Krishna Consciousness is the highest Yoga performance by trained devotional yogis. The Yoga system, as is stated in the standard Yoga practice formula given by Lord Krishna in The Bhagavad Gita, and as recommended in the Patanjali Yoga discipline, is different from the nowadays practiced Hatha Yoga, as is generally understood in the Western Countries.
Real Yoga practice means to control the senses and, after such control is established, to concentrate the mind on the Narayana Form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. Lord Krishna is the Original Absolute Personality, the Godhead, and all the other Vishnu Forms with four hands, decorated with conch, lotus, club and wheel are plenary expansions of Krishna.
In The Bhagavad Gita it is recommended that we should meditate upon the form of the Lord. For practicing concentration of the mind, one has to sit down in a secluded place sanctified by a sacred atmosphere, and the yogi should observe the rules and regulations of Brahmacharya to live a life of strict self-restraint and celibacy. Nobody can practice Yoga in a congested city, living a life of extravagance, including unrestricted sex indulgence and adultery of the tongue.
We have already stated that Yoga practice means controlling the senses, and the beginning of controlling the senses is to control the tongue. You cannot allow the tongue to take all kinds of forbidden food and drink, and at the same time improve in the practice of Yoga . It is a very regrettable fact that many unauthorized and stray so-called yogis now come to the West and exploit the leaning of the people towards Yoga. Such unauthorized yogis even dare to say publicly that one can indulge in drinking and at the same time practice meditation.
Five thousand years ago, in The Bhagavad Gita dialog, Lord Krishna recommended the Yoga practice to His disciple Arjuna, but Arjuna flatly expressed his inability to follow the stringent rules and regulations of Yoga. One should be practical in every field of activity. One should not waste his valuable time simply in practicing some gymnastic feats in the name of Yoga. Real Yoga is to search out the four-handed Supersoul within one's heart, and to see Him perpetually in meditation. Such continued meditation is called Samadhi. If, however, one wants to meditate upon something void or impersonal, it will require a very long time to achieve anything by Yoga practice. We cannot concentrate our mind on something void or impersonal. Real Yoga practice is to fix up the mind on the Person of the four-handed Narayana Who dwells in everyone's heart.
Sometimes it is said that, by meditation, one will understand that God is seated within one's heart always, even when one does not know it. God is seated within the heart of everyone. He is not only seated in the heart of the human being, but He is also there within the hearts of the cats and dogs. The Bhagavad Gita certifies this with the declaration of the Lord: Iswara, the Supreme Controller of the world, is seated in the heart of everyone. He is not only in everyone's heart, but He is also present within the atoms. No place is vacant, no place is without the presence of the Lord.
The feature of the Lord by which He is present everywhere is called the Paramatman. Atman means the individual soul, and Paramatman means the individual Supersoul. Both Atman and Paramatman are individual Persons. The difference between Them is that the Atman, or soul, is present only in one particular place, whereas the Paramatman is present everywhere .
In this connection, the example of the Sun is very nice. An individual person may be situated in one place, but the Sun, even though a specific individual entity, is present over the head of every individual person. In The Bhagavad Gita this is very nicely explained. Therefore, even though the qualities of all entities, including the Lord, are equal, the Supersoul is different from the individual soul by quantity of expansion. The Lord or Supersoul can expand Himself into millions of different Forms, while the individual soul cannot do so.
The Supersoul, being seated in everyone's heart, can witness everyone's activities, past, present and future. In the Upanishads the Supersoul is said to be sitting with the individual soul as a friend and witness. As a friend He is always anxious to get the individual soul back to home, back to Godhead. As a witness, He is the endower of all benedictions that result from the individual's actions. The Supersoul gives all facility to the individual soul for achieving whatever he may desire. But he instructs His friend, so that he may ultimately give up all other engagements and simply surrender unto God for perpetual bliss and eternal life, full of knowledge. This is the last instruction of The Bhagavad Gita, the most authorized and widely read book on all forms of Yoga.
The last word of The Bhagavad Gita, as stated above, is the last word in the matter of perfecting the Yoga system. It is further stated in The Bhagavad Gita that a person who is always absorbed in Krishna Consciousness is the topmost yogi. What is this Krishna Consciousness? Just as the individual soul is present by his consciousness throughout the whole body, so the Supersoul, or Paramatman, is present throughout the whole creation by His super consciousness.
