Saturday, April 6, 2013

the art of work

Verse 2.50: A man engaged in devotional service rids himself of both good and bad actions even in this life. Therefore strive for yoga, which is the art of all work.

Have you ever admired someone for their ability to draw beautifully? I remember the last time I encountered the work of someone who was really gifted and I said something along the lines of,"You're so talented. I could never do something like that." In response to my personal assessment, this well-wishing individual said, "Anyone can draw. You just need to keep drawing and working on it." This response has stayed with me since that time and I find it applicable to almost everything.

Here the same answer is being given with respect to practicing yoga. We are being informed that yoga is the art of all work (i.e. it's a skill that needs to be developed.)

So how does one begin the practice of yoga?

By sincerely seeking out a guide or teacher who themselves have mastered the art of working in devotion. By genuinely inquiring from such persons, we open ourselves to being recipients of practical instruction and care. Finding such persons can be difficult as there are specific qualifications the interested student should look for in order to ensure they are not being lead down the wrong path. Characteristics of such a bhakti master include being fixed in devotional service to the Supreme, practically living the teachings given in the bhakti texts, and being tolerant, merciful and friendly to all living beings.

Such a student is in the best of positions. Not only do they have someone who is real-life role model but also someone to turn to to clarify doubts and concerns. By observing how their beloved guide is always engaged in devotional service and how everything can be transformed from material to spiritual, this serves as the greatest impetus to strive for yoga.

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