Yoga and the Master of Yoga
Yoga means the connecting link between the soul and the Supersoul, or the Supreme and the minute living creatures. Lord Sri Krsna is that Supreme, the Personality of Godhead. Being, therefore, the ultimate object of yoga, Krsna’s name is yogesvara, the master of yoga.
At the conclusion of the Bhagavad-gita, it is said: “Where there is Krsna, and where there is Arjuna, the greatest of bowmen, there, undoubtedly, is victory.”
The Bhagavad-gita is a narrative spoken by Sanjaya, the secretary of Maharaja Dhrtarastra. This is just like airwaves from the radio: the play is going on in the auditorium, but you can hear from your room. So, just as we now have such a mechanical arrangement, at that time there were also certain arrangements, although there was no machine. Anyway, the secretary of Dhrtarastra could see what was going on in the battlefield, and he was in the palace, telling this to Maharaja Dhrtarastra, who was blind. Now, the conclusion made by Sanjaya was that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
When the yoga performance is described, it is said that Krsna’s name is yogesvara. No one can be a better yogi than the master of yoga, and Krsna is the master. There are many different types of yoga. Yoga means the system, and yogi means the person who practices that system. The object of yoga, the ultimate goal, is to understand Krsna. Therefore, Krsna consciousness means to practice the topmost type of yoga.
This topmost yoga system was described by Krsna in the Gita to His most intimate friend, Arjuna. In the beginning, the Lord said that this system can be practiced only by a person who has developed attachment for it. This Krsna conscious yoga system cannot be practiced by an ordinary man who has no attachment for Krsna, for it is a different system, and the topmost–bhakti-yoga.
There are five types of direct attachment, and there are seven types of indirect attachment. Indirect attachment is not bhakti. Direct attachment is called bhakti. If you are attached to Krsna by the direct method, it is called devotional service, and if you are attached to Krsna by an indirect method, it is not devotional service. But that is also attachment. King Kamsa, for example, was the maternal uncle of Krsna; and there was a warning that Kamsa would be killed by one of his sister’s sons. So he became very anxious about the sons of his sister, and he decided to kill his sister. Devaki, Krsna’s mother, was saved by her husband, Vasudeva, who made a compromise and proposed to his brother-in-law as follows: “You are afraid of the son of your sister. So your sister herself is not going to kill you.” He requested, “Don’t kill your sister. Save her, and I promise that all the sons born of her will be brought to you, and if you like you can kill them.”
Vasudeva did this in order that his poor wife might be saved. And Vasudeva thought, “When Devaki’s son is born, Kamsa may have a change of heart.” But Kamsa was such a great demon that he killed all the sons of Devaki. It was told that the eighth son of the sister would kill him. So, when Krsna was in the womb of His mother, Kamsa was always thinking of Krsna. You may say that he was not Krsna conscious, but actually he was. Not directly, not for love’s sake, but as an enemy. He was Krsna conscious as an enemy. So, that is not devotional service. One in devotional service is Krsna conscious as Krsna’s friend, Krsna’s servant, His parent, or His lover.
You may want Krsna as your lover, or as your son; you may want Krsna as your friend, you may want Krsna as your master, you may want Krsna as the Supreme Sublime. These five different kinds of direct relationships with Krsna are called devotion, or bhakti. They entail no material profit.
The concept of accepting God as a son is superior to the concept of accepting God as a father. There is a distinction. The relationship between father and son is that the son wants to take something from the father. The father’s relationship with the son is that the father always wants to give something to the son. Therefore, the relationship with God or Krsna as son is better than the relationship with Krsna by one who thinks, “If I accept God as my father, then my business will be to ask for my necessities from the father.” But, if I become the father of Krsna, then from the very beginning of His childhood, my business will be to serve Him. The father is the parent of the child from the very beginning of his birth; therefore the concept of this relationship of Vasudeva and Devaki is sublime.
Krsna’s foster mother, Yasoda, is thinking, “If I do not feed Krsna sumptuously, He will die.” She forgets that Krsna is the Supreme Lord, that He is sustaining the three worlds. She forgets that only one Lord is supplying the necessities of all the living entities. This same Personality of Godhead has become the son of Yasoda, and she is thinking, “If I do not feed Him nicely, He will die.” This is love. She has forgotten that it is the Supreme Personality of Godhead who has appeared before her as a little child.
