Transcendental Meditation

The foundations of yoga: Bhagavad Gita

Yoga. What’s it all about?

If you are one of those who want to dive deep into things, then read this article by William F. Sands, Ph.D. We bring you a teaser.

Lord Krishna’s teaching presents a comprehensive study of yoga philosophy, but according to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation program, its essence can be summarized in just two verses.

Lord Krishna’s teaching in Bhagavad Gita (part of the Indian epic Mahabharata) presents a comprehensive study of yoga philosophy, but according to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation program, its essence can be summarized in just two verses.

Established in Yoga Perform Action

“Established in Yoga, O winner of wealth, perform actions having abandoned attachment and having become balanced in success and failure, for balance of mind is called Yoga.” – Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita, 2.48

This verse has generated a variety of interpretations. Yoga-sthah (established in yoga) is often thought to mean something like be firm in the practice of yoga. As part of this understanding, one should behave in certain ways: One should abandon attachment to the material world and maintain a more balanced attitude toward success and failure (and by extension all of the pairs of opposites), and this will supposedly bring a more even state of mind.

But in Maharishi’s view, yoga in this verse is not a practice—it is not something you do—it is the experience of one’s inner Self, the infinitely blissful, infinitely intelligent pure consciousness that is beyond the three gunas.

It is the state of yoga to which this verse addresses itself, not the yoga practices—Lord Krishna is describing the goal, not the path.

Yoga, a state of consciousness

This is not to say that the asanas (yoga postures) and pranayamas (yoga breathing exercises) are not yoga. They are part of the path of yoga, which includes those techniques and procedures that support the experience of the state of yoga, the inner experience of the Self.

Maharishi further explains that over time, this inner state of yoga becomes increasingly a part of waking experience—it becomes a constant feature of life, a state of enlightenment. That is what Lord Krishna means when he says established in yoga—he is describing that state of consciousness in which the inner experience of yoga is never lost, even during one’s normal active life.

Read full article:
“The Inner Experience of Yoga“ by William F. Sands for The Elephant Journal

foundation of yoga bhagavad gita william sands William F. Sands is Dean of the College of Maharishi Vedic Science at Maharishi University of Management, in Fairfield, IA. He holds a PhD from Maharishi University of Management and a BS from Georgetown University. He is the author of two books on Maharishi’s philosophy: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and His Gift to the World and Maharishi’s Yoga: The Royal Path to Enlightenment. Please visit his website or find him on Facebook.