kāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ
sa sannyāsī ca yogī ca
na niragnir na cākriyaḥ
śrī bhagavān uvāca—the Lord said; anāśritaḥ—without shelter; karma-phalam—the result of work; kāryam—obligatory; karma—work; karoti—performs; yaḥ—one who; saḥ—he; sannyāsī—in the renounced order; ca—also; yogī—mystic; ca—also; na—not; nir—without; agniḥ—fire; na—nor; ca—also; akriyaḥ—without duty.
The Blessed Lord 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 work.
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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and not with a view to enjoying the fruits of work. To act in Kṛṣṇa 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 sannyāsī, the perfect yogī.
The sannyāsīs sometimes artificially think that they have become liberated from all material duties, and therefore they cease to perform agnihotra yajñas (fire sacrifices), but actually they are self-interested because their goal is becoming one with the impersonal Brahman. Such a desire is greater than any material desire, but it is not without self-interest. Similarly, the mystic yogī 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness works for the satisfaction of the whole, without self-interest. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person has no desire for self-satisfaction. His criterion of success is the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa, and thus he is the perfect sannyāsī, or perfect yogī. Lord Caitanya, the highest perfectional symbol of renunciation, prays in this way:
na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ kavitāṁ vā jagadīśa kāmaye.
mama janmani janmanīśvare bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī 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."
yaṁ sannyāsam iti prāhur
yogaṁ taṁ viddhi pāṇḍava
na hy asannyasta-saṅkalpo
yogī bhavati kaścana
yam—what; sannyāsam—renunciation; iti—thus; prāhuḥ—they say; yogam—linking with the Supreme; tam—that; viddhi—you must know; pāṇḍava—O son of Pāṇḍu; na—never; hi—certainly; asannyasta—without giving up; saṅkalpaḥ—self-satisfaction; yogī—a mystic transcendentalist; bhavati—becomes; kaścana—anyone.
What is called renunciation is the same as yoga, or linking oneself with the Supreme, for no one can become a yogī unless he renounces the desire for sense gratification.
Real sannyāsa-yoga or bhakti means that one should know his constitutional position as the living entity, and act accordingly. The living entity has no separate independant identity. He is the marginal energy of the Supreme. When he is entrapped by material energy, he is conditioned, and when he is Kṛṣṇa 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 yogīs who restrain the senses from material attachment. But a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness has no opportunity to engage his senses in anything which is not for the purpose of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, a Kṛṣṇa conscious person is simultaneously a sannyāsī and a yogī. The purpose of knowledge and of restraining the senses, as prescribed in the jñāna and yoga processes, is automatically served in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If one is unable to give up the activities of his selfish nature, then jñāna 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 Kṛṣṇa 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 these purposes are perfectly served by the practice of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
ārurukṣor muner yogaṁ
karma kāraṇam ucyate
śamaḥ kāraṇam ucyate
ārurukṣoḥ—of one who has just begun yoga; muneḥ—of the sage; yogam—the eightfold yoga system; karma—work; kāraṇam—the cause; ucyate—is said to be; yoga—eightfold yoga; ārūḍhasya—one who has attained; tasya—his; eva—certainly; śamaḥ—cessation of all material activities; kāraṇam—the cause; ucyate—is said to be.
For one who is a neophyte in the eightfold yoga system, work is said to be the means; and for one who has already attained to yoga, cessation of all material activities is said to be the means.
The process of linking oneself with the Supreme is called yoga, which 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 jñāna-yoga, dhyāna-yoga and bhakti-yoga. The beginning of the ladder is called the yogārurukṣa stage, and the highest rung is called yogārūḍha.
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 Kṛṣṇa conscious person is, however, situated from the beginning on the platform of meditation because he always thinks of Kṛṣṇa. And, being constantly engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa, he is considered to have ceased all material activities.
yadā hi nendriyārtheṣu
na karmasv anuṣajjate
yadā—when; hi—certainly; na—not; indriya-artheṣu—in sense gratification; na—never; karmasu—in fruitive activities; anuṣajjate—does necessarily engage; sarva-saṅkalpa—all material desires; sannyāsī—renouncer; yoga-ārūḍhaḥ—elevated in yoga; tadā—at that time; ucyate—is said to be.
A person is said to have attained to 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one must be always seeking self-centered or extended selfish activities. But a Kṛṣṇa conscious person can do everything for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa 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.
ātmaiva hy ātmano bandhur
ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ
uddharet—one must deliver; ātmanā—by the mind; ātmānam—the conditioned soul; na—never; ātmānam—the conditioned soul; avasādayet—put into degradation; ātmā—mind; eva—certainly; hi—indeed; ātmanaḥ—of the conditioned soul; bandhuḥ—friend; ātmā—mind; eva—certainly; ripuḥ—enemy; ātmanaḥ—of the conditioned soul.
A man must elevate himself by his own mind, not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.
The word ātmā denotes body, mind and soul—depending 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, ātmā 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 of the mind's 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The word hi is used for emphasizing this point, i.e., that one must do this. It is also said:
"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." Therefore, the mind which is always engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the cause of supreme liberation.
bandhur ātmātmanas tasya
anātmanas tu śatrutve
bandhuḥ—friend; ātmā—mind; ātmanaḥ—of the living entity; tasya—of him; yena—by whom; ātmā—mind; eva—certainly; ātmanā—by the living entity; jitaḥ—conquered; anātmanaḥ—of one who has failed to control the mind; tu—but; śatrutve—because of enmity; varteta—remains; ātmā eva—the very mind; śatruvat—as an enemy.
For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his very mind will be 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 one's 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 Paramātmā. Real yoga practice entails meeting the Paramātmā within the heart and then following His dictation. For one who takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness directly, perfect surrender to the dictation of the Lord follows automatically.
jita-ātmanaḥ—of one who has conquered his mind; praśāntasya—of one who has attained tranquility by such control over the mind; paramātmā—the Supersoul; samāhitaḥ—approached completely; śīta—cold; uṣṇa—heat; sukha—in happiness; duḥkheṣu—in distress; tathā—also; māna—honor; apamānayoḥ—in dishonor.
For one who has conquered the mind, the Supersoul is already reached, for he has attained tranquility. 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 everyone's heart as Paramātmā. When the mind is misled by the external illusory energy, one becomes entangled in material activities. Therefore, as soon as one's mind is controlled through one of the yoga systems, one is to be considered as having already reached the destination. One has to abide by superior dictation. When one's mind is fixed on the superior nature, he has no other 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 Paramātmā or Supersoul. Because this transcendental position is at once achieved by one who is in Kṛṣṇa 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 samādhi, or absorption in the Supreme.
yukta ity ucyate yogī
jjñāna—acquired knowledge; vijñāna—realized knowledge; tṛpta—satisfied; ātmā—living entity; kūṭasthaḥ—spiritually situated; vijita-indriyaḥ—sensually controlled; yuktaḥ—competent for self-realization; iti—thus; ucyate—is said; yogī—the mystic; sama—equiposed; loṣṭra—pebbles; aśma—stone; kāñcanaḥ—gold.
