(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 13 January 2013, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Sunday Feast Lecture)
Do you have a yoga mat? I do. Do you use your yoga mat? Yeah, I don’t. Like most people, I bought one and I go onto it once a year, when I swear to myself I’m gonna start again. I stumble over the thing and say, “God, I still have that yoga mat, should do some yoga”.
“And touch your toes with the tip of your nose,” and all these kind of things. It reminds me, see my mother, she was into gymnastics, that was before yoga was invented. Before yoga, they had gymnastics and the radio was big in those days, so my mother always had the radio on. There was this piano playing and then this horrible voice, you know, I couldn’t stand, “And bend your knees,” all to the rhythm of the music. So, I’m still a little allergic to yoga when it comes to bending and when it comes to all these things, I must admit.
But then, when I found out that yoga is not at all that, what a relief! Yoga is more than that. Yoga is an outlook. Yoga is a mentality! It’s not gymnastics at all. It’s about a mentality and these yoga asanas are simply meant to bring about another state of consciousness. It’s not about physical fitness or to be stress free, although to be stress free seems to be a little closer to the mode of goodness. It’s about that, about coming to the mode of goodness and then making the jump, the jump to the spiritual platform because then you can maintain it.
It’s so hard to maintain such things. These ideals. Therefore purification, therefore a process, yoga is a change of consciousness, an alteration and then, one can become spiritually anchored and then suddenly, then we can go beyond believing, then we can go to experience, to perceiving, then we can break through to the other side. We can perceive that other dimension, that other reality, that now we cannot see.
So this purification, this inner alteration is required. One can only do that if one takes guidance from a vaisnava. Just like there are few yoga teachers here in the room. A couple of them. They’re all on the same side of the room. Anyway, nothing against yoga teachers. No. The point is, it’s easier when you have a yoga teacher, it is easier.
Anyway, back to my main point. My main point is that the Bhagavad-gita describes to us a process through which we gradually have an alteration of consciousness and then if you take it further from there and you begin to sacrifice your life for Krsna or the Supreme, then you can learn to love. And that’s really our aim, that’s our goal.