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  • Pranjal Johry
    Jan 31, 2008

      Moderation in Yoga
      In this Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, the system of sankhya-yoga, which is the meditational astanga-yoga system, is emphasized. Jnana-yoga emphasizes the philosophical process of analysis by which we determine what is Brahman and what is not Brahman. This process is known as the neti neti process, or "not this, not that." In the beginning of the Vedanta-sutra it is stated, janmady asya yatah.: "The Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Truth, is He from whom everything emanates." This is a hint, and from this we must try to understand the nature of the Supreme Brahman, from whom everything is emanating. The nature of that Absolute Truth is explained in detail in Srimad-Bhagavatam. In the first verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated, om namo bhaga vate vasudevaya
      janmady asya yato 'nvayad itaratas carthesv abhijnah svarat
      tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye muhyanti yat surayah
      tejo-vari-mrdam yatha vinimayo yatra tri-sargo 'mrsa
      dhamna svena sada nirasta-kuhakam satyam param dhimahi

      "O my Lord, Sri Krsna, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. I meditate upon Lord Sri Krsna because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance, and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him. It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmaji, the original living being. By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature, appear factual, although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord Sri Krsna, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode. which is forever free from the illusory representations of the material world. I meditate upon Him, for He is the Absolute Truth." Thus from the very beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam the Absolute Truth is proclaimed to be cognizant. He is not dead or void. And what is the nature of His cognizance? Anvayad itaratas carthesu: "He is directly and indirectly cognizant of all manifestations." To a limited degree, each and every living entity is cognizant, but we are not completely cognizant. I may claim, "This is my head," but if someone asks me, "Do you know how many hairs are on your head?" I will not be able to reply. Of course, this kind of knowledge is not transcendental, but in Srimad- Bhagavatam it is stated that the Supreme Absolute Truth knows everything, directly and indirectly. I may know that I am eating, but I do not know the intricacies of the eating process--how my body is exactly assimilating food, how the blood is passing through my veins, etc. I am cognizant that my body is functioning, but I do not know how these processes are working perfectly and all at once. This is because my knowledge is limited. By definition, God is He who knows everything. He knows what is going on in every corner of His creation; therefore, from the very beginning, Srimad-Bhagavatam explains that the Supreme Truth from whom everything is emanating is supremely cognizant (abhijnah). One may ask, "If the Absolute Truth is so powerful, wise, and cognizant, He must have attained this knowledge from some similar being." This is not the case. If He attains His knowledge from someone else, He is not God. Svarat. He is independent, and His knowledge is automatically there. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the supreme combination of both the jnana- and bhakti-yoga systems, because it analyzes in detail the nature of that Supreme Being from whom everything is emanating. By the jnana-yoga system, one attempts to understand the nature of the Absolute Truth in a philosophical way. In the bhakti-yoga system, the target is the same. The methodology, however, is somewhat different. Whereas the jnani attempts to concentrate his mind philosophically on the Supreme, the bhakta simply engages himself in the service of the Supreme Lord, and the Lord reveals Himself. The jnana method is called the ascending process, and the bhakti method is called the descending process. If we are in the darkness of night, we may attempt to attain the sunlight by ascending in a powerful rocket. According to the descending process, however, we simply await the sunrise, and then we understand immediately. Through the ascending process, we attempt to reach the Supreme through our own endeavor, through the process of induction. By induction, we may attempt to find out whether man is mortal by studying thousands of men, trying to see whether they are mortal or immortal. This, of course, will take a great deal of time. If, however, I accept from superior authority the fact that all men are mortal, my knowledge is complete and immediate. Thus it is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.29), "My dear Lord, a person who has received a little favor from You can understand You very quickly. But those who are trying to understand You by the ascending process may go on speculating for millions of years and still never understand You." By mental speculation, one is more likely to simply reach a point of frustration and confusion and conclude, "Oh, God is zero." But if God is zero, how are so many figures emanating from Him? As the Vedanta says (janmady asya yatah), "Everything is generating from the Supreme." Therefore the Supreme cannot be zero. We have to study how so many forms, so many infinite living entities, are being generated from the Supreme. This is also explained in the Vedanta-sutra, which is the study of ultimate knowledge. The word veda means "knowledge," and anta means "ultimate." Ultimate knowledge is knowledge of the Supreme Lord. So how is it possible to understand the form of Krsna? If it is stated that God does not have eyes, limbs, and senses like ours, how are we to understand His transcendental senses, His transcendental form? This is not possible by mental speculation. We simply have to serve Him, and then He will reveal Himself to us. As Krsna Himself states in the Tenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita (10.11), tesam evanukampartham aham ajnana-jam tamah nasayamy atma-bhava-stho jnana-dipena bhas vata "Out of compassion for them, l, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance." Krsna is within us, and when we are sincerely searching for Him by the devotional process, He will reveal Himself. Again, as stated in the Eighteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita (18.55), bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah tato mam tattvatojnatva viate tad-anantaram "One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God." Thus God has to be understood by this process of bhakti-yoga, which is the process of sravanam kirtanam visnoh--hearing and chanting about Visnu. This is the beginning of the bhakti-yoga process. If we but hear sincerely and submissively, we will understand. Krsna will reveal Himself. Sra vanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam arcanam vandanam dasyam. There are nine different processes in the bhakti-yoga system. By vandanam, we offer prayers, and that is also bhakti. Sra vanam is hearing about Krsna fro m Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and other sastras. Kirtanam is chanting about His glories, chanting the Hare Krsna mantra. This is the beginning of the bhakti-yoga process. Sravanam kirtanam visnoh. Everything is Visnu, and meditation is on Visnu. It is not possible to have bhakti without Visnu. Krsna is the original form of Visnu (krsnas tu bhagavan svayam: "Krsna is the original form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead"). If we but follow this bhakti-yoga