A person is said to be established in self-realization and is called a yogī [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 everything—whether it be pebbles, stones or gold—as the same.
Book knowledge without realization of the Supreme Truth is useless. This is stated as follows:
"No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, quality and pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa 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." (Padma Purāṇa)
This Bhagavad-gītā is the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. No one can become Kṛṣṇa conscious simply by mundane scholarship. One must be fortunate enough to associate with a person who is in pure consciousness. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person has realized knowledge, by the grace of Kṛṣṇa, 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 Kṛṣṇa. 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.
sādhuṣv api ca pāpeṣu
suhṛt—by nature a well-wisher; mitra—benefactor with affection; ari—enemy; udāsīna—neutral between the belligerents; madhyastha—mediator between the belligerents; dveṣya—envious; bandhuṣu—among the relatives or well-wishers; sādhuṣu—unto the pious; api—as well as; ca—and; pāpeṣu—unto the sinners; sama-buddhiḥ—having equal intelligence; viśiṣyate—is far advanced.
A person is said to be still further advanced when he regards all—the honest well-wisher, friends and enemies, the envious, the pious, the sinner and those who are indifferent and impartial—with an equal mind.
yogī yuñjīta satatam
ātmānaṁ rahasi sthitaḥ
yogī—a transcendentalist; yuñjīta—must concentrate in Kṛṣṇa consciousness; satatam—constantly; ātmānam—himself (by the body, mind and self); rahasi—in a secluded place; sthitaḥ—being so situated; ekākī—alone; yata-cittātmā—always careful in mind; nirāśīḥ—without being attracted by anything else; aparigrahaḥ—free from the feeling of possessiveness.
A transcendentalist should always try to concentrate his mind on the Supreme Self; 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.
Kṛṣṇa is realized in different degrees as Brahman, Paramātmā and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa conscious, because impersonal Brahman is the spiritual ray of Kṛṣṇa and Supersoul is the all-pervading partial expansion of Kṛṣṇa. Thus the impersonalist and the meditator are also indirectly Kṛṣṇa conscious. A directly Kṛṣṇa conscious person is the topmost transcendentalist because such a devotee knows what is meant by Brahman or Paramātmā. His knowledge of the Absolute Truth is perfect, whereas the impersonalist and the meditative yogī are imperfectly Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa. One should always think of Kṛṣṇa and not forget Him even for a moment. Concentration of the mind on the Supreme is called samādhi 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness because direct Kṛṣṇa consciousness means self-abnegation, wherein there is very little chance for material possessiveness. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī characterizes Kṛṣṇa consciousness in this way:
anāsaktasya viṣayān yathārham upayuñjataḥ
nirbandhaḥ kṛṣṇa-sambandhe yuktaṁ vairāgyam ucyate
prāpañcikatayā buddhyā hari-sambandhi-vastunaḥ
mumukṣubhiḥ parityāgo vairāgyaṁ phalgu kathyate.
"When one is not attached to anything, but at the same time accepts everything in relation to Kṛṣṇa, one is rightly situated above possessiveness. On the other hand, one who rejects everything without knowledge of its relationship to Kṛṣṇa is not as complete in his renunciation."
A Kṛṣṇa conscious person well knows that everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa, 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness and how to reject things unfavorable to Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the perfect yogī.
śucau deśe pratiṣṭhāpya
sthiram āsanam ātmanaḥ
tatraikāgraṁ manaḥ kṛtvā
śucau—in sanctified; deśe—in the land; pratiṣṭhāpya—placing; sthiram—firm; āsanam—seat; ātmanaḥ—self-dependant; na—not; ati—too; ucchritam—high; na—nor; ati—too; nīcam—low; caila-ajna—soft cloth and deerskin; kuśottaram-kuśa grass; tatra—thereupon; ekāgram—one attention; manaḥ—mind; kṛtvā—doing so; yata-citta—controlling the mind; indriya—senses; kriyaḥ—activities; upaviśya—sitting on; āsane—on the seat; yuñjyāt—execute; yogam—yoga practice; ātma—heart; viśuddhaye—for clarifying.
To practice yoga, one should go to a secluded place and should lay kuśa-grass on the ground and then cover it with a deerskin and a soft cloth. The seat should neither be too high nor too low and should be situated in a sacred place. The yogī should then sit on it very firmly and should practice yoga by controlling the mind and the senses, purifying the heart and fixing the mind on one point.
"Sacred place" refers to places of pilgrimage. In India the yogīs, the transcendentalists or the devotees all leave home and reside in sacred places such as Prayāg, Mathurā, Vṛndāvana, Hṛṣīkeśa, and Hardwar and in solitude practice yoga where the sacred rivers like the Yamunā 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 Bṛhan-Nāradīya Purāṇa it is said that in the 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.
"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."
dhārayann acalaṁ sthiraḥ
samprekṣya nāsikāgraṁ svaṁ
manaḥ saṁyamya mac-citto
yukta āsīta mat-paraḥ
samam—straight; kāya-śiraḥ—body and head; grīvam—neck; dhārayan—holding; acalam—unmoved; sthiraḥ—still; samprekṣya—looking; nāsikā—nose; agram—tip; svam—own; diśaḥ—all sides; ca—also; anavalokayan—not seeing; praśānta—unagitated; ātmā—mind; vigata-bhīḥ—devoid of fear; brahmacāri-vrate—in the vow of celibacy; sthitaḥ—situated; manaḥ—mind; saṁyamya—completely subdued; mat—unto Me (Kṛṣṇa); cittaḥ—concentrated; yuktaḥ—actual yogī; āsīta—being so; mat—unto Me; paraḥ—ultimate goal.
