"Yoga" is a word becoming increasingly familiar top people all over the world. Many are asking, "What is yoga? What does the yoga practitioner seek to achieve? And what is the ultimate goal of yoga?"
A Bhagavata Dharma Discourse an address on the science of understanding God, delivered in Delhi, India.
This Krsna consciousness movement is the topmost yoga system. You have perhaps read in the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, wherein Arjuna declined to accept the hatha-yoga system, the following words of Krsna:
yoginam api sarvesam
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam
sa me yuktatamo matah
"And of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all" (Bg. 6.47)
Krsna is known as Yogesvara, the master of all yogis, and if one takes Krsna within his heart, he becomes the topmost yogi.
There are different kinds of yogis, and there are different yoga-siddhis, or yogic perfections anima, laghima, mahima, prapti, prakamya, isita vasita. The perfect yogis can act wonderfully. They can become smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest. A yogi can create planets and can become lighter than a feather. He can also fly in the air without the aid of a machine. These are all called siddhis. There is actually a planet within this universe called Siddhaloka, and the residents of that planet can fly from one planet to another without any kind of spaceship. We receive this information from Vedic literature.
Nonetheless, Krsna still says that a person who is always praising Him within himself with faith and love is the highest yogi of all. The purpose of all yoga systems is to get to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who always resides within the heart. That linking with Krsna or that union is called samadhi. Bhagavad-gita verifies that the Lord is indeed sitting in everyone's heart:
hrd-dese 'rjuna tisthati
"The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone's heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy." (Bg. 18.61
Actually, everyone is carrying the Supreme Lord within his heart, but one who is conscious of carrying the Lord is Krsna conscious. Therefore the purpose of our movement is to make everyone Krsna conscious, or to make everyone a perfect yogi. Anyone who is conscious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead within his heart is to be considered a most elevated yogi. It is not that one has to study all the Vedic literatures very hard or undergo some yogic practices like dhyana, dharana, asana andprana. That is very difficult business and not to be taken lightly. Five thousand years ago, when advised to take up this yoga system, Arjuna declined, saying, "Krsna, it is not possible." Arjuna came from a very great royal family, and he was so elevated that he could talk to Krsna personally as a friend. Despite all his great qualifications, Arjuna declined to accept the yoga system, that is, the hatha–yoga system, claiming himself unfit for this practice.
In this age no one can practice the hatha-yoga system systematically, for it is very difficult. First of all one has to leave home, select a very secluded place and sit down there alone. You cannot attend some transcendental yoga society in a big city. In America there are many transcendental yoga societies, but people are simply being misled. However, this bhakti-yoga system, as recommended by Caitanya Mahaprabhu, is the easiest process and can be practiced even by a child. When you chant the Hare Krsna mantra and dance in ecstasy, you can feel actual advancement. Even small children can take to this process. While I was chanting in Tompkins Square in New York, alone, these boys and girls used to come and chant and dance. Such a nice system.
We must practice this system by chanting the maha-mantra Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. This system is very scientific in that Krsna and Krsna's name, Krsna's form, Krsna's qualities, Krsna's entourage and everything belonging to Krsna or in relationship with Krsna are all absolute.
nama cintamanih krsnas
purnah suddho nitya-mukto
This is the version of Vedic literature. The word caitanya means living force. God is not dead but is actually a living force.
