The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: One who is unattached to the fruits of his work and who works as he is obligated is in the renounced order of life, and he is the true mystic, not he who lights no fire and performs no duty.
In this chapter the Lord explains that the process of the eightfold yoga system is a means to control the mind and the senses. However, this is very difficult for people in general to perform, especially in the Age of Kali. Although the eightfold yoga system is recommended in this chapter, the Lord emphasizes that the process of karma-yoga, or acting in Krsna consciousness, is better. Everyone acts in this world to maintain his family and their paraphernalia, but no one is working without some self-interest, some personal gratification, be it concentrated or extended. The criterion of perfection is to act in Krsna consciousness, and not with a view to enjoying the fruits of work. To act in Krsna consciousness is the duty of every living entity because all are constitutionally parts and parcels of the Supreme. The parts of the body work for the satisfaction of the whole body. The limbs of the body do not act for self-satisfaction but for the satisfaction of the complete whole. Similarly, the living entity who acts for satisfaction of the supreme whole and not for personal satisfaction is the perfect sannyasi, the perfect yogi.
The sannyasis sometimes artificially think that they have become liberated from all material duties, and therefore they cease to perform agnihotra yajnas (fire sacrifices), but actually they are self-interested because their goal is to become one with the impersonal Brahman. Such a desire is greater than any material desire, but it is not without self-interest. Similarly, the mystic yogi who practices the yoga system with half-open eyes, ceasing all material activities, desires some satisfaction for his personal self. But a person acting in Krsna consciousness works for the satisfaction of the whole, without self-interest. A Krsna conscious person has no desire for self-satisfaction. His criterion of success is the satisfaction of Krsna, and thus he is the perfect sannyasi, or perfect yogi. Lord Caitanya, the highest perfectional symbol of renunciation, prays in this way:
kavitam va jagad-isa kamaye
mama janmani janmanisvare
bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi
"O Almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor to enjoy beautiful women. Nor do I want any number of followers. What I want only is the causeless mercy of Your devotional service in my life, birth after birth."
What is called renunciation you should know to be the same as yoga, or linking oneself with the Supreme, O son of Pandu, for one can never become a yogi unless he renounces the desire for sense gratification.
Real sannyasa-yoga or bhakti means that one should know his constitutional position as the living entity, and act accordingly. The living entity has no separate independent identity. He is the marginal energy of the Supreme. When he is entrapped by material energy, he is conditioned, and when he is Krsna conscious, or aware of the spiritual energy, then he is in his real and natural state of life. Therefore, when one is in complete knowledge, one ceases all material sense gratification, or renounces all kinds of sense gratificatory activities. This is practiced by the yogis who restrain the senses from material attachment. But a person in Krsna consciousness has no opportunity to engage his senses in anything which is not for the purpose of Krsna. Therefore, a Krsna conscious person is simultaneously a sannyasi and a yogi. The purpose of knowledge and of restraining the senses, as prescribed in the jnana and yoga processes, is automatically served in Krsna consciousness. If one is unable to give up the activities of his selfish nature, then jnana and yoga are of no avail. The real aim is for a living entity to give up all selfish satisfaction and to be prepared to satisfy the Supreme. A Krsna conscious person has no desire for any kind of self-enjoyment. He is always engaged for the enjoyment of the Supreme. One who has no information of the Supreme must therefore be engaged in self-satisfaction, because no one can stand on the platform of inactivity. All purposes are perfectly served by the practice of Krsna consciousness.
For one who is a neophyte in the eightfold yoga system, work is said to be the means; and for one who is already elevated in yoga, cessation of all material activities is said to be the means.
The process of linking oneself with the Supreme is called yoga. It may be compared to a ladder for attaining the topmost spiritual realization. This ladder begins from the lowest material condition of the living entity and rises up to perfect self-realization in pure spiritual life. According to various elevations, different parts of the ladder are known by different names. But all in all, the complete ladder is called yoga and may be divided into three parts, namely jnana-yoga, dhyana-yoga and bhakti-yoga. The beginning of the ladder is called the yogaruruksu stage, and the highest rung is called yogarudha.
Concerning the eightfold yoga system, attempts in the beginning to enter into meditation through regulative principles of life and practice of different sitting postures (which are more or less bodily exercises) are considered fruitive material activities. All such activities lead to achieving perfect mental equilibrium to control the senses. When one is accomplished in the practice of meditation, he ceases all disturbing mental activities.
A Krsna conscious person, however, is situated from the beginning on the platform of meditation because he always thinks of Krsna. And, being constantly engaged in the service of Krsna, he is considered to have ceased all material activities.
A person is said to be elevated in yoga when, having renounced all material desires, he neither acts for sense gratification nor engages in fruitive activities.
When a person is fully engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, he is pleased in himself, and thus he is no longer engaged in sense gratification or in fruitive activities. Otherwise, one must be engaged in sense gratification, since one cannot live without engagement. Without Krsna consciousness, one must be always seeking self-centered or extended selfish activities. But a Krsna conscious person can do everything for the satisfaction of Krsna and thereby be perfectly detached from sense gratification. One who has no such realization must mechanically try to escape material desires before being elevated to the top rung of the yoga ladder.
One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.
The word atma denotes body, mind and souldepending upon different circumstances. In the yoga system, the mind and the conditioned soul are especially important. Since the mind is the central point of yoga practice, atma refers here to the mind. The purpose of the yoga system is to control the mind and to draw it away from attachment to sense objects. It is stressed herein that the mind must be so trained that it can deliver the conditioned soul from the mire of nescience. In material existence one is subjected to the influence of the mind and the senses. In fact, the pure soul is entangled in the material world because the mind is involved with the false ego, which desires to lord it over material nature. Therefore, the mind should be trained so that it will not be attracted by the glitter of material nature, and in this way the conditioned soul may be saved. One should not degrade oneself by attraction to sense objects. The more one is attracted by sense objects, the more one becomes entangled in material existence. The best way to disentangle oneself is to always engage the mind in Krsna consciousness. The word hi is used for emphasizing this point, i.e., that one must do this. It is also said:
muktyai nirvisayam manah
"For man, mind is the cause of bondage and mind is the cause of liberation. Mind absorbed in sense objects is the cause of bondage, and mind detached from the sense objects is the cause of liberation." (Amrta-bindu Upanisad 2) Therefore, the mind which is always engaged in Krsna consciousness is the cause of supreme liberation.
For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.
The purpose of practicing eightfold yoga is to control the mind in order to make it a friend in discharging the human mission. Unless the mind is controlled, the practice of yoga (for show) is simply a waste of time. One who cannot control his mind lives always with the greatest enemy, and thus his life and its mission are spoiled. The constitutional position of the living entity is to carry out the order of the superior. As long as ones mind remains an unconquered enemy, one has to serve the dictations of lust, anger, avarice, illusion, etc. But when the mind is conquered, one voluntarily agrees to abide by the dictation of the Personality of Godhead, who is situated within the heart of everyone as Paramatma. Real yoga practice entails meeting the Paramatma within the heart and then following His dictation. For one who takes to Krsna consciousness directly, perfect surrender to the dictation of the Lord follows automatically.
For one who has conquered the mind, the Supersoul is already reached, for he has attained tranquillity. To such a man happiness and distress, heat and cold, honor and dishonor are all the same.