One should hold one's 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 Kṛṣṇa, who is situated within the heart of every living being as Paramātmā, the four-handed Viṣṇu form. The yoga process is practiced in order to discover and see this localized form of Viṣṇu, and not for any other purpose. The localized Viṣṇu-mūrti is the plenary representation of Kṛṣṇa dwelling within one's heart. One who has no program to realize this Viṣṇu-murti is uselessly engaged in mock-yoga practice and is certainly wasting his time. Kṛṣṇā is the ultimate goal of life, and the Viṣṇu-murti situated in one's heart is the object of yoga practice. To realize this Viṣṇu-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 yogī. 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 Yājñavalkya it is said:
"The vow of brahmacarya is meant to help one completely abstain from sex indulgence in work, words and mind—at 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 brahmacārīs. Without such practice, no one can make advancement in any yoga, whether it be dhyāna, jñāna or bhakti. One who, however, follows the rules and regulations of married life, having sexual relationship only with his wife (and that also under regulation), is also called brahmacārī. Such a restrained householder brahmacārī may be accepted in the bhakti school, but the jñāna and dhyāna schools do not admit even householder brahmacārīs. They require complete abstinence without compromise. In the bhakti school, a householder brahmacārī 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-gītā it is said:
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.
Vigatabhīḥ. One cannot be fearless unless one is fully in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A conditioned soul is fearful due to his perverted memory, his forgetfulness of his eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa. The Bhāgavatam says, bhayaṁ dvitīyābhiniveśataḥ syād īśād apetasya viparyayo 'smṛtiḥ: Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the only basis for fearlessness. Therefore, perfect practice is possible for a person who is Kṛṣṇa conscious. And since the ultimate goal of yoga practice is to see the Lord within, a Kṛṣṇa conscious person is already the best of all yogīs. The principles of the yoga system mentioned herein are different from those of the popular so-called yoga societies.
yuñjann evaṁ sadātmānaṁ
yuñjan—practicing like this; evam—as mentioned above; sadā—constantly; ātmānam—body, mind and soul; yogī—the mystic transcendentalist; niyata-mānasaḥ—regulated mind; śāntim—peace; nirvāṇa-paramām—cessation of material existence; mat-saṁsthām—in the spiritual sky (the kingdom of God); adhigacchati—does attain.
Thus practicing control of the body, mind and activities, the mystic transcendentalist attains to the kingdom of God [or the abode of Kṛṣṇa] 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 yogī according to Bhagavad-gītā. Nor does cessation of material existence entail one's 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-gītā as that place where there is no need of sun, moon, nor 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 paraṁ dhāma, or superior abodes.
A consummate yogī, who is perfect in understanding Lord Kṛṣṇa, as is clearly stated herein (mat-cittaḥ, mat-paraḥ, mat-sthānam) by the Lord Himself, can attain real peace and can ultimately reach His supreme abode, the Kṛṣṇa-loka known as Goloka Vṛndāvana. In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is clearly stated (goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūtaḥ) that the Lord, although residing always in His abode called Goloka, is the all-pervading Brahman and the localized Paramātmā as well by dint of His superior spiritual energies. No one can reach the spiritual sky or enter into the eternal abode (Vaikuṇṭha Goloka Vṛndāvana) of the Lord without the proper understanding of Kṛṣṇa and His plenary expansion Viṣṇu. Therefore a person working in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the perfect yogī, because his mind is always absorbed in Kṛṣṇa's activities. Sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ. In the Vedas also we learn: tam eva viditvātimṛtyum eti: "One can overcome the path of birth and death only by understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa." 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.
nāty-aśnatas 'tu yogo 'sti
na caikāntam anaśnataḥ
jāgrato naiva cārjuna
na—never; ati—too much; aśnataḥ—of one who eats so; tu—but; yogaḥ—linking with the Supreme; asti—there is; na—nor; ca—also; ekāntam—very low; anaśnataḥ—abstaining from eating; na—nor; ca—also; ati—too much; svapna-śīlasya—of one who sleeps too much; jāgrataḥ—or one who keeps night watch too much; na—not; eva—ever; ca—and; arjuna—O Arjuna.
There is no possibility of one's becoming a yogī, 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 yogīs. 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-gītā. 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 Kṛṣṇa will suffer sinful reactions because of eating only polluted things. Bhuñjate te tv aghaṁ papa ye pacanty ātma-kāraṇāt. Anyone who eats for sense pleasure, or cooks for himself, not offering his food to Kṛṣṇa, 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 Kṛṣṇa. A person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness does not eat anything which is not first offered to Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, only the Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa 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.
yogo bhavati duḥkha-hā
yukta—regulated; āhāra—eating; vihārasya—recreation; yukta—regulated; ceṣṭasya—of one who works for maintenance; karmasu—in discharging duties; yukta—regulated; svapna-avabodhasya—regulated sleep and wakefulness; yogaḥ—practice of yoga; bhavati—becomes; duḥkha-hā—diminishing pains.
He who is temperate in his habits of eating, sleeping, working and recreation can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.
Extravagance in the matter of eating, sleeping, defending and mating—which are demands of the body—can 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 prasādam, sanctified food. Lord Kṛṣṇa is offered, according to the Bhagavad-gītā (Bg. 9.26), vegetables, flowers, fruits, grains, milk, etc. In this way, a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness becomes automatically trained not to accept food not meant for human consumption, or which is not in the category of goodness. As far as sleeping is concerned, a Kṛṣṇa conscious person is always alert in the discharge of his duties in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and therefore any unnecessary time spent sleeping is considered a great loss. A Kṛṣṇa 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 Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, who was always engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa and who could not sleep more than two hours a day, and sometimes not even that. Ṭhākura Haridāsa would not even accept prasādam 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 Kṛṣṇa conscious person does not do anything which is not connected with Kṛṣṇa's 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 Kṛṣṇa 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.
yadā viniyataṁ cittam
yukta ity ucyate tadā
yadā—when; viniyatam—particularly disciplined; cittam—the mind and its activities; ātmani—in the Transcendence; eva—certainly; avatiṣṭhate—becomes situated; nispṛhaḥ—devoid of; sarva—all kinds of; kāmebhyaḥ—material desires; yuktaḥ—well situated in yoga; iti—thus; ucyate—is said to be; tadā—at that time.
When the yogī, by practice of yoga, disciplines his mental activities and becomes situated in Transcendence—devoid of all material desires—he is said to have attained yoga.