isvarah paramah krsnah
anadir adir govindah
"There are many personalities possessing the qualities of God, but Krsna is the Supreme because none can excel Him. He is the Supreme Person, and His body is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. He is the primeval Lord Govinda and the cause of all causes." (Brahma-samhita 5.1)
Therefore Krsna is also sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah, full of being, knowledge and bliss and possessing a form. We must try to understand absolute knowledge in this way. Vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jnanam advayam (Bhag. 1.2.11). The Absolute Truth is advayam, free from duality. Here, in this dream world, which we call the relative world, everything is separated. If we are thirsty and want water, we may chant, "Water, water, water." But we will not be satisfied. We require the substance water because the substance and the name water are different. They are not on the absolute platform. But as far as Krsna is concerned, Krsna and Krsna's name are nondifferent. They are identical, or purnam, complete. Just as Krsna is complete, His name and form are also complete, That is why we are here worshiping the form of Krsna. It is complete. No one should think that Krsna is separate from this form. If He were separate, there would be no meaning to the words Absolute Truth. Therefore in the Vedic scriptures one is forbidden to enter the temple and, upon seeing the transcendental form of the Lord, think that it is made of metal, stone or iron. No We should know for certain that according to the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures, Krsna is present. Such a realization may require advancement in spiritual knowledge, but actually there is no difference between Krsna and His form. This form has descended and is called arca-vigraha. The word vigraha means form, and arca means worship. If we are sincere in wanting to worship Krsna, Krsna, by His omnipotence, presents Himself in this form we can see. At the present moment we cannot see God with our gross senses. Our present ears cannot even hear about the transcendental name of Krsna, but Krsna is so kind that He descends as arca-vigraha. This is Krsna's special mercy. We should not think Krsna is formless; He is actually existing eternally in His transcendental form.
laksavrtesu surabhir abhipalayantam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor, who is tending the cows, fulfilling all desire, in abodes built with spiritual gems and surrounded by millions of wish-fulfilling trees. He is always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of laksmis, or goddesses of fortune." (Bs. 5.29)
Sometimes the members of the Mayavada school of philosophy say that Krsna is imaginary, but this is not so. Krsna is the Supreme Absolute Truth, as stated in Bhagavad-gita:
mattah parataram nanyat
kincid asti dhananjaya
mayi sarvam idam protam
sutre mani-gana iva
"O conquerer of wealth [Arjuna], no truth is superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread." (Bg. 7.7)
How, then, can Krsna be formless? He has His transcendental form. This is also described in Brahma-samhita:
venum kvanantam aravinda-dalayataksam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is adept at playing on His flute, whose eyes are blooming like lotus petals and whose head is bedecked with peacock feathers, whose figure is the form of beauty tinged with the hue of blue clouds and whose unique loveliness charms millions of cupids." (Bs. 5.30)
These are statements made by Lord Brahma in the Brahma-samhita. It is not that Krsna is a painting drawn up by some artist's imagination. We are not following or worshiping some artist's imagination. We are following the sastras, or Vedic scriptures. The facts therefore have to be learned from these sastras. In fact, we should see the world through the sastras, just as we see the world by the light of the sun. It is not possible to see the world with these blunt eyes. We can only see under certain conditions, and this is true of all the senses. They function only under certain conditions. It is not possible to see Krsna by these senses, but if we follow the sastras, it will be possible to see Him. How? We must engage in devotional service and surrender unto Krsna. In the words of Krsna:
dadami buddhi-yogam tam
yena mam upayanti te
"To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me." (Bg. 10.10)
If you do not develop that love of Krsna, then you cannot see Krsna. But when you are fully developed in Krsna's love, you will see Krsna at every moment.
santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti
yam syamasundaram acintya-guna-svarupam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is Syamasundara, Krsna Himself, with inconceivable innumerable attributes, whom the pure devotees see in their heart of hearts with the eye of devotion tinged with the salve of love." (Bs. 5.38)
This Krsna consciousness movement is very scientific. No one should think that it is a sentimental movement. By the grace of Lord Caitanya, Lord Krsna will show special mercy to the fallen conditioned souls of the world in this age. The mercy of Lord Caitanya has made Krsna consciousness very easily available. Therefore Rupa Gosvami praised Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu as the most munificent incarnation: namo maha-vadanyaya krsna-prema-pradaya te. The word vadanya refers to one who gives charity, and the word maha means great. Caitanya Mahaprabhu is addressed as maha-vadanya because He distributes krsna-prema (love of Krsna) generously to everyone. That is Caitanya Mahaprabhu's special mercy. Just at the right moment, Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to claim the fallen conditioned souls. All my disciples were on the platform of the reprobates Jagai and Madhai, but simply by chanting this Hare Krsna mantra, they have changed. Now they are chanting and dancing in pure love of Krsna. So what was possible five thousand years ago and five hundred years ago is still possible today if we but take to this chanting of Hare Krsna.
