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Vol. 61

Teachings of Shri Mahayogi

Matsuyama Yoga Circle, Matsuyama, Japan, 2019
Learning the Truth and Applying Discrimination
Eternal Existence

Seeking That Which is Certain & Irrefutable
Gaining Back your True Self
Postscript: a Further Blessing

Testimonies from Actual Practitioners

The “Yoga Explained” Series by Sananda
“Yoga is the restraint of the activity of the mind.”
Mind—The Psychology of the Subconscious and Its Effects

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Teachings of Shri Mahayogi

Translation of Satsangha
May 18, 2019
Matsuyama Yoga Circle, Matsuyama, Japan

In response to the disciples’ passionate plea, Shri Mahayogi is visiting Matsuyama again this year. How eagerly the people of Ehime prefecture have awaited the day of the Master’s arrival! When Shri Mahayogi enters the room, some faces are shining brightly with smiles, while others shed tears of relief. The room is brimming with ineffable thoughts. Shri Mahayogi looks across the room and pours compassionate gazes upon each and every one of them.

Learning the Truth and Applying Discrimination

(Ms. Tamai, who is sitting right in front of Shri Mahayogi, begins to speak with a bit of nervousness. Back in the Satsangha in Kyoto in March, she asked a question about mental independence, and Shri Mahayogi taught, “You must seek the Truth.” Afterwards, through applying the teachings in action, she began to recognize the fact that she thinks and acts by making the idea of “my thoughts,” which is a very vague thing, as her basic standard of judgement. She asks what she should do to overcome these thoughts of the mind.)

MASTER: The word “Independence” means to stand in self-reliance, in other words, it is the state in which there is no dependence on anything else. However, the mind, as soon as it is born, establishes itself by constantly seeking and becoming dependent on something. The objects of dependence vary from person to person, yet the structure is the same. Now, what can you do in order to work for independence? You must work to eliminate the mind’s habit of dependency. In order to make itself dependent—it seems that the mind is carried away by something it’s attached to, and the mind just can’t resist, so it becomes dependent on it. Therefore, through learning the Truth you have to discriminate the objects of the mind’s attachment. By discerning whether the object of the mind’s attachment is right or not, you will find out that the object will bring neither true happiness nor freedom; the dependency relation comes to be removed. By eliminating the various objects of attachment in the mind, the mind itself can create a condition of independence for the first time.

I mentioned earlier that it is through learning the Truth [that you must discriminate the objects of the mind’s attachment]. Here is what the Truth teaches: even though the mind does not seek anything, or I should say, to desire and depend on something is rather a mistake for the mind, and in the end it will bring more suffering as a result. Instead, by emptying the mind, and by removing attachments, if you eliminate this relationship of dependency—then, you can find the true Happiness and Freedom that is within you. That is why you must learn the Truth. Indeed, the most important thing is to know the Truth; nevertheless, somehow no one teaches that no matter where you go (laughs), whether it’s school, work, or society. Because [it is of the utmost importance], you must seek It out and discover this Truth. By doing that, the mind will easily create a condition of independence. Yoga teaches this Truth, and further it enables you to transform the body and breath to accommodate it. You can trust it since it has been practiced [and proven] for over two to three thousand years. Proceed in this way. 

(Ms. Tamai thanks Shri Mahayogi and steadily gazes upon him with shining eyes.)

Ms. Wada: I realize that my aim to continue practicing Yoga has slipped into focusing on improving my life, or my daily life. When my daily life goes well, the thoughts toward God weaken, and when things are tough, the mind shifts to stronger thoughts toward God—my feelings fluctuate and my practice of Yoga has become something for mundane life; so I’d like to shift that back on track somehow; yet, I have not been able to even take the first step. Please guide me on how I should work on this.  

