Echo From The Cave: 93

Sunday Dec 16, 2018 NYC

Companion Persuading Radha as Krishna plays the Flute, from the Gita Govinda (Song of the Cowherd)

What is Yoga?: Yoga is how we live our life

Yoga is lived in our moment to moment. Our practice comes across in the way we speak and in the way we interact with others. Although seemingly invisible, the quiet mind of a practitioner brings others minds to a state of quiet too. And sharing the true knowledge that comes through practice of Yoga is what truly touches others.

The following account is an inspiring example we found in the story of how one disciple of Shri Mahayogi shared the essence of the teaching with others. It reveals how our master, Shri Mahayogi, is inspiring and guiding us. The words that he spoke, as well as the words that Anandi shared, are, no doubt, a message to us all.

*

The Inspiring Story of Anandi in Matsuyama, Japan

Recently Anandi, a disciple of Shri Mahayogi and the leader of the Yoga activities in Matsuyama, Japan was asked to give a speech about Yoga at a gathering for employees of an Income Tax Filing Company who participate in a computer literacy group. She spoke for approximately 50 minutes to a group of about 40 attendees a week after the Jayanti. This group invites lecturers from outside of the accounting field from time to time in an effort to learn new things and broaden their perspectives. Many of the attendees are in their 60’s or 70’s.

After her lecture, there was a shared meal held for the purpose of promoting friendship among the attendees. After the party, when she was talking with the man who made the closing remarks and another man, who was the manager of the literacy work group, the man who had made the closing remarks commented to her that, “This was really the first time that everybody listened to a lecture so quietly like that. But, it was not like we were being quiet out of boredom, but rather, it was like we were being brought into the quiet world of meditation.” Upon hearing it, the manager agreed and said with a huge smile on his face, “I am truly so glad that I requested you to speak here.”

Anandi prepared what she would present for this occasion on her own. And, unlike in the past, she did not ask Shri Mahayogi any questions about it, but rather simply informed him during the Satsangha in November that she had been requested to speak about Yoga at a gathering. When Shri Mahayogi heard it, he advised her by saying: “No matter how healthy one might be, if one dies, then that is the end of it. That is why, the key for what you should speak about there is the meaning of Life and the purpose of why one is born.”

Reflecting Shri Mahayogi’s advice, Anandi spoke at the meeting about the following things:

How true health is the health of the mind, that is to say, the healthy mind refers to the condition in which the mind is calm, the condition in which the mind is filled with peacefulness, how that condition of the mind does not worry, and how in order to gain that condition, it is important to always maintain purity within the mind and emit pure thoughts. How no matter how much fame or wealth we gain, when we die everything will be gone instantly, and the purpose of why we were born is to have a perfectly harmonious peaceful personality.

What is a perfectly harmonious peaceful personality?

In Yoga, it is said that the true nature of human beings is to be filled with purity and love.

She then spoke about:

How she is living her life with firm conviction as she strives to prove exactly that.

 

*

There is a word, “Sanatana Dharma,” which means “Eternal Truth.” The word sanatana means eternal and dharma can mean duty, rights, laws, conduct, or virtues, depending on the context. Yoga is actually to practice Sanatana Dharma. That, in other words, means to know our true Self. The reason why we are born on this earth is to know our Self, to know what Life is.

We have heard that after that day, a woman who had attended the lecture came to take the class, and afterwards she expressed her intention to continue.

***

If we listen closely, the flute is being played right now, just like in the painting of Krishna, beckoning our hearts to seek the Truth.

Shri Mahayogi will come to New York in one month from now and we hope that many people will find the moment to quiet their heart and listen to the beautiful and exquisite sounds of Eternal Truth that pour through Shri Mahayogi’s very being.

We hope that many will come to meet him and take this extraordinary, momentous and sweet opportunity that can certainly transform our Life.

Echo From The Cave: 92

Tuesday Dec 11, 2018 NYC

Announcement:
Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa to Visit NY!


We are so grateful to announce
these INVALUABLE and INCOMPARABLE opportunities
to receive guidance on practice from
SATGURU SHRI MAHAYOGI PARAMAHANSA.



*


When walking in a dark forest, we need the light of the moon to show us the way. Or a torch to reveal where the path lies. If we can encounter a True Master to light our way through the world, how joyous it is.
The invitation is yours.


Satsangha by Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa:
Satsangha means “sacred gathering with the Truth.” It is an opportunity in which spiritual seekers gather with Shri Mahayogi, who spontaneously awoke into the ultimate state of Yoga, the One Eternal Truth, at the young age of 8 years old, and seek his guidance. Shri Mahayogi graciously answers from his own experience of this ultimate state all questions that are bound to arise as one strives to live life—from the practicalities of daily life to the intricacies of the inner workings of the mind to the subtle layers of meditation.
February 2 & 23, 2019    3-4:30pm
Location: TBD


Yoga Sadhana Programs Directed by Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa:
This special Sunday program is a great opportunity to learn Asana & Meditation practice for the purpose of Spiritual Awakening. All practices are based on the direct experience of Shri Mahayogi, who began asana practice without knowing such poses existed before and thus came to master both asana and meditation in his teenage years without any external instruction. This is what makes this program truly unique and it is encouraged as a compliment to Satsangha as it prepares the body and mind for meditation and for carrying out everyday activities.
January 20 & 27   February 3,10,17 & 24   March 3
Location: Still Mind Zendo 37 West 17th Street #6W


Please make a reservation, as space is limited.
You can find more detailed information on the Eventbrite site.

