Friday, March 29, 2013

true yoga

Verse 2.41: Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched.

There are many conceptions and ideas about yoga floating around the world today. As yoga becomes increasingly popular, it seems as though it's also becoming increasingly difficult to understand what true yoga is all about.

It's simple really. Yoga is a way of life. It's not something you "do", it's how you live. Since yoga is spiritual in its essence, the ultimate result of living a yogic lifestyle is to reconnect ourselves with the spiritual. What is that spiritual? It is to realize that we ourselves are eternal spirit souls, that all other living entities are also eternal spirit souls and that we are all connected by a common relationship. That relationship is with the Divine, the Supreme, who different people call by various names.

However, for many, that is a lot to take in at once and so the yoga texts take it step by step. First, the yoga texts start with the body, since it is what we mistakenly identify ourselves with. Yoga asanas, or postures, are there to help us experience the body. Think about it. How often during the day do you think about blinking, breathing or even walking? We tend not notice any particular part of our body unless we experience pain there. Through performing various postures, we get to "experience" the body as well as keep it healthy.

For many, that's enough and they are happy to think that is complete yoga. This is, however, just the beginning. Once the body is regulated, it only makes sense that we try to control the wild and turbulent mind. One of the most effective ways of taming the mind is through the practice of mantra meditation. In contrast to trying to empty the mind of all thoughts, which is near impossible to do, mantra meditation engages all the senses. Instead of trying to fight the senses to control the mind, the bhakti yogi uses them as tools.

Now we come to the main point of today's verse, which speaks of the intelligent. Did you know that the bhakti texts categorize the mind and intelligence as being different? In fact, there is a hierarchy. The intelligence is higher than the mind which is higher than the senses. Higher than the intelligence is the soul. Are you noticing a pattern here? The first two steps began with first understanding the nature of the senses and the mind and then regulating them. Now we move on to the intelligence...which begs the question: what does one do with the it?

One purifies the it by hearing from advanced bhakti practitioners and reading the bhakti texts. Here, Krsna the ultimate yogi, is giving the characteristics of a person who has purified intelligence- they are resolute in purpose and their aim is one (i.e. they are focused). In addition, to help us diagnose ourselves, he also gives a description of those persons whose intelligence is not purified - they are irresolute and scattered. But that isn't all. The aim and the purpose of such intelligent persons is also given. It's not that one can be resolute about anything and that should be the benchmark by which we assess purified intelligence. Purified intelligence means one's aim is on living a bhakti lifestyle, a yogic lifestyle. That lifestyle in no way discounts achieving success or aspiring for greatness, it just means that it is done so in a spirit of gratitude (i.e. karma free).

The crux, or most important step for all those aspiring to live a yogic lifestyle really centres on understanding and controlling the mind. That's exactly what Krsna will speak of in the verses to come. So stay tuned! It could change your life and turn you into a focused and empowered individual.


  1. "In a spirit of gratitude . . ." It is how I'm viewing my life and my world right now, and it does keep me so centered and at peace.
    Wonderful post, Vrndavana!

    1. That's so wonderful that you are viewing your life and world in a spirit of gratitude Martha! Just by everyone trying to live in that spirit, I'm positive that those vibrations can envelop the entire world!

  2. This is beautiful Vrindavan. Thank you. :)

    1. Bhakti yoga is beautiful! It's so elegantly structured that anyone can practice it without any difficulty!