The Plan of Spiritual Progress

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

More than 5,000 years ago, there was a great civil war between two dynasties in India. During the famous battle, Krishna was placed in a very difficult situation. The chief commanders of both sides came to seek his patronage. It was not possible for him to patronize both, so he said, “Here is my army and here I am. You choose one of the two.” One party chose his army and Arjuna chose Lord Krishna himself.

Krishna told Arjuna that although he would join him, he would not handle any weapon. So he became Arjuna’s charioteer. When the battle was about to begin, Arjuna became nervous. He saw his own uncles, brothers, teachers, relatives and friends before him among those he would have to kill. He decided to withdraw from the war.

Then Krishna came and instructed Arjuna, and these instructions are known as the Bhagavad Gita. The instructions are divided into 18 chapters and the title of each chapter refers to one kind of yoga.

The title of the first chapter is ‘The Yoga of Mental Depression’. The title of the second chapter is ‘Samkhya Yoga’. In this way, each chapter has the title of a different yoga. One theme is running through the 18 chapters, which is ‘renounce the ego and live in the world’. If you can renounce your ego, you can live in the world like the lotus in water.

In the Bhagavad Gita, life as a whole is accepted within the plan of spiritual progress. This means that whatever you do is part of your spiritual progress and nothing in your life is extra-spiritual. This you have to realize.