Actually, every living entity is intended to abide by the dictation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is seated in everyones heart as Paramatma. When the mind is misled by the external, illusory energy, one becomes entangled in material activities. Therefore, as soon as ones mind is controlled through one of the yoga systems, one should be considered to have already reached the destination. One has to abide by superior dictation. When ones mind is fixed on the superior nature, he has no alternative but to follow the dictation of the Supreme. The mind must admit some superior dictation and follow it. The effect of controlling the mind is that one automatically follows the dictation of the Paramatma, or Supersoul. Because this transcendental position is at once achieved by one who is in Krsna consciousness, the devotee of the Lord is unaffected by the dualities of material existence, namely distress and happiness, cold and heat, etc. This state is practical samadhi, or absorption in the Supreme.
A person is said to be established in self-realization and is called a yogi [or mystic] when he is fully satisfied by virtue of acquired knowledge and realization. Such a person is situated in transcendence and is self-controlled. He sees everythingwhether it be pebbles, stones or goldas the same.
Book knowledge without realization of the Supreme Truth is useless. This is stated as follows:
na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau
svayam eva sphuraty adah
"No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, quality and pastimes of Sri Krsna through his materially contaminated senses. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental service to the Lord are the transcendental name, form, quality and pastimes of the Lord revealed to him." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.234)
This Bhagavad-gita is the science of Krsna consciousness. No one can become Krsna conscious simply by mundane scholarship. One must be fortunate enough to associate with a person who is in pure consciousness. A Krsna conscious person has realized knowledge, by the grace of Krsna, because he is satisfied with pure devotional service. By realized knowledge, one becomes perfect. By transcendental knowledge one can remain steady in his convictions, but by mere academic knowledge one can be easily deluded and confused by apparent contradictions. It is the realized soul who is actually self-controlled, because he is surrendered to Krsna. He is transcendental because he has nothing to do with mundane scholarship. For him mundane scholarship and mental speculation, which may be as good as gold to others, are of no greater value than pebbles or stones.
A person is considered still further advanced when he regards honest well-wishers, affectionate benefactors, the neutral, mediators, the envious, friends and enemies, the pious and the sinners all with an equal mind.
A transcendentalist should always engage his body, mind and self in relationship with the Supreme; he should live alone in a secluded place and should always carefully control his mind. He should be free from desires and feelings of possessiveness.
Krsna is realized in different degrees as Brahman, Paramatma and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krsna consciousness means, concisely, to be always engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. But those who are attached to the impersonal Brahman or the localized Supersoul are also partially Krsna conscious, because impersonal Brahman is the spiritual ray of Krsna and Supersoul is the all-pervading partial expansion of Krsna. Thus the impersonalist and the meditator are also indirectly Krsna conscious. A directly Krsna conscious person is the topmost transcendentalist because such a devotee knows what is meant by Brahman and Paramatma. His knowledge of the Absolute Truth is perfect, whereas the impersonalist and the meditative yogi are imperfectly Krsna conscious.
Nevertheless, all of these are instructed herewith to be constantly engaged in their particular pursuits so that they may come to the highest perfection sooner or later. The first business of a transcendentalist is to keep the mind always on Krsna. One should always think of Krsna and not forget Him even for a moment. Concentration of the mind on the Supreme is called samadhi, or trance. In order to concentrate the mind, one should always remain in seclusion and avoid disturbance by external objects. He should be very careful to accept favorable and reject unfavorable conditions that affect his realization. And, in perfect determination, he should not hanker after unnecessary material things that entangle him by feelings of possessiveness.
All these perfections and precautions are perfectly executed when one is directly in Krsna consciousness, because direct Krsna consciousness means self-abnegation, wherein there is very little chance for material possessiveness. Srila Rupa Gosvami characterizes Krsna consciousness in this way:
yuktam vairagyam ucyate
"When one is not attached to anything, but at the same time accepts everything in relation to Krsna, one is rightly situated above possessiveness. On the other hand, one who rejects everything without knowledge of its relationship to Krsna is not as complete in his renunciation." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 2.255256)
A Krsna conscious person well knows that everything belongs to Krsna, and thus he is always free from feelings of personal possession. As such, he has no hankering for anything on his own personal account. He knows how to accept things in favor of Krsna consciousness and how to reject things unfavorable to Krsna consciousness. He is always aloof from material things because he is always transcendental, and he is always alone, having nothing to do with persons not in Krsna consciousness. Therefore a person in Krsna consciousness is the perfect yogi.
To practice yoga, one should go to a secluded place and should lay kusa grass on the ground and then cover it with a deerskin and a soft cloth. The seat should be neither too high nor too low and should be situated in a sacred place. The yogi should then sit on it very firmly and practice yoga to purify the heart by controlling his mind, senses and activities and fixing the mind on one point.
"Sacred place" refers to places of pilgrimage. In India the yogis, the transcendentalists or the devotees, all leave home and reside in sacred places such as Prayaga, Mathura, Vrndavana, Hrsikesa and Hardwar and in solitude practice yoga where the sacred rivers like the Yamuna and the Ganges flow. But often this is not possible, especially for Westerners. The so-called yoga societies in big cities may be successful in earning material benefit, but they are not at all suitable for the actual practice of yoga. One who is not self-controlled and whose mind is not undisturbed cannot practice meditation. Therefore, in the Brhan-naradiya Purana it is said that in Kali-yuga (the present yuga, or age), when people in general are short-lived, slow in spiritual realization and always disturbed by various anxieties, the best means of spiritual realization is chanting the holy name of the Lord.
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
"In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of deliverance is chanting the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way."
One should hold ones body, neck and head erect in a straight line and stare steadily at the tip of the nose. Thus, with an unagitated, subdued mind, devoid of fear, completely free from sex life, one should meditate upon Me within the heart and make Me the ultimate goal of life.
The goal of life is to know Krsna, who is situated within the heart of every living being as Paramatma, the four-handed Visnu form. The yoga process is practiced in order to discover and see this localized form of Visnu, and not for any other purpose. The localized visnu-murti is the plenary representation of Krsna dwelling within ones heart. One who has no program to realize this visnu-murti is uselessly engaged in mock yoga practice and is certainly wasting his time. Krsna is the ultimate goal of life, and the visnu-murti situated in ones heart is the object of yoga practice. To realize this visnu-murti within the heart, one has to observe complete abstinence from sex life; therefore one has to leave home and live alone in a secluded place, remaining seated as mentioned above. One cannot enjoy sex life daily at home or elsewhere and attend a so-called yoga class and thus become a yogi. One has to practice controlling the mind and avoiding all kinds of sense gratification, of which sex life is the chief. In the rules of celibacy written by the great sage Yajnavalkya it is said:
"The vow of brahmacarya is meant to help one completely abstain from sex indulgence in work, words and mindat all times, under all circumstances, and in all places." No one can perform correct yoga practice through sex indulgence. Brahmacarya is taught, therefore, from childhood, when one has no knowledge of sex life. Children at the age of five are sent to the guru-kula, or the place of the spiritual master, and the master trains the young boys in the strict discipline of becoming brahmacaris. Without such practice, no one can make advancement in any yoga, whether it be dhyana, jnana or bhakti. One who, however, follows the rules and regulations of married life, having a sexual relationship only with his wife (and that also under regulation), is also called a brahmacari. Such a restrained householder brahmacari may be accepted in the bhakti school, but the jnana and dhyana schools do not even admit householder brahmacaris. They require complete abstinence without compromise. In the bhakti school, a householder brahmacari is allowed controlled sex life because the cult of bhakti-yoga is so powerful that one automatically loses sexual attraction, being engaged in the superior service of the Lord. In the Bhagavad-gita (2.59) it is said:
rasa-varjam raso py asya
param drstva nivartate
Whereas others are forced to restrain themselves from sense gratification, a devotee of the Lord automatically refrains because of superior taste. Other than the devotee, no one has any information of that superior taste.
Vigata-bhih. One cannot be fearless unless one is fully in Krsna consciousness. A conditioned soul is fearful due to his perverted memory, his forgetfulness of his eternal relationship with Krsna. The Bhagavatam (11.2.37) says, bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad isad apetasya viparyayo smrtih. Krsna consciousness is the only basis for fearlessness. Therefore, perfect practice is possible for a person who is Krsna conscious. And since the ultimate goal of yoga practice is to see the Lord within, a Krsna conscious person is already the best of all yogis. The principles of the yoga system mentioned herein are different from those of the popular so-called yoga societies.
Thus practicing constant control of the body, mind and activities, the mystic transcendentalist, his mind regulated, attains to the kingdom of God [or the abode of Krsna] by cessation of material existence.
The ultimate goal in practicing yoga is now clearly explained. Yoga practice is not meant for attaining any kind of material facility; it is to enable the cessation of all material existence. One who seeks an improvement in health or aspires after material perfection is no yogi according to Bhagavad-gita. Nor does cessation of material existence entail ones entering into "the void," which is only a myth. There is no void anywhere within the creation of the Lord. Rather, the cessation of material existence enables one to enter into the spiritual sky, the abode of the Lord. The abode of the Lord is also clearly described in the Bhagavad-gita as that place where there is no need of sun, moon or electricity. All the planets in the spiritual kingdom are self-illuminated like the sun in the material sky. The kingdom of God is everywhere, but the spiritual sky and the planets thereof are called param dhama, or superior abodes.
A consummate yogi, who is perfect in understanding Lord Krsna, as is clearly stated herein by the Lord Himself (mat-cittah, mat-parah, mat-sthanam), can attain real peace and can ultimately reach His supreme abode, Krsnaloka, known as Goloka Vrndavana. In the Brahma-samhita (5.37) it is clearly stated, goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhutah: the Lord, although residing always in His abode called Goloka, is the all-pervading Brahman and the localized Paramatma as well by dint of His superior spiritual energies. No one can reach the spiritual sky (Vaikuntha) or enter into the Lords eternal abode (Goloka Vrndavana) without the proper understanding of Krsna and His plenary expansion Visnu. Therefore a person working in Krsna consciousness is the perfect yogi, because his mind is always absorbed in Krsnas activities (sa vai manah krsna-padaravindayoh). In the Vedas also (Svetasvatara Upanisad 3.8) we learn, tam eva viditvati mrtyum eti: "One can overcome the path of birth and death only by understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna." In other words, perfection of the yoga system is the attainment of freedom from material existence and not some magical jugglery or gymnastic feats to befool innocent people.
There is no possibility of ones becoming a yogi, O Arjuna, if one eats too much or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough.
Regulation of diet and sleep is recommended herein for the yogis. Too much eating means eating more than is required to keep the body and soul together. There is no need for men to eat animals, because there is an ample supply of grains, vegetables, fruits and milk. Such simple foodstuff is considered to be in the mode of goodness according to the Bhagavad-gita. Animal food is for those in the mode of ignorance. Therefore, those who indulge in animal food, drinking, smoking and eating food which is not first offered to Krsna will suffer sinful reactions because of eating only polluted things. Bhunjate te tv agham papa ye pacanty atma-karanat. Anyone who eats for sense pleasure, or cooks for himself, not offering his food to Krsna, eats only sin. One who eats sin and eats more than is allotted to him cannot execute perfect yoga. It is best that one eat only the remnants of foodstuff offered to Krsna. A person in Krsna consciousness does not eat anything which is not first offered to Krsna. Therefore, only the Krsna conscious person can attain perfection in yoga practice. Nor can one who artificially abstains from eating, manufacturing his own personal process of fasting, practice yoga. The Krsna conscious person observes fasting as it is recommended in the scriptures. He does not fast or eat more than is required, and he is thus competent to perform yoga practice. One who eats more than required will dream very much while sleeping, and he must consequently sleep more than is required. One should not sleep more than six hours daily. One who sleeps more than six hours out of twenty-four is certainly influenced by the mode of ignorance. A person in the mode of ignorance is lazy and prone to sleep a great deal. Such a person cannot perform yoga.
He who is regulated in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.
Extravagance in the matter of eating, sleeping, defending and matingwhich are demands of the bodycan block advancement in the practice of yoga. As far as eating is concerned, it can be regulated only when one is practiced to take and accept prasadam, sanctified food. Lord Krsna is offered, according to the Bhagavad-gita (9.26), vegetables, flowers, fruits, grains, milk, etc. In this way, a person in Krsna consciousness becomes automatically trained not to accept food not meant for human consumption, or not in the category of goodness. As far as sleeping is concerned, a Krsna conscious person is always alert in the discharge of his duties in Krsna consciousness, and therefore any unnecessary time spent sleeping is considered a great loss. Avyartha-kalatvam: a Krsna conscious person cannot bear to pass a minute of his life without being engaged in the service of the Lord. Therefore, his sleeping is kept to a minimum. His ideal in this respect is Srila Rupa Gosvami, who was always engaged in the service of Krsna and who could not sleep more than two hours a day, and sometimes not even that. Thakura Haridasa would not even accept prasadam nor even sleep for a moment without finishing his daily routine of chanting with his beads three hundred thousand names. As far as work is concerned, a Krsna conscious person does not do anything which is not connected with Krsnas interest, and thus his work is always regulated and is untainted by sense gratification. Since there is no question of sense gratification, there is no material leisure for a person in Krsna consciousness. And because he is regulated in all his work, speech, sleep, wakefulness and all other bodily activities, there is no material misery for him.
When the yogi, by practice of yoga, disciplines his mental activities and becomes situated in transcendencedevoid of all material desireshe is said to be well established in yoga.
The activities of the yogi are distinguished from those of an ordinary person by his characteristic cessation from all kinds of material desiresof which sex is the chief. A perfect yogi is so well disciplined in the activities of the mind that he can no longer be disturbed by any kind of material desire. This perfectional stage can automatically be attained by persons in Krsna consciousness, as stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (9.4.1820):
karau harer mandira-marjanadisu
"King Ambarisa first of all engaged his mind on the lotus feet of Lord Krsna; then, one after another, he engaged his words in describing the transcendental qualities of the Lord, his hands in mopping the temple of the Lord, his ears in hearing of the activities of the Lord, his eyes in seeing the transcendental forms of the Lord, his body in touching the bodies of the devotees, his sense of smell in smelling the scents of the lotus flowers offered to the Lord, his tongue in tasting the tulasi leaf offered at the lotus feet of the Lord, his legs in going to places of pilgrimage and the temple of the Lord, his head in offering obeisances unto the Lord, and his desires in executing the mission of the Lord. All these transcendental activities are quite befitting a pure devotee."
This transcendental stage may be inexpressible subjectively by the followers of the impersonalist path, but it becomes very easy and practical for a person in Krsna consciousness, as is apparent in the above description of the engagements of Maharaja Ambarisa. Unless the mind is fixed on the lotus feet of the Lord by constant remembrance, such transcendental engagements are not practical. In the devotional service of the Lord, therefore, these prescribed activities are called arcana, or engaging all the senses in the service of the Lord. The senses and the mind require engagements. Simple abnegation is not practical. Therefore, for people in generalespecially those who are not in the renounced order of lifetranscendental engagement of the senses and the mind as described above is the perfect process for transcendental achievement, which is called yukta in the Bhagavad-gita.
