In the material world, everyone is striving for some material happiness, but as soon as we get some material happiness, there is also material distress. In the material world one cannot have unadulterated happiness. Any kind of happiness one has is contaminated by distress also. For example, if we want to drink milk, we have to bother to maintain a cow and keep her fit to supply milk. Drinking milk is very nice; it is also pleasure. But for the sake of drinking milk one has to accept so much trouble. The yoga system, as here stated by the Lord, is meant to end all material happiness and material distress. The best yoga, as taught in Bhagavad-gītā by Kṛṣṇa, is bhakti-yoga. It is also mentioned in the Gītā that one should try to be tolerant and not be disturbed by material happiness or distress. Of course, one may say that he is not disturbed by material happiness, but he does not know that just after one enjoys so-called material happiness, material distress will follow. This is the law of the material world. Lord Kapila states that the yoga system is the science of the spirit. One practices yoga in order to attain perfection on the spiritual platform. There is no question of material happiness or distress. It is transcendental. Lord Kapila will eventually explain how it is transcendental, but the preliminary introduction is given here.
The attempt in this material world to maximize happiness and minimize distress is called the struggle for existence. Generally yoga is practiced to acquire some material profit. There are eight kinds of yogic perfection (siddhis): aṇimā, laghimā, prāpti, īśitva, vaśitva, mahimā, prākāmya and kāmāvasāyitā. A real yogī can become smaller than the smallest, lighter than the lightest and bigger than the biggest. Whatever he wants he can produce immediately in his hand. He can even create a planet. These are some of the yoga-siddhis, but here it is stated that the supreme yoga system does not aim at material happiness or relief from distresses caused by material inconvenience. Everyone is trying to get out of material distress and gain some happiness. In any case, when something is material, there is only so-called happiness and so-called distress. For instance, there may be fireworks going on, and this may be happiness for someone but distress for us. Some people are thinking that these fireworks are very enjoyable, and we are thinking that they are very inconvenient. That is the material world. On one side there is happiness, and on the other side there is distress. Both happiness and distress are actually illusions. In summer, water is happiness, but in winter it is distress. The water is the same, but at one time it brings happiness and at another time it brings distress. When a son is born, he brings happiness, but when he dies, he brings distress. In either case, the son is the same.
This material world is the world of duality, and we cannot understand happiness without distress or distress without happiness. This is therefore called the relative world. Spiritual happiness is above these dualities, and that spiritual happiness is the perfection of yoga. Yoga ādhyātmikaḥ. Yoga is the happiness of the soul, and the individual soul can be happy when it is with the Supersoul, the Supreme Soul. Nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). There is the Supreme Soul, or the supreme living being, and there are many individual souls, individual beings. We are many, but the principal living being is one, Kṛṣṇa. He is the fire, and we are the sparks from that fire. The sparks are illuminated when they are with the original fire, but if the sparks no longer associate with the original fire, they are extinguished. Similarly, our real happiness is in enjoying with the Supreme Being. Happiness is being in His company. Kṛṣṇa is not alone, but is always with His friends, either the gopīs or the cowherd boys, or with His mother and father. We never find Kṛṣṇa alone. He may be with Rādhārāṇī or with His devotees. He is like a king or president. When one says that the king or president is coming, it is understood that he is not coming alone. He comes with His secretaries, ministers and many others.
The word yoga means "connection," and ātmā means "soul" and sometimes "mind" or "body." The material body has nothing to do with the Supreme Being because the Supreme Being is completely spiritual. He has no material covering. One who thinks that Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Being, has a material covering is himself covered by māyā. Kṛṣṇa does not say that He comes as an ordinary living being. Rather, His advent is totally transcendental. Janma karma ca me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ (BG 4.9). We therefore have to learn how Kṛṣṇa takes His birth, which is not ordinary. If it were ordinary, why should we observe the Janmāṣṭamī ceremony? His birth is divyam, divine. Everything about Kṛṣṇa is divine, and if we think that Kṛṣṇa is like us, we immediately become mūḍhas, fools. In the words of Bhagavad-gītā (9.11):
- avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā
- mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam
- paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto
- mama bhūta-maheśvaram
"Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature and My supreme dominion over all that be."
Actually Kṛṣṇa is the original Supreme Being, the original spirit soul. We are simply minute parts and parcels of Kṛṣṇa. If we connect with Kṛṣṇa, we are illuminated just as Kṛṣṇa is illuminated. If we fall down from Kṛṣṇa, our spiritual power and illumination are extinguished. The word yoga means connecting or linking with that original source. Yoga is the Sanskrit word meaning "connection," and viyoga means "disconnection."
