We have heard many times of the yoga system. The yoga system is approved by Bhagavad-gita, but the yoga system in Bhagavad-gita is especially meant for purification. The aim is threefold: to control the senses, to purify activities and to link oneself to Krsna in a reciprocal relationship.
The Absolute Truth is realized in three stages: impersonal Brahman, localized Paramatma (Supersoul) and ultimately Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the final analysis, the Supreme Absolute Truth is a person. Simultaneously He is the all-pervading Supersoul within the hearts of all living entities and within the core of all atoms, and He is the brahmajyoti, or the effulgence of spiritual light, as well. Bhagavan Sri Krsna is full of all opulence as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but at the same time He is full of all renunciation. In the material world we find that one who has much opulence is not very much inclined to give it up, but Krsna is not like this. He can renounce everything and remain complete in Himself.
When we read or study Bhagavad-gita under a bona fide spiritual master we should not think that the spiritual master is presenting his own opinions. It is not he who is speaking. He is just an instrument. The real speaker is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is both within and without. At the beginning of His discourse on the yoga system in the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, Sri Krsna says,
“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 work.” (Bg. 6.1) Everyone is working and expecting some result. One may ask, What is the purpose of working if no result is expected? A remuneration or salary is always demanded by the worker. But here Krsna indicates that one can work out of a sense of duty alone, not expecting the results of his activities. If one works in this way, then he is actually a sannyasi; he is in the renounced order of life.
According to Vedic culture, there are four stages of life: brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa. Brahmacari is student life devoted to training in spiritual understanding. Grhastha life is married householder life. Then upon reaching the approximate age of fifty, one may take the vanaprastha order—that is, he leaves his home and children and travels with his wife to holy places of pilgrimage. finally he gives up both wife and children and remains alone to cultivate Krsna consciousness, and that stage is called sannyasa, or the renounced order of life. Yet Krsna indicates that for a sannyasi, renunciation is not all. In addition, there must be some duty. What then is the duty for a sannyasi, for one who has renounced family life and no longer has material obligations? His duty is a most responsible one; it is to work for Krsna. Moreover, this is the real duty for everyone in all stages of life.
In everyone’s life there are two duties: one is to serve the illusion, and the other is to serve the reality. When one serves the reality, he is a real sannyasi. And when one serves the illusion, he is deluded by maya. One has to understand, however, that he is in all circumstances forced to serve. Either he serves the illusion or the reality. The constitutional position of the living entity is to be a servant, not a master. One may think that he is the master, but he is actually a servant. When one has a family he may think that he is the master of his wife, or his children, or his home, business and so on, but that is all false. One is actually the servant of his wife, of his children and of his business. The president may be considered the master of the country, but actually he is the servant of the country. Our position is always as servant—either as servant of the illusion or as servant of God. If, however, we remain the servant of the illusion, then our life is wasted. Of course everyone is thinking that he is not a servant, that he is working only for himself. Although the fruits of his labor are transient and illusory, they force him to become a servant of illusion, or a servant of his own senses. But when one awakens to his transcendental senses and actually becomes situated in knowledge, he then becomes a servant of the reality. When one comes to the platform of knowledge, he understands that in all circumstances he is a servant. Since it is not possible for him to be master, he is much better situated serving the reality instead of the illusion. When one becomes aware of this, he attains the platform of real knowledge. By sannyasa, the renounced order of life, we refer to one who has come to this platform. Sannyasa is a question of realization, not social status.
It is the duty of everyone to become Krsna conscious and to serve the cause of Krsna. When one actually realizes this he becomes a mahatma, or a great soul. In Bhagavad-gita Krsna says that after many births, when one comes to the platform of real knowledge, he “surrenders unto Me.” Why is this? Vasudevah sarvam iti [Bg. 7.19]. The wise man realizes that “Vasudeva [Krsna] is everything.” However, Krsna says that such a great soul is rarely found. Why is this? If an intelligent person comes to understand that the ultimate goal of life is to surrender unto Krsna, why should he hesitate? Why not surrender immediately? What is the point in waiting for so many births? When one comes to that point of surrender, he becomes a real sannyasi. Krsna never forces anyone to surrender unto Him. Surrender is a result of love, transcendental love. Where there is force and where there is no freedom, there can be no love. When a mother loves a child, she is not forced to do so, nor does she do so out of expectation of some salary or remuneration.
