Arjuna could not practice Meditational Yoga, hatha or astanga-yoga.


Yoga Bhagavad Gita As It Is -- Krishna speaks to Arjuna

Published on March 23rd, 2013 | by Madhudvisa dasa | Full size image

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Arjuna could not practice Meditational Yoga

Bhagavad Gita As It Is -- Krishna speaks to ArjunaOver the past few weeks we have been discussing the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita where Krishna instructs His friend and disciple, Arjuna, on the process of meditational yoga. Krishna has outlined the practice of yoga as sitting in the lotus position and meditating with half-closed eyes and He has explained that to do this one has to go to a solitary sacred place like on the bank of the Ganges River or the Himalayan mountains for example. It is not that one can stay home and practice yoga. No. One has to leave home and live in a solitary and sacred place. And then there are so many rules and regulations regarding the sitting place and many other details. After hearing all of this Arjuna was feeling dejected and he tells Krishna that this yoga system is impossible for him to follow.

Arjuna said: O Madhusudana, the system of yoga which You have summarized appears impractical and unendurable to me, for the mind is restless and unsteady. The mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krishna, and to subdue it is, it seems to me, more difficult than controlling the wind. (Bhagavad-gita 6.33-34)

The system of yoga described by Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita is here being rejected by Arjuna out of a feeling of inability. It is not possible for an ordinary man to leave home and go to a secluded place in the mountains or jungles to practice yoga in this age of Kali. The present age is characterized by a bitter struggle for a life of short duration. People are not serious about self-realization even by simple, practical means, and what to speak of this difficult yoga system, which regulates the mode of living, the manner of sitting, selection of place, and detachment of the mind from material engagements.

As a practical man, Arjuna thought it was impossible to follow this system of yoga, even though he was favorably endowed in many ways. He belonged to the royal family and was highly elevated in terms of numerous qualities; he was a great warrior, he had great longevity, and, above all, he was the most intimate friend of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Five thousand years ago, Arjuna had much better facilities than we do now, yet he refused to accept this system of yoga. In fact, we do not find any record in history of his practicing it at any time. Therefore this system must be considered generally impossible in this age of Kali. Of course it may be possible for some very few, rare men, but for the people in general it is an impossible proposal. If this were so five thousand years ago, then what of the present day? Those who are imitating this yoga system in different so-called schools and societies, although complacent, are certainly wasting their time. They are completely in ignorance of the desired goal.

The mind is so strong and obstinate that it sometimes overcomes the intelligence, although mind is supposed to be subservient to the intelligence. For a man in the practical world who has to fight so many opposing elements, it is certainly very difficult to control the mind. Artificially, one may establish a mental equilibrium toward both friend and enemy, but ultimately no worldly man can do so, for this is more difficult than controlling the raging wind. In the Vedic literatures it is said:

“The individual is the passenger in the car of the material body, and intelligence is the driver. Mind is the driving instrument, and the senses are the horses. The self is thus the enjoyer or sufferer in the association of the mind and senses. So it is understood by great thinkers.”

Intelligence is supposed to direct the mind, but the mind is so strong and obstinate that it often overcomes even one’s own intelligence. Such a strong mind is supposed to be controlled by the practice of yoga, but such practice is never practical for a worldly person like Arjuna. And what can we say of modern man? The simile used here is appropriate: one cannot capture the blowing wind. And it is even more difficult to capture the turbulent mind. The easiest way to control the mind, as suggested by Lord Caitanya, is chanting “Hare Krishna,” the great mantra for deliverance, in all humility. The method prescribed is one must engage one’s mind fully in Krishna. Only then will there remain no other engagements to agitate the mind.

So we can understand from Arjuna’s inability to follow Krishna’s outline of the meditational system of yoga that such a process is not practical for us now. Arjuna was so much more qualified than we are, he was a great leader five thousand years ago and he was Krishna’s personal friend. If Arjuna could not practice meditational yoga in such favorable circumstances then we should understand that it is not possible for us as Kali-yuga has now advanced greatly making it even more difficult to practice meditational yoga now.

Fortunately Lord Krishna is very merciful upon us. He knows that we are so fallen and have practically no ability to follow any religious principles in this Kali-yuga so He appeared five hundred years ago in West Bengal as Lord Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu to spread the yuga-dharma, the religion of the age, the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

As we will find out in future Bhagavad-gita verses, even though he was unable to practice the meditational system of yoga, Krishna considered that Arjuna was the best yogi. And Arjuna was the best yogi because the purpose of yoga is to concentrate the mind upon Krishna, and as Krishna’s friend Arjuna was always thinking of Krishna, always serving Krishna. So he was the best yogi.

For this age of Kali Krishna consciousness, centered around the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, is the only practical form of yoga. It is very easy to perform and does not cost anything and the results are very great….

