Yoga in various forms has entered the elite life delivering the use-value of release of the self after death and, maybe more importantly, supernatural powers in this life. These powers are now so strong that the ultimate yogi is no longer only an Isvara (A Lord, small god) but the big god himself – The One. This would be a very good reason for a ruler to practise yoga: yoga is the One, the One is yoga. This is exactly a central theme of the Gita, where we also see how the Brahmins manage to move back into the equation with a vengeance.
The yoga ideology of Bhagavad-Gita
The Bhagavad-Gita is a small theological insert in the MBh consisting of about only 70 pages. Basically it is a monotheistic text (Wikipedia link where the god Krishna explains to a minor war lord – Arjuna – why he should not worry about killing his teachers, friends and family! Arjuna’s dilemma is twofold: one problem is whether he should stay loyal to central power (the king and god) or loyal to local power (family, kin and friends who he is supposed to fight); the second problem is the issue of the karma generated from his actions especially as a warrior – in relation to having a chance of release, would he not be better off if he abstained from action at all? The answer to a large degree turns out to become a discussion of yoga: how can a warrior achieve release in the shadow of such dilemmas?
A. Malinar is a leading expert on the Gita (2007) and I draw on many of her insights in my discussions of the Gita. Krishna’s intensive discussions with Arjuna outlines a way of practising yoga, according to Malinar, which allows anyone – not only warriors – to do their duty (i.e. performing actions which normally would have a karmic effect) simultaneously with achieving release after death. Hence Krishna’s message is, crudely put: Go to war and kill my enemies. This is my will and my will is your duty. In this way your actions – your duties -become a sacrifice to me. When you in this way surrender to me, I promise you release after death.
Point the knee toward the second toe. As you inhale Yoga for runners again, incline your torso over your right hip and rest your right forearm on your thigh Yoga for runners . Your left hand rests on your hip. Stabilize the right leg in this position. Anchor the left foot. Move your left thigh back toward the wall, revolving the entire thigh slightly inward at first, toward the midline. Curl your tailbone toward the left heel, tighten your lower belly, and now rotate your left knee outward to face away from the floor. These actions will increase your power and stability.