Self Image for a Yogi

How the correct idea of the self is critical for a Yogi

Self Image for a Yogi

Yoga is the prime purpose of human existence and self-image should be understood clearly by the yogi


We all live in a world which the scriptures reveal is largely an illusion. The hopes of happiness and the pangs of distress are both products of illusory impressions. In this scenario of powerful duality, the proper notion of the self is one of the most critical factors in realising Truth by spiritual advancement. Without realised understanding of our spiritual identity, we only foster the false self-image of the body that the illusory energy imposes.

When harbouring the false bodily identity, insecurity, anxiety and resultant fear and anger make us fretful and unstable. Maya, the illusory energy, creates a spectrum of deflating, self-deprecating thoughts that spawn disaster scenarios in the imagination leaving us tense and worried. We pensively contemplate the threats to the fulfillment of our desires and build resentment to the perceived obstacles. In this state of mind, our agitated dealings with people and the world around us compound our difficulties. The disturbed condition is unnatural for us and we end up dissatisfied  and unhappy with life.

The proper understanding of the self is the right platform for addressing all problems resulting from the bodily concept. The path of yoga is based on the spiritual understanding of the self as taught by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita where He reveals that the self and body are two separate entities. The self is a spiritual being who inhabits a body made of matter. This fundamental truth resolves the awkward situation of material life in which all mundane attempts of happiness are predestined for certain failure.

The tendency to seek happiness exists because it is a fundamental quality of spirit, but the distress persists because it is the fundamental nature of matter. The spirit soul existing within a material body is thus in an incompatible situation. It is much like a fish out of the water.  The whole work of Yoga is to extricate the soul from the precarious material condition and restore him to his natural state of spiritual blissfulness.


Yoga is a life of divine austerity. Tolerance of the material duality and gradual augmentation of the spiritual identity is the yogic process. This practice is, however constantly challenged by the material energy. Her contrivances of inducements and incitements creating a formidable duality are imposed on the soul through the material self-image. The yogi advances by a keenly developed spiritual perception guided by Vedic scripture and fortified by disciplined practice. Sincere practice attracts the mercy of Lord Krishna who enlightens and  supports the humble practitioner to remain steadily progressive amidst the compelling Mayic hallucinations.

Self Image for a Yogi

The yogi succeeds when he realises his spiritual nature of eternity, knowledge and bliss. The adverse material atmosphere never interrupts his spiritual state owing to his having transcended its effects. Therefore, transcendence of matter is a great achievement for the soul in material existence. But, this is virtually impossible because of the powerful nature of material illusion.


mama māyāduratyayā

māmeva ye prapadyante


“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.”



However, the impossible becomes not only possible but very much real by the grace of Lord Krishna.

māṁ ca yo ‘vyabhicāreṇa

bhakti-yogena sevate

sa guṇān samatītyaitān

brahma-bhūyāya kalpate

 “One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.”



Therefore, the real work of yoga is to attain the grace of Lord Krishna through earnestly observing the principles of Bhakti Yoga. These principles are simple and very pleasing to perform. In this age, Bhakti Yoga can be easily practiced by attentively chanting the great mantra of deliverance

hare kṛṣṇa, hare kṛṣṇa, kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa, hare hare

hare rāma, hare rāma, rāma rāma, hare hare

The same mantra, when sung in congregation, is a powerful means of awakening to our original spiritual nature.


To realise our spiritual identity is the purpose of the human form of body and if this body, beginning with the tongue is engaged in chanting,

hare kṛṣṇa, hare kṛṣṇa, kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa, hare hare

hare rāma, hare rāma, rāma rāma, hare hare

then, the perfection of life can be achieved.

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