“To practice yoga, one should go to a secluded place and should lay kusha-grass on the ground and then cover it with a deerskin and a soft cloth. The seat should neither be too high nor too low and should be situated in a sacred place. The yogi should then sit on it very firmly and should practice yoga by controlling the mind and the senses, purifying the heart and fixing the mind on one point.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.11-12)
शुचौ देशे प्रतिष्ठाप्य
स्थिरम् आसनम् आत्मनः
तत्रैकाग्रं मनः कृत्वा
śucau deśe pratiṣṭhāpya
sthiram āsanam ātmanaḥ
tatraikāgraṁ manaḥ kṛtvā
Approach a certain kind of spiritual leader and they will talk to you about one thing. Only a single recommendation. Nothing else suffices. Not that they are intentionally being exclusionary. Not that they harbor resentment for the other camps.
The basis is personal experience. Yoga has done so much for them. They learned from their teacher, who learned from their teacher, and so forth. There is sufficient foundational backing from sacred texts like Bhagavad-gita, which has details on the ideal and necessary conditions for yoga practice to succeed.
This is the meditational kind, as the root meaning of yoga is simply a union. One of something plus one of something. From observing the world around us, we see that certain people might have a difficult time succeeding in this kind of meditation, which is a limb of yoga known as dhyana. Despite their best efforts, the nature inherited from the time of birth serves as a barrier towards perfection, siddhi.
There is the common lamentation, “Youth is wasted on the young.” It is unbelievable how much energy some children possess. They can run around for hours. They are happy playing with an empty box in the living room. They pretend it is some home base that they run away from and then back towards.
At night they do not want to sleep. You essentially have to trick them. Get their mind focused someplace else and then start a rocking motion. Sleep occurs against their desires. You laugh at the thought of trying to get them to meditate. Yoga would be impossible for them, even if they are flexible enough to bend into the different sitting postures.
2. Active people
Take the same tendency and transition to adulthood. Instead of jumping up and down in a ball-pit at an indoor playground, there is rock-climbing, cycling, tennis, basketball, hiking, and so forth. Any type of outdoor activity will do. The last thing this adult wants is to sit down and meditate. They are so restless that they will not be able to last for more than a few minutes.
3. The disabled
This is a case where it is physically impossible for a person to meet the requirements. They cannot find a remote place and lay down a deerskin rug. They cannot sit on the floor and focus the half-closed eyes on the tip of the nose. The body prevents it. They are still capable, mind you. The animating spark is inside, vibrant as ever, but dhyana of mystic yoga is off the table.
4. The disinterested
This is a case where someone simply does not want to sit down and meditate. They are willing to do anything else to make advancement in spiritual life. Read, hear, chant, dance, travel – you name it and they will not decline. The lone exception is sitting in isolation for extended periods of time and focusing on a single thing.
This basic analysis gives further evidence of the superiority of the bhakti-yoga path. While dhyana in meditation has automatic barriers based on the qualifications and necessary conditions, bhakti is open for everyone. It is as much yoga as the other paths, like jnana and karma.
This means that I can follow my nature and still connect with the Almighty. I am the one side of the addition, and He is the other. One soul meeting another, except His soul is a different kind. I am individual soul, jivatma, while He is Supreme, Paramatma.
Once the two meet in perfect yoga, the differences cease. It is a blissful engagement, a feeling of oneness based on the servant-master paradigm. Shri Krishna, who teaches every kind of yoga but ultimately recommends bhakti to Arjuna, happily accepts my service, to any amount I am willing to offer. There is no limit, meaning that the bliss continues even after this present lifetime.
Try your active child to take,
And yogi out of them make.
Or that person with interest none,
Who sitting only for minutes some.
Whereas yoga of bhakti anyone to try,
Not on isolation to rely.
Since Krishna at other end,
Who towards success to send.
Categories: the four