Teachings of Shri Mahayogi:
• Regarding Asana Practice, Chakra and the Physical Body
• Train Yourself by Training the Mind
• How Serious are You?
• Yoga and its Path: the Ways of Reaching the Aim
Deepening on the Path of Yoga
Can Help You Clarify Decisions in Life
• The Right Practice for Working in Service of Others
• Causality in the Mind and the Physical Body
• The View of Sex in Yoga
• The Ultimate Essence of Tantra
• The Master’s Childhood
“To Die Every Moment” as Sadhana
to Eliminate the Activity of the Mind
• The Essence of Religion
• How to Find Peace
Testimonies from Actual Practitioners
• Guidance From the Drum!
by Masami Yamaguchi
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Teachings of Shri Mahayogi:
Translation of Satsangha
August 31, 2019
Still Mind Zendo, NY
Nearly thirty attendees have gathered for Satsangha and they are awaiting Shri Mahayogi’s arrival with eager anticipation. This is the largest Satsangha that has taken place in New York in quite some time and several attendees have travelled from afar to be here. Karuna’s cousin Manolo is in from Puerto Rico, and three friends of Ekanta, two from California and one from London, are attending Satsangha for the first time, as is Trista, who contacted the Mission after acquiring a copy of the book, Satori, at a local Yoga Center. Moksha, who has come back to New York from Berlin to see Shri Mahayogi again this summer, is also in attendance. When the moment of Shri Mahayogi’s entry into the space finally arrives, a wave of joy spreads through the room as the attendees stand to greet him. After Shri Mahayogi takes his seat at the front of the room, a moment of silence ensues in which Shri Mahayogi nods and gazes briefly at each attendee while they all marvel at the preciousness of this long-awaited moment.
Regarding Asana Practice, Chakra and the Physical Body
Margo: My question is, how can I completely heal my physical body of all illness?
MASTER: You may know what chakra are. In this body, chakra exist as subtle centers, like acupressure points, that are connected to the physical body. Manipura chakra, which is located around the navel area, is mainly related to digestion, or the digestive system. The chakra below it is related to excretion. And anahata chakra, which is located around the heart, is related to the respiratory organs. Vishudda chakra, which is located in the throat, is related to the 16 different parts that make up the body. Therefore, through asana that stimulate these chakra, most diseases can be healed. Each individual asana of the numerous different asana is designed to bring the focus to a particular chakra.
(While giving these instructions to Margo, Shri Mahayogi is also looking around at everyone as if instructing all, and continues on.)
So, as I just said, [vishudda] chakra, which is located at the throat is related to the various parts that make up the entire body, therefore asana like sarvangasana and halasana are especially beneficial for conditioning the body. And nowadays, due to the usage of smartphones, many of you may have fatigue of the eyes and head. There is an easy pose you can do called shalabasana, which is the locust pose. In this pose, you bring the focus to the back of the neck, and thus bring your concentration to vishudda chakra. I think that by practicing this every night, your eye sight will improve, as well as relieving your brain fatigue. I’ve heard many stories that the near-sighted have actually improved their condition through these poses. (Margo bows.)
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Train Yourself by Training the Mind
Karuna: Shri Mahayogi, we have been talking about karma yoga quite a bit, and I am personally trying to understand it in the context of karma itself, like the result of action. And I understand that in the practice of karma yoga the results of one’s action should not be the focus. But when I am acting, even if I am thinking or doing the act for another person, I find the expectation of the result built into my action itself. I really would like to understand more how to separate that result from my action—to have actions that are truly free of these expectations.
MASTER: The word “karma” indicates actions, words and thoughts. Now, the issue is, who is the protagonist of that karma? Normally, in most cases, the mind or the ego is the protagonist. If so, then that karma is inevitably accompanied by its result, and you will have to reap that result as its consequence. Therefore, in order to proactively practice karma yoga, you must eliminate the ego, or any kind of intentional thought, and only do good for others purely. No matter what results might arise, because there is no longer a protagonist there, there is no longer any receiving [of the results of these actions].
