Echo From The Cave: 196

Wednesday December 28, 2022 NYC

Announcing a New Book, Shri Mahayogi’s Words of Truth, in Japanese

The Mahayogi Mission in Kyoto has published a new book, Shri Mahayogi’s Words of Truth, as of November 23, 2022, the day of Satguru Jayanti.

We would like to express our gratitude to Shri Mahayogi, who has been endlessly and indiscriminately pouring out the Truth with his words and through his existence, all of which we see culminating in this great gift to humanity, which will live on for many centuries.

We would also like to express our gratitude to all the gurubai who have been involved in this work in Japan, New York and Taiwan. Through us all being united under one mission, may we be able to bring light to this work, and pass it on into the future to come.

Its design is beautiful and unique, and everything from the jacket to the inner cover, to the feel of the paper, as we thumb through the many, many pages, hints at its depth and the breadth of its content, while at the same time conveying a sense of warmth and pristineness.

This book, which is currently only available in Japanese, is over 500 pages long and collects teachings given by the Master to seekers over decades of Satsangha. There are 16 chapters with sub-sections within each, containing the wholeness of teachings, from the secret of living to the truth of the mind and the world, to asana, to meditation, to diet, to daily practice, to the secret of the macrocosm and microcosm, to religion and society, to Sacred Existences, and much more.

Below, please let us introduce the message given on the occasion of Satguru Jayanti 2022, by Madhri, our sister gurubai in Kyoto who has been closely involved in many aspects of this publication, especially as she was one of the two main editors, and she also worked on the design. Because of her involvement and how much she has witnessed of the process of the creation of this book, including the tremendous work put into it and supervised by Shri Mahayogi, we feel her words give the most proper introduction.


      Speech given by Madhri
at the occasion of Shri Mahayogi’s Jayanti on November 23, 2022

While many people around the world eagerly await the opportunity to hear the words of Truth spilling out of Shri Mahayogi’s mouth, Shri Mahayogi’s Words of Truth is published. I am thrilled that we can all share in this joy on this auspicious day. We, all the disciples, would like to express our sincere gratitude to Shri Mahayogi, who supervised everything from editing to binding, to book cover design, for your devotion to this project that we have received.

This book is the culmination of Shri Mahayogi’s more than 45 years of preaching. The project started about ten years ago. It had been several years since the publication of Satori, and The Universal Gospel was sold out. Shri Mahayogi hoped for, “the next, new publication, as soon as possible, since there is a wealth of Satsangha records.” Truly, we apologize for keeping you waiting, and we thank you very much for waiting such a long time.

When the book was nearing completion, Shri Mahayogi said, “This is the definitive book of Yoga, the likes of which have never been seen before.” I am confident that this book will be a tremendously groundbreaking book in the history of Yoga. Not only are the core teachings of Truth within this book, but also all of the great depth of Yoga is woven in to the fullest. I feel that this book proves that the existence and teachings of the avatara and yogi, who have given a ray of hope to humanity, and all the essence of the scriptures compiled since ancient times, are harmonized through Shri Mahayogi’s experience and way of life. Furthermore, I believe that it shows the universality of Yoga, which Shri Mahayogi has pioneered alone in this land of modern Japan, and the very fact that Shri Mahaoygi is an exceptionally rare person, a true Guru, is amply evident in this book.

Shri Mahayogi says, “All the scriptures say only two things: Renounce ignorance and pain-bearing obstacles; and that God, Atman, Brahman, is the only Truth.” In order to communicate that to us, how much he has done to help us… For over 500 pages, I’m astonished!

The words of Shri Mahayogi, full of inspiration, rich in emotionally fine sensibilities, and like a powerful and beautiful melody with fine sensitivities, stir our minds greatly and transform them in an instant.

By reading this book, we will feel that we can never give up on seeing the glorious goal that lies ahead on this path. Because no matter how difficult the situation may be, through Shri Mahayogi’s words of Life, tremendous Love and Grace flow throughout our entire bodies, and we will be filled with the power to stand up again and again no matter what difficult situations come our way.

This book, Shri Mahayogi’s Words of Truth, was able to be completed because of the energy of Sananda and many other gurubai, and above all, the guidance and devoted service of Shri Mahayogi. When editing, we received very careful detailed consideration from Shri Mahayogi. The records of Satsangha around the world over the past twenty years since 1997 have been compiled, but in order to make it more universal without limitations in time and space, the dates, place, and names of the questioners are deliberately not included. Shri Mahayogi also carefully considered the content of the teachings so that the readers could understand and practice them correctly, rather than just reading for curiosity’s sake. Shri Mahayogi read meticulously through the enormous amount of text over and over again, many times faster than people read.

At the end of the book, there is a glossary, and graciously, Shri Mahayogi wrote it in its entirety. The terms used in Yoga are brilliantly, concisely, and clearly explained.

I heard that Shri Mahayogi was in an intense state of concentration during the period he was working, and he sat at a desk from early in the morning until late at night.

In addition, we originally wanted to make this book into a luxurious bound design, as a very special commemorative edition. However, Shri Mahayogi wished that it would not be commemorative, but rather, to make it as affordable as possible for everyone, and for the book to reach as many people as possible, he even reconsidered the estimates many times, overturning all the design and layout that had been envisioned, and rethinking them from scratch again. Even when choosing which paper to use, he spent a considerable amount of time and energy.

To be able to hold such a precious book infused with so much soul and life that Shri Mahayogi has breathed into it, is a great, great joy.

We will surely read the book with joy, forget ourselves, lose sight of the time passing, and immerse ourselves in the words of Shri Mahayogi. And we will surely feel that all the answers we’ve been seeking and searching for are here! However, we shall never be satisfied with merely understanding the answer intellectually. As Shri Mahayogi says many times in the book, we become the teachings themselves. For the inside of this body to be filled with the Truth alone, from which the limbs, words and all of our actions are expressed, we are required to hone our minds, confront each and every word uttered by Shri Mahayogi, and make these words our own by actually walking the path.

I believe that to become the true embodiment of Shri Mahayogi’s Words of Truth is our precious mission as Shri Mahayogi’s direct disciples who are holding this book in our hands.

It is also a great blessing that the completion of this book has forged the way for souls who will seek Truth forever into the future. From now on and into the future, we would like to deliver this book to as many people as possible, without interruption. This means that to draw in new souls, and connect with this Mahayogi Mission, that is His Existence and His Mission forever—I feel that this is an important role for us.

Shri Mahayogi has provided new wind with this Shri Mahayogi’s Words of Truth. I hope that our enthusiasm will further strengthen the momentum and create a big wind inside and outside of ourselves. The more we read this book, the greater that urge will be bound to grow.

We will open our eyes to the Truth, this world, and the future, and in this limited time, we will fulfill the words of Truth of our dear, Beloved Guru.

Lastly, we would like to express our gratitude and highest respect to our brother Sananda, the chairman of the Mahayogi Mission in Kyoto, who left his body due to illness just ten days before this book was published. He was one of the two editors of this book along with Madhri. Many disciples might have the impression of him as a gentle person, but he had an indomitable spirit within. His aim to realize Atman from a young age and throughout his life until his last breath, was ever steady and his complete dedication to Shri Mahayogi and the Truth are definitely alive in this book. During his illness, he said that if he would be able to live more, then he would offer his body completely for the work and mission of Shri Mahayogi. Shri Mahayogi’s trust in him was rock solid and he was respected highly and loved by all the disciples who had met him. His presence is greatly missed, but we will carry on his spirit, which he left for his brother and sister disciples, and through that, he lives on.

To make a financial contribution, visit our CONTRIBUTION PAGE.

Visit and share our WELCOME PAGE to join our online classes.

Echo From The Cave: 195

Sunday December 25, 2022 NYC

Mahayogi Yoga Mission’s 26th Anniversary in New York,
December 25th

Today, in honor of Mahayogi Yoga Mission’s 26th Anniversary in New York, we would like to announce that our latest YouTube video is released.

This song was originally created for and offered to Shri Mahayogi on the occasion of Satguru Jayanti, 2022. The music is based on Julie London’s Cry Me a River, and the song lyrics are inspired by several poems written by Ramprasad and sung by Shri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda, a poem written by Swami Vivekanada, as well as by the unshakeable spirit of our brother, Sananda, one who lived for Yoga.


Dive deep, O mind, dive deep
Into the ocean of God’s beauty
Let go, plunge down into the utmost depths,
That’s where you will find the gem of pure Love

O mind, give up, let yourself be drowned,
Deep in the sea of that love
With no fear of pain nor search for pleasure
Let all your notions fade away

What need have I of knowledge or of reason?
O mind, let the Guru show you the way, (He is always there)
Light up, light up the shining lamp of true wisdom
Let it burn ever steady, unceasingly within your heart

Now, stoke that flame and ignite the passion
Go mad with singular devotion
Live out each day, bold and ever-certain
Let Faith and Truth alone be your ground

Come on now, stoke that flame, set it ablaze
Make it burn with devotion ever heightening
Go mad to live on Faith and Truth alone
Let hands and feet work tirelessly for the sake of Love

We express our deepest gratitude to Shri Mahayogi, who is the sole reason for the existence of Mahayogi Yoga Mission in New York and the inspiration behind all of its activities. Because of Shri Mahayogi, our hearts and eyes can open to the path of Yoga, the path of Truth, that is illuminated before us, right here at this very moment.

Om Tat Sat, Om

Echo From The Cave: 194

Sunday November 27, 2022 NYC

CELEBRATION: Report from Satguru Jayanti, 2022

Pranam at the feet of our Beloved Master,
Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa!

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude
for the existence of Shri Mahayogi,
Shri Mahayogi’s presence in this world,
right here right now,
and the supreme Truth
that ever emanates from Shri Mahayogi’s divine being.
Because of Shri Mahayogi,
and the preciousness of
his most pristine expression of Truth,
so many seekers are able to hear,
see and feel the Eternal Truth
that is the essence of one and all,
and this, indeed,
is the greatest blessing and gift to humanity.

And because of Shri Mahayogi, the most sacred occasion of Satguru Jayanti, which marks the holy birth of the Master, brings about each year the opportunity for Shri Mahayogi’s Sangha to gather together with Shri Mahayogi, express our sincere gratitude and devotion to Shri Mahayogi and his Mission, and to heighten our passion for aiming for, living in, and realizing the Truth.

This year, November 23rd, as disciples and devotees across Japan, Taiwan and New York gathered together online with Shri Mahayogi to honor and celebrate the occasion of Satguru Jayanti, it felt as if a great wind kicked up and began to blow across time and space, stirring and uplifting our hearts more and more. With that divine wind blowing, and with Shri Mahayogi and the Eternal Truth he embodies at the very center, there was nothing but to tangibly feel tremendous inspiration in hearing and seeing all the concrete manifestations of heartfelt dedication and devotion to walk and live the path of Yoga.

Indeed, there were so many beautiful, unforgettable moments, starting right from the very beginning of the ceremony, with the offering of the two newly published books to Shri Mahayogi: Shri Mahayogi’s Words of Truth, which is the definitive volume containing teachings given to seekers over decades of Satsangha with the Master, and the Taiwanese-Mandarin edition of The Universal Gospel of Yoga, which is the beloved book that has played a crucial role in the spiritual awakening of so many aspirants over the years. Following that, there were various sincere and heartfelt messages and presentations offered by gurubai. And finally, Shri Mahayogi himself offered his words at the very end in response to the whole celebration. Surely, to gaze upon Shri Mahayogi and to hear his resounding voice and message, this is one of the strongest impressions that so many of us will hold dearly until the next opportunity.

Moksha, who is in Croatia and who is also a member of the Mission’s English editing team, offered one of the celebratory messages to Shri Mahayogi during Satguru Jayanti, and later expressed the following:

“ … How blessed I am to be a part of the work of Shri Mahayogi’s great Mission, and how much more I need to do to make my best contributions to this effort and help push the publication of Shri Mahayogi’s teachings forward in any way that I can.

As we heard in the Jayanti messages, Shri Mahayogi has given so much of his time and care into guiding many details of these publications, and all of that effort has been for the benefit of others, to ease the suffering of humanity. If Shri Mahayogi can give so much of himself for us, then I recognize that there is so much more that I can give, and so much more effort I need to apply to this work.

The Jayanti messages spoken by different disciples were also incredibly inspiring to me, and several of them were focused on the publications containing the words of Truth and what a precious and sacred experience it was for these disciples to be involved in working on the books.

Some of the words from the Jayanti messages deeply resonated with me and are echoing still in my mind.

The message of Amiti, for example, discussed the resolve and keen concentration that Shri Mahayogi must have brought to bear on his meditation on the nature of suffering and to unravel the contradiction he saw between his own experience and that of other human beings he came in contact with.

This idea of striving to sense Shri Mahayogi’s experience, or his Realization, for ourselves through our own meditation is something that really stuck with me and it has affected my approach to meditating on Shri Mahayogi’s perfectly pure heart. Before, I was doing this in a way that I was asking of Shri Mahayogi to help purify my heart, but in hearing Amiti’s message, I recognized that to experience something so pure one must become obsessed with the desire to know this feeling, to inquire into it and try to sense it during all of one’s waking moments. Rather than passively waiting for something to come to us, we must go and get it! This has been reverberating in my mind and in my heart constantly as a result of hearing this testimony.

The other statement that deeply affected me was the idea that, “We are one, and we have never been apart, not even once,” which serves as a powerful reminder of how we should act toward others. Although I have read these teachings related to Oneness, there is something so powerful in hearing from one of my gurubai who is trying to implement this lofty Truth and act on it. I struggle to even see God in my own family and friends and the people closest to me, but to think that we are called to actually see God in all people, at all times, this really shook me and helped me see clearly how I often fall short of this ideal, in large part because my ideal is not clear enough and not aligned enough with this Truth. Truly, this impression has stuck with me and I feel it revisiting me frequently during the day.

