The Wide-Ranging Synthesis of the Gita

One of the unique aspects of the Bhagavad Gita is that people approach it from their own viewpoint and find their particular path supported. The Gita, with its embracing approach, lends itself to being seen through numerous lenses, although in reality, it is none of them and all of them at the same time. As we move systematically through the Gita, we shall find passages that appear to be Vedantic, Vaishnava, or Theistic. It is therefore also essential that we understand the movement of the Gita through these various aspects not as a doctrinaire approach of one or another philosophical or religious viewpoint, but as a spotlight on each successive aspect of a more comprehensive understanding of life’s meaning and purpose. What we see is a sequencing through time of a unifying vision and experience. This sequencing takes the form of linear expression in language in successive segments.

Sri Aurobindo clarifies this issue: “The thought of the Gita is not pure Monism although it sees in one unchanging, pure, eternal Self the foundation of all cosmic existence, nor Mayavada although it speaks of Maya of the three modes of Prakriti omnipresent in the created world; …..nor is it Sankhya although it explains the created world by the double principle of Purusha and Prakriti; nor is it Vaishnava Theism although it presents to us Krishna, who is the Avatar of Vishnu according to the Puranas, as the supreme Deity….”

“The Gita is not a weapon for dialectical warfare; it is a gate opening on the whole world of spiritual truth and experience and the view it gives us embraces all the provinces of that supreme region. It maps out, but it does not cut up or build walls or hedges to confine our vision.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 1, Our Demand and Need from the Gita, pg. 6,