Echo From The Cave: 117

Wednesday July 10, 2019 NYC

ANNOUNCEMENT:
Shri Mahayogi has Arrived in New York & Programs Begin this Sunday!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Pranavadipa 56

Pranam to our great and most revered Master, Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa!!!!

Tonight we welcome Shri Mahayogi’s arrival in New York with joyous hearts!

It is a mere few days before the first Yoga Sadhana program directed by Shri Mahayogi during this visit will be held (Sunday July 14th, 6-8pm at Still Mind Zendo).

This summer Shri Mahayogi will graciously offer regular Yoga Sadhana programs each week, including practice of asana and meditation, as well as three Satsangha (gatherings to request and receive teachings and guidance from Shri Mahayogi). See below for dates and pre-registration information.

Each and every opportunity to be in the presence of Shri Mahayogi and experience his teaching, whether in silence or through words, is a truly unique and precious opportunity, as Shri Mahayogi is unlike any teacher, in the more conventional sense of the word.

Most often if we attend a program offered by someone who is considered to be a teacher, many of us may expect to hear some kind of lecture, or to receive some kind of pamphlet of steps to follow to guide us along the way. And often times, it is the case that the teacher is prepared with special materials, a talk, or some sort of an agenda that has been planned out in advance, regardless of whether the students are known or unknown.

But as we learn in this month’s issue of Pranavadipa (Vol. 56), when asked “Why do you teach?” Shri Mahayogi’s simple response is:

“The answer is behind your words … I am empty.”

Indeed, our great master and teacher offers his words solely as a reflection of the true nature that already exists within one and all, that is, pure eternal Existence. He teaches us not by lecturing, or giving us a formula, but by showing us through his every way of being that the essence of each and every one of us is one and the same. The teaching may come variously and unexpectedly as we inquire and seek. But no matter the method he continuously and spontaneously guides each individual according to their circumstance and need in the moment—always towards the concrete experience of this inherent nature within.

 

For all programs with Shri Mahayogi, registration in advance is required in person during regular class or online.

Click to reserve a seat for Satsangha
Click to register for Yoga Sadhana

SATSANGHA
Saturdays, 7:30 – 9pm
– July 20
– August 10 & 31

SADHANA PROGRAMS
Sundays 6 – 8pm
– July 14, 21, 18
– August 4, 11, 18, 25
– September 1

***

In this month’s issue of Pranavadipa (Vol. 56) the questions and answers that are compiled here from various Satsangha, are a clear demonstration of the depth of mastery and widespread knowledge that Shri Mahayogi provides to seekers. Shri Mahayogi seamlessly expounds on topics that range from how to practice pratyahara (control of the senses – the 5th limb of raja yoga), to the various forms and depths in which kriya yoga is practiced, to the mechanism of the mind and its relationship to time, to the spirit of renunciation, and the relationship of tapas and Brahman, to name a few—and throughout all teachings it seems as if Shri Mahayogi is not only emphasizing the importance of proactive discrimination of the mind’s activities as a part of the actual practice of Yoga, but is also giving a variety of forms that the practice of discrimination may take, essentially providing us with an array of tools that we can put to use at any given moment in our daily lives. One can’t help but feel that such a consistent level of detail and precision across all topics can surely only come as a result of direct experience. Indeed it is truly a  great honor to have the opportunity to learn from such Master!

The content from the various Satsangha in Vol. 56 provide an excellent taste of what Satsangha with Shri Mahayogi can be like and what kinds of questions can be asked. Like mentioned above, Shri Mahayogi reflects the answer to us that is already behind our own words. But in order to receive the profound offering of Shri Mahayogi’s most vibrant words, we must first inquire. Without the inquiry, Shri Mahayogi has no need to lecture or mention anything about what is already naturally inherent within us all.

Therefore, as we prepare to attend Satsangha and take these most valuable opportunities to learn from Shri Mahayogi, let us be inspired by this month’s issue of Pranavadipa, and also prepare our own genuine questions coming from our seeking along this path, so that we may humbly receive the profound yet keen guidance of Shri Mahayogi.

*

In this month’s Testimony, we have the opportunity to read the experience of Karuna as she strives to deepen in practice of Yoga and understand what the true meanings of santosha and ahimsa are through trying to put these two teachings to the test and apply them in daily life.

Oftentimes, as we approach the practice of Yoga, it can be challenging to know how to deepen in our practice and consequently, how to deepen in our understanding, going beyond simply making sense intellectually of what we have heard or what we have read. In Karuna’s example, however, we can see the efforts that she makes as well as how she is beginning to confront what she starts to discover within herself as a result of these efforts. It is the very process of how one goes about driving the practice deeper and deeper.

