By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Lord Krsna describes different yoga systems in the Bhagavad-gita,
but He clearly points to one as the best.
A lecture in Stockholm on September 10, 1973
mayy asakta-manah partha
yogam yunjan mad-asrayah
asamsayam samagram mam
yatha jnasyasi tac chrnu
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: ‘Now hear, O son of Prtha [Arjuna], how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt.’ ” (Bhagavad-gita 7.1)
This is a verse from the Seventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, which we have published as Bhagavad-gita As It Is. There are many editions of Bhagavad-gita,and most of them have been edited to push forward the editor’s own philosophical views. But we do not accept Bhagavad-gita in that light. Bhagavad-gita is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is stated here, bhagavan uvaca. Those who are Sanskrit scholars will understand what is meant by the word bhagavan. Bhaga means “opulence,” and one who possesses something is called van. Sobhagavan means “one who possesses all opulences.”
There are six kinds of opulence: wealth, reputation, strength, knowledge, renunciation, and beauty. If a person is very rich, he is opulent: he attracts the attention of many persons. Similarly, if a person is very influential or strong, he also attracts. If a man is very famous for his activities, he also attracts attention. If a man or woman is very beautiful, he or she attracts attention. If one is very learned, he also attracts attention.
We all possess these opulences in some small quantity. Every one of us may possess some riches, may be a little wise or a little strong. But when you find that person who possesses more opulences than anyone else, that is God. The Sanskrit word for this is asamordhva. Sama means “equal.” and asama means “without being equal.” And urdhva means “above.” No one is equal to or greater than God. That is the definition of God. “God is great” means that nobody is equal to Him and nobody is above Him in any kind of opulence. That is called bhagavan.
Vyasadeva writes in Bhagavad-gita to describe Krsna. Bhagavad-gita is one of the chapters of Mahabharata. Mahabharata means “the history of greater India.” India is the name given by Westerners. But the real name is Bharata-varsa. Bharata-varsa means not only India but the whole planet Five thousand years ago it was known as Bharata-varsa. Now the name Bharata-varsa indicates only India.
So the background of this Bhagavad-gita is that there was a worldwide fight called the Battle of Kuruksetra. Kuruksetra is a place that still exists, and there was a battle there five thousand years ago. The main parties in the fight were cousin-brothers, the Kurus and the Pandavas. Bhagavad-gita was spoken there by Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan.
Therefore, it is said bhagavan uvaca. Krsna is teaching Arjuna bhakti-yoga. Yoga is the means by which you can contact the Supreme. Yoga means “linking.” There are many yoga systems for linking ourselves with the Supreme Absolute Troth.
The Absolute Truth is realized in three phases: impersonal, localized, and personal. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said that the Absolute Truth is realized by different persons according to different angles of vision. For example, if you see a mountain from a distant place, you see something cloudy. If you go nearer, then you find it is something green. And if you actually reach the mountain, then you find so many varieties. There are trees, there are houses, there are living entities, animals, everything. The object is one, but according to the vision of the person from the different distances, the same object is realized in different phases.
Therefore, the Srimad-Bhagavatam says, vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jnanam advayam. The object is one, but according to different understandings, somebody is realizing the Absolute Truth as impersonal Brahman, somebody is realizing the Absolute Truth as localized Paramatma, and somebody is realizing the same Absolute Truth as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Ultimately, the Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan.
Therefore, Vyasadeva, the compiler of Mahabharata, says, sri bhagavan uvaca. So in this Krsna consciousness movement we understand that Bhagavan is Krsna. He has many millions of names, but Krsna is the chief name. Krsna means “the all-attractive.” God must be all-attractive. It is not that God is attractive for one person and not for another. No. God is attractive for all living entities. Therefore, you see in pictures of Krsna that He is loving the calves and cows. He is loving the trees. He is loving the gopis. He is loving the cowherd boys. For Him, for God, everyone is a lovable object because everyone is the son of God.
Krsna states in the Bhagavad-gita that there are different species of life and different forms of life. He says, “Their mother is the material nature, and I am the seed-giving father.”