Kapiladeva is referred to as Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Bhagavān makes no mistakes. Nārāyaṇaḥ paro 'vyaktāt: even Śaṅkarācārya says that "Bhagavān, Nārāyaṇa, does not belong to this material world." When we speak of Bhagavān, or when the śāstras refer to Bhagavān, we refer to Him who is above material understanding. As stated here, śrī-bhagavān uvāca. It does not say vyāsadeva uvāca or kapiladeva uvāca. Similarly, in Bhagavad-gītā, Vyāsadeva says, śrī-bhagavān uvāca. Bhagavān refers to Him who is above the defects of this material world. Bhagavān is not subject to the four deficiencies of the living entities. Being imperfect, living entities are illusioned and subject to commit mistakes. They also have the tendency to cheat others. When one who has no knowledge tries to become a teacher or preacher, he is actually cheating others. Since we ourselves do not possess perfect knowledge, we simply try to teach what Śrī Bhagavān says. We do not manufacture our own teachings. So-called scholars and learned men manufacture their own teachings and give their opinions. In the West especially, we find much philosophical speculation and mental gymnastics, but such philosophy can never be perfect. We have to take our ideas from Bhagavān; then they will be perfect. We read Bhagavad-gītā because it is perfect. There is no mistake in it; there is no illusion in it; there is no cheating in it. Nor is it delivered by one whose senses are imperfect. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (7.26):
- vedāhaṁ samatītāni
- vartamānāni cārjuna
- bhaviṣyāṇi ca bhūtāni
- māṁ tu veda na kaścana
"O Arjuna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I know everything that has happened in the past, all that is happening in the present, and all things that are yet to come. I also know all living entities; but Me no one knows."
God knows everything, but we do not know what is God. That is our position. Our position is not knowing. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati (BG 18.61). Īśvara, God, Kṛṣṇa, is situated in everyone's heart. Sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭaḥ: "I have entered into everyone's heart." (BG 15.15) The Supreme Lord refers not only to the hearts of human beings but to those of animals and everything else.
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
- (Bs. 5.35)
The Supreme Lord is within the atom as Paramātmā, and therefore He is also within the individual soul. Being within everything, He knows everything. Since He knows everything, we have to take lessons from Him. If we take what Bhagavān says as perfect knowledge, we receive perfect knowledge. For receiving this knowledge, there is a disciplic succession (paramparā), which is described in Bhagavad-gītā (4.2):
- evaṁ paramparā-prāptam
- imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ
"This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way." This Kṛṣṇa consciousness philosophy is very easy because we do not manufacture ideas. We take the ideas and the words delivered by the Supreme Person, Kṛṣṇa, or His incarnation or representative. His representative does not say anything which Kṛṣṇa Himself does not say. It is very easy to be a representative, but one cannot be a representative of Kṛṣṇa if one tries to interpret Kṛṣṇa's words in a whimsical way.
There is no authority superior to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and if we stick to this principle, we can become gurus. We don't need to change our position to become a guru. All we have to do is follow in the disciplic succession stemming from Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Caitanya Mahāprabhu has advised: āmāra ājñāya guru hañā tāra' ei deśa (CC Madhya 7.128). Caitanya Mahāprabhu instructed people to learn from Him and then go teach people within their own villages. One may think, "I am illiterate and have no education. I was not born in a very high family. How can I become a guru?" Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that it is not very difficult. Yāre dekha, tāre kaha 'kṛṣṇa'-upadeśa: (CC Madhya 7.128) "Simply speak whatever Kṛṣṇa speaks. Then you become a guru." Whoever speaks what Kṛṣṇa has not spoken is not a guru but a rascal. A guru only speaks what Kṛṣṇa has spoken. This is the śāstric injunction.
- ṣaṭ-karma-nipuṇo vipro
- avaiṣṇavo gurur na syād
- vaiṣṇavaḥ śva-paco guruḥ
"A scholarly brāhmaṇa expert in all subjects of Vedic knowledge is unfit to become a spiritual master without being a Vaiṣṇava, but a person born in a family of a lower class can become a spiritual master if he is a Vaiṣṇava." (Padma Purāṇa)
People are in darkness, and they have to be enlightened. We have finally come from the animal kingdom to the human form, and now this human form gives us the opportunity to get out of the cycle of birth and death. The mission of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness society is to awaken people to their original consciousness. Jīva jāga, jīva jāga, gauracānda bale'. The word gauracānda refers to Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who tells the living entity, "Get up! Get up! How long will you continue to sleep?" Kota nidrā yāo māyā-piśācīra kole. The same is stated here. It is the prime business of human beings to connect again with the Supreme Soul. The purpose of yoga is to awaken to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and connect oneself again with Kṛṣṇa. That is ādhyātmika-yoga. Yoga does not mean showing some mystic magic. The supreme yogī is described by Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself in Bhagavad-gītā (6.47):
- yoginām api sarveṣāṁ
- śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ
- sa me yuktatamo mataḥ
"And of all yogīs, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all."
