Yoga Philosophy

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THE HOLY BHAGAVAD GITA
The Bhagavad Gita or the Chant of the Lord is a work which has prestige position among the most important texts of the World. Hindus consider it with the same respect and reverence Christians hold for the The Holy Scriptures. It is, therefore, more of a religious classic than a philosophical one.

Written in the shape of an epic poem, it moves away from other erudite texts and it is a popular text used by the people in general, millions of Hindus for centuries, could find in its pages comfort and enlightenment. It consists of 1.400 lines of verse where the relationship of the human being with God is treated deeply. Revelation and ecstatic love are celebrated with beauty and accuracy. It gives comfort to the pilgrims’ aspirations seekers of all cults who want to smooth the link and knit the thread of the inner path to the city of God.
It does not want to resolve the meaning of life, but to find the demand requested….Duty….the “Dharma” of each one of us and work on this. Nevertheless, it teaches us to recognise the value and meaning of life, of each of the lives, before surrendering to the devoted action. It does not urge us to have a fanatic devotion, but shows us the dignity of the thought put into action after a sublime intention, the human realisation of the mysteries of existence.

THE BHAGAVAD GITA IN ITS HISTORIC CONTEXT: The Gita is later than the Upanishads and comes before the development of the philosophical Systems and their formulation in Sutras. The theory that this work inspired the Yoga Sutras is accepted. The Gita could even be pre-Budha as there is no reference at all about this doctrine in this work, the most acceptable date is the one of S. RadhaKrishnan in “The Bhagavad Gita” (London 1948), who dates it VI Century B.C.
It was written before the Mahabharata, this is accepted by the major part of scholars, the Mahabharata is inspired in the epic poem, the Bharata, in 1400 B.C. and it incorporates its Chant VI the complete Gita, already in circulation as a study text with the tale of the Battle of Kurukshetra. The epic poem refers to facts which supposedly occurred between rival branches descending from King Bharata, who fought to achieve sovereignty of the Kingdom of Hastirapura.

THE BIG WAR OF THE BHARATA: Dhritarashtra, eldest son of the king, and blind since birth, renounces in favour of his brother, whom in its time designates his own eldest son, Yudistira. This made his cousin Duryodhana jealous, the first-born of Dhritarashtra. Duryodhana, clever in stratagems, plots with an uncle of his, expert gambler, and convinces Yudistira to bet his Kingdom, and he looses it. In this way, Yudistira, and according to what agreed, renounces to his Kingdom for twelve years and he retires with his four Brothers (the third was Arjuna) to the desert.
When he comes back from this self-exile, Yudistira claims his Kingdom, but Duryodhana refuses to give it back.
After the denial for a pacific solution, the five brothers called Pandavas, decide to recuperate their kingdom in a battle, and they gather an army with all the members of their family.
On the other hand, and after twelve years of rule, Duryodhana becomes very influential in his family and gather numerous relatives, called Kurus, due to the fact that they were direct descendents of an ancient king called Kuru. Both armies meet in Kurukshetra, the plain of Kuru, also called throughout the poem Dharmakshetra, the plain of Dharma.

The Bhagavad Gita
The Teachings

In the battle field, a few moments before the combat starts, Arjuna, the hero of the Pandava princes, feels faint before the perspective of entering a fraticidal combat and prefers to lower weapons as he does not want to kill relatives and acquaintances.
The charioteer of Arjuna’s combat chart is the incarnation of God Vishnu, Krishna, avatar of the God of preservation of Dharma.
In this way, the war theatre is taken as an allegory to develop the Holy Gita.

Krishna Uvacha: Thus speaks the Lord. The battlefield is the field of Dharma, kingdom of the compliance of the Sacred Law, our own body where we plant and harvest the fruits of our actions.
Duty must be fulfilled without fear…… this is the code of the sacred well-doing that every person must freely realize in this earth to achieve the glorious union with the supreme nature of God.
The army of the Kurus and their relatives altogether are our internal attachments that each of us must overcome to freeley fulfill our personal Dharma.

To Know the Knower: Arjuna and Krishna, warrior and avatar look as if they were two, in the same way as the individual seems to be separated from his divine nature.
We must understand the dialogue between master and Disciple as an allegory, as both go in the same charriot, they are not two, but only one looking for himself, he is looking for realization, for his Yoga or unity and identity between flesh and spirit.
Arjuna represents Prakriti, the transitory nature of every day and Krishna is Purusha, the eternal aspect immanent to every being.
This is, doubtlessly, a sacred poem which indicates us the undeniable unity between the pairs of opposites, it enjoys gloryfying the good news, that each corner of the Universe is a portion of the Supreme Truth.
Therefore, the lesson of the Transcendence and the Transmutation, almost a ritual death against the old and ignorant vision of duality is what The Gita considers as the compliance of the personal Dharma.

Philosophical Base of the Text: The teachings of The Upanishads are the revelations of ancient sages and psychics, realized beings, “rishis”, who described their inner revelations.
Vedanta: it is the compilation of this wisdom in the shape of a corpus of teachings, they constitute more a group of statements of eternal truths, without the intention of creating a closed system.
In this way, the Gita comes from the revealed teachings by the rishis, as they formed part of the Vedanta.
It is also true that they go deep into teachings that had no precedent in any of the Upanishads.
Krishna himself claims to be the author who inspired the wisdom of the Vedanta.
“I have entered into the heart of all beings, from me there come memory and knowledge, as well as its loss. I am only that which must be known in all the Vedas, I am the author of the Vedanta and the knower of the Vedas”. (Gita XV-15)

Understanding in this way the Vedanta as the end of the Veda or the primitive philosophical interpretation of the same, indicating thus the transition between a stage closed to the orthodox Vedic cult monitored by the Brahmana, a priest cast, and giving way to a devotional stage, a philosophical defence of the noble action and an opportunity for the direct participation of ordinary people in spiritual life.

The Legacy of the Holy Gita

The different philosophical systems of the age when the Gita was composed, competed within the Indo system and they are presented as a unity, integrated as a subtle and deep synthesis, reconciling the Vedic cult of sacrifice, the teachings of The Upanishads of the transcendent Brahman, the Bhagavata thesis of devotion and piety, the dualist thought system Samkhya and Yoga of meditation, uniting these elements in a meeting pot of light like an organic unity rainbow.
Other authors agree with the possibility that the text may have been modified along the centuries and the different flows of thoughts may have deposited their personal Couch, all of them finally unified by the ample vision of the Grace of God.
That is why it is also called The Gita Upanishad, as it is estimated equally as the orthodox scriptures of the rest of the Upanishads.
Both, Brahmavidya and Yogasastra, science of reality and art of union with reality. It is, in fact, an obligatory text of study and interpretation for the students of Vedanta, which, together with the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutras, compose the triple canon with their special doctrines.

SUMMARY
The Gita teaches us:

  • The world status and the concept of Maya.
  • The individual Self and its infinite nature.
  • Yoga-Sastra: the practical path to achieve the supreme ideal.
  • Jñana.-Marga: the path of the knowledge of reality.
  • Karma- Marga: the path of the devotional action.
  • Bhakti-Marga: the path of the yearning for God.

Given that all these are the attributes of an authentic seeker, devotion leads us to act in the world with the wisdom that comes from hard and long practice.

List of recommended versions of the Gita
Spanish

Roberto Pla-Ed. – Etnos –Bilingual edition with comments.
A destacar : Comments at the end of each section.
Analitical index by themes for all editions.
Terminology: extense and erudite.
Sivananda –Bilingual edition with comments.
To distinguish the authority of a Saint.
Mahatma Gandhi: Edition with comments.
To distinguish the deepness of explanations.
English
S. Radhakrishnan. Ed. Harper & Collins Bilingual edition. With comments.
Comment: a supreme work of obliged reading.
Winthrop Sargeant. State University of New York Press
Comment: no comments, the translation is the deepest and richest in contents.
Other editions
Annie Besant and Bhagaban Das. Bhagavadgita.
Sri Aurobindo: Essays on the Gita
Mahadev Desai : the Gita according to Gandhi.
Swami Prabhavananda the Bhagavadgita

General vision – Summary by chapters

1. Arjuna’s depression: where there are doubts, where there is more affliction, there the Lord manifests himself. Arjuna, disappointed due to a fratricidal battle, decides not to fight. Arjuna Vishāda Yoga.

26. Family in battle.35. He does not want to kill. 46. He prefers to die without answering back.

2.Yoga of Knowledge: the Lord teaches the knowledge of Yoga, and that truly there is no death, urging Arjuna to follow his Dharma. Shankya Yoga.

5. Not to kill his Masters. 12. We will always exist.15. Pair of opposites.23. Untouchable soul.39. Samkhya reference.42. Contrary to Vedanta.48. Fixed in Yoga.50. Yoga is ability in action.56. Dispassionate. 62-65. Birth of ignorance.69. Night for the day – day in the night.


3.Yoga of Action: the path to detachment in action, it is better to comply with your own duties in detachment than to renounce to them. Karma Yoga.
3-9. Samkhya. Knowledge – Action Yoga. 
17-19. non-action in action.37. Raja Guna the great enemy.

4.Yoga of Knowledge: awakening of knowledge, Krishna comes as the Guru and the Tool. Jñana Yoga.

7-8 where there is depression of the Dharma, there I manifest myself.
28 Sacrifice.
29 Pranayama.
37-41 Wisdom.
42 Stand up, Arjuna!

5.Renounciation In Action: the five senses as nursery of Karma, raise the vision absorbing the senses while you enjoy them. Karma Sanyāsa Yoga.

2. Yoga of the action..5. Yoga and Sankhya are one.7. Controlling the senses. 8-9. The senses in their abode.23. Pleasant and unpleasant, pleasures born from the senses are matrixes.24. Inside Light.

6.Yoga of Meditation: surrender to meditation absort in disciplined action. Dhyāna Yoga.

1. Renounciation. 11-14. Physical technique. 25-31. Mental attitude.

7.Yoga of Wisdom and Realization: The Yoga of wisdom and superior knowledge, enumeration of the attributes of the limited nature. Vijñāna Yoga.

3. From thousands, only a few seek perfection.4. Eight parts of the material Self.12. Sattva – Raja – Tamas.18. Man of wisdom.

8.The Absolute – Imperishable: Brahma Yoga, to focus, at the time of death, your attention on the Superior self to transcend the wheel of Karma. Akshava Brahma Yoga.
1. Brahman: the imperishable.
2. Adhyatma : Inherent Nature. 
3. Karma. Pious Action.
4 Adhibhuta: Perishable.
5 Adhidaiva : Divine Self Purusha
6 Adhiyajna. Wisdom of the Self. 10.In the hour of death, think of me.
25-26. Division of the auspicious moments to die.

9.Yoga of Supreme Knowledge: Sovereign Science. The mystery of the Self that isa ll pervading and at the same time is separated from it. Rājavidya Yoga.

3. You are in me, I am not in you.19.I am the ritual and the sacrifice.
26-28 To offer an oblation.1. The tree of attachment.3. Cutting down the three…9. Presiding the senses.
12-15. Entering into the world like the Light.

10.Yoga of Manifestation: all manifestations are epithets of the Divine power residing in the heart of all things. Vibhūti Yoga.

20.I am the Self residing like a heart in all creatures. 39. Among all things, I am the highest.

11. Vision of the Cosmic Form: I exist in all times, in all places, encompassing all the Universe which is created and absorbed in Me, only a devote heart can support this vision. Vishva Rūpa Darshana Yoga

30.Vision. 32.I am the time that consumes everything.54. Only through devotion you can contemplate Me.

