Echo From The Cave: 149

Sunday February 7, 2021 NYC


Announcement: Next YouTube Video Released!
Positive Transformation ~ The Story of Freedom 2: Self-Reflection
   

Mahayogi Yoga Mission New York has just released another new YouTube video to our Project Sahasrara YouTube channel!! Positive Transformation ~ The Story of Freedom 2: Self-Reflection

This video is an excerpt from Mahayogi Yoga Mission’s Dec. 6th 2020 program, “Disarming the Mind for Freedom”, which is part of the online series Positive Transformation in Times of Change. This excerpt is the second of two released from the Dec. 6th program, and is a continuation of the first excerpt.

We recommend that you first watch Positive Transformation ~ The Story of Freedom 1: Recognition and read the blog post that introduces it, so that you are familiar with the stories that are referenced in this second video excerpt.

In The Story of Freedom 2: Self-Reflection, the viewer is taken on a journey of observing the mind. After recognizing how the un-free state of mind may appear in common daily life scenarios (The Story of Freedom 1), the next step in this quest for Freedom is centered on observing how this appears in one’s own self. Through examples of observing and personally reflecting upon the patterns and tendencies of the mind, and with the foundation of one of Buddha’s principal teachings,[1] this video takes us further to arrive at the universal and essential inquiry of “Who am I?”.

[1] —The first of the Four Noble Truths that Buddha taught is: Life is suffering. He further taught that this suffering can be categorized into four types: old age, sickness, death, and the cause of these, birth. And that there are four additional types of suffering: that of being separated from loved ones, that of having to be with those one despises, that of the vain struggle to get what one desires, and that which is the cause of the previous three, an impure body and mind.

Please watch, share with friends and keep an eye out for an announcement about our next online program coming up soon!

Echo From The Cave: 148

Sunday January 31, 2021 NYC


Announcement:
New YouTube Video Released Today!
Positive Transformation ~ The Story of Freedom 1: Recognition Released
                                                              

Mahayogi Yoga Mission New York has just released a new YouTube video to our Project Sahasrara YouTube channel!!  Positive Transformation ~ The Story of Freedom 1: Recognition

This video is an excerpt from Mahayogi Yoga Mission’s Dec. 6th 2020 program, “Disarming the Mind for Freedom”, which is part of the online series Positive Transformation in Times of Change. This excerpt is the first of two that we will release from the Dec. 6th program and includes two of the stories that were presented using narration and hand drawn images.

The introduction to the video is as follows:

The search for Freedom is at the core of all humanity. There must be something within us that knows, consciously or not, that only in the state of Freedom does true happiness arise—happiness that is limitless and without end. We usually think of Freedom as something that can be obtained, or as something that can be given, by a circumstance, by a person, or by having various things. Yet, no matter what we are given or what we obtain, without having Freedom from the mind, we remain in the state of being un-free. In order to be free, each one of us must take action to free ourselves.

In Yoga, Freedom is known to be beyond the mind. But to experience Freedom from the mind, we must first stop and examine the current state of the mind and how it works. We need to recognize precisely what it is that causes the mind to be in an un-free state. We must carefully observe its tendencies and then strive tirelessly against the mind to become free of it. It is the battle of all battles, entirely waged within.

This video, “The Story of Freedom I: Recognition” illustrates the means by which the mind creates its own bondage, the opposite of Freedom. Although these stories took place thousands of years ago, these examples may seem familiar to many of us. These experiences can be difficult to recognize when they occur in our daily lives, but after viewing and introspecting, we may begin to catch glimpses of recognition and insight into how the mind can create an unfree state.

Please watch, share with friends and check back soon for the next video!

Also, another online program in the series Positive Transformation in Times of Change will be coming soon. Please stay tuned for more info.

Echo From The Cave: 147

Wednesday January 27, 2021 NYC

Editor’s Note: Pranavadipa Vol. 74

Believe in One’s Self
Q: Buddha taught his disciples in the last years of his life by saying, “Rely on your Self, rely on the Dharma”; Shri Mahayogi has taught us that the Self is Atman. Vivekananda often said, “One cannot believe in God unless one believes in oneself.” I feel this teaching conveys that if one boldly believes in oneself and sees only God, even if one has an ego, then one will eventually reach God. I feel like Vivekananda is the only holy being who said, “believe in oneself.” What would Shri Mahayogi say about this?

MASTER: Exactly what he said. That self is literally indicating Atman, one’s Self, but the issue here is what is truly indicated by self. If one has not realized Atman yet, then perhaps it vaguely indicates a self that includes the mind and the body. Nevertheless, there is no need to believe superstitions or to simply have religious faith—such as dogma, or blind faith; rather, believe in oneself, carefully discerning these religious faiths as well as other things and come to know the essence. That indicates that at the same time it is a double-edged sword, so you must also confront what your own self truly is. If you indicate “self” to be something vague including the mind as mentioned just now, then you should discern whether or not that is true, and proceed to seek further for the true Self, the essence of the self. Yet, even to do that, since proceeding means you yourself have to move forward by your own self, it is not sufficient just being tinted by influences from other sources rather than your own confirmation; therefore you must step with your own feet, use your own hands and mind, to go forth—that is how it comes down to the true meaning of making your own effort while believing in your self, relying on your self. Therefore, you must not translate the “self” in this phrase just as Atman, meaning the Truth, and then take the phrase simply and only to mean believing in Atman.                                                                              

The above teaching is part of the first question and answer in this month’s Pranavadipa Volume 74, which has all the teachings of the Satsangha section gathered under the title: “Guidance from the Master and Meditation.” This month’s Satsangha is actually coming from two different Satsangha, both of which took place in Kyoto, Japan in 2014. And, this one answer from Shri Mahayogi above, contains the essence of all the questions and answers that follow throughout the content of this volume’s Satsangha.

“Rely on your Self, rely on the Dharma—you might have read these words in a past volume of Pranavadipa, in which several practitioners asked Shri Mahayogi questions about these words. But if not, you may be familiar with the teachings of Buddha, in which case these are well-known words of Buddha himself. Let’s ask ourselves—when we read or hear these words, what do we try to learn from them, what is Buddha actually teaching us?

A practitioner, who is aiming for the realization of Satori—the realization of the true Self—and who had learned from Shri Mahayogi or from the teachings of Yoga that “the Self” is neither the mind nor the body nor the ego, but rather Atman, asked Shri Mahayogi how he should understand the essence of what these two phrases, “Rely on your Self—Atman,” and “Believe in oneself,” really mean.

In response to that practitioner, Shri Mahayogi began by saying: “That self is literally indicating Atman, one’s Self, the issue here is what is truly indicated by self.

If we stop here and think what Shri Mahayogi is pointing out right at this moment, then we might interpret, in other words, that Shri Mahayogi is saying that we may be understanding that “self” means Atman,[1] however, that is just knowledge, so we should not feel content as if already understanding, but rather we need to go beyond our own knowledge or preconceptions and seek what it really means for ourselves—for whether it is the path of Yoga or the path of Buddha, it is an empirical path.

[1] Soul, Self or spiritual Essence in Sanskrit, however there is no equivalent word or concept in English.

