The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: One who is unattached
to the fruits of his work and who works as he is obligated is in the
renounced order of life, and he is the true mystic, not he who lights
no fire and performs no duty.
In this chapter the Lord explains that the process of the eightfold
yoga system is a means to control the mind and the senses. However,
this is very difficult for people in general to perform, especially in the
Age of Kali. Although the eightfold yoga system is recommended in
this chapter, the Lord emphasizes that the process of karma-yoga, or
acting in Krsna consciousness, is better. Everyone acts in this world
to maintain his family and their paraphernalia, but no one is working without some self-interest, some personal gratification, be it concentrated or extended.
The criterion of perfection is to act in
Krsna consciousness, and not with a view to enjoying the fruits of
work. To act in Krsna consciousness is the duty of every living entity
because all are constitutionally parts and parcels of the Supreme.
The parts of the body work for the satisfaction of the whole body.
The limbs of the body do not act for self-satisfaction but for the
satisfaction of the complete whole. Similarly, the living entity who
acts for satisfaction of the supreme whole and not for personal
satisfaction is the perfect sannyasi, the perfect yogi.
The sannyasis sometimes artificially think that they have become
liberated from all material duties, and therefore they cease to per-
form agnihotra yajnas (fire sacrifices), but actually they are self-
interested because their goal is to become one with the impersonal
Brahman. Such a desire is greater than any material desire, but it is
not without self-interest. Similarly, the mystic yogi who practices the
yoga system with half-open eyes, ceasing all material activities,
desires some satisfaction for his personal self. But a person acting in
Krsna consciousness works for the satisfaction of the whole, without
self-interest. A Krsna conscious person has no desire for self-
satisfaction. His criterion of success is the satisfaction of Krsna, and
thus he is the perfect sannyasi, or perfect yogi. Lord Caitanya, the
highest perfectional symbol of renunciation, prays in this way:
"0 Almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor to
enjoy beautiful women. Nor do I want any number of followers.
What I want only is the causeless mercy of Your devotional service in
my life, birth after birth."
- yam sannyasam iti
- prahur yogam tam
- viddhi pandava na hy
- yogi bhavati kascana.
What is called renunciation you should know to be the same as yoga,
or linking oneself with the Supreme, 0 son of Pandu, for one can
never become a yogi unless he renounces the desire for sense
Real sannyasa-yoga or bhakti means that one should know his
constitutional position as the living entity, and act accordingly. The
living entity has no separate independent identity. He is the marginal
energy of the Supreme. When he is entrapped by material energy, he
is conditioned, and when he is Krsna conscious, or aware of the
spiritual energy, then he is in his real and natural state of life. There-
fore, when one is in complete knowledge, one ceases all material
sense gratification, or renounces all kinds of sense gratificatory
activities. This is practiced by the yogis who restrain the senses from
But a person in Krsna consciousness has no op-
portunity to engage his senses in anything which is not for the
purpose of Krsna. Therefore, a Krsna conscious person is simultaneously a sannyasi and a yogi. The purpose of knowledge and of
restraining the senses, as prescribed in the jnana and yoga processes,
is automatically served in Krsna consciousness. If one is unable to
give up the activities of his selfish nature, the jnana and yoga are of
no avail. The real aim is for a living entity to give up all selfish
satisfaction and to be prepared to satisfy the Supreme. A Krsna
conscious person has no desire for any kind of self-enjoyment. He is
always engaged for the enjoyment of the Supreme. One who has no in-
formation of the Supreme must therefore be engaged in self-satisfaction, because no one can stand on the platform of inactivity. All
purposes are perfectly served by the practice of Krsna consciousness.
- aruruksor muner yogam
- karma karanam ucyate
- yogarudhasya tasyaiva
- samah karanam ucyate.
For one who is a neophyte in the eightfold yoga system, work is said
to be the means; and for one who is already elevated in yoga,
cessation of all material activities is said to be the means.
The process of linking oneself with the Supreme is called yoga. It
may be compared to a ladder for attaining the topmost spiritual
realization. This ladder begins from the lowest material condition of
the living entity and rises up to perfect self-realization in pure
spiritual life. According to various elevations, different parts of the
ladder are known by different names. But all in all, the complete
ladder is called yoga and may be divided into three parts, namely
jnana-yoga, dhyana-yoga and bhakti-yoga. The beginning of the
ladder is called the yogdruruksu stage, and the highest rung is called
Concerning the eightfold yoga system, attempts in the beginning
to enter into meditation through regulative principles of life and practice of different sitting postures (which are more or less bodily exercises) are considered fruitive material activities. All such activities lead to achieving perfect mental equilibrium to control the senses. When one is accomplished in the practice of meditation, he
ceases all disturbing mental activities.
