Everyday Bhagavad-Gita: True Yoga.
Verse 2.41: Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched.
There are no shortage of ideas about yoga floating around the world today.
As yoga becomes more and more popular, it seems as though it’s also becoming increasingly difficult to understand what true yoga is all about.
It’s simple really. Yoga is a way of life. It’s not something you “do,” it’s how you live.
Since yoga is spiritual in its essence, the ultimate result of living a yogic lifestyle is to reconnect ourselves with the spiritual. What is spiritual? It is to realize that we ourselves are eternal spirit souls, that all other living entities are also eternal spirit souls, and that we are all connected by a common relationship; a relationship with the Divine, the Supreme, who different people call by various names.
For many of us, this is a lot to absorb all at once and so the yoga texts take it step by step.
First, the yoga texts start with the body. This makes sense since our bodies are what we have the most immediate experience with and with which we all too quickly and easily mistakenly identify ourselves. Yoga asanas, or postures, are there to help us experience the body. Think about it. How often during the day do you think about blinking, breathing, or even walking? We tend not to notice any particular part of our body unless we experience pain there, so by performing these various postures, we get to “experience” the body in the process of keeping it healthy.
For many, this is enough and they are happy to think that this is complete yoga. However, this is really just the beginning.
Once the body is regulated, it only makes sense that we try to control the wild and turbulent mind.
One of the most effective ways of taming the mind is through the practice of mantra meditation. In contrast to trying to empty the mind of all thoughts, which is near impossible to do, mantra meditation engages all the senses. Instead of trying to fight the senses to control the mind, the bhakti yogi uses them as tools.
Now we come to the purport of this week’s verse, which speaks of the intelligent. Did you know that the bhakti texts categorize the mind and intelligence as two different aspects?
In fact, there is a hierarchy. The intelligence is higher than the mind, which is higher than the senses. Higher than the intelligence is the soul. Are you noticing a pattern here? The first two steps involve our understanding the nature of the senses and the mind and then regulating them. And from here, we arrive at our intelligence which forces us to ask; what should we do with it?
We must purify it and one of the easiest ways to accomplish this is by hearing from advanced bhakti practitioners and reading the bhakti texts.
Here Krishna, the ultimate yogi, is giving the characteristics of a person who has purified intelligence—they are resolute in purpose and their aim is one, i.e., they are focused. In addition, to help us diagnose ourselves, He also gives a description of those persons whose intelligence is not purified—they are irresolute and scattered.
But that isn’t all.
The aim and the purpose of such intelligent persons is also given. It’s not that we should be resolute about just anything and count this as the benchmark of our purified intelligence. Purified intelligence means our aim and focus in on living a yogic, or pure, lifestyle.
But, the most important first step on our journey to the heart of real yoga lies in beginning to understand and controlling our minds. This is exactly what Krishna will reveal in the verses to come. So stay tuned!
It could change your life and turn you into the focused and empowered individual you always dreamed you would be.
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Editor: Thaddeus Haas