The activities of the yogī are distinguished from those of an ordinary person by his characteristic cessation from all kinds of material desires—of which sex is the chief. A perfect yogī 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, as is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (9.4.18-20):
sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayor vacāṁsi vaikuṇṭha-guṇānavarṇane
karau harer mandira-mārjanādiṣu śrutiṁ cakārācyuta-sat-kathodaye
mukunda-liṅgālaya-darśane dṛśau tad-bhṛtyagātra-sparśe 'ṅga-saṅgamam
ghrāṇaṁ ca tat-pāda-saroja-saurabhe śrīmat tulasyā rasanāṁ tad-arpite
pādau hareḥ kṣetra-padānusarpaṇe śiro hṛṣīkeśa-padābhivandane
kāmaṁ ca dāsye na tu kāma-kāmyayā yathottama-śloka-janāśrayā ratiḥ
"King Ambarīṣa first of all engaged his mind on the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa; 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 flower offered to the Lord, his tongue in tasting the tulasī 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, as is apparent in the above description of the engagements of Mahārāja Ambarīṣa. 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 arcanā, 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 general—especially those who are not in the renounced order of life—transcendental engagement of the senses and the mind as described above is the perfect process for transcendental achievement, which is called yukta in the Bhagavad-gītā.
yathā dīpo nivāta-stho
neṅgate sopamā smṛtā
yuñjato yogam ātmanaḥ
yathā—as; dīpaḥ—a lamp; nivātasthaḥ—in a place without wind; na—does not; iṅgate—waver; sā upamā—compared to that; smṛtā—likened; yoginaḥ—of the yogī; yata-cittasya—whose mind is controlled; yuñjataḥ—constantly engaged in; yogam—meditation; ātmanaḥ—on Transcendence.
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 Kṛṣṇa conscious person, always absorbed in Transcendence, in constant undisturbed meditation on his worshipable Lord, is as steady as a lamp in a windless place.
paśyann ātmani tuṣyati
sukham ātyantikaṁ yat tad
vetti yatra na caivāyaṁ
sthitaś calati tattvataḥ
yaṁ labdhvā cāparaṁ lābhaṁ
manyate nādhikaṁ tataḥ
yasmin sthito na duḥkhena
taṁ vidyād duḥkha-saṁyoga-
yatra—in that state of affairs; uparamate—when one feels transcendental happiness; cittam—mental activities; niruddham—restrained from matter; yoga-sevayā—by performance of yoga; yatra—in that; ca—also; eva—certainly; ātmanā—by the pure mind; ātmānam—self; paśyan—realizing the position; ātmani—in the self; tuṣyati—becomes satisfied; sukham—happiness; ātyantikam—supreme; yat—in which; tat—that; buddhi—intelligence; grāhyam—acceptable; atīndriyam—transcendental; vetti—knows; yatra—wherein; na—never; ca—also; eva—certainly; ayam—in this; sthitaḥ—situated; calati—moves; tattvataḥ—from the truth; yam—that which; labdhvā—by attainment; ca—also; aparam—any other; lābham—gain; manyate—does not mind; na—never; adhikam—more than that; tataḥ—from that; yasmin—in which; sthitaḥ—being situated; na—never; duḥkhena—by miseries; guruṇāpi—even though very difficult; vicālyate—becomes shaken; tam—that; vidyāt—you must know; duḥkha-saṁyoga—miseries of material contact; viyogam—extermination; yoga-samjñitam—trance in yoga.
The stage of perfection is called trance, or samādhi, when one's mind is completely restrained from material mental activities by practice of yoga. This is characterized by one's 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 and enjoys himself 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 samādhi which means that the yogī 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 Patañjali 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 Patañjali system of yoga. There is an acceptance of transcendental pleasure in the Patañjali 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 pleasure—realized through transcendental senses—is accepted. And this is corroborated by the Patañjali Muni, the famous exponent of the yoga system. The great sage declares in his Yoga-sūtras: puruṣārtha-śūnyānāṁ guṇānāṁ pratiprasavaḥ kaivalyaṁ svarūpa-pratiṣṭhā vā citi-śaktir iti.
This citi-śakti, or internal potency, is transcendental. Puruṣārtha 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 Patañjali, 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-darpaṇa-mārjanam, or clearance of the impure mirror of the mind. This "clearance" is actually liberation, or bhava-mahādāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam. The theory of nirvāṇa—also preliminary—corresponds with this principle. In the Bhāgavatam this is called svarūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ. The Bhagavad-gītā also confirms this situation in this verse.
After nirvāṇa, or material cessation, there is the manifestation of spiritual activities, or devotional service of the Lord, known as Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In the words of the Bhāgavatam, svarūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ: this is the "real life of the living entity." Māyā, 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. Patañjali also accepts this by his words kaivalyam svarūpa-pratiṣṭhā vā citi-śaktir iti. This citi-śakti or transcendental pleasure, is real life. This is confirmed in the Vedānta-sūtras as ānandamayo 'bhyāsāt. 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-gītā.
In the yoga system, as described in this chapter, there are two kinds of samādhi, called samprajñāta-samādhi and asamprajñāta-samādhi. When one becomes situated in the transcendental position by various philosophical researches, it is called samprajñāta-samādhi. In the asamprajñāta-samādhi 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 yogī is once situated in that transcendental position, he is never shaken from it. Unless the yogī is able to reach this position, he is unsuccessful. Today's so-called yoga practice, which involves various sense pleasures, is contradictory. A yogī indulging in sex and intoxication is a mockery. Even those yogīs who are attracted by the siddhis (perfections) in the process of yoga are not perfectly situated. If the yogīs 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which is not baffling. A Kṛṣṇa 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 haṭha-yoga, dhyāna-yoga, and jñāna-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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He is callous toward incidental occurrences—such as accidents, disease, scarcity and even the death of a most dear relative—but he is always alert to execute his duties in Kṛṣṇa consciousness or bhakti-yoga. Accidents never deviate him from his duty. As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, āgamāpāyino 'nityās tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata. He endures all such incidental occurences 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.
sa niścayena yoktavyo
tyaktvā sarvān aśeṣataḥ
saḥ—that yoga system; niścayena—with firm determination; yoktavyaḥ—must be practiced; yogaḥ—in such practice; anirviṇṇa-cetasā—without deviation; saṅkalpa—material desires; prabhavān—born of; kāmān—sense gratification; tyaktvā—giving up; sarvān—all; aśeṣatah—completely; manasā—by the mind; eva—certainly; indriya-grāmam—the full set of senses; viniyamya—regulating; samantataḥ—from all sides.
One should engage oneself in the practice of yoga with undeviating determination and faith. One should abandon, without exception, all material desires born of false ego 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 perserverance, not becoming discouraged if there is any delay in the attainment of success. Success is sure for the rigid practitioner. Regarding bhakti-yoga, Rupa Gosvāmī says:
utsāhān niścayād dhairyāt tat tat karma-pravartanāt
saṅga-tyāgāt satovṛtteḥ ṣaḍbhir bhaktiḥ prasidhyati
"The process of bhakti-yoga can be executed 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."
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 Garuḍa, the gigantic bird carrier of Lord Viṣṇu, heard it. He became compassionate toward his small sister bird, and so he came to see the sparrow. Garuḍa was very pleased by the determination of the small sparrow, and he promised to help. Thus Garuḍa 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 Garuḍa.