MASTER: This may be a stage that everyone goes through. If one has intense faith or wisdom, or something like that, then one will be more attentive to them than the situations in one’s daily life—however, it is quite rare to be endowed with that much purity. So, it is a fact that, inevitably, one has to proceed even by going through this inner conflict. However, the way to proceed is not that difficult. It boils down to discrimination—to discern whether your thoughts or actions are correct or not. This approach is discrimination. Therefore, when you practice discrimination, you must use the correct standard of measure. If you do it only within your mind [without using the teachings of the Truth], then since the most important base, the tool with which you are using to measure it, can expand and contract at will and be too flexible, your judgement will be pulled by the mind’s thoughts; therefore you need an absolute standard of measure, or a scale. That’s where [the need] to learn the scriptures and the Truth comes in. Through applying these teachings, you weigh your own mind. Then you can see how far off your mind is. And you correct it. If you cannot succeed at once, by continuing to repeat it again and again, and also through continuing to take action using the body, such as with asana and meditation, you will come to be able to practice solid discrimination. So you must practice discrimination continuously.

Mr. Kenji Sayama: I started Yoga three years ago because I wanted to have strength of mind and a stout heart. This is about not worrying about what others think. I am able to reject that, making the mind not worry about negative evaluations others have of me; but when it comes to positive ones, in fact they become a support for me, and although I remain humble, still I cannot get rid of that because I feel happy about it. How should I approach this?

MASTER: This too will be resolved by discrimination-related things. What is the worth of these negative opinions? Are they absolute? You can say the same about positive opinions. What worth do they have? Are they absolute? Either way, they are quite vague and uncertain. You need to understand that if they are vague and uncertain, that means that they are utterly unreliable, and that it is pathetic and truly foolish to have the mind be swayed by these unreliable things; and you must work to make your mind have strength and become independent.

As was asked in the first question—and in this case it is about being judged [by others]—in order to become independent you must establish a stout heart, an immovable mind where you do not become upset, no matter what happens, by aiming for that as your ideal. So, then how do we create an immovable mind? (emphasis) Again, to have enormous belief is necessary. In that belief, as its core, the center, there has to be something that is certain and absolute. If it is subject to relative change, then since its degree of worth and the evaluation of it will change throughout the ages and shift with the zeitgeist and the social conditions, then it isn’t reliable either. Then one can conclude that the thing that is absolute is nothing but the Truth. Whether it is the past, future or present, it is the same. By learning that, and telling it to your mind, then the mind ought to gain more strength. In short, after all, if the mind changes its face easily every time due to things such as embarrassment for being criticized or elation caused by being praised, then the agitation of the mind will never stop. However, by having belief in something that is immovable, your mind is able to finally become immovable for the first time, and thus independence comes. Then, no matter what kind of voices you hear, you are no longer affected. And, you will be able to act and establish your action based on that belief. Train yourself in this way.

Eternal Existence

Woman A: I am relatively new to Yoga; since I started raising children my interest in Yoga has grown and I’d like to learn it now. My older child is five and the younger one is three. The older son has a mild developmental disability and has been diagnosed on the autism spectrum. My husband’s and my parents, and my husband too, are very understanding about it, and everyone is raising him with love, embracing him with warm hearts. I am so blessed [to be in such a situation], yet in my mind, at times I become anxious, I compare him to others, or have moments when I wish he didn’t have the disability. At times, I don’t know how to control my emotions.

MASTER: Even though his external symptoms might be inborn and inevitable, there may be a possibility that his condition can improve with treatment in the future and through various methods. Even if that is down the line, with respect to your son, try to see his Spirit or the Existence that is his Essence. In this Essence, there is no difference between him and a neuro-typical person. They’re exactly the same. In fact, what I’m going to say may be misconstrued, but very few people with developmental disabilities commit crimes. Almost none—we don’t hear about them [on the news]. On the other hand, in the case of people who do not have disabilities, they may often commit heinous and horrible crimes. I sometimes wonder if [neuro-typical people are] any better. Apart from that, try to focus only on the Essence of your child and continue to raise him. Through doing that, he will be able to grow up at ease.  

Woman A: What do you mean by “Essence”?