      process, we should be able to understand the Supreme, and all doubts should be removed. The astanga-yoga process is outlined very specifically in the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita (6.13-14): samam kaya-siro-grivam-

      dharayann acalam sthirah sampreksya nasikagram svam disas cana valokayan prasantatma vigata-bhir brahmacari-vrate sthitah manah samyamya mac-citto yukta asita mat-parah "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." Yoga does not mean going to some class, paying some money, engaging in gymnastics, and then returning home to drink, smoke, and engage in sex. Such yoga is practiced by societies of the cheaters and the cheated. The authoritative yoga system is here outlined by the supreme authority, Sri Krsna Himself. Is there a better yogi than Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead? First of all, one has to go alone to a holy place and sit in a straight line, holding one's body, neck, and head erect, and stare steadily at the tip of the nose. Why is this? This is a method to help concentrate one's mind. That's all. The real purpose of yoga, however, is to keep oneself always aware that Lord Krsna is within. One of the dangers of sitting in meditation and staring at the tip of one's nose is that one will fall asleep. I have seen many so-called meditators sitting like this and snoring. As soon as one closes his eyes, it is natural to feel sleepy; therefore it is recommended that the eyes are half closed. Thus it is said that one should look at the tip of his nose. With one's sight thus concentrated, the mind should be subdued and unagitated. In India, the yogi often goes to a jungle to practice such meditation in solitude. But in a jungle, the yogi may think, "Maybe

      some tiger or snake is coming. What is that noise?" In this way, his mind may be agitated; therefore it is especially stated that the yogi must be "devoid of fear." A deerskin is especially recommended as a yoga-asana, because it contains a chemical property that repels snakes; thus the yogi will not be disturbed by serpents. Whatever the case-- serpents, tigers, or lions--one can be truly fearless only when he is established in Krsna consciousness. Due to perverted memory, the conditioned soul is naturally fearful. Fear is due to forgetting one's eternal relationship with Krsna. According to Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.37): bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad isad apetasya viparyayo 'smrtih. Krsna consciousness provides the only true basis for fearlessness; therefore perfect practice of yoga is not possible for one who is not Krsna conscious.The yogi must also be "completely free from sex life." If one indulges in sex, he cannot concentrate; therefore brahmacarya, complete celibacy, is recommended to make the mind steady. By practicing celibacy, one cultivates determination. One modern example of such determination is that of Mahatma Gandhi, who was determined to resist the powerful British empire by means of nonviolence. At this time, India was dependent on the British, and the people had no weapons. The Britishers, being more powerful, easily cut down whatever violent revolutions the people attempted. Therefore Gandhi resorted to nonviolence, noncooperation. "I shall not fight with the Britishers," he declared, "and even if they react with violence, I shall remain nonviolent. In this way the world will sympathize with us." Such a policy required a great amount of determination, and Gandhi's determination was very strong because he was a brahmacari. Although he had children and a wife, he renounced sex at the age of thirty-six. It was this sexual renunciation that enabled him to be so determined that he was able to lead his country and drive the British from India. Thus, refraining from sex enables one to be very determined and powerful. It is not necessary to do anything else. This is a secret