This super consciousness cannot be imitated by the individual soul, who has limited awareness: I can understand what is going on within my limited body, but I cannot feel what is going on in another's body. I am present all over my body by my consciousness, but I am not present in any other's body by my consciousness. However. the Supersoul or Paramatman. being present within everyone, situated everywhere, is conscious of every existence. The theory that the soul and the Supersoul are one is not acceptable, because the individual soul's consciousness cannot act in superconsciousness. This super consciousness can only be achieved by dovetailing individual consciousness with the super consciousness; and this dovetailing process is called surrender, or Krishna Consciousness.
From the teachings of The Bhagavad Gita we learn very clearly that Arjuna in the beginning did not want to fight with his brothers and relatives, but after understanding The Bhagavad Gita, when he dovetailed his consciousness with the super consciousness of Krishna, it was Krishna Consciousness. A person in full Krishna Consciousness acts by the dictation of Krishna, and so Arjuna agreed to fight the Battle of Kurukshetra.
In the beginning of Krishna Consciousness this dictation of the Lord is received through the transparent medium of the Spiritual Master.
When one is sufficiently trained and acts with submissive faith and love for Krishna, under the direction of the bona fide Spiritual Master, the dovetailing process becomes more firm and accurate. At this stage Krishna dictates from within. From without, the devotee is helped by the Spiritual Master, the bona fide representative of Krishna, and from within the Lord helps the devotee as Chaita Guru, being seated within the heart of everyone.
To simply understand that God is seated in everyone's heart is not perfection. One has to be acquainted with God from within and without, and thus to act in Krishna Consciousness. This is the highest perfectional stage for the human form of life, and the topmost stage in all Yoga systems.
For a perfect yogi there are eight kinds of super-achievements:
• one can become smaller than an atom,
• one can become bigger than a mountain,
• one can become lighter than the air
• one can become heavier than any metal,
• one can achieve any material effect he likes (create a planet, for example),
• one can control others like the Lord,
• one can travel anywhere within (or without) the universe freely,
• one can choose his own time and place of death, and take rebirth wherever he may desire.
But when one rises to the perfectional stage of receiving dictation from the Lord, that is more than the stage of the material achievements above mentioned.
The breathing exercise of the Yoga system which is generally practiced is just the beginning of the system. Meditation on the Supersoul is just a step forward. Achievement of wonderful material success is also only a step forward. But to attain direct contact with the Supersoul and to take dictation from Him is the highest perfectional stage.
The breathing exercises and meditation practices of Yoga are very difficult in this age. It was difficult even 5,000 years ago, or else Arjuna would not have rejected the proposal of Krishna. This age of Kali is called the Fallen Age. At the present moment people in general are short-living and very slow in understanding self-realization or spiritual life. They are mostly unfortunate, and as such, if somebody is a little bit interested in self-realization, he is misguided by so many frauds. The only actual way to realization of the perfect stage of Yoga is to follow the principles of The Bhagavad Gita as they were practiced by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This is the simplest and highest perfection of Yoga practice.
Lord Chaitanya practically demonstrated Krishna Consciousness Yoga simply by chanting the Holy Names of Krishna, as they are mentioned in the Vedanta, Srimad Bhagwatam, and many important Puranas. The largest number of Indians follow this Yoga practice, and in the U.S.A. also it is gradually growing in many cities. It is very easy and practical for this age, especially for those who are serious about success in Yoga. No other process can be succesful in this age.
The meditation process in right earnest was possible in the Golden Age of SatyaYuga because the people at that time lived for a hundred thousand years on the average.
If you want success in practical Yoga, take to the chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, and feel for yourself how you are making progress. One should know for himself how much he is progressing in Yoga practice.
In The Bhagavad Gita this practice of Krishna Consciousness is described as Rajavidya, the king of all erudition; Rajaguhyam, the most confidential system of spiritual realization; Pavitra, the purest of all that is pure: Susukham, very happily performed; and Avayam, inexhaustible.
Those who have taken to this most sublime Bhakti Yoga system, this practice of devotional service in transcendental love of Krishna, can testify to how they are nicely enjoying its happy and easy execution. Yoga means controlling the senses, and Bhakti Yoga means purifying the senses. When the senses are purified, they are also, automatically, controlled. You cannot stop the activities of the senses by artificial means, but if you purify the senses they are not only kept back from rubbish engagement, but also they become positively engaged in transcendental service to the Lord.
Krishna Consciousness is not manufactured by us through mental speculation. It is the injunction of The Bhagavad Gita, Which says that, when we think in Krishna, chant in Krishna, live in Krishna, eat in Krishna, talk in Krishna, hope in Krishna, and sustain in Krishna, we return to Krishna without any doubt. And this is the substance of Krishna Consciousness.