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

Ravisankar Mayavaram abhayambika at gmail.com
Sat May 14 11:27:41 CDT 2005

I think there is  difference  between the words mArga and yoga. There
are two mArga-s in vedic dharma, they are pravR^itti and nivR^itti
mArga. And they cannot be practised simultaneously. However, while in
pravR^itti marga one can cultivate qualities that will eventually take
root and turn one towards nivR^itti.

Different yoga-s unite the devotee to the respective mArga he is
following and make him adhere to that well. For instance, jnAna taught
in 2nd chapter is essential even for someone stuck in pravR^itti mArga
to motivate him to do his nitya karma-s.  Even in the case of viShAda
yoga, that is the first stage in every sAdhaka's life. Swami Yogananda
in his commentary on gItA devotes 200 pages to the 1st chapter.  When
an aspiring devotee sacrifices the worldy pleasures for adhering to
spiritual life and follow the dictums of scriptures, there is always
the period of confusion of "neither here nor there" problem. On one
hand, he will notice clearly the loss of worldly pleasures he has
forsaken for adhering to dharma. On the other hand, due to his
incipient status in the new life, he will see no benefit in the new
life. Hence, he will lament. Unfortunately, once the seeds of
spiritual life is thrown in, it is difficult to turn back*. That will
continue to haunt him, even if chooses to return back to seeking
worldly pleasures and not adhere to dharma. This stage of life, for
all (in one birth or another) forms the first stage.  Swami yogananda
takes this up in his well written commentary on gItA (based on the
teachings of Sri lahiri mahASAya). AFAIK, there is no commentary that
dedicates this much space for the first chapter.

Corrections are welcome. 


* Nisargadatta maharaj puts is very clearly in his book "I am That". 
He says that once the seed for spirituality is thrown into one's mind.
It may be slow, it will only grow and never go away, and finally grow
into a huge tree. I am paraphrasing it from memory. But it is very
reasurring like the assurance in gItA that even a little bit of
practise will save from the great fear.

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