12.Yoga of Devotion-Vision of the Cosmic Form: light your heart, dance in love towards the Divine, renounce to the fruits and you will find Peace. Backti Yoga.12.Peace which follows the renounciation of the fruits of action.

13.Yoga of the distinction between the field and the knower of the field: the incarnated Self is the field where we plant the seeds of karma and harvest their fruits. Kshetra Yoga.
6-7. Modifications.24. Tattvas – levels of manifestation. 8-12. Obervations.

14.Yoga of the Differentiation of the three Qualities: the triple division of reality, Gunas, and how they act in the incarnated Self. Gunatraya Yoga.

The three Gunas: 
Sattva – Purity
Rajas – Activity
Tamas – Inertia.
23-26. How to transcend the Three Gunas.

15.Yoga of the Supreme Self: the roots of the tree of attachment chopped down with the spade of discrimination. Purushottama Yoga.

16.Yoga of the distinction between the divine and the demoniacal: Devas and Asunas, qualities which lead to enlightenment or to attachment and ignorance. Daivāsura Yoga. .
1-3. Divine.4. Demoniacal.21. Triple door to Hell.

17.Yoga of the three divisions of faith: regulation of thoughts, acts and food as a path to purity. Sattva, complete summary of Bhagavad Gita. Svaddhā Yoga.
14-16 Essence of the practice, the path of purity.26. Om-tat-sat-mantra.

18.Yoga Liberation by Renunciation: fix your mind only in God, abandoning all inner attachment and with determination comply with my mandate achieving Liberation. Moksha Yoga.
9-11 Action as duty.
13-15. Factors to execute actions. 25-27. Types of actions.
33-35. Firmness in attitude. Three types. 37. The difficult path is the correct path. 42-45. Types of actors, casts, classes. 65. Fix your mind on Me.73. I will comply with your mandate.

The Four Paths of Yoga

There are four main paths in Yoga – Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, and Raja Yoga. Each is adjusted to a different temperament or approach to life. All paths lead, ultimately, to the same destination – union with Brahman or God – and lessons from each should be integrated if true wisdom is to be achieved.

Karma Yoga, The Yoga of Action
It is the path chosen primarily by those of outgoing nature. Purifies the heart, teaching us to act selflessly, without thought of gain or reward. When detached from the fruits of our actions and offering them to the Infinite or the Divine, we learn to sublimate the ego. To achieve this, it is helpful to keep your mind focused by repeating a mantra during the development of any activity.

Bhakti Yoga, The Path of Devotion or Divine Love
This path appeals particularly to those of an emotional nature. The Bhakti Yogi is motivated primarily by the power of love and sees the Divine as the embodiment of love. He surrenders to the Universal through meditation on love prayer, worship and ritual, channeling and transmuting his emotions into unconditional love or devotion. Offerings in temples or pure places in Nature, singing the praises of the Divine are a substantial part of Bhakti Yoga.

Jnana Yoga, The Yoga of Knowledge or Wisdom
This is the most difficult path, it requires strong will and intellect. Using the philosophy and reflection, the Jnana Yogi uses his mind to inquire into its own nature. We perceive the internal and external space of a glass as different, as we perceive separate from Infinity. Jnana Yoga leads the devotee to experience his oneness with reality directly, to dissolve the veil of ignorance breaking the glass. Before practicing Jnana Yoga, the aspirant must have integrated the lessons of the other yogic paths – for without selflessness and love for Life, without strength of body and mind, the pursuit of self-realization may become mere speculation.

Raja Yoga, The Science of Mental and Physical Control
Often called the “royal path”, it provides a comprehensive method for controlling waves of thought, transforming our mental and physical energy into spiritual energy. Raja Yoga is also called Ashtanga Yoga referring to the eight steps leading to the absolute mind control. The main practice of Raja Yoga is meditation. It also includes all other methods that help control the body, energy, senses and mind. The Hatha Yogi uses Relaxation and other practices such as Yamas, Niyamas, Mudras, Bandhas, etc., to obtain control of the physical body and the subtle life force called Prana. When body and energy are under control, meditation comes naturally.
Objetive: Write half a page, to be delivered on the Sunday of the Training Course.