Karuna: So, does it mean that if the actions have results—which is because the expected result is already built into the action itself—similar situations will come back to you, meaning that you will have to do something differently in order to resolve the matter that caused that result, meaning you will always have to repeat this kind of action until it becomes pure? I am trying to figure out what I need to do.
MASTER: (immediately and flatly) If necessary. Things constantly change. You shouldn’t get attached to the result of every little action, and you have to train yourself to do that. It’s a training of the mind, but in fact, it is harder than disciplining yourself to do asana practice. (smiling) Nonetheless, it is a great necessity. (smiling)
Karuna: So, in that case, it means that while acting we should be discriminating whether it comes from ego or not.
MASTER: That is so. (Karuna bows.)
Kamalakshi: You just said that all we need to do is to eliminate the internal thoughts and only serve others, that is what I would like to do as a goal—only serve others. However, through the Study in Practice group, I have noticed that this mind has a tendency to latch onto thoughts; it might be worry, it might be disbelief, or not having been understood, or something I didn’t like that someone said—and it’s emotional. And it keeps going and keeps going and going. Sometimes I lose sleep from the mind not settling. So, practices that have been suggested by the group are: mauna, silencing the tongue, and trying to silence the mind. And this mind is a reactive mind, with very strong reactions, so I tend to jump into action very quickly, and try to fix things. So, I am trying to become less attached. What can I do to really work on this?
MASTER: (immediately with a powerful and direct tone) Everything that you’ve just mentioned now, you don’t need to worry about any of that (emphatically making a sweeping motion of the hand as if to brush away all her concern).
Kamalakshi: …… (Seemingly in shock at Shri Mahayogi’s reaction and answer, as if left speechless.)
(After some silence, all the attendees start to laugh loudly, including herself and Shri Mahayogi.)
MASTER: (smiling) Train yourself in that way. And, heighten your passion for knowing who your true Self is, or if you believe in God, then heighten your passion for trying to become One with God more and more—heighten this faith.
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How Serious are You?
Nandi: I am too lazy to practice Yoga 24/7. I tend to find excuses, and I habitually go into a lazy mood and engage in something that my mind finds pleasing. Then I find that my mind gets in trouble and I have to fix it. I would like to have your guidance on a concrete way to fix this repeated problem that I have. I would like to know the concrete way to get out of this cycle.
MASTER: (immediately in a powerful tone and with immense strength) You have studied the teachings of the Truth well-enough, no, probably not sufficiently, but still to a certain extent. Seriousness and passion toward realizing the Truth is what’s lacking!
Nandi: Then how do I cultivate that passion, if this is something that can be cultivated?
MASTER: (after some silence) Ask yourself again! In this life, what do you want? What do you want the aim of your life to be? Ask and confront yourself with this question so much so as to bring about a wrenching heartache. Then naturally that should lead to discrimination. Then deepen and sharpen that discrimination thoroughly in order to discern whether the teaching of the Truth is the Truth, or whether what your mind is saying is the Truth.
(Upon seeing Shri Mahayogi so powerfully speaking straight to the heart of the matter and speaking the Truth alone, silence ensues.)
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Yoga and its Path: the Ways of Reaching the Aim
Elena: I have been reading about the different paths and a bit more about Yoga, but I find that my mind is a bit scattered; I want to do everything at once. And I am wondering if maybe I should be focusing on a specific path, karma yoga or bhakti yoga or… I would like to ask Shri Mahayogi, what is the right path for me?
