Yoga is becoming more and more popular in the world. You can hardly find anywhere that some type of yoga is not being taught. And generally speaking, it’s Hatha yoga – physical yoga, the yoga where you twist and turn, and stretch, and bend, placing the body in various positions, or poses (these are known as asanas), and this is very beneficial for the body. And it also has benefit for the mind.
But there’s much more to yoga than this. And this is what we need to learn. Remember I mentioned that the idea is going to be: harmony, health and peace that results from yoga. I think everybody would readily agree we need this. I think everyone would agree, “Yes, this is what I’m looking for.” But we’re looking in the wrong place; we’re looking at the wrong solutions. The key word in this sequence here is harmony. I think everybody understands the meaning of the word. And I think everybody would understand that it’s necessary for anything to work correctly.
Even a machine, take the engine of a car. There’re many, many working parts. It is designed by the designer so all the parts work in harmony, and when this is happening, the motor runs smoothly, and it can perform its intended function. But if just any one small part is out of harmony with the rest of the engine, things start falling apart, bumping into each other, breaking. Maybe you’ve had that “wonderful” experience of hearing your car motor blow up. It doesn’t sound very good and it no longer works. So one moment there’s harmony, the next moment there’re chaos and destruction.
And so it is with everything in life. If you’ve observed nature, you can see everything is working so harmoniously. There’s a rhythm. The seasons come and go. If you’re by the sea, the tides come in and go out. The plants grow according to seasons, bear fruit and lay dormant during certain seasons. The animals have their harmonious sequence. Everything is working together. Some living entities are food for other living entities: the food chain. All kinds of wonderful things are going on. And this goes well until we come to the species of man. This is when the harmony breaks down.
There is a Supreme Soul and He has a system. The material creation is an amazing system, harmony. There are laws of material nature and they govern material nature. As long as we’re harmonized with this system, everything will go as it should.
We have just determined that there are three components to this organism: two material and one spiritual. The gross body and the subtle body, they are material, and the living entity, the soul, is spiritual. Now, it is designed so all these parts work together. And when they do, there is health and there is peace. That’s the system. But again, when we get out of sync with this system, then the problems begin.
Let’s just take the body, our physical body. There’re so many parts, and they’re all designed to work together. It’s designed to have a certain food. Every species of life has a designated food. All that doesn’t change for the human. There’s designated food for the body if we want it to work as it should. And the yoga teaching states that a vegetarian diet is correct for human beings.
So we need to eat according to this yoga knowledge, Vedic knowledge. And it’s not only the food we eat, but the time we eat, the way we eat, the amount of food we eat, etc, etc. There’s a whole science of eating that’s in keeping with the system.
It’s just like again in reference to your car engine. It was designed by the designer to have certain food. They recommend, “Ok, use this type of oil and change it at these intervals. Use this type of fuel. Oh, this is a high performance engine; you need to use 95 or 98. This is a diesel, you need to use diesel fuel,” etc. There’s a whole set of requirements if you want that motor to be in good health. You start violating that system, and you shorten the life of the motor, and maybe destroy it. But the human body is a machine, too. And when we follow the instructions, it’s a very, very wonderful smooth running machine.
But we don’t follow that system. We create our new system. This is the big problem. See, in the human form of life we have advanced intelligence, advanced mental abilities to change things, to choose, to decide: I’m going to do it in a different way. We’re not willing to follow the authorities; we want to be the authorities.
In the lower forms of life you don’t find this. You know the planet is in big trouble now. Is this caused by the deer? The moose? All the wild animals? Fish and birds? Or is it caused by men? They’re doing their job; they’re following as they are supposed to. We don’t. We are out of harmony with everything.
So yes, take the environment: to satisfy our material desires, we exploit the environment day in and day out. We change things, we overuse things, we create unnecessary things. We have destroyed and continue to destroy the whole planet.
According to God’s system, on the Earth planet the rainforests are the lungs of the planet. This is where the most oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange takes place. But we don’t care about that. We destroy it; we exploit it for our own selfish interest. We cut the rainforests down for the timber, to clear the land so we can plant soy beans to feed to animals that we will eat. Or, after exploiting the land with these soy beans, we raise cattle there on grass. Very quickly the ground can no longer produce, it’s been destroyed. All we have are worthless parts of the rainforests. Twenty square miles a day are being destroyed.
