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(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada chanting gayatri mantra)

Devotee: "A transcendentalist should always try to concentrate his mind on the supreme self. He should live alone in a secluded place and should always carefully control his mind. He should be free from desires and possessiveness."

Prabhupāda: Yes. This is the beginning of transcendental life. This chapter, Lord Kṛṣṇa will try to teach the principles of yoga system. So here he begins. That a transcendentalist should always try to concentrate his mind on the supreme self. Supreme self means Kṛṣṇa or Lord. He is the supreme self, as I just explained, nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). He is the supreme eternal. He is the supreme living entity. So the whole yoga system is to concentrate mind on the supreme self. We are not supreme self. That you can understand. Supreme self is God. This is dvaita-vāda. Duality. Duality means God is different from me. He is supreme. I am subordinate. He is great, I am small. He is infinite, I am infinitesimal. This is the relationship. So because we are infinitesimal, we should concentrate our mind to the infinite, supreme self. Then, he should live alone. Alone. This is most important thing. Alone means not to live with persons who are not Kṛṣṇa conscious or God conscious. That is alone. He should live alone in a secluded place. Secluded place, there are, or, in the jungle. In the forest. It is very secluded place. But in this age it is very difficult to go to the jungle and find out a secluded place. The secluded place is that where simply God consciousness is taught. That is secluded place. That is secluded place. Then? And should always carefully control his mind. How to control the mind? Just fix up your mind to the supreme self or Kṛṣṇa. Not anything else.

Sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ (SB 9.4.18). The other day as I explained, if you keep your mind always seated by Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa is just like light, sun. So there is no question of darkness occupying the mind. There will be no possibility. Just like in the sunlight, there is possibility of darkness. Similarly, if you keep Kṛṣṇa on your mind always, this māyā or illusion cannot reach there. She will be unable to reach there. That is the process. He should be free from desire and possessiveness. The whole material disease is that I want to possess and desire. And whatever is lost, I lament for it, and whatever there is, whatever we haven't got, we desire for it. So, brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā (BG 18.54)—one who is actually God conscious, Kṛṣṇa conscious, he has no desire for material possession. He has only desire how to serve Kṛṣṇa. That means his desire is purified. This desire is, you cannot give up desire. That is not possible. You are living entity, you must have desire. But our desire is at the present moment is contaminated. "I want to, I desire to satisfy my senses by material possession." But if you desire for Kṛṣṇa, this desire for material possession will automatically vanish. Go on.

Devotee: "To practice yoga, one should go to a secluded place (BG 6.11-12)."

Prabhupāda: This is the prescription how to practice yoga. In your country, the yoga practice is very popular. There are many so-called yoga societies. But here is the prescription given by the Supreme Lord how to practice yoga. Go on.

Devotee: "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 neither be too high nor too low and should be situated in a sacred place. The yogi should then sit on it very firmly and should practice yoga by controlling the mind and the senses, purifying the heart and fixing the mind on one point."

Prabhupāda: The first prescription is how to sit and where to sit. Sitting posture. You have to select a place where you shall sit down and practice yoga. That is the first prescription. Go on.

Devotee: "Purport: Sacred place refers to places of pilgrimage. In India the yogis, the transcendentalists or the devotees all leave home and reside in sacred places such as Prayāga, Mathurā, Vṛndāvana, Hṛṣīkeśa, Hardwar, and practice yoga there."

Prabhupāda: Now, suppose you have to find out a sacred place. In this age, how many people is prepared to find out a sacred place. For his livelihood he has to live in a congested city. Where is the question of sacred place? So if you don't find a sacred place, then how you can practice yoga? That is the first prescription. Therefore this bhakti-yoga system, the sacred place is this temple. You live here, it is nirguṇa, it is transcendental. The Vedic injunction is that the city is the place of passion. And the forest is the place of goodness. And the temple is transcendental. If you live in a city or a town, that is a passionate place. And if you don't want to live in a passionate place, you go to a forest. That is place of goodness. But a temple, a God's temple, is above this passion and goodness. Therefore temple is the only secluded place for this age. You cannot go in a secluded place in a forest. It is impossible. And if you make a show of yoga practice in a so-called class and indulge in all kinds of nonsense things, that is not yoga practice. Here is the prescription how to practice yoga. Go on.

Devotee: "Therefore, in the Bṛhan-Nāradīya Purāṇa it is said that in the Kali-yuga, the present yuga or age, when people in general are short-living, slow in spiritual realization, and always disturbed by various anxieties, the best means of spiritual realization is to chant the holy name of the Lord. In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is to chant the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way to success."

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is the prescription in the Bṛhan-Nāradīya Purāṇa.

    harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam
    kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā
    (CC Ādi 17.21)

Harer nāma, simply chant the holy name of the Lord. That is the only process of self-realization or concentration or meditation. And there is no other alternative, no other alternative, no other alternative. Other practices will not be feasible. And it is so nice that even a child can take part in it. This is universal.

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Los Angeles, February 15, 1969)
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The Lord's Prescription for Practicing Yoga