MASTER: The Essence is the Soul, the Soul that abides deeper within the mind, also called Existence. Even if you dissect the body, since you cannot find it as a physical object, it is invisible to the eyes. However, It dwells within everything. Not only humans, but animals, flowers, this universe, this air, this Existence dwells within all. That is the Essence. That Essence develops into the outward manifestations of various forms, such as humans or flora—a variety of things. Furthermore, differences in ability and situations are also brought about. Yet, these are inconsequential—they are things that continuously change but eventually disappear. However, the Essence never disappears. It is eternally existent. So that True Existence is already brimming with Bliss, and it is Joy itself. (with a tender, encouraging tone) That is why It definitely exists within your child too, and the same thing exists within you, too, and as you focus on that, everything should work out well.

Woman A: In order to see the Essence, do I need to practice asana?

MASTER: (with a light tone) Right. It is very beneficial to practice asana. The benefit of practicing asana is that your body becomes healthy and strong. Furthermore, the way your breathing functions will change. Breathing is an autonomous function, so even if you ask the mind to compose itself, when you become nervous, or become upset or excited by some stimuli [it changes] on its own. When that happens, your breath is disturbed. In other words, if you can manage to keep your breathing calm all the time, then disturbance cannot enter into you. Through practicing asana, such [autonomic] functions of the respiratory system can be transformed. If the breath becomes smooth, that will affect the mind in the same way, so the mind will no longer be excited, nor agitated, nor disturbed that much by stimulation, such that the mind will create a condition as if being immovable all the time. There are so many benefits! So you should continue to practice asana. And also, it would be better if you learn this wisdom of Yoga, in other words, the teachings of the Truth, a little at a time. 

Woman A: Thank you.

Ms. Shibazaki (Yukti’s mother): I didn’t think so much about this when I was young, but as I get older, it becomes a more realistic issue to think about when death comes. Is there a way to prepare our minds for it?

(Shri Mahayogi and Ms. Shibazaki look at each other and laugh, and Shri Mahayogi answers lightly.)

MASTER: Of course, everyone is concerned about this issue. However, true Existence, which I mentioned just now, is nothing other than you yourself. This will never die. What dies is only the physical body. (Ms. Shibazaki: Right, yes.) Since the physical body has been born, its fate is to die eventually. However, what is called the Existence, that is the Essence, or what is called the Soul, is never born, so it will never die. It exists eternally. Understand this well and firmly, and teach it to your mind. The mind does not know that. That is why its anxiety towards death and that which is beyond death turns into fear. Learn this point well and firmly.

Seeking That Which is Certain & Irrefutable

(Ms. Okamoto begins to speak in a low voice. She expresses that she encountered Yoga 3 or 4 years ago, but she has been having a hard time continuing to attend class, so then when she thought about the cause of it, she thought that she must feel some fear towards Yoga. She has always sought and found joy and happiness in her relationships to people while living her life, but there is a concern within her that as one deepens Yoga, whatever one cares about will have to be given up. She asks how she can face Yoga.)

MASTER: Yoga seeks what is absolutely indestructible, that which is the Truth. However, the happiness in this world is imperfect and can be destroyed at any moment. That is something that everyone has experienced. Regardless, the reality of the world is that people keep seeking happiness by changing the object from one thing to another, continuing to swap one object for the next. This operation, the causal relation between the mind’s thoughts and their results, is called karma. So no matter what the mind thinks within the realm of karma, whether there is a time when things are going well or going badly, they too will change, often ending in hopelessness, disappointment, and eventually pessimism. In the case of Yoga, practitioners will eventually stop being interested in these imperfect things. Rather, practitioners seek what is Real, indestructible, unchangeable, and so forth. And Yoga also teaches that. Therefore, at first, it is important to grasp that which is certain. Through practicing this way, the way you have looked at the world or at various objects up to that point may transform, and as the mind itself changes, transformation will occur for certain.

According to what you just told me, you have a fear of losing what is important to you by progressing in Yoga. However, that is not the case. You can continue practicing in the same situation you are living in. In fact, you will come to see clearly the heart of what those things are that you have thought to be truly important to you. Therefore, it is a pity to give up or hesitate to practice Yoga [due to that fear] when you have only begun practicing, since you will at least receive positive effects physically and mentally just by practicing Yoga. As you continue, various worries and questions may arise at times, however if you continue, no matter what happens, things will go in a better direction. I would say that I hope you continue rather than jumping to conclusions.  