Therefore… chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

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24 Responses to Arjuna could not practice Meditational Yoga

  1. Charu Bhatt says:

    Hare Krishna Madhudvisa dasa,

    Getting your wonderful and most simplified explanation
    of shloka. Thanks for sharing such thoughts with this world.

    I do appreciate your efforts in helping others coming closer to
    Krishna.

    Hari Bol.

  2. manish kumar says:

    Hare krishna,
    I want to know that sometimes when I in sleep I cant control over my dreams and sperm comes automatically even at that moment I try to say gurumantra. Can you suggest what can I do regarding this?

    • Hare Krishna Manish

      You can not control your dreams so this may happen sometimes. But you can control your waking time so make sure you do actually chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra every day and strictly follow the four regulative principles including no illicit sex. That is under your control.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  3. vanshika says:

    Hare Krishna prabhu ji
    all glories to srila prabhupad
    all glories to lord Sri Krishna ji
    respecting you always
    nice artical and explanations as always! .
    hare Krishna

  4. mayank naugaien says:

    very nice article prabhu keep it up

  5. Sudhakar Kapoor says:

    Hare Krshna Prabhuji, I feel very strongly that i am moving in the right direction ,but the real deal in my case is that i am born an brought up in a family where material suceess and material achievements are most imp.whereas i want to just be very very happy with what i have. this conflict is very depresssing. I am hindu and know lord krshna from childhood , but now realised the real message from the lord.
    hare krshna

    • It is not just your family who are very materialistic. That is the nature of the Kali-yuga. Everyone is working very hard for material success which never comes and in this way they are causing themselves so much suffering. The answer is to chant Hare Krishna and be happy! Forget these materialistic people and go on in your own way advancing in Krishna consciousness.

  6. shailab says:

    my mind is really……. really out of its track. donn know but it never comes
    on the right track perfectly . m a student and i failed in all my exams whatever it was . but still i want to become an engineer….but ive became so much afraid
    of the books that …i..cant even hold the books.i always beg infront of krishna to give me will and always try to break these shackles but temperorily .i cant even understand the thoughts of thoughts of my elders or any sucessful people. i always feel suicidal like nothing is going my way .or should i leave my studies caz m not made for it… m only 19 and i feel like i ve been here for centuries and just waiting for my end to come . i have 0% or negative confidence in myself and even think that why i desired something …i feel like as if desire are not meant for people like me…why i dreamt about all those thing .should i leave this life ..or what should i do for even living here . m a failure in every means my last hope is with god can re-energise my mind can u make me influence parmanently i donn wnt temperory effect at all caz i ve tried too many things but none controlled my mind at all . i .. m starving to peace and self belief.ultimately if u cant help me to the cause i ve finally decided to quit at all.

    • Hare Krishna Shailab

      You know now, particularly in India, every young boy is expected to go to University and study and become a doctor or an engineer or something like that and earn a lot of money… But not everyone can do that. Not everyone is suited to that. So if you are not suited to it then that is no fault on your part. There are plenty of people who are not made for this sort of thing. So do not worry about it. You have tried your best and have not been successful at that. No one can blame you for that.

      We are all meant for serving Krishna, that is our purpose. And Krishna has given us all particular skills and abilities that we can use to serve Him. And that is the proper use of our energy, to engage it in serving Krishna.

      You can not solve anything by trying to end your life. The life we have at the moment we have got because of our past karma, the activities we did in this life and in previous lives. We are eternal, we are the spirit soul within the body, so we can never be killed. You may be able to kill the material body but that will not solve any of your problems, it will only make the problems worse. You will not be dead, you, the spirit soul, will still be living, and you will be in much worse trouble because we have been given these bodies by Krishna to use for serving Him, actually the bodies belong to Krishna, not to us, so we have no right to kill the body, it is a great sin, and if we do kill the body, firstly we, the spirit soul, will not die, and then we will be punished very severely for the sin of killing our material body…

      So you have to become Krishna conscious. That is the solution you are looking for. The way you will be able to see thinks clearly is to purify your consciousness by chanting Hare Krishna. That is the only way. And then when your consciousness is purified you will be able to understand what you should be doing.

      So now your most important business is to become Krishna conscious. So start chanting the Hare Krishna mantra at least 16 rounds a day and strictly follow the four regulative principles: no illicit sex, no meat eating, no gambling and no intoxication, and read Srila Prabhupada’s books at least 1-2 hours a day. And after you have been doing this for some time you will see that your life is becoming much better and you will feel much better and be able to clearly plan out what you want to do in your life.