Indeed, true practice of Yoga often involves a breaking down of our own limited ideas and a re-training to align ourselves with the Truth. The sincerity of Karuna’s example can provide inspiration as well as concrete examples of how to apply practice to propel oneself deeper and towards real transformation of one’s very own self.

 

Echo From The Cave: 116

Sunday June 16, 2019 NYC


Editor’s Note: Pranavadipa Volume 55

In this month’s issue of Pranavadipa (Vol. 55), Shri Mahayogi’s teaching starts off with one that is very important, the law of karma:

We must accept our role within our respective situations as our own duty and then perform it, because these situations are results that were brought about by none other than one’s own self, from one’s own karma from the past. If we abandon our own duty, we cannot resolve the results of our own karma, but only postpone them.

“The arrow that is shot upright falls upon the shooter’s head”—this is a fact taught in Yoga (considered to be science of the mind), and it is the same as what Lord Buddha taught—it is a very important teaching of the Universal law and we ought to continuously bear it in our mind.

As we know through the experiences of our daily lives, tomorrow is the outcome of today. But here, in regard to the law of karma, the arrows are not necessarily only from this lifetime, but can also be from our past lives. Indeed, when we are experiencing suffering, it is difficult to accept this Universal law, yet if we take a moment to think of it as the outcome from our own past thoughts, words and deeds, and then go further to understand and accept this, there is neither a situation nor a person to be blamed. There is nothing to do but simply accept this and work on our own selves internally. If we don’t do it now, the arrows will eventually come anyway, possibly with even greater force. The beauty of this work is that once we actually start to do it, its benefit will continue to extend, and because we will begin to see things from different perspectives, and most importantly with gratitude, our interactions with others will naturally become more harmonious.

Going further, Yoga teaches that we can avoid future suffering, as stated in the Yoga Sutra 2:16: “Future pain is that which is to be avoided.” If we borrow the words of Swami Vivekananda to explain this—Some karma we have worked out already, some we are working out in our present life, and some is waiting to bear fruit in a future life. The first kind is past and gone. The second we shall have to work out. It is only that which is waiting to bear fruit in the future that we can conquer and control; and toward this end all our forces should be directed. The way to do so is to put the teachings of Yoga into practice. Yoga is empirical.

The above sutra continues into another important one: “The cause of the pain which is to be avoided is the conjunction of the Seer and the Seen.” Yoga Sutra 2:17

The law of karma mentioned above is taught in the first teaching of this issue, titled: “The Meaning of Duty in Yoga—Karma Yoga.” The topics that follow answer the questions: what is the meaning of karma yoga? What does it mean to fulfill one’s duty? What does it mean to devotedly take actions in service of others? Then Shri Mahayogi teaches that as the practice of Yoga deepens, the understanding and practice of karma yoga in action expands.

Often times the word “karma yoga” is misused to refer to work exchange, but in fact, karma yoga has nothing to do with an exchange of any kind. In other cases, the concept of “service to others” is simply viewed or understood as volunteer work or works of charity. Of course, it is great to help others and to provide support where needed, and we should practice to do so in whatever way possible and in any circumstance. But we must always remember “who the doer is.” Shri Mahayogi reveals that the true meaning of service to others is to act only with the thought of the other, from the understanding that all is One—that there is only God—until one is void of the notion of “I” and “me.”

May we all study these practical teachings carefully and be inspired to actualize them in our moment to moment lives, striving to think and act for the good of others, while at the same time not neglecting our own spiritual disciplines and practices.

*

This month’s Testimony, an article from a series written by Sanatana about Buddha and his teachings (see Vol. 6 for another article in the series: “The Twelve Dependent Originations”), is truly a profound source of study material and inspiration. Through Sanatana’s writing it is as if we are being transported to the ancient world of Buddha to touch for ourselves the feeling of Buddha’s relentless passion for the Truth.

Here Sanatana relates the understanding he has gained through the study and practice of the foremost teachings of Buddha—the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Noble Path—under the guidance of Shri Mahayogi, breaking them down and making them easily relatable to the world we are all living in today. As we read, let us all feel for ourselves the timeless nature of the teachings of Buddha that reverberate even now, thousands of years after his lifetime, and strive with the same reverence and passion as Sanatana to practice and come to know them for ourselves.

 

Echo From The Cave: 115

Tuesday June 11, 2019 NYC

ANNOUNCEMENT: Shri Mahayogi’s Visit to New York ~ Summer 2019 ~

We are very grateful and delighted to announce that
our Spiritual Master, Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa, will visit NYC this summer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For all programs with Shri Mahayogi, registration in advance is required in person during regular class or online.