Register for Satsangha through Eventbrite
http://ssmp2019.eventbrite.com

Register for the Sadhana Program through Eventbrite
http://mym2019.eventbrite.com

OM TAT SAT, OM!

Echo From The Cave: 91

Monday Dec 10, 2018 NYC

Lord Krishna Lord Shiva

Director’s Note: New Cycle of Pranavadipa Beginning Volume 49

On December 8th, we began a new 12-month cycle of Pranavadipa, our online publication. To start off the new subscription cycle we would like to share with you the words of one of our readers:
Pranavadipa is inspirational, meaning that it constantly reminds me and brings the mind back to what is important. Also it is a tremendous resource and a place where I can read and try to understand the application of the teachings through the testimonies of the practitioners, who are like me. Also it provides a way for me to connect my mind over and over again to Shri Mahayogi, knowing that every time I read, it is like I am attending a new Satsangha.”

In the first issue of the new cycle (Vol. 49), one of the main topics of discussion in the Satsangha is the direct intuitive knowledge that arises as a result of practicing Yoga, which is unlike any type of knowledge we are commonly familiar with as a result of our educational background or daily experiences. Shri Mahayogi straightforwardly teaches about the importance of proactive discrimination within the mind in order to create the proper condition for this type of knowledge to arise and about how to tackle the issues within the mind so that we can walk the path of Yoga, directly towards Satori (Awakening).

The Testimony in this issue features the congratulatory speech offered to Shri Mahayogi during Satguru Jayanti by Harshani, a disciple living in Tokyo. As she expresses her gratitude towards Shri Mahayogi, the reader also gets a concrete and practical glimpse of how one can apply the teaching of Yoga in everyday life activities and how doing so can bring true transformation.

If you have not yet renewed your subscription for the new cycle, we encourage you to do so. And if you have never subscribed before, we invite you to subscribe this year and discover for yourself what makes Pranavadipa a truly unique and invaluable resource for anyone wishing to follow the path of Truth or for anyone who simply wishes to live and appreciate the preciousness of life to its fullest.

Echo from The Cave: 90

Sunday Dec 2, 2018 NYC

Vishnu’s feet

Meaning of the Offering of Arati

Light emerging from darkness—this symbolizes God manifesting in the world.
The offering of light inherently contains the act of humbly receiving that light.
For God becoming manifest, the heavens swirl, flower petals shower down,
and the celestial gods play their heavenly music in joy.
The offering of the mala (flower garland) and of the hymns all symbolize that.

—Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa

    


* 

During the opening of the Satguru Jayanti celebration in Kyoto, arati was offered. One of the members of the team offering arati, Mirabai, has written about this offering (published in MYM’s bi-monthly newsletter, Paramahamsa, in Japan), and we would like to introduce the translation of this article as well as the Kirtan that was offered.

    

Offering of Arati: The Mysterious Love of Kirtan

Arati is part of the ritual of puja, where a song of joy is dedicated to the descent of the Lord into this world, which is a rare blessing. What an awe-inspiring event this must have been—the formless God taking on form and appearing on earth—even for the gods themselves! How delighted the Gandharva (heavenly musicians) must have been for this miracle and for the compassion of the Lord, that they blared out their resounding hymns! When we offer arati, I personally make the offering of kirtan with the feeling that I am a member of the Ghandarva. Through trial and error for some years, I have continued to try and figure out how to express and share with everyone this deep emotion and Joy for the fluttering down of the Lord, and I tried to find an appropriate song for this. Then one day…

Upon hearing a certain song for the first time, I felt that it might be an appropriate song for arati. The quiet melody of the mantra-filled introductory part, the way the joy flows from it as the phrases repeat, gradually increasing in cheerfulness, and the tone of sattva underlying it all. I thought that if the content of the lyrics were appropriate for the celebration, then I would want to offer this song to Shri Mahayogi. When I asked Sanatana-san about the meaning of the words, he answered that he feels that the lyrics were clearly written by someone who knows God. Wow! And that this song was an excerpt from a scripture associated with the Goddess, Devi Mahatmya, which then turned into a song!

 

The song starts out with a mantra praising the Goddess. Then, it goes into describing the way God, originally formless, gradually manifests in the world, first from the subtle things of this world, such as consciousness and intellect, then develops into the gross things in this world, such as faith and beauty. Further, the song says that that Goddess dwells within all living beings.

Shiva, the male principle and the source of Existence, alone could not have birthed this universe. Everything in its entirety was birthed by the power of the Goddess, Shakti, and continues to be nurtured by her, even now. And that very Shiva and Shakti are One, indivisible.