      people are not aware of. If you want to do something with determination, you have to refrain from sex. Regardless of the process--be it hathayoga, bhakti-yoga, jnana-yoga, or whatever--sex indulgence is not allowed. Sex is allowed only for householders who want to beget good children and raise them in Krsna consciousness. Sex is not meant for sense enjoyment, although enjoyment is there by nature. Unless there is some enjoyment, why should one assume the responsibility of begetting children? That is the secret of nature's gift, but we should not take advantage of it. These are the secrets of life. By taking advantage and

      indulging in sex life, we are simply wasting our time. If one tells you that you can indulge in sex as much as you like and at the same time become a yogi, he is cheating you. If some so-called guru tells you to give him money in exchange for some mantra and that you can go on and engage in all kinds of nonsense, he is just cheating you. Because we want something sublime and yet want it cheaply, we put ourselves in a position to be cheated. This means that we actually want to be cheated. If we want something valuable, we must pay for it. We cannot expect to walk into a jewelry store and demand the most valuable jewel for a mere ten cents. No, we must pay a great deal. Similarly, if we want perfection in yoga, we have to pay by abstaining from sex. Perfection in yoga is not something childish, and Bhagavad-gita instructs us that if we try to make yoga into something childish, we will be cheated. There are many cheaters awaiting us, waiting to take our money, giving us nothing, and then leaving. But according to Sri Krsna's authoritative statement in Bhagavad-gita, one must be "completely free from sex life." Being free from sex, one should "meditate upon Me within the heart and make Me the ultimate goal of life." This is real meditation. Krsna does not recommend meditation on the void. He specifically states, "meditate upon Me." The visnu-murti is situated in one's heart, and meditation upon Him is the object of yoga. This is the sankhya-yoga system, as first practiced by Lord Kapiladeva, an incarnation of God. By sitting straight, staring steadily at the tip of one's nose, subduing one's mind, and abstaining from sex, one may be able to concentrate the mind on the visnu-murti situated within the heart. When we refer to the Visnu form, or visnu-murti, we refer to Sri Krsna. In this Krsna consciousness movement we are meditating directly on Sri Krsna. This is a process of practical meditation. The members of this movement are concentrating their minds on Krsna, regardless of their particular occupation. One may be working in the garden and digging in the earth, but he is thinking, "I am cultivating beautiful roses to offer to Krsna." One may be cooking in the kitchen, but he is always thinking, "I am preparing palatable food to be offered to Krsna." Similarly, chanting and dancing in the temple are forms of meditating on Krsna. Thus the boys and girls in this Society for Krsna consciousness are perfect yogis because they are meditating on Krsna twenty-four hours a day. We are teaching the perfect yoga system, not according to our personal whims but according to the authority of Bhagavad-gita-. Nothing is concocted or manufactured. The verses of Bhagavad-gita are there for all to see. The activities of the bhakti-yogis in this movement are so molded that the practitioners cannot help but think of Krsna at all times. "Meditate upon Me within the heart, and make Me the ultimate goal of life," Sri Krsna says. This is the perfect yoga system, and one who practices it prepares himself to be transferred to Krsnaloka. yunjann evam sadatmanam yogi niyata-manasa h santim nirvana-paramam mat-samstham adhigacchati "Thus practicing control of the body, mind, and activities, the mystic transcendentalist attains to the kingdom of God [or the abode of Krsna] by cessation of material existence." (Bg. 6.15) It is stated in Sanskrit in this verse, santim nirvana-paramam; that is, one attains peace through nirvana-paramam, or the cessation of material activities. Nirvana does not refer to void, but to putting an end to materialistic activities. Unless one puts an end to them, there is no question of peace. When Hiranyakasipu asked his five-year-old son Prahlada Maharaja, "My dear boy, what is the best thing you have thus far learned?" Prahlada immediately replied, tat sadhu manye 'sura-varya dehinam sada samudvigna-dhiyam asad-grahat: "My dear father, O greatest of the demons, materialistic people are always full of anxiety because they have accepted as real that which is nonpermanent." The word asadgrahat is important because it indicates that materialists are always hankering to capture or possess something that is nonpermanent. History affords us many examples. Mr. Kennedy was a very rich man who wanted to become President, and he spent a great deal of money to attain that elevated position. Yet although he had a nice wife, children, and the presidency, everything was finished within a second. In the material world, people are always trying to capture something that is nonpermanent. Unfortunately, people do not come to their senses and realize, "I am permanent. I am spirit soul. Why am I hankering after something that is nonpermanent?" We are always busy acquiring comforts for this body without considering that today, tomorrow, or in a hundred years this body will be finished. As far as the real "I" is concerned, "I am spirit soul. I have no birth. I have no death. What, then, is my proper function?" When we act on the material platform, we are engaged in bodily functions; therefore Prahlada Maharaja says that people are anxious because all their activities are targeted to capturing and possessing something nonpermanent. All living entities--men, beasts, birds, or whatever--are always full of anxiety, and this is the material disease. If we are always full of anxiety, how can we attain peace? People may live in a very nice house, but out front they place signs saying, "Beware of Dog," or "No Trespassers." This means that although they are living comfortably, they are anxious that someone will come and molest them. Sitting in an office and earning a very good salary, a man is always

