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Title: Chapter 6 Dhyana Yoga
User: Bhushan Nityananda dasa Date: 2007-06-11 19:48:04
C H A P T E R S I X
Krishna: One who is unattached to the fruits of his work, Arjuna, and who works as he is obligated is a true yogi and sannyasi, not he who lights no fire and performs no duty.
Arjuna: He Vasudeva, I have heard that sannyasa means giving up work and being situated in knowledge, whereas yoga means fixing the mind on one point devoid of sense gratification. How is a sannyasi the same as a yogi?
Krishna: Sannyasa means giving up the fruits of activities and yoga means freeing one's mind from desires for sense gratification. Therefore, the words sannyasa and yoga mean the same thing.
Arjuna: Must the astanga yogi perform niskam karma as long as he lives, or is there a limit?
Krishna: For one who is a neophyte in the astanga-yoga system, niskam karma is said to be the means. And for one who is already elevated in yoga, cessation of all karma is said to be the means. A person is elevated in yoga when he has given up all attachment for the objects of the senses and the work to obtain them.
In order to do that, he must deliver himself with the help of his mind --- not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul and his enemy as well. For one who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends, but for one who has failed to do so, the mind will remain the greatest enemy. However, for one who has conquered the mind, the Supersoul is already reached and he has obtained tranquility. To such a person, happiness - distress, heat - cold, honour - dishonour, are all the same.
A person is established in self realisation and is called a yogi when he is fully satisfied by knowledge and realisation. Such a person is situated in transcendence and is self-controlled. He sees everything, whether it be pebbles, jewels, or gold, as the same. A person is still further advanced when he regards honest well-wishers, the envious, the neutral, saints and sinners all with an equal mind.
Arjuna: How does one begin to practice astanga-yoga, Krishna?
Krishna: A yogi should concentrate on the Supreme. He should live alone in a secluded place and carefully control his mind. He should be free from desires and feelings of posessiveness. To begin the practice, he should go to a sacred place, lay kusa grass on the ground and then cover it with a deerskin and a soft cloth. The seat should be neither too high nor too low. The yogi should then sit on it firmly and practice yoga to purify his heart by controlling his senses and fixing his mind on one point. He should hold his body, neck and head erect in a straight line and stare steadily at the tip of the nose. Thus, with a subdued mind, devoid of fear and completely free from sex desire, he should meditate upon Me within the heart and make Me the ultimate goal of life. After practicing constant control of the body and mind and for a long time, the mystic yogi attains to the kingdom of God.
Arjuna: Are there any more regulations for this practice?
Krishna: There is no possibility of one's becoming a yogi, Arjuna, if one eats too much or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough. One who is regulated in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing this yoga system. When the yogi disciplines his mental activities and becomes situated in tran-scendence, devoid of all material desires, he is said to be well establish-ed in yoga. Just as lamp in a windless place does not waver, so the yogi whose mind is controlled is always steady in his meditation on the tran-scendent self.
Arjuna: Please describe the perfection of this yoga, Krishna.
Krishna: In this stage of perfection called samadhi, one's mind is completely restrained from material activities. This perfection is characterised by one's ability to see the self by the pure mind and to relish and rejoice in the self. In that joyous state, one is situated in boundless, spiritual happiness, realised through spiritual senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth and upon gaining this, one thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, the yogi is never shaken, even in the midst of greatest difficulty. This is real freedom from all miseries arising from material contact.
Gradually, step by step, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence sustained by full conviction. The mind should be fixed on the self alone and should think of nothing else. When the mind wanders due to its flickering nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the self. One whose mind is fixed on Me will experience pleasure even before he has attained perfection. He is beyond the mode of passion and he realises his qualitative identity with the Supreme. Thus the self-controlled yogi becomes free from all material contamination and achieves the highest stage of happiness.
A true yogi observes Me in all beings and also sees every being in Me. Indeed, a self-realised person sees Me everywhere. For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to me. The yogi who engages in the worshipful service of the Supersoul, knowing that I and the Supersoul are one, remains always in Me in all circumstances. One in samadhi has equal vision, but the yogi should also practice feeling for others' welfare through his own experience of happiness and distress. He is the best yogi because he does not desire perfection in yoga for his personal benefit only but tries to benefit others as well.