As a lamp in a windless place does not waver, so the transcendentalist, whose mind is controlled, remains always steady in his meditation on the transcendent self.
A truly Krsna conscious person, always absorbed in transcendence, in constant undisturbed meditation on his worshipable Lord, is as steady as a lamp in a windless place.
In the stage of perfection called trance, or samadhi, ones mind is completely restrained from material mental activities by practice of yoga. This perfection is characterized by ones ability to see the self by the pure mind and to relish and rejoice in the self. In that joyous state, one is situated in boundless transcendental happiness, realized through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth, and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of greatest difficulty. This indeed is actual freedom from all miseries arising from material contact.
By practice of yoga one becomes gradually detached from material concepts. This is the primary characteristic of the yoga principle. And after this, one becomes situated in trance, or samadhi, which means that the yogi realizes the Supersoul through transcendental mind and intelligence, without any of the misgivings of identifying the self with the Superself. Yoga practice is more or less based on the principles of the Patanjali system. Some unauthorized commentators try to identify the individual soul with the Supersoul, and the monists think this to be liberation, but they do not understand the real purpose of the Patanjali system of yoga. There is an acceptance of transcendental pleasure in the Patanjali system, but the monists do not accept this transcendental pleasure, out of fear of jeopardizing the theory of oneness. The duality of knowledge and knower is not accepted by the nondualist, but in this verse transcendental pleasurerealized through transcendental sensesis accepted. And this is corroborated by Patanjali Muni, the famous exponent of the yoga system. The great sage declares in his Yoga-sutras (3.34): purusartha-sunyanam gunanam pratiprasavah kaivalyam svarupa-pratistha va citi-saktir iti.
This citi-sakti, or internal potency, is transcendental. Purusartha means material religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and, at the end, the attempt to become one with the Supreme. This "oneness with the Supreme" is called kaivalyam by the monist. But according to Patanjali, this kaivalyam is an internal, or transcendental, potency by which the living entity becomes aware of his constitutional position. In the words of Lord Caitanya, this state of affairs is called ceto-darpana-marjanam, or clearance of the impure mirror of the mind. This "clearance" is actually liberation, or bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam. The theory of nirvanaalso preliminarycorresponds with this principle. In the Bhagavatam (2.10.6) this is called svarupena vyavasthitih. The Bhagavad-gita also confirms this situation in this verse.
After nirvana, or material cessation, there is the manifestation of spiritual activities, or devotional service to the Lord, known as Krsna consciousness. In the words of the Bhagavatam, svarupena vyavasthitih: this is the "real life of the living entity." Maya, or illusion, is the condition of spiritual life contaminated by material infection. Liberation from this material infection does not mean destruction of the original eternal position of the living entity. Patanjali also accepts this by his words kaivalyam svarupa-pratistha va citi-saktir iti. This citi-sakti, or transcendental pleasure, is real life. This is confirmed in the Vedanta-sutra (1.1.12) as ananda-mayo bhyasat. This natural transcendental pleasure is the ultimate goal of yoga and is easily achieved by execution of devotional service, or bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga will be vividly described in the Seventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gita.
In the yoga system, as described in this chapter, there are two kinds of samadhi, called samprajnata-samadhi and asamprajnata-samadhi. When one becomes situated in the transcendental position by various philosophical researches, he is said to have achieved samprajnata-samadhi. In the asamprajnata-samadhi there is no longer any connection with mundane pleasure, for one is then transcendental to all sorts of happiness derived from the senses. When the yogi is once situated in that transcendental position, he is never shaken from it. Unless the yogi is able to reach this position, he is unsuccessful. Todays so-called yoga practice, which involves various sense pleasures, is contradictory. A yogi indulging in sex and intoxication is a mockery. Even those yogis who are attracted by the siddhis (perfections) in the process of yoga are not perfectly situated. If yogis are attracted by the by-products of yoga, then they cannot attain the stage of perfection, as is stated in this verse. Persons, therefore, indulging in the make-show practice of gymnastic feats or siddhis should know that the aim of yoga is lost in that way.
The best practice of yoga in this age is Krsna consciousness, which is not baffling. A Krsna conscious person is so happy in his occupation that he does not aspire after any other happiness. There are many impediments, especially in this age of hypocrisy, to practicing hatha-yoga, dhyana-yoga and jnana-yoga, but there is no such problem in executing karma-yoga or bhakti-yoga.
As long as the material body exists, one has to meet the demands of the body, namely eating, sleeping, defending and mating. But a person who is in pure bhakti-yoga, or in Krsna consciousness, does not arouse the senses while meeting the demands of the body. Rather, he accepts the bare necessities of life, making the best use of a bad bargain, and enjoys transcendental happiness in Krsna consciousness. He is callous toward incidental occurrencessuch as accidents, disease, scarcity and even the death of a most dear relativebut he is always alert to execute his duties in Krsna consciousness, or bhakti-yoga. Accidents never deviate him from his duty. As stated in the Bhagavad-gita (2.14), agamapayino nityas tams titiksasva bharata. He endures all such incidental occurrences because he knows that they come and go and do not affect his duties. In this way he achieves the highest perfection in yoga practice.
One should engage oneself in the practice of yoga with determination and faith and not be deviated from the path. One should abandon, without exception, all material desires born of mental speculation and thus control all the senses on all sides by the mind.
The yoga practitioner should be determined and should patiently prosecute the practice without deviation. One should be sure of success at the end and pursue this course with great perseverance, not becoming discouraged if there is any delay in the attainment of success. Success is sure for the rigid practitioner. Regarding bhakti-yoga, Rupa Gosvami says:
sanga-tyagat sato vrtteh
sadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati
"One can execute the process of bhakti-yoga successfully with full-hearted enthusiasm, perseverance, and determination, by following the prescribed duties in the association of devotees and by engaging completely in activities of goodness." (Upadesamrta 3)
As for determination, one should follow the example of the sparrow who lost her eggs in the waves of the ocean. A sparrow laid her eggs on the shore of the ocean, but the big ocean carried away the eggs on its waves. The sparrow became very upset and asked the ocean to return her eggs. The ocean did not even consider her appeal. So the sparrow decided to dry up the ocean. She began to pick out the water in her small beak, and everyone laughed at her for her impossible determination. The news of her activity spread, and at last Garuda, the gigantic bird carrier of Lord Visnu, heard it. He became compassionate toward his small sister bird, and so he came to see the sparrow. Garuda was very pleased by the determination of the small sparrow, and he promised to help. Thus Garuda at once asked the ocean to return her eggs lest he himself take up the work of the sparrow. The ocean was frightened at this, and returned the eggs. Thus the sparrow became happy by the grace of Garuda.
Similarly, the practice of yoga, especially bhakti-yoga in Krsna consciousness, may appear to be a very difficult job. But if anyone follows the principles with great determination, the Lord will surely help, for God helps those who help themselves.
Gradually, step by step, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence sustained by full conviction, and thus the mind should be fixed on the self alone and should think of nothing else.
By proper conviction and intelligence one should gradually cease sense activities. This is called pratyahara. The mind, being controlled by conviction, meditation, and cessation from the senses, should be situated in trance, or samadhi. At that time there is no longer any danger of becoming engaged in the material conception of life. In other words, although one is involved with matter as long as the material body exists, one should not think about sense gratification. One should think of no pleasure aside from the pleasure of the Supreme Self. This state is easily attained by directly practicing Krsna consciousness.
