goals of modern-day Western yoga enthusiasts are dwarfed by the
achievements of India's ancient yogis, who, according to
historical accounts, could become smaller than atoms and lighter
than air and who could travel, unaided, anywhere in the universe.
Yet even these superachievements, says Srila Prabhupada, are "only
a step forward." How the true pinnacle of human consciousness,
superconsciousness, is obtainable--here and now--is disclosed by
Srila Prabhupada in the following talk given in 1967.
Krsna consciousness is the highest yoga performance by trained
devotional yogis. The yoga system, as is stated in the standard
yoga practice formula given by Lord Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita,
and as recommended in the Patanjali yoga discipline, is different
from the nowadays practiced hatha-yoga as is generally understood
in the Western countries.
Real yoga practice means to control the senses and, after such
control is established, to concentrate the mind on the Narayana
form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna. Lord Krsna
is the original Absolute Personality, the Godhead, and all the
other Visnu forms--with four hands, decorated with conch, lotus,
club, and wheel--are plenary expansions of Krsna.
In the Bhagavad-gita it is recommended that we should meditate
upon the form of the Lord. For practicing concentration of the
mind, one has to sit down in a secluded place sanctified by a
sacred atmosphere, and the yogi should observe the rules and
regulations of brahmacarya--to live a life of strict
self-restraint and celibacy. No one can practice yoga in a
congested city, living a life of extravagance, including
unrestricted sex indulgence and adultery of the tongue.
We have already stated that yoga practice means controlling the
senses, and the beginning of controlling the senses is to control
the tongue. You cannot allow the tongue to take all kinds of
forbidden food and drink, and at the same time improve in the
practice of yoga. It is a very regrettable fact that many stray,
unauthorized so-called yogis now come to the West and exploit the
leaning of the people toward yoga. Such unauthorized yogis even
dare to say publicly that one can indulge in drinking and at the
same time practice meditation.
Five thousand years ago, in the Bhagavad-gita dialogue, Lord
Krsna recommended the yoga practice to His disciple Arjuna, but
Arjuna flatly expressed his inability to follow the stringent
rules and regulations of yoga. One should be practical in every
field of activity. One should not waste his valuable time simply
in practicing some gymnastic feats in the name of yoga. Real yoga
is to search out the four-handed Supersoul within one's heart and
to see Him perpetually in meditation. Such continued meditation is
called samadhi. If, however, one wants to meditate upon something
void or impersonal, it will require a very long time to achieve
anything by yoga practice. We cannot concentrate our mind on
something void or impersonal. Real yoga practice is to fix the
mind on the person of the four-handed Narayana who dwells in
Sometimes it is said that by meditation one will understand
that God is seated within one's heart always, even when one does
not know it. God is seated within the heart of everyone. Not only
is He seated in the heart of the human being, but He is also
within the hearts of the cats and dogs. The Bhagavad-gita
certifies this with the declaration that Isvara, the supreme
controller of the world, is seated in the heart of everyone. He is
present not only in everyone's heart, but also within the atoms.
No place is vacant; no place is without the presence of the Lord.
The feature of the Lord by which He is present everywhere is
called the Paramatma. Atma means the individual soul, and
Paramatma means the individual Supersoul. Both atma and Paramatma
are individual persons. The difference between them, however, is
that the atma, or soul, is present only in one particular place,
whereas the Paramatma is present everywhere.
In this connection, the example of the sun is very nice. An
individual person may be situated in one place, but the sun, even
though a specific individual entity, is present over the head of
every individual person. In the Bhagavad-gita this is very nicely
explained. Therefore, even though the qualities of all entities,
including the Lord, are equal, the Supersoul is different from the
individual soul by quantity of expansion. The Lord, or Supersoul,
can expand Himself into millions of different forms, while the
individual soul cannot do so.
The Supersoul, being seated in everyone's heart, can witness
everyone's activities, past, present, and future. In the Upanisads
the Supersoul is said to be sitting with the individual soul as a
friend and witness. As a friend He is always anxious to get the
individual soul back home, back to Godhead. As a witness, He is
the endower of all benedictions that result from the individual's
actions. The Supersoul gives the individual soul all facility for
achieving whatever he may desire. But He instructs His friend, so
that he may ultimately give up all other engagements and simply
surrender unto God for perpetual bliss and eternal life, full of
knowledge. This is the last instruction of the Bhagavad-gita, the
most authorized and widely read book on all forms of yoga.
The last word of the Bhagavad-gita, as stated above, is the
last word in the matter of perfecting the yoga system. It is
further stated in the Bhagavad-gita that a person who is always
absorbed in Krsna consciousness is the topmost yogi. What is this
Just as the individual soul is present by his consciousness
throughout the whole body, so the Supersoul, or Paramatma, is
present throughout the whole creation by His superconsciousness.