A Krsna conscious person, however, is situated from the beginning on the platform of meditation because he always thinks of
Krsna. And, being constantly engaged in the service of Krsna. he is
considered to have ceased all material activities.
- yada hi nendriyarthesu
- na karmasv anusajjate
- yogarudhas tadocyate.
A person is said to be elevated in yoga when, having renounced all
material desires, he neither acts for sense gratification nor engages in
When a person is fully engaged in the transcendental loving service
of the Lord, he is pleased in himself, and thus he is no longer engaged
in sense gratification or in fruitive activities. Otherwise, one must be
engaged in sense gratification, since one cannot live without
engagement. Without Krsna consciousness, one must be always
seeking self-centered or extended selfish activities. But a Krsna
conscious person can do everything for the satisfaction of Krsna and
thereby be perfectly detached from sense gratification. One who has
no such realization must mechanically try to escape material desires
before being elevated to the top rung of the yoga ladder.
- uddhared atmanatmanam natmanam
- avasadayet atmaiva hy
- atmano bandhur
- atmaiva ripur atmanah.
One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade
himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his
enemy as well.
The word atma denotes body, mind and soul—depending upon
different circumstances. In the yoga system, the mind and the conditioned soul are especially important. Since the mind is the central
point of yoga practice, atma refers here to the mind. The purpose of
the yoga system is to control the mind and to draw it away from
attachment to sense objects. It is stressed herein that the mind must
be so trained that it can deliver the conditioned soul from the mire of
nescience. In material existence one is subjected to the influence of
the mind and the senses.
In fact, the pure soul is entangled in the
material world because the mind is involved with the false ego,
which desires to lord it over material nature. Therefore, the mind
should be trained so that it will not be attracted by the glitter of
material nature, and in this way the conditioned soul may be saved.
One should not degrade oneself by attraction to sense objects. The
more one is attracted by sense objects, the more one becomes
entangled in material existence. The best way to disentangle oneself
is to always engage the mind in Krsna consciousness. The word A/is
used for emphasizing this point, i.e., that one must do this. It is also
"For man, mind is the cause of bondage and mind is the cause of
liberation. Mind absorbed in sense objects is the cause of bondage,
and mind detached from the sense objects is the cause of liberation."
(Amrta-bindu Upanisad 2) Therefore, the mind which is always
engaged in Krsna consciousness is the cause of supreme liberation.
- bandhur atmatmanas tasya
- yenatmaivatmana jitah
- anatmanas tu satrutve
- vartetatmaiva satru-vat.
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.
The purpose of practicing eightfold yoga is to control the mind in
order to make it a friend in discharging the human mission. Unless
the mind is controlled, the practice of yoga (for show) is simply a
waste of time. One who cannot control his mind lives always with the
greatest enemy, and thus his life and its mission are spoiled. The
constitutional position of the living entity is to carry out the order of
the superior. As long as one's mind remains an unconquered enemy,
one has to serve the dictations of lust, anger, avarice, illusion, etc.
But when the mind is conquered, one voluntarily agrees to abide by
the dictation of the Personality of Godhead, who is situated within
the heart of everyone as Paramatma. Real yoga practice entails
meeting the Paramatma within the heart and then following His
dictation. For one who takes to Krsna consciousness directly, perfect surrender to the dictation of the Lord follows automatically.
- jitatmanah prasantasya
- paramatma samahitah
- tatha manapamanayoh.
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.
Actually, every living entity is intended to abide by the dictation of
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is seated in everyone's
heart as Paramatma. When the mind is misled by the external,
illusory energy, one becomes entangled in material activities. There-
fore, as soon as one's mind is controlled through one of the yoga
systems, one should be considered to have already reached the
destination. One has to abide by superior dictation. When one's
mind is fixed on the superior nature, he has no alternative but to
follow the dictation of the Supreme. The mind must admit some
superior dictation and follow it. The effect of controlling the mind is
that one automatically follows the dictation of the Paramatma, or
Supersoul. Because this transcendental position is at once achieved
by one who is in Krsna consciousness, the devotee of the Lord is
unaffected by the dualities of material existence, namely distress and
happiness, cold and heat, etc. This state is practical samadhi, or
absorption in the Supreme.
