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The Gita and Yoga

The treatment of yoga in the Gita is also entirely different from its treatment in almost all the Upanishads. The Katha Upanishad speaks of sense control as being yoga; but sense control in the Gita is only a preliminary to yoga and not itself yoga. Most of the yoga processes described in the other Upanishads either speak of yoga with six accessories (shad-anga yoga) or of yoga with eight accessories (ashtanga yoga), more or less after the manner of Patanjali. They introduce elaborate details not only of breath control or pranayama, but also of the nervous system of the body, Ida, Pingala and sushumna, the nerve plexus, Muladhara and other similar objects, after the manner of the later works on the Shat-chakra system. Thus the Amrta-nada enumerates after the manner of Patanjali the six accessories of yoga as restraint (pratyahara), concentration (dhyana), breath control (pranayama), fixation (dharana), reasoning (tarka) and meditative absorption (samadhi), and describes the final object of yoga as ultimate loneliness of the self (kaivalya). The Amrta-bindu believes in an all-pervading Brahman as the only reality, and thinks that, since mind is the cause of all bondage and liberation, the best course for a yogin to adopt is to deprive the mind of all its objects and thus to stop the activity of the mind, and thereby to destroy it, and bring about Brahmahood. Brahman is described here as being absolutely indeterminate, uninferable, infinite and beginningless. The Kshurika merely describes pranayama, dhyana, dharana and samadhi in association with the nerves, Sushumna, Pingala, etc. and the nerve plexuses. The Tejo-bindu is a Vedantic Upanishad of the ultramonistic type, and what it calls yoga is only the way of realizing the nature of Brahman as one and as pure consciousness and the falsity of everything else. It speaks of this yoga as being of fifteen accessories (panca-dashanga yoga). These are yama (sense control through the knowledge that all is Brahman), niyama (repetition of the same kinds of thoughts and the avoidance of dissimilar ones), tyaga (giving up of the world-appearance through the realization of Brahman), silence, a solitary place, the proper posture, steadiness of mind, making the body straight and erect, perceiving the world as Brahman (drk-sthiti), cessation of all states and breath control (prana-samyamana), perceiving all objects of the mind as Brahman (pratyahara), fixing the mind always on Brahman (dharana), self-meditation and the realization of oneself as

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