By Swami Harshananda
This unique word used only in the Bhagavadgitā three times ‘Buddhi’ means the intellect and ‘yoga’ means perfect concentration as well as union. The path of spiritual discipline wherein the buddhi plays an important role and ultimately leads to the union of the jīva (the individual soul) with Paramātman (God) is called as buddhiyoga.
Karma or action normally binds a person due to the selfish desires behind it. If karma is performed with the full understanding, its motivation by selfish desires leads to sansāra or the bondage of transmigration. If the karma is motivated by the spirit of unselfish service and devotion to God, the same will lead to liberation. It becomes buddhiyoga since this leads to the ultimate union with God.
The commentators of the Bhagavadgītā have interpreted it variously, depending upon the context. However, all the interpretations boil down to the same meaning as given above. These are some of them:
- Karma performed with equanimity
- Niskāma-karma-yoga leads to ātmajñāna or self-knowledge
- Yoga endowed with the vision of the ātman
- Uniting the mind with God
- Bhagavadgitā 2.49; 10.10 and 18.57
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore