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Vol. 28

Teachings of Shri Mahayogi:

Concrete Daily Practice:
It’s All About How Much the Mind Can
Single-Pointedly Focus on the Truth, God, or Satori

Real Practice and Study of Yoga Happens in Daily Life:
Complaining, Making Excuses or Whining
Weakens the Direction of the Mind’s Will

The Meaning of Prema

Through Deepening Practice the Senses are Sharpened
Whilst Reactions are Lessened

Two Wheels: Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga

Continue to Practice Concretely and Persistently

Testimonials from Actual Practitioners

Jayanti Speech 2016:
My Ideal
By Rei Hamaguchi (Nirmala)

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Teachings of Shri Mahayogi:

Translation of Satsangha
The Ashrama, Kyoto, July 10, 2015

Today’s Satsangha is being held during daytime hours and is especially for gurubhai who are mothers. Paramahamsa, MYM’s bi-monthly magazine, No. 110, is delivered to everyone and the original miniature-style painting adorning the magazine cover, which was painted by a disciple, is displayed in a frame on the wall. Shri Mahayogi explains to the participants admiring the painting that in China and Japan the techniques of paper-making were pretty well-developed and that there were large pieces of paper available, but paintings in India tended to be rather small because paper was considered to be so precious.

Two weeks ago, the Prema Yoga Circle1 invited Mirabai to be a guest speaker. Ms. Akasaka (Suditi) reported excitedly that Mirabai spoke from her experience about how she practiced. For example, when she heard a teaching she would immediately put it into action whether she liked it or not, without leaving any thoughts or judgments associated with it. Some participants were so inspired that they immediately started to try this for themselves, which made for an even more meaningful gathering. All participants had sung kirtan with Mirabai, and they were all very moved by it. Ms. Akasaka (Suditi) said that it had reminded them of how the power of kirtan has helped them, and she expressed that she continues to sing with everyone in the Prema Yoga Circle in a natural way.

Concrete Daily Practice:
It’s All About How Much the Mind Can
Single-Pointedly Focus on the Truth, God, or Satori

Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala): In the book written by Mirabai-san, there was a part in which she mentioned that for several years she did what she could do with the utmost effort, but steadily, without trying to aim for the summit right away, and that all of the sudden she had a realization—the realization that Satori exists came so clearly, and that of Shri Mahayogi’s True Essence. Can true faith eventually come to any one of us through seriously and earnestly seeking? Through the constant accumulation of consistent practice of whatever we can do at the moment, but doing so with all of our strength?

MASTER: (Immediately) Yes, it will happen. The seriousness will increase its purity more and more, or rather, the seriousness itself will help you become more pure. Even if you worry that you are still undeveloped and troubled with it, if you are seriously and deeply struggling with it, [you yourself will work hard and] your seriousness will become more and more pure. Then, at some point, there is a breakthrough that leads to a new state, and you arrive at a moment that is something like Satori. That account by Mirabai was illustrating something like that, and it’s probably a straightforward expression of what she experienced.

Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala): So that means that even if I think I’m still underdeveloped, I should confront it seriously.

MASTER: Yes, exactly. (After some pause) Faith, in other words, is about how much the mind can single-pointedly focus on the Truth, God, or Satori—those things that are absolute and perfect. Even if other thoughts exist in the mind that are unprocessed or just noise, they get drowned out in the seriousness and the earnest seeking. Then, there will only be authentic and true things like God and Truth—I think that this connection is what faith is. I think that the pure faith of Yoga is like that, rather than what is [typically] called faith, the faith of men that pray to God only when they are in trouble.

Ms. Kouno: It’s better if I can just stick to that seriousness, but I worry that others will perceive me as though I am being too grave…but I should…

MASTER: Those things are superfluous, and there is no need to worry about how others perceive you. In fact, when you deepen your seriousness in that way, the mind simultaneously becomes lighter, or more the quality of sattva; therefore, there won’t be such a grave impression given off to those around you. Rather, you’ll become more vivacious, and truly, you’ll become attractive and cool.

Ms. Kouno: So then, although during that process there may be various impressions given, perhaps…

MASTER: Yes. But I think the more you progress, the better you become.

Ms. Kouno: So I just need to continue to deepen it.

MASTER: Yes, indeed. Do not worry about your surroundings at all. Even then, while you are fulfilling the duties of your daily life, you can practice it without any problem, so it will be fine.

