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The Key to Success in Yoga

key to success in yogaSuccess is one of the gods of the modern world–but only material success. However, Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita is interested in success of spirit, and we should be, too. So he begins this seventh chapter of the Gita, saying:

“With mind absorbed in Me, practicing yoga, dependent on Me, you shall know Me completely, without doubt. Hear that!” (Bhagavad Gita 7:1)

Perhaps one of the reasons Vyasa chose a battlefield as the setting for the immortal dialogue of the Gita is the necessity for cutting straight to the facts without delays. Once the battlefield is entered, diplomacy is left behind–if it had not failed there would be no battle. Only the facts–the immediate facts–now matter.

It is no surprise, then, that in all spiritual traditions we find military references and symbols to some degree. This verse certainly embodies the factuality and urgency of battle–traits that we require in our own personal battle for higher consciousness. Here then are the factors necessary for our success.

  • With mind absorbed in Me, practicing yoga.

It is only to be expected that an inquirer will not commit to such an intense involvement with yoga, that first some experience of its value must be gained. But it is absolutely essential that once the aspirant comes to see the value of yoga he must consider the necessity of making yoga practice the core of his life–everything else must become secondary. In fact, anything found to conflict with the practice of yoga must be eliminated from the yogi’s inner and outer life. Without this complete dedication success in yoga is impossible.

I am not saying that everything in a person’s life is to be displaced by yoga, that yoga is supposed to crowd out everything so that nothing else remains, but only that yoga must be central to the yogi’s life and be given first priority. Also that everything in the yogi’s life must be examined in the perspective of how it will affect his practice and ultimate success–or failure. This is because every element in our life must be looked at from a yogic perspective and ordered accordingly. Since most people’s lives are conglomerates of addictions rather than principles or rational choices, this can be a very difficult matter indeed. To reach the sweet we must first go through the bitter. It would not be honest to tell you otherwise.

There should be no “hidden charges” in yoga. Right from the first we should know what will be required of us if we intend to persevere. And we must decide to meet the requirements. Otherwise it is all a waste of time for everyone. The mind must be totally dedicated to God as the Supreme Goal and the Supreme Means. This is because real yoga is nothing less than communion with God right from the start, however faint or tenuous it may be. For “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18).

  • Dependent on Me.

That is, we must make God the only answer to our internal problems, and not resort to mental and emotional gimmicks that will only hid the troubles. Even though we should sensibly do our best in a practical manner in relation to our external difficulties, even there God should have priority so our external tangles will not turn into mental turmoils.

If we will observe these two principles, Krishna assures us: “you shall know Me completely, without doubt.” Then he continues: “To you I shall explain in full this knowledge, along with realization, which, having been understood, nothing further remains remains to be known here in the world” (7:2). Then we will be ready to get out of what a friend of mine used to call “this dumb kindergarten” of the earth and move up to a higher level of evolution. About time!

The few

The benefits of yoga are so marvelous, yet: “Of thousands of men, scarcely anyone strives for perfection. Even of the striving and the perfected, scarcely anyone knows Me in truth” (7:3). “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:23, 24). Why so few? Because few value God that much, will devote their whole mind to God, practice yoga, and take refuge in God alone, making God the Sole Reality in their life. Such persons are rare, but we must at some time or other in the round of rebirths become one of them. Why not now, rather than later?


 

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