Echo from The Cave: 71

Thu Feb 8th, 2018    NYC

EXPERIENCE: Validation of the Scriptures

Lately I started to notice that whenever I spend several hours in a day engaged with something that involves looking at pictures, like researching something online for example, the images I see tend to flash back into my mind for the rest of that day. This seems to be even more powerful if I have a strong emotion associated with the thing I’m looking at, or if I desire it strongly. Not only that, but if the object from those images is somewhat familiar, like in the case of a piece of clothing, if I know how the material feels, then the images that I’m seeing in my mind bring with them the feeling or sensation of that material, even though I’ve never before touched the exact item in the picture.

These images are most vivid, and come back most powerfully, at the end of the day when I sit for meditation, making the process of calming the mind and trying to bring its focus to the subject of meditation more difficult. And, at the same time, the period of time that my mind can stay focused is shorter, as it more frequently fluctuates from being somewhat concentrated to being involved with those images.

But, on the contrary, if I spend a long period of the day, or almost all of the day being involved with the work of the Mission, or reading and studying sacred scriptures, this never happens. My mind seems to be light and, in a way, fresh, with more energy to bring towards concentration and without any images or sensations that distract it.

After speaking to our senior disciple Anandamali about the above experiences, she commented that interestingly this was one of the topics that was recently spoken about in relation to the Yoga Sutra during the meditation class led by our brother disciple Sananda in Kyoto. So she suggested I look in the Yoga Sutra to find the sutra that refers to this topic. In the back of my mind I remembered that when I was in my teens I read several books on Yoga and also tried to read the Yoga Sutra, but not too long after I began reading it I had to stop completely—the sutra was so hard to understand! My mind just couldn’t register what I was reading at all, therefore I couldn’t grasp the meaning or the practical value they have. This was probably because I was trying to understand them using my intellect alone.

So when I got home that evening I started to search for that sutra in Swami Vivekananda’s Raja Yoga. After reading for a while I found a couple of sutra that were related to what I was experiencing, but sutra 1.4 revealed the exact phenomena that my mind was going through. While reading it I felt a deep sense of excitement building within me, and an intimate childlike curiosity to continue to try to experience more of the teachings by applying them in my daily life was immediately sparked.

This experience made me believe that we should apply the teachings using our bodies and minds, and honestly look at the relationship between the mind and the world. And I also believe now that by practicing in this way, little by little, the secrets behind the teachings will be revealed, taking on a life of their own in our very own experiences.

This gives me confidence that under the guidance of Shri Mahayogi, and through dedicated practice, the final realization is actually attainable and within our reach, and that one day we will come to the realization, through our own experience, that:

     “the mind; when it is calm, we see what our own nature is;
we do not mix ourselves but remain our own selves.”
Yoga Sutra 1.3

        “At other times (other than that of concentration)
the seer is identified with the modifications.”
Yoga Sutra 1.4

Ekanta

Echo from The Cave: 70

Mon January 15, 2018    NYC

Lord Shiva

Editor’s Note: Pranavadipa Volume 38

Mysticism is something that is intertwined throughout all of the world’s major religions. Upon first impression, mysticism may seem like something magical or something that is only experienced by religious fanatics who adhere to rituals and little understood practices. Or perhaps mysticism is shrouded with an intangible atmosphere. What does it mean? What do the mystics know? What do they do? Such things may pique our curiosity, but seem to stay in a realm that is seemingly unseen, and therefore unknown.

Many practitioners of Yoga have probably at some point had the opportunity to read the famous book by Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi, and for many of us, this book may be one of our first introductions to the real Yoga of India. And as many of you may have found, it is full of things that could seem quite mystical, yet quite fascinating! Indeed, mysticism exists among the yogi too. And to take a step even further back into the mystic history of India, for those who have had the good fortune to come across the accounts of Shri Ramakrishna from the 19th century, it is easy to feel struck with awe at his practice, his devotion, and his experience of God.

But both the world of Paramahansa Yogananda and that of Shri Ramakrishna seem to exist in the past and it is only through books that we have been introduced, not through seeing such things with our own eyes or experiencing them for ourselves. So it can be easy to feel that such strange and mystical experiences of these mysterious unseen realms remain covered in mystery, out of reach, a thing of the past, or at least something that perhaps only happens in India.

But as we practice Yoga under the guidance of a true Master, such as Shri Mahayogi, we can increasingly understand that mysticism is far from a mystery or some imaginary thing. Rather, what may be deemed as mysticism by some, is actually incredibly concrete. Through the actual application of the practice of Yoga, it is truly possible and guaranteed that one increasingly comes to experience firsthand that which at first seems unseen. In fact, it is as if the unseen comes to be seen with crystal clarity. And the mystery around mysticism fades away.

The practice of Yoga is truly both concrete and mystical!

In this month’s issue of Pranavadipa (Vol. 38), one of the topics we have the opportunity to learn about is the similarity of the paths of raja yoga and bhakti yoga as well as the mystical union of the two. Love of God, practice of asana transforming into mudra, mudra leading to Samadhi—Shri Mahayogi concretely delves into the subtleties of these topics at the inquiry of attendees and provides us with the tools to pull the veil of mystery from around some of the more mystical aspects of Yoga and concretely experience them for ourselves.

In the Testimony, we have the opportunity to read two messages that were delivered to Shri Mahayogi during the occasion of Jayanti (celebration of the Holy Birth), which took place this past November, 2017. (Echo from The Cave 63) Interestingly, these two messages from Sharmini (who lives in Tokyo) and Sadhya (who lives in New York), written from their own personal experience on the path, are filled with bhakti (devotion) and gratitude toward Shri Mahayogi, as well as their firm resolution to continue on, and are a testimony to the very content that is contained within the Satsangha of this issue.

Echo from The Cave: 69

Fri January 5, 2018    NYC

2018 New Year’s Card “Truth is 汪” received from the Sangha in Taiwan!

NEW YEAR’S GREETING: Truth is ワン-汪-ONE!

Today we received a New Year’s Greeting from the Sangha in Taiwan!
So thoughtful of you!
Thank you very much to the Sangha in Taiwan!!!
It seems like this is an original postcard and has a clever sense of humor,
so we would like to share it with you all.

*

Woof, woof, woof!” “Bow-wow” “Arf-arf
bark the dogs in America.
But when they cross the ocean,
they speak a different language.
Wan-wan!” “ワンワン” in Japan and
Wang-wang!” “汪汪” in Taiwan.

But no matter how their bark may sound,
in 2018, the year of the dog according to the Chinese Zodiac,

Tavia is thinking…

Tavia’s message is:

Truth is wan.. wang,.. ONE!

Tavia, a neighbor’s dog who is adored by Shri Mahayogi, at Washington Square Park yesterday in NYC’s latest snow storm

The temperature in NYC right now is 12°F°/ -11℃  (and feels like -7F°/ -22℃),
but later it can go down to 6°F°/ -14℃  (and feel like -25°F°/ -32℃) !!!

And tomorrow will be even colder….

 

 

 

Echo from The Cave: 68

Mon January 1, 2018    NYC

GREETINGS: Our Beloved Shri Mahaogi and Everyone,
HAPPY NEW YEAR from New York!!!  

 

 


The very first day of the year 2018 begins frosty and crisp.
May you find fulfillment and joy in the year 2018.


OM TAT SAT, OM!!!

Echo from The Cave: 67

Wed Dec 27th, 2017    NYC

Swami Vivekananda in Alameda 1900


EXPERIENCE: Use Your Will!

I see that feeling comfortable is what my mind believes to be a primary source of happiness for me.

There was a time in asana class when I was told that I should do a headstand. I had been practicing asana with the Mission since 1996, and many of my fellow practitioners had practiced the headstand already, but to confess, I had been trying to avoid it. I was comfortable with my asana practice and felt fine. I was around 58 years old at the time and my body was not slim. I should stand upside down on my head? I didn’t believe I could even begin the pose.

I noticed that when new asana would be introduced to other students, even though they did not know the pose, they would take on the challenge willingly without complaints or resistance. I probably should have been inspired and followed their example but I did not have faith. I was afraid that I would look bad or fail, and so I masked my fear with anger. I did not trust the teacher of the class, nor did I trust myself. Thank heavens though that she knew me well and paid my behavior no mind, saying unyieldingly – “You have a strong body, so physically you can do it­. USE YOUR WILL Kamalakshi! USE YOUR WILL!” For a few weeks I would cup my hands and just put my head between my hands. The teacher kept saying this phrase to me in different forms class after class.

Time went by and then one day I saw her standing in front of me and in my mind’s eye I saw Swami Vivikenanda’s face. I had been reading Raja Yoga around the time so when she said the word “WILL,” I remembered reading somewhere in his writing that one quality a disciple must develop is “great power of endurance.” And I also remember him saying that we should tell ourselves – “Go forth, be bold, you are strong!” and so with that I lifted my legs off the floor just a little. Needless to say, we worked on that headstand pose, lifting bit by bit, each and every class. Sometimes I practiced only that pose, again and again, throughout the entire hour and a half asana portion of the class. At times the mind would whimper and I fell many times over and over again. But I got used to falling, and I kept focusing on the breath. I moved from one stage of the pose to the next, and then one day, my legs went straight up into the air, and I held the pose. I couldn’t believe it! I felt my spirit soar. That was about six months later.

Being comfortable does not equal growth. Sometimes comfort is when one actually just holds tightly to limiting beliefs. I believed that my age, weight and maybe past ideas set the parameters of what I could and could not achieve. The mind can build barriers and we must consistently try to break them down. From this experience, I came to understand that even when I don’t think I can achieve something, I should at least try. Now I apply this when asked to perform an unfamiliar task, whether it is for the Mission, or in other circumstances. I try to remind myself that there is a reason I have been given the opportunity to learn some new thing that might be outside of my comfort zone. The truth is that I don’t always know what is possible or what may come as a result. The mind in its struggle and fight to resist must be tamed. It is important to hold on and pull the reins until the mind becomes quiet. For me, in these moments when I doubt myself, I bring to mind the words of the Holy Ones, just like when I brought to mind the words of Vivekananda that day. I find that these words of Truth offer the inspiration and strength to overcome my fear, to overcome my complaint of momentary discomfort or dislike and to steady my mind and heart. Then I am more able to simply gather the mind and just begin.

Kamalakshi

Echo from The Cave: 66

Wed Dec 20th, 2017    NYC

EXPERIENCE: Mauna

Being involved in a project with the mission is always a blessing—projects push us to look directly at how the mind imagines things and creates it’s own reality based on our worldly experiences, and at the same time, they create an environment in which to see the teachings of Shri Mahayogi, and have the opportunity to apply them to our own experiences. Ananadamali invited me to study the series of workshops our brother disciple, Sananda, led in Kyoto called “Anyone can Practice Yoga” and the first one in the series was the “Secret of Happiness”. Through this involvement, I was directed towards observing the moments in my daily life in which I am happy, the circumstances that bring that happiness, and to concretely analyze the state of the mind in those moments. But in trying to observe these moment of happiness I started to be more and more aware of all the moments of unhappiness—the moments in which the mind is constantly struggling to get what it wants or run away from that which it doesn’t want.

This was particularly prevalent in the interactions with my friends. I noticed that when I’m in their company, sometimes my tendency is to try to look good in front of them by saying the right thing at the right time. But no matter how hard I try to do so, I always seem to have moments when I’m disappointed with what I say or when those around me are not approving of my views. Upon closer look, most often this is the result of unnecessary talking. The mind is constantly trying to get its happiness from the ideas and situations it imagines, in this case the approval of others, and as soon as those ideas are not matched, the mind faces disappointment, in other words suffering.

If with the help of asana we are slowly walking from the physical towards the control of the breath and eventually our mind, then not talking should be one of the means in which the mind is also brought under control, or at least made to slow down it’s chatter.

So I made a decision to stay quiet in their presence to see what would happen and how my mind would react. Slowly I began to hear my thoughts more and more clearly and how they wanted to constantly burst out using speech as their escape. Another thing was that instead of the mind’s chatter becoming less, it seemed to be amplifying and getting stronger. This was both an opportunity and an unpleasant discovery. The unpleasant discovery was that the more I stayed quiet the more thoughts came, and it felt like the temperature of my brain was literally heating up. But not letting the thoughts escape through their physical form, the words, brought with it the chance of starting to see where they come from and what the intention is behind them. In short, what was I trying to get by saying those thoughts out loud?

It is because of letting the thoughts transform immediately into words, that the practice of discrimination is not possible. It’s like trying to tame wild horses in a pen but always living the door open.

The single act of not letting the thoughts escape will not bring the mind under control or quiet it down, but it does give the precious chance of going after the intention behind them.

So not speaking creates the environment in which we can directly see and determine whether or not the wanting behind the thoughts is in direct alignment with the teachings of our Master, and if not we simply need to let go or renounce them. Not speaking and having gone after those intentions behind the thoughts, and applying the process of discrimination seemed to bring a direct effect in other aspects of daily life, for example being more present in daily activities and being able to concentrate during asana and meditation with more ease. So the practice of asana and meditation will influence the mind during our interaction with the world, but applying the precious teachings of Shri Mahayogi in daily life brings a stronger mind and makes for a more powerful ground in which meditation can actually begin to take place.

Ekanta

Echo from The Cave: 65

Wed Dec 13th, 2017    NYC

Editor’s Note: Pranavadipa Volume 37

December 8th marks the day that, after having determined single mindedly, with no other desire in his heart, to sit until he had fully realized the Truth, the Buddha awakened into Satori, the One Eternal Truth.

On this same day, in 2017, we have started a new cycle of Pranavadipa—our fourth year! As disciples living far away from our Master, it was out of our desire to stay connected, our  eagerness to know and live our master’s teachings, and in feeling that his teaching is far too precious, too immense and too grand for our hearts alone to keep, that three years ago we began  Pranavadipa  with the hope of introducing Shri Mahayogi’s existence and his teachings to others. We hope to reach many people and also ask that you join in our efforts by supporting this work so that we can continue to make this teaching available.

Last month in Pranavadipa, Vol. 36, we had the chance to read in the Testimony some articles written by Anandi, a disciple of Shri Mahayogi in Japan. Many people mentioned how beautiful it was to read Anandi’s articles, especially the part when, upon hearing Shri Mahayogi’s advice, she apologized to her father, with whom she had had a strained relationship, for her disrespectful behavior, vowing to change herself. Indeed, it is quite a beautiful and remarkable act, but we should not remain with just the feeling that it is beautiful or remarkable, because within that act there is an important secret that we must discover for ourselves.

The other day, at the end of our class, Sadhya shared with us that although she herself had started to practice asana and meditation daily right away after meeting Shri Mahayogi, she was amazed by how straightforwardly Anandi put Shri Mahayogi’s first advice to her into action in daily life and how clear her aim must have been from the get go in order to do so!

It was from that moment of the very first meeting  that Anandi put all her efforts towards acting upon the teaching that she had received from Shri Mahayogi. Whether it was due to Anandi’s sincere desire to improve something about herself and her situation, or whether it was due to what that first meeting with Shri Mahayogi kindled within her, one thing is for certain: because of Anandi’s clear aim and passion towards it, she was able to act immediately on the teaching, without question, without complaint, and as a result she was able to experience the concrete result. There is so much we can learn from that!

In Pranavadipa (Volume 37), the theme of passion towards one’s aim arises once again in the Satsangha and in the Testimony. Both are coming from Taiwan.

The Satsangha is the second of four Satsangha that took place in Taipei when Shri Mahayogi visited Taiwan for the first time in May this year, at the invitation of disciples.

From Shri Mahayogi’s first visit to Taiwan in May 2017

Well over one hundred seekers gathered to meet Shri Mahayogi, recognizing the rareness and preciousness of this opportunity. For the majority of the attendees, this was their first opportunity to meet Shri Mahayogi, and not knowing when such an opportunity may arise again, attendees brought their earnest questions as well as a true desire to learn the teaching of the Truth and to apply the teaching practically in their lives. In their questions, the attendees gradually began to open themselves more and more to Shri Mahayogi, and as a result of their open search to resolve their heartfelt inquiries, Shri Mahayogi offers some of the most basic and foundational teachings of Yoga in a way that gives everyone the most practical tools to move forward in walking the path of Yoga.

The Testimony, which is written by Priya, is truly a testimony to her concrete experience of the efforts she has made towards putting the teaching of Yoga concretely into practice. Even though the sangha in Taiwan is relatively new in relation to sangha in Japan or in New York, the hunger for the teaching is strong and it is easy for us to feel inspired to clarify our own aim.

It is invigorating to read through the Satsangha and Testimony and feel the fresh energy that comes from the sincerity of wanting to learn and practice, indeed. The following is also a great example of this sincerity. It is an article written for the Mission’s blog in Kyoto by our new sangha member, Pan Pan, from Taiwan, right before Siri Mahayogi’s second visit to Taiwan this year.

Sangha in Taiwan in March 2017. Practicing and preparing for Shri Mahayogi’s first visit to Taiwan. (form left) Priya (in the front), Sou, Pan Pan, Marula, Mirabai (visiting from Kyoto), Tzu Yi and Radha

*

How I Felt Encountering Shri Mahayogi

In May 2017, Shri Mahayogi came to Taiwan for the first time, and four special Satsangha were held.

During the first Satsangha, as soon as Shri Mahayogi entered the room, tears began to flow out of my eyes like a broken faucet. It was not as if my mind was sad or suffering, so I didn’t know why I couldn’t stop the tears at all. I’ve never experienced anything like it before, and I still don’t know the reason for it.

On the afternoon of May the 13th, the third Satsangha was held.

Before every Satsangha, I wrote down many questions on paper. But, since the participants’ thirst for the unknown was all similar to each others’, my questions were resolved one by one through the questions and answers of others’. Shri Mahayogi answered everyone’s questions with such unwavering earnestness!  He also made it clear for us, with simple answers, that there is only “That,” and that the Truth is not something that is out of reach. However, there was one question that arose in my mind…

In that moment, after Shri Mahayogi answered one of the participant’s questions, there was a pause. Then I tried to raise my hand, but Shri Mahayogi still continued to answer the previous question. I was seriously, deeply listening, so I forgot to raise my hand and others kept asking questions. But it appeared to be that no one asked the question that came to my mind, and that question kept lingering within me. After several questions and answers passed, I finally got the chance to ask my question!

When I raised my hand, Shri Mahayogi looked at me firmly. That gaze spoke to me, as if he said, “Hi Pan Pan, I know you. You have finally raised your hand. I know what you want to ask, but say it anyway.”

Pan Pan: “What is the relationship between Guru and disciple? My current understanding is that, when we are children, the teacher is always close to us. I’m sure someone like Shri Mahayogi has many disciples by his side. At the same time, many other disciples cannot be with you all the time. For those disciples that can’t be near, how can they learn?”

After hearing the translation, Shri Mahayogi nodded and said, “The Buddha, before he passed away, said the following words, ‘He who sees merely my body does not truly see me. Only he who lives my teachings truly sees me.’”

What an intense, powerful and reassuring answer! My eyes were immediately filled with tears.

Then, Shri Mahayogi explained the relationship between Guru and disciple in the following way, as a metaphor of light and darkness: “Darkness is ignorance, and in order to eradicate ignorance, light is needed. Originally, disciples are light as well, but it is hidden at the moment. When the disciple’s ignorance is removed by the help of a Guru, then true light appears. In the end, the Guru’s light and the disciple’s light become One. Because originally it was One to begin with.”

At that moment, a ray of light shone through the window from the cloudy sky. Shri Mahayogi’s body became brilliant and his face emitted light. He smiled gloriously. It was as if time stopped, and the room was filled with silence.

Shri Mahayogi continued: “Continue to learn and practice Yoga with an easy mind. I will try to make this body visible to you as much as possible.”

Upon hearing this, Shri Mahayogi, who was blurry from my tears, again appeared clearly. I nodded, was content, and cried while laughing at the same time with joy.

The answer from Shri Mahayogi became my treasure. These days when I meditate, I think of that precious, blessed time.

In another Satsangha, there was another answer that left an impression on me. One of the participants who also served as staff like me asked, “How should we see Shri Mahayogi?”

Shri Mahayogi, smiling, said, “Consider me to be yourself.”

Shri Mahayogi told us that we must practice by putting the teachings of Yoga into action. It’s been four months since then, and every time I think of these words, my mind is filled with strength and light. I began to gradually change my old life patterns. No matter how late I come home from overtime at my job, I have been trying to discipline myself to keep up with what I need to do in my daily life. For example, waking up early to make breakfast and lunch, not overeating with the amount of food, and changing my old habits; using ecological containers; practicing asana every day as much as I can (even though there are times when I’m too tired and I can’t stop yawning late at night, I still keep practicing each asana with all my might until my limit); no longer letting myself be late for work in the morning (simply so that I can earn a reward for attendance and donate it to Shri Mahayogi’s next visit to Taiwan); and training myself to not be affected by things I like or dislike at work and in life…etc. etc.

The other day I felt that lately my mind has become more at peace. When it comes to concerns about my future, I have stopped having so much fear and doubt.

I heard that Shri Mahayogi will visit again in October, which makes me very happy, so much so that I cannot contain myself. I’m so looking forward to it. I pray that even more people can meet Shri Mahayogi, and receive the strength to support themselves, just like me.

Pan Pan

 

Already many staff voluntarily and willingly put forth their efforts for Shri Mahayogi’s first visit to Taiwan, even though half had not even met Shri Mahayogi yet. The sangha in Taiwan is so cheerful. There were so many smiles and laughs as they coordinated with each other out of a true sense of purpose for doing such a great service. This photo was taken after trying to create the proper space for Satsangha. Naturally a meeting formed outside the room to discuss.

 

Congratulations to the Sangha in Taiwan!  On December 5th, 2017,  the first publications of Shri Mahayogi’s teaching in Chinese was released: Yoga Asana with Illustrations-Basic!!!  

For information about the class in Taipei and publication in Chinese, please contact: http://taiwanyogasangha.blogspot.com

 

 

Echo from The Cave: 64

Tue Dec 5th, 2017 22:30 pm, NYC


Invitation to step towards Satori:
What is Happiness?

What is happiness? This was a question presented at the end of class the other day by Ekanta. This question left everyone quite confounded because we all admitted that we never really gave much thought to what that phrase really meant to us. We hear the terms “Eternal Bliss” and “Eternal Happiness” used by Enlighted Beings all the time and assume it must be some out of this world experience. To learn how we can confront ourselves in order to move forward in clarifying our aim, we were asked to inquire within ourselves honestly and define, according to our own experience, what happiness means to each of us.

Over the following days I asked myself what happiness means to me. Am I even happy now in my life? To be honest, I couldn’t answer any of these questions because I never defined this idea for myself before. I could see that I had ideas society has told me should be moments of joy or happiness, such as achieving a goal or being with family and loved ones. My personal view would be that I feel most happy when I’m pushing the edge and feel alive. In doing these observations, I realized a connection in the moments I would say that I feel happy or joyful, whether that’s having a good lap at an autocross event or having some beautiful woman smile at me. It was all dependent on a favorable condition or result. I reflected on what Ekanta spoke about that night when he mentioned that the reason he had loved surfing was because of the peace that he got from being away from the everyday hustle and the attention he received from others when riding a wave. In observing these correlations that the mind is finding happiness from these positive conditions I began to play a game with my mind and make the outcomes  negative rather than positive; what if Ekanta crashed badly on a wave and was booed or mocked, what if that beautiful lady looked at me scornfully or I didn’t find her attractive at all?; how would I or Ekanta feel? My response would be negative I felt, and am sure Ekanta would not feel good either.

Shri Mahayogi’s teachings about what Truth is immediately came to mind. Truth is not dependent on anything or anyone, it simply exists. This contradiction became very apparent to my mind. Whenever I felt happy or sad it was due to favorable or unfavorable conditions according to the conditioning of my mind. My whole life for a moment began to feel like a lie or just an illusion.

I began to apply this approach of discrimination to many various aspects of my life, with various desires or attachments that the mind tends to be attached to, and the results were all the same, all my attachments are conditional. As I adjusted the variables more and more according to each condition, my mind’s attachments began to weaken, like water tossed on hot steel. In certain situations, just feelings of neutrality occurred. The real difference was observed when I would confront the mind with what Truth is and what It’s not, which it could not deny that this happiness or joy which it claims  to feel is nothing but a lie. True joy would not need the support or condition of something or someone to exist.

When I was asked what do I feel happiness is, I had to admit that I don’t know what that is. All my experiences have been conditional, not based on Truth. What I look forward to as I continued  on, is not happiness but serenity, where the mind is not influenced either negatively or positively by its environment. It can observe and experience the world and remain calm without becoming attached.

Aniruddha

 

Echo from The Cave: 63

Thu Nov 23th, 2017    NYC

Lord Shiva

DEDICATION:
Today is the day of JAYANTI,
Our Most Revered Guru’s Holy Birth.

We would like to express our utmost gratitude for Our Most Beloved Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa and his birth into this worldly realm. Without the concrete existence of his form and Truth that radiates from beyond the form, we may never know that Truth, Satori, actually exists, that it is not simply a story from ancient times, but It exits here and now and it is possible for us to attain if we firmly set this goal at the center of our hearts and then bring ourselves towards it tirelessly through devoted and constant practice. Our sincerest gratitude extends for the sacrifice that Shri Mahayogi has made to be here, leading us to know our true Self, the Truth.

In honor of this special occasion, in Kyoto, disciples and devotees gathered at the feet of Shri Mahayogi to celebrate this most joyous and significant event, offering messages of heartfelt devotion, dedication, and spiritual growth, as well as kirtan and a divine play from a story of the Upanishad.

In New York, we were very gratefully able to participate in this very special celebration with our brother and sister gurubhai, through live camera. We all, whether it was our first time witnessing this blessed moment or perhaps the second, were touched by the sacredness of the celebration. How much we long to catch a glimpse of our Beloved, to see his radiant smile, and to hear the comfort of his words. We are sincerely grateful we were able to witness something so precious, and to receive the wealth of inspiration and energy that comes from any moment spent in the presence of the Master and our fellow gurubhai.

Lord Shiva

We witnessed the world of the ancient scriptures appear before our eyes last night: Kirtan.
The kirtan was led by Anandi* with the sangha of Matsuyama following (the group was named by Shri Mahayogi 8 years ago as Shantimala). Anandi sat at the feet of the Satguru, directly in front of him, with 15 gurubhai from Matsuyama gathered around her, and with all other gurubhai in a fan shape surrounding them, and then offered her gratitude to our Beloved Master. Her presence, sitting in the center of the crowd, was so strong and grounded, like that of Hanuman—a symbol of the victory of indestructible Faith, the faith enough to cross an entire ocean in one leap, the victory of the Truth. Immediately, from the very first sound of her voice springing forth, glory, praise, love, devotion, dedication, joy and prayer to Lord Shiva, to God, to our Beloved Shri Mahayogi clearly and boundlessly radiated from her, then from the gurubhai from Matsuyama, and then penetrated into our hearts, and into the entire space. It was the manifestation of the fruit of her faithful unwavering commitment, the constant efforts she has been making through the many challenges she has gone through while sharing her devotion to Shri Mahayogi and to Yoga without distinction. Victory is for those who serve the Truth alone through pure faith and love. The strength of her presence felt as though so many of those who have yet to arrive were already there at her side, alongside her at the feet of the Master. In her offering we glimpsed the true heartfelt worship that comes as a result, not of words, but through the power of devotion, of love, and of surrender.

Lord Shiva

“Shiva! Shiva! If we only recite his name he bestows Life upon us.
Ignorance is destroyed and we can live in Truth.
Lord Shiva, Mahayogi, is Shri Mahayogi himself.
With gratitude, I offer this Kirtan to Shri Mahayogi.”
—Anandi

Shiva Shambo
Oh Lord Shiva Shambho, 
You are the destroyer of all fear,
the one who resides in the holy mountains of Kailasa,

He who accompanies Parbhati,
and Lord who leads the bounded soul

the consort of Mother Parvathi,
the one who holds the mighty Ganges in your matted Locks,
The Consort of Mother Gowri –
we pray and offer our humble salutations at Your Feet
.

 

Jai Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa Ki Jai!

OM TAT SAT, OM!


Nine disciples from Taiwan were present. They came just to attend the Jayanti celebration, and for five of them it was their first time seeing Shri Mahayogi in Japan.

* Several articles written by Anandi are published in the current Testimony of Pranavadipa Vol. 36, as well as in Echo 62.

*

We also would like to express our gratitude for the staff in Kyoto for all the time, thought, and attention to detail that they put into making the live video participation a possibility.

Nandiswara, Ekanta. Aniruddha

Sadhya, Anandamali, Yashoda, Kamalakshi

Echo from The Cave: 62

Sun Nov 19th, 2017 02:05 am, NYC

Muladhara Cakra

Editor’s Note: Pranavadipa Volume 36

“The evidence of how much you have mastered Yoga appears during our daily lives.”

– Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa

Each month, as the much awaited new issue of Pranavadipa arrives in our mailboxes, we have a new opportunity to receive fresh inspiration for our journey on the path of Yoga. This month (Vol. 36), between Satsangha and the Testimony, the theme of understanding and internalizing the teaching through actual practice arises again and again. In the Satsangha, Shri Mahayogi elaborates on the results of putting the teachings of Yoga into practice, expounding upon the subtleties that would be unknown to anyone who has not thoroughly experienced the Truth for themselves. To give a few examples, Shri Mahayogi breaks down the existence of the grace of God. He teaches about the subtleties of meditation, the way of breaking out of habits of the mind and of karma, and the truth of the ancient teaching coming from the Upanishad that says “Brahman is tapas. Realize Brahman through tapas.” No matter the question, Shri Mahayogi answers each one with skillful detail that provides each practitioner, including those of us who are reading, with concrete tools for practice as well as the inspiration to actually implement them.

In this month’s Testimony, we have the opportunity to glimpse how one disciple of Shri Mahayogi, Anandi (whose questions also appear in the Satsangha), uses the teachings of Shri Mahayogi as the tools and inspiration to transform her everyday life. We can feel her passion for Yoga and for sharing Yoga and Shri Mahayogi in the way she so sincerely shares her honest experience with others through any means possible, be it the grand opening of a café or a column in the local newspaper.

We hope that you will read her articles in this month’s Volume of Pranavadipa. And in addition, we are pleased to invite you to read the following bonus article, which she unabashedly writes for the letterzine of a public service association detailing her own sincere process as she experiences the path of Yoga. The fervor generated from her own experience of Yoga is enough to spark the interest of anyone who reads it.

May we all catch her indomitable spirit and share our own conviction for the path of Yoga by bringing the teachings concretely into our day to day actions.

 

Testimony:

Article from the summer issue of Syoumei,
a letterzine of the Ehime Public Service Association of Construction’s branch in Matsuyama      by Ms. Fukoue  2008

Anandi (Ms. Fukoue)

The other day when I heard a very studious university female student say, “I am so worn out, that no matter how much sleep I get, I don’t seem to recover from this exhaustion,” I was surprised to realize that I had forgotten what that felt like. Asana, or Yoga poses, are even more effective when you are tired. I empirically understood this only after I began to actually practice. When I suppress the ‘sleepy urge’ that draws me into falling right to sleep on my futon, and instead practice asana, my mind and my body become relaxed, and this leads me into a deeper sleep. The next morning, fatigue would be completely gone, and instead there would be a sense of fullness. By repeating this process, my confidence in Yoga has become stronger little by little, and now I feel that it is unshakeable. This university student said, “I don’t have time to participate in Yoga Circle now,” but my wish is that one day I will be able to share with her the true peace of mind that Yoga provides.

Through the continuous practice of Yoga, as the parts within the body that we may normally not feel become enhanced and sensitized, we can feel every cell of the body becoming vibrant. It is as if we are able to recharge our own energy, without depending on any modern technology. Also, because of posture and daily habits, everyone more or less has imbalances within the body, but Yoga will correct them.

Sorry to delve into personal matters, but about a year before I encountered Yoga at the Mahayogi Yoga Mission in Kyoto, I was suffering from severe TMJ (jaw arthritis). When I looked at a picture of my smile from back then, the right corner of my mouth was much higher than the left, and the jawbone was skewed. The reason for this was that after I had hurt my neck in a rear-end collision, I was reluctant to go to a dentist, and so neglected to go for the necessary dental treatment for about a year. During that time I ate only using teeth on my left side. Indeed, I didn’t start Yoga for the purpose of curing TMJ arthritis, (so I wasn’t concerned about it, nor did I relate this issue with my Yoga practice,) but even after doing asana it didn’t easily improve, and it was even difficult to open my mouth. Regardless, with the fear of possibly having problems keeping my job, I just kept practicing asana. I don’t remember for how long, but as I continued my discipline of practicing asana, and doing so earnestly every single day for some time, one day, I suddenly noticed that my jaw had become normal. It is true that if the jaw is skewed, then the neck, spine, and back are also skewed; therefore it was important to correct the entire body through practicing asana—however, since I have an optimistic and carefree personality, I only realized this once the condition had almost been healed. Of course, I was very grateful that my TMJ had been healed from its root cause, however this was simply something that was thrown in as an extra. Why? Because what I was seeking from Yoga had nothing to do with the body.

The reason that I became so eager and wanted so much to go to Kyoto to practice Yoga at the Mahayogi Yoga Mission there was because of the following words from an email sent by a senior disciple who had been practicing under the Master in Kyoto for some years, and who later became my teacher in class. I felt that there was some secret about the practice of asana in these words:

“Based on the premise that one practices every single day—there can be some differences depending on the individual—but if one practices this method of asana, one will transform mentally after about three months. You will be amazed by that transformation.”

As I mentioned in the previous article from the spring issue,* on March 1, 2003,** I moved to Kyoto alone, into a house where senior disciples lived together, and there I learned the essence of Yoga through their daily lives. I felt that I suddenly gained a brother and sisters who were dependable and kind, so each day was fresh and happy, and I enjoyed it so much. They all cared about me and watched over my growth without being overbearing. Looking back, I see how their actions were filled with much consideration for me, I was too immature to notice it then, but now I am filled with gratitude for that.

* In the spring issue, she wrote about her encounter with Yoga, about the teaching she received from the initial meeting with Shri Mahayogi, and about the activities of Yoga Circle.
** This was two and half months after her initial meeting with Shri Mahayogi, when Shri Mahayogi visited Matsuyama where she lives.

I remember vividly the first time I participated in the Mission’s Yoga class. When it comes to Yoga asana, in Matsuyama, I had taken “Power Yoga” classes where the body was constantly in motion. But in order to be able to correctly concentrate on this new style of Yoga that I was going to learn, I took my first class with the resolve to forget the style of Yoga that I had learned up to that point and to start from point zero.

What surprised me first was the atmosphere of the class. Through the use of indirect lighting, the class, which was held at night, was cared for in a way that made it easier to concentrate. Even though it was my first class, the people who came and the atmosphere there were very comforting, so it immediately relaxed my tensed mind. I’d heard beforehand that the form of each pose would most likely be familiar since I’d done some of them before, however the sense of concentration was completely different.

First of all, the poses were held over twice as long as what I was used to. However, since there is a supine resting pose between each asana, which is also an asana, I was able to relax during this resting pose. I was carefully instructed on how to breath, how to move the limbs as well as other important points about the poses that I should be aware of. It was refreshing to me to be told that, during the pose, if the eye gaze or the sense of concentration moves away, then prana, the energy (ki or chi), escapes. As I continued to practice, I gradually came to understand that, when practiced correctly, asana becomes deeper, and that to be able to, in the end, correctly meditate is the real and original purpose of asana. I was told the importance of breathing correctly during a completed pose, however in the beginning, I could not breathe quietly, and although it took me months, as I became familiar with the asana, I started to be able to concentrate on the breath, and later on I realized that my breathing had transformed to diaphragmatic breathing without taking notice of when it began. And the issue and frustration I had also had—that even though I understood intellectually that the asana should be practiced without the body being tensed up, and even though no matter how I tried I had not been able to actually translate this into the body—was resolved in time.

“The body and the mind are constantly susceptible to influence from the external world. Through practicing asana, pranayama, and meditation, breathing habits change. This affects every single cell throughout the entire body and provides stability to the body and mind. Though continuous training, prana is stored within the subtle body, healing the body and the mind so much so that it reduces the amount of sleep that one requires. These effects arise as a result of the purification of the normally damaged 72,000 nadi, or hollow canals in the body through which the prana flows. The principal nadi, the sushumna, which run through the spinal cord, is just as vital as the autonomic nervous system mentioned in Western medicine. Disciplining yourself every day by using the physical body, learning the sacred scriptures, and meditating, is called kriya yoga.”

        —Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahamsa from The Universal Gospel of Yoga

Since I had come all the way to Kyoto in the first place, while I was in Kyoto I felt that I must absorb Yoga before returning back home—being so intent on this, I asked many questions to the Master. His answers are still a motivating factor for me to this day.

Fukoue: Since you taught me a very important teaching, I now feel that my father is a precious existence, and finally I have become able to be kind to him. However, right before coming here to Kyoto, in spite of myself, I got into a huff when he admonished me based on his own misunderstanding. I did not speak back to him, but how can I prevent myself from getting like that?

The Master seemed to be pleased and encouraged me by saying, “At least you’ve grown a little, since you didn’t talk back.” But then, he decisively said, “If you discipline yourself to practice asana, then you will become unshakeable.” At that point, I said to myself— I want to become unshakeable—so with this desire as my single intention, I continued my discipline to practice asana.

Half a year later, I had to move back to Matsuyama. What I learned in Kyoto was how crucial the practice in daily life really is. And that was exactly what the Master taught me from the very beginning.

These are the words of the Master that I’d like to bear constantly in my heart. These words overlap with the humbleness of the senior disciples with whom I lived:

“Always think, speak, and act for the good of others. This is synonymous with the teaching, ‘Love thy neighbor.’ Truth is One. Without a word, it is conveyed, unfailingly, through silence. In coming into contact with various people in diverse situations, always act simply, solely filling your mind with what is best for the other person. Needless to say, in order to do so effortlessly, your daily practice and self-training are required.”

                                       —Sadguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahamsa from SATORI

By always moving forth with humility, I wish to expand the circle of kindness and smiles that has been bestowed upon me by the Master and the senior disciples.