In Shri Mahayogi’s closing words, he said that, ‘Along with such pleasing events, there were many messages from various places that I received today, and these messages had such enthusiasm that they made me feel that the spirit of Yoga has taken root in all of your hearts [more and more] with each passing year. I am so delighted! I am so glad!’ This filled my entire body and soul with a warm sensation, almost like an intoxication, and the tears began to stream from my eyes. Indeed, the Truth is among us, and by the grace of the Guru it has begun to awaken within us. Now, it is up to us to actualize it ourselves and do all that we can to spread it by devoting ourselves to the work of Shri Mahayogi’s great Mission.”

It is a blessing beyond what words can express to be able to gather with Shri Mahayogi and the disciples and devotees who, though living in different parts of the world, are eternally united by the radiant light of Truth that has been ignited within each one by the existence of Shri Mahayogi.

Truly, the action that each makes towards Yoga, the action that each makes towards Truth, the yearning that each heart has to go ever-towards that pure essence of Shri Mahayogi, and the efforts made by each to bring about the realization of his Mission—these are precisely what amplify, make reverberate and make spread more and more and more, that ever-bright, ever-shining Eternal Truth that is never limited by time, by space, by name or by form.

“Around the Prema Ashrama in Kyoto, the autumn leaves are very beautiful right now. It is as if the bright red maple trees are singing the joy of the season. On such an auspicious day, two books were published: One is The Universal Gospel of Yoga in Taiwanese-Mandarin in Taiwan, which is its fourth language after English and Spanish. I think that the design is also quite beautiful. (laughs) The content is concise, yet I think you can fully feel the essence of Yoga. Moreover, in Japan, the definitive book that can be called a compilation of the words of Truth, has been published. It turned out to be a wonderful book that is large and very heavy. It is not difficult to imagine that in the future, the English version of this will also be produced by the New York Mission and the Taiwanese-Mandarin language version in Taiwan, and I am very much looking forward to that. 

Along with such pleasing events, there were many messages from various places that I received today, and these messages had such enthusiasm that they made me feel that the spirit of Yoga has taken root in all of your hearts [more and more] with each passing year. I am so delighted! I am so glad! This year was still a reunion through the screen, but I hope that I can see you in person again soon. Show me yet again your faces full of the brilliance of Brahman. I look forward to that!”

—The words of Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa at the end of Satguru Jayanti, 2022

Japanese maples in front of Prema Ashrama in Kyoto

May we continuously go towards That, ever following our beloved Guru!
Jai Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa Ki, Jai!!!
Victory to the Eternal Truth!!!
There is only That!!!

Jazz offered from Sangha in New York—”Dive deep, O mind, dive deep into the ocean of God’s beauty…”

Sangha in New York

Echo From The Cave: 193

Saturday June 11, 2022 NYC

Talk at the End of the Asana & Meditation Class
Friday, May 27th 2022

Beginning with Raja Yoga, for Loving God

“I will be able to do these things, no doubt”—this was my reaction to Raja Yoga, by Vivekananda, when I read it for the first time after starting to practice asana and meditation with Mahayogi Yoga Mission; so, I really did not put too much effort, but instead, I tended to believe, “I will be able to do it naturally” or “I am trying this already.” My approach was very dreamy, and self-serving in a way.

As years passed, at some point, I began to think the opposite, that raja yoga was actually something that is very challenging—methodical and demanding—and that it required a lot of constant attention, which is something I did not have or I was not so good at. I tried to put effort toward the practice of it, yet my efforts were inconsistent, fluctuating between periods of trying hard sometimes, and not trying at all, trying one way sometimes, and quickly switching to some other way without persisting on the first way. Consequently, I could not deepen my understanding of these practices or experience enough of an effect to change the way my mind functioned. And I lost enthusiasm, and rather, continued to struggle back and forth greatly.

It was not that many years ago, that I received from Anandamali, “Where There is Love, There is God,” a book of teachings of Mother Teresa of Kolkata, and unexpectedly, something changed completely. I felt as if something wiped away all thoughts, and all that occupied me was the overwhelming feeling of loving God in the form of vibrant and joyful gratitude. This also included a feeling of acceptance of what I had received from Shri Mahayogi. It was as if the block that was causing resistance to loving and being loved was crumbling down—I had never in my life experienced anything like that. This experience made me arrive at the conclusion that loving God is the only happiness that exists, and from that moment on, “loving God” became my aim; my only happiness, what I want to pursue happily and willingly.

Now, the reason why I mentioned about raja yoga is that even though my aim suddenly became clear, nonetheless, as time passed, the feeling of being filled up by loving God, and even of wanting to be filled up by loving God began to wane; and this made me realize the necessity of practicing raja yoga, so that the mind can return to my aim over and over. Raja yoga is to control the mind, it is the work toward establishing the foundation of a steady and tranquil mind, so if I don’t do this intentionally, or if the mind has not learned to function in a way that would be able to sustain this beautiful Love, it is very likely that it will end up where it was before—cluttered and feeling vulnerable, filling up again with the many unnecessary thoughts that occupy the space for loving God.

Recently I have been thinking about the yama (actions in relation to others) and niyama (disciplines in relation to oneself), and I understand that these practices seem to have the purpose of turning thoughts, words and actions toward harmony and respect, both in relationship to oneself and to others, because they help turn the mind toward a more loving way—a way that considers God, or the Truth, as the guide for living. Also, I am beginning to recognize asana is medicine that uses the physical body to restrain the mind and pranayama is medicine to control the prana through the breath; when taken correctly and regularly, these medicines bring the mind toward a type of calmness that cannot be easily affected by triggers that typically direct it otherwise. I feel that through asana and pranayama the mind is shown, without one knowing exactly how, what it means to be closer to God, the perfect Stillness. And, although when I spoke after class, I did not have such a clear sense of what pratyahara meant, and I referred to it as remaining uninvolved or unaffected by ideas or matters that are not God or the Truth itself, I later clarified within myself and began to think that pratyahara, the practice of controlling the senses to the point of becoming undisturbed by the mind’s biased likes and dislikes, must have a very important role in keeping the mind from being distracted from the simplicity and serenity that Shri Mahayogi describes as the essence of God or the Truth.

Anyway, what is different now, and the most important part for me, is that for the first time I feel the need to practice raja yoga for a specific reason and with a purpose that moves me from within: to cultivate loving God. And for that, I need to clear my mind from self-driven ideas and wants that can easily return if I go through daily life without remembering my aim, without acting from the longing for that aim. I really want to prevent my mind from filling itself up with what is not God, or the Truth. For this reason, I would like to remember always, and to act relating my thoughts, words, and actions to my aim of loving God. I truly feel that this is the beginning.


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Echo From The Cave: 192

Saturday June 4, 2022 NYC

With no gas in the building, a backpacker’s stove to the rescue.

Talk at the End of the Asana & Meditation Class
Sunday, May 22nd 2022

In Learning Yoga, It’s All Up to Each One of Us

At the end of the Asana & Meditation class, I spoke about how I recently caught myself in a situation, where I noticed that my internal reaction to something very simple that was mentioned to me was incongruent with something I had been trying to work on. I had received someone’s words through a lens of pride.