The Earth planet is filled with so many different species of life. Yet because of the environmental damage, one species is becoming extinct every three hours. It can’t live here anymore. God’s system has been so altered that they have no place on this planet.
So we are paying the price in our own bodies: so much ill health. Who can say they’re perfectly healthy? Very few people. But many, many people can say, “I’m not healthy at all.” Hospitals are full, doctors’ offices are full, people take enumerable types of medication so they can make it through the day.
Our health is going down more and more. Cancer, which previously was very rare, is now ripened: one in four women get breast cancer, one in eight men get prostate cancer. Not very good statistics. Is this supposed to be like that?
Did God design the body to be so ill? No, He designed it to be healthy. But we don’t follow His design. We have a better way to live, so there is no health.
And of course, if there is no health of the body, there is no peace. When you’re sick, do you feel very peaceful? When you’re suffering from one pain, another pain, do you feel very peaceful? Of course, you don’t. Pain makes you angry.
And not only physical health but mental health is also being greatly damaged. Mental instability, mental ill health – it’s a big, big problem. One of the biggest over the counter drugs are antidepressants, “Oh, I must take these pills, I’m so depressed. Oh, I have to take these prescription pills because my mind is so disturbed.”
Schizophrenia is very, very common. All kinds of strange psychic conditions: hearing voices, or just the more simple ones – we can’t sleep at night. The mind is so disturbed we can’t even sleep. When we finally get to sleep, then we can’t get up. So we take pills to go to sleep, we take pills to wake up. It’s not supposed to be like that. We’re not supposed to have all these physical and mental weaknesses.
But we do, and they’re ever increasing because we are out of harmony with God’s system. So again, how can there be peace? It’s on the individual level, it’s on the national level, it’s on the international level. Everywhere there’s so much chaos, quarrelling, because we’re not following this system of yoga.
The time periods of the day are designed for certain activities, but we don’t follow that. We’re supposed to get up very early in the morning and engage in meditation, various spiritual practices. This is what that time of the day is designed for. But we don’t do that. If possible, we don’t get up at all; it’s sleep to this magic period. We get up too late, and we rush, rush, rush, trying to get to work, have breakfast, and go to school, and do all the things. We’ve designed our lifestyle so we are under constant stress all day, from the traffic on the street to the work we do. Always stress.
It’s very detrimental to the physical and mental bodies. One of the main causes of cancer is stress. You can have all the other things right, but if you’re under this constant stress, you can’t be healthy. It wasn’t designed like that. We created that, and again, that’s also on the increase.
In the evenings we’re supposed to come together again and engage in spiritual activities. The energy is good for that. And then what most people will consider quite early: at 9 or 10 o’clock at night we’re supposed to go to sleep. But we don’t. We stay up late, we watch television, we go to the bar, we drink, do all kinds of unnecessary and detrimental activities that bring about our ill health and agitation.
Intoxication is so ripened. Why? Because we have to stay intoxicated to withstand all of this, to deal with the stress and the pain, and the suffering, and the misery. On and on it goes, it’s not hard to see, nobody can deny this is all true.
Why? Because no one is following the system of yoga. In the teachings of the yoga philosophy it says: this lifestyle is not to be lived. See, there is a yoga lifestyle that includes everything: eating, sleeping, working, exercise, meditation and other spiritual processes. If one lives according to these teachings, then they eliminate so many problems from their life. Why? Because it’s in harmony with the plan, this is how it’s supposed to be.
We have to eventually come to understand: I’m not God, I’m not the Supreme, I don’t make the rules; my position is not to create, my position is to follow. But we’ve lost that connection with the Supreme Lord.
Many people are atheists; they don’t even accept there is a Supreme Lord. They don’t even accept there’re laws that govern us. If there is a law, so what? We’ll make it better, we’ll change things. So we pay the price in a big way.
What are we looking for? What is the motivation behind all this? It’s our attempt to be happy. This is why we do all these crazy things. We’re trying to be happy. This is universal because it is the nature of the soul to be happy. This is our inherent nature.
You can find this attempt to be happy in every species of life. Not only humans but the dogs, aren’t they trying to find happiness, too? But their source of happiness is pretty simple. They want enough food to eat, a warm place to sleep, and they defend themselves when they’re attacked, trying to survive like this, and when it’s time for them to mate, they do. But it’s still that they are trying to be happy.
