1. Gita as a Yoga-Shastra
Against this background of the general trend of the development of Indian philosophy, we may notice that four systems of philosophy, Vedavāda, Sankhya, Yoga and Vedanta, were prominent at the time when the war of the Mahabharata was fought and the perplexities arising from the conflict between Sankhya and Yoga bewildered and disabled Arjuna at the crucial moment of the commencement of the war to such an acute point of crisis that Sri Krishna, the charioteer of Arjuna in the war, had to enter into those perplexities and related confusions during the course of the dialogue that ensued between him and Arjuna. It is this dialogue that constitutes the entire text of the Gita.
It is in the course of this dialogue that we find a great reconciliation between Sankhya and Yoga by means of the Vedanta. And it is this reconciliation which we find as a philosophical support of the great synthesis of the yoga of the Gita. Our primary aim here is to study records of yogic experiences and to avoid scholastic debates of interpretation of these records. This is not to deny the importance of philosophical enquiry and importance of the question of the justification and value of yogic knowledge and yogic methods. What role philosophy should play in a realm of knowledge which claims the arrival of that knowledge by surpassing the methods of philosophy or methods of intellectual reasoning can itself be a philosophical question