We must also take care to cleanse the impurities from the mirror of the mind, or, in the words of Lord Caitanya, ceto-darpana-marjanam. All the problems of the world are due to an impure condition of the heart resulting from contamination by the modes of material nature; otherwise every man, every living entity, is as good as Krsna because everyone is part and parcel of Krsna. In Bhagavad-gita Krsna claims all living entities as His parts and parcels:
"The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Because of conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind." (Bg. 15.7)
Thus if Krsna is sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah, we are also sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah. However, we are now covered by these material bodies and minds, and we have to cleanse them. That is not impossible. It is made possible by the chanting of the names of Krsna. The name of Krsna and Krsna, the Supreme Person, are nondifferent. Lord Caitanya has also confirmed this.
namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-saktis
tatrarpita niyamitah smarane na kalah
etadrsi tava krpa bhagavan mamapi
durdaivam idrsam ihajani nanuragah
"O my Lord, Your holy name alone can render all benediction to living beings, and thus You have hundreds and millions of names like Krsna and Govinda. In these transcendental names You have invested all Your transcendental energies. There are not even hard and fast rules for chanting these names. O my Lord, out of kindness You enable us to easily approach You by Your holy names, but I am so unfortunate that I have no attraction for them." (Siksastaka 2)
We do not arbitrarily say that everyone should chant Krsna, but we chant Krsna because Caitanya Mahaprabhu chanted Hare Krsna. However, if one has any other names for God, one can chant them also. Caitanya Mahaprabhu verified that God has many names (namnam akari bahudha). However, no one should just make up a name of God. The name must be real, not imaginary. Krsna's name, for instance, has been chanted from time immemorial. The name Krsna is found in Bhagavad-gita and inSrimad-Bhagavatam. Srimad-Bhagavatam was written five thousand years ago, so Krsna's name is not some new invention. In the Atharva Veda Krsna's name is also there. We are not inventing a name by chanting Krsna. It is the real name of God. That is indicated by all the sastras. Krsnas tu bhagavan svayam (Bhag. 1.3.28). Nor should we think that Krsna is a Hindu Krsna or an Indian Krsna. Krsna is neither Indian nor Hindu. He does not belong to any particular religion. He is the father of all living entities, as stated in Bhagavad-gita:
murtayah sambhavanti yah
tasam brahma mahad yonir
aham bija-pradah pita
"It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father." (Bg. 14.4)
There are 8,400,000 species of life, including aquatics, trees, plants, insects, birds, bees and uncivilized men. Krsna claims all of these as His sons; therefore Krsna is not for any particular country or religion. Why does there have to be a particular religion? Religion is one. There cannot be two religions. If there are two, one of them must be false. There is only one religion, and that religion is surrender unto God. There cannot be any other. Where there is no surrender unto God, and where there is no process of developing love for God, there is no religion. Many people execute some dharma, or religious system, but do not know whether they are making progress or not. But this Krsna consciousness can be directly perceived because it is real religion. If we are hungry and eat something, we do not require a certificate from others to tell whether we are satisfied. We receive satisfaction simply by eating. The devotees who have taken to this real religion, Krsna consciousness, are feeling progress; otherwise why are they coming with me? What is this country of India in comparison with their countries? It is poverty-stricken. These Americans and Europeans are all rich men's sons, and I have not bribed them. They have followed me here to India because they are feeling progress in Krsna consciousness. They are understanding the real meaning of religion and are executing the orders of Krsna in Bhagavad-gita, wherein Krsna says:
man-mana bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaisyasi yuktvaivam
"Engage your mind always in thinking of me, offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me." (Bg. 9.34)
Unfortunately many people read Bhagavad-gita but are misled by so-called commentators. Many so-called learned scholars who comment on Bhagavad-gita are actually envious of Krsna. Krsna mentions such envious people in the very text ofBhagavad-gita:
tan aham dvisatah kruran
ksipamy ajasram asubhan
asurisv eva yonisu
''Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among men, are cast by Me into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac species of life." (Bg. 16.19)
As stated in the Seventh Chapter, one who does not surrender to Krsna is naradhama, lowest among men. Why? Because the human form of life is meant for developing Krsna consciousness. The animals cannot develop Krsna consciousness, and similarly if a human being does not develop Krsna consciousness, he is low on the scale of living entities. As the Vedanta-sutra enjoins, this life is meant for inquiring about Brahman, about God.
