Back in 1994, when I joined Krishna consciousness movement, devotees were engaged in distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books, cooking for Deities and worshipping the Deity. There was no question of going to the gym.
There was no question of going to the gym for all full-time devotees, what to speak of gurus and sannyasis.
We can see that all previous acaryas somehow survived without going to the gym. But today’s very popular brainwashing philosophy is that you “must stay fit”. Prabhupada’s solution for that problem was very simple: “Eat less”. And if you are afraid that your body will become jammed, do to morning walks and dance in kirtan.
Prabhupäda: Dance and chant. This is best exercise. We allow them to dance very… Yes. High jump. Actually that is exercise, and at the same time ecstasy. If they dance and chant Hare Krishna, it is automatically a very big exercise and spiritual advancement. Yes. Yes. There is no doubt about it. If he chants and dances, immediately he become ecstatic. (Dec 27, 1976 - room conversation Bombay)
Not for intelligent person
Prabhupada says even yoga exercise are nonsense, what to speak of gym.
So yoga, yoga, this bodily practice, that if I am not body, then what shall I get by bodily exercise? Bodily exercises can help me little, but that is not spiritual platform. The [indistinct], kundalini, these are to the bodily concept of life. Actually, to tell the truth, those who are too much bodily absorbed, that “I am this body,” for them this yoga practice is recommended. Not for the intelligent man. Because one who identifies himself with this body, he is not very intelligent. But because such persons are not very intelligent, for them this bodily exercise of yoga, astanga-yoga, is recommended. Not for the intelligent person. Intelligent person, they take immediately to the devotional service, immediate. (Lecture SB 7th Canto, Mar 7th 1972, Calcutta)
Duty of spiritual master
A spiritual master does not mean that he’ll teach you how to keep your body fit, how you can reduce your fat, how you can remain a young man, so many nonsense. This is not the duty of the spiritual master. However you may try to keep your body fit, how long you shall keep your body fit? As soon as you are born, the death is also born along with you. Suppose one man is twenty-five years old. That means he has already died twenty-five years. So you cannot protect yourself from death, however you may become very strong, stout. Therefore actual education, actual spiritual knowledge begins, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita… The Bhagavad-gita, the beginning of Bhagavad-gita is that when Arjuna surrendered to Krishna, He immediately said that “My dear Arjuna, you are posing yourself as very learned man but you are fool number one.” Why? “Because you are identifying yourself with this body.” Asocyan anvasocas tvam prajna-vadams ca bhasase [Bg. 2.11]. “My dear Arjuna, you are talking just like very learned man, but you are lamenting on the subject matter of your body.” Gatasun agatasums ca nanusocanti panditah. Actually one who is learned, he has no necessity for lamenting on the subject, on the body, either living or dead. So the whole process of education in the materialistic way of civilization is on the body, how to keep the body fit, how to avoid death, how to avoid disease. Simply concentration on the body. So this bodily concept of life is immediately discouraged in the Bhagavad-gita. (Lecture Sep 25, 1968, Seattle)
This seem to be in Mayapur. As you can see on the photo below, in 2017, being engaged in monkey activities is called “training the body as well as the mind”. Training the mind in what? We should train our mind in reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. some of them even have brahmin theads. This is called Kali-yuga gym brahmana.
I don’t mind these other guys being engaged in monkey activities, but GBC member and a sannyasi should be pure devotee who doesn’t spend even a second on nonsense activities.
If somebody wants to go to gym or do idle sports, I don’t mind, but this is not Krishna consciousness, and it is not necessary, and senior members of this movement, especially GBC members, should not do it.
My letter to Bhanu Swami
Message-ID: <CAHEdfkG403CERq74_w01N10Jb2FhAn5bUnEV1dEKfcg+Jvn50Q@mail.gmail.com> Date: Sun, 05 Nov 2017 20:53:21 +0000 Subject: gym tattva clarification From: Hanuman das To: "Bhanu.Swami@pamho.net" <Bhanu.Swami@pamho.net>
Dear Bhanu Swami,
please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I have a few questions regarding sannyasi gym tattva.
First time I was introduced to sannyasi gym tattva was when Mahadyuti prabhu visited us in Zagreb in 2014. He was not a sannyasi at that time, but he was sannyasi candidate.
When he visited our temple, he wanted to go to gym every day. When I asked him how he got inspired to go to gym, he told me that he saw that from Bir Krishna Goswami and Devamrita Swami.
As far as my understanding of Krishna consciousness goes, going to the gym is waste of time. Dancing in kirtan is enough physical exercise for devotees, and if that is not enough, then we can also follow Prabhupada in doing morning walks.
Prabhupada warned us not to be engaged in frivolous sports, and gym seems to me as another type of wasting time and money. We don’t see that Bhaktisiddhanta Sarsvati went to gym, Prabhupada was not going to gym either.
To sum up, I don’t see any philosophical or practical justification to go to gym, unless one suffered from injury and needs to go to gym as a part of therapy.
In this light, could you be so kind to shed some light on attached photo.
your servant, Hanuman das
Response by Bhanu Swami
[No response received]
This article originally appeared on Lasting Impression website