From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the self.
The nature of the mind is flickering and unsteady. But a self-realized yogi has to control the mind; the mind should not control him. One who controls the mind (and therefore the senses as well) is called gosvami, or svami, and one who is controlled by the mind is called go-dasa, or the servant of the senses. A gosvami knows the standard of sense happiness. In transcendental sense happiness, the senses are engaged in the service of Hrsikesa, or the supreme owner of the sensesKrsna. Serving Krsna with purified senses is called Krsna consciousness. That is the way of bringing the senses under full control. What is more, that is the highest perfection of yoga practice.
The yogi whose mind is fixed on Me verily attains the highest perfection of transcendental happiness. He is beyond the mode of passion, he realizes his qualitative identity with the Supreme, and thus he is freed from all reactions to past deeds.
Brahma-bhuta is the state of being free from material contamination and situated in the transcendental service of the Lord. Mad-bhaktim labhate param (Bg. 18.54). One cannot remain in the quality of Brahman, the Absolute, until ones mind is fixed on the lotus feet of the Lord. Sa vai manah krsna-padaravindayoh. To be always engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, or to remain in Krsna consciousness, is to be factually liberated from the mode of passion and all material contamination.
Thus the self-controlled yogi, constantly engaged in yoga practice, becomes free from all material contamination and achieves the highest stage of perfect happiness in transcendental loving service to the Lord.
Self-realization means knowing ones constitutional position in relationship to the Supreme. The individual soul is part and parcel of the Supreme, and his position is to render transcendental service to the Lord. This transcendental contact with the Supreme is called brahma-samsparsa.
A true yogi observes Me in all beings and also sees every being in Me. Indeed, the self-realized person sees Me, the same Supreme Lord, everywhere.
A Krsna conscious yogi is the perfect seer because he sees Krsna, the Supreme, situated in everyones heart as Supersoul (Paramatma). Isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese rjuna tisthati. The Lord in His Paramatma feature is situated within both the heart of the dog and that of a brahmana. The perfect yogi knows that the Lord is eternally transcendental and is not materially affected by His presence in either a dog or a brahmana. That is the supreme neutrality of the Lord. The individual soul is also situated in the individual heart, but he is not present in all hearts. That is the distinction between the individual soul and the Supersoul. One who is not factually in the practice of yoga cannot see so clearly. A Krsna conscious person can see Krsna in the heart of both the believer and the nonbeliever. In the smrti this is confirmed as follows: atatatvac ca matrtvac ca atma hi paramo harih. The Lord, being the source of all beings, is like the mother and the maintainer. As the mother is neutral to all different kinds of children, the supreme father (or mother) is also. Consequently the Supersoul is always in every living being.
Outwardly, also, every living being is situated in the energy of the Lord. As will be explained in the Seventh Chapter, the Lord has, primarily, two energiesthe spiritual (or superior) and the material (or inferior). The living entity, although part of the superior energy, is conditioned by the inferior energy; the living entity is always in the Lords energy. Every living entity is situated in Him in one way or another.
The yogi sees equally because he sees that all living entities, although in different situations according to the results of fruitive work, in all circumstances remain the servants of God. While in the material energy, the living entity serves the material senses; and while in spiritual energy, he serves the Supreme Lord directly. In either case the living entity is the servant of God. This vision of equality is perfect in a person in Krsna consciousness.
For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me.
A person in Krsna consciousness certainly sees Lord Krsna everywhere, and he sees everything in Krsna. Such a person may appear to see all separate manifestations of the material nature, but in each and every instance he is conscious of Krsna, knowing that everything is a manifestation of Krsnas energy. Nothing can exist without Krsna, and Krsna is the Lord of everythingthis is the basic principle of Krsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness is the development of love of Krsnaa position transcendental even to material liberation. At this stage of Krsna consciousness, beyond self-realization, the devotee becomes one with Krsna in the sense that Krsna becomes everything for the devotee and the devotee becomes full in loving Krsna. An intimate relationship between the Lord and the devotee then exists. In that stage, the living entity can never be annihilated, nor is the Personality of Godhead ever out of the sight of the devotee. To merge in Krsna is spiritual annihilation. A devotee takes no such risk. It is stated in the Brahma-samhita (5.38):
santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti
yam syamasundaram acintya-guna-svarupam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
"I worship the primeval Lord, Govinda, who is always seen by the devotee whose eyes are anointed with the pulp of love. He is seen in His eternal form of Syamasundara, situated within the heart of the devotee."
At this stage, Lord Krsna never disappears from the sight of the devotee, nor does the devotee ever lose sight of the Lord. In the case of a yogi who sees the Lord as Paramatma within the heart, the same applies. Such a yogi turns into a pure devotee and cannot bear to live for a moment without seeing the Lord within himself.
Such a yogi, who engages in the worshipful service of the Supersoul, knowing that I and the Supersoul are one, remains always in Me in all circumstances.
A yogi who is practicing meditation on the Supersoul sees within himself the plenary portion of Krsna as Visnuwith four hands, holding conchshell, wheel, club and lotus flower. The yogi should know that Visnu is not different from Krsna. Krsna in this form of Supersoul is situated in everyones heart. Furthermore, there is no difference between the innumerable Supersouls present in the innumerable hearts of living entities. Nor is there a difference between a Krsna conscious person always engaged in the transcendental loving service of Krsna and a perfect yogi engaged in meditation on the Supersoul. The yogi in Krsna consciousnesseven though he may be engaged in various activities while in material existenceremains always situated in Krsna. This is confirmed in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.187) of Srila Rupa Gosvami: nikhilasv apy avasthasu jivan-muktah sa ucyate. A devotee of the Lord, always acting in Krsna consciousness, is automatically liberated. In the Narada-pancaratra this is confirmed in this way:
krsne ceto vidhaya ca
tan-mayo bhavati ksipram
jivo brahmani yojayet
"By concentrating ones attention on the transcendental form of Krsna, who is all-pervading and beyond time and space, one becomes absorbed in thinking of Krsna and then attains the happy state of transcendental association with Him."
Krsna consciousness is the highest stage of trance in yoga practice. This very understanding that Krsna is present as Paramatma in everyones heart makes the yogi faultless. The Vedas (Gopala-tapani Upanisad 1.21) confirm this inconceivable potency of the Lord as follows: eko pi san bahudha yo vabhati. "Although the Lord is one, He is present in innumerable hearts as many." Similarly, in the smrti-sastra it is said:
sarva-vyapi na samsayah
aisvaryad rupam ekam ca
"Visnu is one, and yet He is certainly all-pervading. By His inconceivable potency, in spite of His one form, He is present everywhere, as the sun appears in many places at once."
He is a perfect yogi who, by comparison to his own self, sees the true equality of all beings, in both their happiness and their distress, O Arjuna!