- kuta-stho vijitendriyah
- yukta ity ucyate yogi
A person is said to be established in self-realization and is called a yogi [or mystic] when he is fully satisfied by virtue of acquired knowledge and realization. Such a person is situated in transcendence and is self-controlled. He sees everything—whether it be pebbles, stones or gold—as the same.
Book knowledge without realization of the Supreme Truth is use-
less. This is stated as follows:
"No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name,
form, quality and pastimes of Sri Krsna through his materially
contaminated senses. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated
by transcendental service to the Lord are the transcendental name,
form, quality and pastimes of the Lord revealed to him."
This Bhagavad-Gita is the science of Krsna consciousness. No one
can become Krsna conscious simply by mundane scholarship. One
must be fortunate enough to associate with a person who is in pure
consciousness. A Krsna conscious person has realized knowledge,
by the grace of Krsna, because he is satisfied with pure devotional
service. By realized knowledge, one becomes perfect. By transcendental knowledge one can remain steady in his convictions, but
by mere academic knowledge one can be easily deluded and con-
fused by apparent contradictions. It is the realized soul who
is actually self-controlled, because he is surrendered to Krsna. He is
transcendental because he has nothing to do with mundane scholar-
ship. For him mundane scholarship and mental speculation, which
may be as good as gold to others, are ol no greater value than
pebbles or stones.
- sandhusv api ca papesu
- sama-buddhir visisyate.
A person is considered still further advanced when he regards honest
well-wishers, affectionate benefactors, the neutral, mediators, the
envious, friends and enemies, the pious and the sinners all with an
A transcendentalist should always engage his body, mind and self in
relationship with the Supreme; he should live alone in a secluded
place and should always carefully control his mind. He should be
free from desires and feelings of possessiveness.
Krishna is realized in different degrees as Brahman, Paramatma and
the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krsna consciousness means,
concisely, to be always engaged in the transcendental loving service
of the Lord. But those who are attached to the impersonal Brahman
or the localized Supersoul are also partially Krsna conscious,
because impersonal Brahman is the spiritual ray of Krsna and
Supersoul is the all-pervading partial expansion of Krsna. Thus the
impersonalist and the meditator are also indirectly Krsna conscious.
A directly Krsna conscious person is the topmost transcendentalist
because such a devotee knows what is meant by Brahman and
Paramatma. His knowledge of the Absolute Truth is perfect, where-
as the impersonalist and the meditative yogi are imperfectly Krsna
Nevertheless, all of these are instructed herewith to be constantly
engaged in their particular pursuits so that they may come to the
highest perfection sooner or later. The first business of a transcendentalist is to keep the mind always on Krsna. One should always think of Krsna and not forget Him even for a moment. Concentration of the mind on the Supreme is called samadhi, or trance. In order to concentrate the mind, one should always remain in seclusion and avoid disturbance by external objects. He should be very careful to accept favorable and reject unfavorable conditions that
affect his realization. And, in perfect determination, he should not
hanker after unnecessary material things that entangle him by feelings of possessiveness.
All these perfections and precautions are perfectly executed when
one is directly in Krsna consciousness, because direct Krsna consciousness means self-abnegation, wherein there is very little chance
for material possessiveness. Srila Rupa Gosvami characterizes
Krsna consciousness in this way:
"When one is not attached to anything, but at the same time accepts
everything in relation to Krsna, one is rightly situated above possessiveness. On the other hand, one who rejects everything without
knowledge of its relationship to Krsna is not as complete in his
A Krsna conscious person well knows that everything belongs to
Krsna, and thus he is always free from feelings of personal possession. As such, he has no hankering for anything on his own personal
account. He knows how to accept things in favor of Krsna consciousness and how to reject things unfavorable to Krsna consciousness. He is always aloof from material things because he is always
transcendental, and he is always alone, having nothing to do with
persons not in Krsna consciousness. Therefore a person in Krsna
consciousness is the perfect yogi.
To practice yoga, one should go to a secluded place and should lay
kusa grass on the ground and then cover it with a deerskin and a soft
cloth. The seat should be neither too high nor too low and should be
situated in a sacred place. The yogi should then sit on it very firmly
and practice yoga to purify the heart by controlling his mind, senses
and activities and fixing the mind on one point.