Because of noticing it, I was reflecting on how oftentimes I may have difficulty when something is pointed out to me that I could improve on or do differently or better, something that I could take positively for my own learning and for improving myself, but in the moment of receiving a message, because my mind may take it as a negative criticism…even if only very lightly so, and even if that may be far from the actual intention…a reaction within me, whether I say anything or not, can shift my demeanor, tone, energy, etc., and I think that can make an uneasy air or mood for myself and for those around me, as well as block me from allowing myself to see from another view or to improve. Now this is nothing particularly new, but I was looking at it more straightforwardly in myself. And that brought about the recognition that this is something I would really like to change, not only because I’m seeing it as a necessity for improving myself and learning and deepening Yoga, but also because I would like to add to situations and interactions being at ease and proceeding with ease, rather than bringing difficulty or uneasiness that then makes me struggle and gets imposed on others, no matter the degree of it.

Shri Mahayogi points out to us that in order to learn the Truth it is necessary to also be “teachable,” in other words, willing to learn. Being teachable or willing to learn—I have heard that the word in Japanese that Shri Mahayogi uses to describe this quality really doesn’t have an exact translation into English that accurately captures the meaning—but I think it probably includes much more than what I thought or considered previously, and that’s something I’m trying to learn and understand.

Actually, not long after I spoke about this topic at the end of the class, I had a conversation with Anandamali. And that conversation, which had a lot of content that I am still contemplating, in part got me thinking again about the different ways that the mind can make excuses for itself, and after trying to understand this, then I caught a glimpse of something that I wasn’t realizing. In regards to that situation that I had spoken about after the class, I started to see that as soon as I was able to recognize that lens of pride come up in myself, there was something else that at once came up right along with it—a lens of self-concern. And I started to see that how I perceived the scene that had been in front of me at that time, including the words and action of those around me, was all interpreted through that lens of self-concern…and that is something that I did not catch in the moment it was happening. Therefore, what I was able to perceive in that moment or how far I was able to reflect on what was happening from a wider view, was limited by that lens of interpretation.

After being able to recognize it, I began to see that this initial reflection had not yet developed beyond the point of having myself as the main subject. Of course, I still have what I mentioned above to improve and work on, but in addition to that, it started to become clear that I cannot get caught up and stop only at that, but now need to bring my focus and mind to where I have been lacking in noticing and taking in the opportunities to learn and deepen Yoga through simple daily life tasks and matters that are right in front of me.

Actually, one of the things that Anandamali spoke about when we were having that conversation, had to do with Shri Mahayogi’s way of taking care of all things. And that many of the things or ways of doing that she has observed in Shri Mahayogi over the years come as a result of the way he truly takes care of and cares for all things, even in the simplest moments of daily life. I can’t say too much about this now, as truly I am still trying to see and understand this for myself, beyond just the level of words making sense, and I think this will take time and application. But in the days after hearing it, I continued to contemplate on this along with what it is I may not be seeing yet, and in doing so I reached for Karma Yoga by Swami Vivekananda, thinking that I might find some clue there to help my mind expand to see from a different angle.

There, in the first chapter, “Karma and its Effect on Character,” the following message gave me a strong and needed impact:

“If we stand near the seashore and hear the waves dashing against the shingle, we think it is a great noise. And yet we know that one wave is really composed of millions and millions of minute waves: Each one of these is making a noise, and yet we do not hear it; it is only when they become the big aggregate that we hear them. … Watch a man do his most common actions those are indeed the things which will tell you the real character of a great man.”

—Swami Vivekananda, Karma Yoga.

Reading it, I reflected on the great example that Anandamali and other senior disciples are always showing us in the way that they closely observe Shri Mahayogi’s most common actions, and then follow, readily setting aside their own accustomed ways of doing, and seeking to discover what is behind those actions of Shri Mahayogi, consistently repeating them until they become second nature…molded into their way of being. I started to recognize my own limitation in having eyes and ears open at all times and being ready and willing to swiftly adjust myself and embark on that same path of learning and discovery through consistent and continued actions. Anandamali is always sharing with us through her way of being, as well as through what she speaks, what she has learned from Shri Mahayogi over the years. Other senior disciples are, in a way, doing the same, though our chance to see may not always be in person, but through the writings of the various Testimonies in Pranavadipa.

For being able to notice and catch those common actions that we too can learn from—I think “being humble” must be one of the very important keys for that. In fact, without that key I have the suspicion that our ability to even notice the common actions being exemplified or take them as things that can have real significance, may be greatly hindered.

Actually, going back a while ago, it was brought to my attention the need to work on “being humble.” I took this message to heart because I believe it is true, it is an area where I need to work on myself. Though my understanding of it is still small and needing development, I have been making various attempts to reflect on myself and recognize the tendencies or ways of thinking and doing that are incongruent and working to find ways to shift these. It’s a bit experimental, things don’t go always very smoothly and surely there are many things that I miss, but I feel that by putting energy towards it, it also brings about some conditions that help to allow some things to loosen up, and the mind can gain some strength to face itself, to clarify and to recognize just a little bit further the way to take one little step at a time forward towards Yoga.

Now I am seeing more clearly what Anandamali says about it always being up to each one of us, whether or not we cultivate the eyes to see and ears to hear, see value in what is being shared, regardless of how seemingly small or simple, and put ourselves to learn about it through not just thinking about it, but through putting it into our actions over time and experiencing it for ourselves—and I think that this is really true…it is up to me how much I throw myself into learning Yoga and it is up to each individual as well.

Reflecting on this and reading Swami Vivekananda’s words about the millions and millions of minute waves that when accumulated make a great noise, brings fresh inspiration to bring more attention to the small yet consistent actions that may tend to get overlooked and start incorporating these into my everyday happenings. Already we have the exemplary model of what the common actions of a man of great character can look like in Shri Mahayogi. I would like to come to understand more about the way that Shri Mahayogi takes care, or cares for all things, like how Anandamali mentioned, and I would like to come to understand more about Yoga.

~ Sadhya

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Echo From The Cave: 191

Friday May 27, 2022 NYC

Three Doves, Picasso, 1960

Talk at the End of the Asana & Meditation Class
Friday, May 20th 2022

Trying to Take In Yoga To Pass Yoga On

Among the obstacles that I have had to confront within my practice of Yoga, one of the hardest ones has been and continues to be speaking. From speaking at the end of asana and meditation classes, speaking in MYM online programs, or speaking privately to people about Yoga, it has always been challenging. I have asked myself why that is and some of my conclusions are: 1) I am self-conscious and worry about what people will think of me (“this Yoga-crazy person”); 2) I truly am not confident that I understand the teachings of Yoga as much as what I think I should; and 3) I find it difficult to make a connection between the lives and situations of people and the teachings of Yoga.

Through the years, Anandamali has sometimes recommended that I share the teachings of Yoga with some people, knowing that they will surely help that person’s life to improve or will ease their burdens. But even in these more personal situations, I become intimidated and concerned. One of the people that Anandamali suggested that I share the teachings with, after hearing from me about his nature and some of his background, was my father. A few years ago, when The Universal Gospel of Yoga in Spanish was published, I gifted it to him. He did not receive it so well and responded with confusion and intense emotions. Since then, I avoided speaking with him about Yoga and at some point, I came to the decision that I should primarily focus on transforming myself first and foremost.

