The Essential Sense of the Gita’s Yoga

Sri Aurobindo summarizes the essence of the Gita’s teaching in a brief passage that pulls together all the diverse threads that the Gita has systematically woven into its comprehensive practice. The setting on the battlefield is intended to convey the universality of the teaching; if it is applicable even for a warrior faced with the horrific duty of confronting and killing beloved relatives, teachers and elders, then it clearly can be applied in all other fields of life and action. The Gita is not a gospel of warfare or self-aggrandisement through brute strength and violence; on the contrary, it addresses the unity of the entire creation and the need for each individual to eventually come to understand that Oneness.

“To break out of ego and personal mind and see everything in the wideness of the self and spirit, to know god and adore him in his integral truth and in all his aspects, to surrender all oneself to the transcendent Soul of nature and existence, to possess and be possessed by the divine consciousness, to be one with the One in universality of love and delight and will and knowledge, one in him with all beings, to do works as an adoration and a sacrifice on the divine foundation of a world in which all is God and in the divine status of a liberated spirit, is the sense of the Gita’s Yoga. It is a transition from the apparent to the supreme spiritual and real truth of our being, and one enters into it by putting off the many limitations of the separative consciousness and the mind’s attachment to the passion and unrest and ignorance, the lesser light and knowledge, the sin and virtue, the dual law and standard of the lower nature.”

In the end, the seeker is asked to go beyond all specific paths, rituals, doctrines and teachings, opening himself to the spiritual consciousness and living in a state of absolute devotion and surrender to the highest principle and being of existence, the Purushottama. “…devoting all thyself to Me, giving up in thy conscious mind all thy actions into Me, resorting to Yoga of the will and intelligence be always one in heart and consciousness with Me.” Arjuna’s declaration that he will not participate is void, declares Sri Krishna, because he will be moved to the action by the Supreme’s will. “The Lord is stationed in the heart of all existences, O Arjuna, and turns them all round and round mounted on a machine by his Maya. In him take refuge in every way of thy being and by his grace thou shalt come to the supreme peace and the eternal status.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 22, The Supreme Secret, pp. 521-522