God is attractive for everyone, and God is equal to everyone. There is no distinction for God that here is an animal, here is a man, here is a tree. No. Every living entity is part and parcel of God. That is our understanding of God consciousness, or Krsna consciousness.
There are different processes of yoga for linking with God, out of which three are principal: jnana-yoga, hatha-yoga, and bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga is the topmost That is described in the Bhagavad-gita (6.47]:
yoginam api sarvesam
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam
sa me yuktatamo matah
Of all yogis, the yogi who is always thinking of Krsna with love and faith is the first-class yogi.
The Seventh Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita describes how to become a first-class yogi. Krsna Himself explains how it is to be done. If you want to understand God, it is better to understand from God Himself. Instead of speculating about God, it is better to understand God from the words of God.
Vyasadeva is the compiler of all Vedic knowledge, and he accepts Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Later on, all the acaryas Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Visnusvami, Lord Caitanya they all accepted Krsna. As far as our Vedic culture is concerned. Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Here it is also said, sri bhagavan uvaca. Krsna is teaching how to become a first-class yogi in Krsna consciousness. He is saying, mayy asakta-manah partha yogam yunjan mad-asrayah. Mayi means “unto Me,” and asakta means “attachment”
The Krsna consciousness yoga means to increase attachment for Krsna. That’s all. Everyone has attachment for something, either for his family or for some friend or for some house or some hobby or some cats, some dogs. There is attachment. That doesn’t have to be learned. Attachment is there in everyone’s heart. Everyone wants to be attached to somebody else; everybody wants to love somebody else. Love does not mean oneness. For love there must be two: the lover and the beloved.
The Krsna consciousness yoga system is the means to increase your attachment for Krsna. Therefore it is said here, mayy asakta-manah partha “gradually increasing one’s attachment for Me.” Krsna says one should practice this yoga system by taking shelter of Him. You can take shelter directly of Krsna, or you can take shelter of a person who has taken shelter of Krsna. That is the meaning of mad-asrayah. That is the system of parampara, disciplic succession. If you increase your attachment for Krsna, or if you increase your attachment for a person who is a devotee of Krsna, it is the same.
For example, if something is charged with electricity and you touch something else to it it also becomes electrified. We have daily experience. The wires distribute the electricity from the powerhouse, and as soon as we join the plug, immediately it is electrified. Similarly, if you carry the words of Krsna as they are carried by others in the disciplic succession, then you are in touch with Krsna. That is called yogam yunjan mad-asrayah: always being linked with Krsna.
Krsna says in this verse, “Please try to hear from Me.” Krsna is speaking personally. So if we accept Bhagavad-gita as it is, as instructed by Krsna Himself, then we can understand God without any doubt.
In our present position, with blunt material senses, with four defects, it is not possible to understand what God is. We have four defects in this material condition: we commit mistakes, we are illusioned, we tend to cheat and our senses are imperfect
Every day we see the sun with our eyes, but because our senses are imperfect we see the sun as a disk, although it is thousands of times bigger than the earth. In this way if we analyze our senses, it will be found that they are imperfect. Speculation based on imperfect senses is not perfect. Therefore all the speculators so-called scientists, philosophers, and so on put forward theories: “Perhaps.” “It may be.” That means it is not perfect knowledge. But if you receive knowledge from the supreme perfect, God, that is actually perfect.
Our process is like that. In the Fourth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita, Krsna says He spoke this philosophy of Bhagavad-gita first to the sun-god, who spoke it to his son Manu, who spoke to his son Iksvaku. In this way, by disciplic succession.Bhagavad-gita has come down to this earth. If we accept that disciplic succession, instead of unnecessarily interpreting Krsna’s words, then we can understandBhagavad-gita. That is the process.
Our Krsna consciousness movement is for understanding the Supreme Person, Krsna, as He is, without any interpretation. That is Krsna consciousness yoga. That can be achieved, as Krsna says, by always keeping Him in the center. If you practice this yoga, keeping Krsna in the center and always thinking of the form of Krsna, then Krsna will be revealed. This is the yoga system of Krsna consciousness.
Thank you very much.