Gaining Back your True Self

(Last year, Mr. Dazai learned how to let go of the obsession for seeking approval from others. He begins to ask a question by looking at the notes he took at that time.)

Mr. Dazai: Shri Mahayogi taught me to not be bound by a specific view of value but to find the view of value that is certain, to acquire new habits and learn the infallible Truth, to stop needing other’s approval, to not label myself to be this and that, and to eliminate my preconceptions and assumptions. Even so, I am all about complaining, making excuses, and being self-deceiving, and not only am I not able or even making an attempt to practice what you taught me, but I am continuing not to be able to remove these obsessions. I am truly having a hard time every day. I would like to know how I can seriously move towards these aims. And even though I want to stop complaining and making excuses, I just can’t help myself. Please teach me the importance of stopping the complaints and excuses.

MASTER: It’s important to train yourself to practice the advice I gave you last year. If you have not been doing that it means you’re slacking off a bit. So recommit to it again and continue.

(With a stronger tone) And if you are stuck, if you still continue to dilly-dally, then you must ask yourself this most core issue—who you are to yourself. You may explain by responding that you are someone’s husband or father, or responding with a particular job title at work. (sternly) However, these are not your true Self! These are merely temporary phenomena created by conditions and environments. These are not the true form. Then, what in the world is the true form, the true Self?

(Powerfully towards the entire audience) This is the most direct and urgent question to ask yourself. That is why I would like everyone to buckle down and tackle this problem seriously. To know your true Self. Various worries and sufferings are created by the false self and the mind. The true Self has nothing to do with them. That is why I would like you to gain back your true Self. If you do that, then all sufferings cease. The true Self, as I just mentioned now, is formless, yet (puts his fist on the chest) It exists within your center as the Soul, as Existence, or as God. You yourself are That. If you experience that—various inconsequential problems, complaints, and issues that cause these complaints—these things will no longer have any significance to you; they do not even amount to dust. Therefore, take up and pursue this supremely important self-inquiry.

(Shri Mahayogi’s spirited words vibrate deeply and strongly within—some are startled, while others have tears in their eyes. Forceful yet compassionate vibrations fill the room. Shri Mahayogi continues to direct his words to each and every one of the attendees.)

MASTER: Yoga teaches asana and the ways of various actions, what the best way or ideal way is to proceed in human society and on this earth. Therefore, in this manner, learning the scriptures is an aid to develop universal thoughts and actions that bring about positive harmony among all beings and things. Furthermore, the great purpose of Yoga is to know the true Self. (changing to a gentle tone) It seems that everyone is suffering due to losing their true Self. In True Existence, there is no suffering at all, and it is already [completely] content by itself. There is only That. To know that, to realize that, and live that—that is the great aim of Yoga. If you can understand that, then you will truly be able to love everyone dearly—whether family or stranger, or people on the other side of the planet—and everything else, and thus will arise harmony and peace.

(Smiling) Don’t assume that that is the story of some far away future, because That already exists within you yourself; it is that which is most immediate to you. It is the nearest, most immediate thing to you! (with compassion) Because, you are That, each one of you. There is nothing more intimate than that. If you know that, then anything ought to go naturally and amicably, whether it is about your family, your community, or whatever things and events there might be.

(Shri Mahayogi’s guidance seems to have a great impact on everyone who is there and profoundly impresses upon them that this is their life’s mission.)

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(In the Satsangha that were held for two days, sincere questions based on actually applying the practice were asked one after another without pause, and the time was filled with richness.)

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Postscript: a Further Blessing

 (Shortly afterwards, the Sangha in Matsuyama received even further blessings. Matsuyama Yoga Circle has been renamed, with Shri Mahayogi bestowing the name of “Yoga Sara Studio.” Sara means Truth, the Essence. The activities there in Matsuyama began as a small class in 2005 and then gradually developed into a place where many seekers of Truth come to gather today.)