      So please just seriously start chanting Hare Krishna and I guarantee that quite soon things will become much clearer for you.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  7. spencer says:

    Dear Madhudvisa

    Hare Krishna

    You have not got back to me as regarding my last comment, Thats alright, please believe me, every thing I say is true, I feel privilaged to have been the only one to have witnessed it, absolutley amazing, there is higher intelligent life on higher planets. Hare Krishna.

    Now, that aside, I would like some advice from you, Im sorry to say That I have an almost pathelogical hatred of islam, which I see as a virilent form of Communism, I live in a area with a high population of these people, I confront them on my good days with interlectual debate, but on my bad days I feel very quite violent to them, can you point me to verse in the Gita that can interlectualy take away my anger. There’s no need to comment on my first part but I would like some advice as regarding the latter

    Hare Krishna

    Spencer

    • Hare Krishna Spencer

      You have to become Krishna conscious and then you will see that every living entity is a spirit soul. You will no longer see the bodies, but you will see everyone and love everyone as a spirit soul, and eternal servant of Krishna.

      You have to be tolerant of others. Everyone is at a different level of spiritual life and we have to act in such a way as to encourage everyone.

      So we have to first realize that we are not these bodies, that we are eternal servants of Krishna, and we have to engage in devotional service. And then when we are somewhat fixed in Krishna consciousness we will have the potency to convince others also that they are spirit souls, eternal servants of Krishna.

      There is no point in ‘preaching’ to someone who does not want to listen to you. So really we have no business associating with the Muslims unless they happen to be interested in hearing from us. And there are many Muslims also who are interested in philosophy. And of course many Muslims have become devotees over the years, and I don’t think any devotees have become Muslims… So the potency is of course there in Krishna consciousness.

      But the main point we have to concentrate on is becoming Krishna conscious ourselves. If we become Krishna conscious ourselves then automatically all our relationships with others will become nice. So you need to make sure you are chanting at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra every day, that you are strictly following the four regulative principles: no illicit sex, no meat eating, no gambling and no intoxication and that you are reading Srila Prabhupada’s books at least 1-2 hours a day. Without following these principles and chanting at least 16 rounds a day we have not even started on the path of Krishna consciousness. This is the beginning. So we have to begin, and then we have to become fixed up in following the principles and chanting our rounds and reading Prabhupada’s books and serving Srila Prabhupada and Krishna. And as I said before this becoming Krishna consciousness will automatically solve all our problems.

      So we should not be finding problems with other people. Of course there are unlimited problems to find with every materialist, so what is the point of worrying about all these problems. Unless one is a devotee he is a demon, so what is the point of saying that “there are so many problems with the demons…” Of course… That is the nature of the materialists… There is a saying “The dogs may bark but the caravan will pass.” So we have to go on with our Krishna conscious activities no matter what protests and opposition others may make. And this practice of Krishna consciousness, sankirtan, is the cure for all the ills of Kali-Yuga. It will help everyone.

      So chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

      • spencer says:

        Dear madhudvis

        Hare Krishna

        Thank you for your principled direction, I will print it and keep a copy of it.

        Hare Krishna

        Spencer

  8. Nora Bakovich says:

    Hare Krishna Madhudvisa dasa!

    Then, you mean us ti quit the practice of Meditation at all?
    I chant the marvelous Maha Mantra Hare Krisna, but I usde to meditate too.
    Is compeltede unuseful to meditate in that Age of Kali?
    Thanks Very Much for you presence!

    Hare Krishna!!!
    Nora

    • Hare Krishna Nora

      Yes. The only form of meditation that is practical in this age of Kali is the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Other so-called systems of meditation that people do are simply a mockery. They have almost nothing to do with the actual system of meditation as it is taught by Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita or even the sage Patanjali. That sort of meditation where you sit in the lotus position and half-close your eyes, etc, can not be done in the association of other people, it can not be done in a city, one has to go to a sacred and secluded place like the Himalayan mountains or the banks of the Ganges river, then there are so many prerequisites and regulations that one must follow, then to succeed in this process takes a very long time. It may take 10,000 years or 60,000 years. But we do not live that long and we can not follow the process strictly. So it is not at all possible for us to really follow that meditational yoga system in Kali-yuga.

      So the best thing is forget about that so-called meditation and don’t waste your time with it. You will not get any spiritual benefit from it. When you have time spend that time chanting:

      Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
      Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

      and read Srila Prabhupada’s books. That will be very good for you and you will get so much spiritual benefit from these activities.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  9. Devang says:

    Hare Krishna Prabhuji,

    What a wonderful article. Thank you.

    I was always thinking of finding a shortcut as practicing the yoga as described is almost impossible. Just surprised in the ways and forms Krishna helps you when you are sincere in your practice.

    You know Krishna says you take one step and I will take 100 steps towards you.

    Hari Bol

    Hare Krishna.

