Chapter 6: Dhyana – yoga: Text 7
Translation: For one who has conquered the mind, the Supersoul is already reached, for he has attained tranquillity. To such a man happiness and distress, heat and cold, honor and dishonor are all the same.
After explaining about Karma Yoga, Action in Krishna Consciousness in Bhagavad Gita Chapter 5, Krishna talks in Chapter 6 all about Dhyana Yoga, which is also called as Ashtanga yoga, how a neophyte yogi engages himself in various sitting postures does meditative process to control his mind and senses and focus his concentration on Paramatma within and how an advanced yogi works without any attachment, and then at the end of the chapter Krishna reveals what is the perfection of yoga. So we can understand that when Karma yoga increases in knowledge and renunciation that stage is Dhyana yoga where the mind is fixed on the supreme with firm determination abandoning all material desires for sense enjoyment and without thinking of anything else, one engages his body, mind and soul in the service of the Lord.
So in the modern age, yoga has been interrupted mainly for mindfulness, physical health and all these reasons. But when Krishna describes yoga then it has different purpose. In order to execute the process of Ashtanga yoga carefully one should control the mind, and to engage his body in Krishna service. One has to live in a secluded place or sit in a sacred place and meditate on the paramatma by doing various postures like holding one’s body, neck and head steady which is very important, focusing on the tip of the nose with an unagitated and subdued mind. And also one should regulate ones eating, sleeping, recreation and work to free oneself from strong material desires, and like a lamp in windless place one has to steadily meditate on the super soul with the controlled mind, fixing its mind on the self and on Krishna he attains transcendental happiness. If our mind wanders we have to bring back our mind.
The practice of Ashtanga yoga is very rigorous, pretty serious and stringent. The first thought which comes to our mind about hearing Ashtanga yoga is can we do that. It is always hard to find a secluded place and focus on. But this practice was done by previous yugas. But we can testify that it is very hard for us to do. That is what exactly Arjun says. It is a huge difficulty in practicing this form of yoga and controlling the minds, but one who is able to conquer the mind then the mind is the best friend. But once who fail, then the mind becomes the worst enemy. So throughout in this chapter Krishna taught us two things. What is Ashtanga yoga and how to control the mind.
There are verses in Bhagavad Gita where Krishna talks to Arjuna how to control the mind when Arjuna himself says that mind is like a turbulent wind.
In Chapter 6 Dhyana yoga, verse 6
Bandhur ātmātmanas tasya
anātmanas tu śatrutve
Translation: For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.
And in Chapter 6, verse 34
cañcalaṁ hi manaḥ kṛṣṇa
pramāthi balavad dṛḍham
tasyāhaṁ nigrahaṁ manye
vāyor iva su-duṣkaram
Translation: The mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Kṛṣṇa, and to subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind.
Mind is like turbulent wind, trying to control it is almost impossible. In real life we see in schools also in workplaces there is classes on mindfulness and how to be more productive. We cannot achieve success without any self –discipline so what to talk of spiritual success. Right from our childhood we are mainly taught how to make material progress not spiritual progress. But anything to achieve in this material world is so demanding, so challenging and it is temporary too, then achieving the connection with Krishna, for Krishna to reveal himself to us, and going back to Krishna lokha, how can that be easier, there is no way that we can think of .
We always get attracted by the success of great personalities of this material world and wanted to become like them. But what does it take to get there for them to be success, it is nothing but hard work and huge amount of sacrifice, and of course controlling the mind from worldly distractions
We don’t need a project plan to work with Krishna. He has already laid that for us very clearly and repetitively so many chapters and so many verses he has laid that for us. We only have to follow his instructions. The intended goal for every living entity is to abide by the dictation of the supreme personality of godhead who is seated in every ones heart as paramatma and there is no shortcuts. It is like following a recipe. If we follow the exact recipe we get the right product. If we alter the recipe by changing the ingredients and the measurements then we will get a different product. So when we deviate because of our mind which is misled by the external illusionary energy MAYA one gets entangled in material activities.
