Fix Your Mind Upon the Personality of Godhead

In our previous post Om, Oṁkāra, or the Praṇava, is the Seed of Transcendental Realization Oṁkāra, or the praṇava, which is the seed of transcendental realization, and it is composed of the three transcendental letters a-u-m, was discussed. By its chanting by the mind, in conjunction with the breathing process, was a means of changing the habit of the mind, to bring the mind under control. But in this next verse, Śukadeva Gosvāmī recommends the next step in God Realization, namely to fix one’s mind in the service of the Personality of Godhead.

Gradually, as the mind becomes progressively spiritualized, withdraw it from sense activities, and by intelligence the senses will be controlled. The mind too absorbed in material activities can be engaged in the service of the Personality of Godhead and become fixed in full transcendental consciousness.

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 2, Chapter 1, Text 18

The First Step in God Realization

niyacched viṣayebhyo ‘kṣān
manasā buddhi-sārathiḥ
manaḥ karmabhir ākṣiptaṁ
śubhārthe dhārayed dhiyā

niyacchet—withdraw; viṣayebhyaḥ—from sense engagements; akṣān—the senses; manasā—by dint of the mind; buddhi—intelligence; sārathiḥ—driver; manaḥ—the mind; karmabhiḥ—by the fruitive work; ākṣiptam—being absorbed in; śubha-arthe—for the sake of the Lord; dhārayet—hold up; dhiyā—in full consciousness.

Gradually, as the mind becomes progressively spiritualized, withdraw it from sense activities, and by intelligence the senses will be controlled. The mind too absorbed in material activities can be engaged in the service of the Personality of Godhead and become fixed in full transcendental consciousness.

Purport
The first process of spiritualizing the mind by mechanical chanting of the praṇava (oṁkāra) and by control of the breathing system is technically called the mystic or yogic process of prāṇāyāma, or fully controlling the breathing air. The ultimate state of this prāṇāyāma system is to be fixed in trance, technically called samādhi. But experience has proven that even the samādhi stage also fails to control the materially absorbed mind. For example, the great mystic Viśvāmitra Muni, even in the stage of samadhi, became a victim of the senses and cohabited with Menakā. History has already recorded this. The mind, although ceasing to think of sensual activities at present, remembers past sensual activities from the subconscious status and thus disturbs one from cent percent engagement in self-realization. Therefore, Śukadeva Gosvāmī recommends the next step of assured policy, namely to fix one’s mind in the service of the Personality of Godhead. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, also recommends this direct process in the Bhagavad-gītā 6.47 (posted below). Thus, the mind being spiritually cleansed, one should at once engage himself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord by the different devotional activities of hearing, chanting, etc. If performed under proper guidance, that is the surest path of progress, even for the disturbed mind.

Also…

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 6, Text 47

yoginām api sarveṣāṁ
mad-gatenāntar-ātmanā
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.

Purport
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:

ya eṣāṁ puruṣaṁ sākṣād ātma-prabhavam īśvaram
na bhajanty avajānanti sthānād bhraṣṭā patanty adhaḥ.

“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:

yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau.
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ prakāśante mahātmanaḥ.

“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.

Text pasted from; Prabhupada Books

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