“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, the mystic perfections of yoga are acquired by a yogī who has conquered his senses, steadied his mind, conquered the breathing process and fixed his mind on Me. . . For a sage who has conquered his senses, breathing and mind, who is self-controlled and always absorbed in meditation on Me, what mystic perfection could possibly be difficult to achieve? Learned experts in devotional service state that the mystic perfections of yoga that I have mentioned are actually impediments and are a waste of time for one who is practicing the supreme yoga, by which one achieves all perfection in life directly from Me. Whatever mystic perfections can be achieved by good birth, herbs, austerities and mantras can all be achieved by devotional service to Me; indeed, one cannot achieve the actual perfection of yoga by any other means.” SB 11.15.1,32-34

There are 18 types of mystic perfections and meditations that a yogi or devotee can obtain by learning to steady the mind, conquer the senses and the breathing process. These are addressed in detail by Lord Krishna in the Srimad Bhagavatam Eleventh Canto, chapter 15 verses 1-36, and also are presented in Pantanjali Yoga Sutras part 3 verses 1-54. Some of the basic perfections, at first may be easy to achieve, but mastery of any of them is difficult, and the practitioner is warned that focusing one’s meditation or life to obtain any material perfection may be detrimental to one’s advancement in self-realization and one’s yogic practice, because it distracts one from the actual goal. In time, these perfection come naturally to one that is sincerely devoted.

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: The masters of the yoga system have declared that there are eighteen types of mystic perfection and meditation, of which eight are primary, having their shelter in Me, and ten are secondary, appearing from the material mode of goodness.” SB 11.15.3

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

“One should then pull the consciousness back from all the limbs of that transcendental body. At that time, one should meditate only on the wonderfully smiling face of the Lord. Being established in meditation on the Lord’s face, one should then withdraw the consciousness and fix it in the sky. Then giving up such meditation, one should become established in Me and give up the process of meditation altogether. One who has completely fixed his mind on Me should see Me within his own soul and should see the individual soul within Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus, he sees the individual souls united with the Supreme Soul, just as one sees the sun’s rays completely united with the sun.” SB 11.14.43-45

There is no qualitative difference between the Lord and the individual spirit soul. However, the individual soul has temporarily forgotten their eternal relationship with the Divine, but the Divine has never forgotten the individual soul. When we approach the Supreme to try to reclaim our rightful inheritance and reestablish our love, we must first approach Him/Her in a humble state of mind. Regardless of which deity one is attracted to, we must give up our false ego and become humble before the Lord. In these verses Lord Krishna has given us a meditation by which we can obtain our remembrance of Him through His original form within our heart. Once we have reestablished this relationship, we are instructed to meditate on our oneness with the Lord and the creation. Finally, once fully established in the Supreme Absolute, we can give up our meditation practice altogether. This should not be interpreted that one has become God, nor that one has no other work to perform. Pure love of God once tasted, is the highest obtainable pleasure for the minute spirit soul. Once established, one can forever engage in increasing this loving exchange for eternity.

“According to knowledge in the material mode of goodness, there is no qualitative difference between the living entity and the supreme controller. The imagination of qualitative difference between them is useless speculation.” SB 11.22.11

“Whatever a man may sacrifice to other gods, O son of Kunti, is really meant for Me alone, but it is offered without true understanding.” Bg. 9.23

“For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me.” Bg. 6.30

“Keeping the eyes half closed and fixed on the tip of one’s nose, being enlivened and alert, one should meditate on the lotus flower situated within the heart. This lotus has eight petals and is situated on an erect lotus stalk. One should meditate on the sun, moon and fire, placing them one after the other within the whorl of that lotus flower. Placing My transcendental form within the fire, one should meditate upon it as the auspicious goal of all meditation. That form is perfectly proportioned, gentle and cheerful. It possesses four beautiful long arms, a charming, beautiful neck, a handsome forehead, a pure smile and glowing, shark-shaped earrings suspended from two identical ears. That spiritual form is the color of a dark rain cloud and is garbed in golden-yellowish silk. The chest of that form is the abode of Śrīvatsa and the goddess of fortune, and that form is also decorated with a conchshell, disc, club, lotus flower and garland of forest flowers. The two brilliant lotus feet are decorated with ankle bells and bracelets, and that form exhibits the Kaustubha gem along with an effulgent crown. The upper hips are beautified by a golden belt, and the arms are decorated with valuable bracelets. All of the limbs of that beautiful form capture the heart, and the face is beautified by merciful glancing. Pulling the senses back from the sense objects, one should be grave and self-controlled and should use the intelligence to strongly fix the mind upon all of the limbs of My transcendental body. Thus one should meditate upon that most delicate transcendental form of Mine.” SB 11.14.36-42