Ms. Kouno: I have been reading The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna for a while, and I am drunk with the words from the book. This continues during the day, and I’ll forget that my husband is on a business trip, or I’ll forget to run an errand. When I meditate on Ramakrishna, his face does not appear. For some reason, only Lahiri Mahasaya’s face shows up. When I read about Lahiri Mahasaya, I found that not only did he work and have a family, he even further went on to establish a Yoga center. I am sure that he must have had busy situations, yet he did so much that it didn’t even seem to cause others to perceive that he was busy. It was written that he was an exemplary yogi who was a householder. That then made me reflect and take a look at the way I am right now; I’ve tried to use my mind for others, and have set aside thinking about God for the time being.

MASTER: If that is established deep within your mind and has fundamentally taken root, then you can continue [to focus on God] without any problem, even while you are involved in various activities on the surface.

Ms. Kouno: Should I try to follow in the footsteps of how Lahiri Mahasaya lived his life?

MASTER: That would be fine.

Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala): There is a part of me that has been thinking that I am lacking in seriousness. Will seriousness be nurtured and cultivated through chanting the names of God, practicing asana, or putting some Yoga into practice in concrete ways?

MASTER: Yes. These things are necessary. Of course, the intention is the most important, and that would be seeking God, seeking Truth. Therefore, first of all, it is necessary to have the intention of thinking about these constantly, to have them on your mind. But in addition to that, it is also important to put something concretely into action, such as asana, meditation or japa, and to do so regularly, even if it is only a little. In raja yoga, there is a part that specifically mentions kriya yoga. This consists of tapas, svadhyaya, and ishvara pranidhana. Out of these, tapas can be thought of as concrete training or daily action; svadhyaya can be thought of as the constant study of the words of Truth; ishvara pranidhana, can be thought of as seeking and thinking constantly about God or Truth. Because of that, these elements are considered to be the yoga that must be practiced every day, that is, kriya yoga. Only when the practice becomes concrete, even if you still have the feeling that you are not content enough, eventually there will be a moment when all your struggles disappear. Then you will be able to experience a moment similar to what Mirabai experienced.

Ms. Kouno: Just now, you have mentioned kriya yoga, but kriya yoga is also mentioned in The Autobiography of a Yogi, and it is not revealed as it is a secret method. Is what you have just mentioned the same as that in the book?

MASTER: Yes (laughs). However, Yogananda wanted to say that he cannot reveal it in [such a medium as] a book, I think. He may have been concerned that mediums such as books can give wrong impressions or cause consequences that arise from misunderstandings among people who have not been prepared, that is to say, who have not entered the path of Yoga, or whose attitude of mind has not been made ready. To learn Yoga, one must have the correct intention…but, books do not require that. Anyone with money can read it, even out of curiosity. Yet, in that kind of context, spiritual teachings cannot be truly learned and acquired. So out of caution, that information is omitted, I think. Their system, it seems, is that those who become interested can just knock on the doors of the SRF (Self Realization Fellowship) and receive guidance directly from the first step. But the content [of kriya yoga] there, is what I just mentioned, tapas, svadhyaya, and ishvara pranidhana, being the three large pillars. Of course, there are other teachings that one will learn from them along the way. But these are, in a way, actually practicing ishvara pranidhana as concrete tapas, and in that sense, the three pillars indicate the basic concepts.


1 The Prema Yoga Circle began in September 2013 in Osaka when three disciples (Nirmala, Suditi, and Ms. Suematsu) who are mothers, were naturally brought together by the same goal. They truly felt the greatness of Yoga in daily life, so they simply wanted to share Yoga with others. Ms. Suematsu is not currently an active member since her family moved to another city in Japan, however Nirmala and Suditi have continued to hold a morning class for women once a week.

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Real Practice and Study of Yoga Happens in Daily Life:
Complaining, Making Excuses or Whining
Weakens the Direction of the Mind’s Will

(Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala) confesses that there had been a feeling in her that she wanted to rest because she had felt overloaded by the accumulating tiredness of the house work and of nursing her children, but she perked herself up after reading about the Holy Mother1, who was giving spiritual guidance to people while performing an extraordinary number of duties. She said that when she took action by not verbalizing complaints or whining within, she noticed how the mind would whimper for the slightest things.)

Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala): In the book written by Mirabai-san too, it says that in order to stop herself from complaining, Mirabai-san stopped eating lunch with her colleagues [who complained a lot]. Perhaps, if I can concretely practice these things daily, then change will surely happen…

MASTER: Indeed, the real practice and study of Yoga does happen in daily life, I feel. When you stop complaining, making excuses or whining, that will free up tremendous power. How much, (emphasis) how much energy is wasted [on that], (laughs) and it weakens the direction of the mind’s will.

Ms. Akasaka (Suditi): Complaints do not exist in Shri Mahayogi to begin with. When you hear others complain, is it like, “There they all go again?”

MASTER: (Nonchalantly) Yes, yes (everyone laughs). Just like that.

Ms. Akasaka (Suditi): Is it like wondering why it goes like that?

MASTER: Well, by the time I noticed these things, I generally understood their cause, or the psychology of Yoga, already, so I understood their mechanism. But I did think that almost everything everybody says is like that.


1 She was the consort as well as a disciple of Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

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The Meaning of Prema

Translation of Satsangha
The Ashrama, Kyoto, Dec 4, 2015

Today is the Satsangha held primarily for the disciples who are mothers, and it is about 10 days after Jayanti, (the Holy Birthday of the Guru).

For a long while, Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala) has been wishing for everyone from the Prema Yoga Circle to meet Shri Mahayogi. She spoke emotionally about how after she read the teachings about the guru and the avatara in “Pranava Sara” (a collection of Shri Mahayogi’s teachings), in Paramahamsa, the bi-monthly magazine published during the month of Jayanti, she started to think about the meeting of the guru and the necessity of the guru. She said that at the Jayanti celebration, when she saw that the gurubhai from Taiwan were filled with joy for finally being able to encounter Shri Mahayogi, and Lynn’s expression of joy when Lynn read the celebratory message, representing the gurubhai from Taiwan, Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala) again strongly felt the preciousness, the sacredness of meeting Shri Mahayogi in this lifetime. She said that it is with that intention that she invited everyone from the Circle to the Satsangha.

Ms. Kobayashi: When she invited me, I initially wondered if it was really ok for me to go and attend, so I could not come up with an immediate answer. Then I kept thinking about it throughout the asana practice in the class, and I thought that it was a great opportunity, so that’s why I am here.

Ms. Akasaka (Suditi): I must say that truly, everyone who comes to the Prema Yoga Circle, has such an agreeable disposition, so open…straightforward…

(Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala) starts to cry after not being able to contain it. Everyone begins to laugh tenderly.)

Ms. Akasaka (Suditi): (With joy) Because it’s Prema. (Everyone laughs.)

MASTER: Yes. (says it lovingly towards everyone and laughs joyfully)

Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala): At the end of Jayanti, Shri Mahayogi mentioned the word prema, and I saw what an amazing name we have been bestowed with.

Ms. Akasaka (Suditi): Prema means True Love, but is that considered to be the same meaning as the true Self?

MASTER: (Gently) Yes, that is so.

Ms. Akasaka (Suditi): Will Shri Mahayogi please teach us the meaning of prema again in his own words?

MASTER: In India, there are many words for “love.” There is a word that refers to common love in general, or words that refer to the love of pleasure, and words that are very distinct like that. Out of these words, there is the word for “True Love,” and that is the word, prema. The mundane, general love, well-known across the general population, is called kama. There is a famous scripture called the Kama Sutra that has existed since ancient times, and this word, kama, refers to human love, that includes romantic love, lust, and sexual love. However, prema is completely different from that, it is spiritual, or rather, True Love—meaning pure love. The mundane love, kama, has a dualistic aspect; that love has many changes on the other side of it, and broken love can transform into hate. However, it is considered that prema does not have dualistic aspects, and it is simply, only pure love itself. In Yoga, there is a type of yoga called bhakti yoga, which is the yoga of loving God. For example, in kirtan, one can experience that through repeating the name of God constantly and continuously, experiencing becoming One with God. In it, one offers love to God, and love is granted from God, and actually, through that, various stories unfold. But whatever unfolds, it is about simply pleasing or serving the other only out of pure love, without seeking for anything in return—in this sense, it is pure love that exists there. That is prema, and it is one of the words that expresses the Truth. The ultimate form of bhakti yoga is expressed in prema. The mind always has dualistic facets. If there is love, there is hate, if there is like, then there is dislike, but prema does not have these dualistic aspects at all. It is only pure love, and that is why it’s called True Love.

