The Gita Ch-7. Gyan-Vigyan Yoga. -- Science of Self
The title of this chapter is Gyana-Vignana Yoga. Gyana means knowledge in a general sense, but self knowledge (Atma-Gyan) in the Gita. Vignana means Science. Science demands proof and statistics. Yoga means union. This chapter unites general knowledge, science and self-knowledge.
The opening 2 verses of this chapter introduce the subject and verses 3 & 4 present worth remembering interesting statistics. This chapter of the Gita is a beautiful master piece of science and religion, and art of successful life.
The Gita is a divine poem of practical religious literature. The Gita discusses merits and limitations of the three Vedas and correct meaning of the four class system of King Manu. The Gita analyzes 6 Hindu Darshans, Yoga being only one in the group of 6 Darshans. The Gita indicates what is Universal Eternal Religion (Sanatan Dharma) and the need of practical religion for achieving material successes, noble goals and living a successful and happy life.
The Gita is an extract of all Hindu Upanishads. The Upanishads belong to a different class of scriptures compared to Vedas. Upanishads deal with subjects of spirituality and self knowledge. Self knowledge leads to realization of One formless God and unshakable faith in God and Self.
A student must remember that the Gita is written in such a way that Lord of the Visible Universe
"King of Kings" is speaking as first person singular "I".
Bhagwan (meaning the maker of destiny of all creations)
is answering logical questions of any 'Son of Earth' (Partha) a Pandava prince Arjuna. Arjuna represents any able but confused intellectual person who wants to know his moral duties (Dharma) at any place on Earth, at any time in a war like situation.
When one hears lectures of different Indian Gurus and Swamis, an intellectual student of spirituality gets confused due to lack of scientific approach and correct English words of important Sanskrit words. There are different meanings of the same Sanskrit word, and different words are used to describe the same object in different Hindu scriptures. This leads to varying interpretations of important verses. The translations of
key words like Atma, Brahman, Jagat, Sansar, Vishva, Dharma, Karma, Kama, Yoga, Bhakti, Gyana, Vigyan, etc.,. confuse many students who do not know Sanskrit.
The Gita study becomes more confusing when a well read teacher quotes views of various past scholars (Acharyas) like Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhva and Vallabha, etc.,. who lived between the 7th and the 15th centuries AD. The student remains unclear about Adwaita (non-duality), Dwaita (Duality), Vishistha Adwaita (special non-duality), and Shuddha Adwaita (pure non-duality) preached by above four Acharyas. Sometimes their approaches are confusing and quite opposite. Their preaching have created many sub-cults (Sampradayas) in Hinduism in recent times, and started right and wrong beliefs regarding need of Gurus, Idols in temples, fire rituals, mysticism of many Gods and Goddesses , meaning of religion and spirituality.
Most teachers divide the Gita's 18 chapters into three main groups according to 3 main thought streams, namely Karma, Bhakti and Gyana, which run in the entire text of 700 verses. The first six chapters of Karma Mimansa are like hands and feet, the middle six chapters of Bhakti Mimansa are like lungs and heart, and the last six chapters of Gyana Mimansa are like the head and brain of One God in the Gita.
The first six chapters teach the path of correct actions or Karma Yoga. Karma Yoga explains how the Perfect Laws of Lord work on all living beings, at all places and at all times in an equal manner. Actions (Karma) are done by the physical body. All Karma, good or evil, are always preceded by some desires (Kama) or wants. Correct Karma done at proper time and right place bring predictable results (fruits) and many material successes (Siddhies) in any individual's life.
The middle six chapters indicate a path of devotion (Bhakti) and faith (Sharaddha) in one God. Bhakti Mimansa starts with this introductory 7th chapter "Self-knowledge and Science".
Leaving out the Sanskrit text, a bird's eye view of the 7th chapter is presented. In stead of translating the verses 'word by word' a running translation of the theme meaning is given in an essay form. Devoted study of further Chapters like Raj-Yoga (9th Ch) explains how to Unite with God, and the 11th chapter of Vishva Roop Darshan Yoga-, leads to Cosmic Vision (Darshan) of Universal Form of God. Unshakable faith in One Supreme God develops with understanding and practice of true religion described in the 12th Chapter.
The last six chapters discuss the Sankhya path or Gyana Marg. A true seeker searches and understands God by Self knowledge, Self realization and developing Self control (Atma-Sanyam). This Darshan of Kapil and Patanjali's Raj-Yoga discuss body, mind, intellect (ability of logic and reason), Ego and soul (spirit). A curious student of the Gita should also know basics of a few Hindu Darshans (Sankhya, Vedanta and Yoga), and some important theories of Buddhism and Jainism to understand the practical message of religion (Dharma) preached in the
In first two verses Bhagavan, (GOD SUPREME) indicates what HE is going to teach in this chapter.