This Krsna consciousness movement is therefore important, for we are giving every living entity the chance to make his life successful. As Krsna states:
mam upetya punar janma
samsiddhim paramam gatah
"After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogis in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection." (Bg. 8.15)
This is the highest perfection of life to understand and approach Krsna. Our humble request is that everyone take to this Krsna consciousness. It does not matter what position a person may be in. Krsna says:
mam hi partha vyapasritya
ye 'pi syuh papa-yonayah
striyo vaisyas tatha sudras
te 'pi yanti param gatim
"O son of Prtha, those who take shelter in Me, though they may be of lower birth, can approach the supreme destination." (Bg. 9.32)
One can therefore approach Krsna regardless of birth or situation. That is the verdict of all the scriptures and all the Vedas. If we just try to understand Krsna, our lives will be successful.
Krsna can be understood by two processes, and one is this process of bhakti-yoga. One can also try to understand Krsna by the process of philosophical speculation, or jnana. But if one takes to bhakti-yoga, Krsna consciousness, his knowledge will actually be perfect.
bahunam janmanam ante
jnanavan mam prapadyate
vasudevah sarvam iti
sa mahatma sudurlabhah
"After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare." (Bg. 7.19)
In this verse the word mahatma, "great soul," refers to an unflinching devotee of Krsna. One who has unflinching faith in Krsna has to be accepted as a sadhu, a holy man, even though his behavior may not be in order.
api cet suduracaro
bhajate mam ananya-bhak
sadhur eva sa mantavyah
samyag vyavasito hi sah
"Even if one commits the most abominable actions, if he is engaged in devotional service, he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated." (Bg. 9.30)
We must develop love of God. That is the actual test. At the present moment we cannot perceive Krsna; we have to purify our senses. Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje. That religion by which we develop love for the Supreme Lord, who is beyond sense perception, is the supreme religion. The process of worship is very simple, and Krsna gives it in Bhagavad-gita:
patram puspam phalam toyam
yo me bhaktya prayacchati
tad aham bhakty-upahrtam
"If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it." (Bg. 9.26)
Of course Krsna's process of eating is different from ours. If we offer Krsna a plate of food in the temple, after He eats we will see that the food is still there. That is the nature of Krsna's eating. We do not know how it is that Krsna eats, but because He says He eats, we have to understand that He does.
Our request therefore is that everyone chant this Hare Krsna mantra. One's heart will be cleansed gradually, and one will approach Krsna. I did not tell these boys and girls from America and Europe to become my disciples, but when they began chanting the Hare Krsna mantra they automatically did. I also requested that they not take meat, fish or eggs, that they not have illicit connection with women, that they not take any form of intoxication including tea, coffee or smoking, and that they not gamble. If you believe in these conditions, and if you can accept them, then I will accept you. Our acceptance of disciples is not a bluff. If I would have told them to do whatever they liked and become my disciples, then millions would have come, but because of these restrictions, only a few of them have come. But numbers do not matter. I am not after disciples; I only want to see that one man has understood Krsna. That is my mission, and that is not very difficult. Please, then, try to understand Krsna. That is my request. The process is so simple that if you chant this Hare Krsna mantra, your heart will be cleansed. Then you will understand Krsna. And if you are curious to know Krsna, Krsna will give you the intelligence. The opportunity is there. Don't misuse this human form of life and forget Krsna. Try to understand, develop your Krsna consciousness and be happy.
Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego-these are the eight inferior energies of Krsna that make up the material world.
But beyond these material energies is Krsna's superior energy, consisting of the living beings who are struggling with material nature and who are sustaining the universe.
There is more to a person than just the outward material body. And then, too, there is even more than the mind and intellect. Within the body and mind is that intangible "something;' that spiritual force that gives life to this material universe. But what is that spiritual energy within us? Where does it come from? Where is it going? If you've ever asked yourself these questions, you'll find this book uniquely valuable.