Yoga means that which links. As soon as we say link there should be two or more things to get linked.Yoga is a sanskrit word and it is a process by which one can re-establish the lost relationship with the Supreme Lord who is the source of all the existence.

Bhoga means enjoyment. Bhogi means enjoyer. In the name of yoga, so many bogis(not yogis) have misused these terms all around the world amd just the physical exercises has been termed widespread as yoga today. By gaining physical strength, these bhogis recommend, sense enjoyment which is the reverse process of the yoga. So we need to be aware of what we are doing. Otherwise, we will be misled and misused/exploited.

There are different types of Yoga that we find in the vedice scriptures which are meant for different times, places, circumstances and the nature of the person. All these different yogas are meant for bringing one to the level of realization of the self and supreme and then experience the practitioner to attain limitless bliss that is beyond this time, space, or the material elements including mind, body, earth, water,fire, air, ether, intelligence, false ego.

The Yoga Ladder(click to view enlarged image)

1.Karma yoga
    a. Sakama karma yoga
    b. Niskama karma yoga
2.Jnana yoga
3.Dhyana yoga(Ashtanga yoga)
4.Bhakti yoga

Of all this, Bhakti yoga is the topmost which any yogi practicing should be aware of. Bhakti Yoga should be the ultimate goal of any practitioner. For it only can trannscend the practitioner to higher levels of consciousness and bring about real bliss of the soul in the heart. The whole idea of Bhakti Yoga is to just please the Supreme Lord by our activites and by doing so we can derive unlimited pleasure within the self and it is indescribable by any of the English words.

This Bhakti yoga is not very cheap thing that by simply paying money, we can become a yogi. Not that!! If you want to become a yogi by giving money and not following any principle, you better can opt to be a bhogi and not cheat yourself and the world.

Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also called Yogeshwara , Yogendra. He is the topmost Yogi. For Him there is no one to be meditated upon but the Self alone. For us, we have to meditate upon Him. Because He is the Super-soul and we are ordinary souls meant for His enjoyment. When He is pleased we will get pleasure naturally. He is the mystic person and even He can be controlled by this Bhakti Yoga which is the deepest mysticsm. This is not a sentimental practice but a proven methodology recommended by the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna Himself as the easiest means to attain perfection and that we can find the practitioners surpassing all the sensual, mental states, egotistic of enjoyment and experiencing unlimited bliss.

Also there are millions of people thinking that by doing some yoga process, one can become God. Never!!! We are part and parcel of God and we are individual living entities (spirit souls meant for giving pleasure to the Lord) and we can never become God. If there's someone teaching you how to become God, he's no better than a dog! God means He should never be controlled by the nature, rather the nature is under His control. We are all not as powerful as God and we are prone to be fallen. There are only two options for us either to serve God or serve the material nature which is illusory but real.

Krishna Himself says ,"And of all yogis, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Me -- he is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. That is My opinion"- Bhagavad Gita # 6.47

Also Krishna says,"One can understand Me as I am, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of Me by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God."- Bhagavad Gita As It Is-18.55

God remains God all the time. As far as Krishna is concerned, He was God when He appeared as a baby and also God when He grown up and there's no old age for God. Krishna has been God always and that is the definition of God. Not that sometime He becomes Dog and loses all His potency.