But again, when we come to the species of men, then we’ve got all this intelligence, all this facility to try to satisfy our senses in innumerable ways, so that’s the goal in life. I identify myself as being the material body, “This is me.” But the soul sends the message which is easily perceivable, “I want happiness.” No question about that. So I take this inherent impetus, this inherent need, and as I conclude I’m the body, my solution is to make the body happy, “I’m the body. I want to be happy. So if I make my body happy, I’ll be happy.” It’s a very logical conclusion.
How do you make the body happy? By satisfying the senses. The senses are the avenues of pleasure for the body. So our eyes are always roaming looking for some pleasure, depending on what we see as pleasurable, what our objects of pleasure are. For a man – a beautiful woman, perhaps, for a woman – a handsome man, for a car enthusiast – a very nice car, for a businessman – some way to make money, for a politician – winning the election.
We’re looking for pleasure, “Where is the pleasure?” Then we act accordingly. The ears are always seeking pleasure. Cell phone pleasure, “De-do-do-do. Oh, such a nice ringtone!” Anyway, this is modern life, cell phone life, which we “need”, of course. We get electronic smog from computers, cell phones, and the concurrent cancers, and different damage. But of course, we “need” it, it makes us happy. I’m sure most of us here remember when there was no such thing as a cell phone. Remember those days: no cell phones? They didn’t exist on the planet, nobody had one. Were we any less happy? We were more happy, more peaceful. Nobody could disturb us in the middle of everything. There is no peace, you can’t get away from these things. Everybody is afraid to cut them off, “Oh, I might miss a call! Oh my God, what would happen? I’d miss a call!” Whereas before, we wouldn’t think about missing a call, our whole life was a missed call; It was great. So, we’ve created more misery for ourselves.
On, and on it goes. The nose is looking for pleasure. The tongue, “Oh, where is the food? Oh, where are the nice things for the pleasure of the tongue?” So, we’ve created artificial “everything” for the tongue. Ask people, why do you eat that junk? I mean candy that looks like this. How natural is that? I mean that’s just some red-green thing that we feed to our kids.
-Why do you eat that garbage?
-Oh, it tastes good.
-Why do you drink this? This is poison.
It’s all about what it tastes like; it doesn’t matter if it destroys the body. It tastes great…
On, and on it goes. The sense of touch, “Oh, I like this.” The genitals, “Oh, where is the pleasure for the genitals?” And that is our whole life. That’s what our life is about: thinking about it and doing it. That’s why when we lose one sense; it’s such a loss to our life. If somehow we go blind, it’s like half of my life just disappeared. All those pleasures: no more television, no more movies, no more seeing this and this, can’t drive a car, can’t do this. My pleasures have gone. I can’t hear, “Oh man, what happened?” I no longer can taste, “Why eat?” You want to lose weight? Then have no taste. You won’t eat, just a little bit; too much trouble to chew, chew, chew, “Stupid. Why am I doing this?” But when the tongue is involved, “Oh, let’s eat more.”
So this is the game in life that we have played and are continuing to increase the play. But it doesn’t make us happy, and it can’t make us happy because we are not the body. If we were the body, it would work. But as we are not the body, therefore it doesn’t work. So that’s why after all the material pleasure we are still not happy. That’s why the world’s filled with depressed rich people, depressed famous people. The great athlete commits suicide. The greatest soccer star in Germany about a year ago stepped in front of a train.
-Come on! You’re rich, you’re famous, you’re thirty and something years old, you are in premier league; you have a wife, kids. What are you doing? Aren’t you happy?
-I’m not happy, so unhappy I’d kill myself.
Of course, that doesn’t work, but that is another whole subject. Remember it’s never over. You just kill the body and create additional misery.
So the yoga message is: you need happiness but you are looking in the wrong place. Follow the teachings of the Vedas and you will find true happiness. At the same time there will be great wealth and prosperity for everybody. You are harmonized with God’s plan, not rebelled against it. Your physical health, your mental health will greatly improve and your relationships with the material energy, the environment, nature, your relationship with your mind, your relationship with your body, your relationship with others, your husband, your wife, your kids, your neighbors, your enemies, other living entities, all will be as it should be.