On the other hand, what Yoga teaches is to realize the true Self. Usually, you may think of the true Self as being your mind. But actually, it is not. There is the consciousness that seems as though it exists behind the mind, witnessing or knowing the mind. It’s there even now. Don’t you know what your mind is thinking? That consciousness does not say anything because it’s only witnessing or only knowing. However, that is the essence of the consciousness, or rather, your Self, your true Self. In India, it is called Atman, or Sat Chit Ananda. Sat means Existence, Chit means Consciousness, and Ananda means Joy or Bliss. The true Self is Existence, Reality, or Eternal Existence. In other words, it may be called the Soul or God, so to speak, the real identity of the Soul or God revealed, is That. Since it dwells naturally as the essence or the substance of everyone, awakening to it, or realizing it for yourself, is what learning and practicing Yoga is all about. Once you know it through experiencing it, you understand that only That exists. In this universe, the forms are different and various, however the essence itself that is within them is the same—That. Whether you are a parent, a child, or any other person, animal or plant, or even this cosmos, the true nature and Essence is That. Only That exists. The external façade they take on changes into various shapes, is born and then dies, and continues to transform; however, its essence is the Eternal Existence that exists continuously without ever changing. Once you know that, the meaning of why you are living in this world, changes; and, if you can see that essence in all, the way you view your own child, friends, and everything else, will change too. Then you won’t be fettered by petty things any more. And that Essence itself is Prema, the True Love, and Joy, so you no longer need anything else. (laughs) Prema is one of the words, or one fact that expresses that essence of the Truth.

Ms. Akasaka (Suditi): The participants of the Prema Yoga Circle are mostly mothers, and we all have various experiences and ways of thinking, but when we share with them what we have been experiencing, they straightforwardly apply it in their lives. I think we have a good Circle going.

MASTER: Definitely. That is how you can tell that Yoga should not be separate from daily life, but rather it is quite the contrary, it is so closely connected to all parts of daily life—it is about living vividly, living for real.

Ms. Akasaka (Suditi): Ms. Tokuno’s mother told her that she sees that Ms. Tokuno is “gradually transforming for the better.”

Ms. Tokuno: (Joyfully) I’ve been told that I am different from before. Though I don’t know exactly what is different at all.

MASTER: That’s how it is. Transformation is something that is noticed by people around you much earlier than you notice it. (laughs) Then your change is definitely happening. (laughs)

Ms. Tokuno: Because in the Circle, your disciples have shared various stories with me, I try to keep those in my mind, and I think about trying to concretely do even just one thing that is possible for me.

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Through Deepening Practice the Senses are Sharpened
Whilst Reactions are Lessened

Translation of Satsangha
The Ashrama, Kyoto, January 22, 2016

Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala): I think that Shri Mahayogi can speak to anyone without becoming emotional or making any differentiations between them. Recently, I noticed that when I deal with people, it is not quite that I like or dislike them, but inside myself, unconsciously, there are people whom I get along with well and others who cause me to put up a wall between them and myself. I would like to act consistently without making these differentiations, but I am not able to relate to others in the same natural manner. Should I not worry too much about it and consider this to be a natural thing?

MASTER: Right. That is inevitable. After all, everyone has their own karma respectively, so due to karma there are some who have closed their minds; it is because of karma that oftentimes there are people whom you can smoothly relate to, and people toward whom you may feel a different mentality, or there is a difference due to karma. I think that there is nothing you can do about it. But, the ones who come to the Prema Yoga Circle and other Yoga activities, will open up their minds little by little due to the commonality they share, Yoga, and the walls will eventually disappear, I think. However, in many situations among the general public, it’s inevitable.

Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala): So it is all due to karma.

MASTER: Yes, we call it “personality or character” or “mentality,” but ultimately, it is all karma.

Ms. Akasaka (Suditi): So does that mean that when you can’t get along with others, just let it be?

MASTER: Yes, this is inevitable.

Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala): I took my not being able to see each person the same as my inadequacy.