There are many yogīs and many different types of yoga systems, and all of these are discussed in Bhagavad-gītā. There is haṭha-yoga, karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga and rāja-yoga; however, the real yoga system is meant for reviving our connection with Kṛṣṇa. Here it is said: yoga ādhyātmikaḥ puṁsām. Ādhyātmikaḥ: we are living entities, souls. It is not that we are disconnected from Kṛṣṇa, but we have simply forgotten Him. It is not possible to be disconnected, but it is possible to be covered. In the words of Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad-gītā (7.25):
- nāhaṁ prakāśaḥ sarvasya
- mūḍho 'yaṁ nābhijānāti
- loko mām ajam avyayam
"I am never manifest to the foolish and unintelligent. For them I am covered by My eternal creative potency (yogamāyā); and so the deluded world knows Me not, who am unborn and infallible."
There is yoga, and there is yogamāyā. Yogamāyā means forgetfulness. First of all we have to understand what is the soul. At the present moment, people are in such darkness that they do not even understand the soul. Therefore Bhagavad-gītā (2.13) first of all teaches what the soul is:
- dehino 'smin yathā dehe
- kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
- tathā dehāntara-prāptir
- dhīras tatra na muhyati
"As the embodied soul continually passes in this body from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change." The word dehī means "the proprietor of the body." We are thinking, "I am this body," but actually this is not so. We are the proprietors of the body, and that is the real understanding of the self. We do not say, "I am this finger" or "I am this hand." Rather, we say, "This is my finger, this is my head, this is my leg, etc." Similarly, the same can be said about the entire body. "This is my body." This means that I am the proprietor of this body. The body has been given by māyā, the material energy.
- prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni
- guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
- kartāham iti manyate
"The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by nature." (BG 3.27)
The living entity receives different types of bodies according to karma. One living entity may receive a cat body, another a dog body, and so forth. Why are there so many different bodies? Why not one kind of body? The answer to this is also given in Bhagavad-gītā (13.22):
- kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo 'sya
- sad-asad-yoni janmasu
"It is due to his association with the modes of material nature. Thus he meets with good and evil among various species."
Because the soul within the body associates with the three modes of material nature (goodness, passion and ignorance), he receives different types of bodies. One doesn't have to aspire for his next body; one need only rest assured that it will be a different body. On the other hand, Kṛṣṇa does not say what kind of body one will be awarded. That depends on qualification. If one associates with the mode of goodness, he is elevated to the higher planetary systems. If he associates with the mode of passion, he remains here. And if one associates with the mode of ignorance and darkness, he goes down to lower life forms - animals, trees and plants. This is the proclamation of Śrī Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad-gītā (14.18):
- ūrdhvaṁ gacchanti sattva-sthā
- madhye tiṣṭhanti rājasāḥ
- adho gacchanti tāmasāḥ
"Those situated in the mode of goodness gradually go upward to the higher planets; those in the mode of passion live on the earthly planets; and those in the mode of ignorance go down to the hellish worlds."
There are 8,400,000 species of life, and all of these arise from one's association with the modes of nature (kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo 'sya (BG 13.22)). And, according to the body, one undergoes distress and happiness. One cannot expect a dog to enjoy the same happiness that a king or rich man enjoys. Whether one enjoys this or that happiness or suffers this or that distress, both distress and happiness are due to the material body. Yoga means transcending the distress or happiness of the material body. If we connect ourselves with Kṛṣṇa through the supreme yoga, we can get rid of material happiness and distress arising from the body. Reconnecting with Kṛṣṇa is called bhakti-yoga, and Kṛṣṇa comes to instruct us in this supreme yoga. In essence, He says, "Just revive your connection with Me, you rascal. Give up all these manufactured yogas and religions and just surrender unto Me. That is Kṛṣṇa's instruction, and Kṛṣṇa's representative, the incarnation or the guru, says the same thing. Although Kapiladeva is an incarnation of Kṛṣṇa, He acts as the representative of Kṛṣṇa, the guru. If we just accept the principle of surrender unto Kṛṣṇa, we will become actually transcendental to so-called material happiness. We should not be captivated by material happiness or aggrieved by material distress. These are causes for bondage. Material happiness is not actual happiness. It is actually distress. We try to be happy by obtaining money, but money is not very easily obtained, and we have to undergo a great deal of distress to get it. However, we accept this distress with the hope of getting some false happiness. If we purify our senses, on the other hand, we can come to the spiritual platform. Real happiness lies in engaging our senses to satisfy the senses of Kṛṣṇa. In this way our senses are spiritualized, and this is called ādhyātmika-yoga or bhakti-yoga. This is the yoga that Lord Kapiladeva is herein expounding.