One who is Krsna conscious is a perfect yogi; he is aware of everyones happiness and distress by dint of his own personal experience. The cause of the distress of a living entity is forgetfulness of his relationship with God. And the cause of happiness is knowing Krsna to be the supreme enjoyer of all the activities of the human being, the proprietor of all lands and planets, and the sincerest friend of all living entities. The perfect yogi knows that the living being who is conditioned by the modes of material nature is subjected to the threefold material miseries due to forgetfulness of his relationship with Krsna. And because one in Krsna consciousness is happy, he tries to distribute the knowledge of Krsna everywhere. Since the perfect yogi tries to broadcast the importance of becoming Krsna conscious, he is the best philanthropist in the world, and he is the dearest servitor of the Lord. Na ca tasman manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah (Bg. 18.69). In other words, a devotee of the Lord always looks to the welfare of all living entities, and in this way he is factually the friend of everyone. He is the best yogi because he does not desire perfection in yoga for his personal benefit, but tries for others also. He does not envy his fellow living entities. Here is a contrast between a pure devotee of the Lord and a yogi interested only in his personal elevation. The yogi who has withdrawn to a secluded place in order to meditate perfectly may not be as perfect as a devotee who is trying his best to turn every man toward Krsna consciousness.
Arjuna said: O Madhusudana, the system of yoga which You have summarized appears impractical and unendurable to me, for the mind is restless and unsteady.
The system of mysticism described by Lord Krsna to Arjuna beginning with the words sucau dese and ending with yogi paramah is here being rejected by Arjuna out of a feeling of inability. It is not possible for an ordinary man to leave home and go to a secluded place in the mountains or jungles to practice yoga in this Age of Kali. The present age is characterized by a bitter struggle for a life of short duration. People are not serious about self-realization even by simple, practical means, and what to speak of this difficult yoga system, which regulates the mode of living, the manner of sitting, selection of place, and detachment of the mind from material engagements. As a practical man, Arjuna thought it was impossible to follow this system of yoga, even though he was favorably endowed in many ways. He belonged to the royal family and was highly elevated in terms of numerous qualities; he was a great warrior, he had great longevity, and, above all, he was the most intimate friend of Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Five thousand years ago, Arjuna had much better facilities than we do now, yet he refused to accept this system of yoga. In fact, we do not find any record in history of his practicing it at any time. Therefore this system must be considered generally impossible in this Age of Kali. Of course it may be possible for some very few, rare men, but for the people in general it is an impossible proposal. If this were so five thousand years ago, then what of the present day? Those who are imitating this yoga system in different so-called schools and societies, although complacent, are certainly wasting their time. They are completely in ignorance of the desired goal.
For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krsna, and to subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind.
The mind is so strong and obstinate that it sometimes overcomes the intelligence, although the mind is supposed to be subservient to the intelligence. For a man in the practical world who has to fight so many opposing elements, it is certainly very difficult to control the mind. Artificially, one may establish a mental equilibrium toward both friend and enemy, but ultimately no worldly man can do so, for this is more difficult than controlling the raging wind. In the Vedic literature (Katha Upanisad 1.3.34) it is said:
sariram ratham eva ca
buddhim tu sarathim viddhi
manah pragraham eva ca
"The individual is the passenger in the car of the material body, and intelligence is the driver. Mind is the driving instrument, and the senses are the horses. The self is thus the enjoyer or sufferer in the association of the mind and senses. So it is understood by great thinkers." Intelligence is supposed to direct the mind, but the mind is so strong and obstinate that it often overcomes even ones own intelligence, as an acute infection may surpass the efficacy of medicine. Such a strong mind is supposed to be controlled by the practice of yoga, but such practice is never practical for a worldly person like Arjuna. And what can we say of modern man? The simile used here is appropriate: one cannot capture the blowing wind. And it is even more difficult to capture the turbulent mind. The easiest way to control the mind, as suggested by Lord Caitanya, is chanting "Hare Krsna," the great mantra for deliverance, in all humility. The method prescribed is sa vai manah krsna-padaravindayoh: one must engage ones mind fully in Krsna. Only then will there remain no other engagements to agitate the mind.
Lord Sri Krsna said: O mighty-armed son of Kunti, it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by suitable practice and by detachment.
The difficulty of controlling the obstinate mind, as expressed by Arjuna, is accepted by the Personality of Godhead. But at the same time He suggests that by practice and detachment it is possible. What is that practice? In the present age no one can observe the strict rules and regulations of placing oneself in a sacred place, focusing the mind on the Supersoul, restraining the senses and mind, observing celibacy, remaining alone, etc. By the practice of Krsna consciousness, however, one engages in nine types of devotional service to the Lord. The first and foremost of such devotional engagements is hearing about Krsna. This is a very powerful transcendental method for purging the mind of all misgivings. The more one hears about Krsna, the more one becomes enlightened and detached from everything that draws the mind away from Krsna. By detaching the mind from activities not devoted to the Lord, one can very easily learn vairagya. Vairagya means detachment from matter and engagement of the mind in spirit. Impersonal spiritual detachment is more difficult than attaching the mind to the activities of Krsna. This is practical because by hearing about Krsna one becomes automatically attached to the Supreme Spirit. This attachment is called paresanubhava, spiritual satisfaction. It is just like the feeling of satisfaction a hungry man has for every morsel of food he eats. The more one eats while hungry, the more one feels satisfaction and strength. Similarly, by discharge of devotional service one feels transcendental satisfaction as the mind becomes detached from material objectives. It is something like curing a disease by expert treatment and appropriate diet. Hearing of the transcendental activities of Lord Krsna is therefore expert treatment for the mad mind, and eating the foodstuff offered to Krsna is the appropriate diet for the suffering patient. This treatment is the process of Krsna consciousness.
For one whose mind is unbridled, self-realization is difficult work. But he whose mind is controlled and who strives by appropriate means is assured of success. That is My opinion.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead declares that one who does not accept the proper treatment to detach the mind from material engagement can hardly achieve success in self-realization. Trying to practice yoga while engaging the mind in material enjoyment is like trying to ignite a fire while pouring water on it. Yoga practice without mental control is a waste of time. Such a show of yoga may be materially lucrative, but it is useless as far as spiritual realization is concerned. Therefore, one must control the mind by engaging it constantly in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Unless one is engaged in Krsna consciousness, he cannot steadily control the mind. A Krsna conscious person easily achieves the result of yoga practice without separate endeavor, but a yoga practitioner cannot achieve success without becoming Krsna conscious.
Arjuna said: O Krsna, what is the destination of the unsuccessful transcendentalist, who in the beginning takes to the process of self-realization with faith but who later desists due to worldly-mindedness and thus does not attain perfection in mysticism?
The path of self-realization or mysticism is described in the Bhagavad-gita. The basic principle of self-realization is knowledge that the living entity is not this material body but that he is different from it and that his happiness is in eternal life, bliss and knowledge. These are transcendental, beyond both body and mind. Self-realization is sought by the path of knowledge, by the practice of the eightfold system or by bhakti-yoga. In each of these processes one has to realize the constitutional position of the living entity, his relationship with God, and the activities whereby he can reestablish the lost link and achieve the highest perfectional stage of Krsna consciousness. Following any of the above-mentioned three methods, one is sure to reach the supreme goal sooner or later. This was asserted by the Lord in the Second Chapter: even a little endeavor on the transcendental path offers a great hope for deliverance. Out of these three methods, the path of bhakti-yoga is especially suitable for this age because it is the most direct method of God realization. To be doubly assured, Arjuna is asking Lord Krsna to confirm His former statement. One may sincerely accept the path of self-realization, but the process of cultivation of knowledge and the practice of the eightfold yoga system are generally very difficult for this age. Therefore, despite constant endeavor one may fail, for many reasons. First of all, one may not be sufficiently serious about following the process. To pursue the transcendental path is more or less to declare war on the illusory energy. Consequently, whenever a person tries to escape the clutches of the illusory energy, she tries to defeat the practitioner by various allurements. A conditioned soul is already allured by the modes of material energy, and there is every chance of being allured again, even while performing transcendental disciplines. This is called yogac calita-manasah: deviation from the transcendental path. Arjuna is inquisitive to know the results of deviation from the path of self-realization.
