Lord Krishna and Yoga
The Bhagavad Gita presents, as its main content, a
dialogue between Krishna and the Pandava hero Prince Arjuna on
the meaning of life. This dialogue takes place before the great
Mahabharata battle on the holy field of Kurukshetra.
Krishna explains the nature of the immortal Self - the Atman -
and the proper way to reach the Brahman. Krishna maintains that
people must shed the burden of karma, or residual
blameworthiness, for wrongs committed in their present and former
Krishna assures Prince Arujna that the Self, (Atman) cannot
kill or be killed, once a human body expires the Self previously
contained therein becomes available for reincarnation according
to its merits or demerits in terms of karma. Krisha urges that
given this reincarnation it would worse for Prince Arujna to
decline the battle than to fail in his duties as a warrior.
Krishna outlines three approaches towards union with
Karma Yoga - the Way of Action
Jnana Yoga - the Way of Knowledge
Bhakti Yoga - the Way of Devotion
Each person should do his or her duty with faith and without
hope of personal benefit or ambition. This faith and this
disinterestedness act to purge people following Karma Yoga of
their burden of karma. Faithless and self-interested actions
would tend to increase that burden. Only by shedding the burden
of karma can people hope to achieve release from an endless cycle
of births, deaths, and rebirths into lives involving suffering.
Jnana Yoga allows people to seek union with God through
contemplation, meditation, and the realisation that the Self
(Atman) and the World-Soul (Brahman) are One.
Under Bhakti Yoga Krishna may be worshipped as a spirit or as
an image by his followers. Every worshipper who approaches with a
sincerely loving heart is fully accepted. Krishna will accept any
offering, be it little or be it great, as long as it is made with
love. Union with Brahman, and release from the suffering inherent
to the otherwise endless cycle of births, deaths, and rebirths,
can be attained through sincere devotion to Krishna.