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Bhagavad Gita Practical Yoga

by Vidya Sury June 20, 2013 23 comments
Bhagavad Gita

When I participated in the AtoZChallenge in April 2013, I chose to write about the Bhagavad Gita  for the letter B. Little did I know that I would be meeting Vrindavan Rao, a fabulous blogger with whom I connected when she came over and commented on that post.   I visited her blog right away and found it fascinating. She has an amazing understanding of the Gita (it takes solid dedication) and I simply loved the way she interpreted the verse first, and then described it in layman’s terms, often using apt metaphors. I mentally made a note that I must invite her over to guest post.

Today I am delighted to welcome Vrindavan Rao, author of  Everyday Gita She describes herself as an “adventurer at heart”. She loves traveling, discovering and uncovering lost treasures. She explores and uncovers the gems of each verse of the Bhagavad Gita – as it is, on her blog.

Welcome, Vrindavan!

Bhagavad Gita – Practical Yoga

by Vrindavan Rao

Bhagavad gita Verse 6.6For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.

The great yoga text, the Bhagavad Gita, is very unique.  In fact, if I had to describe it in just two words, I would probably choose:  practical yoga.

The word practical implies that something is understandable and actually doable; the word yoga means to connect or link up.  Therefore, the Gita is offering all of us a practicable process by which we can connect to our true selves (i.e the soul) and the Divine.

bhagavad gita connect with soul

Thank you, Molly Hahn

Now, in order for any process to be followed, it’s important to know what challenges one might encounter.  One of those challenges is brought up in today’s verse:  the mind.

Now I don’t know about your mind, but my mind is more often than not my worst enemy!  In order to link up to or establish a relationship with anyone or anything (whether it be a person or an idea), takes a great investment of knowledge, time and patience.  Note that none of those qualities and things comes quickly.  This is where the challenge lies.

As many of you might have experienced, an untrained mind tends to jump from the past to the future.  It’s very hard for it to stay focused on the present moment and equally challenging for it to think long-term.  The Gita offers insight as to why the mind behaves this way.

The mind is the leader of the senses.  Our senses are always craving interaction with sense objects in order to derive some pleasure.  Now you might be wondering, “What’s the harm in that?”  Firstly, it can prevent one from achieving long term goals and secondly, it doesn’t take into account that our senses are limited.  For example, the tongue likes to taste nice things but there is only so much one can eat before that sensation of pleasure turns to pain due to the stomach protesting.

Therefore, any pleasure derived from the senses is temporary.  As souls, we crave permanency, not temporality and that’s why the Gita compels one to look beyond the fleeting happiness we may derive from the senses.  But in order to do that, one needs to learn to control the mind.

Bhagavad Gita Krishna Conch

The two essential tools one needs in order to control the mind are these:

  • Practice
  • Detachment

We constantly get opportunities to ignore the mind demands and many times might fail.  For example, we may be committed to an exercise schedule but when the time comes to leave the house to go to the gym, we might listen to our minds and indulge in a brownie and watch tv instead.  Practice means recognizing when and if we fail and trying to do better next time.

Detachment means to realize that we are the eternal soul and not the external packaging of the body; this comes from practicing mantra meditation and hearing from advanced bhakti yoga practitioners.  When we start to identify ourselves as eternal, then we become more aware of the fact that temporary happiness is not as satisfying as we thought it was.  That in turn can act as an impetus for one to seek out how we can tune into the limitless happiness that is lying dormant within.

So, coming back to my description of the Bhagavad Gita being “practical yoga”, I also say this because it is applicable to everyone.  These tips in controlling the mind can help anyone whether they wish to achieve eternal happiness or whether they just want to become a more focused and centered individual.  If you’d like to make your mind your best friend, feel free to try it out!

Thank you, Vrindavan!

Bhagavad GitaVrindavan Rao was born into the bhakti tradition and grew up enveloped in it. However, her personal discovery of the bhakti path began in 2004 when she had the opportunity to go to a Vedic College in Belgium and since that time she has embraced it completely. Her love for travel has given her the opportunity to study Vedic texts, such as the Bhagavad-gita, in places such as India, Canada, Belgium, Ukraine and the United States under the guidance of several advanced practitioners.  She especially loves the Bhagavad Gita and refers to it as her “Guidebook for Life” since it contains practical answers for complicated questions and is currently writing a daily blog on every verse of the Gita!  In addition, you can keep track of all the happenings of EverydayGita on Facebook and via Twitter.

Her background is in science and she not only has a Bacherlor’s degree in Biochemistry, but also a Masters in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology. In her free time she loves to read, write, meditate, offer workshops on bhakti yoga and lead kirtan.

Question for you, dear readers:

What do you think of Practical Yoga as described by Vrindavan?

Please share your thoughts in your comment!

Bhagavad Gita Krishna

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Chicky June 20, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Practical indeed. Befriend the mind, and live in bliss. I recently read Osho’s Awareness. He has also outlined some good techniques for doing that. In the end, it all just boils down to practice and detachment. Remembering that we are not the body, and not giving up if we fail.
A well-written article. I must check out her take on the rest of BG. Thanks for featuring her here, Vidya 🙂
Chicky recently posted…Junior Radha Rani: Photo A Day – Cute

Vidya Sury June 20, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Hi Chicky! Yes, I like the way Vrindavan has simplified the interpretation to practice and detachment too – even if it is sometimes hard to implement. 🙂 Do check out her blog – it is a delight to read! I haven’t read “Awareness” but have read some of Osho’s philosophies in snippets. Mindfulness is an amazing state to be in! Thank you for commenting, Chicky!