Then Shri Mahayogi continued to expound on this, and as if by spiritual magic, put “Rely on your Self—Atman,” and “Believe in oneself” together, taking us further and teaching us about the importance of discernment in relation to many things, including of what we think or believe—indeed, we are to come to know the essence by using our own feet, hands and mind. And, all of this to inspire us to practice, so that we can confirm the meaning of “what your own self truly is” for ourselves.

In any field, when we aim to attain a goal, passion and training are important, or rather they are a necessity—we know that from our experience, don’t we? If so, when it comes to working towards attaining the state that is beyond the mind—Yoga, or Satori—passion and training are even more indispensable, which Shri Mahayogi always speaks about, and it is also written in the Yoga Sutra. That also means that having the yearning to seek the Truth is a prerequisite for discrimination.

 

“You see, you have to apply the teachings of this ‘nothing is permanent’ realistically to the things closest to you in your daily life; for it is not just mere intellectual knowledge.”                                                            – Shri Mahayogi

In Pranavadipa (Vol. 74), Shri Mahayogi specifically breaks down the way of discrimination in several concrete and practical examples, including the discrimination of Buddha’s teaching that “Nothing is Permanent” and the discrimination one can use to transcend one’s own likes and dislikes, as well as the sanskara (psychological subconscious latent impressions) from which these arise—all of which naturally results in mauna (spiritual silence). He also teaches that the pain-bearing obstacles or attachments (which obstruct one from seeing the true nature of the Self, the Truth, or God) can disappear by filling the mind with bhakti (devotion to God), an important component for those of us who might find it difficult to practice thorough discernment—and perhaps most of us need to apply bhakti, unless we are truly ardent and clear enough to practice only discernment, like Swami Vivekananda was able to do.

Now, going back to the goal, we know that when we aim to attain a goal, passion and training are important. And if the aim is the perfection of Yoga, or Satori, or the true Self, which is beyond the mind, then because this State is beyond the mind, we can see that it is of great importance to find and learn from those who are already in that State, for they are the only ones (as Awakaned Ones) who can safely guide others to that same State. Those who can do this are called Satguru, true Masters.

You might find that you may not necessarily be aiming to perfect Yoga or Satori, but even if that is so, the state of true Freedom is nothing different from the state of Yoga or Satori. And “true” means unconditional. This Freedom that does not rely on any condition might not be far off from what we are all seeking in whatever we do, because in whatever we do, the search for real Happiness or Freedom may be what is beneath all the desires of our souls. And then at some point, sooner or later, we might come to realize that unless we approach our own mind—for, although the activities of the mind may be productive if they are used for something positive—the mind’s activities can also cloud our vision. If our vision is clouded, we will not be able to find real Happiness or Freedom, because the mind follows wherever we are or go, and real Happiness or Freedom can only be found when we stop seeking for it externally, and shift to seek for it within. Awakened Beings all say that in one way or another that is where the true Self, Atman, the state of true Freedom—the Truth—can be found.

If we aim for Satori, or if we just want to be free of the cloudiness of our minds, we need to hear the Truth or hear about Atman from the ones who are in that state, and then reflect upon and meditate upon It. As the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad states:

“The Self should be realized—should be heard of, reflected upon, and meditated upon. By the realization of the Self—through hearing, reflection, and meditation—all this is known.”                                     – Shri Mahayogi

Then next comes training:

By going through habitual erroneous actions due to ignorance or by taking in erroneous impressions, the mind has made the attachments bigger. Spiritual discipline of practice is the task of revamping the incorrect sanskara or memories through telling the mind the correct wisdom, or teachings of the Truth.”

 “What is of utmost importance is to educate the mind with the teachings of Truth.”                                                                                              – Shri Mahayogi

Nowadays, when we hear the word “educate,” we may automatically conjure up a variety of images and ideas, perhaps related to our schooling or our upbringing, perhaps involving ideas of reading, study with notetaking, memorization, or mastering a test of our knowledge.

But when it comes to Yoga and to the teachings of Truth, what does it mean “to educate the mind with the teachings of Truth”? Certainly, it can’t have to do with suddenly thinking that we know because we have read it, nor with simply telling ourselves that the teaching is true again and again and that now we should believe it, nor can it be about memorizing words or engaging in academic study. We must not forget that the path of Yoga, or the path of aiming to attain or to know the true Self or true Freedom is an empirical path. The practice is about approaching our own minds and purifying or clearing the clouds from it; practice must be applied in daily life because it is certainly not only about sitting for meditation—our daily lives are the practical grounds for our practice. Shri Mahayogi emphasizes that in order to educate the mind, we must try to understand and apply the teachings using the most realistic means, the everyday situations and circumstances that are nearest to us, and no matter what the teaching is that we may read or hear, we must make efforts to try to prove it using our own self.

So then how do we train our minds—how do we “educate the mind with the teachings of Truth”? In this month’s Pranavadipa (Vol. 74), there are many clues and hints in the Satsangha that we can pick up for our training, not only from what Shri Mahayogi answers to those seeking his guidance, but also from what the questions reveal about what the practitioners themselves are doing to try to educate the mind.

Besides all the clues that Shri Mahayogi gives us as he responds to those attending the Satsangha, it is also evident in many of the attendees questions that they themselves are in the process of trying to educate the mind according to the teaching of Yoga by sincerely trying to follow and practice what Shri Mahayogi is teaching so that they can come closer to understanding the true meaning through their own experiences. It’s inspiring!

One example of this is a practitioner, Yohei (who later received the spiritual name, Gopala) who is the one who asked the question at the very beginning of this blog. Actually, these two Satsangha are from July and November of 2014, and as we read his questions, we can sense how his practice progresses. You may definitively find that he takes genuine and concrete efforts to educate and train (discipline) his mind to continuously apply the teachings he has received into his actions (practice). From his attitude, we can also learn the importance of having the clarity of an aim for practice. We must keep seeing the goal or the aim—and it is because we want to attain the goal, that we educate our minds, by moving our feet, hands and minds:

Yohei (Gopala): After this year began, I’ve begun to want to stay in the consciousness of the Seer, and when I asked Shri Mahayogi how I should practice in order to attain this, Shri Mahayogi taught me to practice mauna (spiritual silence), for I have to eliminate the mutterings of the mind. As I try to work on eliminating them, I have come to think that unless I thoroughly make my own mind learn the logic behind “nothing is permanent” [from the teaching of Buddha], I will not be able to remain in the consciousness of the Seer. Would Shri Mahayogi please teach this to us again?

                                                                                                   —July 2014

Yohei (Gopala): Lately, there is a stronger awareness that memories are not my self. For a long time, somehow my attention went toward sanskara all the time, but I saw that there is an ego-consciousness that thinks that the mind is my Self, deeper within, and I thought that as long as that ego-consciousness is not exterminated, I will never awaken to Atman. Please teach me how I should practice so that it will lead to the elimination of ego including in daily life, how I should discipline myself in practice.

MASTER: It all comes down to selfless service. To act and think for others.

                                                                                        —November 2014

More importantly than anything else, all of this is possible because of the existence of the Satguru. We learn, and we can also confirm through our own experience, that when we merely read or hear the scriptures, our understanding inevitably remains in the realm of the limitations that our minds already have, and that to truly open ourselves up to learn and begin to understand more deeply, stimulation from the outside, from a Satguru, is a necessity.