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Testimonials from a Practitioner

The “Yoga Explained” Series
“Yoga is the restraint of the activity of the mind.”

by Sananda, November, 1997 Kyoto

This astonishingly bold statement has been the guiding beacon for Yoga practitioners since ancient times, from many millennia ago. Let us take a look at the complete picture of Yoga, while expounding on the meaning of this great sutra and the path to its realization.

Yoga, which has been passed down for approximately 5000 years in India, is a path for realizing Satori. What can be said to be one of the main characteristics of Yoga is the fact that Yoga encompasses diverse philosophies, from the dualistic faith towards God common to most religions, to even Advaita Vedanta, which is non-dualism, considered to be the ultimate philosophy; and yet Yoga is extremely practical and empirical in nature. This is a crucial point. In order for us to realize Satori, [the path] must be practical. On the other hand, however, if there is no philosophy, our minds may not be able to proceed or understand. Satori is beyond philosophy; even so, philosophy is needed in order to nurture our understanding.

Unlike Buddhism or Christianity, Yoga is not a religion that has a single founder. Religions have [typically] been formed by later disciples of the founders of those religions, based on the Satori or Realization of those founders and their teachings. (Nature-worship is a bit different from this case, and it is excluded from this statement.) Yoga was also transmitted by many Holy Beings who achieved Satori, however they are not considered to be the founders of Yoga. What is quite interesting about the transmission of Yoga is that Yoga was not handed down by a specific Holy Being, but it has been transmitted with certainty and without interruption by a few famous Holy Beings, as well as countless unknown Holy Beings, as if the most ancient Guru continues to reappear in different forms as the ages go by—without interruption. Yoga was never transmitted through scriptures; rather it is through Satori that it has been transmitted from Guru to disciple. For this reason, Yoga is always filled with a breath of fresh air. While providing the teachings appropriate to the era, Yoga has transmitted the Universal Truth. The teachings of Yoga are a complete revelation. They are teachings that come directly from Satori itself. They are not something that was reached by philosophical ruminations or speculations. This difference should be sensed clearly by those who have touched it. The words of Holy Beings carry peculiar vibrations. They go beyond, transcending both philosophy and religion. This is the vibration of Satori itself.1

There is another characteristic of Yoga. It is actually related to what was stated earlier, that Yoga does not force a specific teaching or blind faith towards God. Yoga can provide philosophy and methods suited to each person’s temperament because it has both the breadth and the depth that enable it to do that. There are four main paths and they are known as: raja yoga, bhakti yoga, jnana yoga, and karma yoga. Their goals are exactly the same. The goal of Yoga is expressed with various words such as “Liberation,” “Oneness with God,” “Self-Realization,” and “Satori,” but the content of all of these is the same. The difference in these four yoga is in the way of approach towards the goal. Just like when you climb to the top of the mountain there are various routes, in Yoga too, the way of approaching toward the goal varies according to the characteristics of the person. We humans have such various and complex minds. No two people ever have the same mind. Just as it is said that the realization of Satori is about eliminating the ignorance of the mind, most tasks in Yoga are done within the mind. Therefore, it is not appropriate to provide only one single path to everyone. There is a need to provide various paths that fit the tendencies of each respective mind. That means that in applying the practice of Yoga into action, the path suited to each person is shown through the direct teachings of the Guru; yet there are four main yoga that this path is generally categorized into. It is very important to remember this in order to go further in your practice of the discipline, as well as to understand others. For modern humans who live such diverse lifestyles, all four yoga are needed. The content of each respective yoga will be explained in time.

Now, the sutra at the beginning of this article is the most important line—chapter 1, verse 2—in the scripture of raja yoga, the Yoga Sutra.2 And, the teaching in this sutra holds the power that can explain perfectly the state of mind that can be experienced and mastered in the other three ways of yoga.3 “Restraint of the activity of the mind”… In comparison to all other animals, the greatest characteristic that distinguishes human beings is that they possess quite rich workings of the mind—intellect and emotions. What exactly does it mean to restrain the activities of that mind? Does it mean to give up our humanity? It can’t possibly be that. The Realization of Yoga is the complete Enlightenment of humanity, just as in the state of Buddha and of Shri Mahayogi. We must correctly understand this sutra.4 We will save the attempt at a detailed explanation of this sutra for a later point, but what happens when we realize it? The next sutra explains that.

