Practicing Yoga In The Present Age

Today many people are interested in Yoga. To most, yoga is a form of exercise or some sitting postures for keeping the body fit. The real purpose of Yoga, however, is to connect the minute soul to the Supersoul.

Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the ultimate object of yoga. Hence one of Kṛṣṇa’s names is yogeśvara, the master of yoga.

In India, those who are serious about practicing yoga go to a secluded place in the Himalayas where in solitude, they follow a very restrictive process for eating and sleeping. Their strict rules and regulations include brahmacharya or celibacy.

Scriptures say, yoga indriya-saṁyama, which means that yoga is controlling the senses. If one indulges his senses unrestrictedly but makes a show of practicing yoga, he will never be successful.

Scriptures predict that in this age called Kali Yuga, man’s duration of life, his energy levels, his mercy and his intelligence would be greatly diminished. People in this age would be always disturbed, and almost completely ignorant of spiritual science.

The Vedānta-sūtra says, “This human form of life is meant for searching out the spirit, the Absolute Truth.” The yoga system is meant for searching out the spiritual principles within this material world. This quest is recommended in the Bhagavad-gītā by Kṛṣṇa Himself. When Arjuna said, “The system You are recommending, the haṭha-yoga system, is not possible for me,” Kṛṣṇa assured him that he was the greatest of all yogīs. He pacified him by saying not to bother about being unable to practice haṭha-yoga. He told him, “Of all different types of yogīs—haṭha-yogīs, jñāna-yogīs, dhyāna-yogīs, bhakta-yogīs, karma-yogīs—you are the best yogī.” Kṛṣṇa says, “Of all yogīs, the one who is constantly thinking of Me within himself, meditating upon Me within the heart, is the first-class yogī.”

Who can think of Kṛṣṇa always within himself?. That is described in the Brahma-saṁhitā. One who has developed the love of God, Kṛṣṇa, can think of Him constantly for thinking of the beloved is quite natural for anyone.

This is the perfect system. Anyone who is thinking of Kṛṣṇa always within himself is a first-class yogī. If one wants perfection in yoga, one should not be satisfied only by practicing codes but the perfection of yoga is reached when one attains samādhi or always thinking of the Viṣṇu form of the Lord within one’s heart, without being disturbed. To achieve this status yogīs go to a secluded place, and by controlling all the senses and the mind and concentrating everything on the form of Viṣṇu, they reach samādhi. That is called perfection of yoga. Actually, this yoga system is extremely difficult. A rare solitary man may succeed, but for the general mass of people, it is not recommended in the scriptures.

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

“In this age of Kali one must chant the holy names of the Lord for deliverance. There is no other alternative. There is no other alternative. There is no other alternative.” (Bṛhan-Nāradīya Purāṇa)

The yoga system, as it was recommended in the Satya-yuga, the Golden Age, was to always meditate on Viṣṇu. In the Tretā-yuga one could practice yoga by performing great sacrifices, and in the next age, Dvāpara-yuga, one could achieve perfection by temple worship. The present age is called Kali-yuga. Kali-yuga means the age of quarrel and disagreement. No one agrees with anyone else. Everyone has his own theory; everyone has his own philosophy. The only method recommended in this age is chanting the holy name. Simply by chanting the holy name of God, one can attain that perfect self-realization which was attained by the yoga system in the Satya-yuga, by the performance of great sacrifices in the Tretā-yuga, and by large-scale temple worship in the Dvāpara-yuga.

The Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra is

Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare
Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare

By merely chanting this mahā-mantra daily one can attain the perfection of yoga in his/her life.

Adapted from “Krishna Consciousness, The Topmost Yoga System” by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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