Yoga means connecting to god or the union of soul (living beings) with Supersoul Sri Krishna. It means connecting back to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The yoga with Krishna starts from the very moment one remembers Krishna. As this remembrance gets thickened and constant, the soul’s true inner esoteric and confidential eternal relationship with Krishna is revealed in the heart of the seeker.
There are 4 paths of yoga as mentioned in Bhagavad Gita:
- Dhyan Yoga: Sitting in correct posture, controlling breath and bodily austerities so as to calm the mind for meditating on Supersoul. This is also called as Astanga Yoga. In Kali Yuga, it is not possible for all to actually practice Dhyan Yoga (or Astanga Yoga) as there are so many severe austerities involved with it. In Satya Yuga, this path was the only mode to achieve liberation. Patanjali Yogasutra mentions that one should be celibate for practicing Dhyan Yoga, else it holds no meaning.
The majority of world is promoting Astanga Yoga today but in truth, that has little relation to even the path of liberation as the basic 4 regulative principles (described in few pages from now) and celibacy is not followed. It may sound harsh but what is going on in the world in name of Yoga is nothing but a cheating business.
Vested interests have made Yoga as commercial commodity in today’s age without understanding the real context. There are only a rare few genuine teachers of Astanga Yoga in the present day.
- Jnana or Gyan Yoga: The meditation on impersonal feature of Supreme Lord. It enables the seeker to merge into Brahman (the effulgence of Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna). There are several rules involved in this path at every stage, and it requires a lot of penance, austerity and meditating on “nothing” to achieve brahman realisation It is not possible for everyone to calm the mind and keep meditating on “nothing”.
- Karma Yoga: Doing karma in the occupational work one is involved in. This is binding if one does it for their own pleasure or gratification. But when one acts in devotional service and offers all work and results to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna, then that karma becomes akarma (as discussed in earlier part of this chapter), and then it becomes bhakti yoga!
- Bhakti Yoga: Once a devotee offers respects, love, karma, and surrender's to the will of Krishna, then that is called bhakti yoga.
Bhakti Yoga is direct relationship with Lord, exactly like how a baby takes shelter of mother in a complete manner. In simple words, the constant meditation on Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna at all times and any circumstance is bhakti yoga!
Out of the four yogic paths, Krishna says that He is bonded only and only by bhakti yoga.
yoginām api sarveṣāḿ mad-gatenāntar-ātmanā
śraddhāvān bhajate yo māḿsa me yuktatamo mataḥ
In this verse from Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 6, Text 47), Krishna says, "Of all yogis, the one who with great faith thinks of Me within himself, and offers transcendental loving service unto Me, he is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all."
Only a person themselves can tell about their best qualities, what really interests them and what really makes them happy. In this verse, Krishna says that that prema bhakti is the best way to connect with Him.
Bhakti Yoga doesn’t tell us to renounce anything. It just means to add Krishna in life. As simple as that. Other Yogic paths to Krishna are also correct but Krishna recommends Bhakti Yoga Himself.
Only you can tell what pleases you the most. Similarly, Krishna tells that Bhakti Yoga pleases him the most.
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Now let us take a material example. At home, a father is bonded by love of his child, even though at the office he might be the boss. Krishna is the Supreme Father of all living beings and becomes bounded only by loving devotional service.
Now the question is how to render loving devotional service? It is very simple! ABCDE! That's it. I will explain it in detail but before that let us quickly talk about the three modes of material nature and 4 regulative principles for living an ideal human life.
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