Definition - What does Marga mean?

Marga is a Sanskrit term referring to the path to spiritual realization, salvation or enlightenment. The literal meaning is "path" and can also come to mean a way of achieving something, but this usually refers to a spiritual goal.

In yoga, there are many possible paths that can lead to such a spiritual awakening. For by following the path of one of the different types of yoga - for example, Karma yoga or Bhakti yoga - every individual has the opportunity to find salvation.

Yogapedia explains Marga

The epic yogic text, the Bhagavad Gita, describes three main paths to Self-realization. Each path is different, but leads to the same goal and is practiced for the same purpose - of finding spiritual salvation. These are:

  • Jnana-marga - the path of knowledge, through contemplation and the study of spiritual texts.
  • Karma-marga - the path of action, where all religious and ethical duties are carried out.
  • Bhakti-marga - the path of devotion which means surrender of the Self to God.

It is the last path, Bhakti-marga, which is most recommended by Krishna as it is accessible to all, regardless of social class, education or caste.

The Buddhist route to enlightenment is through The Noble Eightfold Path, or Astangika-marga in Sanskrit. This path is also sometimes referred to as The Middle Way, due to the fact it avoids extremes of self-indulgence and self-punishment. It is said that following this path will lead to freedom from suffering.

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