Arjuna: He Madhusudhan, I cannot do this yoga that You're speaking of because the mind is restless and unsteady. You say I should empathise with the happiness and distress of living beings. I can empathise with friends and relatives, but not with those who are envious and criticise me. I cannot feel for both Yudhisthira and Duryodhana. And if You tell me to use discrimination, knowing that the Supersoul is in all beings, You should know that my mind is flickering and hard to control. It's impossible for me.
Krishna: What is the problem? Why do you find it so difficult to control the mind? The mind is the reins and the intelligence is the driver of the chariot of the body. Knowing this, you should control the mind with the intelligence. So what is the problem, Arjuna?
Arjuna: But the mind is restless. It churns and agitates the intelligence. It wishes to control. Rather than controlling the mind, the intelligence becomes its servant because the mind is so powerful. Just like when a man is ill, you give him medicine and the medicine fights the disease and cures him. But if the disease is strong, it doesn't care for the medicine. O Krishna, how can I control the mind?
Krishna: You are Mahabaho. You have powerful arms and have conquered many enemies in battle and even satisfied Lord Siva. But that is not so great. If you can conquer the mind, the crest-jewel of all warriors, using the weapon of yoga, then, then I will call you Mahabaho. But don't worry. You are the son of Kunti, my aunt, and I will help you. Do not become discouraged. There is no doubt what you say is correct...still... one should practice keeping one's mind on the pleasure of the spiritual platform and also on the defects of sense gratification. Practicing like this, and being aloof from sense objects, one will be able to control the mind. Even when the disease is advanced, if one takes proper medicine again and again, under the care of a qualified doctor, one will be cured. Similarly, by practicing giving up the desire for sense gratification, one will be able to catch the mind and keep it in one's fist. You are Mahabaho, so control the mind with your great power, Arjuna. If a person does not develop practice and detachment, it is impossible to control the mind.
Arjuna: You've said that one who is practicing renunciation, endeavouring properly, gets yoga. But what is the situation of one who endeavours half-heartedly? He has faith in the process and he practices, but not hard enough. He is not a cheater, but he is casual. And due to a lack of renunciation, his mind becomes deviated after a short time. He is one step above the beginner and then he leaves his body. What is his destination? He has already given up his niskam karma --- so he doesn't go to heaven ---and he's given up his yoga, so he'll not get liberation. Does he become lost and perish like a riven cloud with no position in any sphere? This is my doubt, O Krishna. Please dispel it completely. Other than You, no one else can destroy this doubt.
Krishna: O tata, such a person never meets with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world, nor is anything ever lost. He gets both his spiritual and material benefits in due course of time. When one starts on any auspicious path, My friend, he is never overcome by evil. His destination depends on what kind of desire he had when he deviated. That desire will carry him. And with the potency of his yoga, he will achieve his desire. He goes to the pious planets and stays there until his desire becomes satisfied. Then he develops distaste for sense gratification and takes birth in a religious family or in an aristocratic family. There he will be qualified to again practice yoga. This occurs by the potency of his previous nature. So if one has not practiced strongly, he will get a heavenly result. This is the destination of someone who is not very advanced in yoga.
However, a more advanced yogi who falls after a longer time of practice takes birth in a family of transcendentalists who are great in wisdom. Such a birth is rare in this world. After such a birth he revives the divine consciousness of his previous life and again endeavours for per-fection. Due to his previous practice his mind is automatically attracted to yoga. Since his fault was that he was casual, he now tries very hard and puts all of his energy into his practice. This is the difference between this person now and in his last life. He then becomes purified from all contaminations and comes to the platform of liberation.
Thus the yogi is greater than the tapasvi who performs fasts and austerities. He is greater than the jnani who meditates on the impersonal feature of the Supreme. And he is greater than the karmi who works with material desires. Therefore, Arjuna, in all circumstances, be a yogi. And of all yogis, the one who always abides in Me with great faith by con-stantly thinking of Me, and who renders pure loving service to Me, is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. That is My opinion.