Shri Mahayogi teaches the unparalleled “education” of the mind that takes place in Satsangha: the hearing, thinking upon and meditating on the teachings that takes place effortlessly during Satsangha.

Indeed, in the company of the Master, this “education” is beyond what most of us can even imagine, yet if we have had that precious opportunity, surely we have sensed it in one way or another, not knowing what it is. And we can also sense this in Shri Mahayogi’s answers right here on this blog.

From beginning to end of this Satsangha, in reading, in reflecting and in trying to grasp what Shri Mahayogi is expressing and teaching, we are humbled once again to be reminded of the vastness of Shri Mahayogi’s grace and the preciousness of the opportunity we have to learn from him. Words cannot express what Shri Mahayogi generously and compassionately gives us just through his Being—we bow down in gratitude, in quietness, and offer our highest honor.

Om  Tat  Sat, Om!

*

The Testimony, titled “Yoga in Daily Life (Family Life)”, is a translation of a writing by Sananda, a disciple of Shri Mahayogi in Japan, and was originally contributed to Paramahamsa (Mahayogi Mission Japan’s monthly magazine for members). Yoga is not for any one type of person or any one type of lifestyle, but truly it can be practiced by anyone, anywhere and within any circumstance. The Testimony of Sananda, who himself is a family person, is an excellent example of precisely that! In this article, Sananda breaks down how Yoga can be practiced in some of life’s most mundane circumstances and situations. It is an excellent guide and resource for how Yoga can be applied by anyone, anywhere. His example shows us concretely that there’s no need to wait for anything, as “perfect conditions” can be found anywhere and everywhere—let’s follow Sananda’s example and take every opportunity to begin shaping our daily lives to Yoga right away!

Echo From The Cave: 146

Saturday January 2, 2021 NYC

Happy New Year & Editor’s Note: Pranavadipa Vol. 73

“The Truth is One.
However the Seers, that means the Awakened Ones, call It variously.”


To our Revered Satguru, Shri Mahayogi:
Our hearts pour gratitude to be able to start this new year with you at our side, near or far, guiding us eternally through the immeasurable blessing of your very Existence. Your presence among us calms all fears, worries and doubts, and brings us the great strength needed to face all that life places before us.

To All:
We wish you a very Happy New Year!! We pray for the end of Covid-19 throughout the world and for true harmony and peace to come through touching the wisdom of Yoga and living based on the Universal Truth. May all of our hearts and minds be filled with sacredness and keep turning again and again, in every moment, to the one unchanging Truth!
The beginning of this year also marks the beginning of Mahayogi Yoga Mission’s 25th Anniversary year of its establishment in New York!


It is a new year and a fresh opportunity to clarify and renew our resolution towards the aim of Yoga! What better way to start off than by filling ourselves with the words of Truth that will elevate our minds and hearts? If you have not yet subscribed to our monthly online subscription publication, Pranavadipa, we highly recommend that you do so, as this is a source of inspiration for our minds, nourishment for our hearts, guidance on our paths, and study material for our learning. Pranavadipa, which is a one year subscription plan, is published on the 8th day of every month, so having a subscription sets us up to make sure that each month we are proactively bringing the teachings of Truth into our lives.

For now, we would like to take this opportunity to introduce the latest issue of Pranavadipa (Vol. 73). The primary messages throughout this volume are centered around CONCRETIZING OUR IDEAL and the IMPORTANCE OF EKAGRATA (single-pointed concentration) as the underlying foundation.

In December, there are a few dates that are quite significant. December 8th, the day that Pranavadipa (Vol. 73) was published, marks the day that is said to be the day that Buddha Awakened. December 24th, Christmas  Eve, is the night that Swami Vivekananda gathered with his brother disciples and together they declared to renounce the world, and become monks—and coincidentally, this is also the anniversary of Mahayogi Yoga Mission’s official recognition in New York from the government of the United States.   

In a reflection of  these  significant dates, the Satsangha in Pranavadipa (Vol. 73) begins with much wisdom and many teachings from Shri Mahayogi about the connection and correlation between Buddha and Vivekananda. It is awe-inspiring to read how Shri Mahayogi understood them, and therefore how Shri Mahayogi teaches us to feel and go closer to their spirit.

Through the examples of Buddha and Vivekananda, Shri Mahayogi teaches us what it means to concretize our ideal, and encourages what it is he hopes for from us: to raise our ideal to continuously work for the good of all humanity, seeing not just the limited scope of our own selves and lives, but to expand beyond that to the whole world and even beyond our limited view of time and space, which we so often confine to what is most relevant to only ourselves at any given moment. And, as an integral part of concretizing the ideal, Shri Mahayogi emphasizes the necessity and aim to transform one’s own way of thinking and being, towards that which aligns with the Truth, through each individual taking concrete and practical action in the circumstances and conditions that we find ourselves in, whatever they may be.

Going beyond that, Shri Mahayogi then teaches about the essence of religion. From Judaism, to Christianity, to Hinduism, and to Islam, Shri Mahayogi details for us the essence common to all and how that essence comes to be revived and reestablished in times when the religion itself starts to degrade into mere formalities. He teaches us about the sacred vibration of OM, and how this primordial vibration is also referenced in the Bible, and in the Shinto shrines of Japan. And he clarifies the meaning of Ramakrishna’s words—“As many faiths, so many paths”—and the importance of holding the faith of each individual in the highest respect, that each individual has their own auspicious timing when it comes to religion and the path towards its essence.

In tandem with these teachings about the greater Awakened Beings and their mission, and the essence of religion, which truly have the power to raise our minds to an ever-heightening ideal, Shri Mahayogi also provides many practical teachings for daily life that each individual can act on. From teaching about how the whole of Yoga is simply for the purpose of training the mind, to a clear example of discrimination of the mind’s attachments, to the way one can and should feel the hearts, both joys and sufferings, of others, to the way in which one can approach karma yoga and deepen in its practice, to the transformation of the mind through simple and daily actions, to improving one’s health, to acting in humbleness and more. Even Shri Mahayogi teaches a young high school-age captain of the swim team about the meaning and purpose of life as well as what the true meaning of being a leader is—to cultivate the minds and hearts of humanity. Truly there is so much for us to learn and try out for ourselves without a moment to lose, be it in our families, in our jobs, with friends, or alone—the opportunities to put Yoga into action are in every moment of our day!

This is certainly a time of year that calls for deep reflection on what the immense value and blessing that such Awakened Beings bring to each of us and to the world and how we can continue the work they have begun.

*

The Satsangha in Pranavadipa (Vol. 73) is quite a long one, with a number of subtitles. Below are listed the main titles and subtitles of the Satsangha:

The Manifestation of the Awakened Ones and Their Mission
—The actions that must be taken can be learned from their great feats

      • Vivekananda Understood the Incomparable Existence of Buddha
      • The Actualization of the Universality of Yoga
      • The Mission of Shri Ramakrishna and His Beloved Disciple Vivekananda
      • The Essence of Religion
      • The Sacred Sound of Om
      • Training the Mind
      • Actual Practice

Live Based on the True Ideal

      • What One is Challenged with in Life, Whether the Winner or Not
      • Hitting the Bullseye of the Real Ideal
      • The Actualization of the Ideal
      • Resolve

Indeed, it is evident that Shri Mahayogi is impressing upon us the importance of elevating our ideal to the highest level, to the level of humanity itself, in the present and for the future, as the responsibility and duty of one who has encountered the teaching of Yoga, and the teachings of the Awakened Beings. Through the examples of Buddha, Ramakrishna and Vivekananda, Shri Mahayogi teaches us the importance of working with our utmost effort and strength for the good of humanity, to take all action and means to ensure that as many people as possible have the invaluable opportunity to come in contact with the Truth. At the same time, hand in hand, with this elevated ideal is the individual work that each must do, concretely, with whatever is in front of us at the moment so as to be best prepared to participate in the work of the higher ideal. These two, the individual practice and transformation each must do, along with the aim towards salvation and liberation for all, seem to go hand in hand. In a way, Shri Mahayogi is showing us that these two are inseparable from one another, as focusing only on one’s own practice towards liberation is mere self-satisfaction, yet focusing only on a high ideal, without the cultivation of one’s own self, too, is in vain.

As we read, it may seem that at times Shri Mahayogi is talking about separate topics, but truly these two themes are woven together in each moment, no matter the angle from which Shri Mahayogi is teaching or the topic he is speaking about. Shri Mahayogi’s vision however expansive it may be, is all contained in even the smallest detail of what he says or does. If we want to understand him, or any of the Awakened Beings, surely we must strive to remember this and bring our own minds and views to expand more and more, without limitation.

Like Shri Mahayogi always says, it is important to first hear the Truth, then ponder upon it, and then meditate on it. Using the content of this Satsangha, surely we can continue to expand more and more what falls within the scope of our view and what we understand to be the work that the Awakened Ones are pointing out to us.

As this new year begins, the year of the 25th Anniversary of Mahayogi Yoga Mission in New York, let’s bring our minds to focus on sacred things, whatever our life circumstances are, and let’s raise ourselves up together in the footsteps of the great Awakened Beings and make concrete and real action towards the highest ideal of Yoga!!

“The following words too are one of the very ancient teachings in India: “The Truth is One. However the Seers, that means the Awakened Ones, call It variously”—this phrase is recorded in its oldest scripture, the Veda.
Therefore, we tend to see the larger object, saying this religion and that religion, but actually it’s not about that. Truly, it is one human being, such as Jesus Christ, Buddha, Shri Ramakrishna, a single human being clarifies the ultimate Truth, and at the same time, leaves teachings to cover all of it. More than anything else, Yoga clarifies the deepest psychology that modern psychology hasn’t been able to clarify or reveal yet, therefore it is precious, revealing something which may not be easily found in other teachings.”

—Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahamsa

*

Q: I cannot attend class [since I don’t live in Kyoto]. Please teach me what I should keep in my mind and aim to do, or what I should really take care of as I continue to practice Yoga alone.

MASTER: What I’ve been telling everyone in Kyoto lately is about ekagrata (single-pointed concentration). The period of initial enthusiasm in Yoga is a process in which, while there is much karma and many habits of the mind still remaining, you are gradually awakening to sacred things that are in opposition to them. And as you continue the practice, attachments and karma caused by ignorance gradually and visibly disappear, leaving only the Truth. The state of mind that is fixed solely towards the Truth is called ekagrata. Now, about advice—concretely, in order to make the state of ekagrata steady, have strong faith, and always, every day, think about sacred things. That is sufficient.

Above are Shri Mahayogi’s words from Pranavadipa (Vol. 73). The Testimony in this month’s volume, “Living in Yoga: The Single-Pointed Concentration of a Yogi”, is written by Satya, a disciple of Shri Mahayogi living in Kyoto, and is centered around ekagrata (single-pointed concentration).

“100% Passion—that is Ekagrata, single-pointed concentration!
It is crucial for Yoga. For Satori, it is all you need.
If you have that, then the rest, the power to put it into action will naturally follow.”

—Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa

While taking in Shri Mahayogi’s words, in Satya’s Testimony, we have the opportunity to glimpse the strong yearning she has and the way in which she strives to discover and understand what ekagrata really is, along with her discrimination process, which shows up all along the way as she searches to learn and understand ekagrata, as well as bring her own state to it.

It is so inspiring to see Satya’s mind of learning in this Testimony. Rather than set out with a specific idea of what ekagrata is and then try to make this a reality in her life, she willingly and actively digs deeper into her own understanding, her own experience, then shifts and tries new ways of developing that understanding and her own state in a way that is concrete and detailed. When she realizes that she has a lack of concentration, then she does not let this drag her down, but she thinks about what she can work on in herself, setting a concrete goal in front of her, thinking and analyzing deeply about the way to work on it in a very concrete manner so that she can actually achieve it. For example, she doesn’t just focus on practicing asana daily, but rather, her focus is more specific, and detailed to what she needs to put her attention on during the time that she practices, as well as the quality of the practice itself—then she brings this same practice to her daily life, tests it using her actions and trains herself—then through that experience, she analyzes what is lacking or what may be needed to accomplish the goal, learning from the experience and then going to whatever is next…continuing in this way to whatever then comes after that, and so on.

So then, what is the definition of “single point” in the “single-pointedness of a practitioner of Yoga”? Depending on the person, it might be expressed with the words “God”, “Truth”, “Brahman (true Existence)” or “Shri Mahayogi”; but I thought that was still vague. I felt that because the object was vague, single-pointedly concentrating was not happening in me. Then a thought started to arise in me, if the target of concentration is clear, then I should be able to concentrate focusing on a single point. …How do I bring all of my focus down to a single point…I felt that it comes down to, “seriously asking myself what I want to become.” Because, I felt that this single point has to be something that is more important than anything else, it has to be something I want to know so much as to exchange my own life for it, it has to be something I want to become—I felt that unless it was such a single point, I wouldn’t be able to stake my life on concentrating on it.

Because of this mind of learning, coupled with her yearning, her thoughts are naturally drawn to continuously fix themselves towards the Truth. We can see her continuous aiming towards the Truth as we read, and in the end, discover where this leads her.

Her example demonstrates to us the importance of having a strong yearning to seek out what we really want to know, and the willingness to learn through concrete details in the process. We can learn and take much from her example, and cultivate the willingness in ourselves to move forward through the mind of learning, being ready to leave behind whatever ideas and thoughts we have already formed, so that we can open ourselves to experience ekagrata and a continuous alignment of ourselves to the Truth.

Echo From The Cave: 145

Thursday Nov 26, 2020 NYC

Announcement & Report:
Online Program Disarming the Mind for Freedom

Part 2  Friday Dec. 4th, 7-8pm
Part 1 Friday Nov. 20th, 7-8pm

Mahayogi Yoga Mission presents Part 2 of its online program “Disarming the Mind for Freedom”, from its series Positive Transformation in Times of Change. Part 1 was held on Nov. 20th (see the report below for more details).

Program Description:
With our eyes fixed on the external world, internal observation of the mind is more challenging than ever before. Glimpse just beyond the realm of our immediate perception, to the battle waging constantly within our own minds that keeps us in an un-free state, and seek together with us to disarm its factions in a step towards Freedom.

All are welcome to attend. No prior experience or knowledge of Yoga is necessary. Attendance in Part 1 is not required to participate in Part 2.

SPEAKERS: Karuna and Sadhya

Register HERE.

* Tickets will be available for purchase for up to 24 hours in advance.
* Please note that using Zoom is required for attending this program.
* You will be emailed a Zoom link on the day of the program.
* We will be happy to provide technical assistance to anyone who may need it.
* We will open the Zoom space at 6:15 for attendees to enter and test that zoom is working properly.
* We highly encourage you to connect early to troubleshoot any unexpected issues and then return just before 7pm.
* On the day of the event, we will post a contact number here for any technical issues that may arise.

Please reach out to info@mahayogiyogamission.org for inquiries about this event.

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Report: Disarming the Mind for Freedom Part 1

What might “disarming the mind” mean?
What might it mean to have a “mind that is armed”?

Each and every one of us perceives and experiences this world through our own veil, a veil that colors that perception and often leads to our own limitation and our own struggle. But due to the nature of the veil, it is incredibly difficult to even see that there is a veil that we are always looking through, to examine its coloring, to step aside and try to see something else, to test what we hold in our mind to be certain and true.

Rather, it is commonplace that we hold a certain ideal—an ideal of who we are, an ideal way of being, an ideal way of thinking, an ideal way of acting in the world. But just because we have that ideal, even if it’s based in Yoga, it doesn’t mean that that ideal is what actually is the foundation upon which we live our day to day lives, no matter how much we believe it, speak about it, or try to live by it.

Between the veil through which we see and the contradictions that lie ever-so subtly hiding under the surface of the ideals about ourselves or the world that we hold, it seems that we stay tied up, intertwined and bound by the mind itself. A state that does not allow us to actually transform ourselves, to align with the ideals we strive for, or to open ourselves up to learn a new way, something that might possibly be unknown, and rather keeps us going around and round through an endless cycle of nothing but the same things in varying appearances.

Part 1 of MYM’s “Disarming the Mind for Freedom” program attempted to reveal the workings of the mind, its structure, the way in which it arms itself, and the state of being un-free that comes as its fruit. Through the personal examples of Karuna and Sadhya, along with the help of some visual diagrams (Echo From the Cave: 141), attendees explored and tried to glimpse the nature of the “armed mind” and were encouraged to look within themselves to reflect deeply upon what and how this “armed mind” looks in the details of their own lives and experiences.

The recognition of this “armed mind” within oneself may perhaps be very challenging, as Karuna spoke about from her own experience of coming to face this, yet this frank and honest recognition is an essential first step and the preparation that attendees were asked to take on before Part 2, which will be more focused on the “what’s next” aspect of actually disarming this “armed mind”.

Taking that first step of recognition, is in and of itself the start of one’s own transformation, and we look forward to seeing how that transformation can begin to grow in Disarming the Mind for Freedom Part 2!

Echo From The Cave: 144

Tuesday Nov 24, 2020 NYC

Editor’s Note: Pranavadipa Volume 72
“Eternal Life”

Satguru Jayanti, the day that we honor the holy birth of Shri Mahayogi, was yesterday. On the occasion of Satguru Jayanti, recognizing the profound significance of Shri Mahayogi’s birth into this world, disciples take this precious opportunity to offer messages of gratitude, devotion, and determination to the Master. (See Blog 142 for the message offered by Karuna on behalf of the Sangha of NY.)

This month’s issue of Pranavadipa (Vol. 72) contains the Satsangha with Shri Mahayogi that was held last year (2019) in Kyoto, just one week after Satguru Jayanti and, actually, a mere few days before Shri Mahayogi’s visit to New York. This time spent with Shri Mahayogi, along with the messages of disciples imbued with a strong desire to establish Shri Mahayogi’s mission of Sanatana Dharma, left many inspired and reflecting strongly on the aim and purpose of life.

In this Satsangha, Shri Mahayogi resolutely teaches about the purpose and aim of life. The questions from practitioners that bring about this topic arise from the sincerity with which they clearly observe that there is a discrepancy between the ideal aim of life, according to Yoga, and the actuality of what is happening in daily life. In answering, Shri Mahayogi leads everyone’s minds to come face to face with the process of discrimination using Buddha’s teaching of the Fourfold Noble Truth, he details the state of Nirvana, and speaks about his own intensity of concentration during his teenage years when he was meticulously resolving all his own questions about why people suffer and the nature of existence—all throughout imparting upon us the great seriousness that is required by each of us as we seek the true aim of life.

Though Shri Mahayogi’s teaching about the aim and purpose of life is full of vigor and inspiration, there is also much inspiration to be found in the question and answer between Yogadanada, a disciple who practices the mantra of Om, and Shri Mahayogi. (See Blog 141 for “Following the Way of Life of the Guru” by Yogadanda.) In this exchange, Shri Mahayogi confirms and clarifies Yogadanda’s experience of this practice and teaches about the significance of the arati that is performed during Satguru Jayanti. And following that, at the request of another disciple, Shri Mahayogi speaks about his remarkable experience of Nada Brahman, which itself is very precious to learn about, but he then goes on to detail the vibration of Om as the primordial beginning of the cosmos, and weaves this together synonymously with the Buddha-nature often represented in all of existence. It is absolutely awe-inspiring to know more and more about Shri Mahayogi’s experience, the spirit of which is tangibly infused in the way of he explains everything—and we can feel that his explanation is nothing intellectual, but rather is coming from what he has confirmed through experience, speaking in a way that is in accordance with each seeker’s interest yet always going towards the Universal Truth:

SHRI MAHAYOGI: “When you unravel the philosophy of India, the Truth, which is formless and nameless, or the true Existence that evolves into all things—even all of the cosmos is born out of this—and its beginning, the primordial beginning, is the vibration of Om. Probably, even from the [perspective of] physical process, science is currently trying to gradually decipher from the most gross to the subtle, and then to the super-subtle. However, that original sound Om, indicates the primordial, the earliest occurrence which lies at the root. Therefore, there are various concrete forms in this practical world after that, yet that too is the same, they have evolved and become the mind, prana, bones, flesh—all came to be from that primordial Om at the center—thus, the primordial Om dwells within each and every cell, without a doubt.

(after a while, gazing at Ms. Y who studies Buddhism in Japan) Buddhism has the same view towards it; there is a well-known giant statue of Lord Buddha in Nara [Japan], and that form is of Shakyamuni. [It is the statue of Lord Buddha] yet at the same time, it expresses the Truth itself. The essence of Buddha is the dharma-kaya—body of dharma—it is the word that expresses the true Existence, the Truth itself. And a divine incarnation, an incarnation of Truth, as a form appearing in this world is called nirmana-kaya or sambogha-kaya. The form of this big Buddha statue in Nara is sitting on top of a lotus flower, and each flower has the same Buddha drawn on it. What that symbolizes is that all and everything has Buddha’s essence, that is, true Existence, within it; all is a manifestation of true Existence. You can view that it is expressed in such ways in order to symbolize that.”

There are multiple occasions in this Satsangha when Shri Mahayogi seamlessly links the teachings of Buddha, Yoga and even the words of a holy man of Nazareth, showing us from different angles that the paths to the Truth are various, yet they are one.

But perhaps the highlight of the whole Satsangha is a brief exchange towards the end between a disciple, Gopala, and the Master. In his question to Shri Mahayogi, it is clear that Gopala has been following precisely and continuously the guidance of Shri Mahayogi, and it is amazing to see that through consistently following this simple guidance, he has reached a place where the mind has become conditioned to be no longer disturbed and is beginning to grasp what is beyond that mind itself. In hearing the progress made by Gopala, Shri Mahayogi teaches with great enthusiasm what it is to dismantle the mind, how it truly can be done, and the state that is born out of it—serenity. It is awe-inspiring to see how the simple and consistent practicing of Shri Mahayogi’s suggestion has led to such transformation in the mind of a disciple, and this is sure to bring even more motivation and inspiration to us all.

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The Testimony in this month’s Pranavadipa (Vol. 72) is written by Mr. Fukami, a practitioner from Matsuyama, Japan. His article begins by his soul-felt questions of “For what purpose am I living?” “What is the aim of this life?”, his actual meeting with Shri Mahayogi, and how he began practicing Yoga.

He then goes onto detail what he realized about his mind’s mistake in its approach to life and practice of Yoga, and how he is beginning to address the obstacle identified in his own mind, taking action to adjust his way of viewing and way of living.

Mr. Fukami is very honest about the simple challenges he has faced, created by his own mind—simple challenges, that surely we all face at one point or another and in one form or another, that can cause us, too, much suffering. Truly Mr. Fukami’s honesty in recognizing the ideas and beliefs of his own mind that were causing trouble is heartening. Though it is a simple thing, it is not always easy for many of us to recognize or be honest with ourselves about the ways in which our own mind might hold fast to beliefs that ultimately bring us pain. But through his example, Mr. Fukami gives strength to all of us as practitioners, and reminds us intently of the preciousness of the guru-disciple relationship.

Echo From The Cave: 143

Monday Nov 23, 2020

Celebration:
Satguru Jayanti November 23, 2020

Pranam to our most revered and honored Master,
Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahamsa!!!!

~ we bow down at your beautiful lotus feet ~

Today is the day that we hold most sacred, most holy and most dear—the day that Shri Mahayogi took on a physical existence in this world, materializing the bestowal of his eternal grace upon us. There is no greater blessing than to encounter your Existence, to be touched by the pristineness of your being, the brilliant Truth that shines forth from you—and there is no greater responsibility that we have other than to transform ourselves to align everything about our being with the Truth, with You.

To honor this holy day, we would like to share the message to Shri Mahayogi written by Karuna for this special occasion, Guru Jayanti, on behalf of the sangha in New York.

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Dear Master and Beloved Guru Shri Mahayogi,

On your blessed Jayanti this year, I wish more than ever to express my deep felt gratitude to you my Beloved Guru Shri Mahayogi. So much of what you have been telling us is finally becoming more real to me, to the point that I am moved and shaken! Your words have finally begun to feel, sound and speak to me what I could not perceive before so strongly at all, even if I thought I did. Now I realize that it is not your words that I feel closer to, but YOU! That which you are!

The way that I am beginning to understand it is that you have dedicated your entire life to bestowing Yoga perfectly unto us, your disciples, and everyone in the world now and in the future. This is so because it is already perfect in you, and naturally, this makes your very life the path of Yoga itself. And, I believe that as you emanate this Yoga, we may receive it in some form that at first may seem fuzzy and unrecognizable to us. But, with your continued generosity and pouring out of that purifying Yoga, I know now that it is possible for us to see and recognize what you are here to tell us more and more, and be able to receive it more and more. If and when we do, we can then become more able to use our own will to carve more space within ourselves and take in more deeply That which you have given us: seeking, loving, caring and nurturing It for others to experience and receive the same too. The vibration of Yoga is strongest in you, and hopefully, it will become stronger in us as we grow to be purer. Oh! Dear Shri Mahayogi! To know this to be possible and to be able to have a more solid conviction that you are That, is the greatest Joy! Thank you so very much for making It possible for us in this lifetime. Your kindness abounds!

I would like to share with you on this most precious day that commemorates your Holy Day in which you were born, a little bit of what has been transpiring in New York and how your disciples here have been changing each other and changing themselves little by little, because this process has everything to do with my current state of Thankfulness to you, and what I have to thank you for.

On the last evening before you left for Japan, answering a question about how to live through the pandemic that was nearing, you gave us a clear message about holding on to the Truth despite the waves of this ocean called life. You guaranteed us that this is the nature of the world, and that in the same way it ripples out of control, it also calms down and finds some sort of balance again. You have continued to remind us that, regardless of how the world is behaving, the Truth is always there—constant. You have been saying this all along, so the idea of holding on to the Truth as the only unchanging existence sounded familiar to our ears at least, and very poetic to our hearts.

But then the situations in our lives, jobs, families and our ability to sustain our regular routines actually began to change more and more, and they have continued to do so beyond what we thought we would experience individually or collectively. Pretty soon after, what we thought of as the guaranteed time and space to be together in practice also disappeared when asana and meditation class was cancelled. The concept of not being able to control anything started to become more extreme to everyone and all around, and to see the way our minds wanted to react, was also a perfect representation of what you had affirmed about the state of the world and the mind as always being vulnerable to conditions—changeable and unreliable, and when this is so, for all there is suffering.

Ironically, it is during this time that your sangha in NY has started to truly come together (virtually) to walk toward Yoga. The new condition in our lives trapped us with our own minds and situations, and what you referred to as the times that call for kumbhaka made it so that we could not turn away from our own karmic reality. Certainly, we did not begin to engage in this turning inwards by ourselves without being prompted or cared for. The unmatchable resolution and unending care of Anandamali is behind this, carefully leading us toward facing the trappings of our minds. Sadhya’s clarity and strength has been a firm guidepost for each of us too, helping us face the resistance and uncertainty that many times has pushed us backwards. During these long hours with the gurubai, trying to face and accept our own condition, but also to identify the truth of the teachings in us, is when I began to realize how we have always been and continue to be embraced by You, Shri Mahayogi. This embrace encompasses every one of my brothers and sisters in New York, in Japan and in Taiwan, whose inspiration has become so crucial and inspiring to us. For that, I thank all the disciples who work day after day in recording, translating and sharing your words, as well as their own learning in Yoga for everyone to be benefitted by them around the world! This work is the work of God Itself! Thank you endlessly, Shri Mahayogi.

All this has been happening all along right under my nose, but now its meaning is beginning to become clearer, and one by one, we are starting to learn from experience how to actually rely on Yoga. During these times of uncontrollable change and with the increased opportunity to introspect, we have been able to observe how vulnerable everything is, and how we truly have nothing else we can rely on but the Truth. Perhaps most importantly, we may be learning that you brought us together to learn to do just that, so that we can then live the teachings that you have tenderly planted in us for the sake of others. I would have never understood how you are able to be among us and continue guiding us through this process from afar. But now, I can understand how it is possible: because You exist, and because we exist for You, and because there is truly no other purpose. There is so much joy in this!

