The Bhagavad Gita and the Four disciplines (yogas)
Bhagavad-Gita: Song of the Divine
I. Karma Yoga: The Way of Action
A. Definition: The way of action: service rendered without any interest in its effects and without any personal sense of giving does not generate negative karma.
B. Karma Yoga in the Bhagavad-Gita: Be intent on action, not on the fruits of action.
Thus Arjuna could fulfill his duty without accumulating negative karma.
C. Karma Yoga is exemplified in another epic, the Ramayana
II. Jnana Yoga: The Way of Knowledge
A. Description: The ultimate aim is complete detachment of the eternal Self from the temporary one. Once this is achieved, then there is nothing that separates the Self (the atman) from Brahman.
Method: Dispassion and discrimination
B. Jnana Yoga is exemplified in the philosophical systems of Hinduism. Although there are six systems, we will consider only two.
Dualistic:Two states of reality:
Purusha -the Self - eternally wise, pure beyond change
Prakriti - cause of material universe
Major idea: All suffering stems from confusing the two states of reality. Forgetting the heights from which we have come and becoming intent on the joys and sorrows of earthly life.
2. Advaita Vedanta
Based upon the Upanishads
Monistic: atman and Brahman are actually one: waves are not distinct from the ocean.
Material life is an illusion: Maya - power by which the Absolute veils itself.
III. Raja Yoga: The Path of Meditation
A. Description: Through meditation one can remove one's own consciousness from its awareness of this world of maya and to focus only on the ultimate reality of the cosmos' unity.
Ultimate Goal is samadhi "a super-conscious state of Union with the Absolute.
B. Raja Yoga is exemplified in the teachings and practices of Pantajali.
IV. Bhakti Yoga: The Way of Devotion
A. Description: Bhakti= intense devotion to personal manifestation of Brahman
The goal is communion with and nearness to the deity.
Intense devotion to a god "short circuits" the process of karma-samsara: In other words, as a reward for one's devotion, God will deliver his followers from the ongoing cycle of birth and death.
B. Bhakti in the Bhagavad-Gita
to be the best way for the present age