This superconsciousness cannot be imitated by the individual soul,
who has limited awareness: I can understand what is going on
within my limited body, but I cannot feel what is going on in
another's body. I am present all over my body by my consciousness,
but I am not present in any other's body by my consciousness.
However, the Supersoul, or Paramatma, being present within
everyone, situated everywhere, is conscious of every existence.
The theory that the soul and the Supersoul are one is not
acceptable, because the individual soul's consciousness cannot act
in superconsciousness. This superconsciousness can only be
achieved by dovetailing individual consciousness with the
superconsciousness; and this dovetailing process is called
surrender, or Krsna consciousness.
From the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita we learn very clearly
that Arjuna in the beginning did not want to fight with his
relatives, but after understanding the Bhagavad-gita, when he
dovetailed his consciousness with the superconsciousness of Krsna,
his consciousness was Krsna consciousness. A person in full Krsna
consciousness acts by the dictation of Krsna, and so Arjuna agreed
to fight the Battle of Kuruksetra.
In the beginning of Krsna consciousness this dictation of the
Lord is received through the transparent medium of the spiritual
master. When one is sufficiently trained and acts with submissive
faith and love for Krsna, under the direction of the bona fide
spiritual master, the dovetailing process becomes more firm and
accurate. At this stage Krsna dictates from within. From without,
the devotee is helped by the spiritual master, the bona fide
representative of Krsna, and from within the Lord helps the
devotee as caitya-guru, being seated within the heart of everyone.
Simply to understand that God is seated in everyone's heart is
not perfection. One has to be acquainted with God from within and
without and thus act in Krsna consciousness. This is the highest
perfectional stage for the human form of life, and the topmost
stage in all yoga systems.
For a perfect yogi there are eight kinds of superachievements:
1. One can become smaller than an atom.
2. One can become bigger than a mountain.
3. One can become lighter than the air.
4. One can become heavier than any metal.
5. One can achieve any material effect he likes (create a
planet, for example).
6. One can control others like the Lord can.
7. One can freely travel anywhere within (or beyond) the
8. One can choose his own time and place of death, and take
rebirth wherever he may desire.
But when one rises to the perfectional stage of receiving
dictation from the Lord, one is above the stage of the material
achievements above mentioned.
The breathing exercise of the yoga system that is generally
practiced is just the beginning of the system. Meditation on the
Supersoul is just a step forward. Achievement of wonderful
material success is also only a step forward. But to attain direct
contact with the Supersoul and to take dictation from Him is the
highest perfectional stage.
The breathing exercises and meditational practices of yoga are
very difficult in this age. They were difficult even five thousand
years ago, or else Arjuna would not have rejected the proposal of
Krsna. This age of Kali is called a fallen age. At the present
moment, people in general are short-living and very slow in
understanding self-realization, or spiritual life. They are mostly
unfortunate, and as such, if someone is a little bit interested in
self-realization, he is misguided by so many frauds. The only
actual way to realization of the perfect stage of yoga is to
follow the principles of the Bhagavad-gita as they were practiced
by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This is the simplest and highest
perfection of yoga practice.
Lord Caitanya practically demonstrated Krsna consciousness yoga
simply by chanting the holy names of Krsna, as they are mentioned
in the Vedanta, the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and many important Puranas.
The largest number of Indians follow this yoga practice, and in
the United States and other countries also it is gradually growing
in many cities. It is very easy and practical for this age,
especially for those who are serious about success in yoga. No
other process can be successful in this age.
The meditational process in right earnest was possible in the
Golden Age, Satya-yuga, because the people at that time lived for
a hundred thousand years on the average.
In the present age, however, if you want success in practical
yoga, take to the chanting of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna,
Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, and feel
for yourself how you are making progress. One should know for
himself how much he is progressing in yoga practice.
In the Bhagavad-gita this practice of Krsna consciousness is
described as raja-vidya, the king of all erudition; raja-guhyam,
the most confidential system of spiritual realization; pavitram,
the purest of all that is pure; susukham, very happily performed;
and avyayam, inexhaustible.
Those who have taken to this most sublime bhakti-yoga system,
this practice of devotional service in transcendental love of
Krsna, can testify to how they are nicely enjoying its happy and
easy execution. Yoga means controlling the senses, and bhakti-yoga
means purifying the senses. When the senses are purified, they are
also, automatically, controlled. You cannot stop the activities of
the senses by artificial means, but if you purify the senses, not
only are they kept back from rubbish engagement, but also they
become positively engaged in transcendental service to the Lord.
Krsna consciousness is not manufactured by us through mental
speculation. It is prescribed in the Bhagavad-gita, which says
that when we think in Krsna, chant in Krsna, live in Krsna, eat in
Krsna, talk in Krsna, hope in Krsna, and sustain in Krsna, we
return to Krsna, without any doubt. And this is the substance of