Bhagavad-gītā As It Is » Chapter Six: Dhyāna-yoga
śucau deśe pratiṣṭhāpya
sthiram āsanam ātmanaḥ
tatraikāgraṁ manaḥ kṛtvā
Word for word:
śucau — in a sanctiﬁed; deśe — land; pratiṣṭhāpya — placing; sthiram — ﬁrm; āsanam — seat; ātmanaḥ — his own; na — not; ati — too; ucchritam — high; na — nor; ati — too; nīcam — low; caila-ajina — of soft cloth and deerskin; kuśa — and kuśa grass; uttaram — covering; tatra — thereupon; eka-agram — with one attention;manaḥ — mind; kṛtvā — making; yata-citta — controlling the mind; indriya — senses; kriyaḥ — and activities;upaviśya — sitting; āsane — on the seat; yuñjyāt — should execute; yogam — yoga practice; ātma — the heart;viśuddhaye — for clarifying.
To practice yoga, one should go to a secluded place and should lay kuśa grass on the ground and then cover it with a deerskin and a soft cloth. The seat should be neither too high nor too low and should be situated in a sacred place. The yogī should then sit on it very ﬁrmly and practice yoga to purify the heart by controlling his mind, senses and activities and ﬁxing the mind on one point.
“Sacred place” refers to places of pilgrimage. In India the yogīs – the transcendentalists or the devotees – all leave home and reside in sacred places such as Prayāga, Mathurā, Vṛndāvana, Hṛṣīkeśa and Hardwar and in solitude practice yoga where the sacred rivers like the Yamunā and the Ganges ﬂow. But often this is not possible, especially for Westerners. The so-called yoga societies in big cities may be successful in earning material beneﬁt, but they are not at all suitable for the actual practice of yoga. One who is not self-controlled and whose mind is not undisturbed cannot practice meditation. Therefore, in the Bṛhan-nāradīya Purāṇa it is said that in Kali-yuga (the present yuga, or age), when people in general are short-lived, slow in spiritual realization and always disturbed by various anxieties, the best means of spiritual realization is chanting the holy name of the Lord.
The ‘eightfold path’ consisting of yama and niyama (moral practices), asana (bodily postures), pranayama (breath control), pratayahara (sensory withdrawal), dharana (steadying the mind) dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (deep contemplation on Visnu within the heart). Bhatavad-Gita As It Is Chapter 6
Everyone must engage in some sort of activity in this material world. But actions can either bind one to this world or liberate one from it. By acting for the pleasure of the Supreme, without selfish motives, one can be liberated from the law of karma (action and reaction) and attain transcendental knowledge of the self and the Supreme. Bhagavad-Gita As It Is Chapter 3
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“One who is not self-controlled and whose mind is not undisturbed cannot practice meditation. Therefore, in the Bṛhan-nāradīya Purāṇa it is said that in Kali-yuga (the present yuga, or age), when people in general are short-lived, slow in spiritual realization and always disturbed by various anxieties, the best means of spiritual realization is chanting the holy name of the Lord.
- harer nāma harer nāma
- harer nāmaiva kevalam
- kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
- nāsty eva gatir anyathā
- (CC Adi 17.21)
“In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is chanting the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.”
‘Simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord, one advances perfectly in spiritual life. This is the best process for success in life. In other ages, the chanting of the holy name is equally powerful, but especially in this age, Kali-yuga, it is most powerful. Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet: simply by chanting the holy name of Krsna, one is liberated and returns home, back to Godhead. Therefore, even if one is able to perform other processes of devotional service, one must adopt the chanting of the holy name as the principal method of advancing in spiritual life. Yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi sumedhasah: those who are very sharp in their intelligence should adopt this process of chanting the holy names of the Lord. One should not, however, manufacture different types of chanting. One should adhere seriously to the chanting of the holy name as recommended in the scriptures:
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna
Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
Constant chanting of the holy name will make one free of offenses, and then he will gradually be elevated to the transcendental platform on which he can chant the pure holy name and thus become a lover of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.’