MASTER: Yoga can be divided into four main types. Bhakti yoga is to love God single-mindedly and to try to be one with God. Jnana yoga—it is to clearly declare to your mind that “only Atman, which is the existence of the true Self, is the Truth, and all else is illusion.” Karma yoga is literally to eliminate one’s ego and only act for others. There is one more called raja yoga. It is the practice by which one controls the body and the mind, and through conditioning the mind to be transparent, thus one is conditioned into the state in which the Truth can be realized. Atman, or God, which is the Truth, is already within you all; however, there is simply something that seems as if it is covering It up—and that is the activity of the mind. That activity of the mind, due to attaching to incorrect things, creates karma, and makes the Truth increasingly unable to be recognized. So, basically one practices raja yoga to purify the mind, and [at the same time,] through practice of another type, either bhakti yoga or jnana yoga, one heightens one’s concentration and then realizes the Truth. The result of all of these four yoga, that is, completion or perfection, arrives at a place that is one and the same. The real Self, the true Self called Atman, is by another name called God. Therefore, it doesn’t matter which path you follow, but for you, bhakti yoga is recommended.
Teodora: I think I’ve had a great life so far—I have a good job, my parents are healthy, I am healthy. But a little while back, I noticed that something is missing. I was always a career person, a goal-oriented person, a go-getter, going after everything I wanted. But I don’t think that I’ve found what is missing, so I can’t get it. So, I would like some guidance or help on how I can get this thing that is missing.
MASTER: What you are seeking is something truly Reliable. No matter how good or bad your past experiences have been, they are all constantly changing. You may become positive or negative [from being affected by these experiences]—but this is just the activity of the mind. The mind can only exist by constantly depending on something. However, as I just said, since the world, the mind, and the experiences or the events that take place, are constantly changing, life’s conditions cannot always be ideal. Then, where can you find that certainty, or perfection? It is precisely this which is the most precious thing that has been sought after in the past in both the East and in the West. Where does it exist? It exists within the chest. It could be called the Soul, it could be called Pure Spirit. That Truth cannot be described with words; however, the word that describes it most closely is Existence—Immortal Existence. It is also Consciousness, or Pure Consciousness. It is the Absolute Existence that suffering cannot even come close to. That is why it can also be called Bliss. That is the Existence called Atman or God that was mentioned earlier. Everyone is Atman, or the Existence of God. To know that and to realize It through experience is Yoga, and also Yoga is precisely the learning and the actual practice of disciplines to realize this Truth.
Teodora: One more question. What type of yoga do you recommend for me in order to do that? (Shri Mahayogi and some attendees laugh joyfully.)
MASTER: (smiling) Do you have an ideal God? (She shakes her head “no” with a smile.) (continuing to smile) Then this is a universal matter—inquire into your true Self. It begins with asking, “Who am I?” If the consciousness of “I” is associated with the mind and the body, then various experiences, likes and dislikes are adhered to it. However, if you go deeper, then you see that these experiences too are constantly changing and they are not eternal. Nonetheless, the consciousness of “I” is still there. In this way, you isolate that consciousness, “I”, through eliminating all that adheres to it. If you deepen this inquiry in such a way, then that “I”-consciousness will disappear into the true Self. Even the word “true Self” is truly not appropriate in that sense, because there is only the Immortal Existence there, simply as “Existence.” No matter what, that is the true Reality. Continue like this.
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Deepening on the Path of Yoga
Can Help You Clarify Decisions in Life
Irina: I would like to ask you, I am at a point right now where I have to make major life choices. And I truly believe that finding the Truth will give me peace, but somehow none of my choices give me peace and I feel like I am very much stuck. How do I get out of this state? Where do I go from here?
MASTER: (smiling) How about postponing the decision that you have to make, and then taking time to deepen your spiritual practice? Then I am sure that you will be able to make the correct decision at the right time.
In life, there are two paths. The first path is the path of karma, which people tend to dress up by using the words “destiny” or “fate.” However, there is a reason for that. (smiling) The reason why people were born—each one of you were born due to karma. The things that you have left undone in your past life, or things that were still in process, you are here to continue and carry out in this lifetime. However, if you follow the path of karma, then like a snow ball, your karma will continue to get bigger and bigger. Another path is the path of Yoga. It is the path to eliminate karma.
