The Krishna Lovers © 2008

Yoga for the Modern Age What is yoga? What is the purpose of it in the age of Kali? How does one perform it? Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains that ‘yoga’ is a process of controlling the mind and senses. In the Satya-yuga (the Golden Age), the yoga system was recommended, where one was to always meditate on Vishnu. In the Treta-yuga, one could practice yoga by performing great sacrifices and in the following age, the Dvarpara-yuga, one could achieve perfection by temple worship. The present age in which we are all living in is Kali-yuga. ‘Kali-yuga’ means ‘the age of quarrel and hypocrisy’ and is the age characterized by chaos and ignorance. As practiced in the previous yugas, yoga was a process involving years of meditation and severe austerities. However in the kali-yuga, this practice is of yoga is not recommended, as substantiated below:

arjuna uvaca yo 'yam yogas tvaya proktah samyena madhusudana etasyaham na pasyami cancalatvat sthitim sthiram (BG. 6.33) TRANSLATION Arjuna said: O Madhusudana, the system of yoga which You have summarized appears impractical and unendurable to me, for the mind is restless and unsteady. Arjuna himself, a great warrior and an advanced and intelligent person, proclaims that the system of yoga at that time was impractical and difficult. As His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Srila Prabhupad says, ‘What comparison are we to Arjuna? If we attempt this system, failure is certain’. Therefore, all these complex systems of yoga must be generally considered impossible in this age of Kali. However, through the mercy of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, in the Kali-yuga, the benefits of all these yoga practices can be simply attained through ‘Bhakti-Yoga’(loving devotional service to Krishna). One does not require any training or education to participate in

Rasarani

The Krishna Lovers © 2008 this. Devotional service, chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra (japa) and taking part in congregational chanting (kirtana), comprises of the nine processes of bhakti-yoga, as stated below: Sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam arcanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanam (Srimad Bhagavatam 7.5.23) TRANSLATION Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Vishnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words) -- these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krsna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge. Therefore Lord Chaitanya has proclaimed that this is the only system that is practical for this current age, as it is mentioned in the Brihan-naradiya Purana: harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha (BnP 38.126): TRANSLATION In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way. The Mahamantra is first attested in the Kali Santarana Upanishad. In this Upanishad, Narada is instructed by Brahma: "Hearken to that which all Shrutis (the Vedas) keep secret and hidden, through which one may cross the Samsara (mundane existence) of Kali. He shakes off (the evil effects of) Kali through the mere uttering of the name of Lord Narayana, who is the primeval Purusha". Narada then asks to be told this name of Narayana, and Brahma replies: "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare; These sixteen names are destructive of the evil effects of Kali. No better means than this is to be seen in all the Vedas."

Rasarani

The Krishna Lovers © 2008

We can thus see the importance of chanting the Supreme Lord’s name: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna/ Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama/ Rama Rama Hare Hare/ Attempting to practice other yoga systems, will not provide us with quick results, and will not show the progress we make. In bhakti-yoga on the other hand, one can notice one’s advancement and progress in spiritual life. Bhakti-yoga is the only yoga system which results in the quickest way of attaining self-realisation and liberation in this very life. One does not have to endure the cycle of birth and death again. Just by saying and hearing the name of ‘Krishna’, the mind is at once fixated upon Him, thus the yoga system is immediately attained. All the previous yoga systems are aimed at concentrating upon the form of Visnu. Therefore, if one concentrates his mind on Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Lord from whom millions of Vishnu forms expands; one immediately attains all the benefits and the perfection of yoga. Hare Krishna!

Rasarani