Similarly, the practice of yoga, especially bhakti-yoga in Kṛṣṇa 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.
śanaiḥ śanair uparamed
ātma-saṁsthaṁ manaḥ kṛtvā
na kiñcid api cintayet
śanaiḥ—gradually; śanaiḥ—step by step; uparamet—hesitated; buddhyā—by intelligence; dhṛti-gṛhītayā—carrying the conviction; ātma-saṁstham—placed in transcendence; manaḥ—mind; kṛtvā—doing so; na—nothing; kiñcit—anything else; api—even; cintayet—be thinking of.
Gradually, step by step, with full conviction, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence, 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 pratyāhāra. The mind, being controlled by conviction, meditation, and cessation of the senses, should be situated in trance, or samādhi. 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
yato yato niścalati
manaś cañcalam asthiram
tatas tato niyamyaitad
ātmany eva vaśaṁ nayet
yataḥ—whatever; yataḥ—wherever; niścalati—verily agitated; manaḥ—the mind; cañcalam—flickering; asthiram—unsteady; tataḥ—from there; tataḥ—and thereafter; niyamya—regulating; etat—this; ātmani—in the self; eva—certainly; vaśam—control; nayet—must bring in.
From whatever and 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 yogī has to control the mind; the mind should not control him. One who controls the mind (and therefore the senses as well) is called gosvāmī, or svāmī, and one who is controlled by the mind is called godāsa, or the servant of the senses. A gosvāmī knows the standard of sense happiness. In transcendental sense happiness, the senses are engaged in the service of Hṛṣīkeśa or the supreme owner of the senses—Kṛṣṇa. Serving Kṛṣṇa with purified senses is called Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is the way of bringing the senses under full control. What is more, that is the highest perfection of yoga practice.
praśānta-manasaṁ hy enaṁ
yoginaṁ sukham uttamam
praśānta—mind fixed on the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa; manasam—of one whose mind is so fixed; hi—certainly; enam—this; yoginam—the yogī; sukham—happiness; uttamam—the highest; upaiti—attains; śānta-rajasam—pacified passion; brahma-bhūtam—liberated by identification with the Absolute; akalmaṣam—freed from all past sinful reaction.
The yogī whose mind is fixed on Me verily attains the highest happiness. By virtue of his identity with Brahman, he is liberated; his mind is peaceful, his passions are quieted, and he is freed from sin.
Brahma-bhūta is the state of being free from material contamination and situated in the transcendental service of the Lord. Mad-bhaktim labhate parām (Bg. 18.54). One cannot remain in the quality of Brahman, the Absolute, until one's mind is fixed on the lotus feet of the Lord. Sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ. To be always engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, or to remain in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is to be factually liberated from the mode of passion and all material contamination.
yuñjann evaṁ sadātmānaṁ
atyantaṁ sukham aśnute
yuñjan—thus being engaged in yoga practice; evam—thus; sadā—always; ātmānam—self; yogī—one who is in touch with the Supreme Self; vigata—is freed from; kalmaṣaḥ—all material contamination; sukhena—in transcendental happiness; brahma-saṁsparśam—being in constant touch with the Supreme; atyantam—highest; sukham—happiness; aśnute—attains.
Steady in the Self, being freed from all material contamination, the yogī achieves the highest perfectional stage of happiness in touch with the Supreme Consciousness.
Self-realization means knowing one's 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-saṁsparśa.
sarva-bhūta-stham—situated in all beings; ātmānam—the Supersoul; sarva—all; bhūtāni—entities; ca—also; ātmani—in the Self; īkṣate—does see; yoga-yukta-ātmā—one who is dovetailed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness; sarvatra—everywhere; sama-darśanaḥ—seeing equally.
A true yogī observes Me in all beings, and also sees every being in Me. Indeed, the self-realized man sees Me everywhere.
A Kṛṣṇa conscious yogī is the perfect seer because he sees Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme, situated in everyone's heart as Supersoul (Paramātmā). Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati. The Lord in His Paramātmā feature is situated within both the heart of the dog and that of a brāhmaṇa. The perfect yogī knows that the Lord is eternally transcendental and is not materially affected by His presence in either a dog or a brāhmaṇa. 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 Kṛṣṇa conscious person can see Kṛṣṇa in the heart of both the believer and nonbeliever. In the smṛti this is confirmed as follows: ātatatvāc ca mātṛtvād ātmā hi paramo hariḥ.
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 energies—the 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 Lord's energy. Every living entity is situated in Him in one way or another. The yogī 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
yo māṁ paśyati sarvatra
sarvaṁ ca mayi paśyati
tasyāhaṁ na praṇaśyāmi
sa ca me na praṇaśyati
yaḥ—whoever; mām—Me; paśyati—sees; sarvatra—everywhere; sarvam—everything; ca—and; mayi—in Me; paśyati—he sees; tasya—his; aham—I; na—not; praṇaśyāmi—am lost; saḥ—he; ca—also; me—to Me; na—nor; praṇaśyati—is lost.
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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness certainly sees Lord Kṛṣṇa everywhere, and he sees everything in Kṛṣṇa. Such a person may appear to see all separate manifestations of the material nature, but in each and every instance he is conscious of Kṛṣṇa, knowing that everything is the manifestation of Kṛṣṇa's energy. Nothing can exist without Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa is the Lord of everything—this is the basic principle of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the development of love of Kṛṣṇa—a position transcendental even to material liberation. It is the stage beyond self-realization at which the devotee becomes one with Kṛṣṇa in the sense that Kṛṣṇa becomes everything for the devotee, and the devotee becomes full in loving Kṛṣṇa. An intimate relationship between the Lord and the devotee then exists. In that stage, the living entity attains his immortality. Nor is the Personality of Godhead ever out of the sight of the devotee. To merge in Kṛṣṇa is spiritual annihilation. A devotee takes no such risk. It is stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā:
santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti
yaṁ śyāmasundaram acintya-guṇa-svarūpaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
"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 Śyāmasundara situated within the heart of the devotee." (Bs. 5.38)
At this stage, Lord Kṛṣṇa never disappears from the sight of the devotee, nor does the devotee ever lose sight of the Lord. In the case of a yogī who sees the Lord as Paramātmā within the heart, the same applies. Such a yogī turns into a pure devotee and cannot bear to live for a moment with out seeing the Lord within himself.
sarva-bhūta-sthitaṁ yo māṁ
bhajaty ekatvam āsthitaḥ
sarvathā vartamāno 'pi
sa yogī mayi vartate
sarva-bhūta-sthitam—situated in everyone's heart; yaḥ—he who; mām—unto Me; bhajati—serves in devotional service; ekatvam—oneness; āsthitaḥ—thus situated; sarvathā—in all respects; vartamānaḥ—being situated; api—in spite of; saḥ—he; yogī—transcendentalist; mayi—unto Me; vartate—remains.