The cause of karma is this: as one experiences life, desires arise, and then attachments to those desires arise. Then they keep on connecting to more and continue to get bigger and bigger. As for the cause for which these desires arise—it is ignorance, it is believing that the world is eternal, and believing that you will be able to achieve perfect happiness in this world. Yet, the world is constantly changing, so it does not turn out the way your mind wants it to. More than anything, it is a mistake to believe that the ego, which is just a part of your mind, is yourself. The true Self is Atman, which is Existence. The mind is just like the body, it is just a tool for Atman, so to speak. Well, that is precisely why it is necessary for you to learn the Truth. And, to eliminate karma and ignorance, of which we don’t know how much there is within the mind—or in other words, proceeding on the path of Yoga is the path that can lead you to the most happiness.
John: I would like to ask Shri Mahayogi about procreation. There are two parts to the question. The first is, I have a very strong desire to bring a child into the world. But I struggle with the desire, whether that desire is something I should follow or if I should stand back and let go of it.
And if you don’t mind, the second part of the question is: how do you feel about procreation in today’s world given all of these challenges that the world faces?
MASTER: (after some silence) For your first question, the answer can be determined by answering which of the two [paths] that I mentioned earlier take priority—your spiritual path [or the path of karma].
And for your second question, certainly the present time is moving toward a very harsh and tragic age. However, I think that it is not limited to the current time. When you look back at history, the 20th century was an age when there were wars going on all over the world. Prior to the 19th century, invasions were happening all over the world. The degree of severity may be different, but the cruelty is the same. So, this is also related to your first question, it is not a bad desire to want to create children at all, because if one continues to learn the right Truth, something good ought to be passed on to one’s child as well.
John: Can I briefly follow up on the first question for clarity? Thank you very much. In understanding whether my desire is driven more by karma or by Yoga, is the idea that if I practice Yoga it will become clear to me whether it is karma or Yoga?
MASTER: (smiling) Yes, exactly. I think it will.
John: Yes, I understand.
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The Right Practice for Working in Service of Others
Eduard: Shri Mahayogi, if I want to work as a healer in the service of others, what is the right path for me to do so?
MASTER: To see God or Truth within the person that you treat, and to act accordingly.
(Eduard, while looking straight at Shri Mahayogi, seems awed by Shri Mahayogi’s answer and bows deeply. A beautiful silence ensues.)
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Causality in the Mind and the Physical Body
Lubaina: I have two questions that are kind of related. So, the first question is, if you think that the body is a reflection of one’s karma?
Lubaina: In what way?
MASTER: The body is nurtured by food. Everyone eats, but one’s preferences differ. For the person who likes meat and alcohol, the body reflects that accordingly, and there will also be more causes for illness created. If one is vegetarian, then one will have relatively fewer effects compared to meat-eaters. And, the thoughts within the mind also affect the body. When one’s mind is constantly frustrated, then the body becomes imbalanced and the organs will eventually become diseased. If the mind is always light and cheerful, then the body too remains comfortable.
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The View of Sex in Yoga
Lubaina: My second question is, in terms of sex, there are many schools of thought as to sex and spiritual development. What are your thoughts?
MASTER: Sex is unnecessary. However, the cases are different between yogi, or between those who are sannyasin and renunciants [and those who are householders]. As for householders, the purpose of sex is to create children, and in the sense of deepening love, too, at times it is necessary. But what I can say is that you should not be drowned in the pleasure of it. Therefore, you must understand moderation, and control it.
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The Ultimate Essence of Tantra
Trista: I’ve studied under many different teachers, and I’ve studied a lot of tantra. There seems to be a diversion between classical Yoga and tantra, in that, in the path of tantra, you can achieve liberation through embracing the material dimension. In Yogananda’s book, he talks about his Guru coming back to him after he died, and he gave the explanation of many different dimensions that were superior to ours, in a way, making it seem as though embracing the material world is the wrong path. How can we live and embrace this material world and not get caught up in the cycle of karma?
MASTER: (spiritedly) The essence of tantra is to see everything in this world as the manifestation of God. With that understanding, you must not attach to various things in this material world. Then you will be able to enjoy this material world in its truest sense. The world appears to consist of a variety of people and things. Yet, if you peel back one layer, then what is there is one God. Therefore, only see God—that is the ultimate essence of tantra.
Moreover, within Yoga, hatha yoga, kundalini yoga, mantra yoga, and raya yoga are tantra. These and the classical teachings of Yoga do not contradict.
The mind has this relative, dualistic nature. In classical Yoga, this concludes in seeing the world simply like an illusion, as maya. In tantra, everything is recognized and accepted as God. Therefore, they are the same. (smiling)
(after some time) In this day and age, many people are studying Yoga; however, unfortunately, the issue that I see very often is that there has been confusion about the purpose and the methods. The method is not the aim. However, the aim [of Yoga] is definite. There may be methods as numerous as the number of people. Yet, the aim is one. Therefore, whatever path you choose to walk, it doesn’t matter, but you should reach the goal as soon as possible and realize That.
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The Master’s Childhood
Daniel: This question is not very spiritual, or even philosophical, but I am really dying to know. (Shri Mahayogi is smiling looking at him.) Are you a baseball fan? (Shri Mahayogi laughs loudly and many others laugh too.)
MASTER: (with a big smile) I am sorry, I don’t really watch baseball. (laughs joyfully)
Moksha: But you did play baseball.
MASTER: (joyfully) Yes, I did. In elementary school I was playing baseball every day, and we won in the region. (many burst into laughter)
Daniel: Now you are done!
MASTER: (joyfully) Afterwards, I didn’t have anything to do with it. (smiling)
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“To Die Every Moment” as Sadhana
to Eliminate the Activity of the Mind
Sadhya: In The Universal Gospel of Yoga, you said that in sadhana the disciple must die every moment. And, you have also taught about the concept of time, that it is only our streaming together of each moment to the next that makes us believe that there is time. But there is actually no connection between these instances. So, I have been trying to understand and experience these things. And I feel that in order to conquer the ignorance of separation between oneself and others, that I must practice to sense that every existence is You, or from a different angle, that everything is me. So, in either case, there is the “I” that needs to die each and every instant. But I don’t quite grasp how to do it yet.
So, sometimes in meditation I try to sense each instance without separation between me and all of existence. And when I try, I feel the sense of vastness in each moment, but somehow I feel that I cannot sustain that practice, or something is not there with my concentration. So, for example, I may become aware that I have not breathed for a long time, and then I feel like I need to breathe. But I don’t want to because it disturbs my concentration. So, I would like to know how to deepen this and progress.
MASTER: (after some silence) The factors that create karma are time, space and causality. Due to these three conditions, the mind inevitably acts. That is how karma gets produced through them, time and time again. “To die,” as was mentioned earlier, is about stopping the activity of the mind through the temporal death [of the mind]. Through that, you are able to break the chain of the continuation of karma. Of course, unless you have already learned the Truth well beforehand then, when the mind comes back, you will get caught up in these interlocking karma again. However, if your passion toward realizing the Truth or God heightens, then your task of breaking the condition of the mind actually starts happening. Nonetheless, there is memory, and so it is difficult to completely eliminate the activities of the mind with just having one or two experiences [of this temporal death of the mind]. That is why it requires dying and then being born again, and again, and again, that is to say, it is the task of getting rid of the old ways of the mind to start anew. Truth never comes to an end; It never disappears. There is no need for the mind to worry about losing the teaching of the Truth either. When you can completely eliminate the mind, at that moment, the real Truth is realized. In order for this chance to come quickly, you all are learning and practicing the disciplines of Yoga to purify the mind. The experience of realization does not necessarily always happen while meditating in the seated position, it can happen when you are lying down, or sitting on a chair…it can be realized at any point in time. However, the condition that needs to have been met is [the state of] the mind that has already been prepared by making it be as if completely transparent. Therefore, what you can do is make the mind meet this requirement. When the mind no longer has intentional internal thoughts toward anything, then the teaching, that is the Truth, will come along with bliss, just like a fountain flowing.