Our mind is always dwelling either on the past or in the future not on present. While chanting the speed that the mind wander away is incredible but if the same mind if you bring it back by practicing rigoursly and by determination then we can achieve anything. Some religious beliefs is that god is very generous and merciful and he will take away all our sins. This can be compared to a student who does not study well in the exams but expect to pass his exams. There is a standard check, process check and if you don’t raise to that standard or processes you are going to fail. It is said that as Kaliyuga progress the attention span of human being diminishes, because our distractions have increased. The more we are distracted less the mind is peaceful. If mind gets distracted we are not able to absorb anything. We have to use our intelligence in the right way to control our mind and make right choices in our life. So Krishna gives the solution that our mind must admit that there is always somebody who know better than you, a more knowledgeable and a smarter person, and that we have to rely on that person accept the dictation of higher authority and follow it , and that person is Guru and Krishna himself. When mind is fixed on superior nature, it has no alternative but follow the dictation of the supreme. It is like a baby who has faith and fix his attention on his mother. Or like a dog which follows all the instructions of his master. The ultimate effect of controlling the mind is that it automatically follows the dictation of paramatma.
We are fortunate to be born as a human being and have better intelligence so we have to remember that we have use our intelligence in the right way to control our mind. Krishna consciousness offers a practical solution to control the mind. The devotee automatically follows the lord’s dictation and therefore he is unaffected by dualities of life, and fully absorbed in the Supreme. Once you reach this stage, this state is your practical Samadhi. How do we get this stage is by remembering Krishna, worshipping Krishna and follow the process. Actually speaking we are not doing what we are meant to do. It will take time to reach our destination, unless we start our journey we are not going to reach our destination. So we are fortunate that we got this opportunity to start this journey and to go back to him. For all of us it is not like a race to have a same starting and ending point. We are in this journey for lifetimes. So we are all different points in our progression, in our journey. But our endeavor has to be to continue this journey, to keep being persistent and every life we get pray to Krishna to remind us of our journey because without his mercy we won’t get that. So we can have to constantly pray to Krishna to help us to conquer our mind and bring it under our control so that it won’t be a hindrance to our spiritual path.
How to conquer your mind. There are examples from Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, and the teachings of the Guru.
In this famous verse, written by Govinda Dasa Kaviraja
bhajahū re mana śrī-nanda-nandana
durlabha mānava-janama sat-sańge
taroho e bhava-sindhu re
Translation: O mind just worship the lotus feet of the son of Nanda, which make one fearless. Having obtained this rare human birth, cross over this ocean of worldly existence through the association of saintly persons.
We have lots of anxieties in our life because we are fearful. If we have faith in the Supreme Lord and in our Guru we will not be worried or fearful. We are all carrying baggages of past karma. We cannot control the events in our life but we can control the reactions that helps to stabilize our minds. The biggest thig is fear. We may say we are fearless but we are always worried. Having obtained this rare human birth after going through the birth of 84 lakhs species of life and to cross this ocean of material existence is very hard for this we need the mercy of saintly persons and the help of scriptures. This is a very tough journey we need a guide which will help us to sail in this journey of distractions and to reach our destination which is Krishna. It is like a team work, if the project is very big, we need support and right guidance for each other that is why a Guru is necessary to help you stay focused in your journey and to be in a right association.
In Bhagavatham there is example of Ambarish Maharaja, how he conquered his mind dedicated his life in service of Krishna. He was always engaged in meditating on the lotus feet of Krishna. His words describing the glories of the lord. His hands in cleansing the lord’s temple. His ears in hearing the words spoken by Krishna or about Krishna, he engages his eyes in seeing the deities of Krishna and Krishna temple, Krishna place like Madhura, Vrindavan, he engaged his senses of touch in touching the bodies of the Lord devotees. He engages his sense of smell in smelling the fragrance of Thulasi offered to the Lord. He engages his tongue in tasting the Lords’ prasadam. He engages his legs in walking to holy places and temples of the lord
We can see her Maharaja Amabarish did not do anything for his own sense gratification. So like that way if we practice the same way slowly we will get to the point where we are not desiring anything for our own sense gratification but will engage our senses too in devotional service in various ways related to the lord. This is the way to increase attachment to the lord and completely free from material desires and attachments. It is human nature to be attached. The way to detach is to get attached to Krishna. By getting that attachment and love towards Krishna we will be automatically get detachment. Other ways what happens is attachment lead to expectations which in turn leads to desires. Then desires will lead to nonfulfillment of desires which lead to anxiety, anger and then we will lose control on our mind.
In Sri Shikshashtaka verse written by Krsnadasa Kaviraja in Caitanya Caritamrta
ānandāmbudhi-vardhanaḿ prati-padaḿ pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanaḿ
sarvātma-snapanaḿ paraḿ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-sańkirtanam
Translation: Glory to the sri-krsna-sankirtana, which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This sankirtana movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious.