“Then the Seer remains in Its own natural state.”
Yoga Sutra 1.3

These two sutra can explain the entire system of Yoga. The “Seer” is Atman (the true Self) in the philosophy of Yoga, or God. To abide in it is Satori. And in order to realize this, “restraining the activities of the mind” is required. Our “true Self,” which is our original nature, is hidden by the “activities of the mind.” What we must do is to eliminate the “activities of the mind.”

Truly, the aim of all the various ways of yoga is to realize that. We practice [the teaching of] Yoga in order to realize Atman. The aim of every discipline of the practice of Yoga is to “restrain the activities of the mind.” Yet, it is not only in Yoga, it is the same in the practices of Buddhism and Christianity.5 For the purpose of realizing God, the activity of the mind is what hinders us. We must understand the true nature of this activity of the mind correctly, experience it for ourselves, then work to quiet down the activities of the mind through Yoga, and at long last, we must restrain it—“niroddha”—completely.

In the next volume, the true nature of the activities of the mind and the method to control it will be explained.

“As a ripple on the surface of the lake does not reflect the true form of the moon,
the stirrings of our mind veil the Truth.
If we still the waves of the mind through Yoga,
the true Self emerges alone.”

                      —Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa

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[1] Indeed, Shri Mahayogi’s teachings are great in their content and their preciousness, yet their greatest substance is conveyed by the subtle vibration that is transmitted through them, even more subtle than the words themselves. This is an effect that is due to the vibration of the very mind of Shri Mahayogi himself. The greatest blessing of being with a Holy Being is utterly and absolutely this fact. Simply by being in the proximity of such Holy Beings, our minds are easily led to an elevated condition.

[2] It has been conveyed that the Yoga Sutra was compiled by Patanjali. However, it is in fact not known definitively whether it was compiled by one person or more than one person. There are many opinions regarding the time period in which the Yoga Sutra is thought to have been compiled, from 5000 B. C. to 300 A.D. But, these details are not that important because Patanjali was not the founder of raja yoga, but rather a systematic compiler of pre-existing thoughts and methods. Its contents are consistently scientific from beginning to end. “Sutra” means thread, and each thread of the sutra is put into extremely concise sentences. However, for serious Yoga practitioners, these short sutra are teachings with unfathomable depth.

[3] Raja yoga can be considered to be a comprehensive yoga that contains the other three types of yoga. The consistent, scientific approach is its strong characteristic, at that same time it is a yoga that includes elements of devotion to a personified deity in [the practice of] bhakti yoga, the philosophical approach in [the practice of] jnana yoga, and selfless actions in [the practice of] karma yoga. Also, it can be said that it is a well-balanced Yoga, since it takes into account both the physiological and psychological aspects that make up the structure of a human being. The psychological analysis in raja yoga is remarkably effective, removing any methods of practice that contain blind faith or nonessential magical mysteries, while scientifically expounding on the power of the mind and the steps to Satori. This attitude benefits the understanding of the other types of yoga and of religion.

[4] The various teachings of Holy Beings are not the result of logical thinking. One must not forget that these teachings came directly from Satori, which is beyond logic. When the wisdom that comes from beyond the mind is translated into the languages of the world, it loses its perfection. We must try to understand their teachings through our common sense and past experiences, but it is important for us to bear in mind the fact that our understandings are still imperfect, and that the degree of understanding will gradually transform only as we practice the discipline of Yoga in the form of action. As Shri Mahayogi often says, as we go through experiencing small satori, our minds gradually open up. Consequently, even though these sutra might be perceived as a super-human state at first glance, we must learn their profound meaning and true intention. First, let us all humbly begin listening to the teachings. Then next, we should think deeply, ponder upon them and meditate on them.

