Hinduism began 4,000 years ago with pastoral nomads in the Indus Valley of ancient India. There were priests who offered sacrifices to the Gods and chanted sacred hymns, called the Vedas, which are the scriptural foundation of Hinduism.

The next era of Vedic writings were the Upanishads which described the cycle of reincarnations (samsara) driven by karma, and the desire of liberation (moksha) from this karmic bondage through the discipline of yoga. The remedy was the realization of one’s inner spiritual nature (Atman) which is a manifestation of the eternal Source (Brahman).

The most popular book in Hindu religious literature is the Bhagavad Gita, which is a portion of the Mahabharata (the longest epic poem in the world (700 verses) .) The Bhagavad Gita is a part of the Mahabharata, comprising 700 verses. The teacher is Krishna, who is regarded by the Hindus as the supreme manifestation of the Lord Himself, and is referred to as the divine one.[4] The Bhagavad Gita is commonly referred to as The Gita for short.Its primary message is that each human life has only one ultimate purpose; to realize the Eternal Self within and to find the joy of union with the Divine Ground of Being (Brahman) which is attained through devotion (bhakti) to God.

The content of the Bhagavad Gita is the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna which occurs on the battlefield before the start of the Kurukshetra war, which is a familial war between brothers. It begins with Prince Arjuna, as he becomes filled with doubt on the battlefield, realizing that his enemies are his own relatives, beloved friends and revered teachers. He turns to his charioteer and guide, Krishna, for advice. Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna his duties as a warrior and prince and elaborates on different Yogic and Vedantic philosophies. The Gita is often described as a guide to Hindu philosophy and as a practical, self-contained guide to life.

Hinduism recognizes four types of self-transformation (yoga): the yoga of action (karma), the yoga of devotion (bhakti), the yoga of knowledge (jnana) and the yoga of meditation (raja yoga). In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna teaches Arjuna about the taming of the mind through meditation.

Raja Yoga is the path to having a direct experience with Spirit (Brahman) in the stillness of meditation. Patanjali, an ancient yogi master who outlined an 8-step model.

Step 1: Moving beyond suffering to self-realization.

Human predicament is marked by ignorance (avidya), desire and aversion. How do we who are Brahman fail to know what we are? People are ignorant of their true identity as Brahman. We fail to understand our true nature. We are driven by desire for that which promises to fulfill the needs of our body and mind. Without liberating knowledge human behavior is much like animal behavior – being driven by instinctual desires and aversions. Ignorance prevents us from understanding the fix we are in. Suffering is caused by desire and ignorance. The ignorant man when consumed by longing regards desire as a friend; only after he experiences the suffering that is the inevitable effect of desire does he come to see that his pain was caused by his longing.

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Thinking about sense objects will attach you to sense-objects.
Grow attached and you become addicted.
Thwart your addiction; it turns to anger.
Be angry and you confuse your mind.
Confuse your mind, you forget the lesson of experience.
Forget experience, you lose discrimination.
Lose discrimination, and you miss life’s only purpose.
Bhagavad Gita


When things don’t seem to be going well in our lives, we can redirect the flow of our karma. One recommendation is to participate in a ritual.

Rituals are performed with focused attention and the exact correct pronunciation of the mantra that matches the mental energy you are wanting to experience. In the Vedic tradition, thought energy is considered very powerful when it is focused intently.

A Ritual for Planetary Healing

Preparation: Gather a few people together at noon, the time of the most natural light. Sit quietly in a circle, focusing the breath. Release distractions on the exhale and focus on strength and centeredness on the inhale.

Manifestation: Light a white candle in the center of the circle stating the intention: to promote healing on the planet for the good of all sentient beings. The facilitator leads the group through a guided meditation in which each member becomes filled with light. Let the light expand and fill the circle, and then speak the names of anyone who needs a healing, imagining them in the center of the light circle. Once completed raise your arms and send healing energy into the universe asking that it may be used where it can be of service. Close by giving thanks.

Step 2: Becoming the Atman.

Atman is the eternal light of of consciousness that illumines the mind. It is not the mind; this Atman is Brahman. The goal of spiritual discipline is knowledge (jnana) of the identity between one’s true Self (the higher Self) and Brahman which leads to liberation from (samsara) the cycle of birth and death perpetuated by karma. The true Self is the light of consciousness that shines deep within the mind. The true Self is changeless. The journey home is impossible without external assistance because the conditions of captivity are so disorienting that the deluded are unable to find their way home under their own power.

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Real, in spirituality means that which is eternal, indestructible, and never changing. Anything impermanent, even if it lasts a long time, eventually changes -and thus does not have true reality.

Your body, according to this logic, is not real, and neither is your grief. But there is something that dwells within your body that is real – it’s the Atman, your soul. Atman is existence itself. It is awareness of itself, pure consciousness and your conscience as well. It pervades the entire cosmos.

The real you, this Atman, was never born, or will it ever die. In fact, this indwelling reality never undergoes any changes; it is never-ending and can never be destroyed. Just as clouds appear in the sky but do not cause the sky to grow apart to make room for them, too grief and sadness cannot touch the Atman.

Getting to know the Atman, this mysterious soul-reality within, is the fundamental goal of spirituality.
Essential Wisdom of
the Bhagavad Gita


Jnana yoga is the way of knowledge that transforms intellect into intuition. It leads one to God through intellectual analysis and knowledge. It is a process of becoming one with the Truth through listening, studying, perception and assimilation. It begins with the study of sacred texts followed by contemplation and meditation of the texts.

The Jnana Yogi is convinced of the oneness of Atman and Brahman and affirms this despite what the illusions (maya) of the natural world indicate. This practice requires detachment, renunciation, and clarity of thought. Every form of ignorance must be overcome. Meditation practice focuses on the absoluteness (Brahman) of which the individualized Atman is identical

Step 3: Merging with the Divine.

Liberation (moksa) comes from living a life of right action by following the guidance of the scriptures. The Veda is considered to be the only source of valid knowledge. Liberation means liberation from one’s body (sariratva). The individual soul must rely on the Lord who is the ultimate cause of all action. It requires one to surrender their conventional identity and to identify themselves wholly with Brahman. Liberation is another word for Brahman. Knowledge of Brahman is the removal of ignorance. Liberating knowledge is the insight that one truly is Brahman. Scripture teaches that Brahman is the light of consciousness that illumines the mind and therefore is the true Self; that knowledge is the cure for the disease of suffering caused by ignorance.

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What is man’s will and how shall he use it?
Let him put forth its power to uncover the Atman:
Man’s will is the only friend of the Atman:
His will is also the Atman’s enemy.
Bhagavad Gita


The Bhakti Yogi understands that Atman and Brahman, in their essential nature, are love. Its purpose is to create an immutable union between the two. Everything else in the world is illusion (maya). The Bhakti Yogi is able to hold the consciousness of love, no matter what happens in the world of maya. The Bhakti Yogi focuses on an aspect of Brahman (peace, love, power, wisdom) and returns to this aspect repeatedly to hold the consciousness of Brahman.

Step 4: Realizing the true Self.

Ayida which is spiritual ignorance of our true nature is the root cause of our suffering. When we are in bondage to ayida, we experience aversion (dvesha), attachment (raga), self-centeredness (asmita) and fear of death (abhinivesha) because we are clinging to life and mistakenly believe our physical bodies are our sole identities. Meditation practice allows our consciousness to expand until we move from the limitations of the self to a wider experience of reality.

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Some realize the true Self by meditation (dhyana), others by the path of knowledge, and still others by Karma Yoga, the path of selfless service.

There are yet others who don’t know any of these paths. Still, if they but hear of Self-realization from others and are moved to worship with true devotion, they too achieve immortality.

Whatever comes into existence – whether animate or inanimate – does so through the union of the field and the knower of the field.

Whoever perceives the supreme Lord the same in all beings, who recognizes the eternal one amidst those who appear to be dying, that person sees the truth.
Bhagavad Gita 13:24-27


Raja (royal) Yoga, also known as Ashtanga Yoga, has eight “limbs” or practices. Like other yogic paths its purpose is to experience union with God. The eight practices are:

Yama – moral practices

Nyama – ethical practices

Asana – body postures

Pranayama – breath control

Pratyahara – withdrawal from the senses

Dharana – concentration on an object

Dhyana – meditative state

Samadhi – experience of unity (no duality) – a supra conscious state

Step 5: Living by your Dharma, your Inner Truth.