This relationship of attachment is very sublime. It requires time to understand, but there is a position where, instead of asking, “O God, please give us our daily bread,” you can instead think that God will die if you do not supply bread to Him. This is the ecstasy of extreme love. There is such a relationship between Krsna and His devotee Radharani, the greatest devotee, the greatest lover of Krsna. Mother Yasoda is His lover as a parent; Sudama is His lover as a friend; Arjuna also as a friend–there are millions and billions of different kinds of direct devotees of Krsna.
So the yoga systems as described here lead to bhakti-yoga, and bhakti-yoga can be practiced by persons who have developed attachment to Krsna. Others cannot practice it. And, if anyone is able to develop that attachment, the relationship will be that he will understand God, Krsna, perfectly. However we may try to understand God by our different theories or speculations, it is still a difficult job. We may say that we have understood God, but it is not possible to understand Him as He is, because we have limited senses, and He is unlimited.
It is said in the Srimad-Bhagavatam that our senses are imperfect, all of them. We cannot understand even the material world perfectly. You have seen so many planets and stars in the sky at night, but you do not know what they are. You do not even know what the moon planet is, though men have been trying for so many years to go there in sputniks. Even this one planet, Earth! We do not know what varieties there are even on this planet! If you go to the sea, to the sky, your perception is limited. Our knowledge is, therefore, always imperfect. On that we must agree. If we foolishly think that we have acquired all forms of knowledge and we have advanced in science, this is another foolishness. It is not possible.
And, when it is not possible to understand even the material things which we daily see with our eyes, what can we say of the spiritual world and Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead? He is the supreme spiritual form, and it is not possible to understand Him by our limited senses. Then why are we bothering so much for Krsna consciousness, if it is not possible? If these imperfect senses cannot realize Krsna as He is? The answer is that if you become submissive, if you develop the spiritual attitude of following Krsna, and you are as a servant or a friend, as a parent or as a lover–if you begin to give service to the Supreme Lord then you can begin to know Him.
Your service begins with the tongue. How? By the tongue you can chant Hare Krsna, and by the tongue you can taste Krsna prasadam, spiritual food. So, the beginning of the process is very nice. You can chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare–and whenever prasadam is offered to you by Krsna, by His kindness, you accept it. The result will be that if you become submissive, and if you begin this service–chanting and eating prasadam–Krsna will reveal Himself before you.
You can’t understand Krsna by speculation; that is not possible, because your senses are imperfect. But if you begin this process of service, then it will be possible–one day Krsna will reveal Himself to you: “I am like this.” just as Krsna is revealing to Arjuna. Arjuna is a devotee, and he is submissive, and he is in contact with Krsna as a friend. Therefore Krsna is revealing to him.
The Bhagavad-gita was spoken to Arjuna, not to any Vedantist philosophical speculator. In the beginning of the Fourth Chapter, you will note that Krsna says, “I am speaking to you that ancient system of yoga.” It is stated, “unto you.” Arjuna was a ksatriya, a fighter. He was a householder, not even a sannyasi, not a renouncer–but these are not qualifications to understand Krsna. Suppose I say I have become a sannyasi mendicant–this is not a qualification, that I can now understand Krsna. Then what is the qualification? This: One who has developed the service spirit, with love and devotion, can understand Me.” No other. Not the big scholars and mental speculators; but a child can understand Krsna, if he has full faith in Him. So faith and devotion qualify one.
Simply by such faith and service you will understand that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Just as we are preaching Krsna consciousness; we are not wasting your time or our time, because we are in full faith that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Theoretically or practically, you should accept Krsna as the Supreme Person. Theoretically, there is the revealed scripture. You will understand from the Vedic literature, from the great devotees in the past and in the present.
For the present, there is Lord Caitanya. Lord Caitanya is the great authority. None is greater. He was mad after Krsna. And then, after Him, His six disciples, the gosvamis, have left us an immensely valuable literature–especially Jiva Gosvami. They have written volumes on Krsna. So, under disciplic succession, we have come to this point; and if you like past history, then go back a long, long time to Vyasadeva. He is known to have written the Srimad-Bhagavatam and other literature on Krsna. Srimad-Bhagavatam is nothing but a description of Krsna. Vyasa is also the writer of the Bhagavad-gita. The Gita was spoken by Krsna and noted down by Vyasa, who put this Gita into the Mahabharata.
So Vyasadeva accepts Krsna as the Supreme Person. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam he has given the description of the different incarnations; there are twenty-five of Them. And, in the conclusion, he says that the descriptions that are given of different incarnations are all parts of the representations of God. But Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. He is not part, but one hundred percent–one hundred percent God. So there is the evidence of authority.