Vrindavan June 21, 2013 at 12:32 am

Hi Chicky! Thank you so much. I can “practical” to be the highest of compliments. After all, what good is anything if it can’t be applied in real life, right? Making the mind one’s best friend can be tricky but well worth the effort! Please consider this a personal invitation to visit http://www.everydaygita.com and comment. 🙂

Elle June 21, 2013 at 2:57 am

Thanks for the introduction to Vrindavan, Vidya. This was a fascinating read for me, filled with fabulous tips for us all to be more truly aware of living.

Elle recently posted…How To Make Your Bad Day Better

Vrindavan June 21, 2013 at 3:41 am

Thank you so much Elle! Pleasure to meet you here. So happy that you found it to be helpful. 🙂

Vidya Sury June 21, 2013 at 7:41 am

Thank you, Elle! You will love Vrindavan’s blog! Hugs!

Kris June 21, 2013 at 7:35 am

I never finished reading the BG. I got hung up on why would god (Krishna) want Arjuna to kill his cousins. I need to go back to it. I want to try this detachment practice.

Vidya Sury June 21, 2013 at 7:42 am

🙂 Kris, that was the first question that worried me when I read the Mahabharata. But the reasoning in the Bhagavad Gita is truly beautiful. I would love to know what you think when you read it! Thank you for visiting!

Vrindavan June 21, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Hi Kris! Thanks so much for stopping by. Yes, I can understand why one would get caught up on that aspect…I actually address that a lot in my blog, so feel free to check it out. I would also say that getting a really good understanding of the Gita depends greatly on the version you are reading. Many versions are a reflection of the writers perspective and that can actually veer the reader away from the essence of the Gita. If you don’t have it, I would highly recommend picking up The Bhagavad Gita As It is by Swami Prabhupada.

With respect to trying out the detachment practice, you might find this interesting: http://www.gita-asitis.blogspot.ca/2013/04/acting-without-attachment-to-result.html

Vrindavan recently posted…taming the green-eyed monster

Julia Shanon June 21, 2013 at 7:52 am

yes i think the practical yoga mentioned by Vrindavan is true, is the process when we link our body mind soul when we are focusing ourselves.
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Vrindavan June 21, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Hi Julia! For me, it’s all about practicality! After all, if we can’t actually implement a process that can help us, what’s the use! 🙂
Vrindavan recently posted…taming the green-eyed monster

Ruchira June 21, 2013 at 10:40 am

The Bhagwad Geeta is a wonderful guiding force which we must use in our life. Thank you for this post Vrindavan. Once we control our mind and senses the battle is won isn’t it !
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Vrindavan June 21, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Love your comment Ruchira! Beautifully said! The Gita is a wonderful guiding force. 🙂 Once the mind and senses are controlled…the battle is almost won! Then it’s just about getting in touch with our true nature – of being an eternal soul and reviving our forgotten relationship with the Supreme.
Vrindavan recently posted…taming the green-eyed monster

Bhavya June 21, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Thank you Vidya, for introducing me to such a wonderful blog and blogger. It takes great amounts of practice and patience and dedication to understand the Gita like Vrindavan has, and I am grateful that you choose to share that knowledge with us.
Thank you.
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Vrindavan June 21, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Thank you so much for your kind comment Bhavya! I too am so grateful to Vidya for having me over. I hope you’ll stop by and visit http://www.everydaygita.com 🙂
Vrindavan recently posted…taming the green-eyed monster

Anne-Sophie June 22, 2013 at 7:10 am

I love that you mention practice. I find that if we are consistent and persistant in practicing to work with our thoughts and our mind instead of against ourselves, we can really make great leaps forward and towards peace of mind and balance.
Anne-Sophie recently posted…Are you making these newbie body-love mistakes?

Vrindavan June 23, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Hi Anne-Sophie! Consistency really is key. It’s not enough that we just practice…we need to be consistent in our efforts to practice as well. Thank you so much for offering such valuable insight!

Corinne Rodrigues June 22, 2013 at 8:58 am

So nice to see Vrindavan over at your space, Vidya.
Vrindavan has such a knack of making spirituality so easy to understand.
I love the way all religions converge – practice and detachment are two concepts that are part of every religious teaching.
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Vrindavan June 23, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Corinne, you are such a sweetheart. I too am so grateful and honoured that Vidya had me over. Such a wonderful comment you made about all religions all converging on the most important points – the essence being: to teach us to love God 🙂
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Betsy/Zen Mama June 22, 2013 at 10:22 am

Vidya and Vrindavan Rao,
I really enjoyed reading about your yoga practice and your two tips to quiet the mind during the practice. I also love hearing more about the Bhagavad Gita. I think that detachment is a big issue to control and quiet the mind as well. The more I practice detachment the happier I am, and the happier the people around me are.
Thanks Vidya for introducing us to Vrindavan!
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Vrindavan June 23, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Hi Betsy! Such a pleasure to meet you here! Please feel free to stop by anytime to visit http://www.everydaygita.com. Please consider this a personal invitation. You might enjoy a post I wrote on the practical aspects of how we can easily practice detachment: http://www.gita-asitis.blogspot.ca/2013/04/acting-without-attachment-to-result.html Have a wonderful day! 🙂
Vrindavan recently posted…service: the solution to envy

Suzy June 22, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Detachment is such a difficult thing to truly practice. It took me a long time to understand its true meaning. A great post Vrindavan. The Gita is truly insightful.
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Vrindavan June 23, 2013 at 10:48 pm

THanks so much Suzy. What you say is true…detachment can be difficult to practice…but it is possible. So happy that we have the Gita to help us not only understand these concepts but how we can practically practice it as well. 😀
Vrindavan recently posted…service: the solution to envy


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