Buddhi Yoga was first introduced by Sri Krishna himself –
teṣhāṁ satatayuktānāṁ bhajatāṁ prītipūrvakam
dadāmi buddhiyogaṁ taṁ yena māmupayāntite
– (Bhagavad Gita 10.10)
To the ever-steadfast, worshiping Me with love, I give thee Buddhi Yoga, by which they come to Me.
What is buddhi yoga
The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root “yuj”, which means “to join” or “to yoke”. Buddhi, one of the wives of Lord Ganeṣa, is the intellectual faculty. It is the power of the human mind to form and retain concepts, reason, judge, comprehend and understand. Buddhi Yoga is the “joining” of the buddhi to the karma, or actions. The practice of acting with awareness.
This game, can best be enjoyed, if played with an intellectual awareness and curiosity to each throw of the dice. Therefore, in my humble opinion, the name “buddhi yoga” fits this game.
eṣā te ‘bhihitā sāńkhye
buddhir yoge tv imāḿ śṛṇu
buddhyā yukto yayā pārtha
~ srimad bhagvat geeta 2.39
To explain the techniques of living, Sri Kṛṣṇa employs the term “buddhi yoga” (a technique of wisdom). I quote Swami Chinmayanandaji – “By this “buddhi yoga” one can snap the vāsanā1 bondage and release oneself to be supremely free and when you act thereafter, it is but a play; a motiveless sport; a mere self-expression in sheer gay abandon.”
The snakes and ladders game that we commonly play today, was a game of virtues, not many years ago. It was quite simplistic, and built on common western thoughts of virtues and vices. Our eastern tradition and philosophy, however, is significantly different in its assessment of virtues and vices. The “intention” behind “the thought” that creates the action is an important modifier, and an understanding of this is what “being aware” of ones actions implies.
This “buddhi yoga”, helps with just that. The player is inspired “to become aware”, albeit in a playful way!