      thinking, "Oh, I hope I don't lose this position." The American nation is very rich, but because of this, it has to maintain a great defense force. So who is free from anxiety? The conclusion is that if we want peace without anxiety, we have to come to Krsna consciousness. There is no alternative. In order to attain peace, we must meditate on Krsna, and by meditating on Krsna, we can control the body. The first part of the body to control is the tongue, and the next part is the genital. When these are controlled, everything is controlled. The tongue is controlled by chanting and eating krsna-prasada. As soon as the tongue is controlled, the stomach is controlled, and next the genitals are controlled. Actually, controlling the body and mind is a very simple process. When the mind is fixed on Krsna and has no other engagement, it is automatically controlled. Activities should always be centered on working for Krsna--gardening, typing, cooking, cleaning, whatever. By

      engaging the body, mind, and activities in the service of Krsna, one attains the supreme nirvana, which abides in Krsna. Everything is in Krsna; therefore we cannot find peace outside Krsna conscious activities. The ultimate goal of yoga is thus clearly explained. Yoga is not meant for attaining any kind of material facility; it is to enable the cessation of all material existence. As long as we require some material facilities, we will get them. But these facilities will not solve the problems of life. I have traveled throughout the world, and it is my

      opinion that American boys and girls have the best material facilities, but does this mean that they have attained peace? Can anyone say, "Yes, I am completely peaceful"? If this is so, why are American youngsters so frustrated and confused? As long as we practice yoga in order to attain some material facility, there will be no question of peace. Yoga should only be practiced in order to understand Krsna. Yoga is meant for the reestablishment of our lost relationship with Krsna. Generally, one joins a yoga society in order to improve his health, to reduce fat. People in rich nations eat more, become fat, and then pay exorbitant prices to so-called yoga instructors in order to reduce. People try to reduce by all these artificial gymnastics; they do not understand that if they just eat vegetables or fruits and grains, they will never get fat. People get fat because they eat voraciously, because they eat meat. People who eat voraciously suffer from diabetes, overweight, heart attacks, etc., and those who eat insufficiently suffer from tuberculosis. Therefore moderation is required, and moderation in eating means that we eat only what is needed to keep body and soul together. If we eat more than we need or less, we will become diseased. All this is explained in the following verses:



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