Bhagavad Gītā and the Path of Moderation

In 2000, I asked Pattabhi Jois what he thought was the most important yoga text for me to study. Without hesitation, he said the Bhagavad Gītā. He told me “knowing the Bhagavad Gītā, all yoga-knowing is possible.” Since then, I have been immersing myself in this sacred and beautiful text. The Bhagavad Gītā (Song of God) is a collection of 700 verses that expound on and illuminate the deepest truths of yoga and life itself. Contained within the world’s longest poem, the Māhābhārata, the Bhagavad Gītā is wonderfully couched in the form of a sacred dialogue between Arjuna, the hero, and his charioteer, Kṛṣna, who (luckily for Arjuna and for the rest of us) turns out to be none other than God. On the brink of an epic battle, and at a time of great despair — when (as Dante says) “the True way is wholly lost,” — when the old ways of perceiving reveal no solution; it is at this moment that the paths of liberation are revealed. Preserved through the ages, having lost none of its potency, and utterly timeless in its relevance to the chaos and suffering in our modern world, the Bhagavad Gītā stands as a shining beacon of liberation and unparalleled treatise for living a life of honor, dharma and spirituality.

In the 6th chapter of the Gītā, Kṛṣna talks about the importance of moderation on the yogic path. In our over-adrenalized modern society, we are driven to extremes. For many, it is only at the edges of reality where people allow themselves to feel alive. Moderation is too-often seen as weak, and yet, within moderation is the potential to awaken to true self-acceptance. What if we could accept ourselves for who we were, right NOW, rather than waiting for a future where we might become a “better” version of who we think we should be? From moderation comes equanimity and from equanimity comes peace.

True moderation has a rich intensity to it, like the glowing embers of a fire. Though seeming humble at first glance, moderation can lead to profound levels of self awakening and a willingness to remain centered in the moment as all things arise and fall.

Here is a beautiful verse (#6:17) on moderation from the Bhagavad Gītā:

yuktāhāra vihārasya yukta ceṣṭsya karmasu

yukta svapnāva bodhasya yogo bhavati duḥkhahā 6-17

For one who is moderate in food and diversion, whose actions are disciplined, who is moderate in sleep and waking, yoga destroys all sorrow.

Click here to listen to this verse…
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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nancyarann
    Apr 20, 2010 @ 17:08:59

    Josh i love your voice and how you make everything alive. Moma

    Reply

  2. Julia Shaida
    Apr 20, 2010 @ 17:31:18

    Hi Josh,
    Loved listening to you chant this verse! Thanks so much.
    Julia Shaida

    Reply

  3. Berrien (Doll) Smith
    Apr 20, 2010 @ 18:29:20

    Joshua, I love your posts! Thank you.

    Reply

  4. Meta Hirschl
    Apr 20, 2010 @ 20:51:21

    thanks so much for this verse, chant and understanding.

    Reply

  5. Lou
    Apr 21, 2010 @ 07:35:11

    Josh,
    That was a beautiful thought and very well written.
    Love Lou

    Reply

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