The term Bhagavad Gita, means ‘The Eternal Song’ and is the very essence of ‘Mahabharata’ – an ancient Indian epic poem. It has 700 verses covered in 18 chapters. Each chapter is called ‘Yoga’ – the science of individual consciousness attaining communion with the Ultimate Consciousness. Each chapter is a highly specialized Yoga revealing the path of attaining realization with the Ultimate Truth. The first six chapters have been classified as the ‘Karma Yoga’ section – dealing with the science of attaining communion ‘through actions’. The next six are designated as ‘Bhakti Yoga’ section – attaining this communion travelling the ‘path of devotion’. The final six chapters are regarded as ‘Jnana Yoga’ section- the science of this communion ‘through the intellect’.
Written some five thousand years
ago, it’s an unusual text amongst all scriptural works. The text covers a whole
gamut of issues. Presented in the form of a conversation between Lord Krishna
and Arjuna – it occurs in the thick of the war-field, where the almighty Lord Vishnu in His avatar as Lord Krishna, advises a disillusioned Arjuna on the various facets of Life and
Works. The Bhagavad Gita is as much unusual as it is endearing.
It has a message to people from all walks of life. Philosophers delight in the description of the ‘Karma Yoga’ and ‘Samkhya Yoga’. The proponents of Bhakti cult extol the several manifestations of the Lord – His almighty ‘Visvarupa’ (Devine form). The description of the ‘Gunas’ (sattva, rajas and tamas) can surprise even a hardcore psychologist. The common man finds solace in the concept of the ‘stitaprajna’ (equipoised soul) to overcome his ever increasing anxieties. Management experts see in it the entire process of Change management. Perhaps, the greatest (and the most modern) idea is the focus on commitment to work, without getting excited about the rewards. The portrait of a ‘Karma Yogi’ has made many a scholar – from both the occident and the orient, to sit up and take notice of the elegant truth behind all human endeavors. Hence, the Gita has universal appeal and it transcends the boundaries of time and space.
Bhagavad Gita was originally revealed in the classical language of Sanskrit spoken in the Indian sub-continent. In 1785 it was translated into English by Charles Wilkins, then to Latin in 1823 by Schlegal, into German in 1826 by Von Humbolt, into French in 1846 by Lassens and into Greek in 1848 by Galanos. By now it has been translated into all major languages of the world such as Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Hebrew, Portuguese, and Arabic to name a few.
Bhagavad Gita is not a book
teaching just how to worship God; many other texts do so. It focuses more on
the eternal quest to reach Godhead itself. It edits the wisdom of the
Upanishads and presents them in a more digestible format. It teaches the three
basic paths to reach the Almighty – namely Bhakti
Yoga, karma Yoga and Jnana Yoga. It also paves the path for a householder
to lead a more rewarding and meaningful life. It makes a forceful thrust on
action and condemns inactivity in no certain terms. In fact it combines the
best aspects of both Eastern and Western thought processes. No wonder, it is
revered by millions not only as a sacred text, but also as a guide for leading a
better and fulfilling life!
Those shatkarma which effect purification of the body are secret. They have manifold, wondrous results and are held in high esteem by eminent yogis.
–Hatha Yoga Pradipika 2:23
The first step to gain mastery in Yoga is through purifying the body of toxins. Shatkarma (sometimes referred as Shatkriya) consist of six groups of purification practices. ‘Shat’ means ‘six’ and ‘Karma’ or ‘Kriya’ means ‘art’ or ‘process’. The word kriya or karma is used in Hatha Yoga in a special technical sense regarding the techniques of cleaning. The practice of shatkarma is also used to balance the internal disorders (doshas) of the body i.e. kapha – mucus, pitta– bile, and vata – wind. According to both Ayurveda and Hatha yoga, an imbalance in the doshas results in illness. The aim of Hatha Yoga and, therefore, of the shatkriyas is creating harmony within the major energy channels (ida & pingla) thereby attaining physical and mental balance.
Ayurveda is the most ancient science of all the medical sciences. Like Yoga, it is also based on Samkhya philosophy of creation and manifestation.
The union of body, sense organs, mind and soul is called ‘Ayu‘; ‘Veda‘ means knowledge. Thus, ayurveda is the ‘science of health’, ‘science of longevity’, ‘science of life’. Ayurveda therefore is not simply a health care system but a form of lifestyle adopted to maintain perfect balance and harmony within the human existence i.e. from the most abstract transcendental values to the most concrete physiological expressions based on premise that life represents an intelligent coordination of the soul, mind, senses and physical body.
Dieting is catching up around the world. ‘To Diet’ – is more popular for better looks than for sound health. High calorie junk foods are shunned. A struggle between the palate and the desire to slim down continues.
The Yogic concept of food however, takes into consideration the total dimension of human existence. Yoga believes, apart from the atoms and molecules of which our gross physical body is made, we possess prana, mind, intellect, emotions and the spiritual dimensions. Yoga is the process by which we bring an integration of the entire personality at all these levels. If the stamina of the body is to be developed, the prana should be brought to a harmonious balance, the mind should be calmed down, the emotion should be stabilized and the intellect should be under total control.
Samkhya means ‘right knowledge’; it also means ‘numbers’. Samkhya is one of the oldest systems of Indian philosophy. It occupies a unique place among the six systems of Indian philosophy. Almost all branches of Indian literature reflect the influence of Samkhya Philosophy. This system is sometimes, described as the ‘atheistic Yoga’ as distinguished from Yoga Philosophy, which is also referred as ‘Theistic Samkhya. This system is accepted as the main opponent of Vedanta Philosophy which is a non-dualistic philosophy; whereas, Samkhya maintains a clear-cut dualism between Purusha (Pure Consciousness, soul) and Prakriti (nature, manifested being, mind-body complex); further maintains the plurality of Purusha, and is silent on God. It is often also referred as pluralistic spiritualism, an atheistic realism and uncompromising dualism.
International Day of Yoga(IDY), is celebrated annually on 21 June since its inception in 2015. The idea of International Day of Yoga was formally proposed by the current Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), on 27 September 2014. He stated;
Yoga is science of life carrying
in it the mystery of conservation of health and complete transformation of
life. Its techniques offer remedies of health and hygiene chiefly because these
are half therapy. Yogic therapy contributes to the integration of personality
through healthy body and mind with minimum of time, effort and expense. This is
attained by promotive, preventive and curative methods. Whereas Promotive
methods bring in homeostatic functioning in the body, Preventive methods
protect individuals from exposure to bad influences and Curative methods bring
cure in the disturbed psychophysiological function.
Hatha Yoga is one of the first types of Yoga with which people have become acquainted world over. Most of the physical formats of Yoga as are popular today are all types of Hatha Yoga. The word ‘hatha’ consists of two seed words – ‘ha’ (sun) means ‘prana’ or energy flowing within the body and ‘tha’ (moon) means the mind or mental energy. Hatha means to bring balance in the energies of the sun and moon, or unify the vital energy of the body with the mental energy.
Education is not just the
amassing of information and its purpose is not mere career hunting. It is a
means of developing a fully integrated personality and enabling one to grow
effectively into the likeness of the ideal that one has set before oneself.
Student life is precious period of inner culture, a period concerned with the
very important task of laying the foundation of one’s character and
personality. Upon this alone depends the making of one’s life.
Thoughts come from the minute we wake up until the minute we fall asleep, and even after that they are in our dreams. We undeniably need voluntary thinking, but how to silence involuntary thoughts – thoughts that brings down efficiency, is the cause of stress, anxiety and depression!