Throughout this Bhagavata Purana there have been numerous descriptions of the Supersoul or the Lord in the heart. This four arm form of Vishnu (Krishna) is very difficult to obtain and may require lifetimes of meditation and/or the mercy of the Lord before one is able to obtain a vision of Him. But these descriptions are there to encourage the devotee so that one can strive for the absolute in His personal representation; also so that one will recognized the Supreme with full understanding and love. In this verse Krishna is describing His form as the Paramatma or adhiyajna, and it is the Supersoul (witness) that gives the individual soul it’s expression of free will. Though we may not have full understanding of this form of the Lord, or conscious memory in detail, by constantly meditating upon it, hearing about it, seeing a picture of it etc., our consciousness will eventually be awakened in the supreme with full understanding of our forgotten eternal relationship with the Cause of all Causes.

“The yogi who knows that I and the Supersoul within all creatures are one worships Me and remains always in Me in all circumstances.” Bg. 6.31

“Physical nature is known to be endlessly mutable. The universe is the cosmic form of the Supreme Lord, and I am that Lord represented as the Supersoul, dwelling in the heart of every embodied being.” Bg. 8.4

“Yet in this body there is another, a transcendental enjoyer who is the Lord, the supreme proprietor, who exists as the overseer and permitter, and who is known as the Supersoul.” Bg. 13.23

“That Supersoul is perceived by some through meditation, by some through the cultivation of knowledge, and by others through working without fruitive desire.” Bg. 13.25

“One who sees the Supersoul accompanying the individual soul in all bodies, and who understands that neither the soul nor the Supersoul is ever destroyed, actually sees.” Bg. 13.28

“Beginning from the mūlādhāra-cakra, one should move the life air continuously upward like the fibers in the lotus stalk until one reaches the heart, where the sacred syllable om is situated like the sound of a bell. One should thus continue raising the sacred syllable upward the distance of twelve aṅgulas, and there the oṁkāra should be joined together with the fifteen vibrations produced with anusvāra. Being fixed in the oṁkāra, one should carefully practice the prāṇāyāma system ten times at each sunrise, noon and sunset. Thus, after one month one will have conquered the life air.” SB 11.14.34-35

Each chakra has it’s own vibration and subtle electrical patterns. Lord Krishna is providing further instructions on how one is to raise the energy from the base of the spine to the heart center and then to the third eye, where once established one can clearly hear the sound vibration Om, the voice of God. With deep reverence, concentration and practice, one will hear the voice of God in their own language, the language of the heart.

“Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a loud rumbling sound as the glory of the LORD rose from the place where it was standing.” Ezekiel 3:12

“On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet,” Revelation 1:10

“God’s voice is Om. The repetition of Om should be made with an understanding of its meaning. Pantanjali Yoga Sutra 1.27-28

“The yogic situation is that of detachment from all sensual engagements. Closing all the doors of the senses and fixing the mind on the heart and the life air at the top of the head, one establishes himself in yoga.” Bg. 8.12

“After being situated in this yoga practice and vibrating the sacred syllable om, the supreme combination of letters, if one thinks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and quits his body, he will certainly reach the spiritual planets.” Bg. 8.13

“[These things saith] the Amen (om), the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” Revelation 3:14

