What is Yoga and Meditation All About?
Please note that this was not an article written by Devamrita Swami, it is a transcription from a video, which you can find below.
Yoga and meditation are about being for real. Getting in touch with the central dynamic of our life. Yes it's important to become free from stress, and it's important for having some kind of tranquility. But if we really want to get a grip on our life, we need to understand a principal theme from Bhagavad Gita: changing of the body - transferral of the real self from one body to another. Krishna introduces this concept in the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita.
‘As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.’ - Bhagavad Gita 2.22
In this way we can understand what the act of principle is behind our journey through material existence. The act of dynamic is all about body change. Therefore the yogi, aware that he will only stay in his present body for a short time, is concerned about what his next body will be and what qualities it will possess.
The problem with the current attempt at civilization is that no-one, practically speaking, is taught the central dynamic that you are a non-material entity residing within a body and mind of matter. What did you do to acquire the particular quality of body and mind you're encased in? And what can you do to influence the quality of your next encasement? Or, as Krishna explains in the fourth chapter of Bhagavad Gita, can you adopt a method - applied spiritual technology - so that you will no longer inhabit a body and mind of matter?
It is very sad that this important knowledge is practically non-existent in human society today. We need to understand what is the essential need of the spirit-self - the "I am" - that doesn't change when the body and mind changes. Am I doomed to the process of changing bodies? Is there a way out? Something within us wants to have an existence without end. But that propensity, that desire, cannot be realised through a body and mind of matter.
Consequently we are longing for something else, and that something else can be experienced even while we're on our journey within this material world. Our spiritual identity is so powerful that even while we exist within the material realm, we can function on the spiritual platform.
How is this possible? The essential need of the spiritual self is to actively please the supreme self. There is no other function for the non-material self than to connect with the supreme self. If we simply think that upon escaping material bondage we will disappear into a void of nothingness, then we will never have the determination to make a permanent solution to the problem of changing bodies.
The only pleasures, varieties and relationships we know about are all material. We do not know anything about spiritual pleasure, spiritual variety or spiritual relationships. Therefore even if we understand that we are spiritual entities inhabiting bodies and minds of matter, we still require further knowledge of what's beyond the material identity, what's beyond material illusion. Is the nature of illusion such that once you escape, that is it? Is the nature of the spiritual reality full of relationships, individuality, personality, qualities, and activities? Answering these questions brings us to the ultimate goal of a human form of life.