Astanga Yoga in Patanjali and the Gita: a Comparison
WITH EDWIN BRYANT
The Gita defines yoga very differently from Patanjali, given the text's emphasis on action in the world. But it does accept and outline a version of Patanjali's citta-vritti-nirodhah type of yoga, which it calls dhyana (and the commentaries call astanga), in its 5th and 6th chapters. There were two types of Yoga, Krishna tells Arjuna: the generic dhyana type, but also an action in the world type. This latter, Krishna says, became lost in time, and He presents himself as reestablishing this lost action yoga, encouraging Arjuna to follow this. But the Gita nonetheless honors the Patanjalian type. This lecture will focus on the verses in chapter 5 and 6 of the Gita that express an astanga type practice, and compare these with verses in Patanjali. Comparative attention will also be paid to the action in the world yoga, which the Gita favors, and which culminates in bhakti.
The Yoga Sutras: Mastering The Game of Life
WITH REVEREND JAGANATH CARRERA
In every game, there is a goal, a purpose behind the game’s actions. It is usually the first thing about a game that we learn. This is because it is only when we understand the goal and keep it in mind that the rules of the game start to make sense. Additionally, the rules – the list of actions that are allowed or disallowed – help make the game an interesting challenge.
However, if we do not know what the goal is, the rules lose their meaning. They are reduced to a collection of random acts that lead nowhere and only add to a feeling of confusion and anxiety. This is how we often feel about life. We are like ships without rudders trying to navigate seas with unpredictable currents and storms. That is why our first order of business in attempting to master the game of life, as with any game, is to find out what the ultimate goal is.
This is precisely the subject of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Join Rev. Jaganath Carrera in exploring this teaching as it outlines the Ultimate Goal and the rules for Mastering the Game of Life.
One Sutra for a Lifetime
WITH NIKKI COSTELLO
"I accepted the invitation to teach yoga over 22 years ago. The transformation that was taking place within me had created a well of enthusiasm to draw from, and yet, when I began to speak about yoga, the vastness of the subject was overwhelming. There was one sutra I could hold on to.
Young people sat in front of me each day, and it was my responsibility to engage them in the subject. What I quickly recognized was that their presence was giving me purpose. My studentship accelerated, and in my own practice they were there with me, as I studied the asanas in my body, for their bodies. I found myself observing students in class and later critiquing myself and all the ways I could have explained or demonstrated something better. This type of contemplation also known as self-inquiry led to ongoing refinement and the realization that I was having an inner dialogue with the subject of yoga that filled my days and inspired a new focus in my life.
The first sutra I heard, sthira sukham asanam, was the thread that tethered me to the practice and has continued to reveal its essence with greater clarity, depth and experiential wisdom. In the hatha yoga tradition, it is one we repeat with discipline and regularity. Yet, beyond its Steady walls there is an inexplicable Joy that words aim to describe and only time and practice can reveal."
Surrender Unto Me: The theme of the Gita and the Essence of Yoga
WITH DHANURDHARA SWAMI
Dhanurdhara Swami will explore in depth the concept of devotional surrender to the Lord (Isvara) and show by classical hermeneutics how it is undoubtedly the theme of the Gita and the essence of all yoga practices.
The Bhagavad Gita: Understanding the Self, Duty, Death, Reincarnation, and God
WITH PANDIT DASA
The Gita is the most prominent wisdom text of India and has been commented on more than any other Hindu text. Making up a fraction of the greater epic, the Mahabharata, it covers, within a short 700 verses, the essential lessons that can enable an individual to live a life that engages body, mind, and soul.
In this lesson, we will address the highly controversial topic of Krishna (God) encouraging the warrior Arjuna to engage in a fratricidal war to reacquire the kingdom. We will board the chariot with Arjuna and attempt to put ourselves in his shoes as he faces the biggest dilemma of his life and possibly the biggest dilemma any human has ever encountered, warring against ones own family members.
We will explore the concepts of material dharma (duty) and spiritual dharma and understand the true nature and purpose of the self. The question of whether we live only once or have lived before and will continue to live, will also be addressed through a scientific lens.
The Hero's Journey: the Bhagavad Gita as Monomyth
WITH JOSHUA M. GREENE
In this one-hour presentation, author-lecturer Joshua M. Greene provides listeners with a unique and exciting way to grasp the Gita’s core concepts and themes. This popular talk includes a summary of the Gita’s 18 chapters, an overview of Gita’s place in the history of spiritual journeys, and practical advice for bringing the Gita’s millennial wisdom into contemporary context.
The Rishis' Wisdom: Yoga Sutra & Bhagavad Gita
In this Sanskrit Studies & Luminous Soul session, Manorama shares how both the Yoga Sutra & the Bhagavad Gita are revealed texts. She shares in-depth teachings around select sutras from the first chapter of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. She then threads through how the Bhagavad Gita though different in Sanskrit structure similarly offers the student of yoga guidance on how to stay connected with the light of God through all experiences.
Arjuna and Climate Change: a Thought Experiment Inspired by the Bhagavad Gita
WITH MATTHEW REMSKI
A yogi stands on the battlefield of an impending conflict. He can see in the faces of his compatriots and rivals the inevitable history that's brought them there. He can see that friends and villains alike need care, support, resources, and autonomy. He knows the earth cannot provide for every desire and that civilization groans under the weight of its own expansion. He knows there will be mass chaos and too many deaths to count. What should he do? How can he help?
We're talking about Arjuna at Kurukshetra, pleading to Krishna for advice. But we might as well be talking about our own lives on the precipice of climate disaster. What does the Gita have to say about taking action in times of critical uncertainty? How can knowledge and service be supported by longing and devotion? How can robust personal action lead away from pride, and into an understanding of interdependence?
In this presentation, we'll look at two modern-day Arjunas on the battlefield of climate change. They may not be devotees of Krishna, but each in their way, they face the perennial dilemmas of the Gita with uncompromising grace.
Aversion vs. Connection: the Goal of Yoga and its Evolution
WITH CHRISTOPHER TOMPKINS
New Findings that Change our Understanding of the Yoga-sūtra
WITH CHRISTOPHER "HAREESH" WALLIS
Many people don't realize that the field of critical scholarship on Sanskrit literature is still relatively young, and therefore we make new discoveries all the time. In fact, some crucial new breakthroughs have been made in the last few years that change our understanding of the Yoga-sūtra significantly. In this new talk, I will summarize these findings and what they mean for all those who study and practice yoga thoughtfully. Specifically, we will address the influences on the Yoga-sūtra; the identities of Patañjali and 'Vyāsa'; the real meaning of Yoga-sūtra 1.2 and of the word 'anga'; and Vedāntic criticisms of AND commentaries on the Yoga-sūtra. Though it might sound academic, this talk is delivered in an accessible manner and I take care to point out why these issues matter.