Click to reserve a seat for Satsangha
Click to register for Yoga Sadhana

 

Echo From The Cave: 114

Tuesday June 3, 2019 NYC

ANNOUNCEMENT: Shri Mahayogi’s Visit to New York ~ Summer 2019 ~

We are very grateful and delighted to announce that
our Spiritual Master, Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa, will visit NYC this summer!

Programs will begin July 14th 2019
and will be held at Still Mind Zendo: 37W 17th St, #6W NYC

*
SADHANA PROGRAMS with the Master

• July 14, 21, 28
• August 4, 11, 18, 25
• September 1
Sundays: 6pm-8pm

SATSANGHA
Opportunities to learn and receive the teachings of Yoga—Self Realization—
through Q&A with the Master.
• July 20
• August 10 & 31
Saturdays: time TBA

Please mark these dates in your calendar!
More details and information on how to register will be announced soon.

And, if you have not yet attended a program with Shri Mahayogi,
we strongly suggest that you read the following report,
and watch In The Cave With The Master,
a DVD documentary produced by Mahayogi Yoga Mission in 2005.

REPORT: Screening of In the Cave With the Master

On Saturday May 25th, in Astoria, Queens, a gathering was held in the home of a disciple to view the Mahayogi Yoga Mission’s documentary—In The Cave With the Master. Attendees entered into discussion after the viewing. Among those present were various disciples of Shri Mahayogi, new students and a friend.

In the Cave with the Master is a documentary that overwhelmingly captures the unparalleled relationship between a spiritual Master and seeker, and the sacred moment in which true initiation takes place. As the film unfolds we catch a glimpse of how Shri Mahayogi (Master) guides Niranjan (seeker) to the path of Yoga through the practice of advanced asana (being rehearsed for another project), and at the same time, we can sense that there is something beyond what the eye can see, something deep within, that is unfolding in the heart of the seeker through receiving that guidance. And it is precisely in that which is unfolding within, where the true essence of practice of Yoga can be found. In fact, whether through basic asana, advanced asana, or one of the many other disciplines contained within the system of Yoga, it is indeed that internal guidance from the Master and resulting transformation that is the heart of what Yoga truly is. Shri Mahayogi’s strong presence and guidance remains steady throughout the footage that is herein documented and this is without a doubt a rare opportunity to witness how the willingness and earnestness of the seeker itself sparks the unconditional and unwavering grace of the Guru, the combination of which result in genuine initiation.

To date, there is no video recording of Shri Mahayogi available other than what is here in this documentary. Truly it is rare footage, at times even capturing Shri Mahayogi himself demonstrating asana!! Shri Mahayogi’s asana, which came to him completely spontaneously and which he practiced daily throughout his teenage years, was not witnessed by anyone, as he practiced only after all his family had gone to sleep. To see his body effortlessly form the various asana even after over 30 years of interval is truly awe-inspiring, hinting to us that asana has a depth that is far beyond the simple forms. Indeed, his demonstration reveals his internal state—YOGA.

 * The rare footage shown in this documentary is not what was originally planned for when this DVD was first conceptualized and in fact the main content is coming from what was recorded for the simple purpose of documenting the process of preparing for another project.

 * This documentary has been shown publicly only twice before in New York City when the DVD was first released in 2005: at Sufi Books and at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio.

 

Here we would like to introduce the voices of several viewers:

“After viewing the DVD, In the Cave with the Master, last week, there was a moment that made me ponder more deeply about what the actual process is or the way in which the mind is being transformed through the practice of Yoga. Of course, every time we have the opportunity to watch it we can discover something completely new—a nuance or a depth of the practice that we hadn’t yet discovered.

This time it made me think that Yoga is not something that we can have a preconceived idea about. That every time we think we understand something and take credit for it, Shri Mahayogi will actually create the condition in which the mind, our way of thinking, will be dismantled in order to create the space in which we can move closer to experiencing that which is beyond it. I think all the practices in Yoga can create the condition for that, but probably it is few of us who consider it possible for that to happen through the practice of asana. From watching the DVD it seems that Shri Mahayogi is truly using every opportunity to turn that into an actual experience, an experience in which the practitioner is left face to face with his or her mind, and confronted with whether that mind is real or not.”        (Ekanta)

…I had watched this documentary in the past, but I was able to notice more subtle aspects that were not noticeable to me before. As the images of Shri Mahayogi appeared on the screen, I started to sense more and more that his body was there, in that space and that situation, simply for the benefit of those around him—absolutely for no other reason. The way Shri Mahayogi’s body moves, his demeanor, his eyes, his hands and all of his physical being appears animated only for the purpose of transmitting a message from long ago, or far away, or from a place of timelessness. And as I noticed this unique characteristic of his material existence in this world, an uncontainable sense of gratitude and awe grew inside of me. There is no way to grasp or contain the nature of Shri Mahayogi, but this video captures some images that hint at the mystery and the endlessness of who Shri Mahayogi is and what he teaches.