The yogī who knows that I and the Supersoul within all creatures are one worships Me and remains always in Me in all circumstances.
A yogī who is practicing meditation on the Supersoul sees within himself the plenary portion of Kṛṣṇa as Viṣṇu—with four hands, holding conchshell, wheel, club and lotus flower. The yogī should know that Viṣṇu is not different from Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa in this form of Supersoul is situated in everyone's 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 Kṛṣṇa conscious person always engaged in the transcendental loving service of Kṛṣṇa and a perfect yogī engaged in meditation on the Supersoul. The yogī in Kṛṣṇa consciousness—even though he may be engaged in various activities while in material existence—remains always situated in Kṛṣṇa. This is confirmed in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī: nikhileṣu avasthāsu jīvanmukta sa ucyate. A devotee of the Lord, always acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is automatically liberated. In the Nārada-pañcarātra this is confirmed in this way:
"By concentrating one's attention on the transcendental form of Kṛṣṇa, who is all-pervading and beyond time and space, one becomes absorbed in thinking of Kṛṣṇa and then attains the happy state of transcendental association with Him."
Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the highest stage of trance in yoga practice. This very understanding that Kṛṣṇa is present as Paramātmā in everyone's heart makes the yogī faultless. The Vedas confirm this inconceivable potency of the Lord as follows:
"Viṣṇu 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, He appears in many places at once."
samaṁ paśyati yo 'rjuna
sukhaṁ vā yadi vā duḥkhaṁ
sa yogī paramo mataḥ
ātma—self; aupamyena—by comparison; sarvatra—everywhere; samam—equality; paśyati—sees; yaḥ—he who; arjuna—O Arjuna; sukham—happiness; vā—or; yadi—if; vā—or; duḥkham—distress; saḥ—such; yogī—transcendentalist; paramaḥ—perfect; mataḥ—considered.
He is a perfect yogī who, by comparison to his own self, sees the true equality of all beings, both in their happiness and distress, O Arjuna!
One who is Kṛṣṇa conscious is a perfect yogī; he is aware of everyone's 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 Kṛṣṇa to be the supreme enjoyer of all the activities of the human being. Kṛṣṇa is the proprietor of all lands and planets. The perfect yogī is the sincerest friend of all living entities. He 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 Kṛṣṇa. Because one in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is happy, he tries to distribute the knowledge of Kṛṣṇa everywhere. Since the perfect yogī tries to broadcast the importance of becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious, he is the best philanthropist in the world, and he is the dearest servitor of the Lord. Na tasmāt kaścid me priyakṛt tamaḥ. 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 yogī 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 yogī interested only in his personal elevation. The yogī 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
yo 'yaṁ yogas tvayā proktaḥ
etasyāhaṁ na paśyāmi
cañcalatvāt sthitiṁ sthirām
arjunaḥ uvāca—Arjuna said; yaḥ—the system; ayam—this; yogaḥ—mysticism; tvayā—by You; proktaḥ—described; sāmyena—generally; madhusūdana—O killer of the demon Madhu; etasya—of this; aham—I; na—do not; paśyāmi—see; cañcalatvāt—due to being restless; sthitim—situation; sthirām—stable.
Arjuna said: O Madhusūdana, 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 Kṛṣṇa to Arjuna beginning with the words śucau deśe and ending with yogī paramaḥ 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 Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Five thousand years ago, Arjuna had much better facilities then 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.
cañcalaṁ hi manaḥ kṛṣṇa
pramāthi balavad dṛḍham
tasyāhaṁ nigrahaṁ manye
vāyor iva su-duṣkaram
cañcalam—flickering; hi—certainly; manaḥ—mind; kṛṣṇa—O Kṛṣṇa; pramāthi—agitating; balavat—strong; dṛḍham—obstinate; tasya—its; aham—I; nigraham—subduing; manye—think; vāyoḥ—of the wind; iva—like; suduṣkaram—difficult.
For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Kṛṣṇa, and to subdue it is, it seems to me, more difficult than controlling the wind.
The mind is so strong and obstinate that it sometimes overcomes the intelligence, although 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 literatures it is said:
ātmānaṁ rathinaṁ viddhi śarīraṁ ratham eva ca
buddhintu sārathiṁ viddhi manaḥ pragraham eva ca
indriyāṇi hayānāhur viṣayāṁs teṣu gocarān
ātmendriya-mano-yukto bhoktety āhur manīṣiṇaḥ.
"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 one's own intelligence. 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 Kṛṣṇa," the great mantra for deliverance, in all humility. The method prescribed is sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ: one must engage one's mind fully in Kṛṣṇa. Only then will there remain no other engagements to agitate the mind.
mano durnigrahaṁ calam
abhyāsena tu kaunteya
vairāgyeṇa ca gṛhyate
śrī bhagavān uvāca—the Personality of Godhead said; asaṁśayam—undoubtedly; mahā-bāho—O mighty-armed one; manaḥ—mind; durnigraham—difficult to curb; calam—flickering; abhyāsena—by practice; tu—but; kaunteya—O son of Kuntī; vairāgyeṇa—by detachment; ca—also; gṛhyate—can be so controlled.
The Blessed Lord said: O mighty-armed son of Kuntī, it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by constant 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 strict rules and regulations, such as 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, however, one engages in nine types of devotional service to the Lord. The first and foremost of such devotional engagements is hearing about Kṛṣṇa. This is a very powerful transcendental method for purging the mind of all misgivings. The more one hears about Kṛṣṇa, the more one becomes enlightened and detached from everything that draws the mind away from Kṛṣṇa. By detaching the mind from activities not devoted to the Lord, one can very easily learn vairāgya. Vairāgya 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 Kṛṣṇa. This is practical because by hearing about Kṛṣṇa one becomes automatically attached to the Supreme Spirit. This attachment is called pareśānubhūti spiritual satisfaction. It is just like the feeling of satisfaction a hungry man has for every morsel of food he eats. 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 Kṛṣṇa is therefore expert treatment for the mad mind, and eating the foodstuff offered to Kṛṣṇa is the appropriate diet for the suffering patient. This treatment is the process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
duṣprāpa iti me matiḥ
vaśyātmanā tu yatatā
śakyo 'vāptum upāyataḥ
asaṁyata—unbridled; ātmanā—by the mind; yogaḥ—self-realization; duṣprāpaḥ—difficult to obtain; iti—thus; me—My; matiḥ—opinion; vaśya—controlled; ātmanā—by the mind; tu—but; yatatā—while endeavoring; śakyaḥ—practical; avāptum—to achieve; upāyataḥ—appropriate means.
