There are so many different systems and interpretations of Yoga that are introduced to the world, beginning with just purely for health and mental peace, continuing with connection to your “spirit” and “spiritual self”. But the greatest and most authoritative, bonafide explanation of what is Yoga, what are different stages and systems of Yoga and what is the Topmost Yoga System was presented in Bhagavad Gita by Supreme Lord Himself. Srila Prabhupada so expertly defines all the basic truths of Yoga, the process, intricacies, how does it apply to us in our day and age, and of course weaknesses and utter falsities of the modern vision of Yoga. Moreover, he actually takes the reader to the highest possible level of Bhakti-Yoga towards our real eternal self in the most intimate connection with Sri Krishna. Or, ok, with the “Supreme”. And with all the details of ecstasies that come with it, the entire transcendental scene and experience… he just doesn’t hold anything back. And everything is not just sentiments and empty words, it is strictly in the authoritative line of parampara and scriptural refferences. This book is a living proof for me that in just 108 pages Srila Prabhupada can take you from most primary level to the real Topmost.
Episodes playlist 014-028
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One of my favorite quotes
The Topmost Yoga System| Chapter 5 “Our real life”Kṛṣṇa says that these are the eight material elements: earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego. False ego means false identification. Our nescient life has begun from this false identification – thinking that I am this matter, although I am seeing every day, at every moment, that I am not this matter. Soul is permanently existing, while matter is changing. This misconception, this illusion, is called ahaṅkāra, false ego. And your liberation means when you are out of this false ego. What is that status? Ahaṁ brahmāsmi. I am Brahman, I am spirit. That is the beginning of liberation.
Of course, one may be suffering from disease, from fever, and the temperature may come down to normal, 98.6 degrees. So he is now normal, but that is not the cure. Suppose for two days he has a 98.6 degree temperature, but with a slight change of diet, a slight change of behavior, the temperature rises immediately to 100. Relapse.Similarly, simply purifying the mind, rejecting this false ahaṅkāra identification – I am not this body, I am not this matter; I am soul – this is not liberation. It is only the beginning of liberation. If you stick to this point, and continue – just as you might continue your activities and keep your temperature at 98.6 degrees – then you are a healthy man.
For example, in the West now there is some propaganda for taking intoxication. The people want to forget the bodily existence. But how long will you forget? There will be a relapse. You can forget for one hour or two, by intoxication, and think that I am not this body. But unless you are actually on the platform of understanding yourself by knowledge, it is not possible to continue. Still, everyone is trying to think, “I am not this body.” They have experience that they are suffering so much on account of bodily identification, and so, “If only I could forget my bodily identification!”
This is only a negative conception. When you actually realize yourself, simply understanding that you are Brahman will not do. You have to engage in the activities of Brahman. Otherwise you will fall down. Simply flying very high is no solution to the problem of going to the moon. Nowadays the fools are trying to go to the moon, but they simply go 240,000 miles up from the Earth, touch the moon, and return. They are very proud. There is so much talk of aeronautics: crowds and meetings and conferences. But what have they done? What are 240,000 miles in that vast sky? If you go 240 million miles, still you are limited. So this will not do. If you want to go high, you must have permanent shelter. If you can take rest there, then you cannot fall down. But if you have no rest, then you will have to fall down. The airplane goes high, seven miles, eight miles up from the earth, but it comes down immediately.
So, simply understanding ahaṅkāra means no more than understanding the false identification. Simply understanding that I am not matter, I am soul, is not perfection. The impersonalist, the void philosopher, simply thinks of the negative, that I am not this matter, I am not this body. This will not stay. You have to not only realize that you are not matter, but you have to engage yourself in the spiritual world. And that spiritual world means to be working in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That spiritual world, that functioning of our real life, is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
False ego I have already explained. It is neither matter nor spirit, but the junction – where the spirit soul comes into contact with matter and forgets himself. It is just as, in delirium, a man is diseased and his brain becomes puzzled, and gradually he forgets himself and becomes a madman. He is gradually forgetting. So there is the beginning of loss, and there is one point where he forgets. That beginning point is called ahaṅkāra, or false ego.
Chanting the mahā-mantra – Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare – is the process not merely of putting an end to this false conception of the self, but it goes beyond that, to the point where the pure spirit soul engages in his eternal, blissful, all-knowing activities in the loving service of God. This is the height of conscious development, the ultimate goal of all living entities now evolving through the cycles and species of material nature.