What is the meaning of Yoga according to Gita? Is there different types of Yoga? Significance of the word "Yoga" used many times in Bhagavat Gita?


1 Answer 1



Yoga (the ultimate Union) = SannyAsa (retirement from birth/death cycle)

In layman's term, Yoga means exiting the game of life. If you (Purusha / Kshetragna) are watching a movie (Prakruti) & are supremely bored or disinterested (UdAsina) in whatever is happening to various characters (triguna interaction) in the silver screen (Kshetra) then despite having eyes & ears opened & munching popcorn (Indriya bhoga), you will be completely blank in mind (Yoga / ni-Sankalpa) & won't be thinking even a single bit of the movie (Jeevanmukta). Provided an exit from the theatre, you won't return to see it again (Moksha).


Very good Qn. The traditional meaning of Yoga, which is more about keeping mental & physical healths fit, is not found anywhere in Gita. What we practice as Yoga in today's time are merely gymnastics & de-stressing exercises, which is found in various forms & names in all major cultures of world.

According to Gita:

  • Yoga = Union with the Supreme One
  • Supreme One = true Self or Atma (the 'Me')
  • Atma = whatever remains after applying "Neti Neti"
  • Neti Neti = applying "not this, not this" on everything
  • Everything = whichever is even thinkable
  • Thinkable = induces thoughts

So if we join the above chain, then Yoga tends to renouncing thoughts (any Sankalpa).

BG 6.1 - Blessed lord said, without depending on the result of action, the one who performs action as duty -- that is retired (sannyAsi) and seeker of the Union (Yogi); and not the one, who's without fire and without action
BG 6.2 - O PAndava, what they say as Retirement (sannyAsa), know that to be the Union (Yoga); Without retiring from thoughts (Sankalpa), no one can be a seeker of the Union (Yogi)

SannyAsa - Retirement and TyAga - Renunciation are often used interchangeably, due to their proximity of meanings


Yoga = SannyAsa
Karma Yoga = Karma SannyAsa
Renouncing result of actions = Renouncing [majority] actions

That's explained in detail here: How do the scriptures describe an ideal Sanyasi?

Note that result of Yoga is also considered same as the result of SAmkhya.

BG 5.5 — What state is achieved by SAmkhya-s, that is attained by Yogi-s also; Who sees SAmkhya & Yoga as one(same), sees [correctly]

Types of Yoga

In my observations, based on competitive verses of Gita, 4 types of Yoga are there in descending order:

  1. Karma yoga (sAtvika tyAga)
  2. DhyAna yoga (meditation)
  3. GyAna yoga (similar to SAmkhya)
  4. Kriya yoga (practicing breathing etc.; probably includes traditional yoga)

BG 12.12 - "Knowledge" (GyAna) is surely superior to "Practice" (Kriya); "Meditation" (DhyAna) surpasses "Knowledge". "Renouncing result of action" (TyAga) [excels] to "Meditation". From renunciation, Peace follows immediately.

Having Daivi sampada, which is the inducer of various Yoga & SAmkhya, is traditional Bhakti.

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