Wednesday, December 26, 2012

who is a yogi?

Verse 1.4: atra śūrā maheṣv-āsā bhīmārjuna-samā yudhi yuyudhāno virāṭaś ca drupadaś ca mahā-rathaḥ

What do you think of when you think of yogi? Perhaps someone with long matted hair, skinny and seated in the forest? Or perhaps you immediately picture someone who follows a vegan diet, wears Lululemon pants and swears by their hatha yoga class which they attend daily?

The concept of yoga and how a person who practices yoga looks like has become completely distorted in our modern society. Yoga, or more precisely bhakti-yoga, means to connect, and I don't mean with your yoga mat! ;)

True yoga means re-unite. How? Through cultivating and investing in a loving relationship between the divine spark within all of us (i.e. our real self) and the source of that divine spark who is also the Supreme Person - Krsna (God).

It is an internal process and that's why we as a society, who are far too caught up in the externals, oftentimes get confused when posed - who is a yogi? A yogi cannot be characterized by an outer dress but rather his/her internal consciousness or attitude.

Two great persons are mentioned in this verse: Arjuna and his brother Bhima. If they were evaluated just by their externals of being great warriors, princes, and leaders, most would not put them on their top ten list of yogis to emulate. But in fact, they were two of the greatest bhakti yogis.

A bhakti yogi is one who finds great pleasure internally by acting in the consciousness that nothing belongs to him/her. How does this bring pleasure? Because attachment to things actually causes us great distress. Think about it. If you are not busy trying to obtain it or enjoy it then you are busy worrying how you can protect it from being taken away or being destroyed.

Such yogis always grateful for whatever comes. Their happiness does not come from identifying with their own body or accumulating material objects, but rather it comes from practically realizing that they are connected with the Supreme Absolute.

This identification that I am a part and parcel of the Supreme acts to lift a heavy weight off of the bhakti yogi. However, the process of understanding who we are, what is bhakti and who to practice bhakti takes time, knowledge and realization. That's why the greatest of bhakti yogi's, Arjuna, was put into a state of illusion so that the Gita could be spoken and we too could get the opportunity to become true bhakti yogis.

Next time you think of a bhakti yogi, who knows, you might think of Arjuna. And you know what? That's great. It's said that if one thinks of a person with good qualities, then one automatically imbibes some portion of those very qualities. That's a pretty great deal if you ask me!

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