“Śrī Uddhava said: My dear lotus-eyed Kṛṣṇa, by what process should one who desires liberation meditate upon You, of what specific nature should his meditation be, and upon which form should he meditate? Kindly explain to me this topic of meditation. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Sitting on a level seat that is not too high or too low, keeping the body straight and erect yet comfortable, placing the two hands on one’s lap and focusing the eyes on the tip of one’s nose, one should purify the pathways of breathing by practicing the mechanical exercises of pūraka, kumbhaka and recaka, and then one should reverse the procedure (recaka, kumbhaka, pūraka). Having fully controlled the senses, one may thus practice prāṇāyāma step by step.” SB 11.14.31-33

For the yogi, the transcendentalist, meditator, or material scientist who wants to understand the working of the subtle body and it’s energy centers, the chakras, Krishna here outlines the simple process of meditation, along with the process of sustaining one’s energy (life force) through the the subtle life channels of the body and neutralizing the life air. Another term for this and similar processes can be referred to pranayama, breath control, kundalini, kriya etc. This process is part of the hatha-yoga system. Anyone desiring to be liberated from the temporary acceptance of the self  as a body within the illusion of the material atmosphere can take to this practice and the following instructions of Lord Krishna.

“One should meditate upon the Supreme Person as the one who knows everything, as He who is the oldest, who is the controller, who is smaller than the smallest, who is the maintainer of everything, who is beyond all material conception, who is inconceivable, and who is always a person. He is luminous like the sun and, being transcendental, is beyond this material nature.” Bg. 8.9

“While continuously staring at the tip of the nose, a learned yogī practices the breathing exercises through the technical means known as pūraka, kumbhaka and recaka—controlling inhalation and exhalation and then stopping them both. In this way the yogī restricts his mind from material attachments and gives up all mental desires. As soon as the mind, being defeated by lusty desires, drifts toward feelings of sense gratification, the yogī should immediately bring it back and arrest it within the core of his heart.” SB 7.15.32-33

“And there are even others who are inclined to the process of breath restraint to remain in trance, and they practice stopping the movement of the outgoing breath into the incoming, and incoming breath into the outgoing, and thus at last remain in trance, stopping all breathing. Some of them, curtailing the eating process, offer the outgoing breath into itself, as a sacrifice.” Bg. 4.29

“Being conscious of the eternal self, one should give up association with women and those intimately associated with women. Sitting fearlessly in a solitary place, one should concentrate the mind on Me with great attention. Of all kinds of suffering and bondage arising from various attachments, none is greater than the suffering and bondage arising from attachment to women and intimate contact with those attached to women.” SB 11.14.29-30

The eternal self is that which lies outside of the consciousness of the body, the mind and it’s collective consciousness  (awareness, memories etc.) of things and events, the intelligence and so forth. The eternal self is that which has never not existed and that which continues to exists after the body is annihilated. Though desires may follow one into the next life, the eternal self is that which supports this karma, and is also separate from it. To become one again with that pure self, one must give up all association and identification with those things that one fears, holds dear, or simply desires. For men, this may mean letting go of one’s strong attraction for the opposite sex. In this verse Krishna is instructing Uddhava, a man, and so he is using this example. When Krishna instructs women, He instructs them that they too must let go of all attachment for family, home etc. and reestablish one’s eternal relationship with the Divine. When someone is ready, it is time to find a solitary place, and concentrate only upon God with rapt attention.

“Attraction and repulsion for sense objects are felt by embodied beings, but one should not fall under the control of senses and sense objects because they are stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization.” Bg. 3.34

“The Personality of Godhead answered: That yoga system which relates to the Lord and the individual soul, which is meant for the ultimate benefit of the living entity, and which causes detachment from all happiness and distress in the material world, is the highest yoga system.” SB 3.25.12

“When one is completely cleansed of the impurities of lust and greed produced from the false identification of the body as “I” and bodily possessions as “mine,” one’s mind becomes purified. In that pure state he transcends the stage of material happiness and distress.” SB 3.25.16

“In that position of self-realization, by practice of knowledge and renunciation in devotional service, one sees everything in the right perspective; he becomes indifferent to material existence, and the material influence acts less powerfully upon him.” SB 3.25.18

“Every learned man knows very well that attachment for the material is the greatest entanglement of the spirit soul. But that same attachment, when applied to self-realized devotees, opens the door of liberation.” SB 3.25.20

“Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 1 Corinthians 7:1

“Therefore, one should reject all material processes of elevation, which are like the mental creations of a dream, and should completely absorb one’s mind in Me. By constantly thinking of Me, one becomes purified.” SB 11.14.28

Spiritual life, one’s realizations, the process of becoming self-realized, God conscious, all require that one give up their material identification, the mind’s projections and the urges of the body and surrender to “that which is”. Whatever the name that we use for the Supreme Absolute, the highest good in us knows that Supreme controller as part of our own soul, and by surrendering to the Cause of All Causes, we are able to liberate our own mundane consciousness and become one in Spirit once again. By absorbing our consciousness in that of the Lord’s, by hearing about, thinking about, speaking about, praying to, meditating upon, chanting the Holy names of, etc., we at once awaken our own Divine awareness of all That Is and slowly become purified.

“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” Bg. 7.19

“He who meditates on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the path, he, O Partha [Arjuna], is sure to reach Me.” Bg. 8.8

“And when you have thus learned the truth, you will know that all living beings are but part of Me–and that they are in Me, and are Mine.” Bg. 4.35

“Just fix your mind upon Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engage all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt.” Bg. 12.8

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” Ecclesiastes 12:13

“Being purified by his intelligence and controlling the mind with determination, giving up the objects of sense gratification, being freed from attachment and hatred, one who lives in a secluded place, who eats little and who controls the body and the tongue, and is always in trance and is detached, who is without false ego, false strength, false pride, lust, anger, and who does not accept material things, such a person is certainly elevated to the position of self-realization.” Bg. 18.51-53

“If one’s hairs do not stand on end, how can the heart melt? And if the heart does not melt, how can tears of love flow from the eyes? If one does not cry in spiritual happiness, how can one render loving service to the Lord? And without such service, how can the consciousness be purified? A devotee whose speech is sometimes choked up, whose heart melts, who cries continually and sometimes laughs, who feels ashamed and cries out loudly and then dances — a devotee thus fixed in loving service to Me purifies the entire universe.” SB 11.14.23-24

To become an associate of the Lord or His or Her representative or lover, we must leave our false ego at the door. The body is a vessel for the soul only as long as there are remnants of leftover karma. When the majority of gross karma has been worked off, the subtle senses will emerge in a highly emotional state, and ecstatic symptoms, like those described in this verse can be expressed in full joy in the association of the Supreme. One’s hairs may stand on end, tears flow from the eyes, voice choked up as the heart melts, and the humble servant of God, sometimes laughs or cries uncontrollably. He may dance in ecstasy, madly call out holy names of the Lord, or speak incoherently in love. These symptoms also  deepen one’s love and purify the entire universe. Jesus cried tears of blood, St. Teresa and St. Joseph levitated and Caitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited numerous ecstatic symptoms such as crying uncontrollably in separation from his beloved Krishna, as his body changed it size and shape. Five hundred years ago he opened the storehouse of love of God and distributed it freely to the masses of India, in what in modern times has become known as the Hare Krishna movement.

“The bhāva [emotional mood or devotional state] stage is manifested by eight transcendental symptoms, namely inertness, perspiration, standing of hairs on end, failing in the voice, trembling, paleness of the body, tears in the eyes and finally trance. The Nectar of Devotion, a summary study of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, explains those symptoms and vividly describes other transcendental developments, both in steady and accelerating manifestations.” Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami

“And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.” Luke 22:44

“I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.” Psalm 6:6

“The characteristics of Krsna (God) are understood to be a storehouse of transcendental love. Although that storehouse of love certainly came with Krsna when He was present, it was sealed. But when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came with His other associates of the Panca-tattva, they broke the seal and plundered the storehouse to taste transcendental love of Krsna. The more they tasted it, the more their thirst for it grew. Sri Panca-tattva themselves danced again and again and thus made it easier to drink nectarean love of Godhead. They danced, cried, laughed and chanted like madmen, and in this way they distributed love of Godhead.” Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Adi-lila chapter 7 verse 20-22

“What bliss was in the devotees” hearts! The devotees floated in an ocean of happiness.” Sri Caitanya-bhagavata chapter 23 verse 157