As the documentary progresses, the practitioner featured, expresses: “Yoga is confronting your biggest fear.” “What was his biggest fear?” I asked myself for an instant. But in the end, it did not matter what his fear was but the fact that we all live with such intense fears at all times, and that to see our true Self, we must let go of such dominating fears. I made a mental note that I must be strong enough to face my biggest fear, whatever that may be. Immediately, I could sense those fears lurking around in my mind, making it even clearer that this confrontation must take place and be provoked, not just passively waited for. This practitioner’s story is an example of how to lead the mind to give up of its fears.

Shri Mahayogi´s knowing and being is the central force in this documentary. That is what I came to realize this time. Without him, the real Guru, there is no disciple; without him, there is no real “giving up.” Because we can only trust and surrender entirely to something or someone who embodies the Truth itself, and That is Shri Mahayogi.”        (Karuna)

“I thoroughly enjoyed the DVD screening.
I had already watched the DVD before, but I enjoyed it more while watching it with everyone.
The conversations that followed after was the icing on the cake. Being able to hear from other fellow practitioners, their experiences and their perspectives was what I enjoyed the most. That is apart from your hospitality; you made us a very nice and special tea. Thank you. It’s been a long time since I have had quality time with friends without alcohol and had a good time.
Hope you organize more of these gatherings.”     (Mr. D)

“Witnessing the seeker’s journey while receiving guidance from our Guru, Shri Mahayogi, was deeply moving and emotional. I could really feel the powerful teachings of Shri Mahayogi come alive through the seeker’s experience.

This was my second time watching the DVD and I got a similar feeling to the one I have gotten when I have read The Universal Gospel of Yoga or Satori: I discover new things each time, almost like reading or watching it with different eyes. Since then, there are things that Shri Mahayogi had said in this documentary that pop into my mind (like correcting my posture when I am at work and I realize my spine is not straight and Shri Mahayogi mentioned the fact that this doesn’t come naturally, that one has to work at it—to give an example).

Having this amazing opportunity to hear and see Shri Mahayogi guiding the seeker is something that I will always cherish and that I wish everyone would experience, as there is no greater gift other than receiving direct teachings from a true Guru.”   (Elena)

Echo From The Cave: 113

Tuesday May 14, 2019 NYC

Editor’s Note: Pranavadipa Volume 54

The aim of life is to realize the Truth.
What is Truth?
This is impossible to answer with the intellect.
Yet one can experience it.
The wisdom and the means to do so are contained in this very Yoga.
– Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa (from The Universal Gospel of Yoga)

 

This month’s issue of Pranavadipa (Vol. 54) features the Satsangha that took place in New York, during the final days of Shri Mahayogi’s visit this winter. There were a number of attendees at this particular Satsangha who were meeting Shri Mahayogi for the first time, and for some, this was their first real encounter with Yoga.

Responding to a request to introduce the newcomers to what Yoga really is, Shri Mahayogi speaks very passionately about the topic, leading us through an in-depth discovery of what Yoga is, where it comes from, and what the most important aspects of it are. Whether new to Yoga or a practitioner of many years, the freshness and passion with which Shri Mahayogi speaks seems to itself carry the very vibration of Truth that he is speaking about, sparking or re-igniting our own passion to live for Yoga in every moment.

Shri Mahayogi then teaches about the three treasures taught by the great Yogi of ancient times, Shankarcharya, and the great significance of meeting a Guru—leaving us with the palpable feeling of preciousness for being born into this life and having met a Master who truly knows Yoga.

As the Satsangha continues, Shri Mahayogi teaches about karma, its cause and how to eliminate it; the importance of leaving suffering behind for realization of the Truth that is beyond all phenomena of this world, the secret of overcoming trauma from the past, and the meaning of True Love.

And perhaps as the highlight, Shri Mahayogi offers a teaching on the meditation on death, in which he describes in detail how to proceed with this meditation and where it will lead the practitioner.

Throughout this Satsangha, no matter the topic of the teaching, it seems as if Shri Mahayogi is again and again impressing upon us the fact that Yoga, the Truth, is closest here and now. Its realization is the true aim of life and within each and every moment there is an opportunity to live our life according to It!

*

the greatest miracle of Sri Ramakrishna

Latu (The pre-monastic name of Swami Adbhutananda, a disciple of Shri Ramakrishna who was considered to be his greatest miracle.)

For this month’s Testimony we have the great opportunity to read one of the speeches from the occasion of Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela, which was held this past April in Kyoto, Japan.

The ceremony this year was centered on the Avatara, Shri Ramakrishna, and this particular speech, made by Anandi, focuses on Latu, who was one of the disciples of Shri Ramakrishna and considered to be his greatest miracle, and how she learned through Latu’s example and the very guidance of the Avatara Shri Ramakrishna himself, that continues from beyond time and space.

Anandi’s speech is filled with sincerity and passion that have the power to touch the heart of the reader and inspire within them the same desire for practice, as well as the practical example of how to learn from the disciples of the Avatara that have come before us.

Echo From The Cave: 112

Saturday April 13, 2019 NYC

Report:
Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela 2019
—The Third Ceremony of the Divine Manifestations—

Puja—Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela 2019 Sunday April 7

Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela was held on April 7th at Prema Ashrama, Kyoto Japan.

It began by a Puja, and then eight gurubai offered a speech (worked on over the past 9 months), the focus of which for this year was Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa.

1  Mirabai: The Life of Shri Ramakrishna—the Great Thirst for God and Renunciation, and the Salvation that Follows

2  Chaitanya: The State of Ramakrishna’s Satori—the Blessing and Guidance of Bhavamuka

3  Gopala: Ramakrishna’s Existence and Works—through Vivekananda

4  Anandi: the Servant of God—Latu who was Guided by Ramakrishna

5  Satya: Ramakrishna’s Breathe—the World of the Gospel

6  Sarani: the Blessing of God Incarnate and Its Tool—through M

7  Yogadanda: the Path of Bhakti Yoga

8  Shaci: There is Only Ma

Mirabai, Chaitanya, Gopala, Anandi,
Satya, Sarani, Yogadanda, Shaci

(We will introduce some of the speeches in Pranavadipa Volume 54 that will be published on May 8th, 2019.)

Throughout the entire program, Shri Mahayogi’s face was radiant and his expression was very content. He appeared as if he kept looking far off somewhere, as if immersing himself in the time of Shri Ramakrishna or immersing himself even further into the future, as if to bless the souls of many future generations. In fact, after all the speeches, as if giving us a hint of precisely that, Shri Mahayogi graciously offered a profound message. May we all contemplate deeply the meaning of the message he bestowed upon us and the significance that is beyond time and space of words that are offered by an Avatara.

At the very end of the celebration, all gurubai together offered the Acandalapratihatarayo, the song that Swami Vivekananda created for his Most Beloved Master, Shri Ramakrishna!!!

Sananda and Madhri who served as the MCs

Here we would like to share the words that Sananda, one of the MC’s of the ceremony, spoke after the Puja and speeches had been completed.

And to end, we will share the Master’s words to all.

 

* * *

“We have received such powerful messages from these eight gurubai. Again this year, we have had such a deeply potent and meaningful time. “There is only the Eternal Truth that God is the only Reality!”—hearing these speeches I felt like each and every person was declaring that!

I truly felt that Shri Ramakrishna, the way he lived, his Satori, his teachings, and his workings have surely been communicated to our hearts after a century and a half, and at the same time, I feel that all of this [was made possible] because of Shri Mahayogi’s Existence and Guidance.

One time, Shri Mahayogi mentioned the following words about Shri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda:

‘Because Shri Ramakrishna was so excessively pristine, his workings were also pristine, therefore he performed such enormous works that they are incomparable, paralleled by none. The Existence of Truth travelled throughout the world, and planted seeds that go on eternally. There is … no way to express him but Brahman itself.’

Shri Ramakrishna’s Satori and the way he lived—just as his direct disciples who surely inherited these things, and just like with the Ramakrishna Mission, which serves as their base, may each and every one of us, and this Mahayogi Mission inherit the sacred Satori of our most beloved Master, Shri Mahayogi, and declare Sanatana Dharma throughout the world by taking it upon ourselves to become the tools of God!

On this auspicious day, I humbly offer my everything to the holy feet of all Avatara and of Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa, a great being who guides us through unfathomable divinity, a manifestation of Brahman itself. And I declare that I will do that!”

Sananda

*

 

Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa
at Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela 2019. 4. 7

 

“Whenever the world is filled with unrighteousness, and the Truth or Justice declines and is forgotten, at that time, I myself appear on this earth in order to annihilate the wicked and to reestablish the principles of Justice (Dharma)”—[these words of Krishna express] a reason for the [incarnation and existence of] the Avatara, the incarnations of God on earth.