Recently, I went to visit my dad and found that he was very deteriorated, both physically and mentally. His life has become a great challenge since my mom’s health has also become more delicate and he has had to manage many more things for himself and my mother, something he never had to do in his whole life. His mind-state has always been fragile, on and off, throughout his life, but at this moment he hit a breaking point. When I saw him, he was in a very unstable state, and had begun to express not wanting to be alive anymore, due to the extreme challenge of managing his life, his body and mind. He continued to express his desire to leave this earth and cried unstoppably, to the point that I was shocked and concerned. However, I did not know how to help, what to say or do to improve his state.

Finally, even though I had not had such a positive experience talking about Yoga with my dad in the past, I felt that there was nothing else I had to offer my father at that moment, and that nothing else that I could tried would make a difference but the teachings of Yoga. Though I was feeling great anguish because of my own fears, I finally spoke to him about the teachings of Buddha on suffering: “You know, all of us feel the same as you. Your wife, your son, your daughter, your grandsons, friends, neighbors—everybody around you will get sick, old and die one day. And we are all as scared as you are, or as inconvenienced as you are by the challenges of this life. But, my teacher says, why suffer about what is inevitable? Nobody can prevent getting old, sick, and dying because we were all born in a body that decays. That is true for all of us around you.”

My heart was beating fast, but I was able to speak calmly. Then I saw him lifting his head slowly and stop crying. He was looking up at me in complete silence. I had no idea what he was thinking, but he had stopped crying and was deeply pensive. So, I continued, “and there are four more sufferings according to Buddha, being away from someone you love, being next to someone you despise, not getting what you want in life, and having an impure body and mind. We all struggle to manage these feelings too, but if you think about it, these four ways of suffering are avoidable if we learn to control the mind, if we work on it.”

He was still looking up at me from his bent over position, and I did not know what else to say, or I did not feel that I could say anything else after that. In addition, I did not want to add more of my own ideas and stir his mind unnecessarily.

Three weeks later, I heard from my brother that my father was acting very differently: he was getting out of his bed when someone visited, he was smiling more, and he was putting more effort to care for my mom. I am not sure if his change has anything to do with the teachings that I shared with him, and I do not know if this change in attitude will continue or regress—neither do I want to count on that. But what I do know is that I was able to speak with him about Yoga, despite my fear of experiencing his bad temper, and offer him a tool for bringing himself out of his depressed state. For me this was a unique moment, especially because this is a person whom I have feared speaking with for so long.

I asked myself, how did that happen? What allowed me to speak with my dad this way? I realized that through the work of the mission, and even just by being among sangha in programs or in daily life, I have continuously been in the situation of having to try to think, speak or write about life and Yoga for the sake of others. This has continued to create the situation in which I have had to push myself to try to understand, in whichever way I can, through my own personal efforts in practice, even when it is uncomfortable, but also when it is comfortable. The effort, and in greatest part, the support I have received to overcome my mind’s limitations and fears has been on-going and intensive.

During the conversation with my father, while under the pressure of his altered state, I felt that there was an urgent need to communicate, to do something, to uplift him. In that moment, which seemed so delicate, I couldn’t persist in protecting my self-image anymore because of fear of rejection or disagreement, or in thinking that I do not know what to say—I had to try! In addition, I felt so clearly that the teachings of Yoga are not for me to hold on to, but for whoever needs them next to me, whoever that may be. I see now that it was because of the ongoing practice that we learn and receive from the Mission, that in that crucial moment with my dad, I was able to overcome my fears and to offer him something that may begin to ease his mind, with much more trust in the teachings.

I know that I need to develop more and more the ability to speak about Yoga and to connect with people and their realities with my heart in my hand, in the way I experienced with my dad. If I continue to persist in learning how to think and ponder about the teachings, to understand them and use them in my own life, I have a much better chance of discovering many things, even why the teachings exist in the first place, and what it is that they offer all human beings, including myself.

I am thankful for every opportunity to learn and practice Yoga, and being able to try again and again to keep learning. We have been given a treasure by Shri Mahayogi and everyone is in desperate need of this treasure, so we are the ones in the position to receive it, learn from it, use it, and share it through our own actions and words, otherwise this treasure will remain unfound and its purpose unfulfilled. That is what motivates me to continue this journey. For pushing me and leading me every step of the way, without giving up, I thank my most beloved sister, Anandamali.


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Echo From The Cave: 190

Wednesday May 25, 2022 NYC

Talk at the End of the Asana & Meditation Class
Wednesday, May 18th 2022

Making a Leap of Faith Towards Yoga

Here in NYC, the sangha has been meeting online for the past few months to study Seeking Truth: Memoirs of a Yogini, by Mirabai, a disciple of Shri Mahayogi who lives in Kyoto. Although originally from Osaka, Mirabai moved to Kyoto, after practicing Yoga for some time with Mahayogi Yoga Mission, in order to deepen her practice by living with gurubai. Over the past two weeks, we have been reading and discussing the chapters of the book that describe this experience and what she learned from it, as we try to understand more and more deeply what we ourselves can learn from her journey towards Yoga.

Toward the end of the meeting, Anandamali asked Sadhya to speak a little bit from her own experience about what she has found to be the difference between the experience of living with gurubai and living alone. Sadhya shared that when living alone, even if one may be trying to live according to what Yoga teaches, the mind’s actual understanding of what Yoga teaches and what living according to It may look like is often very limited. In fact, everything we understand may only be within the realm of our own mind-world and imagination, according to pre-conceived ideas and notions, and it may be difficult to recognize simply, straightforwardly, and practically how the teachings of Yoga can become the base of everyday actions, in a real way. In living with gurubai, you get to encounter a new world that is not just filled up with your own thoughts, habits and ways of doing things. What you can learn opens up much beyond that, and you have opportunity to expand your view in ways you might not come up with on your own…even if that relates to incredibly simple things.

With that as the base, Sadhya mentioned about the importance and value of being able to learn from a senior disciple’s experience in Yoga, becoming aware of things about ourselves and about all kinds of other daily life things that we may not understand or easily notice when we are living alone, due to of being caught up and dominated by one’s own mind-world and having a hard time to bring ourselves to consider much beyond that. And of course, underneath almost all conversations is the base of the teachings of Yoga and the aim of carrying out the work of Shri Mahayogi, of the Mission, and so on; there is always a shared sense of purpose and along with that a great deal of inspiration. Listening to her speak, I began to think seriously about whether I too would like to live in a sangha house myself.

In the past, when I have sometimes thought about living with gurubai, I always imagined someone coming to live in my apartment with me. That’s because I have quite a lot of space, pay significantly less than a normal NYC rent, and have lived here for more than 20 years. In any case, whether with gurubai or not, I have long assumed that I would live here for the rest of my life. However, realistically, my place is not even close to ideal for setting up a sangha house. If I really want to do that, I will have to move.

At first, my mind reacted strongly against that idea: That’s crazy! Impossible! How could I possibly give up this space now? (I won’t go into all the reasons why here, but from what most people would probably consider a “practical” perspective, this would seem like a ridiculously misguided plan.)