For one whose mind is unbridled, self-realization is difficult work. But he whose mind is controlled and who strives by right 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. Similarly, yoga practice without mental control is a waste of time. Such a show of yoga practice may be materially lucrative, but it is useless as far as spiritual realization is concerned. Therefore, the mind must be controlled by engaging it constantly in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Unless one is engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he cannot steadily control the mind. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person easily achieves the result of yoga practice without separate endeavor, but a yoga practitioner cannot achieve success without becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious.
kāṁ gatiṁ kṛṣṇa gacchati
arjunaḥ uvāca—Arjuna said; ayatiḥ—unsuccessful transcendentalist; śraddhayā—with faith; upetaḥ—engaged; yogāt—from the mystic link; calita—deviated; mānasaḥ—of one who has such a mind; aprāpya—failing; yoga-saṁsiddhim—highest perfection in mysticism; kām—which; gatim—destination; kṛṣṇa—O Kṛṣṇa; gacchati—achieves.
Arjuna said: What is the destination of the man of faith who does not persevere, who in the beginning takes to the process of self-realization 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-gītā. 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, 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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa 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 following the process. To pursue the transcendental path is more or less to declare war on 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 yogāt calita-mānasaḥ: deviation from the transcendental path. Arjuna is inquisitive to know the results of deviation from the path of self-realization.
chinnābhram iva naśyati
vimūḍho brahmaṇaḥ pathi
kaccit—whether; na—not; ubhaya—both; vibhraṣṭaḥ—deviated from; chinna—fallen; abhram—cloud; iva—likened; naśyati—perishes; apratiṣṭhaḥ—without any position; mahā-bāho—O mighty-armed Kṛṣṇa; vimūḍhaḥ—bewildered; brahmaṇaḥ—of Transcendence; pathi—on the path.
O mighty-armed Kṛṣṇa, does not such a man, being deviated from the path of Transcendence, 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 brahmaṇaḥ 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, Paramātmā and Bhagavān. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa 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 Paramātmā realization takes many, many births: Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante. Therefore the supermost of transcendental realization is bhakti-yoga or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the direct method.
etan me saṁśayaṁ kṛṣṇa
chettum arhasy aśeṣataḥ
chettā na hy upapadyate
etat—this is; me—my; saṁśayam—doubt; kṛṣṇa—O Kṛṣṇa; chettum—to dispel; arhasi—requested to do; aśeṣataḥ—completely; tvat—Yourself; anyaḥ—without; saṁśayāsya—of the doubt; asya—of this; chettā—remover; na—never; hi—certainly; upapadyate—to be found.
This is my doubt O Kṛṣṇa, and I ask You to dispel it completely. But for Yourself, no one is to be found who can destroy this doubt.
Kṛṣṇa is the perfect knower of past, present and future. In the beginning of the Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord said that all living entities exist individually in the past, that they exist now in the present, and that 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 Kṛṣṇa, and certainly the so-called great sages and philosophers who are at the mercy of material nature cannot equal Him. Therefore the verdict of Kṛṣṇa is the final and complete answer to all doubts because He knows past, present and future perfectly—but no one knows Him. Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa conscious devotees alone can know what is what.
pārtha naiveha nāmutra
vināśas tasya vidyate
na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt kaścid
durgatiṁ tāta gacchati
śrī bhagavān uvāca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; pārtha—O son of Prthā; na eva—never is it so; iha—in this material world; na—never; amutra—in the next life; vināśaḥ—destruction; tasya—his; vidyate—exists; na—never; hi—certainly; kalyāṇa-kṛt—one who is engaged in auspicious activities; kaścit—anyone; durgatim—degradation; tāta—thereafter; gacchati—going.
The Blessed Lord said: Son of Pṛthā, 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.
tyaktvā sva-dharmaṁ caraṇāmbujaṁ harer
bhajann apakko 'tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva vābhadram abhūd amuṣya kiṁ
ko vārtha āpto 'bhajatāṁ sva-dharmataḥ
"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, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. One may argue that by Kṛṣṇa 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 of not executing prescribed duties; therefore one who fails to discharge transcendental activities properly becomes subjected to these reactions. The Bhāgavatam assures the unsuccessful transcendentalist that there need be no worries. Even though he may be subjected to the reaction of not perfectly executing prescribed duties, he is still not a loser, because auspicious Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa 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, 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 thus gradually rise to Kṛṣṇa consciousness certainly progress in life.
Those who are then 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 out the ultimate liberation from material existence, and 3) those who are devotees in Kṛṣṇa 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 life—even to the higher planets; but 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the only auspicious activity, and anyone who voluntarily accepts all bodily discomforts for the sake of making progress on the path of Kṛṣṇa consciousness can be called a perfect transcendentalist under severe austerity. And because the eightfold yoga system is directed toward the ultimate realization of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, such practice is also auspicious, and no one who is trying his best in this matter need fear degradation.
prāpya puṇya-kṛtāṁ lokān
uṣitvā śāśvatīḥ samāḥ
śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe
prāpya—after achieving; puṇya-kṛtām—of those who performed pious activities; lokān—planets; uṣitvā—after dwelling; śāśvatīḥ—many; samāḥ—years; śucīnām—of the pious; śrīmatām—of the prosperous; gehe—in the house of; yoga-bhraṣṭaḥ—one who is fallen from the path of self-realization; abhijāyate—takes his birth.
The unsuccessful yogī, 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 yogīs are divided into two classes: one is fallen after very little progress, and one is fallen after long practice of yoga. The yogī 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, he is sent back again to this planet, to take birth in the family of a righteous brāhmaṇa vaiṣṇava or of aristocratic merchants.
The real purpose of yoga practice is to achieve the highest perfection of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. But those who do not persevere to such an extent and fail due to 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
atha vā yoginām eva
kule bhavati dhīmatām
etad dhi durlabhataraṁ
loke janma yad īdṛśam
athavā—or; yoginām—of learned transcendentalists; eva—certainly; kule—in the family of; bhavati—takes birth; dhīmatām—of those who are endowed with great wisdom; etat—this; hi—certainly; durlabhataram—very rare; loke—in this world; janma—birth; yat—that which; īdṛśam—like this.
Or he takes his birth in a family of transcendentalists who are surely great in wisdom. Verily, such a birth is rare in this world.
