Conclusion Of The Bhagavad Gita

Question: Lord Krishna speaks of different paths of yoga in the Bhagavad Gita. It is confusing. Where does he intend to lead us to?

Answer: Lord Krishna has given different types of yoga systems to bring us all to the stage of perfection.
In the Bhagavad-gita, we find the process of Karma-yoga. Krishna explains the perfection of karma-yoga in the Ninth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita: “Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform — do that, O son of Kunti, as an offering to Me.” (Bhagavad-gita 9.27)

So the ultimate conclusion of Karma-yoga is do everything as an offering to the Lord.

The Jnana-yoga system presented in the Bhagavad-gita is meant to give one the knowledge of who Krishna is, what the soul is, how the pure soul comes under the influence of material nature, how the time element functions driving one towards death at every moment, how the laws of karma are acting, etc. The perfection of achieving this jnana is explained in the Seventh Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita: “After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” (Bhagavad-gita 7.19) Thus, Jnana-yoga in its perfectional state brings one to surrender unto Krishna.

The Bhagavad-gita concludes with Lord Krishna’s demand that we surrender unto Him: “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.” (Bhagavad-gita 18.66)

The Bhagavad Gita teaches the harmony of all the other yoga systems with the ultimate goal – surrender to Krishna, known as Bhakti-yoga. Anyone who understands the Bhagavad-gita as it is can see how the other processes of yoga are simply parts and parcels of Bhakti and how they lead the practitioner towards the same.

Those who do not understand the Bhagavad-gita as it is, however, have a less developed comprehension of its philosophy. They separate the different yoga systems thinking that each is in of itself sufficient to lead one to the same goal. Therefore their philosophy is yato mata tato patha – one can choose the path of his choice. However, Krishna presents the different yoga systems to convince Arjuna to surrender unto Him, remember Him, and do everything for Him.

In the Tenth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krishna explains: “I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.” (Bhagavad-gita 10.8) This principle is the continuous thread of the Gita and all other teachings are like pearls strung around this thread. It is just like arithmetic and calculus are different divisions of the same subject – mathematics.

A young child studying in primary school may see arithmetic and calculus as separate but a Ph.D. in the subject will see that they are intertwined and developed for the single purpose of acquiring a degree in mathematics. Basic arithmetic is meant to bring the student to higher and higher aspects of mathematics but they are all parts of the same system. Similarly, those who have a clear understanding of the Bhagavad-gita can see the whole picture of the Gita, whereas a person whose understanding is less developed will see each part isolated from the rest.

Every syllable, word and verse of the Bhagavad-gita was meant to bring Arjuna, and is meant to bring one and all, to the point of complete love, devotion and surrender. This understanding can only be had by a person who understands the Bhagavad Gita as it is. Who is he/she?

Lord Krishna explains the qualification to comprehend the essence of the Bhagavad-gita: “That very ancient science of the relationship with the Supreme is today told by Me to you because you are My devotee as well as My friend and can therefore understand the transcendental mystery of this science.” (Bhagavad-gita 4.3)

Radhanath Swami

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