 

When we were performing this song for Jayanti one year, I noticed that the bell that I was playing suddenly separated from my hand and began to play on its own. It felt like it was not me who was playing, but it was as if it was granted a Life of its own from the Lord, and the bell, by its own will, began to celebrate the birth of the Lord and to dance with joy. And what’s more, how clear and beautiful its tone was, completely different from the tone that I used to hear before! Then it was not only about the instrument, which is a thing, but also it began to reveal that a brilliant Existence abides within us, human beings, in the same way.

Shri Mahayogi’s holy birth, at the same time, means that True Life has been granted to us, to everything—that is to say, it is our birth as well. That Essence is the same as the Lord—it is filled with Eternal Joy. And the Lord and we are One. I feel that the more we get in touch with this song and deepen our singing of it, the more it will reveal and manifest the mystery of the Goddess imbued within it.

 

This year again, we offer this arati for the occasion of Jayanti. No matter how far away you might be, may we etch the song into our hearts, offer it to Shri Mahayogi, and taste it together!

Mirabai

Mirabai, Amara and Jayadevi at Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa’s Jayanti 2019


*

 

TANTROKTAṂ DEVĪ SŪKTAM

Namo Devyai Mahādevyai Śivāyai Satataṃ Namaḥ
Namaḥ Prakṛtyai Bhadrāyai Niyatāḥ Praṇatāḥ Sma Tāṃ

Salutations to the Great Goddess (Divine Mother).
Saltations always to she who is ever auspicious.
Salutations to she who is the primordial cause and sustaining power.
With attention, oh, we pay obeisance to her.

礼拝いたします、女神に、偉大なる女神に。吉祥なる女神に、永遠に礼拝いたします。
礼拝いたします、万物を生み出す根源の力、吉祥なる女神に。
全身全霊でつつましく、ああ! あの方に頭を垂れます。

 

Raudrāyai Namo Nityāyai Gauryai Dhātryai Namo Namaḥ
Jyotsnāyai Cendurūpiṇyai Sukhāyai Satataṃ Namaḥ

Salutations to she who is fearsome, to she who is eternal.
Salutations again salutations to she who is the supporter of the Universe.
Salutations to she who is of the form of the moon, of moonlight, and of happiness itself.

恐るべき女神に礼拝いたします。
永遠であり、白く光り輝く、この世界を支える女神に礼拝いたします。
月の光であり、月の甘露のしずくという姿をもつ、幸福そのものであるお方に、
永遠に礼拝いたします。

 

Yā Devī Sarvabhūteṣu Viṣṇumāyeti Śabditā 
Namas Tasyai Namas Tasyai Namas Tasyai Namo Namaḥ

To the Goddess who abides in all beings and is called Vishnu-Maya, the Lord’s own Maya,
the inscrutable Power pervading in all things.
Salutations to her, salutations to her, salutations again and again.

すべての生きものにあって、遍在神ヴィシュヌのマーヤーと呼ばれている女神、
その方に礼拝いたします。その方に礼拝いたします。その方に礼拝いたします。

 

Yā Devī Sarvabhūteṣu Cetanetyabhidhīyate
Namas Tasyai Namas Tasyai Namas Tasyai Namo Namaḥ

To the Goddess who is known as consciousness in all things,
Salutations to her, salutations to her, salutations again and again.

すべての生きものにあって、意識として認められる女神、
その方に礼拝いたします。その方に礼拝いたします。その方に礼拝いたします。

 

Yā Devī Sarvabhūteṣu Buddhirūpeṇa Saṃsthitā
Namas Tasyai Namas Tasyai Namas Tasyai Namo Namaḥ

To the Goddess, who abides in all beings in the form of intelligence,
Salutations to her, salutations to her, salutations again and again.

すべての生きものにあって、知性というかたちで留まる女神、
その方に礼拝いたします。その方に礼拝いたします。その方に礼拝いたします。

 

Yā Devī Sarvabhūteṣu Śaktirūpeṇa Saṃsthitā
Namas Tasyai Namas Tasyai Namas Tasyai Namo Namaḥ

To the Goddess who abides in all beings in the form of God’s Shakti, power,
Salutations to her, salutations to her, salutations again and again.

すべての生きものにあって、神のシャクティというかたちで留まる女神、
その方に礼拝いたします。その方に礼拝いたします。その方に礼拝いたします。

 

Yā Devī Sarvabhūteṣu Śāntirūpeṇa Saṃsthitā
Namas Tasyai Namas Tasyai Namas Tasyai Namo Namaḥ

To the Goddess who abides in all beings in the form of peace,
Salutations to her, salutations to her, salutations again and again.

すべての生きものにあって、静寂というかたちで留まる女神、
その方に礼拝いたします。その方に礼拝いたします。その方に礼拝いたします。

 

Yā Devī Sarvabhūteṣu Śraddhārūpeṇa Saṃsthitā
Namas Tasyai Namas Tasyai Namas Tasyai Namo Namaḥ

To the Goddess who abides in all beings in the form of faith,
Salutations to her, salutations to her, salutations again and again.

すべての生きものにあって、信仰というかたちで留まる女神、
その方に礼拝いたします。その方に礼拝いたします。その方に礼拝いたします。

 

Yā Devī Sarvabhūteṣu Kāntirūpeṇa Saṃsthitā
Namas Tasyai Namas Tasyai Namas Tasyai Namo Namaḥ

To the Goddess who abides in all beings in the form of beauty,
Salutations to her, salutations to her, salutations again and again.

すべての生きものにあって、美というかたちで留まる女神、
その方に礼拝いたします。その方に礼拝いたします。その方に礼拝いたします。

 

Namas Tasyai Namas Tasyai
Namas Tasyai Namo Namaḥ

Salutations to her. Salutations to her,
Salutations again and again.

その方に礼拝いたします。その方に礼拝いたします。
その方に礼拝いたします。

 

* This arati is an excerpt from the TANTROKTAṂ DEVĪ SŪKTAM, which is also an excerpt from a scripture.

 

Echo from The Cave: 89

Monday Nov 26, 2018 NYC

DEDICATION: The Celebration of Satguru Jayanti 2018

“It is true that everything is Lila (divine play),
yet you can only say so once you get out of maya.

Today I was able to feel so much sweetness, the essence of Lila,
and Bliss in many things,
such as the various messages, the sacred play and the Kirtan.  

       Truly, it is a day of auspicious and wonderful Lila.
May this joyous Lila keep continuing on from now on,
moment to moment, day to day,
without changing.
And to play and enjoy with you—I wish only for that. 
To your shining Atman,
the light of the Existence of God…  
Jai!!”

—Words from Shri Mahayogi
offered at the end of the Jayanti Celebration in Kyoto,
November 23, 2018.

*

For the occasion of Satguru Jayanti, in Kyoto, disciples from all over Japan gathered, along with 11 disciples who made the trip from Taiwan (more than last year), where devotion for Shri Mahayogi is quickly growing, and in New York, 8 disciples gathered at the Cave to participate in the ceremony via live web cam.

Yogadanda

Before the celebration began, all (including those of us who were gathered in New York) became quiet as a shared sense of reverence, extending across time and space, began to build.

Soon after Shri Mahayogi’s arrival, OM was recited by a few male disciples, and Priya, quietly and slowly, with great focus, walked towards Shri Mahayogi, who was seated in the center of the space, sat before him, bowed down and offered the Mala to Shri Mahayogi.

Priya

She had just arrived from Taiwan the day before to attend the Jayanti. Then, Devi Suktam (a hymn to the Divine Mother) was offered to Shri Mahayogi by the Arati (ritual of worship; offering of the lamp and songs of praise to God) team.It was filled with Joy and the pure power of devotion that brings everybody together, and it carried praise to the Divine Mother, bowing down again and again to this Divine creative Essence that manifests as all things—the entirety of creation being none other than That.

Pan Pan (from Taiwan) offered a speech

At this year’s Jayanti there were 8 disciples (6 from Japan, 1 from New York and 1 from Taiwan) who had the opportunity to offer their words to Shri Mahayogi (in the form of a Jayanti message). Each one spoke with heartfelt sincerity, and from each speaker we could feel their pure love and devotion for Shri Mahayogi, which can only arise as the result of experiencing true transformation from receiving the teaching and guidance of Shri Mahayogi and then putting it into earnest practice.

Lalita (from Kyoto) offered a speech

Each expressed so openly and honestly, in their own way, deep gratitude, honor and respect for Shri Mahayogi, where they are in their own practice, and their desire and efforts to dedicate themselves to establishing the light of Truth, the light of Shri Mahayogi, not only within themselves but within an ever-widening circle.

Marula and sangha from Taiwan

The highlight of the Celebration, by far, was an offering of Kirtan, on behalf of the sangha from Tokyo, that was presented amidst the various messages offered to Shri Mahayogi.

Sarvani, who had the role of lead vocalist, sat in the center. Even though she lives in Tokyo, because of how busy her work is, she has not been able to see Shri Mahayogi often. It must have been such an immensely precious opportunity for her to have this role, which she has never done before, and offer what has been building in her heart up until this day. She was speechless. It seemed that she was supposed to open by offering words to Shri Mahayogi, but she just couldn’t. She gazed at Shri Mahayogi, but with such overwhelming emotion, the words would not come out. The sangha from Tokyo was sitting around her, supporting her, and all the sangha was supporting and waiting for her with warm hearts. Shri Mahayogi kept looking at

Sarvani, looking straight at Shri Mahayogi, before singing

her so tenderly, and we could see from his face and his being, that he was also full, feeling her emotion. It was such a powerful moment as Shri Mahayogi and Sarvani were connected into One through Pure Love and Devotion. It took a long time, but finally she was able to speak to Shri Mahayogi. After some silence again, Sarvani began, and others followed her lead. In her voice, filled with praise to Shri Mahayogi, there was the bliss of Ananda, connecting into One with Shri Mahayogi. This bliss of Ananda, through her voice, vibrated and penetrated into everyone’s hearts like waves that emulated throughout the entirety of space. The heart of Kirtan—Real Kirtan unfolded right there…and it was so beautiful, moment after moment!

