Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 35

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

8. Yoga-sastra

Every system of Indian philosophic thought gives us a practical way of reaching the supreme ideal. Though we begin with thought, our aim is to go beyond thought to the decisive experience. Systems of philosophy give not only metaphysical theories, but also spiritual dynamics. It may be argued that, if man is a part of the Divine, what he needs is not redemption as an awareness of his true nature. If he feels himself a sinner estranged from God, he requires a technique by which he reminds himself that he is essentially a part of God and any feeling to the contrary is illusory. This awareness is not intellectual but integral; so man's whole nature requires overhauling.

The Bhagavadgita gives us not only a metaphysics (brahmavidya) but also a discipline (yogasastra). Derived from the root, yuj, to bind together, yoga means binding one's psychic powers, balancing and enhancing them.[1] By yoking together and harnessing our energies by the most intense concentration of personality, we force the passage from the narrow ego to the transcendent personality.

The spirit tears itself away from its prison house, stands out of it and reaches its own innermost being.The Gita gives a comprehensive yoga-sastra, large, flexible and many-sided, which includes various phases of the soul's development and ascent into the Divine. The different yogas are special applications of the inner discipline which leads to the liberation of the soul and a new understanding of the unity and meaning of mankind. Everything that is related to this discipline is called a yoga such as jnana-yoga or the way of knowledge, bhakti-yoga or the way of devotion, karma-yoga or the way of action.

Perfection at the human level is a task to be accomplished by conscious endeavour. The image of God operating in us produces a sense of insufficiency. Man has a haunting sense of the vanity, the transience and the precariousness of all human happiness. Those who live on the surface of life may not feel the distress, the laceration of spirit, and may not feel any urge to seek their true good. They are human animals (Purusapasu), and like animals they are born, they grow, they mate and leave offspring and pass away.


References and Context

  1. It is used in different senses; yujyate etad itz yogah; (ii} yujyateanew iti yogah; (iii) yujyate tasminn iti yoga.