Similarly, we can love the Supreme Lord in so many ways—we can love Him as master, as friend, as child or as husband. There are five basic rasas, or relationships, in which we are eternally related to God. When we are actually in the liberated stage of knowledge, we can understand that our relationship with the Lord is in a particular rasa. That platform is called svarupa-siddhi, or real self-realization. Everyone has an eternal relationship with the Lord, either as master and servant, friend and friend, parent and child, husband and wife, or lover and beloved. These relationships are eternally present. The whole process of spiritual realization and the actual perfection of yoga is to revive our consciousness of this relationship. At present our relationship with the Supreme Lord is pervertedly reflected in this material world. In the material world, the relationship between master and servant is based on money or force or exploitation. There is no question of service out of love. The relationship between master and servant, pervertedly reflected, continues only for so long as the master can pay the servant. As soon as the payment stops, the relationship also stops. Similarly, in the material world there may be a relationship between friends, but as soon as there is a slight disagreement, the friendship breaks, and the friend becomes an enemy. When there is a difference of opinion between son and parents, the son leaves home, and the relationship is severed. The same with husband and wife; a slight difference of opinion, and there is divorce.
No relationship in this material world is actual or eternal. We must always remember that these ephemeral relationships are simply perverted reflections of that eternal relationship we have with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We have experience that the reflection of an object in a glass is not real. It may appear real, but when we go to touch it we find that there is only glass. We must come to understand that these relationships as friend, parent, child, master, servant, husband, wife or lover are simply reflections of that relationship we have with God. When we come to this platform of understanding, then we are perfect in knowledge. When that knowledge comes, we begin to understand that we are servants of Krsna and that we have an eternal love relationship with Him.
In this love relationship there is no question of remuneration, but of course remuneration is there, and it is much greater than whatever we earn here through the rendering of service. There is no limit to Sri Krsna’s remuneration. In this connection there is the story of Bali Maharaja, a very powerful king who conquered a number of planets. The denizens of the heavenly planets appealed to the Supreme Lord to save them, for they had been conquered by the demoniac king, Bali Maharaja. Upon hearing their pleas, Sri Krsna took the shape of a dwarf brahmana boy and approached Bali Maharaja, saying, “My dear king, I would like something from you. You are a great monarch and are renowned for giving in charity to the brahmanas, so would you give Me something?”
“I simply want whatever land I can cover in three steps,” the boy said.
“Oh, is that all?” the king replied. “And what will You do with such a small piece of land?”
“Though it may be small, it will suffice Me,” the boy smiled.
Bali Maharaja agreed, and the boy-dwarf took two steps and covered the entire universe. He then asked Bali Maharaja where He was going to take His third step, and Bali Maharaja, understanding that the Supreme Lord was showing him His favor, replied, ‘ ‘My dear Lord, I have now lost everything. I have no other property, but I do have my head. Would You so kindly step there?”
Lord Sri Krsna was then very much pleased with Bali Maharaja, and He asked, “What would you like from Me?”
“I never expected anything from You,” Bali Maharaja said. “But I understand that You wanted something from me, and now I have offered You everything.”
“Yes,” the Lord said, “but from My side I have something for you. I shall remain always as an order-carrier servant in your court.” In this way the Lord became Bali Maharaja’s doorman, and that was his return. If we offer something to the Lord, it is returned millions of times. But we should not expect this. The Lord is always eager to return the service of His servant. Whoever thinks that the service of the Lord is actually his duty is perfect in knowledge and has attained the perfection of yoga.
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