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68- Mystic Yoga and Observing Vows
1. Isn't yoga an unbroken process?
Yoga is one, not two. Yoga is a particular path for spiritual cultivation. The first stage of yoga is desireless karma, or karma-yoga. When yoga is mixed with knowledge and renunciation, it becomes jhdna-yoga, which is the second stage. When jhdna is mixed with meditation on or remembrance of the Lord, it is called astdhga-yoga, which is the third stage. When yoga is mixed with love for the Supreme Lord, it becomes bhakti-yoga. The entire process, which consists of various stages, is called yoga.
(Commentary on Bhagavad-gita 6.47)
2. When are karma, jnana, and yoga capable of awarding secondary fruit?
If karma, jnana, and yoga and their respective processes do not aim at devotional service, they cannot award any kind of fruit to their followers. If devotional service to Krsna becomes the ultimate goal of these processes, then only can they award secondary fruits. (Caitanya-siksdmrta 1/6)
3. In which scriptures is hatha-yoga described?
Hatha-yoga is described in the Sdkta and Saiva Tantras, as well as scriptures written based on those Tantras, such as the Hatha-yoga dlpikd and the Yoga-cintdmani.
(Prema-pradlpa, Third Ray)
4. What is the difference between raja-yoga and hathayoga?
The yoga practiced by philosophers and Puranic scholars is called raja-yoga. Yoga prescribed by the tantric panditas is called hatha-yoga.
(Prema-pradlpa, Third Ray)
5. Why is the path of yoga fearful and the path of devotional service fearless?
Yama, niyama, dsana, pranayama, pratydhara, dhyana, dhdrand, and samddhi—these are all practices in astdhga-yoga. It is true that by these practices one may achieve peace, but sometimes in the process, one may be overwhelmed by lust and greed. Then instead of attaining peace, one may enjoy yogic opulence for some time before ultimately falling. However, when practicing devotional service to Lord Rrsna, there is no fear of attaining irrelevant fruits. Krsna's servants certainly attain peace.
(Prema-pradlpa, Second Ray)
6. What is the danger in practicing hatha-yoga?
If someone practices hatha-yoga he can do many wonderful things. We can believe this because we can see the results of our practice. However, by performing mudrds or other practices within the realm of hatha-yoga, so many powers are acquired that the practitioner cannot make further progress. (Prema-pradlpa, Third Ray)
7. What is the fate of a yoga practitioner who tries to separate his attachment for Vaikuntha from his life?
Thought and practices such as dhyana, pratydhara, and dhdrand are advised for those desiring to attain the end result of awakening one's spiritual attachment. Many people practice these. But they don't sufficiently discuss how to attain spiritual attachment. That is why yogis often become captivated by yogic opulence and ultimately fail to attain spiritual attachment. On the other hand, Vaisnava practices are superior.
You see, any sddhana is a particular type of activity. One may develop attachment to whatever activities he must perform in his life and then also endeavor to achieve the Absolute Truth. By working in this way, can such a person awaken spiritual attachment? If the sddhaka keeps his attempts to develop spiritual attachment as a separate activity in his life, he will be pulled by material attachment on one hand and spiritual consciousness on the other. (Prema-pradlpa, Fourth Ray)
8. What are the limbs of raja-yoga?
Samddhi is the main process oirdja-yoga. In order to attain samddhi, one first practices yama, then niyama, then dsana, pranayama, pratydhara, dhyana, and dhdrand. One must practice these processes. (Prema-pradlpa, Fifth Ray)
9. What does one experience when one attains samadhi by practicing raja-yoga?
When one attains samddhi by practicing raja-yoga, one realizes truth beyond material nature. In that state, one can taste unalloyed love. That subject cannot be described in words.
(Prema-pradlpa, Fifth Ray)
10. What process do ascetics follow? How many yoga processes are there?
Undergoing great distress, the ascetics desire to loosen the knots of their karma. Ascetics practice Vedic pancagnividya, nididhyasana, and yoga. The sdstras have proposed such yoga processes as astdnga-yoga, saranga-yoga, dattatreyl-yoga, and goraksandrthi-yoga. Other processes, such as the hatha-yoga mentioned in the Tantras and the raja-yoga propounded by Patanjali have been widely accepted in the world. (Caitanya-siksamrta Chapter 8)
11. What is the main difference between the paths of yoga and devotional service?
The main difference between yoga and devotional service is this: when practicing yoga strictly, and when one attains samddhi after giving up false designations, he attains his constitutional position. That is, he awakens prema. During the long process of giving up false designations, however, there is a danger that the sddhaka may become captivated by the insignificant byproducts of his practice and fall down before he attains the ultimate goal. On the other hand, those practicing devotional service discuss only prema. Devotional service is simply the cultivation of the science of love of God. When all activities are meant to cultivate the ultimate result, one need not fear useless results. Rather, the means are the end and the end is the means. (Prema-pradlpa, Second Ray)
12. What does one gain by achieving perfection in yoga practice?
The domination over material nature attained in yoga practice is only a temporary result. In that position, the ultimate result may be far off and time and again impediments will arise. On the path of yoga, there are hindrances at every step. First, while practicing yama and niyama, religiosity is awakened, and as a consequence of this insignificant result one becomes known as religious-minded, even though no attempt has been made to achieve prema. (Prema-pradlpa, Second Ray)
13. When do one's sensual endeavors diminish?
The path of devotional service is to cultivate love for the Absolute Truth. The more attachment for such cultivation of love increases, the more the endeavor of the senses diminishes.
(Prema-pradlpa, Second Ray)
14. What is the purpose of observing vows and fasting?
Bathing in the morning, circumambulation, and offering obeisances are exercises related to physical vows. Due to the imbalance of any of the bodily elements, one falls sick. In order to check such sickness, vows such as fasting on the tenth day of both the waning and waxing moon, and on the full moon, have been prescribed. It is good to either fast completely or to make changes in one's eating routine on those days while simultaneously engaging the mind in thoughts of the Supreme Lord with controlled senses. (Caitanya-siksamrta 2/2)
15. What is the point of observing the month-long vow?
The month-long vow consists of observing the twenty-four Ekadasis and the six appearance days that include Janmastami. Spiritual cultivation is the only purpose behind performing such a vow. (Caitanya-siksamrta 2/2)
16. What is the gradual procedure for attaining renunciation?
By observing the physical vows of Caturmasya and fasting on the full moon day and every tenth day of both the waning and waxing moon, one becomes habituated to practicing renunciation. First, one should gradually give up the desire to eat and sleep. Thereafter, one should give up the desire for all happiness and should practice renunciation by accepting only
that material enjoyment that is required to maintain body and soul together. When one does these things, he will have become proficient in renunciation. (Caitanya-siksamrta 2/2)