[Advaita-l] Re: How many Yogas in the Gita

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed May 11 18:59:27 CDT 2005

>How many Yogas have been instructed in the Gita ?  Is it only 2, (Samkya & 
>Yoga) as the Lord Himself says explicitly or is it 4 (Karma, Bhakti, Yoga & 
>Jnana) as many modern speakers are saying so; or is it 18, since each 
>chapter is named after a yoga.

It is not easy, nor quite right, to count off different yoga-s as different 
teachings in the bhagavadgItA. As far as the chapter names are concerned, 
yoga is to be taken only in a simple nominal sense. e.g. the first chapter 
is arjuna-viShAda-yoga : this is not something taught either as theory or as 
yoga practice. Describing the overall teaching of the gItA in terms of 
karmayoga, bhaktiyoga, rAjayoga and GYAnayoga is a convenient device, but 
the situation is more complex than that.

There is clearly a teaching of GYAna-yoga for the sA.mkhyans and karma-yoga 
for the yogins, as said in 3.3. To my knowledge, there is no term 
bhakti-yoga in the gItA itself or in SankarAchArya's commentary, although 
there are references to bhakti as ananyA and avyabhichAriNI. At various 
places in the commentary, SankarAchArya refers to the immediate context as 
dhAraNA-yoga (meditation on praNava and saguNa brahman, chapter 8), 
dhyAna-yoga, which is described as an integral part (antara.nga) of right 
vision (samyagdarSana), i.e. GYAna, vis-a-vis karma-yoga, which is described 
as an external limb (bahira.nga), in chapters 5 and 6, and samAdhi-yoga 
(many different chapters, e.g. verse reference to yoga is interpreted as 
meaning karma-yoga and samAdhi-yoga).

As I see it, our AchArya sees the gItA teaching of yoga (the practice of 
dhAraNa, dhyAna and samAdhi) as one of the means to transition from karma to 
GYAna. See especially verse in chapter 6 - ArurukShor muner yoga.m ... and 
comments thereon.


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