Saturday January 2, 2021 NYC
Happy New Year & Editor’s Note: Pranavadipa Vol. 73
“The Truth is One.
However the Seers, that means the Awakened Ones, call It variously.”
To our Revered Satguru, Shri Mahayogi:
Our hearts pour gratitude to be able to start this new year with you at our side, near or far, guiding us eternally through the immeasurable blessing of your very Existence. Your presence among us calms all fears, worries and doubts, and brings us the great strength needed to face all that life places before us.
We wish you a very Happy New Year!! We pray for the end of Covid-19 throughout the world and for true harmony and peace to come through touching the wisdom of Yoga and living based on the Universal Truth. May all of our hearts and minds be filled with sacredness and keep turning again and again, in every moment, to the one unchanging Truth!
The beginning of this year also marks the beginning of Mahayogi Yoga Mission’s 25th Anniversary year of its establishment in New York!
It is a new year and a fresh opportunity to clarify and renew our resolution towards the aim of Yoga! What better way to start off than by filling ourselves with the words of Truth that will elevate our minds and hearts? If you have not yet subscribed to our monthly online subscription publication, Pranavadipa, we highly recommend that you do so, as this is a source of inspiration for our minds, nourishment for our hearts, guidance on our paths, and study material for our learning. Pranavadipa, which is a one year subscription plan, is published on the 8th day of every month, so having a subscription sets us up to make sure that each month we are proactively bringing the teachings of Truth into our lives.
For now, we would like to take this opportunity to introduce the latest issue of Pranavadipa (Vol. 73). The primary messages throughout this volume are centered around CONCRETIZING OUR IDEAL and the IMPORTANCE OF EKAGRATA (single-pointed concentration) as the underlying foundation.
In December, there are a few dates that are quite significant. December 8th, the day that Pranavadipa (Vol. 73) was published, marks the day that is said to be the day that Buddha Awakened. December 24th, Christmas Eve, is the night that Swami Vivekananda gathered with his brother disciples and together they declared to renounce the world, and become monks—and coincidentally, this is also the anniversary of Mahayogi Yoga Mission’s official recognition in New York from the government of the United States.
In a reflection of these significant dates, the Satsangha in Pranavadipa (Vol. 73) begins with much wisdom and many teachings from Shri Mahayogi about the connection and correlation between Buddha and Vivekananda. It is awe-inspiring to read how Shri Mahayogi understood them, and therefore how Shri Mahayogi teaches us to feel and go closer to their spirit.
Through the examples of Buddha and Vivekananda, Shri Mahayogi teaches us what it means to concretize our ideal, and encourages what it is he hopes for from us: to raise our ideal to continuously work for the good of all humanity, seeing not just the limited scope of our own selves and lives, but to expand beyond that to the whole world and even beyond our limited view of time and space, which we so often confine to what is most relevant to only ourselves at any given moment. And, as an integral part of concretizing the ideal, Shri Mahayogi emphasizes the necessity and aim to transform one’s own way of thinking and being, towards that which aligns with the Truth, through each individual taking concrete and practical action in the circumstances and conditions that we find ourselves in, whatever they may be.
Going beyond that, Shri Mahayogi then teaches about the essence of religion. From Judaism, to Christianity, to Hinduism, and to Islam, Shri Mahayogi details for us the essence common to all and how that essence comes to be revived and reestablished in times when the religion itself starts to degrade into mere formalities. He teaches us about the sacred vibration of OM, and how this primordial vibration is also referenced in the Bible, and in the Shinto shrines of Japan. And he clarifies the meaning of Ramakrishna’s words—“As many faiths, so many paths”—and the importance of holding the faith of each individual in the highest respect, that each individual has their own auspicious timing when it comes to religion and the path towards its essence.
In tandem with these teachings about the greater Awakened Beings and their mission, and the essence of religion, which truly have the power to raise our minds to an ever-heightening ideal, Shri Mahayogi also provides many practical teachings for daily life that each individual can act on. From teaching about how the whole of Yoga is simply for the purpose of training the mind, to a clear example of discrimination of the mind’s attachments, to the way one can and should feel the hearts, both joys and sufferings, of others, to the way in which one can approach karma yoga and deepen in its practice, to the transformation of the mind through simple and daily actions, to improving one’s health, to acting in humbleness and more. Even Shri Mahayogi teaches a young high school-age captain of the swim team about the meaning and purpose of life as well as what the true meaning of being a leader is—to cultivate the minds and hearts of humanity. Truly there is so much for us to learn and try out for ourselves without a moment to lose, be it in our families, in our jobs, with friends, or alone—the opportunities to put Yoga into action are in every moment of our day!
This is certainly a time of year that calls for deep reflection on what the immense value and blessing that such Awakened Beings bring to each of us and to the world and how we can continue the work they have begun.
The Satsangha in Pranavadipa (Vol. 73) is quite a long one, with a number of subtitles. Below are listed the main titles and subtitles of the Satsangha:
The Manifestation of the Awakened Ones and Their Mission
—The actions that must be taken can be learned from their great feats
- Vivekananda Understood the Incomparable Existence of Buddha
- The Actualization of the Universality of Yoga
- The Mission of Shri Ramakrishna and His Beloved Disciple Vivekananda
- The Essence of Religion
- The Sacred Sound of Om
- Training the Mind
- Actual Practice
Live Based on the True Ideal
- What One is Challenged with in Life, Whether the Winner or Not
- Hitting the Bullseye of the Real Ideal
- The Actualization of the Ideal
Indeed, it is evident that Shri Mahayogi is impressing upon us the importance of elevating our ideal to the highest level, to the level of humanity itself, in the present and for the future, as the responsibility and duty of one who has encountered the teaching of Yoga, and the teachings of the Awakened Beings. Through the examples of Buddha, Ramakrishna and Vivekananda, Shri Mahayogi teaches us the importance of working with our utmost effort and strength for the good of humanity, to take all action and means to ensure that as many people as possible have the invaluable opportunity to come in contact with the Truth. At the same time, hand in hand, with this elevated ideal is the individual work that each must do, concretely, with whatever is in front of us at the moment so as to be best prepared to participate in the work of the higher ideal. These two, the individual practice and transformation each must do, along with the aim towards salvation and liberation for all, seem to go hand in hand. In a way, Shri Mahayogi is showing us that these two are inseparable from one another, as focusing only on one’s own practice towards liberation is mere self-satisfaction, yet focusing only on a high ideal, without the cultivation of one’s own self, too, is in vain.
As we read, it may seem that at times Shri Mahayogi is talking about separate topics, but truly these two themes are woven together in each moment, no matter the angle from which Shri Mahayogi is teaching or the topic he is speaking about. Shri Mahayogi’s vision however expansive it may be, is all contained in even the smallest detail of what he says or does. If we want to understand him, or any of the Awakened Beings, surely we must strive to remember this and bring our own minds and views to expand more and more, without limitation.
Like Shri Mahayogi always says, it is important to first hear the Truth, then ponder upon it, and then meditate on it. Using the content of this Satsangha, surely we can continue to expand more and more what falls within the scope of our view and what we understand to be the work that the Awakened Ones are pointing out to us.
As this new year begins, the year of the 25th Anniversary of Mahayogi Yoga Mission in New York, let’s bring our minds to focus on sacred things, whatever our life circumstances are, and let’s raise ourselves up together in the footsteps of the great Awakened Beings and make concrete and real action towards the highest ideal of Yoga!!
“The following words too are one of the very ancient teachings in India: “The Truth is One. However the Seers, that means the Awakened Ones, call It variously”—this phrase is recorded in its oldest scripture, the Veda.
Therefore, we tend to see the larger object, saying this religion and that religion, but actually it’s not about that. Truly, it is one human being, such as Jesus Christ, Buddha, Shri Ramakrishna, a single human being clarifies the ultimate Truth, and at the same time, leaves teachings to cover all of it. More than anything else, Yoga clarifies the deepest psychology that modern psychology hasn’t been able to clarify or reveal yet, therefore it is precious, revealing something which may not be easily found in other teachings.”
—Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahamsa
Q: I cannot attend class [since I don’t live in Kyoto]. Please teach me what I should keep in my mind and aim to do, or what I should really take care of as I continue to practice Yoga alone.
MASTER: What I’ve been telling everyone in Kyoto lately is about ekagrata (single-pointed concentration). The period of initial enthusiasm in Yoga is a process in which, while there is much karma and many habits of the mind still remaining, you are gradually awakening to sacred things that are in opposition to them. And as you continue the practice, attachments and karma caused by ignorance gradually and visibly disappear, leaving only the Truth. The state of mind that is fixed solely towards the Truth is called ekagrata. Now, about advice—concretely, in order to make the state of ekagrata steady, have strong faith, and always, every day, think about sacred things. That is sufficient.
Above are Shri Mahayogi’s words from Pranavadipa (Vol. 73). The Testimony in this month’s volume, “Living in Yoga: The Single-Pointed Concentration of a Yogi”, is written by Satya, a disciple of Shri Mahayogi living in Kyoto, and is centered around ekagrata (single-pointed concentration).
“100% Passion—that is Ekagrata, single-pointed concentration!
It is crucial for Yoga. For Satori, it is all you need.
If you have that, then the rest, the power to put it into action will naturally follow.”
—Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa
While taking in Shri Mahayogi’s words, in Satya’s Testimony, we have the opportunity to glimpse the strong yearning she has and the way in which she strives to discover and understand what ekagrata really is, along with her discrimination process, which shows up all along the way as she searches to learn and understand ekagrata, as well as bring her own state to it.
It is so inspiring to see Satya’s mind of learning in this Testimony. Rather than set out with a specific idea of what ekagrata is and then try to make this a reality in her life, she willingly and actively digs deeper into her own understanding, her own experience, then shifts and tries new ways of developing that understanding and her own state in a way that is concrete and detailed. When she realizes that she has a lack of concentration, then she does not let this drag her down, but she thinks about what she can work on in herself, setting a concrete goal in front of her, thinking and analyzing deeply about the way to work on it in a very concrete manner so that she can actually achieve it. For example, she doesn’t just focus on practicing asana daily, but rather, her focus is more specific, and detailed to what she needs to put her attention on during the time that she practices, as well as the quality of the practice itself—then she brings this same practice to her daily life, tests it using her actions and trains herself—then through that experience, she analyzes what is lacking or what may be needed to accomplish the goal, learning from the experience and then going to whatever is next…continuing in this way to whatever then comes after that, and so on.
So then, what is the definition of “single point” in the “single-pointedness of a practitioner of Yoga”? Depending on the person, it might be expressed with the words “God”, “Truth”, “Brahman (true Existence)” or “Shri Mahayogi”; but I thought that was still vague. I felt that because the object was vague, single-pointedly concentrating was not happening in me. Then a thought started to arise in me, if the target of concentration is clear, then I should be able to concentrate focusing on a single point. …How do I bring all of my focus down to a single point…I felt that it comes down to, “seriously asking myself what I want to become.” Because, I felt that this single point has to be something that is more important than anything else, it has to be something I want to know so much as to exchange my own life for it, it has to be something I want to become—I felt that unless it was such a single point, I wouldn’t be able to stake my life on concentrating on it.
Because of this mind of learning, coupled with her yearning, her thoughts are naturally drawn to continuously fix themselves towards the Truth. We can see her continuous aiming towards the Truth as we read, and in the end, discover where this leads her.
Her example demonstrates to us the importance of having a strong yearning to seek out what we really want to know, and the willingness to learn through concrete details in the process. We can learn and take much from her example, and cultivate the willingness in ourselves to move forward through the mind of learning, being ready to leave behind whatever ideas and thoughts we have already formed, so that we can open ourselves to experience ekagrata and a continuous alignment of ourselves to the Truth.