mano hrdi nirudhya ca
murdhny adhayatmanah pranam
“The yogic situation is that of detachment from all sensual engagements. Closing all the doors of the senses and fixing the mind on the heart and the life air at the top of the head, one establishes himself in yoga.”
Bhagavad Gita, 8:12
Srila Prabhupada’s Purport:
To practice yoga, as suggested here, one first has to close the door of all sense enjoyment. This practice is called pratyahara, or withdrawing the senses from the sense objects. Sense organs for acquiring knowledge, such as the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and touch, should be fully controlled and should not be allowed to engage in self-gratification. In this way the mind focuses on the Supersoul in the heart and the life force is raised to the top of the head. In the Sixth Chapter this process is described in detail. But as mentioned before, this practice is not practical in this age. The best process is Krsna consciousness. If one is always able to fix his mind on Krsna in devotional service, it is very easy for him to remain in an undisturbed transcendental trance, or in samadhi.
Why have I posted this verse?
Just like that. I felt like posting a verse in Sanskrit along with its meaning, so I asked Krishna to choose a verse for me to post, whichever one He liked. And I found this one, so here it is.
My understanding about this verse:
I completely agree with the part about being less materialistic. We need to stop trying to constantly satisfy our greediness. There is no use in nourishing desires that will never be fully satisfied. I am referring to those desires such as lust, greed and envious desires that completely hamper spiritual growth. No matter how much we get, we keep wanting more and more. Somehow, it’s never enough. We are never content.
From what I understand, it is not necessary to perform yogic meditation to understand Krishna. The only way to understand Krishna, is by knowing Krishna. We don’t really need to undertake any other methods. All we need to do is develop some devotion and a desire to know Him. Of course, it is not a problem to perform yoga, but as Srila Prabhupada says, this method is not really practical in today’s age. There is only one means by which we can be saved:
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
“In this Age of Kali there is no other means, no other means, no other means for self-realization than chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name of Lord Hari.”
– Adi 17.22
Srila Prabhupada rightly teaches us that we cannot be desireless. Krishna understands this. Currently, we are feeding our desires for wealth, fame, knowledge, beauty, youth, etc. While some of us chase these in moderation, the rest of us chase these with an overbearing greed. Nevertheless, we are chasing after it. It is not possible to be desireless. Everyone is born with desires for something or the other. Therefore, Vaishnavism does not teach that we completely eradicate all desires. It does not say that we should just be here, not wanting anything, living without any needs and wants. Of course we can have desires! However, being Vaishnavas, our desires must not be material desires. They must be spiritual. Similarly, we cannot be “actionless”. We cannot live without doing anything. Most people have this misconception that Hinduism and related beliefs discourage having desires. What we are really meant to do is engage the senses in devotional service. Our eyes must desire to see the Lord, to see Him in His deity form; our noses must smell the fragrance of gopichandan; our ears must desire to hear the stories about Krishna, Krishna’s lilas, recitation of Krishna’s names, listen to beautiful kirtan and bhajans; our tongues must desire holy prasadam and constantly glorify Krishna; and we must desire to touch the lotus feet of the deities and to touch the lotus feet of pure devotees of the Lord. Our minds must be constantly engaged in thinking of Govinda, our hearts must eternally remain in Vaikuntha. This, we are taught, is the difference between worldly desires and spiritual desires. When we go back to our natural status of serving God, automatically all our desires become spiritual. Everything we want, everything we do, is accompanied with a desire to serve Krishna. For instance, the money we earn can be used to support this Krishna Consciousness movement and the knowledge we acquire can be used to teach Krishna Consciousness. In such a way, everything is done to glorify God.