Hinduism is an organization of spiritual thought that started with the Vedic period and has continued till today. The Vedic period (c. 1500 -500 BCE) was a period of rapid development of thought with little organization. This is the period during which Krishna, very likely, existed as a yogi and had such a great impact that his name became synonymous with Hinduism.

At the end of the Vedic period (500 BCE) there was organization of spiritual thought in the form of Jnana Yoga. Jnana Yoga separated all ritualism, and focused primarily on meditation. It clarified the concept of self, and the goal of meditation became accessing and becoming aware of the unassimilated impressions on one’s Chitta. This awareness brings up unknown sensations, emotions and thoughts that have been buried for a long time. This is followed by the process of assimilation, during which many realizations occur. This phase of spiritual organization became synonymous with Buddha. However, Jnana Yoga just happens to be very cerebral and was successfully followed by relatively few people.

During the next phase of the organization (400-200 BCE) Patanjali and Ved Vyas expanded Jnana to Karma Yoga of detached action. Karma Yoga required giving up the fixation on worldly affairs. There was a fine line here. One engaged in the worldly affairs to the degree that the actions were in line with the natural laws. One’s disposition suited one to follow a certain class of activity in the society. It was mandatory for the person to perform his assigned duty to the best of his ability. This allowed the person to focus on developing his abilities in a detached manner. Karma Yoga is the main subject of the Bhagavad Gita (BG). It has less focus on the mind and more on detached action. In writing BG, Vyasa used the legendary character of Krishna to popularize Karma Yoga. BG introduces Jnana Yoga briefly in Chapter 2, with the concept of Atman, and then focuses on Karma Yoga as a preliminary step to Jnana Yoga. However, Karma Yoga ended up alienating people from their emotions. Like Jnana Yoga, it was successfully followed by relatively few people.

In the centuries following the Bhagavad Gita, the emotional dimension of spiritual thought was explored. This led to Bhakti Yoga. Unlike Jnana and Karma, Bhakti was able to win the hearts and minds of people in large numbers. This makes Bhakti Yoga a fascinating subject.

NOTE: Discrimination, resolute intellect and devotion is present in all yoga; but in Jnana Yoga there is predominance of discrimination, in Karma Yoga there is predominance of resolute intellect, and in Bhakti Yoga there is predominance of devotion.

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  • Chris Thompson  On October 13, 2021 at 7:21 PM

    Love the beauty and sensibilities of Hinduism . . . maybe it’s my favorite of all.

    Liked by 1 person

  • vinaire  On October 14, 2021 at 4:38 PM

    I grew up as a Hindu, so Hinduism is my base religion. From there I expanded out first into Scientology, and now into Buddhism. But Hinduism still forms my foundation.


  • vinaire  On October 14, 2021 at 4:44 PM

    After subject clearing I have finally settled with the following key definitions for basic terms in Hinduism:

    Ātman is the dimension of viewpoint.

    Jivātman is a finite viewpoint associated with the individual identity.

    Paramātman is the infinite viewpoint that is unattached and static. God, in Hinduism, is a synonym for Paramātman.[See The Static Viewpoint on this blog]


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