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Question. There are may paths described in Bhagavad Gita, and each is praised to be the best. Which one we should follow? What is the message of  Gita?

 Hamsa. You take the path that suits you the best. Paths may appear different, but the goal is one.   There are people of different background, temperament, aptitude etc. All people are not alike, and one single path will not suit everyone. By giving different paths, provision is made for every type of taste to take care of every aspirant. Each is described to be the best  to make it appealing, and no one should feel bad because his path is inferior; and if one particular path is named as the best, then everyone will try to follow that path alone. Actually each path is capable of taking an aspirant to the same goal.  Jnana yoga, karma yoga, raja yoga, and bhakti yoga are the different paths.  Take the one you like the best, and you need not stick to one particular path alone, you can combine two or all of them if you so wish. In fact it is advantageous to blend  two or all the paths for achieving the goal; and they all overlap as there is no hard and fast demarcation, as you can see in Bhagavadgita.

Message of Gita:  Body is not the Atma, It is the indweller, all pervading, all knowing, beyond all sense and mind perceptions, formless, birthless, deathless, attribute less, immutable, free from pain and pleasures, growth and decay, not killed when the body is killed. Birth and death are only to the body, and the suffering is for the mind. Atma is free from all these. This is the highest knowledge. How man is concerned with this knowledge( sambandha), what are the fruits(phalam) or benefits of such knowledge, and what are the means (sadhana) of  attaining it, who is qualified  (adhikari), what are the qualifications or preparations required? Srimadbhagavadgita describes all these in detail.

Due to ignorance man thinks body is Atma, world as it appears to sense organs in waking is real, desires to enjoy life and so suffers misery of samsara; but at the same time wants, rather strives, to come out of  the suffering and wants to be peaceful. Termination of all sufferings, birth and death, and attaining eternal peace and immortality is the fruit of the knowledge. He who is frustrated in life and has intense desire to terminate it, is concerned with this knowledge. Having said about fruits and the person concerned with it, four paths, namely, karma yoga, jnana yoga, bhakti yoga and raja yoga are discussed as the means to attaining the goal. Karma yoga is the unselfish action, in order to purify the mind full of desires. Man is loaded with lower animal instinct,  three gunas and   demonic  nature. He must do his duty unselfishly, giving up all likes, dislikes, profit, loss, good, bad aspects and work with sole intention of purifying the heart. Selfish actions will lead to more suffering and bondage. He should control all senses, withdraw the mind from external world , control his breath, sit in a lonely, isolated place and meditate on the nature of Atma. This constitutes the raja yoga.  Simultaneously offer all fruits of action to God, and do work as worship which becomes devotion or bhakti yoga. See God in everything. Body is only a field of action for the soul to purify itself. Renounce attachments, surrender everything to God, your actions, speech, thoughts, all possessions and your own self, and by His grace you will attain immortality.  This is bhakti and sanyasa yoga. Having attained control over senses, the purity and concentration of mind he should approach for the knowledge of Atma  a realised sage, and serve him with devotion, who will instruct him. All his sufferings, karma, and samsara will burn down to ashes when he attains the highest knowledge of Atma and will attain equanimity and immortality.

Very briefly this is  the message of Gita.    

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Last Updated: Sat Dec 25, 2004