  10. felisima says:

    I like it very much ,but evry time I chant hare krishna .is like i bean punich ,
    and day sand tings for me to pay ,the last time i dit ,and day sent to me e later ,i say that i have to pay 5000 euro .i so i don even hav enouf food ani more ,

    • Just keep chanting Hare Krishna, and tolerate the ‘punches’. It is like that. Maya tries very hard to discourage us from chanting Hare Krishna in so many ways. We just have to ignore all these ‘punches’ of maya and keep chanting Hare Krishna…

  11. Ambrose says:

    Hare Krishna ,Madhudvisa dasa,
    I love practicing different religion and I would want to know if chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra would lead to transcendent worshiping of the Supreme personality of the Godhead. How often should I chant it and also could it help me spiritually? Thanks for you letter.

    • Hare Krishna Ambrose

      Krishna consciousness is not a ‘different religion’. It is not a religion as you know it from other religions. A religion is something you can change. You can be a Christian and then you can change to a Hindu and then you can change to a Muslim. Krishna consciousness is not like that. Krishna consciousness can not be changed. Krishna consciousness is everyone’s eternal occupation.

      So Krishna consciousness is inseparable from us all as living entities. It is an integral part of the definition of who and what we are. It is like water is wet, you can not take the wetness from water, fire is hot, you can not take the heat away from the fire. So as living entities we all have an eternal occupation. And if you study what every person is doing you will find that everyone is serving someone else. At home the parents are serving the children and the children are serving the parents, at work the staff are serving the customers and serving their bosses. And the bosses also have some master they have to serve.

      Even on a personal level we have to serve our bodies. Our bodies require food so we have to work [serve] to get the food we need to supply to our body. So no matter who you study you will find they are all serving someone. And this does not change. It is not that if you change from being a Christian to a Hindu your service stops, no, the service will go on. It does not change.

      So it is this nature of being a servant that is the occupation of the living entity. There are, however, two types of service, one is eternal and the other is not. It is the non-eternal type of service we are engaged in here in the material world, serving our families, our employers, the customers, etc; but this non-eternal service does not provide us with any happiness. It is not our eternal occupation. But we are eternally servants, we are eternally servants of God, Krishna.

      So what Krishna consciousness is is to reawaken this dormant eternal occupation of serving Krishna that is there within all of our hearts. And yes, the way to reawaken your original Krishna consciousness is by chanting Hare Krishna:

      Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
      Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

      And you need to do it at least 16 rounds a day. One round is chanting the mantra 108 times and you do this sixteen times and you have chanted 16 rounds.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  12. virender says:

    Is this material (explaination of Krishna Arjuna Samvad)available in Hindi also? Please let me know

  13. Vickey Panday says:

    Hare Krishna ,Madhudvisa dasa,

    I just want to say that you are doing a sterling job ,by helping and enlighting us through the source of technology . Once again may lord Krishna give you the strength and knowledge to continue on this educational path for us.Your mail are extremely enlighting and digesting to me. Thank you , the more I read your publication , the more I realize how less I knew.keep it coming.

    Hair Bol

  14. ALOK SHARMA says:

    HARE KRISHNA,

    DEAR MADHUVISA DASA JI.

    I am devotee of Shri Krishna, and also follow up the four principles of chanting.One question in my mind that once upon a time I went to ISCON Temple situated at Sector-36, Chandigarh ask for the rules of Naam Diksha, they replied for the practice of 16 round beads atleast one year and after anybody can take initiation of Hare Krishna Mahamantra. When any devotee of Krishna like to chant Hare Krishna, and follow the four principles for chanting they why he cannot take initiation. If this Mahamantra is open for all then what is the matter for Initiation. It hurted me.

    Regards

    • Hare Krishna

      Initiation is not available very cheaply. Of course you are saved from accepting a bogus ISKCON guru, so that is a great blessing. But in any case it is not that you just arrive at the temple and expect to be initiated on the spot. Initiation is a very serious thing. It means you have to be prepared to surrender to your spiritual master and accept him as being non-different from Krishna. Taking initiation means then you are the servant of the spiritual master you took initiation from and you must follow his every order strictly. So you have to be very careful not to take initiation from someone who is not a pure devotee of Krishna and no able to guide you in such a way that you will be able to go back home, back to Godhead.

      You need to very seriously study Srila Prabhupada’s books so you can understand more clearly what are the qualities and qualifications of a bona-fide spiritual master and also understand properly what is the relationship between the spiritual master and the disciple.

      Certainly you have to serve under your intending spiritual master for at least 6-12 months, so you can test him to see if he is really a bona fide spiritual master and is really qualified to take you back home, back to Godhead, and he has to test you to see if you are a bona-fide disciple.

      So this accepting a spiritual master is a very serious thing and you can not expect to just do it in one day…

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa


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About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna."I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can.That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental!That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!


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