Yoga – The way of life – Yoga means connectedness with Kṛṣṇa, the Absolute Truth. Nowadays, yoga is popularly presented to the world as some form of physical and breathing exercise that can help to keep the body fit. However until and unless one connects oneself to the Absolute Truth, the process DOESN’T come under yoga, according to the Bhagavad Gita.
Table of Contents
The Purpose of Yoga
Yoga is pursued in order to control the senses and mind. Actual goal of Yoga is to become internally conscious (self-situated) i.e., to perceive the spiritual world using spiritual senses. Yoga means actions that embodies the search for the truth. It means self control, to achieve the state of neutrality. Yoga embodies actions pursuing the goal of eternal life. Atman is eternal and thus it has eternal dharma, the pursuance of that eternal dharma is Yoga. There are so many variant meanings of yoga but finally yoga means to become Kṛṣṇa conscious
Science behind Yoga
When a living entity (Jiva) tries to enjoy independent of Kṛṣṇa, he/she is given an opportunity to do so in this material world. But as soon as the jiva comes in contact with matter, he is influenced by the material energy or maya. Etymologically, Maya means that which is not i.e., an illusion.
Maya is the external energy of Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa Himself being the Supreme Personality of Godhead can never be under this illusion. Maya is His instrument and deludes those who do not want the truth. By practicing yoga system one gets connect to Kṛṣṇa. That state is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In this state one is blessed to remain free from the influence of Kṛṣṇa’s illusory potency. Thus in yoga, the jiva is bless to see things as they are and always serves Kṛṣṇa who is both the master of illusion and the giver of liberation
Any action performed by us culminates in a reaction and it is the reaction of the action that makes our future action degraded. But if we connect ourselves to Kṛṣṇa by performing yoga, our actions will be free from both good and bad reactions. A bonafide yoga system thus makes our action blessed. In turn, we become blessed to achieve the art of perfection in our action
Yoga systems as per Bhagavad Gita
According to Bhagavad Gita, there are four primary divisions of yoga system:
1. Karma yoga– We offer the results of our prescribed duty to Kṛṣṇa
2. Jñāna yoga– One tries to understand God by means of philosophical speculation
3. Dhyana yoga / Astanga yoga– In this yoga, a yogi relieves himself from all engagements by the regulative processes of meditation, concentration, sitting postures, blocking the movements of the internal circulation of air, etc
4. Bhakti yoga– Bhakti means complete surrender to Krishna alone.
Among these four divisions Krishna says – Bhakti-yoga is the best-
yoginām api sarveṣāṁ
śraddhāvān bhajate yo mäm
sa me yukta-tamo mataḥ
[Bhagavad Gita 6.47]
Translation: And of all yogīs, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself and renders transcendental loving service to Me – he is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. That is My opinion.
Beginning of any Yoga Process
Dharma always stands on four legs. A sincere seeker of truth strives hard to maintain these four pillars of dharma in his actions:
1. Satya: Truthfulness
2. Daya: Compassion
3. Saucha: Cleanliness
4. Tapa: Austerity
All yogic practices — karma, jnana, dhyana and bhakti yoga, preserve these four pillars of eternal dharma. Each pillar of dharma is associate with a regulative principle which states the prohibition of an action which will surely break the very pillar.
Anyone who aspires for spiritual progress through any of these yogic processes perseveres to preserve the above four pillars of dharma. Thus one is require to follow four basic regulative principles which are as follows:
1. No Gambling
2. No Meat Eating
3. No Illicit Sex
4. No Intoxication
The four regulative principles mentioned above are the stepping stones for any yogic process. Without following them there can’t be any advancement in spiritual life, whether you are a karma, jnana, dhyana or a bhakti yogi.
In Kaliyuga no yogic process will bear results unless accompanied by the chanting of the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa. As stated in
Brhad Naradiya Purana 38.128
harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha
Translation: In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is chanting of the holy name of only Lord Hari.
In essence, chanting of the holy name is the most effective medicine in this age of Kali to cultivate self-realization
The best way to chant the holy name is to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahamantra –
Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare
Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare
as prescribed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This mahamantra can be chanted anywhere and everywhere. That’s why this is known as “maha mantra”. Etymologically, mantra means that which delivers the mind and this Hare Kṛṣṇa mahamantra liberates the soul as well.