29) The Ishvara Gita

While  Lomaharshana  was  reciting  the  Kurma  Purana  to  the  assembled  sages,  Krishna Dvaipayana Veda Vyasa arrived on the scene. Lomaharshana and the other sages requested Veda Vyasa to instruct them about the path to true knowledge. This is what Veda Vyasa told them.


The Paramatman (the divine soul) is the only truth. It is ever pure and ever present. It is from the Paramatman that the universe is created and it is into the Paramatman that the universe merges at the time of its destruction. The Paramatman is not the earth. It is not water, energy, wind or sky. It cannot be touched, nor can it be sensed.


The Paramatman is always present in the jivatman (human soul). Any sense of distinction between the Paramatman and the jivatman is due to illusions and the presence of the ego. The truly learned rise above such illusions. Therefore, a wise person does not see any distinction between his own self and other objects. The same Paramatman pervades everything. Just as all rivers unite with the ocean, a learned person realises that all individuals jivatmans unite with the Paramatman.


Yoga (literally, union) is a technique of meditation that helps to bring about this sense of identity between the jivatman and the Paramatman. Yoga has eight components. The first is Pranayama. This means the control of one’s breath. The breath of life is known as prana and ayama means control. There are three parts to any Pranayama exercise. When the breath is being exhaled, that


is known as rechaka; and the process of inhalation is known as puraka. When the breath is neither being inhaled nor exhaled, that is kumbhaka.


The second component of yoga is pratyahara. This connotes the control of one’s senses. Yoga must always be performed in a proper posture and this is the third component of asana. The fourth component is called yama. This means the practice of non-violence, truthfulness and pity. The fifth  component  is  known as  niyama. This  encompasses  worship,  studying the Vedas, cleanliness and meditation.


Yoga has a sixth component named dhyana. In this process, one conjures up an image of the Paramatman and meditates continuously on it. The process of fixing this image in one’s heart is the seventh component, dharana. And the final component, samadhi, is a situation where the individual realises the complete identity between the jivatman and the Paramatman.

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