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The Yoga Ladder
33) One who wishes to climb a ladder must of course begin from the bottom rung. Let us begin with the basic lessons of Krishna consciousness: cause and effect, dovetailing work in the service of God, and the progressive stages of yoga to bhakti.
34) There are three types of work, namely: (1) that which is sinful and produces suffering (vikarma), (2) that which produces a so-called favorable material reward and does not violate the scriptures (karma), and (3) that which produces neither auspicious nor inauspicious material reactions (akarma).
35) Work performed with a view to please the Personality of Godhead is called karma yoga. The actual goal of yoga is to link with the Supreme Lord in a loving spirit and this is called bhakti-yoga. "From the beginning of karma-yoga to the end of bhakti-yoga is a long way in self-realization," says Prabhupada. Yoga actually means bhakti-yoga, for the scriptures conclude that the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna is only realized through love and devotion (BG 11.54). All other forms of yoga are actually points along the path to bhakti; it is not true that "there are many different paths." There are but different points along thp same nath
36) When karma-yoga increases in knowledge and renunciation, the stage is called jnana-yoga, or knowledge of the spiritual brahman effulgence. When jnana-yoga increases in meditation on the Supersoul by different physical processes, and the mind is on God, it is called ashtanga-yoga. The ashtanga yogi observes rigorous discipline and thereby trains the mind to meditate upon the paramatma feature of Lord Vishnu within his heart. When one comes to the point of loving Krishna and desires to express his love through constant devotional activity and chanting His holy name, that is called bhakti-yoga, the culmination.
(37) Once some townspeople heard that a great rishi had arrived to preach. Four of those who went to meet the holy man were, (1) a prince, (2) a brahmachary or celibate student, (3) a saintly person, and (4) a butcher. The rishi blessed the prince by saying, "May you have a long life." He blessed the brahmachary with the words, "May you die immediately." The saintly man was blessed with the words, "Live long or die at any moment, it does not matter." But to the butcher he said, "Don't live at all; but don't die, either." The people were surprised at this strangely conflicting array of benedictions. They knew that sages often blessed with the words "May you live long." But the other blessings were downright unusual!
Seeing their confusion, the rishi explained, "This prince has achieved his royal position due to the auspicious karma of a previous birth. Now that he has obtained his elevated post, he has become arrogant and sinful. As his next life is sure to be hellish, it is better for him to enjoy here and now, and for as long as possible. On the other hand, the brahmachary is performing penances and Krishna meditation so that he can be promoted to the Spiritual Sky. As he has not completely rid himself of lust, he is better off relinquishing his physical frame immediately while meditating on the name of the Lord. That way he is sure to realize his desire of going back to Godhead. But if he lives Ion? well there are temptations, and who can say what will happen. As far as the saintly fellow is concerned, it does not matter if he lives or dies. He is fully engaged in bhakti-yoga. As a faithful servant of the Lord, he experiences the bliss of Krishna consciousness wherever he is. So let him live or die it does not matter. As for the butcher, he is a killer of innocent creatures. So his life is worse than death. But when he dies, he will have to enter Raurava, the most hellish planet in the universe and remain suffering there for what will seem to be an eternity. His life in hell will be worse than a life worse than death. So I have blessed him to neither live not die." The villagers all returned home pleased to have heard the truth from a real sage.
38) Narada Muni has said, "O good soul, does not a thing applied therapeutically, cure a disease which was caused by that very same thing?" (SB 1.5.33)
39) A man once developed an illness in his bowels through drinking milk. Later, his doctor cured him by giving him milk in another form, yogurt. Similarly, by our body-oriented activities we have become entangled in material nature, an indication of the "soul's disease." The same activities that have entangled us may also be dovetailed in the Loid's service and can thereby be our cure from "material sickness." When this process of working in Krishna consciousness is perfected in thought, word, and deed, then pure devotion is achieved. A pure devotee is already liberated, even here and now, and he needs never fear samsara, the cycle of birth and death. Krishna consciousness is the true goal of yoga.
as in the chemist's shop window there are bottles of colored water resembling medicines, so the yogis of the West are
generally not real, but imitations of the great yogis in the
Himalayas. They are mostly a circus act of show-bottle yogis.
41) The meditation process recommended by the so-called swamis from the posh rugs of their uptown hotel rooms has actually been obsolete for literally millions of years. During Satya Yuga, a time when men lived 100,000 years, they could easily spend 10,000 years or more in meditation. They were called hamsas, or swan-like men, and spiritual development came naturally for them.
42) Arjuna said to Krishna, "The ashtanga system of yoga which you have summarized appears impractical and unendurable to me, for the mind is restless and unsteady." (BG 6.33) If this was true for the great Arjuna, son of Indra, how much more true is it for a man of today?
43) One who needs water from beneath the earth's surface must dig for it. Similarly, he who desires to quench his spiritual thirst must render satisfying service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead.