Echo from The Cave: 73

Saturday March 10, 2018    NYC

Announcement:
SHRI MAHAYOGI WILL VISIT TAIPEI,
TAIWAN IN MARCH!

Schedule of Satsangha:

● 3/22(Thu)19:30 @SPACE YOGA
● 3/24  (Sat)    14:30 @JOYFUL LIVING
● 3/25(Sun)14:30 @JOYFUL LIVING
● 3/27(Tue)19:30 @JOYFUL LIVING

May this coming visit to Taiwan awaken in the hearts of the people their inherent yearning for Truth, for Yoga, and may those who have had the great blessing of meeting Shri Mahayogi already carry that seed of Truth in their own hearts and spread it far and wide, to the people of Taiwan and beyond!

For more informationt: taiwan.yoga.sangha@gmail.com
http://taiwanyogasangha.blogspot.com

 

Editor’s Note: Pranavadipa Volume 40 

Satsangha at Joyful Living, Taipei 2017

Graciously responding to the request of disciples and seekers in Taiwan, Shri Mahayogi will soon visit Taipei. The first time he visited Taiwan was in May 2017, so this will mark his third visit within one year! Surely the people of Taiwan must truly hunger for the Truth in order for the yearning of their hearts to draw the Master back once more this year.

This month’s issue of Pranavadipa (Volume 40) contains the third of four Satsangha that were held during Shri Mahayogi’s first visit to Taiwan. We believe that for our subscribers in Taiwan this translation will be especially good to read as a reminder in preparation of the Satsangha before Shri Mahayogi’s arrival! And of course, for all of our subscribers, this Satsangha serves as an inspiration for all who thirst for answers.

The questions contained within seem so simple and straightforward, yet they come from a profound place of true seeking. Within the interactions between attendees and Shri Mahayogi, there is no pretense and it feels as though attendees are really looking for practical guidance of how to apply the practice of Yoga in their everyday situations. And all attendees seemed to be intensely drawn to Shri Mahayogi, simply because of his existence, taking very seriously the opportunity to meet a living Master of Yoga, not knowing whether the opportunity would ever arise again. During that first visit Shri Mahayogi planted the seed of Truth, and as it begins to sprout, he is carefully watching over it.

Satsangha at Space Yoga, Taipei 2017

Shri Mahayogi visited Taiwan for the second time last year for nine days, from October 19th to 27th. Three Satsangha were held and over one hundred people participated. Many had eagerly anticipated meeting Shri Mahayogi again, while others met him for the first time, after having missed the last opportunity. From beginning to end, Shri Mahayogi expounded upon the Truth gently and in detail. Every Satsangha was wonderful and fulfilling.

Besides Satsangha, Shri Mahayogi also allowed opportunities for gurubhai in Taiwan to interact with him on several occasions. In each situation, Shri Mahayogi answered various questions from them, and gave blessings and sincere words that helped propel everyone further along on the path. Every situation spontaneously became a Satsangha.

*

Now, the testimony in this issue is a translation of an article that was contributed to Paramahamsa (a bi-monthly publication in Japan) and is written by a new staff member in Taiwan, Zhao Yuan, after Shri Mahayogi’s second visit in October.

Zhao Yuan, a graphic designer, had already become involved with making the flyer for Shri Mahayogi’s first visit, before even meeting Shri Mahayogi. And after meeting him and being inspired by the Master’s presence, he has spontaneously started to participate and support the activities of our sangha in Taiwan more and more, and is now walking the path along with us. With depth in his simple and straightforward, yet beautifully expressed writing, Zhao Yuan gives testimony to what he has recognized through practice about the true significance of having had the opportunity to learn from Shri Mahayogi.

And in addition to Zhao Yuan’s article, we would like to share here the translation of another article that appeared in Paramahamsa, which is written by Prasadini, who has been central to the activities in Taiwan. Although it may not be that long ago that the sangha in Taiwan began, she herself, along with the new sangha, strive to keep walking on the path itself. And Prasadini’s candid and sincere writing, reflecting exactly that, also brings us fresh energy and much inspiration.

 

 

After Shri Mahayogi’s Second Visit to Taiwan:
To Learn Yoga is to Transform the Mind

After Shri Mahayogi’s visit in May, Taiwan entered a period of scorching weather. In Taipei, we continued to have Asana and Meditation Class twice a week, and Meditation Group every other week. Both events at times had many attendees, while at other times, there would be very few. After having received the joy of our hearts being suddenly opened, we all went back to the routine of our busy daily lives. Perhaps everyone may have noticed that even if you meet Shri Mahayogi a few times, your original life does not change that much. The relationships you must face, various issues with family, and personal financial situations, continue to exist. At the same time, I suppose that having been given so much encouragement and having the fire of passion lit by Shri Mahayogi, many of us have felt that there is something that is different than before.

During class or meditation, we have continued to ponder further and debate Shri Mahayogi’s teachings, and also to discuss how we can check the challenges that occur in our daily lives against the Truth. In fact, we have begun to realize that in actuality that is the difficult part. How can we live in conformity with Truth? Even if we know the right thing to do, why do we resist? Why can’t we do it? We have all struggled in the past five months, following Shri Mahayogi’s first visit. However, we are very blessed. Shri Mahayogi, deeply merciful and compassionate, visited Taiwan again after five months. Shri Mahayogi must have heard the cries within our hearts.

Three Satsangha were held during Shri Mahayogi’s visit in October. In the last visit, for almost everyone, it was the first time to meet Shri Mahayogi, but this time, over half of the participants met him for the second time. Participants deepened their trust towards Shri Mahayogi, and became more honest and willing to open up when they asked him questions.

“Shri Mahayogi, will I be able to become vegetarian as I practice Yoga? I enjoy eating meat.”

“Shri Mahayogi, how can I make my mind transparent?”

“Shri Mahayogi, I am afraid of the unknown and of death. What can I do?”

A variety of questions were addressed to Shri Mahayogi. At times, we kept asking questions about the same topic, until our minds could understand the answers. Observing this, suddenly, a thought came to my mind—people are bound by their own thoughts and beliefs, and that is how suffering and pain-bearing obstacles are created…

However, in Satsangha, Shri Mahayogi taught:

“The mind must be completely transformed. The mind has reincarnated countless times [in the past]. And it is obscured by the accumulated pain-bearing obstacles and ignorance. So it is required that the mind become clean and transparent. It’s not easy to do in just two years—truly it requires as much as spending one’s entire life in order to do it. So do not hurry, but you must practice earnestly and seriously. Then, positive changes are sure to happen one after another. And then realize the Truth some day in this lifetime.”

Upon hearing this, I saw that some people had tears in their eyes, perhaps they finally understood the purpose of the efforts they had been making, or perhaps they were finally able to let go of anxiety or self-loathing.

Fear, hate, attachment, sadness—whatever we pick, what we are facing is actually our own minds. However, the mind’s habits are much more stubborn than we can even imagine. Even if it hears the words of Truth once, the mind may make excuses and take the path of least resistance. But, at that moment when we all thought it was very difficult to transform the mind, Shri Mahayogi did not mention whether it was difficult or easy, but instead he encouraged us again to just keep practicing. Indeed, there is no need to feel down by the preconceived notion that it is difficult to make a change in the mind: we just have to continue to discipline ourselves to apply the teachings and put them into action.

After the third Satsangha ended, I thought about it again. What amazing work Shri Mahayogi is doing! Our stubborn heads bind us with dark doubts and suffering, but Shri Mahayogi shines rays of light onto them from many different directions, with his humorous words, filled with compassion and wisdom. We cannot solve these difficult queries with our own intellect but only Shri Mahayogi’s existence can bring about absolute transformation. For this one week, we were so fortunate to be able to receive this gentle, direct instruction from Shri Mahayogi.

We will continue to learn and make an effort to apply the teachings and put them into action. Shri Mahayogi, please visit us again in Taiwan to continue to guide us!

Prasadini

 

Echo from The Cave: 72

Monday March 5, 2018    NYC

Asana by a Seeker of Truth


Editor’s Note: Pranavadipa Volume 39 


When the sleeping
Kundalini is awakened by the grace of the Guru,
then all the lotuses (the
chakra) and the knots (granthis) are pierced.
—Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Ch.3, V.2

 The great Goddess (Kundalini) sleeps closing with her mouth
the entrance to the way (the
sushumna)
by which the seat of Brahman (
Brahmarandhra),
where there is no pain, is to be reached.
The
Kundalini-shakti,
who sleeps above the
kanda (muladhara),
gives liberation to the
Yogi
He who knows her knows Yoga.
The
Kundalini is described as being coiled like a serpent.
He who causes the
Shakti to move (from the muladhara upwards)
becomes free, without doubt.
—Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Ch3. V106-108

 

Kundalini…perhaps you have heard of it? It is the great force of prana that lies dormant at the base of sushumna nadi, the base of the spine. Although it is referenced a number of times in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, one of the classic Yoga scriptures, most likely the majority of people nowadays have heard about it in reference to some kind of fantastical spiritual experience, or at the very least, in relation to the opening or activation of the chakra, the various energetic centers that fall along the path of the spine.

But even though talk of “spiritual experiences” is now often intertwined with talk of “kundalini” or “chakra,” how much do we really understand about what it all really is? And how often do we encounter a teacher who can truly guide us based on his or her own intimate experience of it?

This month’s Pranavadipa (Vol. 39) gives us a unique glimpse into this very topic. Shri Mahayogi graciously responds to the inquiries of a seeker as she strives to make sense of her own experience of changing prana and understanding of the rise of kundalini.  Shri Mahayogi not only expounds on the more technical aspects of prana, kundalini and the chakra, but he also speaks about the actual likelihood of the true occurrence of kundalini rising, what blocks it from rising and then guides her to practice looking beyond this phenomenon towards the ultimate aim of Yoga.

Again and again, Shri Mahayogi guides seekers to the most practical methods of true application of practice that lead towards the attainment of Satori, beyond all phenomena that are mentioned in various scriptures. This month’s issue is centered on two such practical methods: the practice of humbleness and the practice of pure faith.

***

As we walk the path of Yoga, there are many opportunities for us to receive guidance. And one of the most important ways is through our fellow gurubhai. If we look to the practice of our fellow gurubhai, we can often find clues for how to concretely further our own practice, as well as fresh inspiration. And there is no doubt this is one of the three treasures described by Buddha: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. In this month’s Testimony (Vol. 39), which touches on the key to the breath in asana, Sadhya, a disciple from New York, writes about the inspiration she received from watching Yogadanda, a gurubhai who was visiting from Japan, practice asana in the class. Five years later she would go to Japan, and interestingly enough, having advanced in her asana practice, she was then asked to demonstrate during the class for the gurubhai there, including Yogadanda. Seeing her awe-striking demonstration took everyone’s breath away. As a result, the gurubhai in Kyoto have become inspired by her practice, of course.

The content of this month’s Testimony reveals a glimpse of Sadhya’s journey through the practice of asana and what she has recognized as the result of the depth of her practice as a true seeker. This also reveals what the asana practice taught by Shri Mahayogi is. She is definitely on the way to discover, with her understanding going deeper and deeper, what the true asana is that Shri Mahayogi is bestowing upon us.

Sadhya’s Asana in Kyoto, April 2017

After the demonstration, she answered questions from the attendees.
Everybody was surprised to hear that she works as a high school teacher, no different from anyone else. There were new students in the class that day, and they too were inspired to continue to practice.

Sadhya’s Asana Demonstration in Kyoto, April 2017

Jai Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa Ki, jai!!!

Echo from The Cave: 71

Thu Feb 8th, 2018    NYC

EXPERIENCE: Validation of the Scriptures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ekanta

Echo from The Cave: 70

Mon January 15, 2018    NYC

Lord Shiva

Editor’s Note: Pranavadipa Volume 38

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

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

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

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

The practice of Yoga is truly both concrete and mystical!

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

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

Echo from The Cave: 69

Fri January 5, 2018    NYC

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

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

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

*

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

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

Tavia is thinking…

Tavia’s message is:

Truth is wan.. wang,.. ONE!

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

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

And tomorrow will be even colder….

 

 

 

Echo from The Cave: 68

Mon January 1, 2018    NYC

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

 

 


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


OM TAT SAT, OM!!!

Echo from The Cave: 67

Wed Dec 27th, 2017    NYC

Swami Vivekananda in Alameda 1900


EXPERIENCE: Use Your Will!

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

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

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

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

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

Kamalakshi

Echo from The Cave: 66

Wed Dec 20th, 2017    NYC

EXPERIENCE: Mauna

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ekanta

Echo from The Cave: 65

Wed Dec 13th, 2017    NYC

Editor’s Note: Pranavadipa Volume 37

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How I Felt Encountering Shri Mahayogi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pan Pan

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

Echo from The Cave: 64

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


Invitation to step towards Satori:
What is Happiness?

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

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

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

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

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

Aniruddha