 


Sing Victory! Praise the Glory of Mahayogi!
In Bliss, With Bliss, Lord, In Bliss
Sing Victory! Praise the Satguru, the Great Lord!
In Bliss, With Bliss, Lord, In Bliss
Sing Victory! Praise the Holy Paramahansa!
In Bliss, With Bliss, Lord, In Bliss
Sing Victory! Praise the Exquisite Gurudeva!
In Bliss, With Bliss, Lord, In Bliss

Also offered to Shri Mahayogi was the Mahayogi Mission’s original Divine Play, which this year depicted the story of Krishna’s birth. (Roles played by gurubai from Kyoto, Osaka and Matsuyama.)

Brahma and goddess are praying to Vishnu

King Kansa, Vasudeva and Devaki (parents of Krishna)

Vishnu, Devaki and baby Krishna

Nanda and Yasoda (Foster parents of Krishna)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The birth of an Avatara into this world is indeed rare and invaluable, and arises because of the pressing need for Truth to be re-established in the world and the sincere yearning for it from the hearts of the people. The play, at times serious and at times light and humorous, reminded us of the profound significance of Shri Mahayogi’s birth into this world, and our responsibility as disciples to concretize the teaching within us and carry on Shri Mahayogi’s great mission of Sanatana Dharma in every way possible.

After all messages had been spoken and all offerings made, Shri Mahayogi graciously offered the words written at the beginning of this blog post to his sangha.

And to conclude everything, the sangha recited Shri Mahayogi’s Stotram (a hymn written specifically for Shri Mahayogi). What a joyous occasion it is when we have the opportunity to sing praise directly to Shri Mahayogi!

We would like to extend our gratitude again to Shri Mahayogi.
Thank you very much for your Existence,
thank you very much for your teaching of Sanatana Dharma,
your guidance,

your unstained example of Truth
and your everlasting grace.

Jai Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa Ki Jai !!!!!!!

 

***

Let us express our gratitude to our fellow gurubai in Kyoto for their efforts to make available and to keep improving the quality of this live broadcasting participation to the disciples in New York! We are very grateful to have the opportunity to see our Beloved Master on this special occasion and be part of the celebration of his Divine Birth.

*

The celebration of Satguru Jayanti never ends when the Master exits the room, yet continues on in the company of sangha. In New York, gurubai, stayed together until the first dawn of morning, sharing about the inspirations we heard in the words of our brothers and sisters who gave speeches and where we are in our own practice. Sleep had no place to enter—for in conversations about the Truth, the purity of inspiration and the serene presence of Shri Mahayogi, enlivens and brings great energy to all! As we left the Cave, a great full moon began to set over the city in the crisp cold morning air! How auspicious this full moon that appeared, marking this holy day of Shri Mahayogi’s sacred birth!

***

In the coming blog post, we would also like to share the Devi Suktam, along with the writing by Mirabai (from Paramahansa) about why this was chosen to be part of Arati.

 

 

Echo from The Cave: 88

Friday Nov 23, 2018 NYC

Lord Shiva

GRATITUDE: Satguru Jayanti

Jai Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa !!!!!

Today is the auspicious day of your sacred birth, Jayanti,
and today we celebrate and honor Shri Mahayogi from the depths of our hearts.
You are the Truth manifest, the perfect example of true Yoga!
We are eternally grateful for the light and passion for the Truth that you ignite within our hearts and the guidance of your great Compassion that you continuously shower upon us.

On November 23rd, 2018, disciples of Shri Mahayogi gathered together in Japan and
in New York in honor, in celebration and in gratitude of your sacred birth.
No matter the distance, together we are bound as one Sangha
by the joy that comes through your very Existence.
It is an immense blessing to have the opportunity to meet Shri Mahayogi in this lifetime,
to learn from Shri Mahayogi
and to practice the teaching that Shri Mahayogi most graciously gives us.

Thank you very much for your Existence among us, our Beloved Satguru,
and gratitude for this holy occasion of Jayanti!!!!

 

Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa’s Jayanti 2018 at The CAVE

Jai   Jai   Jai !!!!!

 

Echo from The Cave: 87

Sunday Oct 14, 2018 NYC

Today we would like to introduce the third article of our blog series Actual Practice of Yoga in Everyday Life. This was written by Sadhya in 2017 as a part of a reflection on her practice of asana, which she began daily practice of in 2012, how she practiced during that time and some of her discoveries of what Shri Mahayogi is teaching us along the way.

Her journey doesn’t stop after what is expounded upon here in this writing. Instead, she continues to discover and work towards mastering Shri Mahayogi’s ASANA, so that she can come to know and understand what true ASANA really is.

We recommend that you read her Testimony in the current issue of Pranavadipa (Vol. 47), which is a reflection on her experience having to come to face herself while participating in a kamishibai project in 2013.

Siva Sakti Yoga Painting from 18th Century


Actual Practice of Yoga in Everyday Life 3 :
Overcoming Discomfort

Shri Mahayogi teaches us that asana should be practiced daily as a part of kriya yoga. In kriya yoga, which consists of tapas, svadyaya and ishvarapranidana, asana is where the practice of tapas takes place. Consistent practice of asana may lead to many changes in the physical body, in the mind, and in the amount of energy one has or the amount of sleep that one requires. Asana may have many benefits for the practitioner, but that doesn’t mean that all such benefits are felt right away, nor does it mean that we should focus on attaining those benefits, or measure our practice or the usefulness of our practice based on our perceived notion of what benefits we are receiving from asana or what benefits should look or feel like. More importantly, we need to throw ourselves in and immerse ourselves fully—with sincerity to learn and without concern for the result.

One May Need to Really Put Oneself Through the Ringer

In the practice of asana, we often have to put our bodies into positions that we do not usually take or spend time in. These positions may not always be comfortable and many complaints and concerns are likely to arise. I remember at the end of a small class Anandamali explaining that indeed when we practice asana we are actually intentionally putting the body into an uncomfortable position and then working on focusing on the breath. By doing this, we are actually training the mind. If the position is too comfortable then there is no training for the mind and the benefit is much less. She explained that practitioners who experience more stiffness and less flexibility have their own advantage in asana since they may perhaps have the greatest opportunity to learn how to go beyond both mind and body. So what is this training all for?

Our day-to-day lives!

No matter how much we may wish to be able to control what happens in our lives, and experience only good things, it is inevitable that we are going to experience things that we find pleasing and things that we find unpleasing. We may find ourselves in situations that are comfortable for us, but surely we will also find ourselves in situations that are uncomfortable or less than ideal. Depending on the circumstances, we are pulled without break up and down as we experience comfort and discomfort and then have to deal with it. Yoga teaches us that we cannot avoid what is meant to come to us—this we have already created and is determined by our individual karma. However, what we can do is control the effect that our changing circumstances and experiences have on us. It is completely unnecessary to be pulled up and down and tossed about by our emotional reactions to circumstances that we already know are going to keep changing. But unless we learn how to control the mind and train it accordingly, then we have no choice but to be completely under its control, and to endure these never-ending ups and downs that exhaust us so much.

Later on, I came to understand that, in a way, in asana what we are doing is creating the condition in which practice can be optimized and this training can happen swiftly. This does not only apply to practice of asana though. As our practice begins to extend outside of asana and into all aspects of daily life, yogi often seek to create conditions that are ideal for practice. (But this is a topic to elaborate on more at another time… )

Going back to asana, after a rigorous practice in which we have created many seemingly uncomfortable positions for the body, we may feel soreness in the body the next day and think, “I should rest a day and allow my body to recover.” This is typical thinking when it comes to exercise and sports training. Often the suggestion is that you balance workouts with days of rest and recovery. However, the instruction we receive for asana is to practice everyday, 365 days a year—no breaks.

Once I finally realized after the first few months of practicing with the Mission, that this instruction of practicing everyday also applied to me, I took it very seriously. Before that time, I practiced on the days we had class with the Mission and perhaps another day or two on my own. But on other days, I would practice asana at another school, where I had been attending since before meeting Shri Mahayogi, and where I also happened to be doing some office work at the time. In the beginning, I took the instruction of “practice everyday” quite casually and generally to mean practice any asana daily—it didn’t matter the school or how the asana was instructed, just as long as it was something every day. So, in a way I felt that I was doing that already and therefore this instruction did not apply to me.

But there came a point, when I started to feel that I wanted my practice to go more deeply…but I didn’t know how to make that happen. There was an intense longing to know what to do that settled into my heart. When that yearning became very strong, I clearly remember pleading internally to please be shown the way to deepen my practice, that I would do anything…I just needed to know exactly what to do. That was shortly after Shri Mahayogi arrived for the second time to visit New York after I first met him. There was a class that night, a Wednesday class, and directly at the beginning of the class, Anandamali came to me and presented me with a list of asana that I should take as my practice from that moment on. No longer should I practice with the same sequence as everyone else in the class, but I should follow this order. I looked at the paper. There were some 32 asana listed there. At the top of the paper it had my name and the word “Program.” At the bottom of the paper it was written, “Must practice Everyday! 365-7.”

When I received this paper I was shocked and speechless. I felt that Shri Mahayogi had felt my yearning and that this was the concrete answer and direction that I had just been asking for.  When I saw “Everyday” and “365-7,” I knew right then and there that that was what I was going to do, and there was absolutely no question in my mind about it. I knew that I would not allow myself to not do it—how could I let that happen—this was a direct answer to my most internal request. To not do so would be a waste. I recognized this to be an extremely serious thing and as the concrete demonstration that our prayers are indeed heard and answered.

***

Although I may appear to have a good amount of flexibility in my body, I can honestly say that after I began practicing asana consistently and daily, I think I had soreness in my body for almost 2 years, without break. Even so, I quickly learned that regardless of how sore the body was or wasn’t, I could still practice asana and that soreness really didn’t make the least bit of difference. When I was actually in the practice, I rarely noticed or paid much attention to this soreness. It was only in between practices that I would notice it. But I really was not concerned about it, even though I had it for quite some time. In the past I might have complained about becoming sore from some sort of exercise or physical exertion, but with asana I simply accepted it and therefore no longer felt any complaint or uncomfortable feelings towards it.

A few months after I had been practicing my daily program of asana, I returned to the previous school where I had practiced before meeting Shri Mahayogi. A friend of a friend was visiting from out of the country and really wanted to take a class at that school. And since I already had plans with my friend, we all went to take a class at this school together. My experience in this class was shocking. The only word that came to my mind to describe this class was “violent.”  It’s not that the class was physically violent or overly demanding or anything like that, but rather it was the internal experience that felt so violent in comparison to the practice I had been grounding down into now for a few months without pause. It was then and there that I began to realize how truly fine and refined the practice that Shri Mahayogi teaches us is. There is a meaning and a purpose to everything, every movement, every breath, every direction of the eye gaze, every step-by-step instruction, the order of the asana, every savasana, everything. This fineness comes not from the physical positioning of the body, although that certainly has a part, but from the way in which all of these details and the order of the asana, affect and move the prana throughout the body. The definitive sense that this practice given to us by Shri Mahayogi is so incredibly fine-tuned down to all of the most invisible elements was truly shocking to me.  Never before had I experienced anything like that or had the ability to begin to perceive anything like that. In comparison, the class that I had just attended, even though many of the asana looked very similar, seemed to disturb the physical body and the prana. There was excessive movement that felt too jarring for the body and it felt as if the internal and invisible parts of the practice had been left completely unattended to, and as a result the external seemed to allow the internal prana to run loose, uncontrolled and misdirected in a way that felt as if it could wreak complete havoc!

***

As I continued on in practicing daily, I felt as though my body was becoming entirely reworked.  I still cannot say I know what exactly was happening, but I began to feel as though the body was like an old rag. I was using it to wash and clean day after day, wringing it out again and again and again. Various pains arose and passed away, as did emotions, and memories. It was as if the practice of asana was going into all parts and pushing various things out. Perhaps this feeling of the body becoming worn out like an old rag was a necessary step for me…once many things had been squeezed out, it could start to reconstruct in a way that would be more suitable for the continued practice of Yoga in all its forms.

There may have been times when I pushed too hard in asana. To give an example, there was a time when I developed a pain, deep within the shoulder blade area. For a long time, I disregarded it because as soon as I would begin asana, my focus would go to the breath and I would lose all such sensations of pain or discomfort in asana. I knew that there were certain asana that were exacerbating this pain, but I did not want to not practice them. I felt incredibly committed to adhering to the list I had been given, not understanding that I also had to learn to not hold on too tightly. All practices are means to an end, not the end itself. Eventually all practices must change or fade away as the condition of our mind changes, or our understanding deepens. But that is a lesson it would take me more time to learn. In a way, I feared to shift my practice much, because I felt like that would mean that I was not following Shri Mahayogi’s instruction to me and therefore the asana practice would not serve its purpose correctly (whatever that was—I certainly didn’t understand much then).

When I look back at this time now, I can see that what was lacking in my practice was discrimination. I could not see that I was suffering out of a fear of losing something gained or even simply from the idea of possibly losing something I had not even gained yet, but was hoping for. All of these ideas were stemming from my own imagined idea of what the goal was or should look like. As I practiced further, even these ideas, which seemed to not be subjective at the time, began to reveal their subjectivity. One by one, many of my preconceived notions about what practice of Yoga is and what my aim may or may not look like was shaken and the mind was brought little by little and again and again to have to face itself.

Sadhya   (November 2017)

Echo from The Cave: 86

Friday Oct 12, 2018 NYC

EDITOR’S NOTE: Pranavadipa Vol. 47

Kamishibai 2013


Today, Yoga is almost unknown.

These are the words that were spoken to Shri Mahayogi by an attendee at the end of the Satsangha that is featured in this month’s issue of Pranavadipa (Vol. 47). This Satsangha was the final Satsangha that took place during Shri Mahayogi’s most recent visit to New York this past summer 2018.

From the very start, the questions arose one after another and covered a variety of topics, starting with the meaning of true Love and the application of compassion in any situation. Shri Mahayogi then went on to graciously teach attendees, both new and old alike, about the difference between the mind and the Self, the practical application of yama and niyama, and the four paths of Yoga.

In response to an inquiry about if there is anything he has ever desired, Shri Mahayogi spoke the following: “For people to learn and actually practice the correct Yoga, and then to realize It.”

Through every word, every smile, every moment of laughter and of silence, indeed Shri Mahayogi detailed what the correct practice and understanding of Yoga is, as well as how to apply it practically in our day-to-day lives. If we pay close attention to the teaching contained in just this one Satsangha we can find that Shri Mahayogi is giving us enough to practice for a lifetime!

Today, Yoga is almost unknown. But Shri Mahayogi knows Yoga, because he is in the state of Yoga. We are so grateful that he is here to show us the way!

We can truly come to understand and know the truth of Yoga for ourselves if we actually put the teaching into action. It is the way towards true Freedom, towards knowing our Self.

* * *

The Testimony in this month’s issue is written by Sadhya and is coming from the experiences and the lessons that took place between the winter and late spring of 2013, just less than two years after she first found Shri Mahayogi and started to practice with us. Those of us, who have known her from when she first entered into this practice, clearly recognize how much she has transformed since then. She has matured in so many different ways—leading the Mission’s class strongly, you might not be able to imagine that in the beginning we almost did not even know her voice, even though the power of her concentration and sincerity were definitely present from day one. We saw her hidden strength, but it needed time before it would come out.