Ashtanga Yoga is not for Kali Yuga

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 09:40 AM PST
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.'
 (Brihad Naradiya Purana.3.8.126; Caitanya Caritamrita 17.21)
This is the yuga dharma for the age of Kali. For the four yugas (Satya, Treta, 
Dvapar and Kali) there are four Dharmas. 
krte yad dhyayato visnum
tretayam yajato makhaih
dvapare paricaryayam
kalau tad dhari-kirtanat
Whatever result was obtained in Satya-yuga by
 meditating on Viṣṇu, in Tretā-yuga by performing 
sacrifices, and in Dvāpara-yuga by serving the
 Lord's lotus feet can be obtained in Kali-yuga simply 
by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.
(SB 12.3.52)
So Krte Yad dhyayato Visnum – In Satya yuga the process of deliverance was
 Meditation on the Lord. Does meditation mean sitting at one place and
 thinking of something or does it mean to make the mind vacant? To begin 
with, the mind's business is to think, so how can we make it vacant and stop
 thinking? Yoga is not the process of this age (kali-yuga) and we can consider
 why it is not a process for this age.
Yoga beings with leaving home and going to a solitary place. That is the 
pre-requisite for practicing yoga. Even better to go to the forest and best is 
going under the water and meditating which is not possible for people of this age. 
This yoga process is known as Astanga Yoga. 
(Asta – Eight; Anga – limbs/stages). The eight stages are:
1. Yama: External Purification, not only to have a clean body, wearing 
clean clothes but this also involves eating only Krishna Prasad.
2. Niyama: Internal Purification by following the rules and regulations
 (Cleaning the mind from all undesirable thoughts and prepare your mind to be clean).
3. Asana: This does not mean some physical exercise.  The purpose of 
asana is to utilize the body to reach the destination. For example, if you
 want to drive a machine, the first thing we have to do is sit properly in the 
right side. If we want to ride a plane, we have to sit in the cockpit and not in
 economy class seat and then we have to know how to ride the plane or if
 we want to ride a bicycle, we have to be seated in a proper position and
 should know how to use the machine in order to reach the destination. 
Similarly, this body is a machine. Yantra rudhani mayaya (BG 18.61).
 Yantra means machine, arudhani means to ride. So this human body 
is a very special machine, because when we get this machine, we can 
reach our ultimate destination, the spiritual sky, Goloka Vrindavan.
 In order to do that, we have to learn how to ride this machine.
4. Pranayama: Prana is actually the air which keeps the soul within the body.
 These airs control different activities. Don't we say the prana left,
 when somebody dies? So when the pranavayu left the body, it 
means the soul left. This Prana is synonomous to our breathing.
 Generally we think breathing consists of inhale and exhale. 
But Vedic understanding says there are 3 functions: inhale,
 exhale and retain. So the practice of yoga (umbaka) is actually 
meant to retain the life air within the body. The Purpose of
 pranayama is to retain life air within and stop inhaling and exhaling.
 This practically means to stop breathing by retaining the air.  
5. Pratyahara: When the yogis stop breathing, then they are
 able to withdraw their senses from the sense objects. What do
 the senses do? The senses are constantly running towards
 the objects of the senses. Then as a result one develops attachment for them.
dhyāyato viṣayān puḿsaḥ sańgas teṣūpajāyate
sańgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ kāmāt krodho 'bhijāyate
krodhād bhavati sammohaḥ sammohāt smṛti-vibhramaḥ
smṛti-bhraḿśād buddhi-nāśo buddhi-nāśāt praṇaśyati
While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person
 develops attachment for them, and from such attachment
 lust develops, and from lust anger arises. From anger, 
complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment
 of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence
 is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again 
into the material pool. (Bhagavad Gita 2.25-63).
So the yogi at that stage, he withdraws the senses from the sense objects.
 That means the eyes will be open, but the eyes will not register anything 
he sees. Sound will be there, ears will not register because we are not 
running to the sense objects anymore.
6. Dhyana: Then begins dhyana. When our senses are withdrawn 
from the sense objects, only then we are eligible to meditate. 
Otherwise everybody is meditating, but the problem is they are 
meditating on material objects like money, family etc but this
 Astanga-yoga is meant for meditating on the Supreme Lord.
 Where is the Supreme Personality of Godhead? Isvarah sarva 
bhutanam hrd-dese arjuna tisthati - He is seated in everyone's heart. (BG 18.61)
7. Dharana: This stage means focusing on the Supreme Personality
 of Godhead present in the heart and then when meditation is fixed
 that is called Dharana.
8. Samadhi: When one perceives the Supreme Lord in the heart,
 that is called Samadhi.
So this is astanga-yoga system. This is not only possible for us
 but it was not possible for people in treta yuga so Krishna 
devised the process of sacrifice.
Tretayam yajato makaih. This means sacrifice, yajna. Does 
sacrifice mean pouring some ghee in fire? Sacrifice really means
 giving up - for whom? For Krishna. This is for Krishna , this is
 not for me. This is how one used to reach to the point of
 realizing that even I belong to Krishna. My money is for Krishna.
 My children are for Krishna. My family, home whatever
 I have is for Krishna. Then finally even I belong to Krishna.
 That is the perfection of sacrifice in everything.
But in Dvapara people lost that ability to do that therefore 
Krishna introduced another process, Dvapare Paricaryayam 
– worship the Lord in the temple. That worship also was very 
elaborate. That we can see in ISKCON temples, although it has
 been simplified to a great extent, but we can see how difficult 
the process is. So temple worship includes getting up early in the
 morning at 3:30 AM, then take bath, then make arrangements
 for the Lord to wake-up. There were atleast 6 Arati's and we 
have to offer to the Lord 56 Bhogas. That is the process for 
Dvapara yuga.
In Kali-yuga we lost the ability to even worship the Lord properly,
 therefore the Lord gave a very simple process – yajnaih
sankirtana prayair; yajanti hi su-medhasah – Those who
 are intelligent will worship Him through this chanting. (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.32).
Now just consider, to chant the holy name do we have 
to go to a forest? To chant the Holy Name do we have to
 perform sacrifice? To chant the Holy Name, do we have
to visit a temple? No. We are all working and still practicing
 Krishna Consciousness and chanting the Holy Name. 
This way we can see, in this age of Kali-yuga, it is so simplified.
So this is how Krishna works. Krishna wants us to go 
back to Godhead. If the son goes away from the father,
 does the father make him feel very criticial and closes the
 doors for the son to return? No, the father will make all 
arrangements for the son to come back. Krishna is the 
Supreme Father and we are all His sons. That is the 
difference between Christianity and Krishna Consciousness.
 In Christianity, they think God has only one son but in
 Krishna Consciousness we have the clear understanding
 that not only human beings but every living entity is the son of God.
Therefore we see that as we are losing the ability to
 re-establish our relationship with Krishna, Krishna, the
 Supreme Personlaity of Godhead is making it easier for us.
 As we are becoming dull, incapable and diseased, the 
Lord is making the process easier and simpler so that 
everybody can benefit and go back to Godhead.
In other ages, we had to make elaborate arrangements.
 Eg: When Yudhistar Maharaj decided to perform Rajasuya Yajna,
 he sent Bhima, Arjun, Nakul and Sahadeva to four different
 directions to bring all the wealth to perform the sacrifice,
 bring so many qualified brahmanas and also to perform sacrifices
 we need pure ghee from cows. Then in Dvapara yuga we need
 to go to the temple where the deities of the Lord are there.
 But the chanting of Holy Name of the Lord can be performed
 by anyone, anywhere and just by hearing the Holy Name,
 people get purified. It is the perfect arrangement to help all living entities.

- Lecture of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj :: Damodardesh 20.01.2012

Om Tat Sat(all these activities are done for the pleasure of the Lord)!!!

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