Though I am sure it is not experienced exactly the same way by each of us in New York, there is one thing that I am certain of: that we come together because we all KNOW, so we need to continue to come together to drink the Yoga you serve, and to continue purifying ourselves for You. As you must have heard, we meet twice a week for long hours and like good “potatoes” we try to clean ourselves off little by little. Some potatoes are really good at this, while some of us are learning the skills of “potato-hood.” But the love and care that is going into this process, the hunger for Truth that it nurtures, the way it slowly pushes us to go a little further, is definitely a sign of your loving embrace. I hope this continues to be so and that each one of us continues to allow it to guide us into a deeper connection to Shri Mahayogi, to each other, and to Yoga.

The Mission that you have been given must not be easy at all, but you have been doing this without stopping one second. I ask myself why does Shri Mahayogi do what he does unceasingly? How can He contain so much, be so vast and reach so far? The answer seems much bigger than what my mind can grasp, and possibly bigger than what my little heart can bear. Your never-ending care and liberating love toward all can be almost ungraspable but it is undeniable. I do not want to ignore it at any moment.

Being able to write to you now is an opportunity to express Thank You, and trust that you can know how I feel without boundary of space. I feel it completely and unquestionably inside. This Thank You says that I am here to receive what you are giving, and to surrender to it so that it will transform me at your wish and will. In other words, Shri Mahayogi, I wish that only your essence is what inhabits in me, nothing else, and, because I wish others to know that essence in them too, so that You can rejoice in carrying on your Mission through us, and we can rejoice in You.

On this Holy Jayanti in which we celebrate your vibrant presence among us right here, right now, Beloved Shri Mahayogi, on behalf of your sangha children in New York, I would like to say, “YES, we humbly accept and receive what you give us.” I personally vow to continue kindling this flame, Shri Mahayogi’s Yoga, in me, together with gurubai, wherever we all are, near or far, so that You reach as far and wide as Your Being is…. ENDLESS!

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

Bowing at your lotus feet,

Karuna (on behalf of the Mahayogi Yoga Mission Sangha)

Celebratory Messages for Our Beloved and Most Honorable Master from Sangha in New York, Puerto Rico, Berlin and France

Echo From The Cave: 142

Sunday Nov 22, 2020

In Anticipation of Satguru Jayanti:
Following the Way of the Life of the Guru

Tomorrow, November 23rd, is Satguru Jayanti, the day that marks the sacred birth of our beloved Master, Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahamsa.

In anticipation of honoring this most sacred day, we would like to introduce an article written by Yogadanda, a disciple of Shri Mahayogi in Japan.

During past celebrations of Satguru Jayanti, Yogadanda has been the disciple who offers the mantra of Om when the ritual of arati, a puja for the Guru using fire, is performed. This chanting of Om on such an auspicious occasion as Guru Jayanti is a precious gift in and of itself, and in the Satsangha of this month’s Pranavadipa (Vol. 72) we can read the question and answer between Shri Mahayogi and Yogadanda about precisely this topic.

Yogadanda’s article below originally written for Paramahansa (Mahayogi Mission’s bi-monthly magazine for members in Japan), “Following the Way of Life of the Guru,” offers a very real and great opportunity to glimpse from the observation and learnings of a practitioner, more about the way Shri Mahayogi lives, acts and infuses the spirit of Truth into all that he is. May we all aspire to learn from Shri Mahayogi’s life and existence and model our own lives to be in accordance with That!

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Following the Way of Life of the Guru
by Yogadanda
Kyoto, September, 2020

It is difficult to fathom the conduct of our Master, who awakened into the true Self at the age of eight and has remained in nirvikalpa samadhi ever since; it may be the same as how impossible it is to grasp the formless Atman with the mind. Without being taught, Shri Mahayogi continued to practice the most intense asana for twelve years—the reason why, he said, is because he “had leisure time.” And even though he had completely mastered Yoga, knowing more thoroughly about it than anyone else, he said that he had no intention of teaching it to others. The more anecdotes I learn about the Master, the more it feels to me that it is completely elusive to fathom what he sees and what motivation underlies his actions—it is as if he is in a place that is too far away, a place totally different from where we are.

However, as we sit alongside the Master and listen to his teachings, the mind is somehow convinced that True Existence surely exists, and that the Master lives It and acts from It.

And, because the Master is so incredibly captivating, even if just on a superficial level, I can’t help but to emulate the Master’s ways—does that happen only to me? I doubt it. Even so, one day, perhaps even this simple imitation may eventually lead to following how the Guru lives.

 

When I began to practice Yoga, I did not have a chance to encounter the Master’s daily activities and behavior, and only saw him on the occasion of Satsangha. I am sure that everyone is drawn to the way Shri Mahayogi speaks so gracefully, his gentle smile, and the look of his compassionate eye of mercy; however, I thought that if I were to imitate such a demeanor without having adjusted my internal condition to match, surely I would get a cold stare from the people around me. Instead, because Shri Mahayogi, wearing the orange kurta, looked so cool and also senior disciples were wearing a kurta in the same color, I started to imitate the orange kurta first. Shri Mahayogi wore the same kurta every single week, and even if it was a bit threadbare, he always made it without wrinkles, and wore it neatly. Even if the clothing was old and worn-out, it did not create an atmosphere of shabbiness, but rather, there was a freshness to it, and I imagined that the shade of that orange color was coming from the Master’s unique taste and sensibility. I dyed my kurta a similar color as that of the Master, and I left it out in the sun purposefully in order to make it appear faded, and in this way made it look as close as possible to the color of the Master’s kurta. Looking back, I think that the Master’s kurta reflected the keenly refined, sophisticated and noble spirit that arises from wearing only the bare minimum necessity and the resulting unique sense of aesthetic sensibility—and I believe that was what had drawn me to it.

After sometime, as I had more opportunities to see the Master’s daily life, then I began to realize that not only did the Master treat the kurta with care, he treated every object of daily life with care.

As I began to live together with some senior disciples, the Master gave me advice on my personal belongings. For example, he suggested painting a well-worn ornament cabinet white to use it as an altar, and re-dying a pair of pants someone had forgotten and left unclaimed at the Ashrama and wearing them. When I followed his guidance, these well-worn used objects, fated to be discarded, were revived as if they were completely brand-new, original objects. When purchasing something, it was advised to do research, collecting all the necessary information, examining it carefully and thoroughly, and then buy the best product. Even if it may seem to be a bit expensive, good quality products last a long time, so the cost is reduced long-term.

The Master’s simple manner of living was emulated by the senior disciples, so I too was affected in turn, and I began to practice to make this “being simple” into a habit in all respects of life. Then the things that I may have thrown away easily, I began to consider carefully whether or not I truly should discard them; also, if I was going to purchase anything, I would consider carefully whether or not I really needed it, and what the most appropriate item to get would be.

One time, on the second floor of the Ashrama, Shri Mahayogi said to me clearly, touching the rug, “Even in this rug, Atman is manifesting.”

His attitude of caring for things, and the indescribable tenderness and carefulness that he has when he actually handles them, and the perfect harmony that I felt exuding from his form in that kurta—I imagined that they all reflect the fact that he actually sees the sacred existence of Atman within each and every object. And not only that, but the way the Master expresses compassionate countenance and behavior towards people—I believe that it is also because he sees that Existence within each and every single person. Indeed, it is not only limited to objects, but people, especially his disciples, including myself—I have been feeling how much the Master attends to and takes care of us with carefulness and respect. Especially at times when we have made a big mistake or are stuck and can’t proceed smoothly, the Master conditions these disciples’ environment, and prepares a path in front of us very, very carefully, so that we can move forward.

 

I cannot say that I know Atman or God, but if every single thing and every single person is that precious Existence, then I cannot treat them carelessly and impolitely—I then began to tell my mind, even if my mind couldn’t understand it, that everything is Atman, God itself, and I began to discipline myself to put this Truth into action. This practice perfectly coincides with all aspects of yama and niyama, the very first teachings that are taught in Yoga—the way of acting towards others and one’s own actions—to not harm, to not lie, to not have greed, and so on.

 

After studying Yoga for about ten years, various roles were given to me, and I came to take on the responsibility of conveying the Existence and teachings of the Master through doing classes and events. On one hand, I wanted more people to find out about Yoga and the existence of the Master, yet, on the other hand, I was in an internal struggle over the conflict between my responsibility and my state—I still have not realized Yoga yet—and this state of having this central core lacking continued within me for several years, even after that.

 

In the midst of all this, I was given a task to write the script for an event the Mission participated in, entitled “Eternal Quest,” and through this task I even ended up being given an opportunity—which I couldn’t have asked for anything better—to work on a task while being directly supervised by the Master. During the production process, there was an incident that suddenly amazed me into a state of awe, [and this became a lesson for me] from the Master. In our performance, while some poetic texts from the Upanishad were to be read from time to time, an asana and kirtan singing were to be performed. And at first, we created the script by breaking down the anciently-fashioned phrases of the Upanishad into simplified explanations with details, thinking that otherwise it would be difficult to understand for the audience who was going to hear them possibly for the first time ever. When the Master saw it, he reverted them back to the original phrases from the Upanishad, and further, he even cut out unnecessary words from them, and created a script that had only the essence remaining. In that moment, it felt to us that spirit was suddenly infused into each word, emanating eternal brilliance. It was at that moment that, with the Master’s grace, the ancient words of the rishi were revived.

In thinking about this project, I was expecting that whoever would see this production would become more interested in Yoga, even if just a little, which would cause them to begin to participate in our classes and Satsangha, however, I felt that actually, the Master, by completing this creation of the performance as one that wholly expresses the Truth, he put his soul into it and that is what will inspire the seekers who are truly seeking, including those to come in the future.

Not only that, I realized that this principle has been carried out through the Master’s designs, his words at Satsangha, and throughout his way of living. “There is only Truth, or God!”—he has always been saying the same message in Satsangha. Even if the question is more for advice on personal problems, or deals with specialized knowledge or content, he always leads to this point.

Even though I was given the role of disseminating the teachings, I was caught up in the numbers of class attendees, and how to keep the existing students. “You do not exist for the sake of class. Class exists for you.”—I recalled these words of Shri Mahayogi, which Shantimayi-san, a senior sister disciple of Shri Mahayogi who was given the responsibility of leading the class first, was taught by the Master [a long time ago].

Even though we are not yet completed or perfected, we are granted the opportunity to perform activities for the outside world, such as classes and other public events. I thought that the main, foremost purpose would be for each and every disciple to realize the Truth through these activities; next, there would be a wish to give positive influences to the people who we come in contact with through these activities. That means, a disciple must practice to conform their actions, words and thoughts to be one, and aim for perfect, pure actions as much as possible. This is not just limited to class activities, but I believe that each and every disciple is required to demonstrate this when he or she interacts with the external world. And, if a disciple can realize the Truth, even if there are no attendees in the class, or there are no outward activities such as classes, we can still inspire others around us in a true sense, and this influence can be delivered and can reach beyond time and space, precisely arriving to future seekers—I thought that this is the true missionary work wished for by the Master. I reinforced my belief that the aim and purpose of why Buddha guided his disciples to go beg for offerings and disseminate the teachings to people was exactly for that.

I then went back to the teaching—“There is only True Existence, and That manifests in all and everything in the universe,”—which Shri Mahayogi has taught me, and I have followed, from the very beginning when I started the practice of Yoga—and [since then] I have been practicing to act through relying upon the Truth I sense, however immature it may be in me. In classes and other activities too, rather than seeing the differences on the surface and in the aspects of the mind, I am working on only seeing the True Existence, which is its essence. Then, I make my words and actions obey the intuition coming from there. In this way, rather than letting the limited mind make decisions, I should be able to spontaneously act based on what is needed in front of me. If something is bothering me, then again I focus on the True Existence I sense, and seek for the answer from there. By doing that, the coverings of the mind begin to peel off, and eventually, I can become one with the True Existence—I believe that.

The True Existence I sense is the same Existence as that of the Master. Therefore, I think that to become one with the Master, to live with him, and to work with him is the ultimate way of following the way the Guru lives.

For me, the way the Master lives is precisely how Buddha lived, this Buddha who wore panshukula [1], who took the lead to travel all over India on foot, and who inspired so many people—even to this day he continues to inspire people.

 [1] The cloth that covers the bare minimum of the body, made by sewing together the gathered pieces of clothes that have been used for cleaning oneself of excrement and then discarded.

Echo From The Cave: 141

Saturday Nov 21, 2020 NYC

Study Material for Review: Disarming the Mind for Freedom Part 1

On Friday November 20th MYM held Part I of an online event Disarming the Mind for Freedom as part of its series Positive Transformation in Times of Change. Below are the visuals used during the program, which are provided here for you own study and introspection.

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If you attended the program, we encourage you to share with MYM your own learnings and introspections about the content of Part I of the program: info@mahayogiyogamission.org

Part II of Disarming the Mind for Freedom will be held December 4th at 7pm. REGISTER HERE

Please reach out to info@mahayogiyogamission.org for inquiries about this event.

Echo From The Cave: 140

Friday Nov 11, 2020 NYC

Announcement: Online Program ~ Friday, November 20th  7pm – 8pm
Nov. 20th – Part 1
Dec. 4th – Part 2

Disarming the Mind for Freedom

Mahayogi Yoga Mission presents a second online program in its series Positive Transformation in Times of Change.

Program Description:
With our eyes fixed on the external world, internal observation of the mind is more challenging than ever before. Glimpse just beyond the realm of our immediate perception, to the battle waging constantly within our own minds that keeps us in an un-free state, and seek together with us to disarm its factions in a step towards Freedom.

All are welcome to attend. No prior experience or knowledge of Yoga is necessary.

SPEAKERS: Karuna and Sadhya

Register HERE.

* Tickets will be available for purchase for up to 24 hours in advance.
* Please note that using Zoom is required for attending this program.
* You will be emailed a Zoom link on the day of the program.
* We will be happy to provide technical assistance to anyone who may need it.
* We will open the Zoom space at 6:15 for attendees to enter and test that zoom is working properly.
* We highly encourage you to connect early to troubleshoot any unexpected issues and then return just before 7pm.
* On the day of the event, we will post a contact number here for any technical issues that may arise.

Please reach out to info@mahayogiyogamission.org for inquiries about this event.