Perfection of Yoga [1972 (first) edition]
It is certainly remarkable that the perfection of yoga was taught in the middle of a battlefield. It was taught to Arjuna, the warrior, just before Arjuna was to engage in a fratricidal battle. Out of sentiment, Arjuna was thinking, "Why should I fight against my own kinsmen?" That reluctance to fight was due to Arjuna's illusion, and just to eradicate that illusion, Sri Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-gita to him.
One can just imagine how little time must have elapsed while Bhagavad-gita was being spoken. All the warriors on both sides were poised to fight, so there was very little time indeed--at the utmost, one hour. Within this one hour, the whole Bhagavad-gita was discussed, and Sri Krishna set forth the perfection of all yoga systems to His friend Arjuna. At the end of this great discourse, Arjuna set aside his misgivings and fought.
However, within the discourse, when Arjuna heard the explanation of the meditational system of yoga--how to sit down, how to keep the body straight, how to keep the eyes half-closed and how to gaze at the tip of the nose without diverting one's attention, all this being conducted in a secluded place, alone--he replied,
"O Madhusudana, the system of yoga which You have summarized appears impractical and unendurable to me, for the mind is restless and unsteady." (Bg. 6.33)
This is important. We must always remember that we are in a material circumstance wherein at every moment our mind is subject to agitation. Actually we are not in a very comfortable situation. We are always thinking that by changing our situation we will overcome our mental agitation, and we are always thinking that when we reach a certain point, all mental agitations will disappear. But it is the nature of the material world that we cannot be free from anxiety. Our dilemma is that we are always trying to make a solution to our problems, but this universe is so designed that these solutions never come.
Not being a cheater, being very frank and open, Arjuna tells Krishna that the system of yoga which He has described is not possible for him to execute. Arjuna considers his mind to be like a great demon, such as the demon Madhu. If it were possible for Krishna to kill the demon called the mind, then Arjuna would be able to attain the perfection of yoga. "My mind is much stronger than this demon Madhu," Arjuna is saying. "Please, if You could kill him, then it would be possible for me to execute this yoga system." Even the mind of a great man like Arjuna is always agitated. As Arjuna himself says,
( अज्ञानी और ज्ञानवान के लक्षण तथा राग-द्वेष से रहित होकर कर्म करने के लिए प्रेरणा )
न बुद्धिभेदं जनयेदज्ञानां कर्मसङि्गनाम् ।
जोषयेत्सर्वकर्माणि विद्वान्युक्तः समाचरन् ॥
भावार्थ : परमात्मा के स्वरूप में अटल स्थित हुए ज्ञानी पुरुष को चाहिए कि वह शास्त्रविहित कर्मों में आसक्ति वाले अज्ञानियों की बुद्धि में भ्रम अर्थात कर्मों में अश्रद्धा उत्पन्न न करे, किन्तु स्वयं शास्त्रविहित समस्त कर्म भलीभाँति करता हुआ उनसे भी वैसे ही करवाए॥26॥
Let not the wise disrupt the minds of the ignorant who are attached to fruitive action. They should not be encouraged to refrain from work, but to engage in work in the spirit of devotion.
Vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah: that is the end of all Vedic rituals. All rituals, all performances of sacrifices, and everything that is put into the Vedas, including all directions for material activities, are meant for understanding Krsna, who is the ultimate goal of life. But because the conditioned souls do not know anything beyond sense gratification, they study the Vedas to that end. Through sense regulations, however, one is gradually elevated to Krsna consciousness. Therefore a realized soul in Krsna consciousness should not disturb others in their activities or understanding, but he should act by showing how the results of all work can be dedicated to the service of Krsna. The learned Krsna conscious person may act in such a way that the ignorant person working for sense gratification may learn how to act and how to behave. Although the ignorant man is not to be disturbed in his activities, still, a slightly developed Krsna conscious person may directly be engaged in the service of the Lord without waiting for other Vedic formulas. For this fortunate man there is no need to follow the Vedic rituals, because in direct Krsna consciousness one can have all the results simply by following the prescribed duties of a particular person.
न मे पार्थास्ति कर्तव्यं त्रिषु लोकेषु किंचन ।
नानवाप्तमवाप्तव्यं वर्त एव च कर्मणि ॥
भावार्थ : हे अर्जुन! मुझे इन तीनों लोकों में न तो कुछ कर्तव्य है और न कोई भी प्राप्त करने योग्य वस्तु अप्राप्त है, तो भी मैं कर्म में ही बरतता हूँ॥22॥
O son of Prtha, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I need to obtain anything—and yet I am engaged in work.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is described in the Vedic literatures as follows:
tam isvaranam paramam mahesvaram
tam devatanam paramam ca daivatam
patim patinam paramam parastad
vidama devam bhuvanesam idyam
na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate
na tat-samas cabhyadhikas ca drsyate
parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate
sva-bhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca.
"The Supreme Lord is the controller of all other controllers, and He is the greatest of all the diverse planetary leaders. Everyone is under His control. All entities are delegated with particular power only by the Supreme Lord; they are not supreme themselves. He is also worshipable by all demigods and is the supreme director of all directors. Therefore, He is transcendental to all kinds of material leaders and controllers and is worshipable by all. There is no one greater than Him, and He is the supreme cause of all causes.
"He does not possess bodily form like that of an ordinary living entity. There is no difference between His body and His soul. He is absolute. All His senses are transcendental. Any one of His senses can perform the action of any other sense. Therefore, no one is greater than Him or equal to Him. His potencies are multifarious, and thus His deeds are automatically performed as a natural sequence." (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.7-8)
Since everything is in full opulence in the Personality of Godhead and is existing in full truth, there is no duty for the Supreme Personality of Godhead to perform. One who must receive the results of work has some designated duty, but one who has nothing to achieve within the three planetary systems certainly has no duty. And yet Lord Krsna is engaged on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra as the leader of the ksatriyas because the ksatriyas are duty-bound to give protection to the distressed. Although He is above all the regulations of the revealed scriptures, He does not do anything that violates the revealed scriptures.
यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जनः ।
स यत्प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते ॥
भावार्थ : श्रेष्ठ पुरुष जो-जो आचरण करता है, अन्य पुरुष भी वैसा-वैसा ही आचरण करते हैं। वह जो कुछ प्रमाण कर देता है, समस्त मनुष्य-समुदाय उसी के अनुसार बरतने लग जाता है (यहाँ क्रिया में एकवचन है, परन्तु 'लोक' शब्द समुदायवाचक होने से भाषा में बहुवचन की क्रिया लिखी गई है।)॥21॥
Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.
People in general always require a leader who can teach the public by practical behavior. A leader cannot teach the public to stop smoking if he himself smokes. Lord Caitanya said that a teacher should behave properly even before he begins teaching. One who teaches in that way is called acarya, or the ideal teacher. Therefore, a teacher must follow the principles of sastra (scripture) to reach the common man. The teacher cannot manufacture rules against the principles of revealed scriptures. The revealed scriptures, like Manu-samhita and similar others, are considered the standard books to be followed by human society. Thus the leader's teaching should be based on the principles of the standard rules as they are practiced by the great teachers. The Srimad-Bhagavatam also affirms that one should follow in the footsteps of great devotees, and that is the way of progress on the path of spiritual realization. The king or the executive head of a state, the father and the school teacher are all considered to be natural leaders of the innocent people in general. All such natural leaders have a great responsibility to their dependants; therefore they must be conversant with standard books of moral and spiritual codes.
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