fruits of Actions)
This chapter contains 29 verses. Arjuna asks Krishna if it is better to forgo action or to act (“renunciation or discipline of action”). Krishna answers that both are ways to the same goal but that acting in Karma yoga is superior.
Read: Essence of Bhagavad–Gita Chapter-5: Karma–Sanyasa yoga
Chapter – 6: Dhyan yoga (Religion of Meditation)
It contains 47 verses. Krishna describes the Ashtanga yoga. He further elucidates the difficulties of the mind and the techniques by which mastery of the mind might be gained
Read: Essence of Bhagavad–Gita Chapter-6: Dhyan yoga
Chapter – 7: Gyaana–ViGyaana yoga (Religion by Discernment)\
It contains 30 verses. Krishna describes the absolute reality and its illusory energy Maya.
Read: Essence of Bhagavad–Gita Chapter-7: Gyaana–ViGyaana yoga
Chapter – 8: Aksara–Brahma yoga (Religion by Devotion to the One Supreme God)
This chapter contains 28 verses. It contains eschatology of the Bhagavad Gita. Importance of the last thought before death, differences between material and spiritual worlds, and light and dark paths that a soul takes after death are described
Read: Essence of Bhagavad–Gita Chapter-8: Aksara–Brahma yoga
Chapter – 9: Raja–Vidya–Raja–Guhya yoga (Religion by the Kingly Knowledge and the Kingly Mystery)
It contains 34 verses. Krishna explains how His eternal energy pervades, creates, preserves, and destroys the entire universe.
Read: Essence of Bhagavad–Gita Chapter-9: Raja–Vidya–Raja–Guhya yoga
Chapter – 10: Vibhuti–Vistara–yoga (Religion by the Heavenly Perfections)
It contains 42 verses. Krishna is described as the ultimate cause of all material and spiritual existence. Arjuna accepts Krishna as the Supreme Being, quoting great sages who have also done so.
Read: Essence of Bhagavad–Gita Chapter-10: Vibhuti–Vistara–yoga
Chapter – 11: Visvarupa–Darsana yoga (The Manifesting of the One Universal Form)
It contains 55 verses. On Arjuna’s request, Krishna displays his “universal form” (Viśvarūpa), a theophany of a being facing every way and emitting the radiance of a thousand suns, containing all other beings and material in existence.
Read: Essence of Bhagavad–Gita Chapter-11: Visvarupa–Darsana yoga
Chapter – 12: Bhakti yoga (The Religion of Faith)
It contains 20 verses. In this chapter Krishna glorifies the path of devotion to God. Krishna describes the process of devotional service (Bhakti yoga). He also explains different forms of spiritual disciplines
Read: Essence of Bhagavad–Gita Chapter-12: Bhakti yoga
Chapter – 13: Ksetra–Ksetrajna Vibhaga yoga (Religion by Separation of Matter and Spirit)
It contains 35 verses. The difference between transient perishable physical body and the immutable eternal soul is described. The difference between individual consciousness and universal consciousness is also made clear.
Read: Essence of Bhagavad–Gita Chapter-13: Ksetra–Ksetrajna Vibhaga yoga
Chapter – 14: Gunatraya–Vibhaga yoga (Religion by Separation from the Qualities)
It contains 27 verses. Krishna explains the three modes (gunas) of material nature pertaining to goodness, passion, and nescience. Their causes, characteristics, and influence on a living entity are also described
Read: Essence of Bhagavad–Gita Chapter-14: Gunatraya–Vibhaga yoga
Chapter – 15: Purusottama yoga (Religion by Attaining the Supreme)
It contains 20 verses. Krishna identifies the transcendental characteristics of God such as, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Krishna also describes a symbolic tree (representing material existence), which has its roots in the heavens and its foliage on earth. Krishna explains that this tree should be felled with the “axe of detachment”, after which one can go beyond to his supreme abode.
Read: Essence of Bhagavad–Gita Chapter-15: Purusottama yoga
Chapter – 16: Daivasura–Sampad–Vibhaga yoga (The Separateness of the Divine and Undivine)
It contains 24 verses. Krishna identifies the human traits of the divine and the demonic natures. He counsels that to attain the supreme destination one must give up lust, anger, greed, and discern between right and wrong action by discernment through Buddhi and evidence from the scriptures.
Read: Essence of Bhagavad–Gita Chapter-16: Daivasura–Sampad–Vibhaga yoga
Chapter – 17: Sraddhatraya-Vibhaga yoga (Religion by the Threefold Kinds of Faith)
It contains 28 verses. Krishna qualifies the three divisions of faith, thoughts, deeds, and even eating habits corresponding to the three modes (gunas).
Read: Essence of Bhagavad–Gita Chapter-17: Sraddhatraya-Vibhaga yoga
Chapter – 18: Moksha–Sanyasa yoga (Religion by Deliverance and Renunciation)
It contains 78 verses. In this chapter, the conclusions of previous seventeen chapters are summed up. Krishna asks Arjuna to abandon all forms of dharma and simply surrender unto him and describes this as the ultimate perfection of life.
Read: Essence of Bhagavad–Gita Chapter-18: Moksha–Sanyasa yoga
Summary of the Teachings of Bhagavad–Gita:
In the end, Arjuna is convinced. He picks up his bow and is ready to fight. Bhagavad Gita tells us that forming a goal early in life is very important. In absence of goal life was like a rudderless boat going round and round in the ocean. One needs to concentrate all energies behind a particular goal. Bhagavad Gita explains the immortal nature of the soul. Bhagavad Gita tells us that one must do their duty for the welfare of the world without attachment towards the fruits of actions.
Read: Summary of Bhagavad Gita