No need to guess Krsna lets us know which method of reaching Him will work.
A lecture given in New York City, on November 28, 1966
na sadhayati mam yogo na sankhyam dharma uddhava
na svadhyayas tapas tyago yatha bhaktir mamorjita
[The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, said:] "My dear Uddhava, neither through astanga-yoga [the mystic yoga system to control the senses], nor through impersonal monism or an analytical study of the Absolute Truth, nor through study of theVedas, nor through practice of austerities, nor through charity, nor through acceptance of sannyasa can one satisfy Me as much as one can by developing unalloyed devotional service unto Me." Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.14.20
(quoted in Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 20.137)
LORD CAITANYA is speaking an allegory in which an astrologer tells a poor man where to dig to find a treasure. The treasure represents Krsna consciousness, or love of God, and the directions in which the man is told to dig represent different processes by which people search for the Absolute Truth.
The astrologer tells the poverty-stricken man, "You are actually a very rich man's son, but you do not know this. Therefore you are suffering."
To be poor in this world is a curse for ordinary people, those under the concept of material life, whereas the spiritually enriched have nothing to do with the poverty or wealth of this world. The living entities are not meant to be poverty-stricken, because they are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, the supreme proprietor. Every living entity has the birthright to enjoy God's property, just as the son inherits the property of the father. That is the law. But under the spell of illusion we have forgotten our relationship with the supreme father; therefore we are suffering. That is the diagnosis.
Now we have to find out how to go back home, back to Godhead. That should be the mission of human life. Never mind why we are in contact with the material world. By the instruction of the astrologerlike Vedic literature we should come to the point of finding out how to go back to Godhead. Just as the astrologer is giving hints to the poor man, the Vedic literature gives us hints so that we can become the richest by reviving our lost relationship with our father.
There are different paths for reviving that relationship, but Lord Caitanya says that no method but bhakti will work. The Vedic literature says the same thing. In today's verse Lord Caitanya is citing evidence from Srimad-Bhagavatam: na sadhayati mam yogah. Lord Krsna says, "The yoga process cannot achieve success in reaching Me." Na sankhyam. Sankhyam means "philosophical speculation." "That also cannot reach Me." Na … dharma uddhava. Dharma means "religious principles," and uddhavameans "O My dear Uddhava."
Just as Lord Krsna instructed Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita, He also instructed his cousin-brother named Uddhava. Those instructions are found in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. In the course of those instructions Krsna says, "My dear Uddhava, yoga cannot achieve Me, neither can Sankhya, neither can dharma."
The Meaning of Yoga
Real yoga means "connect, plus, addition." In mathematics we have addition and subtraction. So at the present moment we are in subtraction God minus myself. I have no sense of God; therefore I am in a "minus" condition. Yoga means God plus myself. That is the real meaning of yoga. For so long I was God-minus; now, through yoga, I become God-plus.
But you must always remember that in the spiritual, absolute sense, God plus me is God and God minus me is also God. When I am "minus," or separated from God, that does not mean God has lost some of His capacity. No. He is full. And when I am "plus," or reunited with God, that does not mean God has increased in some capacity. No.
In the Bhagavad-gita a good example is given: apuryamanam acala-pratistha. During the rainy season millions of tons of water pour into the ocean from rivers, but the ocean stays the same. If an ordinary ocean does not increase when something is added to it, what to speak of God.
I say "ordinary" because millions of oceans are floating in the universe. Therefore we should not be very astonished to see the Atlantic Ocean. Within space are millions and trillions of oceans like the Atlantic. They are floating just as an atomic particle of water can float in the air. That is the potency of God.
For those too engrossed in the bodily conception of life, the yoga system is very good, because it is a practice to withdraw the senses to the inside from their engagement in the external world.
There are eight stages of yoga practice. The first two are yama and niyama. Under regulative principles one has to try to control the senses in eating, sleeping, and working. That practice is called yama-niyama. The first principle of yoga is to abstain from sex life. That is real yoga. Those indulging in sex life, intoxication, and so many nonsense things have no chance for any success in yoga.
Then one has to sit nicely in a secluded, sanctified place with the neck, head, and body in a straight line. Then you have to look at the tip of your nose with half-opened eyes. If you open your eyes, then the material manifestation will disturb you. And if you close your eyes, then you nap. [Prabhupada imitates someone snoring.] I have seen. So many yogis are doing that, sleeping. [Laughter.]
Then comes dhyana, concentration of the mind. What is the purpose of concentrating the mind? To find myself within the body and then find the Lord there. That is the perfection of yoga. Not that I do nonsense day and night but then attend a yoga class, pay five dollars, and think, "Oh, I am a great yogi." That is all nonsense.
Yoga is not so easy. Many so-called yoga teachers are simply exploiting people. I say frankly that they and their students are a society of the cheaters and the cheated.
