krishna-arjuna

Throughout the Gītā, Krishna helps Arjuna to deepen his relationship of friendship with Krishna by encouraging him to pursue the practice of yoga. “Yoga” can mean “connection”, and Krishna makes very clear that the particular connection to be made, or reaffirmed, is with himself as bhagavān, puruṣottama, the original and ultimate person. That a relation is already existing between the living being and the ultimate person has already been established (for example, in 15.7), and Arjuna is an exemplar of such relationship.
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krishna-arjuna

Themes and concepts that are essential to the proper understanding and practice of yoga are introduced briefly in early chapters of the Bhagavad-gītā; then in later chapters these same themes receive elaboration. This we have seen in particular with the principles of sāṅkhya (analysis) and dhyāna (meditation). Similarly, we have already been introduced to the notion of bhagavān (literally, the possessor of plenitude) in earlier chapters, and this notion is dramatically and graphically demonstrated to Arjuna in Chapter 11. Now again in this fifteenth chapter (or fifteenth discourse on yoga), attention is directed to bhagavān, here referred to as puruṣottama, the ultimate person, to fill out the notion of spirit-as-person in important ways.
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krishna-arjuna

Krishna inspires Arjuna to understand more deeply about the subjects of the previous chapter, noting that understanding them can bring the highest state of yoga perfection. This chapter elaborates on a principle introduced in the previous chapter, namely, the concept of “modality” (guṇa). To be attuned to the ways that nature functions through the three modalities constitutes an important yoga practice. It alerts the yogī to the necessity to make good, conscious choices for elevating oneself from lower to higher modalities, leading to freedom from the modalities altogether.
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krishna-arjuna

We have already seen in Chapter 2, “The Yoga of Analysis,” an introduction to the practice of distinguishing matter and spirit. There, the specific issue is the difference between the physical (and mental) body, and the atemporal self. This is a crucial understanding that draws on an ancient Indian philosophical tradition called Sāṅkhya. Indeed, the title of Chapter 2, sāṅkhya-yoga, points to this tradition. Here in Chapter 13 Krishna elaborates on aspects of Sāṅkhya philosophy not mentioned in Chapter 2, and there will be further aspects of this philosophical tradition explained in Chapters 14, 17, and part of Chapter 18.
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krishna-arjuna

This short chapter (20 verses) highlights the practice of yoga as focus on the personal feature of spirit (bhagavān) as the method for progress in yoga, superior to the effort to hold attention on the impersonal aspect of spirit (brahman). Krishna also provides a graded typology of possible ways to progress in yoga, depending on temperament and ability; and he concludes the chapter with a list of qualities in a yogī that win Krishna’s affection and favor. It is also here, in featuring the principle of bhakti (devotion), that bhagavān highlights his devotion for his bhakta, one who practices devotional yoga.
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krishna-arjuna

Thus far, the Bhagavad-gītā has been predominantly constituted of bhagavān Śrī Krishna’s discourses on yoga, prompted by the pertinent questions of his dear friend, Arjuna. And in these discourses, it becomes increasingly obvious that comprehending the identity of Krishna himself is crucial to the successful practice of yoga. Indeed, in the present chapter, he will be referred to explicitly as the master, or lord, of yoga (yogeśvara).
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krishna-arjuna

Generally, yoga is conceived as a discipline, or a constellation of disciplines, that a yogī undertakes to attain a state of consciousness. In the Bhagavad-gītā, such a discipline and state of consciousness come together as engagement in relation to the master of yoga, yogeśvara, who is bhagavān. However, in the Gītā in particular, and especially in this chapter as well as chapters 12 and 15, yoga is presented as the impetus of yogeśvara to make himself accessible to the yogī.
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krishna-arjuna

As we approach the middle point of the eighteen yogas (and eighteen chapters) of the Gītā, we come to an explication of spiritual knowledge represented as both highest and hidden. Krishna assures Arjuna that this yoga practice brings direct experience of truth, which is truth grounded in righteousness; this yoga is joyfully practiced, and it is perpetually available for all human beings to practice (9.2). And, along with this list of attractive features of yoga comes a warning: Essential to success in yoga is to have a firm spirit of trust in the process; otherwise one is sure to continue to spin aimlessly in death’s cyclical pathway (9.3).
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