The Four Paths of Yoga
Do you feel drawn to one path of yoga over any other? Is there one you feel negatively towards?
Observe in your notes at what time one type or another of yoga is best applied.
Objective: Write half a page, to deliver the Training Sunday..

Bhakti Yoga: The path of the Heart
Definitions of Kirtan and Mantras
The yoga of singing and the use of voice and sound is very important as the work of self expression and letting go. Sound is a powerful tool and a very powerful vehicle of energy.

The “Kirtan” is part of Bhakti yoga or devotional path. It is a millenary practice of India that brings together people to sing “mantras” normally in Sanskrit (initial language of India) and consists mainly of a person leading the song, enunciating each verse, while the chorus repeats, forming a speech synchronization and listen as an object of meditation.
In the spiritual philosophy of India, a “mantra” is a sound formula that is considered sacred, since it is composed of syllables, words or phrases that carry a millennial positive Divine vibration, capable of transforming consciousness.
At a physical level, the “mantra” invigorates the mind and produces energy, creating a vibration favorable to our brain, thus flowing in the form of waves through the body, vibrating the endocrine glands.
On a psychological level, work with voice and sound is very important as work of self expression and release of emotions, so you feel more joyful and positive.
The word “mantra” comes from the Sanskrit “man”, which means mind, and “tra” which has the sense of protection. The “mantras” are resources to protect our mind against the unproductive cycles of thought and action. The “mantras” serve to focus and calm the mind to connect with the Divinity that lies in the soul. By concentrating on the repetition of sound, all other thoughts fade away little by little until the mind becomes clear and calm.
The “mantra” is the vehicle that leads us to our essence and when we connect with that inexhaustible source of energy in deep meditation, we experience that “He who repeats the Mantra”, “The Mantra” and “His source” is one It is our own sound, the vibration of the Being.
The objective of all spiritual practices is to concentrate one’s mind at a high point, which allows us to remove attention from unnecessary issues, in order to approach our true divine essence so that our vibration rises and we can see our life from that divine elevation, lighter, wiser, easier and happier.
The magic of Kirtan is when you experience the union of voices, the union of souls; the vibration increases and then you feel how the divine energy envelops you, elevates you and connects you to the universal divine energy.

Physiological effects of the Mantra
The Mantra invigorates the mind and produces energy, creating a favourable vibration to the limbic system of the brain; this is affected by the mental repetition of internal sounds.
The mantras flow as waves through the body, making vibrate the endochrine glands; in this way the vibrations of the mind and body are synchronised by the mantra.
Here various corporal mechanisms intervene (functioning of the diaphragm, muscles of the neck, base of the tongue), respiratory mechanisms (the use of the air) and resonant mechanisms (production of harmonics, amplification of the sound in the body resonants).
Therefore, we can see that the blockages are not Orly psychological, but also that the psychic blockage oro f any emotion has its correspondence at a physical level in the different parts of the body, with muscular contractions which create tension rings (shields).
To work with the voice and the sound is very important as a work of self-expression and energetic discharge, as the sound is a powerful tool and a very strong vehicle for energetic circulation.

MANTRAS

1.- Om Namah Shivaya,
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA,
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA,
SHIVA OM NAMAH
I honour the divinity inside of me.

2.Maha Mantra
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rame Rame Hare Hare
Gloria al Señor Azul Oscuro Krishna.

3.Gyatri Mantra
OM BHUR BHUVA SVAHA
TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM
BHARGO DEVASYA DHIMAHI
DHIYO YO NAH PROCHODAYAT
“We meditate on the glory of that Ishuara who has created the universe, who is just to worship, who is an incarnation of Knowledge and light and who is the destroyer of all sins and ignorance. May He illumine our intellects “Translation of Swami Vishnu Devananda.

Practical Exercise
Recite the song of Om before a brief meditation and observe how the powerful vibration of the song helps you to create inner silence. Write your impressions about it.

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