O mighty-armed Krsna, does not such a man, who is bewildered from the path of transcendence, fall away from both spiritual and material success and perish like a riven cloud, with no position in any sphere?
There are two ways to progress. Those who are materialists have no interest in transcendence; therefore they are more interested in material advancement by economic development, or in promotion to the higher planets by appropriate work. When one takes to the path of transcendence, one has to cease all material activities and sacrifice all forms of so-called material happiness. If the aspiring transcendentalist fails, then he apparently loses both ways; in other words, he can enjoy neither material happiness nor spiritual success. He has no position; he is like a riven cloud. A cloud in the sky sometimes deviates from a small cloud and joins a big one. But if it cannot join a big one, then it is blown away by the wind and becomes a nonentity in the vast sky. The brahmanah pathi is the path of transcendental realization through knowing oneself to be spiritual in essence, part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, who is manifested as Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan. Lord Sri Krsna is the fullest manifestation of the Supreme Absolute Truth, and therefore one who is surrendered to the Supreme Person is a successful transcendentalist. To reach this goal of life through Brahman and Paramatma realization takes many, many births (bahunam janmanam ante). Therefore the supermost path of transcendental realization is bhakti-yoga, or Krsna consciousness, the direct method.
This is my doubt, O Krsna, and I ask You to dispel it completely. But for You, no one is to be found who can destroy this doubt.
Krsna is the perfect knower of past, present and future. In the beginning of the Bhagavad-gita, the Lord said that all living entities existed individually in the past, they exist now in the present, and they continue to retain individual identity in the future, even after liberation from the material entanglement. So He has already cleared up the question of the future of the individual living entity. Now, Arjuna wants to know of the future of the unsuccessful transcendentalist. No one is equal to or above Krsna, and certainly the so-called great sages and philosophers who are at the mercy of material nature cannot equal Him. Therefore the verdict of Krsna is the final and complete answer to all doubts, because He knows past, present and future perfectlybut no one knows Him. Krsna and Krsna conscious devotees alone can know what is what.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Son of Prtha, a transcendentalist engaged in auspicious activities does not meet with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world; one who does good, My friend, is never overcome by evil.
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.17) Sri Narada Muni instructs Vyasadeva as follows:
bhajann apakvo tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva vabhadram abhud amusya kim
ko vartha apto bhajatam sva-dharmatah
"If someone gives up all material prospects and takes complete shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there is no loss or degradation in any way. On the other hand a nondevotee may fully engage in his occupational duties and yet not gain anything." For material prospects there are many activities, both scriptural and customary. A transcendentalist is supposed to give up all material activities for the sake of spiritual advancement in life, Krsna consciousness. One may argue that by Krsna consciousness one may attain the highest perfection if it is completed, but if one does not attain such a perfectional stage, then he loses both materially and spiritually. It is enjoined in the scriptures that one has to suffer the reaction for not executing prescribed duties; therefore one who fails to discharge transcendental activities properly becomes subjected to these reactions. The Bhagavatam assures the unsuccessful transcendentalist that there need be no worries. Even though he may be subjected to the reaction for not perfectly executing prescribed duties, he is still not a loser, because auspicious Krsna consciousness is never forgotten, and one so engaged will continue to be so even if he is lowborn in the next life. On the other hand, one who simply follows strictly the prescribed duties need not necessarily attain auspicious results if he is lacking in Krsna consciousness.
The purport may be understood as follows. Humanity may be divided into two sections, namely, the regulated and the nonregulated. Those who are engaged simply in bestial sense gratifications without knowledge of their next life or spiritual salvation belong to the nonregulated section. And those who follow the principles of prescribed duties in the scriptures are classified amongst the regulated section. The nonregulated section, both civilized and noncivilized, educated and noneducated, strong and weak, are full of animal propensities. Their activities are never auspicious, because while enjoying the animal propensities of eating, sleeping, defending and mating, they perpetually remain in material existence, which is always miserable. On the other hand, those who are regulated by scriptural injunctions, and who thus rise gradually to Krsna consciousness, certainly progress in life.
Those who are following the path of auspiciousness can be divided into three sections, namely (1) the followers of scriptural rules and regulations who are enjoying material prosperity, (2) those who are trying to find ultimate liberation from material existence, and (3) those who are devotees in Krsna consciousness. Those who are following the rules and regulations of the scriptures for material happiness may be further divided into two classes: those who are fruitive workers and those who desire no fruit for sense gratification. Those who are after fruitive results for sense gratification may be elevated to a higher standard of lifeeven to the higher planetsbut still, because they are not free from material existence, they are not following the truly auspicious path. The only auspicious activities are those which lead one to liberation. Any activity which is not aimed at ultimate self-realization or liberation from the material bodily concept of life is not at all auspicious. Activity in Krsna consciousness is the only auspicious activity, and anyone who voluntarily accepts all bodily discomforts for the sake of making progress on the path of Krsna consciousness can be called a perfect transcendentalist under severe austerity. And because the eightfold yoga system is directed toward the ultimate realization of Krsna consciousness, such practice is also auspicious, and no one who is trying his best in this matter need fear degradation.
The unsuccessful yogi, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people, or into a family of rich aristocracy.
The unsuccessful yogis are divided into two classes: one is fallen after very little progress, and one is fallen after long practice of yoga. The yogi who falls after a short period of practice goes to the higher planets, where pious living entities are allowed to enter. After prolonged life there, one is sent back again to this planet, to take birth in the family of a righteous brahmana vaisnava or of aristocratic merchants.
The real purpose of yoga practice is to achieve the highest perfection of Krsna consciousness, as explained in the last verse of this chapter. But those who do not persevere to such an extent and who fail because of material allurements are allowed, by the grace of the Lord, to make full utilization of their material propensities. And after that, they are given opportunities to live prosperous lives in righteous or aristocratic families. Those who are born in such families may take advantage of the facilities and try to elevate themselves to full Krsna consciousness.
Or [if unsuccessful after long practice of yoga] he takes his birth in a family of transcendentalists who are surely great in wisdom. Certainly, such a birth is rare in this world.
Birth in a family of yogis or transcendentaliststhose with great wisdomis praised herein because the child born in such a family receives a spiritual impetus from the very beginning of his life. It is especially the case in the acarya or gosvami families. Such families are very learned and devoted by tradition and training, and thus they become spiritual masters. In India there are many such acarya families, but they have now degenerated due to insufficient education and training. By the grace of the Lord, there are still families that foster transcendentalists generation after generation. It is certainly very fortunate to take birth in such families. Fortunately, both our spiritual master, Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, and our humble self had the opportunity to take birth in such families, by the grace of the Lord, and both of us were trained in the devotional service of the Lord from the very beginning of our lives. Later on we met by the order of the transcendental system.
On taking such a birth, he revives the divine consciousness of his previous life, and he again tries to make further progress in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru.
King Bharata, who took his third birth in the family of a good brahmana, is an example of good birth for the revival of previous transcendental consciousness. King Bharata was the emperor of the world, and since his time this planet has been known among the demigods as Bharata-varsa. Formerly it was known as Ilavrta-varsa. The emperor, at an early age, retired for spiritual perfection but failed to achieve success. In his next life he took birth in the family of a good brahmana and was known as Jada Bharata because he always remained secluded and did not talk to anyone. And later on he was discovered as the greatest transcendentalist by King Rahugana. From his life it is understood that transcendental endeavors, or the practice of yoga, never go in vain. By the grace of the Lord the transcendentalist gets repeated opportunities for complete perfection in Krsna consciousness.