[5] As Mother Theresa would often invoke these words [coming from the prayer of St. Francis]: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, may I bring love; Where there is offense, forgiveness; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is desperation, may I bring hope; Where there is sadness, let me bring joy; Because by forgetting oneself, we find the Truth. Because, it is in forgiving, that we are forgiven; It is in dying, that we are born to eternal life.”
These words, “it is in dying, that we are born to eternal life,” describe exactly these two sutra. The biggest cause of the activity of the mind is “ego,” and when this little self dies, one awakens into the true Self, Eternal, Immortal Atman. Mother Theresa’s life is nothing but an example of this. She gave up her life to the Lord and became a proof of Eternal Life.

 

 

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The “Yoga Explained” Series
Mind—The Psychology of the Subconscious and Its Effects

by Sananda, January 1998, Kyoto

In the last article, we took a look at the goal of Yoga by quoting from the scripture, the Yoga Sutra.

In order to realize the “true Self”—Atman—the mind’s activities must be eliminated. Let us attempt to understand the teaching of Shri Mahayogi, and based on the Yoga Sutra, why it is necessary for the “mind’s activities to cease,” as well as what we must do to achieve that according to the teaching of Shri Mahayogi and the Yoga Sutra.

The “mind’s activities” refers to the waves that arise in the mind—that is to say, “thoughts.” It means all activities of the mind, not only including “consciousness (on the surface-level)” but also the “subconscious (subtle thoughts and impressions that can be considered to be the cause of the thoughts)” in psychology. Beyond all these activities of the mind, your original nature, that which is the immortal true Self, exists alone. That exists right now. It was there before the beginning of the universe, and will continue to exist in the future, eternally. However, the activity of the mind—the waves of the mind—cover that. That is why, as Shri Mahayogi teaches us, we must still the ripples of the mind. (See the above article.)

In order to do so, we must correctly understand the real identity of the activities of the mind beforehand. We can lump the activities of the mind under “thoughts,” but if you look in more detail, that is a general term for all of the various activities of the mind, such as day-to-day thoughts, emotions and intentions. If you look at it from another angle, [within the activities of the mind,] there is recognition, distinction, memory, ego-consciousness and sleep. For example, there is a beautiful single lotus blossom. One recognizes the flower through a sensory organ, the eye. Next, the recognition that it’s a lotus flower happens. Through memory, one comes to know this lotus flower is used as a sacred symbol of Satori, and then the ego-consciousness, [with the idea] that this thing is good for “me” arises. The meaning of the lotus flower to that person is determined by the memory and the impressions from the underlying past experiences of it—sanskara.6 To a Yoga practitioner, the lotus flower induces holy waves in the mind due to it being symbolic of Satori. But to some people, even if one knows that the lotus flower is sacred, there may not arise any such impressions. It is dependent upon the degree of one’s past experiences around lotus flowers.

To someone who often worships God and Holy Beings sitting atop lotus flowers daily and understands the meaning well, just seeing a lotus flower or hearing the word “lotus,” might be enough to immediately imagine a form of God. That is because holy impressions that bring up the results of repeated actions and thoughts are accumulated deep within the subconscious as sanskara. The more you have these experiences and the more intense these experiences are, the stronger the power of the sanskara will be. For someone who likes to drink liquor, it may just take a bar sign for this person to start imaging the aroma of the liquor and automatically cross the threshold of the bar entrance. This effect is especially strong when there is a either a pleasurable experience or an unpleasant experience of discomfort and suffering for the “me” or the ego. The experience of pleasure and pain easily ensnares people’s minds. Then, one can’t stop thinking about them. The stronger the experience, the stronger the impression etched into the mind. And even if it’s been forgotten on the surface, if there is some sort of an experience (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch), it immediately comes back to life. That is the mechanism of the activities of the mind.

In this way, the issue with the activities of the mind is not the function of the mind itself; it is the creation of the uncontrollable waves in the mind resulting from the effects of sanskara, which are etched in due to the impressions coming from the mind attaching to various experiences. The activities that are done under the influence of sanskara create sanskara with similar tendencies as their result, and gain power. It is as if a string of drops of water merge together and eventually gouge the land into a great river. The sum total of these sanskara creates the form of “me,” of an individual or what is called the characteristics of an individual. It determines the patterns of thought and the actions of a person.