Ceto darmapan marganam is the 3 important words related to this verse. In order to control our mind we have to cleanse our heart. So chanting is very important with beads or Japa or can be done without beads or Ajapa, it will conditioned our mind and chanting is the process in this age which Krishna reveals himself. Chanting cleanses your mind. If there is a mirror with dust on it, you will not be able to see you reflection. You will see the reflection after you clean the dust. Once you clean you mind you will be able to control your mind. You will not be able to control something when you don’t know where it is, it is like searching something buried in the dirt. You won’t find it, unless you remove the heap of dirt. Here we are removing the heap of dirt that we are carrying lifetimes.
In Caitanya Caritamrta, Adileela talks about the relationship with super soul and the spiritual master. Sine one cannot visually experience the presence of super soul, he appears before us as a liberated devotee. Srila prabupad self-realized soul appeared before us to deliver us and such a spiritual master is none other than Krishna himself. That is why in all our temples we have Srila Prabupad on the altar. So once should avoid bad company and always have good association and take instructions from realized souls because they can cut the knot of the activities which are unfavorable in our life and also the spiritually powered message of god head can be properly discussed only in the society of devotees and is greatly pleasing to hear in that association. When one hears from devotees they achieve transcendental experience and gradually attains the taste of knowledge and in due course develops in to devotion and attraction to Krishna and they engage in service of the Lord and become identical with the lord who is always seated in his heart. The lord says saints are my heart, and only I am in their heart. They do not know anyone but me and therefore I do not recognize anyone besides them as mine. Krishna is bound by devotees love. Saints of caliber (All the Goswamis) are themselves places of pilgrimage because of their purity they are constant companions of the Lord, and therefore they can purify the places of pilgrimage.
In Sri Gurvastakam by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura
yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado
yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto pi
dhyayan stuvams tasya yashas tri-sandhyam
vande guroh sri-charanaravindam
Translation: By the mercy of the spiritual master one receives the benediction of Krishna. Without the grace of the spiritual master, one cannot make any advancement. Therefore, I should always remember and praise the spiritual master. At least three times a day I should offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master.
These prayers will help us to control our mind by offering our obeisances to the spiritual master. If you don’t have spiritual master pray to Krishna and Srila Prabupad, they are merciful. If we sincerely offer our obeisance they will accept us. Krishna also said many times I am looking at your Bhava not the rituals. In this age we are not talking about rituals. Even chanting Hare Krishna Maha Mantra once with love has so much power. A Perfect yogi sees Vishnu and Krishna as the same and engages in devotional service and always remembers Krishna. In fact Krishna had said in Chapter 18, verse 65
man-mana bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaisyasi satyam te
pratijane priyo ‘si me
Always think of me and become my devotee. Worship me and offer your homage unto me. Thus you will come to me without fail. I promise you this because you are my very dear friend.
Remove the fear, from your mind, and engage in the service of the lord this is the only thing we have the guarantee on. In this age of Kali Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to tell us an easy way to remember Krishna and go back to him. We are fortunate to take birth in this kaliyuga because the path to go back to Krishna is the easiest and shortest.
In Caitanya Caritamrta it is said that
harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā
TRANSLATION: For spiritual progress in this Age of Kali, there is no alternative, there is no alternative, and there is no alternative to the holy name, the holy name, the holy name of the Lord.’
So Bhakti yoga or Krishna Consciousness is the perfection of all the yoga. The Bhagavatham confirms anyone who does not render service and neglect his duty to the Supreme Lord who is the source of all entity will certainly fall down from his constitutional position.
Srila Prabupad used to say that the tongue is the first thing we have to control, because it does two things, talking and eating. When you talk try your best to engage your conversation around Krishna and when you eat, eat only prasadam.
So we can understand that the tongue is the only sense that does not age. No matter what age you are your taste and the ability to speak actually increases, it does not decrease. So the tongue has no age. All other senses like eyes, ears gets weak with the age, but not the tongue. Other things our words do is when people lies a lots they start to believe in their own lies and over time whatever you repeat you start believing in it. That is how the brain is conditioned. That is why speaking, chanting the glories of the Lord is important. Even though our mind wanders by chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra still it is very important to chant it, because there will be a day when you see something happening the first thing will be to chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, because the brain gets conditioned and our mind gets conditioned and we are trying to unconditioned ourselves from our previous karma’s of past birth.