Dates: 03/01/2022 - 27/02/2022
Mode of Delivery: Online
Bhagavad Gita – Karma Yoga (Chapters 1-6). The time is 5000 years ago; the place: Kuruksetra; the circumstance: the biggest battle the world has ever known. So the stage is set, and Lord Krishna has arranged a most dramatic build-up so everyone’s attention is on what happens next. And when all eyes and ears are ready, Lord Krishna arranges that an intimate friend falls under the influence of His internal energy to act as a conditioned soul, bewildered by the most basic questions: ‘Who am I?’ ‘What am I meant to do?’ Lord Krishna, in response, explains to Arjuna the process of yoga and the basic transcendental knowledge needed to act in spiritual consciousness.
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Week One - Chapter One
Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra
Dhrtarastra asks Sanjaya about the events taking place at Kuruksetra. Sanjaya describes Duryodhana’s diplomacy and signs of victory for the Pandava army. Krsna, as the chariot driver of Arjuna, is ordered to drive the chariot between the armies. Seeing those assembled, Arjuna becomes apprehensive, hesitant, and overwhelmed with compassion. He argues that killing one’s family will lead to the unchastity of women, unwanted children, and the end of Vedic culture. Arjuna, deciding not to fight, casts aside his bow and sits on the chariot.
Week Two - Chapter Two
Contents of the Gita Summarized
The second chapter is a summary of the whole Bhagavad-gita. In this chapter, karma-yoga and jnana-yoga are clearly discussed, and a glimpse of bhakti-yoga is also given. Arjuna surrenders to Krsna, accepts Him as a guru, and thus changes his relationship from that of a friend to a disciple. Krishna begins His instructions by describing the individual, eternal nature of the soul, compared with the temporary nature of the body. Krishna eventually changes the topic to buddhi-yoga or working in devotional service with fixed intelligence and detachment from the fruits of action. Krishna also shows how attachment to sense enjoyment and material opulence, as described in the karma-kanda section of the Vedas, is an obstacle to the determination in devotional service. By devotional service one becomes indifferent to Vedic rituals, gains freedom from reactions, attains liberation from the cycle of birth and death, and goes back to Godhead.
Week Three - Chapter Three
While Chapter Two explains paths such as sankhya-yoga, buddhi-yoga, sense control with the help of the intelligence, and work without fruitive desire, Krishna now establishes that one should not artificially renounce activities but should perform prescribed duties with detachment. He explains a course of action for those who are not yet detached. By satisfying their desires in a religious way, they will be purified. Krishna concludes His explanation of karma-yoga by warning Arjuna not to give up prescribed duties, though there may be some imperfection in doing them. He says that everyone is forced to act according to his nature. Arjuna asks Krishna what forces us to act sinfully, and Krishna describes our eternal enemy, lust. One can conquer lust by working in Krishna consciousness with steady intelligence, fixed on knowledge of one’s pure identity.
Week Four - Chapter Four
Imparting knowledge about Himself that leads to liberation, Krishna explains how He is the ultimate goal of all paths; everyone depends upon His mercy for success. Krishna analyses action and describes how to act transcendentally. To attain this transcendental knowledge, one must control the senses and submissively approach a spiritual master and faithfully render service. Thus one will become free from reactions and understand his relationship with the Supreme. Krishna urges Arjuna to fight, armed with transcendental knowledge.
Week Five - Chapter Five
Karma-yoga — Action in Krishna Consciousness
Chapter Five opens with a question that is similar to a question Arjuna asked in Chapter Three: “Which is better, work in devotion or renunciation of work?” Krishna responds that although the results of renunciation and devotional service are ultimately the same, devotional service is superior because it frees one from reactions, so the devotees can quickly and easily achieve Him. Devotees of Krishna enjoy unlimited pleasure within by fixing the consciousness on Krishna. Always working for the welfare of all beings, they soon achieve liberation. Yogis can also attain this by astanga-yoga. Krishna introduces dhyana-yoga and elaborates on it in Chapter Six. Krishna gives the peace formula in the last verse: Lord Krishna is the supreme enjoyer and controller, and thus He is the beneficiary of all human activities.
Week Six - Chapter Six
Even in astanga-yoga, karma-yoga is necessary in the beginning. When one becomes accomplished in meditation, he ceases all disturbing mental activities. After describing the yoga practice of fixing the mind on the self, Krishna explains the yogi’s realization. Srila Prabhupada explains: “A Krishna conscious yogi is the perfect seer because he sees Krishna situated in everyone’s heart as Supersoul. He sees Krishna everywhere and everything in Krishna. Thus he sees all living entities equally.” Krishna concludes by comparing yogis with karmis, jnanis, and tapasvis. The yogi is superior to all, and among yogis, the bhakti-yogi, who always thinks of Krishna and worships Him with faith, is the best.