But when my mind reacted that way, I couldn’t help but remember that in so many Testimonies in Pranavadipa and even in episodes from Seeking Truth, it is anything but uncommon for the mind to scream “That’s impossible!” when first considering trying to put the teachings of Yoga into actual practice. When I started to look more closely at exactly what I thought was so impossible about it, what I started to see, under a thin veneer of false “selflessness” (If I leave now, the apartment will lose its future rent stabilization status. If I move to another neighborhood, it will make it so much more difficult for the co-owner of my dog!), was my own comfort and convenience (I would probably have a much longer commute! I’d have to adjust to a new neighborhood and a new routine! I have so many memories and possessions of loved ones who are gone here that I would have to leave behind!).

But I could see that those were just attachments and aversions to worldly things that my mind believes are part of what makes me “me”. And if I keep clinging to them, allowing them to determine how I’m going to live, I’m not going to be able to make any real progress in Yoga, no matter how much asana I practice or how much I can make myself sit for meditation. And I am not young; I don’t have all the time in the world.

So therefore I felt the need to return to the first, most important question for a seeker: What do I REALLY want—to keep hemming and hawing, thinking I’m practicing while not really making a commitment or taking a risk…or to fully jump in and try with all my heart to live in Yoga? What do I TRULY believe the significance of Shri Mahayogi’s existence is, and how can I honor the incredibly precious gift of having personally met a Holy Being, receiving a spiritual name, and being allowed to have access to the authentic teachings of Truth directly from the lips of a Satguru, a Paramahansa? In all of human history, how many people can say that they have had this rare experience? How many have ever truly had even the slightest chance to experience ultimate Reality? And how many get to participate in the work of protecting, preserving and helping to make sure those incredibly precious gifts can be properly transmitted to others in the future, who may not have the opportunity to personally meet Shri Mahayogi?

The number must be infinitesimally small, out of all the human beings who have ever been born.

I began to feel that the time has come. Shri Mahayogi and Anandamali have been waiting patiently for so many years for more gurubai to take the leap of faith necessary to carry the Mission forward. I cannot depend on others to do it; if I truly want to grow in Yoga, and if I truly want the Mission to survive for future generations, I must prepare myself now to be a bigger part of making it happen, sincerely and without reservation; because I am one of that infinitesimally small number, I have to take it as my own responsibility.

There is also something that I have learned from listening to the experiences of senior disciples, reading their Testimonies and studying Seeking Truth, and that is that even though my mind may get blinded by the fear of losing what it imagines I may give up, it cannot begin to imagine what I will receive through that very same giving up. But whatever I can or cannot imagine, I can recognize that the things I will have to let go of, I am already destined to lose, no matter how tightly I grip them, while the things that I can gain through a much deeper and more committed practice of Yoga can never be lost—not even to death itself. Recognizing it is the first step, but to make it meaningful, I have to follow through with action:

“The teachings of Yoga or Buddha are not intellectual exercises at all—they are a concrete way to get out of suffering; so practicing without applying them and continuously putting them into action is completely meaningless!”
– Shri Mahayogi, Seeking Truth

I do not know exactly how or when these changes may come about. But I have decided to begin to prepare for the opportunity to arise, and to be ready to make that leap of faith when the time is ripe. As Shri Ramakrishna taught to the young Vivekananda, there is no need to fear drowning when diving towards Sanatana Dharma, because its waters are verily the Sea of Immortality itself.


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Echo From The Cave: 189

Monday May 23, 2022 NYC

Talk at the End of the Asana & Meditation Class
Sunday, May 15th 2022

Training the Mind Through Asana and Training the Mind Through Daily Life

Shri Mahayogi teaches us that one of the purposes of asana is to make the mind prepared for the state of meditation. We learn that many aspects of the practice of asana—for example, the details in the instruction coming from Shri Mahayogi, the way of focusing on the breath, the direction of the eye gaze, what we need to face in our minds as the body experiences a challenge, etc.—are used for the purpose of gathering and re-training the mind in a way that may be quite different from its natural habit of being pulled in many directions, reacting to various things, and thus, far from the state of mind that can enter meditation. Shri Mahayogi says that it is important for the mind to experience a state that is contrary to the state that occurs as a result of the mind’s natural habits, and that it can be experienced perhaps more easily and concretely through the practice of asana.

The practice of asana is like our time of training for the mind, which also can give us the strength to train the mind in daily life as well, where it can be much more difficult to gather and re-train, yet is just as important—and, personally, I am really feeling the truth of this. We are learning that these two, training the mind through asana and training the mind through daily life, go hand-in-hand, because in the end, for Yoga, as Shri Mahayogi always points out to us, nothing is separate…Yoga, whether the trainings and disciplines, or the state of mind we are working towards, must be placed at the center core of every moment.

~ Sadhya

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Echo From The Cave: 188

Saturday May 21, 2022 NYC

Talk at the End of the Asana & Meditation Class
Friday, May 13th 2022

Believing to Believe

If we consider ourselves practitioners of Yoga, especially if we have met or learned from Shri Mahayogi, we probably have come to realize that Yoga requires a big change, from not knowing the Truth to knowing the Truth. And if you are like me, this is not something that happens overnight, but rather takes conscious effort in retraining the mind entirely. It seems to me that it is like reformatting the way the mind thinks altogether or replacing the belief system that has guided it for many years, most probably many lives.

What Yoga proposes is pretty much the flipped idea of what a regular mind like mine tends to do; there is the current state in which we find ourselves, and then the state that Yoga proposes. In the state I am in, and almost everyone finds themselves by default, the mind’s wants call the shots; whatever seems pleasing to it, it tries to go after, and, whatever seems displeasing to it, it avoids or tries to escape. And so, it is all about what the mind wants or does not want, which is based on what it believes will make it happy and satisfied at any given moment. From a very young age we instinctively begin to seek our own satisfaction as the solution to any situation. On the flip side, in Yoga, anything that the mind—“me”— wants, craves, or attaches itself to, is considered the very cause of its suffering, and an obstacle to living at ease.

In my everyday life, I recognize many areas in which my mind struggles to get what it wants. When it comes to food for example, I may feel very strongly that I want to have a mid-morning snack, and my mind is convinced that it will make my morning better, give me energy and cheer me up. Even if I am full and have no need for any food, this belief or craving dominates my actions. The same with that cappuccino that I am so addicted to having mid-afternoon. When the thought of it arises, it comes with the strong belief that I will be truly satisfied by the taste, the temperature or how it feels in my stomach. In that moment, I think that my day and workload will be more bearable if I drink it. The same with chores. Having to cook my next day’s lunch late at night, after having worked all day, appears to my mind as a tiring and uninteresting burden. My mind is convinced that I will dread it. When I think about meeting a friend that I really like, I am excited and believe that this will make me happy, perhaps for a long time, and take away sorrows or loneliness. Or if I have to see someone that is not pleasing to me, I feel that I would much prefer to avoid their company altogether.

Similarly, with myself I see the same pattern in asana practice, and this most likely happens to many practitioners, which is that when I am trying to exhale long and complete, my mind desperately wants to inhale immediately. To my mind, it is as if “inhaling” was a glass of water, and it was dying of thirst. My mind really, really wants to inhale. My mind believes that it cannot exhale anymore, and that instead inhaling right away is what will make it feel much better.

