Chapter II, Verse 41
Sri Nerode’s Translation:
In Yoga, O, the glory of the Kurus (Arjuna), there is but a single one-pointed determination (which is self-knowledge); many-sided and endless are indeed the thoughts and purposes of the irresolute and undecided.
All limbs of yoga depend upon the focused mind. Concentration is required for successful practice. When the blind mind and limited intellect remain unfocused, they create endless dead ends in “yoga-inspired” practices. The intellect is a tool of consciousness not it’s container. When the tool runs without an operator (the intellect unguided by intuition), unlimited forms of destructive beliefs and behaviors are produced.
Learning how to concentrate and practicing concentration is a pre-requisite to successful yoga. Concentration is like a fire that bakes the ingredients of yoga practice in the final product.
Compare a raw, unbaked cake to one that has just been successfully baked in the oven. The difference between “going through the motions” of yoga practice while the mind wanders versus “practicing yoga with concentration” is like the difference between a raw cake and a baked one.
Don’t worry if concentration is lacking in the beginning. Practice to make the mind more focused. Even as a half-baked cake might have some portions that can be salvaged for consumption, so also while one learns the discipline of being single-minded he accrues some benefits from yoga.
Krishna refers to Arjuna as Kurunandana in this verse. That moniker refers to the progenitor of all humanity. Success whether for good or evil requires concentration and self-discipline. The seven limbs of yogic practice offer something for everyone. Yoga does not discriminate between the intentions of the practitioners. The seven limbs of yoga include:
- Raja Yoga – The “royal” system includes meditation techniques and aspects of the other six yogic systems.
- Bhakti Yoga – The “devotional” system focuses on all surrendering love for everything.
- Jnana Yoga – The system of “wisdom.” Wisdom in this yoga system is defined as cosmic (or divinely guided) intuition.
- Karma Yoga – The system of “service.” Perform all activity, from the briefest thought to the building of universes for the Conscious experience only. Not for outcome.
- Laya Yoga – The system of “listening to sound(s).”
- Mantra Yoga – Also called “Japa Yoga.” The system of repetition of root sounds.
- Hatha Yoga – The physical system of postures, stretching and breathing techniques.
However, even one who is not attracted to yoga should still learn to concentrate. Focused attention promotes success in any endeavor. For successful practice of yoga, a steady mind is indispensable.
Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:
Kurunandana – The Common Ancestor of both the Pandavas and the Kauravas (the two armies poised for battle).
Kurunandana represents all, both good and bad. As the progenitor of both dynasties, Kurunandana is the father of all human action that has come to pass on this battlefield. Historically, the Kurus center of power was located in Kurukshetra, which in the Bhagavad Gita represents the ego-enslaved soul limited to the blind intellect.
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