top of page
_DSC4110 (1).jpg

What is Yoga?

What is yoga? Yoga is a Sanskrit word which means "to add two things together." There must be two things. For example if you want to add two bricks together, then cement, water and other substances are needed.

Similarly, yoga means to connect two persons: one is the Supreme Lord and the other is the unlimited souls. Because we have forgotten that Supreme Lord, we are greatly suffering. Sometimes we suffer as donkeys, asses, dogs, pigs and so on, and sometimes as demigods; we have passed through all the various species of life.

Sri Krishna is so merciful that, by His causeless mercy, He has now given us this human form. This human form is very temporary however; we do not know when we will die. We are all suffering because we think that we are this body. Actually, this body is a bag of urine, stool, blood and other unwanted things. Still we think we are this body, and we endeavour only to please this body – not the mind and soul.

The easiest way to meet with Krishna is through yoga. You should know that the soul is part and parcel of God – the eternal servant of God – but don't think in terms of worldly servants. The service of Krishna is very loving and beautiful. It is like the service of a friend, mother, father and son, or like the service of a lover towards his most beloved. Sri Krisina's servants are all very loving. Yoga is that process by which a soul can be with Krishna – this is actually the meaning of yoga.

What is taught as yoga in this world today – especially in China and Hong Kong, as well as in other countries – is the exercise of the body. If you will do these exercises for your whole life, or thousands of lives, still you will not be happy. You will have to get old, and one day you will have to give up this body.

We are discussing real yoga. Sri Krishna is the Supreme Lord and we are part and parcels of that Supreme Lord. By what process can we meet Him and join with Him? By cement? By mud? No. It is through love and affection.

By giving our love to Krishna, we can attain that perfect stage in which we will be happy forever. But what is that process? How can we have prema (pure love of God)?

ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-
śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā

Sri Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.1.11)

[Uttama-bhakti, or pure devotional service, is the cultivation of activities that are meant exclusively for the pleasure of Sri Krishna, or in other words the uninterrupted flow of service to Sri Krishna, performed through all endeavours of the body, mind and speech, and through the expression of various spiritual sentiments (bhavas), which is not covered by jnana (knowledge aimed at impersonal liberation) and karma (reward-seeking activity), and which is devoid of all desires other than the aspiration to bring happiness to Sri Krishna.]

This is the definition of uttama-bhakti (pure devotion). By this love and affection for the Supreme Lord, you can meet with Him and serve Him. In another scripture it written: "Paranuraktir isvare." Such deep and strong affection to Ishvara (the Supreme Controller) Sri Krishna is the only transcendental religion of the soul.

sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
ahaituky apratihatā
yayātmā suprasīdati

Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.6)

[The supreme occupation for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.] 

Spontaneous love and affection for the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna is the transcendental and eternal religion of the soul (parama-dharma). The teachings of present day religions are not truly dharma. If these religious teachings would indicate devotion to Sri Krishna (krishna-bhakti) then they would be dharma, but the adherents of all religions, such as Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, don't accept the transcendental form of the Supreme Lord. They say there are no qualities in Him.

What would be the use of accepting God if He has no mercy and no attributes, and if He is like zero? We should not accept such false ideas. Spontaneous service to Sri Krishna is parama-dharma.

There should be no selfishness. Whatever you do should be to please Krishna. You should think, "What I am going to do – will it please Krishna or not? Will it please my Gurudeva or not?" If your endeavour will please them, only then should you do it. We should strongly reject that which is unfavorable for bhakti. This is bhakti, and it begins from its smallest fraction, which is called shraddha (faith).

ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-
saṅgo 'tha bhajana-kriyā
tato 'nartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt
tato niṣṭhā rucis tataḥ

athāsaktis tato bhāvas
tataḥ premābhyudañcati
sādhakānām ayaṁ premṇaḥ
prādurbhāve bhavet kramaḥ

Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.4.15-16)

[In the beginning one must have a preliminary desire for self-realisation. This will bring one to the stage of trying to associate with persons who are spiritually elevated. In the next stage one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, and under his instruction the neophyte devotee begins the process of devotional service. By execution of devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes free from all material attachment, attains steadiness in self-realisation, and acquires a taste for hearing about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. This taste leads one further forward to attachment for Krishna consciousness, which is matured in bhava, or the preliminary stage of transcendental love of God. Real love for God is called prema, the highest perfectional stage of life.]

What is shraddha? It is the strong faith that, "If I perform krishna-bhakti, then the fulfilment of all other endeavours of my entire life have automatically been accomplished." You should know that shraddha is actually the tendency to serve Krsna (krishna-seva-vasana), and its outer symptom is very strong faith in the words of Krishna, scriptures and Guru. This is the real sraddha. How does shraddha come? It comes only by sadhu-sanga – being in the association of sadhus. But this refers to a real sadhu, not a so-called sadhu.

Sadhu-sanga first creates faith in the words of Krishna, Guru and Vaishnavas. After that, the sadhu will say that you must take initiation – harinama and diksha. Then the student selects a bona fide guru, and after that he learns the process of performing bhakti.

Bhakti is of two kinds: vaidhi-bhakti and raganuga-bhakti. Vaidhi-bhakti-prema (the development of love of God attained by worshiping Him in awe and reverence) will lead you to Vaikuntha-dhama (the abode of Sri Krishna in His opulent feature as Lord Narayana), and raganuga-bhakti will take you to Krishna-dhama. You are lucky to come in the line of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. One day you will be able to really achieve raganuga-bhakti, by reading Chaitanya-charitamrita, Srimad-Bhagavatam and the books of the Gosvamis.

Gurudeva will teach us sixty-four processes of bhakti. Of these, the first is to serve Gurudeva – to fulfill the desire of Gurudeva – and thus hear and follow the process strongly. Other processes are there, and of the sixty-four, nine are prominent:

śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ
smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam
arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ
sakhyam ātma-nivedanam

Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.5.23)

[Prahlada Maharaja said: 'Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Vishnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)-these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service.]

Of these nine processes, five are most prominent:

sādhu-saṅga, nāma-kīrtana, bhāgavata-śravaṇa
mathurā-vāsa, śrī-mūrtira śraddhāya sevana

Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila 22.128)

[One should associate with devotees, chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Srimad-Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura Mandala (which includes Vrindavana) and worship the Deity with faith and veneration.]

And of these five, three are most prominent: shravanam (hearing), kirtanam (chanting) and smaranam (remembering). Of these three, one is most prominent – kirtana of Krishna's name. If you chant and remember Sri Krishna's name, all things will come.

harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā

Chaitanya-charitamrita (Adi-lila 17.21)

[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.]

If you follow all of these processes, then all anarthas (unwanted habits) will go away. What are these anarthas? The first is nama-aparadha (offences to the holy name), of which there are ten kinds. Don't criticise any Vaishnava, don't beat them, don't be envious of them, don't disobey your Gurudeva, and do try to totally follow what he and other Vaishnavas teach us. At the time of chanting the holy name, don't sleep or be lazy. Chant, "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare." Chant your Gurudeva's diksha-mantra, and know the meaning of its eight or nine mantras. You should chant daily.

Hong Kong

July 2, 2006

bottom of page