But what is it that happened? What happened to her during these years? In this month’s Testimony, written from her own voice, there is a glimpse of exactly that. This is a true story of how one made oneself transform. And her journey continues…

Definitely there is much that we can learn from her inspirational and concrete example of how she tackled herself on the journey towards Freedom.

mana eva manuṣyāṇāṃ kāraṇaṃ bandhamokṣayoḥ ।

The mind is the cause of bondage and liberation.

                                     -Amrita-bindu, Upanishad 2

 

 

Echo from The Cave: 85

Tuesday Oct 9, 2018 NYC

New Program: Introductory 3 class course
“Cultivating the Mind: An Intro to Yoga, Asana, and Meditation”

DESCRIPTION:
Yoga, in the original sense of the word, refers to the state in which the mind is completely quiet and under control—it is a state in which there is purely Joy. There are many practices associated with Yoga, including meditation, all of which have the purpose of guiding the practitioner towards experiencing that ultimate state.

Today the word Yoga is used most often to refer to physical postures, yet Yoga is much more than this and offers benefits to the practitioner that are far beyond that of physical exercise or stretching. In fact, the practice of Yoga is extremely practical for anyone, as it allows one to:

– cultivate a quiet mind
– strengthen concentration
– develop new perspectives
– deepen knowledge of the Self within

This program, a series of 3 introductory classes, will focus on providing an introduction and foundation to what Yoga is, as well as the practices of asana (physical postures used to prepare the mind for meditation) and meditation.

CLASS DATES: Tuesdays October 9th, 16th and 23rd 7:00 – 8:30pm

LOCATION: 4409 30th Ave, #2L Astoria NY 11103

Please contact for class fee details and to RSVP (required):
sadhya@mahayogiyogamission.org / 828.243.1176

NOTE:
• Please RSVP – spaces are limited!
• Bring a mat or towel
• Keep an empty stomach
• Most benefit will be received from attending ALL 3 CLASSES

Echo from The Cave: 84

Tuesday Oct 2, 2018 NYC

Gratitude to Shri Mahayogi

 “One glance can do more than hearing about it a hundred times.” These were among the final words that Shri Mahayogi spoke to those who had gathered to hear his teaching during the last Satsangha of his visit to New York this summer, 2018.

We often hear or read about the great Awakened Beings of the past, but it can be hard to imagine what it might be like to actually be in the presence of an Awakened Master, to hear his voice, to see him in action, or to simply feel his Existence. Many of us may think that Awakened Beings are merely figures of the past and struggle to accept, amidst a culture of hard skepticism, that there could even be the possibility of an Awakened Being living and walking right here among us.

We may read the teachings of Yoga or the teachings of Truth again and again, but similarly, have difficulty actually understanding or applying them in the modern world. The teachings themselves are timeless, but the way they appear today may differ from the way they may have appeared 2000 years ago. Such teachings and concepts can be hard for our minds to grasp unless we see and feel them right in front of us.

 


To our most dear Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa:

You are that Awakened Being who lives and breathes among us. You are the concrete demonstration of each of the teachings. For three months you appeared before us each week and taught those who gathered before you through your every way of being: your gaze, your smile, your movement, your words, and your silence. There are no words that can describe what it is like to be in your physical presence, even though we may try again and again—truly the only way is to see and feel it for ourselves. Then we are beyond convinced that Awakening is real and the attainment and realization of all the teaching of Yoga in this very day and age is possible!

During the three months of your stay, your all-pervading grace entered into our hearts in silence and allowed space for the taste of pure Joy to take hold. We watched in amazement as the faces of those who were regularly attending the classes melted from their stern or worried appearance into brilliant and glowing smiles. There were those who came to meet Shri Mahayogi for the first or second time, and upon receiving your strong yet gentle and loving teaching of the Truth, left feeling lighter, in awe of your vast humbleness, feeling as if they had finally found true Yoga, or simply having clarified the answers to their questions and confusions. When Moksha, who has been living abroad away from sangha for many years, made the trip to see you from Berlin, it was as if his spirit came to life again. His deep gratitude for you and for the opportunity to be and share with your disciples brought inspiration and motivation to those of us in New York who can easily take for granted our opportunity to practice together and to see you every year for those precious several months. We were all reminded that no moment should be taken for granted! Then, towards the end of your stay here in New York, you bestowed upon the NY sangha a strong and sobering teaching, and inspirited us all to seek out the ropes of attachment that tether us to the shore of ignorance and suffering so that we can truly begin the journey along the path of Yoga to reach the other shore—the shore of Truth.

Only three weeks have passed since you returned to Japan but the grace infused within this teaching is continuing to reverberate within the sangha and the search for Truth is deepening little by little.

May we work diligently and tirelessly towards the actualization of Yoga, the actualization and concretization of the Truth. May we have the courage to come face to face with ourselves and the faith to put your teaching into everyday action. And may we spread the existence of Shri Mahayogi through our passion and fervor to seek out the Truth.

 

Namo mahāprabho namo mahāyogin te Oṃ !!!!!!!