Open for Everyone

Srila Prabhupada looking regal

My friend Padmapani Prabhu (the webmaster for Prabhupada Connect has been coming out with so many beautiful posts of late…we share another one with you here. Please visit his site if you get the chance.

“This Krishna consciousness movement is not something new, something that we have introduced or manufactured. It is authorized on the Vedic principles, authorized by acaryas like Caitanya Mahaprabhu and others. And the method is very simple; there is no loss. We are not charging anything, we are not asking for fees and giving the people some secret mantra and promising them that they will become God. No. This is open for everyone — children, women, girls, boys, old people — everyone can chant and see the results.” (Science of Self-Realization, Chapter 5)

Full Chapter

The Science of Self Realization
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter Five

Practicing Yoga in the Modern Age

The goals of modern-day Western yoga enthusiasts are dwarfed by the achievements of India’s ancient yogīs, who, according to historical accounts, could become smaller than atoms and lighter than air and who could travel, unaided, anywhere in the universe. Yet even these superachievements, says Śrīla Prabhupāda, are “only a step forward.” How the true pinnacle of human consciousness, superconsciousness, is obtainable—here and now—is disclosed by Śrīla Prabhupāda in the following talk given in 1967.

Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the highest yoga performance by trained devotional yogīs. The yoga system, as is stated in the standard yoga practice formula given by Lord Kṛṣṇa in the Bhagavad-gītā, and as recommended in the Patañjali yoga discipline, is different from the nowadays practiced haṭha-yoga as is generally understood in the Western countries.

Real yoga practice means to control the senses and, after such control is established, to concentrate the mind on the Nārāyaṇa form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Lord Kṛṣṇa is the original Absolute Personality, the Godhead, and all the other Viṣṇu forms—with four hands, decorated with conch, lotus, club, and wheel—are plenary expansions of Kṛṣṇa.

In the Bhagavad-gītā it is recommended that we should meditate upon the form of the Lord. For practicing concentration of the mind, one has to sit down in a secluded place sanctified by a sacred atmosphere, and the yogī should observe the rules and regulations of brahmacarya—to live a life of strict self-restraint and celibacy. No one can practice yoga in a congested city, living a life of extravagance, including unrestricted sex indulgence and adultery of the tongue.

We have already stated that yoga practice means controlling the senses, and the beginning of controlling the senses is to control the tongue. You cannot allow the tongue to take all kinds of forbidden food and drink, and at the same time improve in the practice of yoga. It is a very regrettable fact that many stray, unauthorized so-called yogīs now come to the West and exploit the leaning of the people toward yoga. Such unauthorized yogīs even dare to say publicly that one can indulge in drinking and at the same time practice meditation.

Five thousand years ago, in the Bhagavad-gītā dialogue, Lord Kṛṣṇa recommended the yoga practice to His disciple Arjuna, but Arjuna flatly expressed his inability to follow the stringent rules and regulations of yoga. One should be practical in every field of activity. One should not waste his valuable time simply in practicing some gymnastic feats in the name of yoga. Real yoga is to search out the four-handed Supersoul within one’s heart and to see Him perpetually in meditation. Such continued meditation is called samādhi. If, however, one wants to meditate upon something void or impersonal, it will require a very long time to achieve anything by yoga practice. We cannot concentrate our mind on something void or impersonal. Real yoga practice is to fix the mind on the person of the four-handed Nārāyaṇa who dwells in everyone’s heart.

Sometimes it is said that by meditation one will understand that God is seated within one’s heart always, even when one does not know it. God is seated within the heart of everyone. Not only is He seated in the heart of the human being, but He is also within the hearts of the cats and dogs. The Bhagavad-gītā certifies this with the declaration that Īśvara, the supreme controller of the world, is seated in the heart of everyone. He is present not only in everyone’s heart, but also within the atoms. No place is vacant; no place is without the presence of the Lord.

The feature of the Lord by which He is present everywhere is called the Paramātmā. Ātmā means the individual soul, and Paramātmā means the individual Supersoul. Both ātmā and Paramātmā are individual persons. The difference between them, however, is that the ātmā, or soul, is present only in one particular place, whereas the Paramātmā is present everywhere.

In this connection, the example of the sun is very nice. An individual person may be situated in one place, but the sun, even though a specific individual entity, is present over the head of every individual person. In the Bhagavad-gītā this is very nicely explained. Therefore, even though the qualities of all entities, including the Lord, are equal, the Supersoul is different from the individual soul by quantity of expansion. The Lord, or Supersoul, can expand Himself into millions of different forms, while the individual soul cannot do so.

The Supersoul, being seated in everyone’s heart, can witness everyone’s activities, past, present, and future. In the Upaniṣads the Supersoul is said to be sitting with the individual soul as a friend and witness. As a friend He is always anxious to get the individual soul back home, back to Godhead. As a witness, He is the endower of all benedictions that result from the individual’s actions. The Supersoul gives the individual soul all facility for achieving whatever he may desire. But He instructs His friend, so that he may ultimately give up all other engagements and simply surrender unto God for perpetual bliss and eternal life, full of knowledge. This is the last instruction of the Bhagavad-gītā, the most authorized and widely read book on all forms of yoga.

The last word of the Bhagavad-gītā, as stated above, is the last word in the matter of perfecting the yoga system. It is further stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that a person who is always absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the topmost yogī. What is this Kṛṣṇa consciousness?

Just as the individual soul is present by his consciousness throughout the whole body, so the Supersoul, or Paramātmā, is present throughout the whole creation by His superconsciousness. This superconsciousness cannot be imitated by the individual soul, who has limited awareness: I can understand what is going on within my limited body, but I cannot feel what is going on in another’s body. I am present all over my body by my consciousness, but I am not present in any other’s body by my consciousness. However, the Supersoul, or Paramātmā, being present within everyone, situated everywhere, is conscious of every existence. The theory that the soul and the Supersoul are one is not acceptable, because the individual soul’s consciousness cannot act in superconsciousness. This superconsciousness can only be achieved by dovetailing individual consciousness with the superconsciousness; and this dovetailing process is called surrender, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

From the teachings of the Bhagavad-gītā we learn very clearly that Arjuna in the beginning did not want to fight with his relatives, but after understanding the Bhagavad-gītā, when he dovetailed his consciousness with the superconsciousness of Kṛṣṇa, his consciousness was Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A person in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness acts by the dictation of Kṛṣṇa, and so Arjuna agreed to fight the Battle of Kurukṣetra.

In the beginning of Kṛṣṇa consciousness this dictation of the Lord is received through the transparent medium of the spiritual master. When one is sufficiently trained and acts with submissive faith and love for Kṛṣṇa, under the direction of the bona fide spiritual master, the dovetailing process becomes more firm and accurate. At this stage Kṛṣṇa dictates from within. From without, the devotee is helped by the spiritual master, the bona fide representative of Kṛṣṇa, and from within the Lord helps the devotee as caitya-guru, being seated within the heart of everyone.

Simply to understand that God is seated in everyone’s heart is not perfection. One has to be acquainted with God from within and without and thus act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is the highest perfectional stage for the human form of life, and the topmost stage in all yoga systems.

For a perfect yogī there are eight kinds of superachievements:

1. One can become smaller than an atom.

2. One can become bigger than a mountain.

3. One can become lighter than the air.

4. One can become heavier than any metal.

5. One can achieve any material effect he likes (create a planet, for example).

6. One can control others like the Lord can.

7. One can freely travel anywhere within (or beyond) the universe.

8. One can choose his own time and place of death, and take rebirth wherever he may desire.

But when one rises to the perfectional stage of receiving dictation from the Lord, one is above the stage of the material achievements above mentioned.

The breathing exercise of the yoga system that is generally practiced is just the beginning of the system. Meditation on the Supersoul is just a step forward. Achievement of wonderful material success is also only a step forward. But to attain direct contact with the Supersoul and to take dictation from Him is the highest perfectional stage.

The breathing exercises and meditational practices of yoga are very difficult in this age. They were difficult even five thousand years ago, or else Arjuna would not have rejected the proposal of Kṛṣṇa. This age of Kali is called a fallen age. At the present moment, people in general are short-living and very slow in understanding self-realization, or spiritual life. They are mostly unfortunate, and as such, if someone is a little bit interested in self-realization, he is misguided by so many frauds. The only actual way to realization of the perfect stage of yoga is to follow the principles of the Bhagavad-gītā as they were practiced by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. This is the simplest and highest perfection of yoga practice.

Lord Caitanya practically demonstrated Kṛṣṇa consciousness yoga simply by chanting the holy names of Kṛṣṇa, as they are mentioned in the Vedānta, the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and many important Purāṇas. The largest number of Indians follow this yoga practice, and in the United States and other countries also it is gradually growing in many cities. It is very easy and practical for this age, especially for those who are serious about success in yoga. No other process can be successful in this age.

The meditational process in right earnest was possible in the Golden Age, Satya-yuga, because the people at that time lived for a hundred thousand years on the average.

In the present age, however, if you want success in practical yoga, take to the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, and feel for yourself how you are making progress. One should know for himself how much he is progressing in yoga practice.

In the Bhagavad-gītā this practice of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is described as rāja-vidyā, the king of all erudition; rāja-guhyam, the most confidential system of spiritual realization; pavitram, the purest of all that is pure; susukham, very happily performed; and avyayam, inexhaustible.

Those who have taken to this most sublime bhakti-yoga system, this practice of devotional service in transcendental love of Kṛṣṇa, can testify to how they are nicely enjoying its happy and easy execution. Yoga means controlling the senses, and bhakti-yoga means purifying the senses. When the senses are purified, they are also, automatically, controlled. You cannot stop the activities of the senses by artificial means, but if you purify the senses, not only are they kept back from rubbish engagement, but also they become positively engaged in transcendental service to the Lord.

Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not manufactured by us through mental speculation. It is prescribed in the Bhagavad-gītā, which says that when we think in Kṛṣṇa, chant in Kṛṣṇa, live in Kṛṣṇa, eat in Kṛṣṇa, talk in Kṛṣṇa, hope in Kṛṣṇa, and sustain in Kṛṣṇa, we return to Kṛṣṇa, without any doubt. And this is the substance of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Text pasted from Causeless Mercy

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