Birth in a family of yogīs or transcendentalists—those with great wisdom—is praised herein because the child born in such a family receives spiritual impetus from the very beginning of his life. It is especially the case in the ācārya or gosvāmī families. Such families are very learned and devoted by tradition and training, and thus they become spiritual masters. In India there are many such ācārya 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, Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, 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.
tatra taṁ buddhi-saṁyogaṁ
yatate ca tato bhūyaḥ
tatra—thereupon; tam—that; buddhi-saṁyogam—revival of such consciousness; labhate—regains; paurva—previous; dehikam—bodily consciousness; yatate—endeavors; ca—also; tataḥ—thereafter; bhūyaḥ—again; saṁsiddhau—for perfection; kuru-nandana—O son of Kuru.
On taking such a birth, he again revives the divine consciousness of his previous life, and he 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 brāhmaṇa, 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 is known among the demigods as Bhāratavarṣa. Formerly it was known as Ilāvartavarṣa. 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 brāhmaṇa and was known as Jaḍabharata because he always remained secluded and did not talk to anyone. And later on, he was discovered as the greatest transcendentalist by King Rahūgaṇa. 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
hriyate hy avaśo 'pi saḥ
jijñāsur api yogasya
pūrva—previous; abhyāsena—practice; tena—by the influence of that; eva—certainly; hriyate—is attracted; hi—surely; avaśaḥ—helpless; api—also; saḥ—he; jijñāsuḥ—willing to know; api—so; yogasya—of yoga; śabda-brahma—ritualistic principles of scripture; ativartate—transcends.
By virtue of the divine consciousness of his previous life, he automatically becomes attracted to the yogic principles—even without seeking them. Such an inquisitive transcendentalist, striving for yoga, stands always above the ritualistic principles of the scriptures.
Advanced yogīs 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the highest yoga perfection. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.33.8), such disregard of Vedic rituals by the advanced transcendentalists is explained as follows:
aho bata śvapaco 'to garīyān
yajjihvāgre vartate nāma tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuḥ sasnur āryā
brahmānūcur nāma gṛṇanti 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 Ṭhākur Haridāsa as one of His most important disciples. Although Ṭhākur Haridāsa happened to take his birth in a Moslem family, he was elevated to the post of nāmācārya by Lord Caitanya due to his rigidly attended principle of chanting three hundred thousand holy names of the Lord daily: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, 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 śabda-brahman. Unless, therefore, one is purified, one cannot take to the principle of Kṛṣṇa consciousness nor become engaged in chanting the holy name of the Lord, Hare Kṛṣṇa.
prayatnād yatamānas tu
tato yāti parāṁ gatim
prayatnāt—by rigid practice; yatamānaḥ—one who endeavors; tu—but; yogī—such a transcendentalist; saṁśuddha—washed off; kilbiṣaḥ—all kinds of sins; aneka—many, many; janma—births; saṁsiddhaḥ—so achieved perfection; tataḥ—thereafter; yāti—attains; parām—highest; gatim—destination.
But when the yogī engages himself with sincere endeavor in making further progress, being washed of all contaminations, then ultimately, 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 perfection—Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the perfect stage of being freed of all contaminations. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā:
"After many, many births of executing pious activities, when one is completely freed from all contaminations, and from all illusory dualities, one then becomes engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord."
tapasvibhyo 'dhiko yogī
jñānibhyo 'pi mato 'dhikaḥ
karmibhyaś cādhiko yogī
tasmād yogī bhavārjuna
tapasvibhyaḥ—than the ascetic; adhikaḥ—greater; yogī—the yogī; jñānibhyaḥ—than the wise; api—also; mataḥ—considered; adhikaḥ—greater than; karmibhyaḥ—than the fruitive worker; ca—also; adhikaḥ—greater than; yogī—the yogī; tasmāt—therefore; yogī—a transcendentalist; bhava—just become; arjuna—O Arjuna.
A yogī is greater than the ascetic, greater than the empiricist and greater than the fruitive worker. Therefore, O Arjuna, in all circumstances, be a yogī.
When we speak of yoga we refer to linking up 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 up process is predominantly in fruitive activities, it is called karma-yoga, when it is predominantly empirical, it is called jñāna-yoga, and when it is predominantly in a devotional relationship with the Supreme Lord, it is called bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga or Kṛṣṇa 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 as such, 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 Kṛṣṇa 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.
yoginām api sarveṣāṁ
śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ
sa me yuktatamo mataḥ
yoginām—of all yogīs; api—also; sarveṣām—all types of; mat-gatena—abiding in Me; antaḥ-ātmanā—always thinking of Me within; śraddhāvān—in full faith; bhajate—renders transcendental loving service; yaḥ—one who; mām—Me (the Supreme Lord); saḥ—he; me—Mine; yuktatamaḥ—the greatest yogī; mataḥ—is considered.
And of all yogīs, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.
The word bhajete is significant here. Bhajete 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 bhaja. 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 Bhāgavatam confirms this as follows:
"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 avajānanti, used in this verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, is also found in the Bhagavad-gītā: avajānanti māṁ mūḍhāḥ: "Only the fools and rascals deride the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Kṛṣṇa." Such fools take it upon themselves to write commentaries on the Bhagavad-gītā 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 jñāna-yoga. When jñāna-yoga increases in meditation on the Supersoul by different physical processes, and the mind is on Him, it is called aṣṭāṅga-yoga. And, when one surpasses the aṣṭāṅga-yoga and comes to the point of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa, 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 yogī 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-yogī, jñāna-yogī or dhyāna-yogī, rāja-yogī, haṭha-yogī, etc. If one is fortunate enough to come to the point of bhakti-yoga, it is to be understood that he has surpassed all the other yogas. Therefore, to become Kṛṣṇa conscious is the highest stage of yoga, just as, when we speak of Himalayan, we refer to the world's highest mountains, of which the highest peak, Mount Everest, is considered to be the culmination.
It is by great fortune that one comes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness on the path of bhakti-yoga to become well situated according to the Vedic direction. The ideal yogī concentrates his attention on Kṛṣṇa, who is called Śyāmasundara, who is as beautifully colored as a cloud, whose lotus-like 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 Rāma, Nṛsiṁha, Varāha and Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He descends like a human being, as the son of Mother Yaśodā, and He is known as Kṛṣṇa, Govinda and Vāsudeva. 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 yogī.
This stage of highest perfection in yoga can be attained only by bhakti-yoga, as is confirmed in all Vedic literature:
"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."
Bhaktir asya bhajanaṁ tadihāmutropādhi nairāsyenāmuṣmin manaḥ kalpanam; etad eva naiṣkarmyam. "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 naiṣkarmya."
These are some of the means for performance of bhakti or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the highest perfectional stage of the yoga system.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Sixth Chapter of the Śrīmad-Bhagavad-gītā in the matter of Sāṅkhya-yoga Brahma-vidyā.
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