Yoga For Grief And Despair In The Gita Part 3

What is the cause of grief, despair, and suffering? How does one stop the mind from its constant churning? In Part 3, Swami Niranjan writes how Krishna explains to the despondent Arjun, in the middle of the battlefield, the meaning of karma yoga.

Bhagavad Gita begins with a person in grief and despair who finds it difficult to decide what his dharma is. This difficulty and indecision arises due to attachments and desires which have given birth to grief, dejection and depression.

As Sri Krishna goads Arjuna to perform action he also instructs him to keep actions and attachments separate. Actions and the desire for action or the results of actions have to be kept separate. Do not let anything affect your creative and natural skill and ability to perform.”

This is karma yoga.

“If at any point there is an expectation from the action, for the result and gain or loss, then the mind will become entangled in that action and will reap the consequences of either grief or elation.”

This is karma.

“In this manner the mind will continue to swing between grief and happiness and this swing of mind will always keep it disturbed, distracted and looking outwards.”

The mind is like the wind, never still, and impossible to stop. Arjun questions how it is possible to stop the mind? Krishna explains that it is possible. This ability to stop the mind comes through training the mind with regular practice of pranayama and mantra japa (repetition of mantra).

“This ability comes with abhyasa and vairagya. Abhyasa means practice and vairagya means detachment from actions. In the Yoga Sutras, Rishi Patanjali describes abhyasa as constant, continuous practice and effort, which has been sustained over a long period, with faith. Through abhyasa one can attain mastery or perfection of the practice. Sri Krishna has said the same thing; it is possible to manage the upheavals of the mind with practice. Practice means following a system, a sequence of changing the perception and awareness, and observing the physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions of human experience.”

The Bhagavad Gita, like the Yoga Sutras, is a book of psychology, a book of life lived through yoga philosophy. Understanding the mind, observing it, knowing it, is crucial to keeping it under check.

“Passion resides in the senses, mind and intelligence, and disturbs the pranas of the body. One cannot control the passions, but one can manage the pranas, and through the pranas control the passions. Therefore Sri Krishna instructs Arjuna in the practice of pranayama. To reduce attachment, to reduce mental and sensorial attractions, to overcome insecurities and fears, to manage anxieties and the aggressive character, Sri Krishna teaches the method of pratyahara. To overcome passion which disturbs the energies and forces of body and mind, he teaches pranayama. The basic pranayama is nadi shodhana (alternate nostril)– which is the simplest and the most intense also. As you increase the length of your respiration, with continued slow and deep breathing, the flows in ida and pingala nadis are balanced.”

Instructions for a higher type of meditation is :

“Hold the body perfectly still, gaze at the eyebrow centre and with the gaze fixed at the eyebrow centre stop looking at everything else. Fix the mind on the inner self and remember God.”

This is done by repeating a mantra and visualizing the form of the inner guide.

To get your own context and meaning, it is best to go directly to the article.

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