From the little things of daily life to the asana practice, I recognize this pattern: my mind’s fixed ideas about what will make it happy, satisfied, and comfortable, and what will not, and its insistence in trying to pursue those ideas.

Actually, none of these habits seem that terrible, or harmful as such, but I notice that my mind is constantly demanding to be obeyed, which means that I am not free. And not only that, even after it has been satisfied to some degree, it always ends up needing something else. In the end, it is never fully satisfied, which means that, though it wants to be happy, it is instead in a perpetual state of wanting, and suffering. This never-ending cycle that the mind thrives on is what the teachings of Yoga reveal to be the error of the mind, and as this error is revealed, what opens-up is the possibility for something else, something that is opposite to suffering, the end of suffering.

Having understood this at least intellectually, I am convinced that it is absolutely necessary to change the way my mind is programmed, and learn something new. What if what Yoga says is true? What if the true Happiness comes when the mind ceases to want, and simply is and does without the wanting and craving? What if this is the ultimate Happiness and enjoyment? I would like to know. But I can tell that finding out requires the perseverance and will that come from a real sense of trust.

In the Satsangha in Pranavadipa (Volume 90), there is a topic of faith that relates to all this, I believe. Because I am noticing the strong wants and the self-absorbing tendencies of my mind and because I wonder how to flip them around and direct my mind toward Yoga, my interest has been to try to learn about faith and about how to cultivate the faith that will sustain my focus and will, while in the process of reducing desires and controlling the mind. The question posed to Shri Mahayogi that caught my attention was about whether faith should be understood as necessary from the beginning or as something that is developed just like other on-going disciplines. Shri Mahayogi’s answer was that faith is in fact needed at the beginning, but it also develops as the various on-going disciplines grow. This exchange made me realize that if I want to bring under control that mind that constantly tries to impose its whims in so many aspects of my life and perpetuates suffering, a step to take is to throw myself into the action that is required for challenging the mind’s habitual patterns, and learn something new through doing so.

It is encouraging to know that even just the wanting to transform oneself means that one has some initial level of faith to begin with; because it indicates that one has already deduced that there is something better, something reliable, something real, and longs to know it, which ends up being like a seed of faith. But I also understand that in order to overcome the mind that habitually wants to follow the well-established error or un-Truth, such as mine, faith needs to continue to grow and be strengthened. And so, the work toward this seems to be to continue to apply whatever faith we have toward gaining and growing more faith, through taking one action at a time.

The testimonies of disciples are proof to the fact that a little faith can grow and deepen when even a little bit of the Truth is confirmed for the mind. Inspired by reading Satsangha and testimonies of the applied practices of disciples, I just began working on it and trying to test if it is possible to grow in faith by downplaying the opinions and preconceptions that may come up in my mind, simply and solely by focusing on what needs to be done or what is right in front of me, objectively, even if my mind continued persisting on following its unfounded beliefs. When I was able to hold on to the singular focus of what needed to be attended to, by focusing only on the moment—now, now, now—I noticed that the mind’s desires and opinions started to get out of the way so that the reaction of my mind became neutral and therefore lighter.

Once the mind experiences this, it becomes more willing to decrease its persistent and unnecessary demands. And not only that, but these little experiments that are always within reach, when made as a way of seeking the Truth, can lead the mind to taste a small sample of the sweetness of a bit less attachment, in other words, the sweetness of a bit more freedom from its own limitations and impositions—and that itself is how the mind begins to grow in faith and believe that change is possible and thus trust Yoga more.

One action at a time—through these trials I have begun to learn that what my mind believes to be true is clearly based on its habitual wants which are based on the ideas of my mind that cannot coexist with purity or with thoughts that are real and reliable. And so, I have begun the task of gradually retraining my mind to stop reacting based on partial ideas, and instead, work to bring my mind to open up to an unknown and unlimited possibility—the Truth.

It is incredibly fortunate to be able to learn that through the Yoga that we are being exposed to, any simple and mundane activity or situation can become the opportunity for retraining the mind to stop pursuing its whims, and to allow itself to remain unattached, free of limitations—to move in the direction of the Truth, single pointedly.


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Echo From The Cave: 187

Thursday May 19, 2022 NYC

Talk at the End of the Asana & Meditation Class
Sunday, May 8th 2022

Part 1: In Remembering the Purpose of Asana, a Rigid Body Can Bring Great Benefit
Part 2: A Hint for Reading ~ Pranavadipa Vol. 90

Part 1: In Remembering the Purpose of Asana, a Rigid Body Can Bring Great Benefit
It is inevitable that most of us will from time to time experience days when the body feels unusually rigid or stiff when we go to practice asana. The reasons can be many…the time of day, the day of the week, our previous activities, etc. The reason really isn’t important because, as Shri Mahayogi teaches us, the body is constantly changing (as is the mind!) so it is inevitable that some days the body feels more comfortable, stronger, more able…and some days…it’s exactly the opposite. Whatever the condition is and however it changes, we learn from Shri Mahayogi that it’s best not to pay much mind to it, as that is inevitable, and regardless, stick to the consistent and continuous practice of asana, with full concentration. And further, Shri Mahayogi has emphasized to us that practice of asana is not for aim of the physical body being able to do or achieve various positions or poses, but that it is to transform the mind and prepare the mind for meditation. Actually, Karuna also reminded us of this recently at the start of an Asana & Meditation class, that the purpose of asana is to bring about the state of mind needed for meditation, and that each asana we practice and each breath we take during the practice is an opportunity to prepare the mind for that aim.

Now the question is, what is the connection between practice of asana, bringing about the state of mind for meditation and the body that can become stiff or rigid, making the practice of asana more challenging and difficult? I’ve heard Anandamali speak about how actually it may be difficult for an extremely flexible person to receive the benefit of asana just from practicing the basic ones, which is one of the reasons as to why many advanced asana have developed, and that once she witnessed a person that happened to be flexible to the point of the body being as loose as spaghetti attempt to practice asana, but unfortunately that person seemed to not be able to receive the benefit of it since there seemed to be no stimulation at all in any of the positions; in this way, asana is not about being flexible, having a flexible body or not, but rather anyone can receive its great benefit if one practices correctly, and therefore we can welcome discomfort. We should remember that when we feel the body is stiff, there is a great opportunity in that, and actually, a very good possibility of receiving heightened benefit. In fact, Shri Mahayogi teaches that one of the purposes of practicing asana is to conquer duality, which becomes possible through correct practice, meaning practice with proper attention to the detail of Shri Mahayogi’s instruction, with proper focus on the breath, with effort towards the aim, and with passion.