Dharma is fulfilling your life’s purpose. It means doing what you are called to do; doing it ethically, purposefully and to the best of your ability. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna urged Arjuna to pick up his bow and go to war; he was born into a family of kings and warriors and his brother’s kingdom was taken over by a tyrant. This was his dharma.

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Living by your inner truth is the essence of your duty in life. Your very nature dictates that you perform the duties attuned to your disposition. These are referred to as your dharma, your natural calling.

People often think of duty too narrowly, as their life’s work or professional role. View duty instead from a loftier perspective, as your duty to your highest Self, the Atmna. Think of it as your duty to the Divinity that dwells within you.

Your purpose in life – the very purpose of all humanity – is to gradually achieve spiritual perfection, which is your own Divinity. Being devoted to your duties helps you eventually find this perfection; detesting or avoiding your duties helps you lose it.
Essential Wisdom of the
Bhagavad Gita


In the Vedas, the Manus represent the earliest divine lawgivers who established sacrificial laws and religious ceremonies. The Manu provides us guidance when we need to clear our conscience after doing something we know was wrong. “Confess your misdeed and sincerely admit you are sorry. Then by performing some austere act, giving a generous gift and/or reciting mantras, you can free yourself from the negative karma. If your repentance is sincere, your guilt will be released. You must also promise not to repeat the offense. “

Step 6: Purifying the field of one's consciousness.

There are several ways of making amends for misdeeds from one’s past: meditation which releases karmic energy from the body; contemplating the divine qualities of a favorite deity; and chanting the sounds resonant with divinity to purify one’s consciousness and neutralize it from negative karmas. This practice is considered sacrificial because it requires taking our time to focus on God and divine qualities; self-reflection; and surrender to the Divine Will with gratitude and humility.

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Let us live happily then among the greedy! Among those who are greedy let us dwell free from greed. From lust comes grief, from grief comes fear; he (she) who is free from lust neither sorrows nor fears. Let us live happily.
The Dhammapada

Of all the great rishis (sages), I am Bhrigu. Of all the words, I am the sound of OM. Of all sacrificial offerings, I am japa (mantra repetition). And of all that is immovable, I am the Himalayas.
Bhagavad Gita 10:25


Japa Yoga is the repetition of a mantra, affirmation or chant which causes an inner alignment with the nature of the chant (i.e. a peace chant will create the inner state of peace.) This is because every thought has a corresponding energetic vibration. Any name of God may be used. it is an exercise for calming and clarifying the mind.

There are three types of japa:

Repetition of the mantra out loud (vaikhari-japa)

Repetition in the mind (manasika-japa)

Silent repetition with the lips (upanshu-japa)

A suggestion is the Om chant: “Om Mani Padme Hum” which translates “OM jewel in the lotus, hum.” OM is the primordial sound of creation.

Hindus use a rosary of 108 beads and repeat a mantra for each bead.

Begin by repeating the chant or word; feel the meaning of the word(s) in your body. Repeat it at any time you want to create that inner state (peace, joy, gratitude, patience, hope).

Step 7: Moving from Ego to Divinity.

People need to hear revealed truth and be taught the meaning of the truth by a guru(s) so they can gain understanding and reach enlightenment. A compassionate wise teacher must remove the blindfolds of delusion that keep a person imprisoned in the forest of the body.

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Try to transcend the narrow notion that you have any existence apart from God. Also strive to continually focus your mind on the absolute oneness of Divinity and on your own real unity with that oneness. Since the Divine is flawless, you likewise will become an actual reflection of the divine – utterly perfect, without blemish or pain.

This perfection is within all beings as the Atman – yet only the wise perceive it. Those who are in this cosmic union with Me worship Me, and they therefore worship the Godhead in the hearts of all others. As they have shifted from the ego-self to God, they in essence live their lives in Me.

