Ascetic And Mystic – In Gita Verse 7.1 The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Now hear, O son of Pṛthā, how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt.
Krishna here talks about two paths – one is Yoga or Will and another is the path of Mystic. In both the path surrender is common. In the path of Yoga, methodology, techniques so doubt is required. But in the path of Mystic trust is needed. So when speaking to Arjuna and guiding him for yoga and also says full consciousness of Me means in full trust in me. Free from all the doubts like Mystic.
So let’s understand both the path:
On the path of will/yoga you have much to do; on the path of surrender you have nothing to do, exactly nothing to do, only nothing to do. These paths can be named in a different way too.
The first path can be said to be the path of the ascetic. The word ascetic comes from a Greek root ascesis, which means exercise. Many methods, many exercises, Yoga, methodology, techniques, are possible. The second path can be called the path of the mystic: no exercise, no methods. no technology.
On the first path time is a must. You cannot be immediately enlightened; methods take time, exercises take time, preparation takes time, and you will have to wait for many lives. The enlightenment will be gradual, it cannot be sudden. On the negative path it can be absolutely sudden, it can happen this very moment. Time is not needed because exercise is not needed. You are not to go anywhere; you are just to sit silently, you have just to be in a let-go. One need not wait.
The path of the mystic is mysterious, cannot be explained. The path of the ascetic is explainable: it is very scientific, very logical. Step by step it can be explained; it can be analysed, divided in easy steps. The steps can be made so small that everybody can take them, even a small child; there, degrees are possible. But the path of the mystic is very mysterious; hence it is called the mystic path. No degrees are possible, no small steps but a quantum leap, a jump into the unknown, sudden, like lightning. Naturally it cannot be explained logically.
The logical mind will be at a loss. It needs great understanding, not based on logic but based on intuition, not based on intellect but based on intuition. It needs an illogical, adventurous mind: one which can forego all steps, one which is ready to go into the unknown, one which is courageous enough to take the jump.
On the first path you go step by step, moving upwards. On the second path you simply take a jump into the abyss. It is a bottomless abyss, it is emptiness, it is absolute nothingness. You disappear.
These are the two paths, and everybody has to decide in his own innermost core of being what appeals to him or to her. It is difficult to decide but it has to be decided; otherwise you can go on doing things which will not prove of any meaning. If you can take the jump then there is no need to train yourself for Yoga. If you cannot take the jump, then there is no point in just sitting and waiting.
On the first path, the greatest danger is of the ego because you have to do much, and if you are too egoistic you will become a doer and then ego will become your barrier. One has to do, yet not to strengthen the ego. On the second path, lethargy is the problem. You are not to do anything; one can become lethargic, one can become dull and dead. That is the danger…very natural: sitting silently, doing nothing, by and by you relapse into a dullness, into a sort of unintelligence. You lose sharpness, you lose aliveness, you become idiotic. That’s possible; one has to be very alert about this.
On the first path, one has to watch that the ego does not arise. On the second path, one has to watch that lethargy is not settling. If these two pitfalls are avoided, then you can reach from either the affirmative or the negative. People have reached from both. So there is no question about reaching, the question is which is going to be easier, more in tune with your inner nature – choose that.
Krishna when saying that – by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me – he says that while practicing Yoga/Will be watchful of your ego and surrender to me. As in both the path you have to surrender. From the path of Yoga/Will you surrender last and path of mystic you surrender first. But in both the path the common practice is be watchful either of ego or of lethargy.