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The Essence of Religion
(The time for the Satsangha to end is approaching, and Roberto, who has been waiting with strong anticipation to attend Satsangha and meet Shri Mahayogi for the first time, has just arrived a few moments ago and is given an opportunity to ask a question.)
Roberto: I just started Yoga, so I don’t know how it works, but my question is whether it is like religion or not?
MASTER: (vibrantly and energetically) There are many meanings and nuances to the word “religion.” Most of the religions that have spread throughout the world are dualistic religions that seek benefit in this lifetime or the next lifetime. The higher religion is to realize the Truth of what this universe is. In this Truth, ethnicity, nationality, or ideology are irrelevant, of course! In this sense, it can be said that Yoga is even beyond general religions. However, the essence of religion is That! Therefore, don’t see religion in its narrow meaning, but see religion as something vast. (Roberto: Thank you.)
Truly, it would be great if they taught this Truth in school and in society, but unfortunately in the world they only teach the materialistic things. However, the most important things are these kinds of spiritual teachings. Because That is your true Essence!
(after some silence) Many great teachers have visited the United States. A hundred years ago, a Holy Man named Swami Vivekananda came here. Following him, his brother disciples also came and then established the Vedanta Society in this land. In the 20th century, Paramahansa Yogananda came. You should also read the teachings of these Saints and understand them firmly.
Roberto: I am looking for peace.
MASTER: Yes, that’s right.
(Moksha, who has come all the way from Berlin to attend Satsangha, expresses to Shri Mahayogi that it has not been easy to maintain the practice, and since he has come back to New York he is working on clarifying his aim, as well as trying to find the root causes of his two big mind tendencies. He also shares that what he feels is the strongest way for him to practice meditation is to yearn to become One. Upon hearing the report, Shri Mahayogi tenderly encourages him to continue and to practice daily as much as possible without any slacking off. There is joyful laughter from all as this exchange between Master and disciple unfolds.)
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How to Find Peace
Corina: How can we find peace within each individual?
MASTER: Well, eliminate the chatter of the mind. Peace, or tranquility is already within you.
Corina: Sometimes it is hard. The mind is working against me. (Shri Mahayogi laughs.)
MASTER: It may be so, that is why you should practice the training that accompanies the physical body, for example asana, or you should chant mantra or think of God constantly.
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Testimonies from Actual Practitioners:
Guidance From the Drum!
by Masami Yamaguchi
This past August in Matsuyama City, there was a program for two days led by Mirabai-san from Kyoto called Bhakti Sangham.1 But the truth is that my personal Bhakti Sangham Matsuyama program began back in May. I had no prior experience, but I was assigned to play the drum, so with my ardent hope to be of service to Mirabai-san during the program in Matsuyama, and also to bolster up the Bhakti Sangham program in Mastuyama, I had taken on the reckless challenge of going to Kyoto2 twice a month in order to learn how to play the drum from Yogadanda-san (who has been playing the drum for the Bhakti Sangham program in Kyoto) since the very beginning, practicing the drum while Mirabai-san is singing.
A month after I began practicing, I started to be able to beat the drum as I was taught. It was simply so much fun, and when I practiced the drum in the park, passersby would always stop and say things like, “That’s a beautiful sound”, “What is this instrument?” and “What are you practicing for?”
However, when I participated in the Bhakti Sangham program in Kyoto, I was startled. “Yogadanda-san’s drum sounds so different from mine! I want to be able to drum like him!” From this point on, my drumming practice began to meander.
“Do I need to emphasize my right stroke? Do I need to make adjustments in how I stress the strikes?” I kept thinking so much about how to strike the drum that I couldn’t even continue to do what I had been able to do before. The next rehearsal day was right around the corner, but I couldn’t do it!! So, I sent an email to Yogadanda-san asking for advice. He replied:
“[When I play the drum] I have been acting upon sensing the manifestation of God in everything. I have been conscious about practicing this even in daily activities, and I have been feeling that by doing so the actions that are needed to practice with what is right in front of my eyes arise naturally. That is how I’m able to maintain the rhythm naturally, and the way of striking the drum comes to be suited to the mood of the song without effort. Even with drumming, you can deepen Yoga, and also, it is and will be related to one’s daily actions.”