Admittedly it is probably easy and common for us to mistake practice of asana as a physical practice even if we have heard otherwise, yet Shri Mahayogi teaches us that there is a significant part that has to do with the mind. When the mind is met with a condition of discomfort and complaint of a stiff body while trying to practice asana, the concentration of the mind must be heightened much more in order to persevere and to not give up and give in to the body’s complaints, which sometimes may also mean letting go of the concern of the body itself. One of the things so unique to the way Shri Mahayogi teaches us asana is the way of focusing on the breath. Perhaps some of the keys of focusing on the breath may be its ability to give our mind something concrete to concentrate on, while drawing our mind away from its habit of constantly obsessing over or identifying with the body, thus at the same time minimizing the mind activity and further still, training the mind to eventually come to experience overcoming both comfort and discomfort—or as it is taught by Shri Mahayogi and indicated in the Yoga Sutra, overcome the duality that keeps our mind constantly being pulled from one direction to another as we react to the inevitably changing conditions of everyday life, so that the mind can rather enter into meditation…be it while sitting or while going about daily activities.

If I reflect on my own experience of asana, I think what Shri Mahayogi points out to us is really true, and there is a great value for the mind when we have to face various challenges or discomforts of the body during practice of asana. And, as I mentioned earlier, it has also been pointed out to me that one of the reasons some practitioners are given “advanced asana” can simply be to bring that challenge when the time comes and it is needed in order to create the condition for the practitioner to continue to receive benefit from the asana.

To share one example, I remember once when Shri Mahayogi was giving the class in New York, I was instructed to fold forward in samakonasana, or wide-leg pose. Now generally speaking, in full samakonasana the buttocks should come down to rest on the floor in one straight line with both feet. I wasn’t to that point yet, but even so I was instructed to bring the buttocks down where I could and then bring the chest and chin down to the floor. Well, I must say that I certainly felt a great intensity in making this position and wasn’t sure if it was even possible. Yet somehow it became possible. Every ounce of concentration was and is needed for me in order to allow the body to go to this position…so much so that it quite literally seems to take my breath away. But through experiencing it and through continuing to practice it, I feel that there is a great gift in it. And that gift is a gift for the mind. Because when such a heightened concentration is needed to face such a challenge in the physical body, all other mind activity must be put on hold and stay on hold in order to continue. So, that in itself becomes a valuable and precious break in the mind that can be busy and constantly active, that can bring about a more rapid and heightened state of silence. And even if it is only for a relatively few moments while holding steady the pose, I feel that it can really have a strong impact on the mind as it may be quite opposite to the mind’s common state. As it is repeated over time in daily practice, it feels like the mind starts to learn about something new through that experience. And perhaps it is moments like these that bring about conditions that can greatly speed along the mind’s preparedness for the state of meditation.

All that being said, experiencing rigidity or stiffness in the physical body when practicing asana is not only not a problem at all, but I feel it is really a gift of great value that is given as our opportunity to train the mind in a much more intensified and impactful way. 

Part 2: A Hint for Reading ~ Pranavadipa Vol. 90
What does it mean to read? And, how do we learn from what we read and the way we read? These are questions that I have been considering for some time now after they were brought up for consideration during MYM’s Study in Practice group a year or two ago, and now again recently as several of the gurubai in New York are meeting for a book club and again these questions are coming up as a main theme as we read and learn together.

With these questions in mind, I was reflecting as we prepared the latest issue of Pranavadipa (Vol. 90), which was just published for May 2022. As many probably know, Pranavadipa consists in part of recorded Satsangha, where various questions and answers transpired between Shri Mahayogi and seekers, as well as Testimonies, which are writings from the experiences of different practitioners as they are learning Yoga under the guidance of Shri Mahayogi.When it comes to the process of editing a recording of Satsangha, which originally takes place in person and is all spoken, Anandamali speaks about how in order to prepare it for a written-only format there are various considerations that need to be taken into account. For example, when someone asks a question, sometimes due to the natural spoken nature, that question may not come in a neat, straight-to-the-point package. What does the editing team do…does the editing team cut the question down to its essence for ease of reading?…does the editing team leave exactly as is?…something else?…and what guides that decision?

Being involved in the editing team process, I have been learning that there are really two general things very important to be aware of. One has to do with the words themselves…what is being said or written. But the other, harder to grasp but absolutely vital, is everything that is behind the words, beyond the words and surrounding the words…everything around what is being said or written. Anandamali has naturally been teaching me about the various aspects of these as we work together on MYM’s publications and as time goes on I think my awareness and clarity is perhaps always growing little by little.

Each month Anandamali chooses very carefully the content of Pranavadipa, always considering what may be particularly beneficial for readers and for the particular moment the publication will be released. In this particular issue of Pranavadipa (Vol. 90), Anandamali shared with me that actually many of the questions and answers in this Satsangha may have quite a different type of content than what we may be used to reading or than what typically may be given first priority in being published among the various content of teachings—but that through this content we will have the opportunity to meet  Shri Mahayogi, and get to know his extraordinary capacities, and depth of sagacity and penetration into the Truth, by being able to read the types of questions and answers that most readers probably have not experienced in the Satsangha in New York or Taiwan. And, that we may not only learn about Yoga from different angles we may not have heard, read or considered before, but also by seeing the questions themselves, there is much we can learn about how different practitioners may go about approaching Yoga in daily life, as well as ways of trying to learn and understand the teachings through the way one lives or the things one may be facing. And in addition, she carefully restored some parts that were previously edited away to leave only the essential points, so if we as readers are paying close attention, we may be able to learn from the atmosphere surrounding the question and answer that may be revealed through the dynamic of the question and answer itself.

Keeping all of these various things in mind, along with some of my own experiences, as I worked on the preparations for Pranavadipa Vol. 90 as one of the editing staff, I was sensing strongly that “yes, it’s true…there is so much beyond what we see most evidently written on the page…and what we can learn from that is just as important as what we can learn from what is written.”

In a way it feels like whatever we see written and published, whether the questions and answers that transpired or the written experiences of the practitioners, the words we see are all a result. What we read and what we see is always the result of something. And because it is a result, that means that there is much that has come beforehand—thought, study, practice, action, experiences, time, discipline, etc.—all things that we too can engage ourselves in. None of that is explained or spelled out for us—it would be impossible to include every detail or explain every little thing. It is up to each one of us, as the readers, to reach beyond the resulting words, and catch that seemingly invisible part. However, if we read the words and take only the surface, the words themselves, then the richness of everything that has led up to those words coming to the point of being spoken is taken for granted and missed.

I’m becoming more and more interested in the process behind what we see take form, whether that’s in someone’s words, questions, actions, way of being etc…because I’m seeing that nothing comes about in isolation. I think this is an important learning for me, because I see that in the past I have tended to look over that part, particularly when it comes to expectations I have for myself. I may expect myself to “have it already.” And in looking over or not putting my attention towards the process that comes before the result, it makes it more difficult for me to recognize the practical ways of developing Yoga more thoroughly and comprehensively within myself. So, I must say that I am grateful that this learning is opening up within myself and hope that if there are others who may see something similar within themselves, that perhaps trying out this looking beyond the surface, the words, the form, the result…in order to discover and learn from the process, may be a helpful clue.

Certainly, in Pranavadipa Vol. 90 there is a lot of excellent and rich material for us to practice reading the surroundings, not only in the Satsangha, but in the Testimonies that are all messages shared on the occasion of Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela (Celebration of the Divine Manifestations of Eternal Truth), back in April 2022.


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