“My dear Uddhava, the unalloyed devotional service rendered to Me by My devotees brings Me under their control. I cannot be thus controlled by those engaged in mystic yoga, Sāṅkhya philosophy, pious work, Vedic study, austerity or renunciation.” SB 11.14.20

God’s only desire is for our love. We have been given independence so that we can share our love freely, and make the Divine the recipient of our affection. In turn, we can experience the highest form of love in exchange for our devotion. To receive God’s love, we must give our love freely as we would in any intimate relationship. As we learn to surrender, God’s love is returned and our love and enthusiasm is increased. Loving exchange is the highest way to approach the Absolute Truth. Love Only is the path and the means. One may discover the mysteries of the subtle workings of the universe. Overcome all physical and mental limitations, gain the whole world, but loose their own soul. Jesus through love conquered the devil in the wilderness. Krishna overcame many demons, and gave Himself fully in friendship to Arjuna and the Pandavas. In unprecedented love to the Radharani. In parental affection to His parents. And as a king to to the Yadu dynasty. One who fully understands the philosophy of the Supreme Absolute and the material creation, still desires to experience loving exchange with the Most High, or there is no value in all of one’s obtained knowledge. Works alone cannot bring one closer to God, than the hearts longing. And mere renunciation only makes one long for the Eternal.

“The Personality of Godhead replied: The renunciation of work and work in devotion are both good for liberation. But, of the two, work in devotional service is better than renunciation of work.” Bg. 5.2

“And of all yogis, 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.” Bg. 6.47

“To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.” Bg. 10.10

“O ocean of mercy, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu! Let there be an awakening of Your auspicious mercy, which easily drives away all kinds of material lamentation by making everything pure and blissful. Indeed, Your mercy awakens transcendental bliss and covers all material pleasures. By Your auspicious mercy, quarrels and disagreements arising among different scriptures are vanquished. Your auspicious mercy pours forth transcendental mellows and thus causes the heart to jubilate. Your mercy, which is full of joy, always stimulates devotional service and glorifies conjugal love of God. May transcendental bliss be awakened within my heart by Your causeless mercy.” Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 10.119

“And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. “Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.”Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’” Luke 4:7

“O my Lord, O Supreme, because I was born in a family full of the hellish material qualities of passion and ignorance, what is my position? And what is to be said of Your causeless mercy, which was never offered even to Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva or the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī? You never put Your lotus hand upon their heads, but You have put it upon mine.” Srimad Bhagavatam 7.9.26

“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:25-26

“Too much of anything is dangerous unless it’s God’s Love.” ~ Reign

“Riches take wings, comforts vanish, hope withers away,but love stays with us. Love is God.” ~ Lew Wallace, Ben-Hur

“Those who are without any desire for personal gratification, whose minds are always attached to Me, who are peaceful, without false ego and merciful to all living entities, and whose consciousness is never affected by opportunities for sense gratification — such persons enjoy in Me a happiness that cannot be known or achieved by those lacking such detachment from the material world.” SB 11.14.17

We give up our personal desires, because the image that we accept as the self, is not the actual self, but a projection based upon our unfinished desires, as they have been expressed in the past and imagined for the future. Influenced by the modes (gunas) of nature (goodness, passion and ignorance) and influenced by the individual and collective consciousness of everyone that we associate with directly and indirectly. When one is able to fully let go the body and the mind’s desires for sense gratification, what remains is a natural longing and inspiration for “that which is”. At this point, nothing else is needed nor desired. Divine love is obtained and increases automatically in the association of devotees and God.

“Although the members of the Pañca-tattva (5 truths of reality or features of God) plundered the storehouse of love of Godhead and ate and distributed its contents, there was no scarcity, for this wonderful storehouse is so complete that as the love is distributed, the supply increases hundreds of times.” Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Adi 7.24

“The stage of perfection is called trance, or samadhi, when one’s mind is completely restrained from material mental activities by practice of yoga. This is characterized by one’s ability to see the self by the pure mind and to relish and rejoice in the self. In that joyous state, one is situated in boundless transcendental happiness and enjoys himself through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of greatest difficulty. This indeed is actual freedom from all miseries arising from material contact.” Bg. 6.20-23

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