This answer shook my heart tremendously. At the same time, I felt that this message was really true.
Even though my original intention in starting to learn the drum was because I wanted to boost up everyone’s energy, when I was practicing drumming, I felt like I was not completely satisfied with just drumming, but not chanting the names of God, because I believed that the importance of kirtan was to chant the name of God, and that through that one can experience God; so, while playing, a desire to taste the sensation that would come through chanting the name of God arose in me, and when I drowned myself in this illusion of my mind—which made me feel as if I was focusing on God—I became unable to play the drum, and then had to hurriedly rush to gather myself up again to continue playing it. Because this became a repeated pattern, I could not play solidly throughout one single song.
Around the time when I began to review my daily life after receiving advice from Yogadanda-san, the rainy season ended.
I went back into a park then, and played the drum with abandon, I repeated it again and again. At first, the sound was interrupted many times, but gradually my mind calmed and I found myself able to drum throughout an entire song. It was very similar to the sense I get from the practice of asana, how we bring the concentration to one asana after another, so that upon beginning the practice I may still carry the impression of what happened that day, but when actually starting to do it, all these impressions disappear, and there is only Shri Mahayogi.
I then felt that through beating the drum I finally grasped the true sense of concentration on God’s name. Yet, even though I started to see this possible clue, already the next day when I practiced, it was very difficult to do and I couldn’t drum throughout one song. While I was still in this condition, the rehearsal the day before the actual performance arrived.
I asked Mirabai-san, “While we are playing, when I begin to enjoy and feel excited and happy, I make a mistake. What should I do?” Then, she answered, “It is important to throw yourself into the role and stick to it. I think that even Chaitanya chanted the name of God externally for the sake of others.” It startled me, because Yogadanda-san had given me advice with the same meaning, and other senior disciples had given me the same advice about other matters. How selfish am I to always prioritize myself alone! I was ashamed of myself.
On the first day of the program, to liven up the attendees and enable them to enter the mood of the song, I devoted my focus to making sure I beat the drum with the correct rhythm, a clear sound and at the right volume. I was so desperate to carry out everything that I had to do. Then, after drumming the last song, I realized that I had only been looking at Mirabai-san’s bell, but wasn’t paying attention to the attendees, and I regretted it.
On the second day of the program, based on the lesson I had learned the day before, I drummed, while looking at all of the attendees, and also while feeling Mirabai-san. Again, I was desperate, but after playing the same song for three rounds, I got into a sense of not being sure who was drumming, if the drum itself was making the sound, or if I was perhaps inside God?? Then, it became such that I naturally understood when Mirabai-san wanted to speed up or slow down the rhythm—it was as if I was witnessing God doing everything.
As soon as that song ended, suddenly a sensation came to me that in the bosom of God there is no fear, and this expanded in my heart—and this made me aware of the presence of my tiny, tiny mind that was fearful of making mistakes throughout every endeavor. There was a concrete sense and a confirmation that all I had to do was act while seeing God alone, seeing only Others (You) in every experience. And it became apparent to me that doing that itself will then result in the removal of all fear.
In that moment, my mind was so moved by this realization that tears welled up and began to flow out. But I immediately pulled myself back to my role and focused on God, and even though I am still not skillful enough, I was able to fulfill the role. When everything ended, all there was in me was my gratitude to the Master and to all the people, and—faith in God.
On the day Mirabai-san left, I told her about what this experience was for me, and she said, “This is just the starting point.” From now on, I will continue to practice diligently so that the activities of kirtan in Yoga Sara Studio will be enriched. Thank you so very much.
Om Tat Sat Om!!
From the Mahayogi Mission, Kyoto Blog
1 Program of kirtan. On the path of Yoga, kirtan is one of the disciplines that one may practice. By chanting the name of God, one touches the Love and Joy in the depths of the Soul.
2 By express bus, the trip from Matsuyama City in Ehime to Kyoto is about seven hours.