The Benefits of the Gita’s Approach To the Practice of Yoga

While the Gita acknowledges the traditional yoga of knowledge, with its renunciation of the world and its attempt to attain the silent, immutable Eternal as its goal, it also notes the difficulty of this particular path and the strenuous efforts it requires to suppress all of the natural tendencies and energies of life in order to achieve the result. The Gita therefore recommends another route. Sri Aurobindo explains:

“The Yogin of exclusive knowledge imposes on himself a painful struggle with the manifold demands of his nature; he denies them even their highest satisfaction and cuts away from him even the upward impulses of his spirit whenever they imply relations or fall short of a negating absolute. The living way of the Gita, on the contrary, finds out the most intense upward trend of all our being and by turning it Godwards uses knowledge, will, feeling and the instinct for perfection as so many puissant wings of a mounting liberation.”

The way of the seeker of the Gita hinges upon accepting and seeing the Divine in all things. “When they meditate on him with a Yoga which sees none else, because it sees all to be Vasudeva, he meets them at every point, in every moment, at all times, with innumerable forms and faces, holds up the lamp of knowledge within and floods with its divine and happy lustre the whole of existence. Illumined, they discern the supreme Spirit in every form and face, arrive at once through all Nature to the Lord of Nature, arrive through all beings to the Soul of all being, arrive through themselves to the Self of all that they are…”

“The other method of a difficult relationless stillness tries to get away from all action even though that is impossible to embodied creatures. Here the actions are all given up to the supreme Master of action and he as the supreme Will meets the will of sacrifice, takes from it its burden and assumes to himself the charge of the works of the divine Nature in us. And when too in the high passion of love the devotee of the Lover and Friend of man and of all creatures casts upon him all his heart of consciousness and yearning of delight, then swiftly the Supreme comes to him as the saviour and deliverer and exalts him by a happy embrace of his mind and heart and body out of the waves of the sea of death in this mortal nature into the secure bosom of the Eternal.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 12, The Way and the Bhakta, pp. 386-388