There are times we feel that we cannot control our own actions or thoughts, whether we like it or not. We all seek to be happy and want to behave in such a way. However, there is something that prevents us from attaining it. It is because various repetitious acts over a long time (including from past lives) have been steeped within the depths of the mind as sanskara. We cannot easily quit these actions. We cannot easily quit thinking in a certain patterned way, whether good or bad. To begin, we must first understand this correctly and firmly: every single action is affected by something.

What is even more problematic is that we think it is necessary to go through these various experiences in order to build a sound character. And, we think that to experience various things and enjoy life is itself the purpose of life. However, no matter how many experiences we go through under the influence of sanskara and karma, they only create new sanskara and karma, therefore, they have no meaning whatsoever for the attainment of true Happiness—Self-Realization. The biggest cause of this miserable cycle is ignorance. It is the ignorance of the Truth.

“Ignorance is, to look upon the non-eternal as eternal, the impure as pure,
the painful as pleasant, and the non-Self as the Self.”
Yoga Sutra 2.5

The sense of happiness and satisfaction gained from various experiences is temporary, it is never everlasting. The sense of these are what arise for an instant when the desires from sanskara are fulfilled. When these go unfulfilled, one feels unhappy. Life is a repetition of that. Everything passes. There are no perpetual experiences—no everlasting happiness or eternal unhappiness—in this world. With any sense of happiness or unhappiness, everything disappears one day; or everyone gets a respite from it through sleep, and through death. That is precisely why it is inevitable that humans seek it again and again. They are all under the illusion that is presented by the activity of the mind. One can gain everlasting Happiness only when one goes beyond the world and reaches immortal Truth. At that time, endless happiness is gained, or rather, one awakens into the fact that within oneself lies the source of Bliss.

Now, there is a way to get out of the stream of sanskara created by one’s own self. It is to create another big stream (sanskara). This stream arises in the process of applying the practice of Yoga into action. The entire interest, attention, and the attachments of the Yoga practitioner are simply focused on one single point: the Truth—God. That is a gigantic, sacred sanskara. That sanskara is dependent upon True Knowledge and it works to exterminate the other sanskara that come from ignorance. The entirety of the energy within the mind and the physical body is focused solely on this one point, letting almost all sanskara and karma disappear; ultimately, ego, the source of ignorance, losing its support structure comes to an end. That is the realization of Satori. The meditation of raja yoga, devotion to God in bhakti yoga, doing service for the benefit of others in karma yoga, and the inquiry into the Self in jnana yoga, all lead here.

The entire process of Yoga is the battle against the sanskara coming from pain-bearing obstacles. Sanskara itself is the very cause of the activity of the mind, and in order to restrain the activities of the mind, it requires the cessation of sanskara. To cease sanskara means that the mind becomes pure and is no longer affected by anything. In other words, the sanskara that had formed “me,” which is a very uncertain, unreliable individual, disappears and only the pure mind itself remains. At that time, it is just like the moon reflected on the surface of the lake without a single ripple, the true Self—the Truth—is reflected in the pristine and clear mind that has no waves whatsoever, and Atman (the true Self) realizes Its true nature.

The power of sanskara and karma is very strong. It is almost impossible to escape from their reign by one’s own effort alone. When one experiences extreme pain due to the law of karma, at times one notices one’s own divinity and dreams about getting out of the world. However, when that pain lessens, so does the dream, and one’s mind drowns in the prior habits (sanskara) again. The reason why a Guru is indispensable in Yoga is because only the Guru can bestow upon the disciples the sanskara called True Knowledge. Only the existence that is independent and sovereign—the Guru—can lead the disciples to Freedom from the infinite transmigration of the soul, the loop woven by karma.

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[6] sanskara: Every experience is etched into the mind as an impression and works as sanskara. Then sanskara with various tendencies layer on top of one another, gain power, and then sprout as karma. Sanskara exert subtle and certain effects on people’s thoughts and actions, whereas karma manifests as a tangible result. If one does bad, one will certainly also experience something bad one day. In this way, this universal law of cause and reaction does not only apply to physical power, but also definitely applies to the aspects of the mind and one’s way of conduct.


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