Paris – June 13, 1974
Of the three main types of yoga discussed in the Gita, only one gives complete knowledge.
mayy asakta-manah partha
yogam yunjan mad-asrayah
asamsayam samagram mam
yatha jnasyasi tac chrnu
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Now hear, O son of Prtha, how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt." Bhagavad-gita 7.1
WE ARE SPEAKING from the Bhagavad-gita. I think most of you know this book. The Gita is sometimes translated in foreign languages as The Song of God. In other words, God Himself is speaking.
We cannot understand God by mental speculation. Even in this material world we cannot understand what is present in the planetary systems. Our knowledge is very, very limited. Besides that, we have four deficiencies. One deficiency is that we commit mistakes. Anyone, any big man of this material world, commits mistakes.
And he is illusioned. Illusion means to accept something that is not a fact. For example, if we accept the body as the self, that is called illusion. According to Vedic understanding, anyone who thinks of the body as the self is an animal. A dog thinks he is the body. Similarly, if a man thinks he is the body that he is American or Indian or French or German or Hindu or Muslim according to the Vedic understanding this conception is the animal's conception. That is called illusion.
The next item is cheating. Cheating means that with imperfect knowledge one takes the role of a teacher.
And the last deficiency is that our senses are imperfect. Our senses are not independent. Still, we are very much proud of our senses. For example, the atheist asks, "Can you show me God?" He does not consider whether he has any power to see. We can see only when conditions are fulfilled. If someone turns off the light here, we won't be able to see one another. So what is the value of these eyes? You simply see under certain conditions. You simply smell under certain conditions. You can hear under certain conditions. Therefore your materialistic life is conditional life.
With imperfect senses we cannot understand God. The most useful sense to understand God is the ear. When a man is sleeping and some enemy comes to attack him or kill him, if some friend cries, "Mr. Such-and-such, wake up, wake up! Here is your enemy. He'll kill you!" the man can rise up. So when all other senses are useless, the ear can work. Therefore, to understand God we have to use the ear. We have to receive the sound vibration, and it will act.
You ladies and gentleman are interested in the yoga system. The first-class yoga system is bhakti-yoga. In this Bhagavad-gita I am trying to explain the first verse of the Seventh Chapter. In the Sixth Chapter, the yoga system has been explained. It is said that one has to select a very sacred, secluded place. He has to sit down there in a perpendicular posture, with the neck and body in a straight line. And then he has to think of Krsna or Visnu. The thinking should be carefully done. One cannot divert his attention to any other subject. In the Patanjala yoga system it is said, yoga indriya-samyama: yoga means to control all the senses. Unless the senses are controlled, the mind will sicker, go this way and that way. The mind is the leader of all other senses. If you control the mind, concentrate on the feature of the Supreme Lord, that is the yoga system.
Therefore, describing the yoga system, Krsna prescribes so many methods, but after hearing the system of practicing yoga, Arjuna replies, "Krsna, this system is so difficult I cannot practice it."
Arjuna was not an ordinary person. He was specifically the friend of Krsna. He said, "This practice of yoga, ha ha-yoga, is not possible by me."
So Krsna concluded His instructions on the yoga system by saying, "Don't be uncertain. There is another yoga system, the bhakti-yoga system. You can adopt it."
Bhakti-yoga is summarized in the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita [6.47]:
yoginam api sarvesam
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam
sa me yuktatamo matah
This is the topmost system of yoga: bhakti-yoga, always thinking of Krsna. That system is being described in the Seventh Chapter:
mayy asakta-manah partha
yogam yunjan mad-asrayah
samsayam samagram mam
yatha jnasyasi tac chrnu
"My dear Arjuna, just try to divert your attachment to Me." We have attachment. Everyone has attachment to something. The bhakti-yoga system means simply to divert the attachment to Krsna. That's all. When the mind is fully diverted for increasing attachment to Krsna, that is called bhakti-yoga.
Yogam yunjan mad-asrayah: "This yoga system should be practiced under my direct supervision." Mad-asrayah means "under My direct supervision."
This means that the yoga system is not impersonal. Therefore the words used are bhagavan uvaca: "the Supreme Personality of Godhead said." Bhagavan, the Absolute Truth, is a person. There are many who think the Absolute Truth is impersonal. But the Absolute Truth is a person. Impersonal realization of the Absolute Truth is partial. It is not complete realization. Therefore it is mentioned here asamsayam, "without any doubt," and samagram, "in full."
After all, yoga means an endeavor to understand the Absolute Truth. Yoga means "linking," "connecting." When you connect with the Absolute Truth, that is called yoga. Another meaning is "plus," adding something else. Like two plus two. That is also called yoga. Similarly, God is one; I am also one. When we join together, that is called yoga.
There are many methods of yoga practice, but the direct method is bhakti-yoga. I am a person, and God is also a person. When we join together, that is called bhakti-yoga. Bhakti means the process of connecting with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As soon as we use the word bhakti, which means the process of devotion, there must be bhakta [devotee] and Bhagavan. Bhagavan is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the bhakta here is Arjuna. Bhagavan is personally teaching Arjuna the process to understand Him fully and without any doubt. Therefore it is mentioned here, bhagavan uvaca: "the Supreme Personality of Godhead said."
