The Bhagawad Gita is a part of the epic, Mahabharata, which is a story of princely clans running over many generations. And the eighteen chapters of the Bhagawad Gita are all named as different Yogas. These are the eighteen chapters of dialogue between Krishna and Arjun.
Only if we understand the setting of the Bhagawad Gita, would we know the meaning of Yoga. Why is Yoga needed in the first place? Krishna delivers eighteen chapters, one after the other to Arjun. Starting from ‘Vishada Yoga’, to ‘Saankhya Yoga’, to ‘Karma Yoga’, to ‘Karm Sanyasa’, ‘Gyana Yoga’.
What is the need for Yoga?
Yoga is needed only when a man experiences contradictory forces.
When a mind feels that it is divided between various segments of influence, and the segments are contradicting and competing with each other; then that which brings peace and resolution to the mind is called Yoga.
Yoga, hence is the only thing relevant to anybody who is mired in strife, tension, indecision, attachment, grief, memories.
And if one’s position is not the same as that of Arjun, then Yoga is irrelevant.
The setting of the Mahabharata is highly symbolic. The battleground is not really a physical battleground, it is indicative of the world itself.
Our world is a battleground in which we are positioned against those with whom we have relationships. Arjun’s predicament is our own confusion. Through all the literal signs we are shown the situation of our own life, and in the character of Arjun, ourselves.
And then we are introduced to something that Krishna calls ‘Yoga’.
Yoga is what Krishna offers to Arjun as freedom from that situation. The path to end suffering.
And what kind of suffering is it with Arjun? Is it physical suffering? Is Arjun trying to realise God and failing?
Well, Arjun is a stout warrior, physically strong. He is the best archer, and no one can match him. There is nothing wrong with his physicality. So, Yoga is not being offered as a treatment to some ailment.
Yoga is the coming together of the various divided fragments of the mind.
It is to have an undivided mind, one that is not…