By virtue of the divine consciousness of his previous life, he automatically becomes attracted to the yogic principleseven without seeking them. Such an inquisitive transcendentalist stands always above the ritualistic principles of the scriptures.
Advanced yogis are not very much attracted to the rituals of the scriptures, but they automatically become attracted to the yoga principles, which can elevate them to complete Krsna consciousness, the highest yoga perfection. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.33.7), such disregard of Vedic rituals by the advanced transcendentalists is explained as follows:
yaj-jihvagre vartate nama tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuh sasnur arya
brahmanucur nama grnanti ye te
"O my Lord! Persons who chant the holy names of Your Lordship are far, far advanced in spiritual life, even if born in families of dog-eaters. Such chanters have undoubtedly performed all kinds of austerities and sacrifices, bathed in all sacred places, and finished all scriptural studies."
The famous example of this was presented by Lord Caitanya, who accepted Thakura Haridasa as one of His most important disciples. Although Thakura Haridasa happened to take his birth in a Muslim family, he was elevated to the post of namacarya by Lord Caitanya due to his rigidly attended principle of chanting three hundred thousand holy names of the Lord daily: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. And because he chanted the holy name of the Lord constantly, it is understood that in his previous life he must have passed through all the ritualistic methods of the Vedas, known as sabda-brahma. Unless, therefore, one is purified, one cannot take to the principles of Krsna consciousness or become engaged in chanting the holy name of the Lord, Hare Krsna.
And when the yogi engages himself with sincere endeavor in making further progress, being washed of all contaminations, then ultimately, achieving perfection after many, many births of practice, he attains the supreme goal.
A person born in a particularly righteous, aristocratic or sacred family becomes conscious of his favorable condition for executing yoga practice. With determination, therefore, he begins his unfinished task, and thus he completely cleanses himself of all material contaminations. When he is finally free from all contaminations, he attains the supreme perfectionKrsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness is the perfect stage of being freed of all contaminations. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (7.28):
bhajante mam drdha-vratah
"After many, many births of executing pious activities, when one is completely freed from all contaminations, and from all illusory dualities, one becomes engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord."
A yogi is greater than the ascetic, greater than the empiricist and greater than the fruitive worker. Therefore, O Arjuna, in all circumstances, be a yogi.
When we speak of yoga we refer to linking our consciousness with the Supreme Absolute Truth. Such a process is named differently by various practitioners in terms of the particular method adopted. When the linking process is predominantly in fruitive activities it is called karma-yoga, when it is predominantly empirical it is called jnana-yoga, and when it is predominantly in a devotional relationship with the Supreme Lord it is called bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga, or Krsna consciousness, is the ultimate perfection of all yogas, as will be explained in the next verse. The Lord has confirmed herein the superiority of yoga, but He has not mentioned that it is better than bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga is full spiritual knowledge, and therefore nothing can excel it. Asceticism without self-knowledge is imperfect. Empiric knowledge without surrender to the Supreme Lord is also imperfect. And fruitive work without Krsna consciousness is a waste of time. Therefore, the most highly praised form of yoga performance mentioned here is bhakti-yoga, and this is still more clearly explained in the next verse.
And of all yogis, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Mehe is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. That is My opinion.
The word bhajate is significant here. Bhajate has its root in the verb bhaj, which is used when there is need of service. The English word "worship" cannot be used in the same sense as bhaj. Worship means to adore, or to show respect and honor to the worthy one. But service with love and faith is especially meant for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One can avoid worshiping a respectable man or a demigod and may be called discourteous, but one cannot avoid serving the Supreme Lord without being thoroughly condemned. Every living entity is part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus every living entity is intended to serve the Supreme Lord by his own constitution. Failing to do this, he falls down. The Bhagavatam (11.5.3) confirms this as follows:
na bhajanty avajananti
sthanad bhrastah patanty adhah
"Anyone who does not render service and neglects his duty unto the primeval Lord, who is the source of all living entities, will certainly fall down from his constitutional position."
In this verse also the word bhajanti is used. Therefore, bhajanti is applicable to the Supreme Lord only, whereas the word "worship" can be applied to demigods or to any other common living entity. The word avajananti, used in this verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam, is also found in the Bhagavad-gita. Avajananti mam mudhah: "Only the fools and rascals deride the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna." Such fools take it upon themselves to write commentaries on the Bhagavad-gita without an attitude of service to the Lord. Consequently they cannot properly distinguish between the word bhajanti and the word "worship."
The culmination of all kinds of yoga practices lies in bhakti yoga. All other yogas are but means to come to the point of bhakti in bhakti-yoga. Yoga actually means bhakti-yoga; all other yogas are progressions toward the destination of bhakti-yoga. From the beginning of karma-yoga to the end of bhakti-yoga is a long way to self-realization. Karma-yoga, without fruitive results, is the beginning of this path. When karma-yoga increases in knowledge and renunciation, the stage is called jnana-yoga. When jnana-yoga increases in meditation on the Supersoul by different physical processes, and the mind is on Him, it is called astanga-yoga. And when one surpasses the astanga-yoga and comes to the point of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krsna, it is called bhakti yoga, the culmination. Factually, bhakti-yoga is the ultimate goal, but to analyze bhakti-yoga minutely one has to understand these other yogas. The yogi who is progressive is therefore on the true path of eternal good fortune. One who sticks to a particular point and does not make further progress is called by that particular name: karma-yogi, jnana-yogi or dhyana-yogi, raja-yogi, hatha-yogi, etc. If one is fortunate enough to come to the point of bhakti-yoga, it is to be understood that he has surpassed all other yogas. Therefore, to become Krsna conscious is the highest stage of yoga, just as, when we speak of Himalayan, we refer to the worlds highest mountains, of which the highest peak, Mount Everest, is considered to be the culmination.
It is by great fortune that one comes to Krsna consciousness on the path of bhakti-yoga to become well situated according to the Vedic direction. The ideal yogi concentrates his attention on Krsna, who is called Syamasundara, who is as beautifully colored as a cloud, whose lotuslike face is as effulgent as the sun, whose dress is brilliant with jewels and whose body is flower-garlanded. Illuminating all sides is His gorgeous luster, which is called the brahmajyoti. He incarnates in different forms such as Rama, Nrsimha, Varaha and Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He descends like a human being, as the son of mother Yasoda, and He is known as Krsna, Govinda and Vasudeva. He is the perfect child, husband, friend and master, and He is full with all opulences and transcendental qualities. If one remains fully conscious of these features of the Lord, he is called the highest yogi.
This stage of highest perfection in yoga can be attained only by bhakti-yoga, as is confirmed in all Vedic literature:
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
"Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed." (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.23)
Bhaktir asya bhajanam tad ihamutropadhi-nairasyenamusmin manah-kalpanam, etad eva naiskarmyam. "Bhakti means devotional service to the Lord which is free from desire for material profit, either in this life or in the next. Devoid of such inclinations, one should fully absorb the mind in the Supreme. That is the purpose of naiskarmya." (Gopala-tapani Upanisad 1.15)
These are some of the means for performance of bhakti, or Krsna consciousness, the highest perfectional stage of the yoga system.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Sixth Chapter of the Srimad Bhagavad-gita in the matter of Dhyana-yoga.