These wise, yogi-like souls know with certainty that they are not separate from but are one with the Godhead and therefore one with the universe and every being and thing in it. Although freed of unhappiness, they experience the joys and sorrows felt by others as happening to the whole. This awareness is the loftiest spiritual union.
Essential Wisdom of
the Bhagavad Gita


The Hindu Guru is the physical embodiment of Divine Being, a spiritual master. There are four kinds of gurus:

Parents – who provide us with a body and acquaint us with life

Teachers – who educate us

Spiritual masters – who know the way, who explain the purpose of life and the way to self-realization

Cosmic Guru (Avatar) – to which the Spiritual Master leads us; which is divine incarnation and fully enlightened

If you seek a spiritual guide and are willing to follow his guidance with trust and love, you will find your way, and eventually become the guru (antaryamin), inner leader.

Step 8: Seeing Divinity in everything.

Seeing divinity in everything means having a vision of equality. There are no judgments, no rankings, no categorizing, no labeling, no duality. The sage sees everyone as he sees Self. It becomes easier to “Love your neighbor as your Self.” This practice requires that we actually see ourselves in others – in order to find the common ground of our beingness. It also requires that we know and love ourselves, without that, we cannot know or love another. A God-realized person sees nothing but God everywhere because there is only one Universal truth grounded in love.

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O Arjuna, the best type of yogi is he who feels for others, whether in grief or in pleasure, even as he feels for himself.
Bhagavad Gita 6:32

The point of all this Arjuna, Krishna continued, is that the Divinity of the supreme soul is actually present throughout the universe, in every object, in all creatures, in each individual being – and it always has been. Furthermore, this same Divinity exists within every activity that all these beings do in daily life – and it has been that way forever.

Despite the fact that humans find numerous ways to separate the Divine (which is bliss) from the world and thus bring anguish upon themselves, and despite the fact that everything in the world is perishable, you must know that all of it is pervaded by the imperishable supreme Divine, which is Me, and you.

Ponder this deeply: everything, every thing in creation is the Godhead. Before Divinity there was nothing.
Essential Wisdom of
the Bhagavad Gita

Those who have realized the Self, see that same Self equally in a humble scholar, a cow, a dog or dog-eaters.
Bhagavad Gita 5:18


Lord Krishna asks Arjuna, “How are you going to conduct yourself in life with all these problems?” Then he shows Arjuna the way: “At least mentally dedicate all your actions to me; by setting your sights on me as the highest goal and practicing discernment (Buddhi Yoga), you can keep your mind on me constantly.”

Step 9: Following the teaching.

All human beings have five debts we need to repay during our lifetimes:

We must express our gratitude to the gods for their blessings by honoring them through ritual.

We must pay the debt we owe our parents and teachers by supporting them, and passing on their knowledge to our children.

We treat guests visiting our homes as if they are deities.

We treat all human beings with the respect, which is their due.

We offer help to those who are in need.

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If you perform the duties of your own nature imperfectly, that is no reason to abandon those duties and begin something else, for all your undertakings, at the outset, are enveloped by evil, as smoke surrounds fire.
Bhagavad Gita 18:48


The ultimate goal of Hindu spirituality is liberation from the wheel of rebirth. To assist us there are Ten Commitments which are moral and ethical tenets of practice. Patanjali, a yogic philosopher, defined the Commitments. The first five are yamas or ethical practices of self control which must be practiced in thought, spoken word and deeds:

Non-injury to others (ahimsa)

Honesty (satya)

Not stealing (asteya)

Continence (bramacharya)

Noncovetousness (aparigraha)

Step 10: Retracing my path

Samsara is the endless round of rebirth from which Hindus seek to be free. The spiritual self lives on and will be held accountable for all the choices made. When we pass on to the next world for judgment, Yama tallies the soul’s record and determines whether we receive reward or punishment. The sinless are led to the paradise of Brahma and the less virtuous will return to embody life at a higher level than the last. Death and judgment occur as often as each soul needs until it achieves freedom from rebirth. In the 4th Teaching of the Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna in very clear terms to follow his ways and be purified through the fire of knowledge. Knowledge will replace ignorance and free him from the cycle of samsara.

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Your birth followed the birth of the sun;
how can I comprehend that you taught it
in the beginning?