And, practically, if we believe the sastras, the scriptures, then we can see: Who can be more powerful than Krsna? Who can be more beautiful than Krsna? Who can be more famous than Krsna? Krsna appeared five thousand years ago, but His knowledge, which He gave in the form of the Srimad Bhagavad-gita, is still worshiped. It is worshiped not only by the Hindus or the Indians, but is read all over the world. In your country there are at least fifty different editions of the Bhagavad-gita, written by different men. Similarly, in England, in Germany, in France and in all other countries, you will find hundreds of editions of the Gita. So, who can be more famous? There are many other evidences, if you believe in sastra: Krsna married 16,108 wives, and He provided each one of them with a big palace, and each one of them had 10 children, and from the 10 children there were many other children born. So we have the evidence of revealed Scriptures; and in the Brahma-samhita also, Krsna is accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is a very old book, supposed to have been written by Brahma, the first living being in the universe.
In that Brahma-samhita, it is said, isvarah paramah krsnah. Isvara means God. There are many gods. It is said that there are so many demigods, and there is the Supreme God. So Brahma-samhita says, isvarah paramah krsnah–He is the God of gods. Isvarah paramah krsnah, and then: sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah–and His body is eternal, and full of bliss and knowledge. And next: anadih–He has no beginning, but He is the beginning of everyone. Anadir adir govindah. Go means senses, go means cow, and go means land. He is the proprietor of all land, He is the proprietor of all cows, and He is the creator of all senses.
We are after sense pleasure, but our perfection of sense pleasure can be achieved only when we reciprocate our pleasure with Krsna. Therefore, His name is Govinda, the Supreme Original Personality of Godhead.
The same Personality of Godhead personally spoke about Himself to Arjuna in the Gita. How can you say that somebody, by his thinking, by speculation, can say something about God that is more important than what is being said by Krsna Himself? It is not possible. No one can speak better than Krsna about God, because God Himself is speaking. If you speak about yourself personally, who can say more than you? So, if you have faith, if you believe theoretically or practically in Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then, by the speeches that are delivered by Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita, you can understand God. There is no difficulty.
And, if you believe Krsna, then the result will be that you can understand God–how He is working, how His energies are acting, how He is manifesting, what is this material world, what is the spiritual world, what are the living creatures, what is their relationship–so many things are to be found in God’s literature.
The whole Vedic literature deals with three things: the first is your relationship with God; then, next, after you understand your relationship with God, you can act in that way. Just as a man or woman may not be related, but as soon as the relationship is established that one is husband and the other is wife, then the dealings begin.
Once they understand their relationship with God, people generally believe that God is the father, and the son’s business is to ask Father for whatever he needs. But that is really a lesser relationship. If you understand God perfectly, then there are intimate relationships also. Your intimate relationship will be revealed when you are perfectly liberated. Each and every living creature has a particular relationship with God, but we have, for now, forgotten. When that relationship is revealed in the process of devotional activities, or Krsna consciousness, you will know that that is the perfection of your life. Krsna consciousness is a great science; it is not a sentimental speculation regarding love. It is based on scientific propositions described in the Bhagavad-gita, in the Vedas, and in the Brahma-samhita; and it is accepted by authorities like Lord Caitanya, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Narada, Asita, Vyasa–there are so many authorities. Krsna consciousness is not an ordinary lovemaking or moneymaking business; it is reality, and if you stick to it seriously, your life will be perfect.
Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita, “After giving up this body, one who knows Me in truth does not come back again to this material world to accept a material body.” Then what happens to him? He goes to Krsna, back home, back to Godhead. This Krsna consciousness movement is directly giving people understanding of Krsna. We are giving knowledge of Krsna based on these authorized scriptures: Bhagavad-gita and the Vedas. Veda means knowledge, and Vedanta means the ultimate end of knowledge. What is that end of knowledge? That is Krsna. Vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah. By knowing all the Vedas, the ultimate conclusion should be Krsna. This conclusion comes after many, many births. After culturing knowledge for many, many births, when one actually becomes wise, then he surrenders unto Krsna. How can he surrender? He knows that Vasudeva, Krsna, is everything. Whatever we see is simply a manifestation of the energy of Vasudeva. One must be convinced on this point, and then he becomes a devotee. Krsna therefore advises that whether you understand or not, simply surrender unto Him. What Krsna taught in Bhagavad-gita, we are also teaching, without different manufactured ideas. That is our Krsna consciousness movement. It is open to everyone, and the process is very simple. We have our centers. If you want to take advantage of this movement, you are welcome. You will be happy.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada