Echo from The Cave:50

Sat June 18th, 2016 9:15 pm, NYC

GRATITUDE:
The Universal Gospel of Yoga:
The Words of Sadguru Śrī Mahāyogī Paramahaṃsa

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Jai Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa!!!
Sat June 11th, 2016 at 2PM,
the book release event for the third edition of The Universal Gospel of Yoga,
the spoken words of our master Satguru Sri Mahayogi Paramahansa,
was held at Integral Yoga Institute.

 

OPENING:

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Kamalakshi opened the event,
The Universal Gospel Of Yoga in her hand.

After greeting the audience, she read “The Aim of Life” from The Universal gospel Of Yoga with her full and resounding voice, thus setting the tone by immediately establishing the seriousness and clear purpose of the gathering:

“Be still and know that I am God.
God is the Truth within one and all.
There is no need to seek it in some far away place—It is nearest here and now.”
—Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa

 

PERFORMANCE:

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“Salutation to the Glorious primal Guru, Shri Adinatha,
who instructed the knowledge of hath a yoga
which shines forth as a stairway
for those who wish to ascend the highest stage of Yoga,
Raja Yoga!”

—from Hatha Yoga Pradipika

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Reading: “The Time For Meditation” 

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ANECDOTES:

DSC00469Kamalakshi vivaciously shared her story of the special occasion when Shri Mahayogi came to the home of her two mothers, Mammy Tess (mother – 80 years old) and, Mammy Love (her aunt 85 years old). There was always constant fighting between these two strong characters. Her aunt would say, “When I talk, no dog bark! I must have respect, I am the elder!” Her mom would say, “Tree grow come catch tree, I am an adult!” Kamalakshi couldn’t handle them anymore, and asked Shri Mahayogi what to do. Shri Mahayogi said he would visit.

The day came. Kamalakshi introduced them to Shri Mahayogi as a yogi pastor. Mammy Love kept talking and telling stories to show how strongly she practiced being a Christian in her life, and in the back, Mammy Tess was behind her saying quietly, “Don’t listen to her…!” Shri Mahayogi let them go on talking, until the moment came, that Mammy Love finally said,

DSC00472 “I am tired of talking…”

Shri Mahayogi finally spoke, and thus the teaching of “The Truth of Love” in The Universal Gospel of Yoga was born. He delivered the teaching directly to them as they listened in silence and awe.

 

DSC00476It is not everyday that one finds that he has lived most of his life in a prison created by his own mind. It can take years and lifetimes just to discover that simple fact. Through the blessings of Shri Mahayogi and The Universal Gospel of Yoga, Ekanta explained how, after years of struggle, the words of The Gospel brought him face to face with his own mind and its various attachments to the world. He came to understand that these attachments only brought him suffering, and that by applying Shri Mahayogi’s teachings from The Universal Gospel of Yoga “in our daily lives using our bodies and minds” we can set ourselves free. Although Ekanta is tied to this prison of the mind’s creation, he now knows that he can start digging himself out by using the  teachings of Yoga that he has been blessed to receive from the Master.
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It is not easy to recognize for yourself that you have become dependent on the approval of the people around you, allowing the desire to be accepted to dominate your every decision. Sadhya shared that it was the daily practice of asana and meditation along with regularly reading The Universal Gospel of Yoga that allowed her to first catch a glimpse of the source of the pain that she had been trying to escape from for so many years. The following words from the Gospel helped her gain strength and clarity of mind, and came to be her constant guide: “The real work is for the realization of the Self. Pay no mind to what others think of you, just deepen the search for the Self.” She spoke about how the opportunity of working on the editing of The Universal Gospel of Yoga allowed her to understand more deeply the immense value of the teachings and true aim of Yoga—to become completely free of all the mind’s attachments and creations. Sadhya is very thankful to have experienced much transformation in her life as a result of the grace of Shri Mahayogi and the guidance that The Universal Gospel of Yoga provides.

 

Q & A:

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A woman asked how quickly The Universal Gospel of Yoga might impact someone’s life.

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 Aniruddha answered candidly that the teachings go into the heart and slowly begin to make sense only as you apply them in your daily life.

 

CLOSURE:

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Kamalakshi thanked the audience on behalf of the Mahayogi Yoga Mission for holding the energy in the space and for allowing us to share the readings with them. Then she joyously announced that our master, Shri Mahayogi, would be arriving in NY next week for a 3-month long visit!!!

 

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Since the beginning, the publication of the new edition of The Universal Gospel of Yoga has been a journey which has brought sangha together to work for a common goal. The public launching of the book gave us an additional opportunity to work together even more closely, pushing us to put our faith and trust in the Master. It is as if he is what holds us together, teaching us throughout the process itself.

We are all immeasurably grateful that Shri Mahayogi is guiding us in every moment. We bow to the Master and thank him for The Universal Gospel of Yoga.

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AFTER THE EVENT:

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On the way back to the Cave…

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PREPARATION FOR THE EVENT:

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 Yasoda repaired the Sahasrara Chakra Mat at our Sangha house in Astoria.

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Ekanta and Nandi built the screen.DSC00421

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IMG_0115We rehearsed during our class time.

JAI JAI JAI JAI JAI JAI JAI!!!!!!!

SATGURU SHRI MAHAYOGI PARAMAHANSA KI JAI!

 

 

Echo from The Cave:49

Tue May 24th, 2016 5:31am, NYC

CELEBRATION:
The long-awaited revival of
The Universal Gospel of Yoga:

The Words of 
Sadguru Śrī Mahāyogī Paramahaṃsa,

now in print once again and available in its newly-translated third edition!

DSC00354On the way back to the Cave from the printer~~!
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CONVEYANCE:
BOOK EVENT
~Book Release of The Universal Gospel Of Yoga 3rd Edition~
• Performance • Readings  • Anecdotes  • Q&A
Sat June 11th 2pm – 3pm
(Door will open 1:50pm)
At the Heaven Room, Integral Yoga Institute New York
227w 13th St, NYC (Bet 7th & 8th)

You are all invited!!!
Please arrive 10 minutes before the event begin!

 

 *

Pranam to Our Revered and Honorable Guru,

Sadguru Śrī Mahāyogī Paramahaṃsa

We are filled with joy and gratitude to announce that the day has finally come to present to you these precious jewels – the Sacred Words of our Revered and Honorable Guru, Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa!

To mark this joyous occasion we will have the opportunity to present The Universal Gospel of Yoga at the Integral Yoga Institute of New York, and all are invited to attend. The presentation will consist of a short performance, readings from The Universal Gospel Of Yoga and anecdotes offered by three sangha members about different aspects of The Universal Gospel of Yoga.

It has been quite some time since the decision was made to re-translate The Universal Gospel Of Yoga in 2012 when the supply of copies began to dwindle. And after nearly four long years, during which The Universal Gospel of Yoga was essentially out of print, we feel compelled to humbly apologize to our Guru that it has taken so long to complete the editing process and thus enable his words to reach the countless hearts who have been yearning for these teachings of Truth. With the release of this new edition we aim to ensure that The Universal Gospel of Yoga will be available to all who seek the authentic teachings of Yoga for many years to come.

To convey the excitement and enthusiasm that we feel at finally being able to announce this momentous occasion, we would like to share an excerpt from a speech given by Anandamali during Jayanti, the annual celebration commemorating Shri Mahayogi’s birth at the Mahayogi Yoga Ashrama, on November 23rd 2013, in which she spoke about the sangha in New York and expressed the depth of her emotions toward The Universal Gospel Of Yoga and the editing team that was working with her on this new edition.

“… … Currently in New York, although there is only a handful of staff, we are working on the final stages of editing The Universal Gospel Of Yoga, which has been fully retranslated. Once again, through the process of this work, I have become keenly aware of and recognized all over again the awe-inspiring state which Shri Mahayogi embodies and the perfection of the words that Shri Mahayogi speaks, constantly chosen from a permanent state of razor-sharp, absolute discrimination that is beyond even time and space. Shri Mahayogi’s words are always delivered from the state of Truth, so if we derive our understanding of their meaning from the perspective of the mind’s view, the meaning can wander off on its own. May we be ever vigilant in protecting your Pranava at all costs. The words of Truth uttered by the Awakened Ones are truly alive. The words themselves are breathing and glistening with life. Unless the seeker knocks on the door, and then faces the test that awaits as we examine ourselves and gauge our seriousness, unless the seeker seriously seeks for It, and unless the seeker dives into the depths of the ocean to find the precious pearls for themselves, the teachings of Truth will not be revealed. In the words given by Shri Mahayogi, even though the words may not appear to be direct answers, there is a meaning that is hidden there that we need to dive in and penetrate in order to uncover.

Yoga, in its original form, can only begin after one’s mind is prepared for religious awakening. The same can be said of the internal initiation Shri Mahayogi assents to give to his disciples. The mind of religious awakening is the unshakeable resolution and the unfailing determination to stake one’s life on Satori. Without a doubt, every single task in Yoga ought to be carried out with the same indomitable spirit. In undertaking this work, the completion of the third edition, I feel that the quality of the translation of The Universal Gospel Of Yoga has finally reached an acceptable level. Although it is only a small handful of members, I am so grateful to inform you that I have been tackling this project with a team of marvelous comrades who share with me this sublime ideal of leaving behind these records of the teachings of Shri Mahayogi, my Beloved. With our guiding belief that the task in which we are engaged will yield a book that will serve as a Bible that will be read by a massive number of people for many generations to come, we carry out this work with a great sense of responsibility. Perhaps, ten years from now, when our understanding has deepened and we find ourselves in a different state, then further depth might be revealed, but I believe that the work we have done is of the highest quality that we are able to bring forth at this stage.

I feel that at this moment, we are getting ready to send out your dear child, whom You have graciously bestowed on us to raise, and who has now grown up and is getting to the point where this dear child can walk by himself, toward the light. One day, when we are all gone, Your words, which will have been translated for all, will continue to shine on forever. … …”

-Excerpt from a speech by Anandamali on the occasion of Jayanti 2013

 

 

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  OM TAT SAT, OM!!!
JAI SATGURU SHRI MAHAYOGI PARAMAHANSA KI JAI!!!!!!

 

***

 

Scenes of the Editing Process
Summer 2015, at our Sangha house, Astoria, NY

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We would also like to mention Matthew and his involvement in our work. Although he has been living in Croatia for twelve years, he is one of the main editors of the MYM in NY. In spite of being far away from his motherland, the United States, and physically separated from the sangha in New York, The Universal Gospel of Yoga was the powerful vehicle that kept his heart connected with Shri Mahayogi every day for several years. When he left for Croatia in 2004, he took a copy of The Universal Gospel of Yoga with him. Of course, he had no idea that one day he would be fully involved in the project of editing the new edition. But over those years he developed a strong love for The Universal Gospel of Yoga and that can be seen in how wholeheartedly he dedicated himself to this work.

imgoMatthew’s daughter Prema was born while we were working in August, 2015.

 

Jai Our Dearest Sadguru Śrī Mahāyogī Paramahaṃsa Ki Jai!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

Echo from The Cave:48

Sun May 15th, 2016 5:39am, NYC

EXPERIENCE:
NY Gurubai’s Visit to Japan, Winter 2016
and Its Synchronization with Pranavadipa Vol. 17:

Part 8: INTEGRATION

Day 9: Evening

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7PM. Satsangha at the Ashrama.

Every moment of having the opportunity to see Shri Mahayogi is filled with excitement and blessings. Once again, we were so fortunate to be able to attend Satsangha at the Ashrama and to be with Shri Mahayogi one more time before leaving for Tokyo on Monday!!!

When Satsangha began, Shri Mahayogi immediately noticed the T-shirts that Ryan and Aniruddha were wearing and laughed joyously. On Ryan’s T-shirt the word “Disciple” was written in Japanese and on Aniruddha’s, “I am not the way I was before.”

Anandamali reported to Shri Mahayogi about how their stay had been up until that point, and Shri Mahayogi seemed very pleased with the NY brother’s willingness to learn, their spirit of readiness for taking on challenges by adopting the learner’s mind and attitude, along with their discipline to follow the morning schedule at all costs. Taka and Yohei spoke about how they had been witnessing the transformation of their NY brothers, and they expressed how grateful they were to have this opportunity to host the NY brothers and practice along side them. Some gurubhai light heartedly teased Ryan, saying that he seemed to have already lost weight. There was much joyful laughter in the beginning.

Then Nandiswara presented Shri Mahayogi with some words he had written on a piece of paper in Chinese, and asked him to explain the meaning. Some of the Chinese and Japanese characters are the same or similar, so sometimes we can understand one another through writing. The words that Nandiswara wrote were『無一物中無尽蔵』. That day, in the room where Satsangha is always held, a scroll was hanging with a work of calligraphy done by Shri Mahayogi, upon which was written the same phrase: 『無一物中無尽蔵』. Shri Mahayogi explained the meaning of this saying, which is often used in calligraphy in Zen Buddism:

無 = nothing    一 = one    物 = thing

無一物 = No One Thing → ‘Thing’ indicates ‘Pain-bearing Obstacles’ in the Mind.   → the cause of the ‘Pain-Bearing Obstacles’ is ‘Ignorance’.

So, “the Absence of Ignorance and Pain-bearing Obstacles” = “The state of the mind that is empty and transparent”.

 

無 = nothing    尽 = run out; end    蔵 = house → The word ‘house’ indicates ‘the universe’ or ‘space’.

無尽蔵 = Non-Ending Space = The Entirety of Space or the Universe

無一物無尽蔵 = In the Entirety of the Universe there exists one state that is Empty, Void of Pain-Bearing Obstacles = Bliss exists in the state of Emptiness.

CONCLUSION: Make the mind free from Pain-Bearing Obstacles and Ignorance.

Shri Mahayogi always says that the teachings of Buddha and Yoga are completely identical. He explained the following mechanism:

Karma creates suffering in life —tracing back to the cause of suffering→ desire, which is the attachment toward the pain-bearing obstacles in the mind; this is what creates karma.

CONCLUSION: By eliminating ignorance and the pain-bearing obstacles, all suffering ends. True Bliss exists there.

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Ryan asked about how to proceed in the practice of discrimination. He wanted to know if he was approaching it correctly. He explained that he is currently trying to understand why it is that there is even something in his mind that desires. He noticed that this feeling of desire, or the value of an object only exists because he once had something and then lost it. He noticed that his mind only perceives two states: having and not having. Generally speaking, when he is in the state of actually having, there is no awareness, so it is only after the loss of it that he enters into a cycle of desiring similar types of things.

Shri Mahayogi answered that Ryan must go further, examine the issue and discriminate whether the object of that desire is eternal or not, whether it is universal or not. By doing so, he will recognize the mechanism of the chain of desire that the mind itself creates based on specific conditions; and therefore truly realize that these are not the Truth. And what’s more, he will recognize that it is a mistake to attach to things that are not the Truth. This is discrimination. If he comprehends the essence like this, then the mind will become detached from that desire—that is renunciation.

Nandi then asked how to know whether an intuition is correct or not.

Shri Mahayogi answered that it goes without saying that practicing asana and studying the teachings of Yoga is a precondition. And that it is especially important to discipline oneself in yama and niyama so that one’s thoughts, words, and actions would not contradict one another. Through continuous practice, the mind transforms and its nature becomes the quality of sattva, and through having its nature be the quality of sattva, correct intuition comes. That too is about training. By continuously training one’s thoughts, words and actions to correspond to an intuition or that first flash of thought, the mind will ultimately stop generating all other unnecessary thoughts. By practicing this diligently, intuition will come precisely in the moment needed.

Satya mentioned that she has a habit of sometimes letting her mind wander, and she knows that she needs to practice mauna at that moment. She asked for confirmation that by practicing to make the thoughts, words and actions correspond to one another, that the condition of ‘being empty’, or the original condition, would increase.

After confirming that Satya was correct, Shri Mahayogi added that the word ‘empty’ in Japanese is written as 空(sky; void; empty), but in Sanskrit, ‘empty’ is sukha, which also means ‘easy‘, just as sukha is used in sukhasana (sukha-asana), commonly known as ‘easy’ sitting position.

It was fascinating to hear that the word ’empty’ has a connotation of ‘easy’, as a profound metaphor lies within this association. Shri Mahayogi never ceases to amaze us with his depth of knowledge and ability to see beyond the surface!!!

With this addition, Shri Mahayogi pointed out exactly what 『無一物無尽蔵』is all about!!!!

In the Entirety of the Universe there exists one state that is Empty, Void of Pain-Bearing Obstacles, meaning that Bliss exists in the state of Emptiness.

By eliminating ignorance and the pain-bearing obstacles, all suffering ends, resulting in the state that is Easy and Empty, where True Bliss exists.

 

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At the end of Satsangha, Aniruddha spoke on behalf of the NY brothers to express their gratitude to Shri Mahayogi:

“Shri Mahayogi, we can’t thank you enough for having us. I am quite sure that on this trip the three of us have truly learnt a tremendous amount from the gurubhai here. And the fact of the matter is, we saw a lot that we still need to process. And I guess, just from speaking between us, we can see what a life changing opportunity this really has been. We just hope that we can take this spirit back with us to the NY sangha and really try to help it grow toward this, toward what we have experienced here, in some way. We gratefully hope that on your next trip to NY, we can really offer to you a very warm welcome. Yes, we gratefully look forward to seeing you in New York.”

Shri Mahayogi responded with a huge smile,
“Thank you. That is good. I am so glad. I look forward to seeing you in New York again.”

 

Jai Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahamsa Ki Jai!!!

 

 *

There was a congenial atmosphere after the Satshangha. Everyone’s face was shining.  As people began to leave little by little, some moved to the side and began participating in a MYM work meeting.

We wished we could have stayed there forever. But it was time to turn the page and move on to the next chapter; to work towards being able to show the proof of our growth for the next reunion with our beloved Master in New York.

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(The day continues… )

Echo from The Cave:47

Tue May 10th, 2016 5:44am, NYC

EXPERIENCE:
NY Gurubai’s Visit to Japan, Winter 2016
and Its Synchronization with Pranavadipa Vol. 17 & Vol. 18:

Part 7:
The Meaning of ‘Practicing In Real Life’ With a Concrete Aim,
and Its Application in Discrimination

Day 9: Morning & Afternoon

カーリー神Kali at Satya’s altar in Yoga Vihara

On Saturday morning, Aniruddha came to Yoga Vihara to investigate a loud noise he had heard that sounded like some animals running around. Sometimes this happens somewhere in the area between the ceiling of the ground floor and the floor above, and they have been having this issue for quite a while, which is especially common in old houses in Kyoto. Aniruddha is a professional, well-experienced exterminator who uses only natural pest-control products, and after studying the problem, he concluded that there were no rats there but most likely it was a weasel. Yogadanda and Satya, who live at Yoga Vihara, figured that a weasel wasn’t harmful, and so they decided to leave it be.

We had a full day scheduled that day: Asana and Meditation class in the afternoon and Satsangha at night. In order to stay on schedule, Satya prepared an early light lunch. Anandi, who stayed over the night before, was also present.

Now that there were only a few days left in Kyoto before they returned to New York, Aniruddha started thinking more seriously about how he would integrate some of the key lessons he was learning into his regular practice when he got home. The conversation naturally turned to diet, an area in which he was open to any possible improvements.

He does not cook often but he would like to improve his dietary habits. He said that the problem was that due to the fact that his job is very irregular, he finds himself unable to maintain a regular schedule for eating lunch and dinner. His schedule changes from day to day depending on his clients, the locations and the time. He treats several apartments per day, so he travels from one place to another by car, but the situation is such that he often finds himself in areas where he cannot get a decent, vegetable-based meal, so he ends up grabbing something quick rather than eating a real lunch at the proper time. Hearing that, the Kyoto gurubhai responded that he should bring his lunch box with him, because in this way he can have lunch whenever he is able to and he won’t need to look for a place to get a decent meal. Inside the lunch box could be sandwiches or pasta, or even a soup, or something left over from the night before. He could even plan to cook dinner with an extra portion for lunch the next day. Aniruddha responded that he did not bring leftovers because he cannot warm up the food. He said, “I like my food hot.” That answer surprised everyone. Because it was not about his struggles in organizing his time or his schedule, nor was it about his skills or the content of the meal, but it related to his personal preference. Generally, if we are asked whether we would prefer to eat a meal hot or cold, almost everyone will answer that warm is preferable. But what we were discussing had nothing to do with these kinds of situations. If Aniruddha was seriously concerned about his dietary habits and really concerned about controlling the timing and content of his daily meals for the purpose of conditioning his asana and meditation practice, then any concerns about whether the food is warmed up or cold should not bother him.

(Satya, when she was asked by Aniruddha on Saturday night (Day 2) at Shanti Kutira when she came after the Satsangha how she managed to establish regular practice at the beginning, answered that since she moved into Yoga Vihara, where Yogadanda and two other disciples were living and practicing asana and meditation daily, she naturally followed that example, so it was not difficult at all.)

She witnessed for eight straight years how Yogadanda would manage to make time for his daily practice of asana and meditation by disciplining himself not to have dinner at all, but to have breakfast and lunch in greater amounts in order to sustain the physical body, which, after all, is simply a vessel for Realization. In Yogadanda’s case, he had the clear goal of realizing the Truth, so he made his decisions based on that:

I want to realize the Truth. → For that, to deepen the practice is a must. → For that, the practice of asana and meditation is indispensable. → For that, I need to practice them daily.
CONCLUSION: In order to sustain my daily practice of asana and meditation, I can’t eat dinner due to the schedule of my job.

Whether he was eating dinner or not, was not of concern.

(Note: Mr. Shimada skips lunch and practices asana at lunchtime at his job for the same reason.)

By clarifying and making one’s goal concrete, one’s action can change naturally. If one determines to practice of asana and meditation daily, it is natural to plan one’s daily schedule accordingly, including the practice of dietary habits. When she heard Aniruddha’s answer, she thought that his action was not based on having a firm or clear and concrete goal, but rather it was all left up to random choice. If the goal is vague, no matter how we try to suggest some ideas, it does not serve much purpose. So then she said to him that if having a hot meal is what he wants, then that is ok; he can think about how to get that. She then asked him, “But what do you want really?”

 Yogadanda's lunch prepared by SatyaYogadanda’s lunch box prepared by Satya

 

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(Note: Yogadanda practiced asana for about 10 years, up until the point when Shri Mahayogi told him to stop. Once he had a high fever from a bad cold and, remembering that Shri Mahayogi had said that asana practice is ineffective when one is at the peak of a bad cold, he decided to see for himself by doing halasana. In so doing he discovered that it is true—all it did was make him nauseous. Out of those 10 years, that was the only day that he did not practice asana that he can recall. He says that even if there were days when he he did not practice and cannot remember having not practiced, the number of days would surely be fewer than five.)

 

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POSTSCRIPT:
 To conclude the conversation

Satya contributed the following thoughts based on her experiences from her practice:

The aim can be realizing the Truth, uniting with God—although it is necessary to think with much more seriousness and in much more realistic terms, and that might relate to timing (for the real serious yearning might be different to different people.) However, it is truly easier to grasp your ideal and put it into action if you have a more concrete, detailed idea of what you are aiming for. Then it can be broken down and measured against our daily actions. For example, it can be as simple as the “discipline to practice asana and meditation daily.” Or if you are seriously concerned about dietary habits, the discipline to cook at home daily and stop eating out. It is natural that these concrete aims can vary according to one’s specific life situation. Whatever your choice might be, if you think about how you spend your day for the purpose of reaching your ultimate goal, you realize that there are actually many situations and points at which you must make choices one by one. For instance, let’s say that someone gives you a snack or a sweet, you can make the choice of declining it or having it later. Let’s say that you determined to cook at home every day and not eat out or order take-out. You are invited by someone to have a meal, or you see or find foods that you are drawn to or curious about and you want to buy them… At that very moment, recalling your concrete goal, and then making your choice based on that, is the actual first step of the practice of discrimination.

Through repetition, making such choices in your daily life clarifies your goal more and more. Consequently, the shaft of light that is Yoga or Truth (your faith in Yoga) grows and eventually matures. At the same time, you will gain self-confidence. When that shaft of light gets stabilized and becomes firm, then you will be able to discriminate when disturbances arise in your mind.

You might not have given much thought to these matters, and I do not know how you have practiced up until now, but if you really want to be able to discriminate as you said, I would suggest that you repeatedly practice discrimination using these daily situations, events and interactions as opportunities for practice. Then you will be able to apply discrimination when you face bigger issues more smoothly.

 

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From 2PM, there was an Asana and Meditation class led by Shantimayi and Dharmini. This weekend was the special weekend that the monthly Satsangha with Shri Mahayogi at the Ashrama would be taking place, as well as Siddha Marga the next day, so there were many disciples who had travelled from Tokyo, Matsuyama and other areas. The class was packed, and filled with a condensed energy by everyone in attendance. Shantimayi checked everyone’s asana very precisely. It was a wonderfully energetic class.

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In the end, Shantimayi said that Yoga is not only the practice of asana, and that she has been taught that actually disciplining herself in the practice of yama (abstinence) and niyama (observance) in daily life, and making the corresponding actions with her body (action), mouth (word) and mind (thought) are the most important practices. She said that the result of your practice of aligning action-word-thought in daily life manifests in asana practice. And that she understood by her practice that unless you establish the harmony of ‘action, word and thought’ the completion of advanced asana would not be achieved. She added that if one acquires a good foundation in basic asana practice, it will surely lead to meditation, and therefore establishing that base is very important.

Shantimayi asked the NY brothers about their impression of this class. Nandi started to speak, and he said that rather than speaking about this class he would like to express his gratitude for this entire trip to everyone. He said that this trip was quite challenging because he had to come face to face with his own issues, but he was so grateful to have had this opportunity and he felt so determined to continue to work on himself and deepen his practice. Ryan said that he was amazed that they could see in him more than what he could see in himself, and he was so grateful for everyone’s hospitality and support. Aniruddha said that it was a life-changing experience, and that he never lived his life with the ultimate goal at the center, but now he understands the purpose of living, and that his view toward asana practice has changed as a result. He also expressed his gratitude.

_MG_4854Ryan (弟子 on his T-shirt ‘disciple’) and Asanghan

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After the class, Taka and Aniruddha went to Ganesha (the residence of Kinkara, where many meetings take place) to speak with Asanghan, who had travelled from Matsuyama, and ask if he could come to Yoga Vihara after the Satsangha that night. Asanghan was in the middle of a work meeting with Sananda and all the gurubhai from Matsuyama, but he came outside the house to speak with them. At first, Asanghan hesitated to accept the request because he had a prior engagement, but their persistence persuaded him to change his schedule.

 

(The day continues… )

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Pranavadipa 18 is up and the topics in the Satsangha are in synchronization with these conversations! Please read, reflect upon them carefully, and turn them into action!

*****

Pranavadipa is a Monthly Publication of Online Study Material containing the Teachings of Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa & the Experiences of Practitioners that is available by annual subscription. A new volume of Pranavadipa is issued on the 8th of every month.

PRANAVADIPA

Go to Information 

Echo from The Cave:46

Sun My 8th, 2016 3:30pm, NYC

EXPERIENCE:
NY Gurubai’s Visit to Japan, Winter 2016
and Its Synchronization with Pranavadipa Vol. 17:

Part 6:
Practice Concretely In Daily Life Using Yama And Niyama

Day 8: 

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Friday morning arrived with the feeling of rejuvenation in the air. The three brothers all said that the visit to the public bath the night before had paid off, and they were fully restored and reinvigorated.

To start the day off, we accompanied Yohei to his workplace, the Sakura Home-Aid Service in Arashiyama, travelling first by bus and then by train. Taka came with us as well. Yohei is registered to work at this social service center and has been working there for about 5 days a week for three and a half years. He attends to around seven clients per month and serves 1 to 2 clients each day. His work is to support them when they go out to do various activities, to do housework, and to help them with their physical care, either at the Sakura facility or during home visits. Yogadanda also works at the same location.

Sakura is both an agency that provides social and home aid services and serves as a residence for people with disabilities. It was originally founded by three people, Mr. Takahashi, Ms. Makino and Mr. Horie, and we were fortunate to meet all three of them during this visit. One thing that is unique about the Sakura residence is that it is a not an institutional looking home, it is a house that is architecturally barrier-free and the residents can actually live in private rooms and enjoy a comfortable standard of living. There are also opportunities for them to work right there on-site as full time employees. One of the founders, Mr. Horie, uses a wheelchair to get around, and so the concept of Sakura was developed with a firsthand understanding of the challenges faced by people with special needs, both in an emotional and physical sense, and also in the context of their place in the society as a whole. It is common for people with disabilities in Japan to work at specialized community work centers, where they can do various jobs to engage in society and support themselves, but the pay is extremely low and it is barely enough to live on. Unlike the typical work center, Sakura offers an environment where people with special needs can work and earn a proper income if they have computer skills or other useful talents. Currently, there are five people with disabilities who work there, and there are three who are living in the housing facility, one of which is Mr. Horie himself.

At the request of Mr. Takahashi, Yohei has been offering an Asana and Meditation class once a week since last August. The class was begun because Mr. Takahashi wanted to try asana and meditation in order to improve his own health, as well as take care of the helpers at Sakura in order to prevent or heal their chronic lower-back pain, which often arises as a consequence of their hard work.

When we got there we could see right away how friendly Mr. Takahashi and everyone else was, and how eager they were to welcome this unique group of visitors. The attendees at the class that day were the three founders, one of the attendants and one staff member who herself was wheelchair user. They all practiced in silence with the brothers from New York as Yohei led them. There was great harmony in the class, and the people from Sakura and the brothers from NY were mutually inspired by each other’s dedication and sincerity. We hope that they will continue and discover for themselves the power of asana and meditation practice, going further into the journey of searching the Self and for real Freedom.

IMG_0564Mr. Takahashi, one of the founders of Sakura(second from right)

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After that, Mr. Takahashi invited us to have homemade soba (buckwheat noodles) for lunch, along with Mr. Horie and his helper, at a place nearby. This gave the NY brothers the opportunity to see how soba noodles are formed.

When he was in junior high school, Mr. Horie was diagnosed with a physically debilitating condition that will worsen over time. He seems to be a charismatic, very intuitive and artistic thinker. 
Mr. Miyaji, Mr. Horie’s attendant that day, was bringing food to Mr. Horie’s mouth. Again, it was a meaningful experience to see Yohei’s work firsthand, and it was also a great discovery to learn about Sakura and the worthwhile mission to which they are dedicated. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to really get to know these three founders, but from the little bit of interaction we did have with them, we could feel that they were truly flexible, open-minded, and blessed free spirits!! And what was most noteworthy was that they demonstrated their beliefs in their actions, which is something that we, as aspiring yogi and yogini, strive to do in our daily lives as well. We are truly grateful to have had this experience, thank you so much for letting us be a part of Sakura, and hopefully our paths may cross again someday!

20160205_135422Mr. Horie, one of the founders of Sakura (front)
Mr. Miyaji, Mr. Horie’s attendant (right) and Aniruddha

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After we had said our goodbyes, Yohei went back to work and we headed off to the center area of Kyoto with Taka. This afternoon would be the last chance to pick up a few souvenirs to bring back to New York, as our trip was nearing its end.

During our visit to the center of the city, Aniruddha and Ryan got themselves special T-shirts, which you will be able to see in the photos in the next blog (Echo 47).

 

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Taka and Yohei had to work the nightshift that night, so we went to Yoga Vihara for dinner, which consisted of a special ramen (noodle soup) that is a well-known dish from Yogadanda and Taka’s hometown, Fukuoka. (Yogadanda and Taka are brothers.) Kripalu and Anandi were also there. Anandi had travelled from Matsuyama, in Ehime prefecture, by long distance bus in order to attend the satsangha at the Ashrama the next day (Saturday) as well as Siddha Marga on Sunday. It took six hours for her to get there from her hometown. There were times that she used to come to Kyoto almost every weekend, but now she comes once or twice a month.

One week had passed since their arrival to Kyoto. And the Kyoto gurubhai knew that the NY brothers’ main theme for this visit was discrimination, how important it is to clarify one’s issue for the practice of discrimination, and how to make one’s ideal concrete in order to aim for the target.

The Kyoto gurubhai were really trying to help the NY brothers grasp the real practice of discrimination in daily life. Yogadanda spoke the following example of his meditation experience.

Years ago, there was a time that Yogadanda was working as a dishwasher at the restaurant in Kyoto hotel. At that time, there was an elder lady who was also working as a dishwasher part time job, like he was, and she had a quick temper. One day, she got mad at Yogadanda for unreasonable things. But that shock curved in his mind as a strong impression. At that time, he had a habitual routine of practicing asana right after getting home from his job, so he practiced asana when he got home as usual. But while he was practicing asana, that woman’s face was there all the time, and he could not get rid of it until he finished all asana. As he sat for meditation—at that time, he was meditating on Shri Mahayogi—the lady’s face was always there, disturbing his concentration on Shri Mahayogi, and she did not disappear. He struggled very hard to try to focus on Shri Mahayogi. He did not know how long he was there in this condition, but in the midst of this battle, an intuition came that “I and this lady are the same existence,’ at which point he felt that, “Most likely something happened to this woman that caused her so much stress that it built up within her, causing her to burst out in an attack towards me, who happened to be there.” “I also have the mind that is of exactly the same structure as hers, and I too would burst out at some point if I built up my stress continuously like that.” “I am, essentially, the same existence as she is.” As he felt this, the light shone from Shri Mahayogi, the object of his meditation, and the face of that older lady melted away into light. He said that he was meditating on the form of Shri Mahayogi, but by the teaching of Shri Mahayogi—“Every existence in its essence is the same existence”—discrimination happened within him. He thinks that that was why he experienced this teaching of Shri Mahayogi in his meditation, as well as Shri Mahayogi’s form and the teaching of “Truth is One.” The next morning he went to work as usual. Before this experience, when similar things would happen, he must have felt that he did not want to see that person or even go to work, but there were no such thoughts. Therefore, he dealt with the same older lady neutrally, as normal. Later on, he got long with that lady, and since then he has never been attacked by her for any unreasonable matter. He understood that before she was hard for him to deal with, so unconsciously he had the vibe of “avoiding”, however, through applying discrimination in meditation, he was able to conquer this feeling, and so his vibe changed.

The Kyoto gurubhai began to ask some questions related to these topics. Nandi said that he chose Swami Vivekananda as his ideal Saint. So Anandi asked him more precisely what it was that he likes about Vivekananda, or how he concretely idealizes Vivekananda. She asked him this because at one point she wrote an article about Swami Vivekananda for Paramahamsa. And that experienced caused her to deeply ponder how she could actually bring her way of life and her conduct closer to his mind and spirit. In contrast to that kind of focused inquiry, it appeared that Nandi’s answer was still very general. Satya, who came to Yoga Vihara on their second day after the satsangha and spoke about the practice of discrimination through her actual experience, tried to help them get a better understanding of the process of discrimination that night again. She asked Ryan what he had been discriminating on. Again, Ryan’s answer was somewhat vague, something that could be resolved without engaging too deeply in discrimination. Then Satya asked, “Do you know about yama and niyama?” She asked this because she inferred from what he said that it sounded like he had been observing his conduct in daily life, which is a positive thing. So if he were to apply yama and niyama to his actions and then observe them, what he has already been trying to do can then become discrimination. Ryan said that he knew the yama and niyama, but he has not really been consciously practicing them. So Satya explained that if we practice yama and niyama in our daily lives, consequently, the practice of discrimination, meditation and asana can advance more rapidly. The obstacles in meditation, or the thoughts that arise in meditation, are often impressions that are recorded in daily life, and further, most of them are caused by not being able to be consistent with yama and niyama. That means that if we remain vigilant and pay close attention to our conduct in daily life, we can practice asana and meditation with full concentration, since our impressions will not be recorded in the mind, and therefore thoughts will not arise while we practice them. Some of the yama and niyama may sound very simple, yet if we want to practice them thoroughly and perfectly, it is an extremely difficult practice, as if we are being tested from moment to moment. Ultimately, if we practice making all of our actions and words correspond to yama and niyama, 24 hours of each and every day will become Yoga. And if we can practice observing any one of them diligently, it will end up encompassing the observation of all the yama and niyama.

 

By the way, the meaning of her name Satya is Truth, and it is in one of yama: Satya is Truthfulness.

 

(The journey continues… )

 

Echo from The Cave:45

SAT April 30th, 2016 0:00Am, NYC

EXPERIENCE:
NY Gurubai’s Visit to Japan, Winter 2016
and Its Synchronization with Pranavadipa Vol. 17:

Part 5:
ACT ON FAITH
CONCRETIZE YOUR GOAL
DETERMINE HOW TO ACTUALLY PRACTICE IT,
THEN ACT 

Day 7:

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On Thursday our plans were to spend the afternoon visiting the hospital where Yohei’s friend is in order to participate in some volunteer work there, and then in the evening go to the public bath where Shri Mahayogi used to go when he was a child.

After lunch, Yohei led us to Utano Hospital, located on the west side of Kyoto City. On the way there, near the end of the journey, the roads became full of really steep hills and the ups and downs of the journey made for quite a challenging bicycle ride. When we arrived at Utano hospital we met Yohei’s friend, Toki.

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Yohei has known Toki, who is 19 years old, for one year now, after meeting him through Toki’s friend, for whom Yohei regularly volunteers to take on the role of personal attendant. Yohei first met Toki at a group meeting for people with challenging physical conditions similar to that of Toki while volunteering to attend Toki’s friend. This group had been formed so that its members could come together to connect with each other and create fun activities together. The group outings that were organized provided ongoing opportunities to regularly spend time together and share life experiences. Both Toki and his friend, who was assisted by Yohei, were regularly attending and participating in these community activities. Toki is a very bright and active young man who is one of the central figures of this group, since he created and now maintains their website all by himself, moving the computer mouse with his chin in order to do so. Toki has been hospitalized there since primary school because of his physical condition, and has attended only schools affiliated with this hospital.

Anyway, certainly, it must have been a big surprise for the nurses there when all of a sudden, we strangers showed up as a group, including these tall foreigners. Toki was the only one who knew that we were coming. Yohei introduced us and we then started to clean the area around Toki’s bed in the room that he shared with three other patients. The area for us to clean and organize was not very large considering there were twelve hands, so there was not too much work to be done in that sense. But it was very nice to meet Toki and have a chance to observe and learn directly from the work that Yohei does as a social worker. Yohei was so natural and attentive with him.

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 Yohei, Nandi (from left), Anandamali (behind Nandi), Taka, Toki, Aniruddha and Ryan

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After that, we were planning to have dinner out at a restaurant but it was early, so we passed the time at a small local café nearby. There Yohei began to tell us about his karma yoga practice. He said that he used to think that karma yoga was the practice of serving the poor or those who are in difficult situations, and so he would sometimes go to Fukushima, which has been deeply suffering since the earthquake disaster of 2011. However, Yukti, who has moved to Fukushima to serve people there by working as a nurse, always told him that he should find ways to continuously serve the people of Kyoto. He did not understand the meaning of what she said, but recently he has started to realize that he was actually making a distinction between superior and inferior work. So now he makes sure that he performs any and all tasks that arise with the same sincerity, whether it be the work of the Mission, his daily tasks, his job, housework or volunteer work.

 

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This local restaurant was the place where Yohei brought up the topic of mauna (spiritual silence) to Nandi by questioning him, What do you consider to be mauna, and how are you actually practicing it?” “Since you have been prescribed this precious teaching, mauna, by Shri Mahayogi, why have you not thought about how to actually practice it? The fact that you are asking me this question—‘How should I actually practice mauna?’—now is so strange in and of itself.” (From Yohei’s article in Pranavadipa Vol. 17.) Yohei was so clear and went directly to the core of the issue. It seems that it finally hit Nandi’s heart very heavily, and at the same time it seemed that something shifted in Nandi at that moment. Nandi immediately became quieter. Yohei not only pointed out Nandi’s issue but he also explained to him by way of an example how important it is to have a concrete goal, and to think concretely about how to attain that goal.

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Yohei was so clear and charged up about all of this that he could not finish all that he wanted to say, so we decided to continue our talk after leaving the restaurant. We could have gone back to Shanti Kutira, but since the public bath we were planning to visit was located in between Shanti Kutira and the restaurant where we had dinner, and we also felt it would be more refreshing to talk outside of Shanti Kutira, we were left with no choice but to return to the same café where we had gone just the night before with Sananda.

At the café, Yohei spoke about the importance of clarifying one’s ideal and making it concrete. He asked each of the NY brothers who their ideal Realized Being was. Nandi answered right away that it was Shri Mahayogi. But Yohei said that it is important to have someone as your ideal who started out like us and realized the Truth through great struggle, and then to meditate on him or her. The reason this is necessary is that it is extremely difficult for our minds to concretely grasp the Realized Beings who are at the level of avatar, who were born without karma for the sake of the people that they might awaken into Truth. However, if we meditate on the former level, we will be able to understand and learn from the concrete efforts of those individuals and how they went about attaining the goal.

Aniruddha was silent while he was listening, but then suddenly he said, “I understand now that my faith has been very intellectual, and what I need to do from now on is act on my faith.” When Yohei asked Aniruddha about his ideal, Aniruddha said that it was Vivekananda because Vivekananda is so straightforward, and he receives much courage from that straightforwardness.

Taka was concerned that a lot of the questions that the NY brothers asked were only about how to meditate so far, so then he started to speak about the fact that although it is true that there are some logical instructions that can be given about how to meditate, in the actual practice of meditation, there are only two states: concentrating or not concentrating. Therefore, what is crucial to advance in the practice of meditation is a keen sense of urgency toward the object of meditation. He then spoke about his experience, that sometime back when his object of meditation was not yet solidified, in other words, around the time when he did not understand how he actually wanted to be or what he was keenly seeking, he single-mindedly thought about and investigated first what he was truly seeking and how he wanted to live, regardless of whether he would consider practicing Yoga or not. This took him nearly one year. He realized that there was nothing that he was particularly attracted to in this world and through observing his mind daily, it became clear that the condition of his mind differed from day to day, constantly changing and shifting. He realized that he couldn’t rely on his mind at all. And what’s more, when he reflected on the reason for which he was living so far, he sensed that he was somehow always seeking ecstasy, or bliss, and that he did things or was attached to things by this motivation to taste and experience that ecstasy. He further considered what the ultimate of ecstasy actually was: in Yoga, it is said that the ecstasy, the bliss, continues endlessly, and that there is nowhere that it does not exist—not only that, it is the essence of the Self. He then felt that This is what he must realize, no matter what it would take; he must realize It at all costs. After that, there were periods in which he continued practicing disciplines of Yoga all the while thinking that he would not mind dying if it meant that he would be able to experience that ultimate ecstasy. So, what he realized through that process was that what he senses when the “I” consciousness is fading away, and what he senses in the process of meditating on Existence, Awakened Beings or Saints who have realized that ultimate ecstasy, is exactly the same. After all of that he finally started to understand little by little what he really wanted to realize and how he should proceed with his meditation. Now he is working on that so that he can proceed further.

Then, with the importance of a proper diet for the practice of Yoga, the conversation naturally turned to this topic. The NY brothers re-learnt that vegetables should be the primary side-dish, and tiny fish would not be a problem, but large fish and meats, are not recommended. Ryan asked to hear more about the details of the fish that are acceptable and with what frequency, so Taka spoke about it through his experience. The Mission in Kyoto has been conducting a cooking class called The Kitchen of Samarasa, and it is through this program that the disciples in Kyoto have been learning the spirit and philosophy of dietary matters as well as a concrete way of preparing meals according to the seasons. Taka was almost vegetarian before he started practicing Yoga, so he did not have any issues with refraining from eating meat. However, since it was not something he was accustomed to, meaning he had not established the dietary habits of cooking his own meals at all, he was hungry for this knowledge that would help him form his dietary habits based on the teachings of Yoga. In order to proceed in deepening the practice of asana and meditation, it would be necessary to base his meals on seasonal vegetables, and so he started to cook his own meals right after beginning the practice of Yoga. His mindset was that everything could be a learning opportunity, and therefore he practiced and disciplined his dietary habits in accordance with the teachings of Yoga. Around the time that two or three years had passed in this way, he came to understand the set cycle of the seasonal ingredients and basic cooking methods, and he realized that he had created a set of patterns throughout the year according to what each season necessitated. And it was through the acquisition of this knowledge that he felt that he had naturally come to establish his repertoire or his routine of dietary habits. He used to avoid animal protein at all costs, even the slightest bit, because he was so nervous about consuming it, but nowadays he takes it in a small amount once or twice a year on occasions when socially he cannot avoid it and to the extent that his physical condition does not become affected by it. Now, even though he may take in animal protein on these few occasions, afterwards he simply and naturally goes back to his routine of regular yogic dietary habits, which he has already established well. Therefore, regarding fish, he no longer needs to think about the amount or the size of the fish, because he knows it without having to think about it. Nowadays, he thinks that because he has acquired so naturally through The Kitchen of Samarasa such skills as how to shop, how to time the shopping, and what methods of cooking to use, etc., along with how to manage all of these things, he does not spend much time allowing his mind to think about diet. This is directly in contrast to earlier times when he was thinking a lot about the diet during meditation. He also said that although it is necessary to find ways to practice and to discipline yourself in order to form dietary habits that are in accordance with the teachings of Yoga, that is not the goal; therefore, he constantly tries to remember that he should not confuse the means with the goal.

 

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“Minamoto-Yu”—the public bath where Shri Mahayogi used to go when he was a child. The NY brothers enjoyed it so much that they stayed there for a long time. Aniruddha, who had hesitated to experience it, said, “Now I know why Japanese people love it!” Surely, they all slept very deeply that night.

(The journey continues… )

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POSTSCRIPT:
Two months after the visit of NY gurubhai

Yohei contributed his current thoughts on the blessing that we receive from meditating on a great saint as our ideal, a great saint who started out like us, and through great struggle realized the Truth.

“I felt that there were two blessings:

The first blessing—“your personal issues will be defined.”

I felt that through taking the first step of choosing or finding my ideal being, the motivation to get closer arose, and because of that, when I read the sacred words of the particular saint I chose, I felt that it was not the knowledge or the understanding through the intellect that I received, but rather, I felt that something was resonating within me. Also, by meditating on that particular saint, I experienced some visions that were not written in the book about that saint, or I had experiences of touching the heart and the spirit of that saint. However, these experiences were only in the realm of meditation, in other words, these are mere experiences in meditation. The thought came to me that I need to make what I experienced practical, so I felt that I must act like that saint in reality.

Yet that was very difficult. Through putting their examples into my actions, only then did I realize that I was only imitating the external aspects of that saint, but I did not actually grasp his essence. “What do I need to do?” “What is lacking in me?” I asked. I felt that that realization led me face to face with my personal issues, and it defined them.

It is not so easy to tackle your own personal issues, because you need to look at your negative parts, the parts where you are weak or need to change and improve. But having a concrete goal or an ideal being supports you to raise yourself up and to keep working positively toward that.

It may be a bit off track, but I remember that years ago when I was watching Sumo-wrestling matches, an interpreter said that each sumo-wrestler has their ideal or aim toward the particular wrestler, but the ones who keep making much progress have very concrete, particular and detailed views. For example, they would say, “I like this specific way of how this particular wrestler grabs the mawashi (wrestler’s belt).” So in a way, having such a concrete ideal has brought many blessings and benefits in all kinds of fields.

But still, there is a difference between Yoga and other fields: “the presence of an avatar, the absolute existence”—and that is the second blessing.

When I touched the saint who was not an avatar in the program, Siddha Marga, I sensed that Mother Theresa, Nag Mahasyaya, Vivekananda, they “all lived their lives obeying the divine order of an avatar, the guru.”

Mother Theresa, obeying the voice of Jesus, “I thirst,” went to Kolkata. Nag Mahasyaya obeyed the word of his master, “Practice remaining as a house-holder.” Vivekananda, throughout his entire life, staked his life on fulfilling the words of Shri Ramakrishna, “You must become a banyan tree.”

Over the course of their development, all the great saints carried on with their hardships regardless of the fact that they may have been conflicted within themselves, and all the while they were taking the orders of the guru with utmost seriousness in their hearts, and they accomplished that.

I too would like to live my life obeying the words of my guru faithfully, whatever those words may be, by following the great examples of saints in the past.”

 

Echo from The Cave:44

Wed April 27th, 2016 5:59am, NYC

EXPERIENCE:
NY Gurubai’s Visit to Japan, Winter 2016
and Its Synchronization with Pranavadipa Vol. 17:

Part 4: THE HALF WAY POINT—TAKING ACTION

Day 5:

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Bus Ride—On the way to the Kyoto National Museum
A bit tired here as the days are intense, going from the early morning to late in the evening.

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Inside the Kyoto National Museum
We are a part of the Sumi-E (Blk Ink painting.)

On Tuesday morning, we went to see an exhibit of Japanese swords at the Kyoto National Museum.
 While Kripalu guided the NY gurubhai through this exhibit, Anandamali and Yohei reviewed their stay in Japan so far to see how to best support them so that they could get the most out of it. Both of them felt greatly concerned that even though a great deal of inspiration had been shared over the course of their various discussions, if it only remained at the level of discussion and was not applied in daily life, there would be no real transformation that would come to the NY gurubhai. It would be a great loss if the trip became simply a good memory, producing little to no effect after their return to the wilds of New York City. Shri Mahayogi graciously accepted to hold satsangha for them the next day, and there would be an Asana & Meditation class that night, but other than that there would be no MYM classes or activities on Thursday or Friday, so Anandamali requested that Yohei find opportunities in which they would need to take action and use the physical body. They had already heard so much from the gurubhai in Kyoto, so the time had come for them to be proactive, no more being passive! Yohei had some ideas and immediately started to call his friends. The schedule for Thursday and Friday was arranged then.

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Waiting for the bus to go to the center for class

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We had a little time to have some fun before the class!
Is Aniruddha’s external transformation a reflection of his internal transformation??

IMG_0509Asana & Meditation class in the center of Kyoto City, led by Madhri and Satya
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After going back to Shanti Kutira, Yohei and Aniruddha, who is the senior disciple of the three brothers (gurubhai) from New York, came to Yoga Vihara late at night. Anandamali called a meeting to discuss further details about the rest of the trip in Kyoto. We were also concerned that Ryan did not seem very cheerful, somewhat heavy, and somehow it was difficult to get sense of how he was doing. So we decided to ask him the next day what motivated him to make this visit and what it was that he would like to accomplish during this time.

 

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Day 6:

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“Anandamali-san, something good is happening here! We have been talking together for some time. I am not sure what the details are of what they are saying because everything is in English, but it seems that Ryan has started to open himself up, and they are all crying. I feel a strong bond forming among the New York gurubhai!!!” As Anandamali arrived at Shanti Kutira after lunchtime, Yohei opened the entrance door and immediately announced this. Indeed, they were all sitting in that multi-purpose room talking, and Ryan seemed completely renewed. He looked so much lighter, cheerful and natural. He spoke about his life, and it seemed that something had been released from him. It was very beautiful to see that, and it was so beautiful to see that they were all supporting each other’s growth.

Ryan also mentioned that he started to wonder again if it would be a good idea to move to Kyoto so that he may be able to make better progress in an environment where he is constantly surrounded by strong practitioners and adhering to a scheduled life. (He actually thought about this before he visited Japan and sought advice from Anandamali, but decided not to do so because it would not be practical with the language barrier, and there would be no one who could translate for him during satsangha. Shri Mahayogi also mentioned that it would not be a realistic thing to do for Ryan’s current situation or that of the MYM of Kyoto.) Yohei spoke to him about it too, saying that, “Although it may appear to be easier for your practice, and you might feel that it is helpful at the beginning, that would really only be for the beginning, because when it comes down to it, the bottom line is that you yourself must discipline yourself by yourself, voluntarily. And the situation would not be the way it is right now, where we are arranging and adjusting our schedules around what would be best for you. What you need to do right now is to go back to New York, get a job, and practice Yoga in those circumstances, no matter what. Shri Mahayogi always speaks about the significance of practicing and proving Yoga while maintaining a regular job in this current age, as opposed to how practitioners used to practice in seclusion in the past.” Yohei said that he would like Ryan to support the sangha in NY by doing that. He said, “Vivekananda said that if he could get 10 people with passion, indomitable discipline and faith, he could change the world. I can see that you would be three out of these ten! When you return to NY, I would like you to take on that indomitable will.”

Yohei gave a lot of detailed advice to Ryan, all of which he wrote in the article that was published in Paramahamsa Vol. 114, and its translation into English in Pranavadipa Vol. 17. It was so beautiful to see these brothers. Yohei spoke carefully, sincerely, respectfully and straightforwardly to Ryan, and Ryan accepted so sincerely and without any defensiveness everything Yohei pointed out and advised.

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At 2PM, we were at the Ashrama for the satsangha that would be only with us and Taka. Perhaps it was because the NY brothers’ visit to Kyoto was in its second half, and after having received so many blessings from Shri Mahayogi through his disciples, hearing so many explanations of the teachings and seeing actual example after example of what the real practices are, which might have amounted to more than what they could receive and process, along with the fact that it was now time for them to digest what they had learned and put it into action, there were not many questions asked of the Master. Instead, Ryan, for the very first time, opened up his heart to Shri Mahayogi and spoke very openly about his life. Shri Mahayogi just kept listening to Ryan with a tender smile. That day, Shri Mahayogi gave a spiritual prescription to one of Ryan’s habits: stop consuming snacks and sweets. He then told us to leave the Ashrama and try to go to catch Sananda in Nagaokakyo City before the class that night and ask about the practice of discrimination if there were any further questions about it. This may be one of the ways that Shri Mahayogi is guiding both senior and junior disciples so that we can grow and mature at the same time. So then we bowed down with utmost gratitude to the Master and left the Ashrama, following his advice. The time we are able to spend with the Master was and always is so PRECIOUS, NO MATTER WHAT!!! HIS SMILE MAKES EVERY CELESTIAL BEING HAPPY AND BLISSFUL. WE LOVE YOU DEAREST SHRI MAHAYOGI, OUR MASTER!!! JAI, JAI, JAI !!!

 

Here is the photo taken of the NY gurubhai right after the satsangha at the Ashrama, before we left to go to the Asana and Meditation class.

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After we left the Ashrama, we bicycled to the train station and took the train to Nagaokakyo City, outside of Kyoto city, to take the Asana and Meditation class led by Sananda and Madhri. After helping to set up the classroom, as Shri Mahayogi had suggested, they started asking Sananda questions. Nandi had been told by Shri Mahayogi to deepen his meditation. So Nandi asked Sananda how he could deepen his meditation, because his mind is far too active. Sananda responded that he should try to make time to spend quietly, and practice mauna, spiritual silence.

During the class, Sananda checked Aniruddha and Nandi’s asana carefully. And Madhri checked Ryan’s. According to Aniruddha, it was the most intense class out of all the classes he experienced in Kyoto.

*

After the class, we had another opportunity to spend the time with Sananda, but it was not easy to find a café open after 10PM. Plus, with Taka and Kripalu we were 7, which made it very difficult to find seating. So Sananda and Kripalu ended up driving us to Kyoto City, to a café that was open 24 hours near the Ashrama.

This night was the first night that Ryan had an opportunity to ask Sananda questions, since the first night when Sananda visited Shanti Kutira, Ryan could not stay up because of jetlag and exhaustion. So Ryan asked Sananda many questions about discrimination. Ryan was very impressed with Sananda, who answered his questions very clearly, without any trouble or vacillation.

Aniruddha expressed his honest concern that there is a part of him that has not been able to put himself into practicing Yoga completely. Taka then responded through his experience and thoughts on this, mentioning that in the book “Pranava Sara” (The Gospel of Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa, published in 1999 in Japanese only), there is a part in which Shri Mahayogi advises that disciples live together in order to deepen their practice. Taka, without thinking too deeply about it, just decided to follow this advice. He then rented a house with Yohei, who was also looking for a gurubhai to live and share a house with. By living together with gurubhai, every single thing in daily life fully became fertile ground for practicing Yoga. Not only in regards to food, clothing and shelter, because many gurubhai traveling from far distances would often come and stay at their house during the weekend to attend the satsangha with Shri Mahayogi, they were blessed to have many opportunities to share the teachings of Yoga as a course of nature. Last year, Anandamali also stayed there for some time, as well as other gurubhai from New York and Taiwan who had longer stays. The blessing they have been receiving has at times been more than what they can receive, and at the same time, they have also been experiencing many lessons. He never imagined how it would unfold before he started living with a gurubhai, of course. What it has become is far more than what he could have imagined. From this experience, he understands that if we put Shri Mahayogi’s advice into action, then blessings and challenges beyond our imagination will be bestowed upon us; and he feels that that is an exemplification of, “if you get closer toward God, even if it is only one step, God will come closer to you multiple times more than that.” What’s more, he feels that the same thing can be said to the NY gurubhai, because they came to Japan and got close by opening themselves up to the Guru, and therefore they have been experiencing far beyond what they could have imagined before coming to Japan. Taka concluded that the first thing they must do upon returning to New York is to put this all into actual practice without hesitation—and that is vital.

*

After 1 AM, Sananda drove them back to Shanti Kutira. Then Sananda, Anandamali and Kripalu had a late light dinner together. Sananda drove Anandamali back to Yoga Vihara, then returned all the way to his home in Nagaokakyo City, where the class had taken place that night. Indeed, the entire trip was very intense, but NY gurubhai were accepting of the challenges! It proceeded at such a rapid pace. There was no time to stop. There was no place to hide or escape, only time to come face-to-face. At the same time, we felt the sincerity of all the gurubhai in Kyoto all the time. The gurubhai in Kyoto also put a lot of time, energy and effort very freely and willingly into anything they could do to support the NY gurubhai. And the NY gurubhai knew that, because they felt it constantly and limitlessly from everyone. We were in a very condensed and serene, yet extremely powerful field… watched over by the Master. No words can express our gratitude, we can only bow down…

 

*

From that day on Ryan’s demeanor noticeably changed. The great thing about Ryan is that once he understands, he understands. Renunciation comes naturally, and the power of attraction is no more. And starting the next day, he did not have any reactions to those things at all, as if he had never had them before.

 

(The journey continues… to Echo 45)

 

Echo from The Cave:43

Monday April 25th, 2016 6:00pm, NYC

EXPERIENCE:
NY Gurubai’s Visit to Japan, Winter 2016
and Its Synchronization with Pranavadipa Vol. 17:

Part 3: DEMONSTRATIONS OF THE WILLINGNESS TO KNOW

Day 4:

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The living-dining room at Shanti Kutira, where the gurubhai would meet, have meals, practice daily meditation and, on the days when there was no class, practice asana.

 

On Monday, both Taka and Yohei were working the night shift that night, so they didn’t arrive home until around 9:00 or 10:00 AM. Regardless, the NY gurubhai began their sadhana and house cleaning at 6:00 AM and made breakfast all by themselves. They also took care of the laundry. Before noon, Anandamali joined them and took them to the Shinto Shrine of Kitano Tenmangū (photos in Echo 40), which is 10 minutes by bicycle from Shanti Kurtira. We then had a Yakuzen lunch (medicinal Korean meal) near the site, and spent a good bit of time talking amongst ourselves about this trip and their impressions of Japan. Since the NY gurubhai were scheduled to attend the 2-hour self-practice meditation at Yoga Vihara that night and then spend time with Yogadanda after that, in the late afternoon they practiced asana and meditation at Shanti Kutira by themselves for the first time during this trip.

 

 *

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In the evening we attended the two-hour self-practice meditation at Yoga Vihara. In the early summer of last year, Yogadanda and Kripalu started to practice this voluntarily—their intention was just to sit continuously in silence for two hours, and to just continue to discipline themselves to practice it regularly every week. Seeing and feeling their persistent actions, other gurubhai became inspired, and now they join them from time to time. That Monday night about eight of us practiced there together.

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After the meditation, they spent time with Yogadanda. Much of the conversation was between Ryan and Yogadanda and it was about the practice of self-inquiry and discrimination.

Nandi asked Yogadanda what he has been meditating on. Yogadanda said that in the past he practiced jnana yoga, but now his meditation is to meditate on Shri Mahayogi, and it is only when the need arises that he practices discrimination in meditation. Then Nandi asked why he switched to a bhakti practice from a jnana practice.

Yogadanda answered that he had been practicing the meditation of jnana yoga for some time. He was often told by Shri Mahayogi that passion is crucial for the practice of jnana yoga, but he was not able to understand what that meant. But then he was given the role of Natcheketas in one of MYM’s public performances, “Amrita,” in 2005. He concentrated on practicing for the play all the time, repeating his lines which were filled with the passion to realize the Truth even at the cost of his life, and practicing his role again and again. By concentrating keenly on the mind of Natcheketas, he took the approach of trying to really know Natcheketas, who had staked his life on knowing the answer to the question of what would happen after he died—to realize the Truth. Yogadanda said that he sensed that what Natcheketas was doing—throwing himself completely into the meditation of facing his own death, plunging into death and seeking further beyond it—was the true meditation on death. So he tried to meditate just like Natcheketas did. And in doing so, it was as if he became able to concentrate on the jnana yoga meditation, which intensified his practice. Yogadanda’s concentrated state continued even after the day of the performance, and because at that time his situation afforded him a lot of spare time, he spent many quiet hours in meditation. However, as his situation changed, it became very difficult to concentrate on the subtlety of the process of jnana yoga, so he switched to bhakti meditation. Through his experience, he felt that pursuing the practice of jnana yoga is a very tough thing to do for people of the modern age.

Yogadanda also said that sometime after the day of performance, he had the opportunity to go to his hometown in Kyusyu, the southwestern area of Japan. Since he was not engaged in much of the work of the MYM or any other responsibilities at that time, while he was staying at his parents’ house he meditated continuously, except during meal times. He was focusing in the meditation on death. And, in the sense of seeking out the real Self beyond the death of the mind, it was exactly the same as seeking, “Who am I?” or the self-inquiry of the jnana yoga practice. Yet, there was no awareness of what types of yoga he was practicing, he was just in a state where he continuously and simply did nothing but concentrate. Notwithstanding his continuous striving, after ten days of his efforts yielding no fruit, he returned to Kyoto.

One night, when Yogadanda was working the night shift as a social worker, as he oftendoes, the result came to fruition. After aiding the receiver of his services in falling asleep, he started to meditate on his futon. After some time, his concentration was interrupted, so he simply lay down. And right before he fell asleep, the intuition came suddenly that, “I am dying!” In the next moment, it was as if an electric shock was running through his body and it went rigid. The body experienced the state of death, then his consciousness became separated from the body. But, right then, the receiver of his services woke up and called for Yogadanda, so he was immediately forced to come back from meditation.

(Recently, Yogadanda mentioned that the reason he could not concentrate on the subtlety of jnana yoga was that after this experience—this unfinished meditation on death—he could not continue to maintain the heat that is crucial for jnana yoga’s concentration, which he had been doing up until then. He thinks that there may have been many factors. Perhaps his situation and circumstances had become so busy that he did not really have time to meditate as much as he had been, and probably he was not fundamentally equipped with the tendency toward or had not yet gained the temperament of a jnana yogi, etc…)

Note:
“Amrita” in July 17, 2005 at the Museum of Kyoto—
Supervised by Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa.
This program had three parts:
1. Theatrical Play “Spiritual Journey of Natcheketas”
Actors and actresses—the MYM’s members
Screenplay—Sanatana
Director—Niranjan
2. Asana demonstration—Niranjan
3. Satsangha—Sananda

 

Ryan said that he doesn’t feel that he has pressing issues right now, or that if he does then he cannot go any further in the practice of discrimination, beyond the intellectual level, or that he often easily accepts his desires. Yogadanda advised him that it all depends on how crucial the issue is for the mind. Otherwise the practice of discrimination cannot go further to the point at which the mind itself completely transforms.

 

After an hour or so, Yohei joined in after attending a meeting downstairs. Hearing what Ryan was saying about the practice of discrimination, and after observing him for a few days, Yohei was concerned and began questioning Ryan’s understanding of it. So Yohei offered an example from his actual practice of discrimination that he experienced at one point, hoping to help Ryan:

In the past, Yohei fell into the habit of reading magazines at convenience stores without buying them. But one day it stood out to him that the magazine was spelled Ragtag-Magazine (雑誌=雑+誌) in Japanese. He felt that as long as he continued this habit, his mind would continue to be disturbed, and he concluded that it is the direct opposite of subtle meditation, so from that moment on he completely stopped reading them. After two years of continuously practicing like this, one day Yohei spoke about it to Shri Mahayogi. Then, Shri Mahayogi said with smile, “You have actually become able to discriminate well.” Until Yohei heard these words, he did not think that what he was doing was discrimination on that matter. But Yohei remembered that sometime ago when he spoke about his meditation with Shri Mahayogi, he sensed that Shri Mahayogi uses “name” and “form” when trying to go into the essence of things. So Yohei tried to apply what he had observed and learned from Shri Mahayogi to the magazine.

 

Aniruddha asked for advice on what to do when he has issues that he would like to apply discrimination to, yet he is having a hard time concentrating on actually doing that discrimination in meditation. Yohei answered that Shri Mahayogi once mentioned during satsangha that the mind too has ups and downs, like a biorhythm, and if you cannot do discrimination for whatever reason, then put it to the side and concentrate on God. Yogadanda then explained that when the biorhythm of the mind is low, the issues of the mind are hidden under the sub-consciousness, or not clearly seen on the surface, making it difficult to apply discrimination to them because even if you are looking it is hard to find them. On the other hand, when the issues appear on the surface of the mind, they can be easily grasped. That is why Shri Mahayogi said that if you cannot do discrimination in meditation, then put discrimination to the side temporarily.

 

It was that night that something appeared to start hitting Ryan much more deeply.

(The journey continues… to Echo 44)

Echo from The Cave:42

Sun April 17th, 2016 06:14am, NYC

CELEBRATION:
THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF MAHAYOGI YOGA MISSION IN KYOTO
ORIGINAL T-SHIRT

We are all “Hanuman,”
Beloved Shri Mahayogi is within our heart—Shining!!!

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Short Sleeves

DSC00294Long Sleeves.
Oops! Baby Pink in the first photo is for the long sleeves… Excuse us!

 

* * *

The modern yogi and yogini wear stylish T-shirts
with Beloved Shri Mahayogi in their hearts!

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DSC00305DSC00300 DSC00322 DSC00327DSC00269

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Will keep adding photos…

 

Echo from The Cave:41

Fri April 15th, 2016 06:17am, NYC

EXPERIENCE:
NY Gurubai’s Visit to Japan, Winter 2016
and Its Synchronization with Pranavadipa Vol. 17:

Part 2: BLESSING

Day 2

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Saturday afternoon, the gurubhai from New York took their first Asana & Meditation class in Kyoto, led by Shantimayi. They were a bit nervous at first, but eventually they blended in quite well. After resting for a little while back at Shanti Kutira, we then set out to attend the first satsangha at the Ashrama!!! It was finally time to reunite with Shri Mahayogi at his residence in Kyoto!!!!!!! You can imagine how excited we were… How long we had waited for this day to come!!!!!!!

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At the satsangha, Aniruddha expressed his heartfelt need to be free. He could feel that he was always holding himself back, mostly out of being concerned about how others would perceive him. So he always felt imprisoned by what was going on in his own head, knowing that this was the opposite of the freedom he yearned for.

Shri Mahayogi was just listening and nodding his head, but he didn’t say anything about it.

When asked by Nandi why he feels that others are judging him, Aniruddha answered that his personality is such that he prefers to be reserved, to be the man in the background. He has never sought attention for himself. He was always afraid of being judged.

Still, Shri Mahayogi said nothing.

Who could have guessed that the answer was yet to come—no, actually what would happen went far beyond any kind of answer. Who knew that something that was beyond an answer, even beyond what any of us could imagine, was bound to come…and so soon!

*

After the satsangha, we had late dinner with Satya, Kripal, Taka and Yohei at Shanti Kutira. With foresight, Taka had prepared the meal before heading to the satsangha. Ryan couldn’t attend the first night’s meeting because he was so exhausted after not being able to sleep well the night they arrived, but this night, Ryan was wide-awake and looking completely alive. Nandi, on the other hand, who was probably over excited at having seen Shri Mahayogi and attending the satsangha at the Ashrama, couldn’t stay up any longer, so he went to sleep right after dinner. As if Ryan was making up for the precious time with gurubhai that he had missed the night before, he asked a number of questions about the recurring theme present in all of the discussions that took place over the course of their journey—discrimination.

At some point, Yohei, knowing that Satya had been practicing discrimination, suggested that she share her practice of discrimination.

She shared that her tendency is such that if something rises up within her that she is bothered by or concerned about, she cannot think about anything other than that, and this makes her naturally enter into the condition of discriminating on a given issue. In the beginning, it took a long time to process, but she now feels that she has grasped how to get to the core of discrimination, or how to go about discrimination, so her process has been shortened. Discrimination begins by thinking about the matter, (this is the gross level in which she is aware that she is thinking about it, and this is the condition in which she and the issue are entangled). Then, as she continues, gradually, the condition arises in which it seems as if the issue is being looked at from above. By that time, the state of concentration deepens and continues in the depths of the mind. That condition ends too. And then, the condition in which it appears as if the mind no longer contains that issue at all arises. At that time, she is not aware of concentrating, but the concentration still continues. At some point she experiences the feeling of being very clear and light, as if the clouds have been cleared away and the sun has come out into the blue sky. Then all of a sudden at that time, the intuition comes, that “the matter in its entirety will be resolved very soon.” And later it vanishes by sheer chance.

Ryan asked her how she knows if the matter is completely resolved or not. She answered that when the issue is completely discriminated, then she clearly knows that the matter is completely separate from her, so that she can never be bothered by it again in any way whatsoever. Since she knows from her experiences the difference between the condition of intellectually understanding it, (in which her mind forcibly tells her “that is ignorance”, “that is the Truth”), and the issue being resolved by actually discriminating, she carries the process through until the very end of discrimination, which results in the renunciation of that issue.

And she also explained that the practice of discrimination she is working through is nothing like a big subject such as “death,” but rather it is focused on the agitations within her mind that occur in daily life. For example, it could be something like, “Why does a feeling of “not liking” this person arise?” Or, if she is bothered or disturbed by the words of others, “what is the real intention behind these words?” Or if her negative habits arise, why does she still allow them to continue?

She said that hearing the questions that Ryan asked Yohei and Taka gave her the impression that they might be thinking that the practice of discrimination is something very far removed from the matters of daily life. But she feels that discrimination begins by first taking a subject that is closely related to one’s own actions, which is a very concrete thing. And by continuing to practice discrimination in this way, one is able to understand the teachings of Truth more and more, and to sense and absorb them on a deeper level. Through engaging in this process, as its consequence discrimination on ignorance—that is the very root cause of these thoughts and habits—happens. And then that ignorance is renounced. If that act of discriminating the root cause, or ignorance, was attempted at the very beginning, the process would be as elusive as grabbing a cloud.

(At another time, Satya, when thinking back on that night, mentioned that if they were to speak more openly about their issues, then she might be able to try to go through the actual process together with them. Unfortunately, Ryan’s example was not that clear, or perhaps he had not yet opened himself up, so she gave up on speaking about it further—discrimination begins from the point of clarifying what the issue is, so it cannot begin if the issue is not clear.)

When asked to share about her practice of meditation, Satya spoke about trying to know and understand Nag Mahasyaya, whom she had chosen for the subject of meditation for the Siddha Marga* program. (We will share her experience of concentrating on Nag Mahasyaya in another blog. It was very inspiring!)

* Siddha Marga is the three-year program that was initiated for the concrete growth of each disciple. It was a program made only for serious practitioners who have attended MYM’s classes regularly for some years and were willing to go further. The program was run between April 2013 and March 2016. It was led by Sananda and Sanatana.

Taka also spoke about his experience in Siddha Marga program. He chose Swami Vivekananda as his ideal. He had not really meditated on any Enlightened Being except for Shri Mahayogi, so at the beginning, it was very difficult to focus on Swami Vivekananda. He was, of course, interested in India, where Yoga and religion are well rooted and have developed, but sometime later he really wanted to see and experience how, and in what kinds of places Swami Vivekananda actually lived and practiced. So he went to India. He tried to feel the life and spirit of Swami Vivekananda through communicating with the swamis and devotees in Belur Math and branches of the Ramakrishna Mission, to see and touch and trace the footsteps of Swami Vivekananda’s life and work. When he returned to Japan, his daily life was very much influenced by meditating on Swami Vivekananda. If there was ever a moment in which he caught the mind in an idle, unfocused state—he would immediately begin to repeat the name of Swami Vivekananda. So, gradually he was able to focus intently on Swami Vivekananda, and he has begun to feel the bliss, or the Reality that he feels when he focuses single-mindedly on Shri Mahayogi. The quality of his concentration was not steady at first, but through persisting and continuing to practice, there was something that he began to understand: the origin of that bliss, or Reality, that he feels from Swami Vivekananda and Shri Mahayogi exists within him. And because of the fact that this experience of Reality is not consistent, some days it is strong and some days it is weak, his immediate goal is then to make it possible to feel this bliss and Reality at all times, endlessly, and to know its essence. He understood the essential need to deepen his learning and restructure his life completely in order to accomplish that task. And this learning and meditation have continued up to now.

Upon hearing this, Aniruddha said that he could clearly see that his practice has been an easy one up until this moment. He could feel how seriously Taka meditated on Swami Vivekananda, and he was touched by it.

 

Day 3:

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In the morning, they took an Asana and Meditation class led by Dharmini. After that, Nandi went back to Shanti Kutira alone by bicycle to meet Gurudas there. They are both masseurs, so they shared their practices and learned from each other. (It was quite an adventure for Nandi to get back there all by himself… and, well… he lost his way… But it was better than another guruhbai from New York some years ago who got lost riding back by bicycle and ended up circling around the immediate neighborhood for several hours!)

The rest of us were in Kripalu’s car. He took us sight-seeing to the Fushimi Shrine, the iconic Shinto shrine with the vermillion toriis cascading down the hillside. Throughout our visit, Kripalu graciously took care of us in addition to Taka and Yohei. He quit his job right before our visit due to his former company’s relocation to the next prefecture. In order to continue to serve by participating in the works of the MYM, he chose to quit his job rather than relocating with the company. Because of his newly found flexibility, he unconditionally offered us a lot of his time and energy. Very often, he would come to pick up Anandamali, who was serving as the translator and organizer of the trip, at 2 am, or even 5am, to take her where she was staying, at Yoga Vihara, the residence of Yogadanda and Satya.

 

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As it turns out, Sunday proved not to be the best day to visit the famous shrine. There were so many people there that we decided to take a side path and find a more secluded area.

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*

After resting a little at Shanti Kutira, we visited Seva Kutira, the house of service, to have dinner with Saci, Madhri and Mirabai, who reside there. These three female disciples have been working solely for the Mission for many years, and they are the engine behind many of its activities.

Aniruddha was again the first one to ask them a question. In an attempt to get help for himself, he said that he supposed that at the beginning, their focus was not only on Yoga, so what was it that made it possible for them to focus solely on Yoga? They answered very openly and sincerely.

Saci said that although when she first met Shri Mahayogi she didn’t understand what Yoga really was at all, she had a feeling that she shouldn’t continue the way she had been living, and that she should not leave her ego as it was, so she thought about trying Yoga.

She started to attend the satsangha at the Ashrama every week, but she felt that Sanskrit, or a lot of unfamiliar words were being spoken, so honestly she could not understand what Shri Mahayogi was saying for quite a long time. Still, she was somehow convinced that this must be the real, authentic thing here, in Shri Mahayogi, even though she had never really felt that her life up until that point had been false…

She continued to practice asana every single day, she took everything that was taught to her as being the positive things that she should practice, such as not drinking alcohol or not eating meat. And one year later, there was an incident that made her recognize a great transformation of her mind, and it really amazed her to know that the mind, which had been so resistant to change no matter how hard she tried, could change if she practiced Yoga continuously and persistently over the course of one year. That made her think that Yoga is her life’s work and the one thing that she would continue.

Madhri said that at some point, she started to feel that she really wanted to find out what the aim or purpose of life is. While she continued her search, and when she felt that she would not be able to go further, she met Shri Mahayogi. And the firm words spoken by Shri Mahayogi, “The Truth that is unchangeable, exists in everyone,” penetrated her, and she started to feel convinced. Then Shri Mahayogi told her, “Seek seriously only that which is truly precious, and by doing that, the number of things that are equally precious that remain, will be clarified.” Upon hearing this, she began the practice.

Mirabai said that she had been seeking the meaning of life, seeking something that she could live for.

Then, Anirruddha suddenly asked her, “Could you teach me about kirtan?”

Mirabai: “Why do you want to learn kirtan?”

Anirruddha: “Because Mr. Shimada told me that if I want to learn more about bhakti, I should ask Mirabai about kirtan. What is kirtan?”

Mirabai sensed that something about the way that Aniruddha asked, had nothing to do with the spirit of kirtankirtan was not something you could exchange, like a tool to heighten one’s bhakti, so she expressed her supposition,

“You do not really understand what kirtan is.”

Aniruddha was really surprised to hear these words.

Nandi then asked, “Aniruddha why do you wan to know?”

Aniruddha had actually intended to ask if this could be a tool to help him, but instead, he expressed his core feelings by saying—

“I have always wanted to be free, to experience freedom from my desires.”

In a strong surge of emotion, Aniruddha’s head fell toward his chest and he placed his hand on his forehead, as he struggled to contain his emotions. No matter how much he struggled to gain control, it could not be controlled. Moments of silence ensued… and through a forced whisper, he said,

Anandamali… I came here knowing that perhaps this is my first and last visit—I would never have a chance to come back again…. Even though I am not in such condition both mentally and spiritually, I was able to come… I really want to deal with the part of me that is indecisive… “

Then the tears broke.

 

*

After we left Seva Kutira, Aniruddha said that he was very embarrassed because he had never cried in front of people before. He felt ashamed.

Later on, after reflecting on his experience however, he realized that Shri Mahayogi had not said anything at the satsangha, but actually, he had received much more than an answer… THE EXPERIENCE OF OPENING—it was Shri Mahayogi’s blessing that did that for him. It was Sri Mahayogi’s blessing that freed him for the very first time. Aniruddha said,

“Shri Mahayogi let me truly see how much He means to me in my life. “

 

(The journey continues… to Echo 43

*****

Pranavadipa is a Monthly Publication of Online Study Material containing the Teachings of Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa & the Experiences of Practitioners that is available by annual subscription. A new volume of Pranavadipa is issued on the 8th of every month.

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