The special contribution of the Gita is yoga

A practical training method, and not merely a text of revelation and worship – such is the true status of the ancient Sanskrit text Bhagavad Gita. It has been called the Bible of’ India, but corresponds rather to the Gospel of John; ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is within you’ or to the recently discovered Gospel of Thomas: ‘The Kingdom of God has come but you do not see it ”

The special contribution of the Gita is yoga, practical methods for expanding individual consciousness to realize the Kingdom as the supreme Self. This book presents the Gita yoga in the light of – explanations by Sankara, the great seventh-century Indian philosopher and yogi, and of the late Dr Hari Prasad Shastri, who taught in Britain from 1929. till his death in 1956. The present author’ s a pupil of Dr Shastri for eighteen years’

The Gita can be misread, as Sankara says. It is not a gradual ascent to the final devotion of the soul to a Lord high above. On the contrary, the first two teaching chapters hardly mention any such Lord: they teach the undivided supreme Self. This is a special method of teaching in the Gita, which the present author calls Teaching Down. It is explained here,’ with other examples front the Gita. The Gita is directed in the first instance at the vigorously active, with responsibilities in the world. The actual practices of yoga are given the light of the oral tradition handed on by Dr Shastri, for meeting the shock of the world energies in the form of illusions, fear, greed and ‘ anger. The whole basis of Gita yoga is confirmation through experiment not mere exhortation- “The doubts of the pupil Arjuna (usually glossed over) are fully examined, as is his false conviction of illumination. This highly significant book presents the Gita as a training manual for spiritual practice.