Most importantly, your relationship with the Supreme Lord will be foremost; this will be the number one objective – to perfect that relationship. Then and only then can you know peace. Then you will actually be peaceful. You’re the spirit soul. You will be enveloped in a loving relationship with the source of love.
We are scrambling, we are looking, we are desperate for love. But are we finding it? And the answer is: no. There’s more divorce than there’s ever been. There’s more domestic violence than there’s ever been. There’re more orphan kids, there’s more everything that’s adverse to love than ever before. Because we are not finding love, this is not where we are looking.
So again, if we come back to the pure teachings, give up our “lord man” identity and accept our real position as the child of the Supreme Lord, whose eternal occupational duty is to lovingly serve the Supreme Lord, then we are on the right path. This is the lifestyle of yoga, and this is truly the understanding of yoga.
If I just go to the gym or to the yoga club, and I exercise my body in all the different ways, and still try to find my happiness through material sources via sense pleasures, etc then I’m in the same position as everybody else. Yes, maybe my body is a little more healthy, maybe my mind is a little more peaceful, but I still need that spiritual food, that spiritual connection.
So every part of yoga has its place to play. You put the whole package together, you learn the science of Bhakti yoga, learn how to live. We don’t know how to live. We’re living because we’re all spirit souls, we can’t die; so we will live, no matter what we do. People say, “Oh, if we destroy the planet, then there’ll be no life.” There will be life, but not on this planet, not in the form we know it now. But life is eternal, you cannot kill it. But it can be a life of misery or a life of pure pleasure.
It only will be that life of perfection when we become yogis. Some people think a yogi is some guy living in a cave in the Himalayas, sitting there with a long beard, “Oh, he’s a yogi.” Not necessarily. It depends on what he’s doing there. No, by pure nature everybody is a yogi. That means to be in union with God. The word “yoga” means “union.” That’s what it means. It means specifically the union of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul.
Now, how do you unite with another person? You unite your wills. A husband and a wife, if they have two completely different wills:
-I want this.
-I want that.
-I don’t agree.
-I don’t agree.
There’s no union, there‘s only conflict, always arguing, quarreling, no harmony. But if their wills become united: what you want is what I want, then there’s true harmony.
The Supreme Lord has the Supreme will. His will is always done. But I have been endowed with the eternal free will also. The problem is: now I’m acting independently. So the philosophy of life in the world as we know is: “My will be done.” Isn’t this the game we play? “I’m the center of my universe. Everyone and everything revolves around me.” My will be done. And that’s what we all are trying to do: to get our will, “I want this, I want that!” That’s why there is so much conflict, competition, struggle. And it’s all independent of the Supreme will. So even if we unite all of our wills together and we’re independent of the Supreme will, it’s still a problem.
So the science of yoga is to engage in a lifestyle that brings about this connection, this union. This is the perfect science of Bhakti yoga. Then you can actually experience in your life harmony, true harmony, which will automatically result in health: physical health, mental health, healthy relationships and spiritual health, automatically.
And out of that will come a peace that is beyond all other peace, a peace in the heart, not a peaceful mind, “Oh, I sat down and I did a little meditation, and my mind is peaceful.” That’s good, but the heart is not peaceful, the heart is not resting. But when you harmonize in the way I’ve described, then there will be actually true peace in the heart.
And in that condition when you leave this body at the time of death, which we all will, you return to the spiritual world, the original home of harmony and peace. So this is the science of life. Yoga is the complete science of life.
We think the scientists are the greatest personalities. But the spiritual scientists, the true spiritual teachers, they are the great scientists. And the Vedas are the great science books. And if we become students of the great teachers and the great scientific literature, we become perfect.
And any other endeavor and attempt would just be wasted time. We’ll come to the end of our life and what will we have to come? Steve Jobs just died, the “Apple” computer founder. He achieved quite a lot of things, didn’t he? The iPhone, the iPad. But he had a little perspective, one of his last statements was, “You’re born alone, and you die alone. So what else matters?”
So we take the human form of life and use it to actually develop this knowledge of life. And then we can be truly successful.
So these are the ideas for the evening. As long as I remain a student, a student of the truth, I’m in good shape. But when I don’t want to know any more, I think I already know, then I don’t go any further.