And there is another reason, “There is no duty for me to act [in the world],” nor do I have anything to gain or attain—that means he does not have karma, therefore there is nothing that he must do in the world—“yet, I am engaged in action so that all will follow my example”—[as these words of Krishna express], the Avatara, taking on human form, demonstrate concretely the way people should live through the actions they take in their own lives.

During Buddha’s time, the ideal way of living [for the realization of the Truth] that he taught was to become a monk. However, times have changed, and in this current time, becoming a monk is not easy. Nay, it is rather not even necessary to distinguish between monks and householders anymore. A complete renunciate in ancient India lived in solitude on a mountain or in a forest, nearly naked, so this is not how it is in Japan, where becoming a monk means living in a temple where everything [you need to live comfortably] is already provided. The condition in the present age is such that there is no longer any meaning in becoming a monk. Therefore, there is no need to distinguish between monks and householders. Each respective person, in each respective situation, can realize the Truth! Because the Truth already exists here. It is not something that you go somewhere to acquire. What you have to do is simply get rid of the obstacles, the activities of the mind, that are slightly (smiling) covering the Truth. That is what Shri Ramakrishna referred to as discrimination and renunciation. If they are practiced, pure faith is born naturally [in you], and then that will lead to that faith getting closer and closer to the Truth; and then [eventually], you will become one with the Truth and all the actions performed for the rest of life, that is to say, the way you live, will become exemplary. That is what Krishna refers to as actions without any intentions or attachments. And also, there is a secret hidden within the flow of change of the era, and an example is discreetly set for the future.  Because everything is True Existence, in other words, the Truth of God, and Its manifestation. The mantra that expressed That straightforwardly is ‘Om Tat Sat Om’.”

Then Shri Mahayogi, with a smile and light tone of voice, said, “Now, everyone together.” Joyful laughter arose from all.

 Disciples: Om Tat Sat Om.

Shri Mahayogi: One more time.

Disciples: Om Tat Sat Om!

 

With Our Eternal Gratitude and Commitment,
Jai Sanatana Dharma!
Jai Satguru Avatara!
Jai Satrugu Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa!

Jai Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa!

Om Tat Sat, Om!

There is only That!

 

***

A tour to the Prema Ashrama through the Ninnaji Temple guided by Mr. Takahashi, wearing a formal and traditional Japanese style Kimono

Gopala leading a tour through the cherry blossoms

Inside the Ashrama, the music has already begun

Thinking of Shri Ramakrishna, viewing the Map of the Kali temple in Dakshineswar

Reading of The Gospel of Shri Ramakrishna, Hare Rama was sung by all, Anandamali and Prapatti from NY were present

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Hare Rama Hare Rama~!

Tears, Laughter and, Joy Joy Joy


Om Tat Sat, Om!

Echo From The Cave: 111

Sunday April 7, 2019 NYC

Celebration:
Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela 2019
—The Third Ceremony of the Divine Manifestations—

“Whenever there is a decline in righteousness and an increase in unrighteousness,
at that time I manifest myself on earth.”
—Bhagavad Gita 4:7

“To protect the righteous, to annihilate the wicked,
and to reestablish the principles of Dharma,
I appear on this earth, age after age.”
—Bhagavad Gita 4:8

“There is no duty for me to do in all the three worlds,
nor do I have anything to gain or attain.
Yet, I am engaged in prescribed duties.”

—Bhagavad Gita 3:22

“For if I did not carefully perform the prescribed duties,
all men would follow my path in all respects.”

—Bhagavad Gita 3:23

“If I ceased to perform prescribed actions,
all these worlds would perish.
I would be responsible for the pandemonium that would prevail,
and would thereby destroy the peace of the human race.”

—Bhagavad Gita 3:24

“As ignorant people perform their duties with attachment to the results,
so should the wise act without attachment,
for the sake of leading people on the right path.”

—Bhagavad Gita 3:25

 

The Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela ceremony is set to begin at 2pm in Kyoto, which is 1am in New York time. Today is the day that we contemplate upon the existence of the Avatara, with gratitude for their having descended onto this earth to lead us to Eternal Life, our true nature, our true Self—God.

If you would like to know the meaning of this special ceremony click here for Echo 76, published last year. And to read more about the focus of this year’s ceremony, Shri Ramakrishna, click here for Echo 109.

Jai SANATANA DHARMA!!!
Jai SATGURU SHRI RAMAKRISHNA PARAMAHANSA!!!
JAI SATGURU SHRI MAHAYOGI PARAMAHANSA!!!

 

Echo From The Cave: 110

Tuesday Mar 26, 2019 NYC

Learnings from Satsangha and the Study in Practice Program:
The Teaching of Tapas

 

To hear the words of Truth is a great gift. Yet, no matter how beautiful the words of Truth are when we hear them, no matter how they may reach through and touch our hearts, if we only hear them we cannot truly understand. Understanding comes through experience and experience comes through actual practice. In order to put the words of Truth into actual practice, we must first study them, think about them in relation to our own life and apply them.

Here we would like to introduce the efforts of one practitioner from New York who has come to understand exactly that, and is striving to put the teaching into action. In the following writing, Karuna shares her learnings from a recent Satsangha (published in Pranavadipa, Vol. 52) and her first time attending the NY Study in Practice Program. Her example is truly practical and easy for anyone to relate to and thereby learn from and apply for themselves.

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Mind

The Teaching of Tapas
In Shri Mahayogi’s first Satsangha in New York this year, there were a few prevalent themes. One that stood out for me was tapas, which came from the opening question “How does one create tapas?” It was very useful to hear Shri Mahayogi’s definition of tapas: Tapas is born out of the pain of the mind.” Then, the Master explained that when the mind is in conflict with the teachings of Truth, the mind experiences pain, “then tapas arises.”  Shri Mahayogi very simply and directly described tapas as akin to having a power, “the power to burn away the impurity within the mind.” It did not take long for me to feel that I was being pushed face to face with the resistance of my own mind to go through tapas. And that ironically, this avoidance of the discomfort of tapas has been a cause of suffering in and of itself! It took a bit of calming the mind down before I could confront the Truth of this teaching and begin to see how it affects me.

After hearing this teaching in Satsangha and calming down a little, internalizing it required me to sort through ideas and to look into the processes that my mind tends to go through on a daily basis. First, I realized that I have to accept that my mind is in a state of suffering most of the time because it is involved in constant acrobatics to try to avoid the discomfort of tapas. Secondly, I realized that my mind has a choice to make at every moment: to follow the teachings of the Truth (the gradual training of the mind toward selflessness), or to follow the way of karma (the way that pleases the mind and body temporarily, in other words, sensory or intellectual satisfaction). This is what Shri Mahayogi has called the “fork in the road.” In this decisive instant, which happens at multiple moments of the day, is when tapas (heat) has the potential to arise.

Reflecting on my process, if I choose to follow karma (the way of the senses and the ego-based intellect), I usually experience some temporary relief from the discomfort or anxiety caused by a particular want, desire or longing of some sort. It can be as simple as wanting a dessert or a snack, an intellectually or emotionally stimulating conversation, reading intriguing information, doing random web searches, buying something, harboring emotions, developing life plans…regardless of the situation and the particular agitation that I may be trying to appease or deal with, it seems that I have to come to terms with the understanding that any distraction, excitement, enjoyment, satisfaction, or fulfillment that arises from the way of karma does not actually fulfill or end the wants of my mind. I asked myself why that is so, and suspected that it may be because fulfilling a desire actually gives rise to more desires, and therefore the idea of permanently satisfying a desire must be a paradox or a non-Truth to begin with.  I sense that my mind is aware of this paradox, and suffers too from realizing the futility of its endless aspirations.

If, on the other hand, I choose to follow the way of the Truth, I have to be willing to put my mind through another type of struggle; I have to put my effort to convince the mind that there is no real need or possibility to fulfill a particular want. And, this “convincing” or “proving the mind wrong” can only happen, as Shri Mahayogi and senior practitioners express, through the intentional and tireless practice of discrimination, which does take effort and perseverance, but is the very practice that generates the necessary heat of tapas. And, I also came to realize that in order to go through this, the firmness of my understanding of the teachings of Truth and my faith in Shri Mahayogi as my inner guide and light toward Satori, must firmly support discrimination and tapas. This aspect was confirmed and reinforced in the NY sangha Study in Practice group, a program that aims at guiding us to transform ourselves by putting the teaching of Yoga into concrete action. I had finally become ready to join the program and had just begun attending for the first time a week after Shri Mahayogi returned to Japan. Coincidentally, in that first meeting, the topic was Kriya Yoga, presented through a visual chart that read: Vital Daily Practice: Minimize the pain-bearing obstacles to prepare the mind to attain the Truth. On the chart, tapas was described and illustrated as one of three components of this “vital daily practice.” It also put into words this powerful statement in the first person about the relationship to tapas: “I accept and welcome this opportunity because it purifies me and helps me overcome the obstacles to reach my goal.” On that day, I understood that all the contents of Kriya Yoga are necessary and are the most practical support for the mind through the process of purification.

Since then, I have reflected, “I experience heat when the mind is in pain. And, the mind can be in pain because it is craving to fulfill a desire based on a non-Truth, or, on the contrary, because it is being pushed to accept the Truth. Both scenarios can generate pain and heat, but one of them gradually results in what Shri Mahayogi described in Sastsangha as ‘becoming free from the various relative dualistic constraints.’ This is what I experience as the painful contradictions that follow the wild horse of emotions, opinions and thoughts: a state of ignorance.” The intense push that came from the teaching about tapas during Satsangha, followed by the clarity of visual breakdown that was provided in the study group, led me to realize that I have no alternative but to admit that running away from tapas only delays the purification of my mind and keeps me “bound” by the whims and shifts of an untamed force.

The most valuable learning which I received from the Satsangha was that I have an absolute need for tapas. It also opened me up to finally recognize the precious and life-changing choice that is in front of me every instant. It is certain that if I am practicing under Shri Mahayogi and if I want to experience any significant progress toward Yoga, I have to conjure up the strength, or at least take a chance to face my mind’s ignorance, endure the heat of practice and put my faith in Yoga, not “as if” my life depended on it, but because experiencing the real purpose of my life completely depends on it. Right away, I would like to change my attitude from resisting tapas to being grateful for this heat that can “burn” ignorance away, and begin by trying it every day with a little more courage and conviction until it becomes an integral part of my daily practice.

Karuna, March 2019

 

Echo From The Cave: 109

Saturday Mar 23, 2019 NYC

ANNOUNCEMENT:
Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela
Ceremony in Celebration of the Divine Incarnations
on 
Sunday, April 7, Kyoto

 

Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa

—Do you believe in God, Sir?
Yes, I do.
—Can you prove to me that he exists, Sir?
Yes.
—Why are you so sure you will be able to convince me?
Because at this moment I see him more clearly than I see you.

(The words of Shri Ramakrishna in answer to Narendra,
later known as Swami Vivekananda)

 

God exists! In the 19th century, there appeared on earth a God-man, Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, to put an end to the prolonged age of spiritual and religious chaos in India, as well as in the world at large, and to lead mankind beyond the particularities of religions or sects to the universal religion—Eternal Truth, Sanatana Dharma. His gospel rang out gloriously in the land of India, and its vibration spread out across the world as the immortal vibration.

Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela is the Celebration that we initiated in Kyoto in 2017 for the purpose of celebrating Sanatana Dharma (the Eternal Truth), which has been in existence continuously without break since ancient times, as well as the incarnations of the various Avatara, who are considered to be the embodiment of God.

For the Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela that will be held this spring, our focus will be on the Great Saint, Shri Ramakrishna. The ceremony last year was wonderful, and we felt as if we were mesmerized, as if we were resonating with the heart of the True Awakened Being, Buddha. This year, through Shri Ramakrishna, let us come even closer to Sanatana Dharma.

How awed we were when we first encountered Shri Ramakrishna’s existence and life! The material world that existed as if it was a given, became fleeting, and we came to know that there is a subtle realm that expands beyond it. It must have been unbelievable to see that such a spiritual realm exists! If we had not seen our great teacher, Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa, with our own eyes, we could not have possibly believed it. Alas, we cannot believe unless we see the evidence with our own eyes. Through the connection to the Avatara, how much people’s lives come to be completely transformed from the very foundation, how much the world we see with our own eyes reverses into an entirely different landscape—this we all know well from our own experience. Because our lives have been imbued with spirituality, and our lives have become filled with joy!

The divinity of Shri Ramakrishna that captivates our seeking hearts is beyond space and time! In this grand celebration, we would like to amply taste his divine presence, sense his sacred breath, melt into his genuine, pristine heart, and, upon the feet of this great Avatara, offer to vow ourselves to the Eternal Truth.

Om Tat Sat Om!

 

Echo From The Cave: 108

Monday March 18, 2019 NYC

ANNOUNCEMENT:
Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa will visit Taipei, Taiwan
April 16th – 24th, 2019!

 

Shri Mahayogi will offer 3 Satsangha.

Thurs. April 18th, 2:30-4:10pm
Sat. April 20th, 2:30-4:10pm
Tues. April 23rd. 7:30-9:10pm

Location:   Joyful Living
No. 7, Lane 12, Jinmen Street, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City

If you are in Taiwan, traveling to Taiwan, or know someone in Taiwan, we urge you to take advantage of this precious opportunity to learn and experience the Truth of Yoga firsthand!