Three Angles Of Vision
The Absolute Truth is realized in three angles of vision. It is said in the Vedic literature [Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.11],
vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
bhagavan iti sabdyate
The Absolute Truth is the ultimate truth, tattva. Tattva means Absolute Truth. Those who are aware of the Absolute Truth say that the Absolute Truth is one but He's realized in three angles of vision, namely Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan. Those who are trying to speculate to understand the Absolute Truth can realize up to impersonal Brahman. Generally, speculators, big, big philosophers, can understand the impersonal Brahman. These impersonalists are generally known as jnanis. Jnanis are wise men, or persons very much aware of everything. They can understand the impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth.
Another class is the yogis. The yogis can understand the Paramatma feature of the Absolute Truth. Paramatma means the Supersoul situated within everyone's heart.
The personal feature of the Lord is realized by the bhaktas, or the devotees.
The jnanis and yogis cannot understand perfectly what is God. God is transcendental, sat-cit-ananda, a combination of eternity, knowledge, and bliss. If we realize the Absolute Truth partially simply knowledge of eternity that is called brahma-jnana. And when one is further advanced and realizes by yoga practice the Absolute Truth as the localized aspect, Paramatma, or Lord Visnu within everyone's heart, that is called paramatma-jnana. The objective is one, but there are different degrees of understanding. One example can be given in this connection, that of the sun globe, the sungod, and the sunshine. The sunshine is light and temperature, the sun globe is light and temperature, and within the sun globe is the personality known as the sun-god, who is also light and temperature. But all this light and temperature is present in different degrees. The temperature and light of the sunshine is less than that of the sun globe, and the temperature and light of the sun globe is less than that of the sun-god.
When you reach the sun-god, then you understand the complete temperature and light. That completeness is realized by the word bhagavan. Therefore these words are used here: asamsayam samagram. "You can understand Me in full and without any doubt asamsayam.i
If you are interested to understand the Absolute Truth, God, then you must take to bhakti-yoga. And if you want to understand the Absolute Truth with some doubt, and not completely, then you may take to jnana-yoga or dhyana-yoga.
This Krsna consciousness movement is meant for understanding the Absolute Truth completely without any doubt and without any incompleteness. The Eighteenth Chapter confirms that if you want to know God completely and without any doubt, then you have to take to the bhakti-yoga process. It is said,
bhaktya mam abhijanati
yavan yas casmi tattvatah
tato mam tattvato jnatva
"One can understand Me only by the bhakti-yoga process. And when one is fully aware of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then he becomes fit to enter into the kingdom of God."
The purpose of yoga practice is to leave this material atmosphere and enter into the spiritual atmosphere. The jnana-yogi remains in the impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth. The dhyana-yogi is practicing to realize the localized aspect of the Absolute Truth, but the bhakti-yogi is promoted directly to the planet called Goloka Vrndavana, and there he associates with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and enjoys life blissfully, eternally.
There are different planetary systems within the material world. Where we are situated is called Bhurloka. Above this is Bhuvarloka. Above that are Svarloka, Janaloka, Maharloka, and Satyaloka. There are seven steps of planetary systems up and, similarly, seven planetary systems down. By jnana-yoga, bhakti-yoga, or dhyana-yoga, which means the mystic yoga system, we can be promoted to the higher systems, but if we practice bhakti-yoga then we go to the transcendental world directly and associate with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The dhyana-yogi and jnana-yogi can go to the brahmajyoti, but there is the chance of falling down again to this material world. Generally, jnana-yogis remain speculators within the material world, and dhyana-yogis, as soon as they get some material power to perform miracles they become implicated with this power and fail to achieve the spiritual world. But the bhakti-yogi, being the perfect yogi the topmost yogi can enter the kingdom of God, or the planet where God is.
God is everywhere, but He has a special planet, called Goloka Vrndavana. You can enter there and mix with the Supreme Lord, just as we are here, mixing with one another. I can see you, and you can see me. Similarly, you can go directly, see God and live with Him, dance with Him, play with Him, eat with Him. That is the perfection of life.
This perfection of yoga can be achieved by practicing bhakti-yoga as recommended here: mayy asakta-manah partha yogam yunjan mad-asrayah under the guidance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His bona fide representative. If you practice this yoga, then you can understand the Supreme Personality of God-head completely, without any doubt. If you practice this yoga in this life and try to understand Krsna, then after giving up this body you have to give up this body today or tomorrow then you go directly to Krsna.
It is therefore explained in the Fourth Chapter,
janma karma ca me divyam
evam yo vetti tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti mam eti so 'rjuna
"My dear Arjuna, if anyone simply tries to understand why I come to this material world what is My mission, what do I do then he immediately becomes fit for being transferred to the spiritual world."
So our Krsna consciousness movement is meant to educate people to understand Krsna and then make their lives perfect.
Thank you very much.