As yogis become bhaktas at their topmost stage does that mean we should practice yoga before bhakti?
Although Arjuna says that it is difficult to control the mind 6.34), in the latter slokas, Lord Sri-Krishna explains how one can attain such arduous dhyana-yoga through diligent practice.
Also, in Srimad-Bhagavatam (SB 11.14.31-46), Lord Sri-Krishna explains the same process to Udhava.
Undoubtedly, Devotees are the supreme yogis of all (6.47), but to attain such a state of unflinching devotion/concentration, one should have a control mind. Therefore, dhyana-yoga looks like a precursor to Bhakti-yoga; since through dhyana-yoga one can transcend the gross-&-subtle senses so as to be determinately/resolutely situated in the process of Bhakti forever.
Transcription by – Sesa Vishnu Das
Edited by – Sesa Vishnu Das
Question : Because Krishna says that in BG 6.47, the topmost dhyan yogis become bhaktas does this imply that first we should practice dhyan yoga first to control the mind and then fix the mind on Krishna and thereby become bhakti yogis? Is it that dhyan yoga purifies the subtle body and mind so that we can fix it on Krishna?
Answer: No, the Bhagavad Gita has a particular flow and it is moving from sakama karma yoga, niskama karma yoga to dhyan yoga to bhakti yoga. So there is a flow in the first six chapter of the Gita. And in that progression, Krishna is primarily describing this trajectory. But from 7.1 krishna starts describing a different trajectory. While Krishna hs been describing this trajectory arjuna says that this is very difficult to practice. Chancala hi manah Krishna he says.. 6.34, 35. In 35, 36 krishna actually assures arjuna that the mind can be controlled if you practice but what you should practice Krishna doesn’t say. He says keep practicing and be patient. Vairagya refers to don’t expect immediate results. Now what we should practice Krishna doesn’t say but he starts telling that in the next chapter 7.1. Prior to this Krishna says in the 6th chapter that be detatched. But from 7th chapter Krishna starts an entirely different tone and he says become attached, mayi asakta manah partha yogam yunjam madasryaya. He says that just make your mind attached to me. Take shelter of me. Develop a relationship with me. And in this way you will know me in full and you will become free from doubt. How to know him? For that he gives knowledge about himself. And the whole heart of the Gita is the glory of Krishna and in 8.14 krishna says that this is actually an easy process. Tasyaham sulabham partha nitya yukta .. one who fixes his mind on me he will come easily to me. We as devotees may find it difficult to control the mind, but the path of yoga makes it easier to control the mind. but we don’t have a proper object where we can fix the mind. Krishna manifests in a number of ways as the deities, as the holy name, as the scripture, as a variety of devotional engagements according to our psychophysical nature which can keep us joyfully absorbed. The yogis have no such variety. They have to fix their mind initially on some external thing, the tip of their nose or point between the eyebrows and then they have to meditate inwards and neither of them is easy. Therefore the yogic path is much more difficult to use for controlling the mind than is the devotional path. So it is not that first we have to be dhyan yogis and then we have to become bhakti yogis. Towards the end of the Gita, Krishna says that whatever work one is doing wherever one may be, whichever varna or ashrama which ever modes are influencing and that indicates how much control of mind we will have, but there Krishna says that you can start practicing bhakti from there only and you will attain me by that. So bhakti can be practiced by anyone at any level. That is the easiest way to control the mind and that is also the way to become the topmost yogi. Krishna says in 9.32 that even the papa yonah can be elevated. So bhakti can elevate us from the lowest level, it can take us to the fastest level and in the easiest and the quickest way. Therefore bhakti is the best way.