Lord Krishna:
I have passed through many births and so have you;
I know them all, but you do not, Arjuna.

Whenever sacred duty decays and chaos prevails,
then, I create myself, Arjuna.

He who really knows my divine birth and my action,
escapes rebirth when he abandons the body-
and he comes to me, Arjuna.

Free from attraction, fear and anger, filled with me,
dependent on me, purified by the fire of knowledge,
many come into my presence.

As they seek refuge in me
I devote myself to them;
Arjuna, men retrace my path in every way.
4th Teaching- Knowledge
Bhagavad Gita


The Gita is said to be the most complete explanation of the earliest spiritual formulations of humanity. It is India’s greatest gift. Begin to read it today. It’s simple language and profound meaning promise a higher understanding of the spiritual nature of man and the world.

Step 11: Stilling the thoughts.

Meditation is necessary for the mystical insight that alone could be the cause of liberation. Meditation firmly secures knowledge already gained. It is necessary for liberation. It prepares the person for the emergence of inner knowledge. The person who has realized the Self has transcended desire; lacking nothing and being free from compulsions. Because karma can interfere with the constant remembrance of Brahman, meditation is necessary.

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The Atman is the light. The light is covered by darkness; this darkness is delusion. That is why we dream. When the light of the Atman drives out our darkness that light shines forth from us, a sun in splendor, the revealed Brahman.
Bagavad Gita


With upright body, head and neck lead the mind and its powers into thy heart; and the OM of Brahman will then be thy boat with which to cross the rivers of fear.

And when the body is in silent steadiness, breathe rhythmically through the nostrils with a peaceful ebbing and flowing of breath. The chariot of mind is drawn by wild horses, and those wild horses have to be tamed.

Find a quiet retreat for the practice of Yoga, sheltered from the wind, level and clean, free from rubbish, smoldering fires, and ugliness, and where the sound of waters and the beauty of the place help thought and contemplation.

The first fruits of the practice of Yoga are: health, little waste matter, and a clear complexion; lightness of the body, a pleasant scent, a sweet voice; and an absence of greedy desires.

Even as a mirror of gold, covered by dust, when cleaned will shine again in full splendor, when a man has seen the truth of the Spirit he is one with Him and the aim of his life is fulfilled and he is ever beyond sorrow.

Then the soul of man becomes a lamp by which he finds the truth of Brahman. Then he sees God, pure, never-born, everlasting; and when he sees God he is free from all bondage.
The Practice of Yoga
Svetesvatara Upanishad

Step 12: Acting selflessly.

The mind’s capacity (samarthyam) to carry out its function is contingent on illumination provided by the infinite and unconditioned light of consciousness. Brahman is the light of consciousness. Karma yoga is the performance of an action with detachment from the results for the sake of worshipping the Lord (isvararadhanarthe). It is action performed in a spirit of selfless sacrifice to God.

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Let me explain karma yoga, a workable spiritual discipline for living a more effective, happier life in this saddening, every-changing world. Karma yoga literally means union with Divinity through worldly action.

Strive to make selfless (egoless) action your path; then you can live a spiritual life while staying fully active in the world. When your everyday activities are not based on desire for a reward, it is easier for you to steady the mind and direct it toward Atman.

Do your world work with your heart fixed on the Divine rather than outcomes. Learn to be unattached to, or unaffected by, the results of your work, whether favorable or unfavorable.

The crux issue, deaf friend, is desire and the consequent lack of inner peace. Desire for the rewards of your acts brings worry about failing, which pulls you from the present into an imagined, usually fearful future. This robs your energy and you become miserable and lapse into inaction.

Gradually learn to do your duty uncontaminated by desire. This frees you of suffering and leads you to increased effectiveness as well as inner peace. Selfless, egoless, desireless action is the secret of living a life of real accomplishment and success, a contented, satisfied life.
Essential Wisdom of
the Bhagavad Gita


Karma Yoga is the union of the soul (Atman) with Spirit (Brahman) through selfless action. Service is dedicated to Brahman. There is no motive of personal gain. Results, outcomes, expectations and rewards are surrendered to Brahman. The karma yogi claims nothing for self. The sole purpose of the yogi is to serve Brahman. Seva is selfless service to others.