Although yoga is approved in the Vedic literature, it is very difficult to perform in the modern age. Even five thousand years ago when the circumstances were more favorable, when people were not so polluted and were advanced in so many things still, at that time such a person as Arjuna refused to practice yoga. When Krsna said to him, "You become a yogi like this," Arjuna said, "It is not possible for me."
So yoga is not at all possible now. It was possible in the Satya-yuga, when every man was in the mode of goodness. Every man was highly elevated. Yoga is meant for highly elevated persons, not ordinary persons.
But even if yoga is done very nicely and perfectly, it cannot take you to the Supreme Lord. That is stated here in this verse. What to speak of pseudo yoga, even if you perform correctly, perfectly, still you cannot reach God. That is stated here: na sadhayati mam yogah.
Analyzing Spirit and Matter
It is also said here, na sankhya: "Not by Sankhya." Sankhya means to understand spirit and matter. The Sankhya philosopher analyzes the material world as made of twenty-four parts: the five gross elements, the three subtle elements, the five knowledge-acquiring senses, the five working senses, the five sense objects, and pradhana, the unmanifested modes of material nature.
The five gross material elements are earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Then come the subtle elements. Finer than ether is the mind, finer than the mind is the intelligence, and finer than the intelligence is false ego, the false conception that I am matter.
The five knowledge-acquiring senses are the eyes, nose, ears, tongue, and skin. The five working senses, by which we enjoy or suffer, are the voice, legs, hands, anus, and genitals. And the five sense objects are smell, taste, form, touch, and sound.
That analysis of the material world in twenty-four parts is called Sankhya. It is a full analysis of everything within our experience. And above the twenty-four elements is the spirit soul. And above the soul is God.
Sankhyaites cannot find the soul. They are like material scientists in that they simply study material objects. They have no information above that. Now I am talking with you; so the Sankhya philosophers cannot explain what is that thing which is talking. Similarly, the medical doctor, after dissecting the body, cannot find what is working, the spiritual force. And because the materialists cannot find even the particles of the Supreme Lord we living entities what chance do they have to find God? So neither the yogis nor the Sankhyaites can find God.
By dharma, also, one cannot find God. Dharma here refers to rituals. The Hindus go to the temple, the Christians go to the church, and the Muslims go to the mosque with the idea "Here is God." That is, of course, the beginning. It is nice. That conviction must be there. But because they are trapped in the rituals, they have no further knowledge. They do not try to advance further. They think, "Everything ends here." So they too cannot attain God.
Then svadhyaya. Svadhyaya means "study," study of the Vedic literature. And tapah. Tapah means "penance." Fasting, meditating, living in a solitary place in the jungle there are many processes of penance and austerity. And tyaga, "renunciation."Sannyasa, the renounced order of life, is a kind of renunciation.
So the Lord says, "All these processes yoga, Sankhya, rituals, study of the Vedas, penance, and renunciation combined together or individually, are not suitable for achieving Me."
Bhakti the Only Way
So practically every process is condemned herewith by the Supreme Lord. The processes are condemned in this sense: those who follow them can approach the final goal to a certain extent, but they will never be able to achieve it unless the devotional process is added.
Devotion must be there because the end is Krsna, the Supreme Lord. Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita, bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate: "After many, many births, those who are actually intelligent come to Me and surrender, having realized that God is everything."
One has to come to the point of Krsna consciousness. Maybe you go by the yoga process, maybe you go by the philosophical process, maybe you go by the ritualistic process, maybe you go by penances or by study. But unless you reach the point of Krsna consciousness, your attempt is successful only to a certain degree.
Unfortunately, people become satisfied with different degrees of success. Hardly anyone tries to reach the final goal. But if anyone wants to reach the final goal, then he has to take the process of Krsna consciousness, bhaktir mamorjita. That process alone can take you to the Supreme Lord.
Those who are intelligent take to this simple process. In this age you cannot perform yoga perfectly, you cannot perform religious rituals perfectly, you cannot study perfectly. The circumstances are so unfavorable that these processes are not possible in this age. Therefore Lord Caitanya, by His causeless mercy, has given us this process:
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
"In this Age of Kali, simply by chanting the holy name of Krsna one can attain the ultimate goal. There is no alternative. There is no alternative. There is no alternative."
This verse is quoted from the Brhad-Naradiya Purana. And Lord Caitanya is corroborating the verse. He has not manufactured something by recommending bhakti as the only means to the ultimate goal. He is quoting from authorized scripture so that people can accept the path of bhakti. We should accept this process
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
and practically see that this is the only process for swiftly realizing the Supreme Truth, the Absolute Truth. So we should follow Krsna consciousness very seriously and sincerely.
Thank you very much.