MASTER: There is no need to think that way. Everyone here is learning Yoga and putting the teachings into practice, so I think your mind should be getting more purified, and becoming more the quality of sattva. Of course, through that, the sense of prejudice will subside, but at the same time, you may sense differences, or I should say, changes, more keenly. That is inevitable. Even if you feel there is a difference, as long as you don’t have a sense of prejudice, that’s fine as it is.

Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala): Yes

MASTER: Truly, as you deepen Yoga, you will be unattached to various things, and your interests and curiosities will subside. But on the other hand, you will be able to understand things at a much deeper level. I suspect that you have probably gained the ability to observe things calmly, in other words, you have been gaining the power to accept and face them. You should also practice not to be fettered by the mind’s concerns, and even remain unattached to them as well. In raja yoga there is pratyahara, control of the sensory organs, right? This is [the training] in which, through the practice of controlling the sensory organs, you create the conditions within you so that the fluctuations of the mind do not arise. Indeed, when the practice of Yoga deepens, the disturbance in your emotion and sensory organs over various things will be no more, and the agitation in the mind will cease. But in fact, you can say that, on the contrary, the sensory organs are sharpened and refined, and they instead become sensitive. So, for example, your sense of taste should have been improved into a more refined one, along with other sensory organs such as hearing and eyesight.

Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala): So even though the ability to keenly sense things has been gained, we are not disturbed by them either.

MASTER: You could say that. For example, in ways other than practicing Yoga, you may really get into something that you like, and the senses that are involved with what you like become specialized. However, since there is attachment involved, they are biased. They are not necessarily sharpened, but you could say that it is more like some kind of biased direction that is reinforced. I think that in any case, through the practice of Yoga, your senses are getting sharpened into their original, well-conditioned state, which is quite keen. Your athletic ability should also have increased. (laughs)

Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala): Athletic abilities? (laughs)

MASTER: Yes, of course it has improved. It may still be very hard to play with your kids, though (laughing).

Ms. Hirai: Will we be able to control the senses that become more sensitive?

MASTER: Yes. It doesn’t mean that just because your senses become sharper, that the sharpness of your sensory organs reacts to anything, or that you will nervously react to every single little thing. This is because your ability to control yourself and not get involved with the senses is naturally becoming established simultaneously to counter that. It’s just that when you do want to use your senses, that ability has become heightened. So, in terms of ability, they would be very much heightened.

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Two Wheels: Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga

Ms. Akasaka (Suditi): Since the first time I met you, every time I ask you what I need to do at that moment, you have only answered, “Think of God.” At the time, I confess that I thought you were saying this to keep it simple, because I wouldn’t understand more complex things. But even now, if I ask, I’m sure you’ll say the same. Lately, I have a shift in the way I feel, that if my thought towards you deepens, then my thoughts for others will simultaneously deepen as well. And I feel that this refers to the “both wheels” that I read in a book somewhere, is that so?

MASTER: It is internal and external.

Ms. Akasaka (Suditi): So then it means to practice bhakti inside, and practice karma yoga outside.

MASTER: Yes. If you had only one wheel, you just keep going in circles, but once you have both wheels, only then are you able to move forward.

Ms. Akasaka (Suditi): What I strongly felt then, is that bhakti is at the center. Having bhakti at the center, the outer parts are performed without having to think about it too deeply.

MASTER: Right. I think so.

Ms. Akasaka (Suditi): I feel that actually I’ve been practicing the same teachings consistently, yet the depth of that is shifting, and that I think the depth is much deeper than where I am.

MASTER: That proves that you have grown that much—over time of course. (laughs) Indeed, that is the proof of it. That is the true acquisition, that you acquire the teachings by experiencing them through your entire being, manifesting them as they become a part of you.

Ms. Akasaka (Suditi): More changes will come, right?

MASTER: More changes will come. Looking forward to it (laughs).

Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala): Bhakti should be at the center of it all, but even though the two wheels are moving, what happens if they don’t match up in size—does that mean that the cart won’t move forward well?

MASTER: That’s right.

Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala): I feel that at times, I get too caught up in the various entanglements with my daily tasks and other things, and I lose balance. But if I grow more and more, will it always move forward smoothly?

MASTER: That would be the result.

Ms. Akasaka (Suditi): Are some people purely centered upon karma yoga?

MASTER: The external actions are manifestations of the internal, so it boils down to the internal as the main thing, and that is important.

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Continue to Practice Concretely and Persistently

Translation of Satsangha
The Ashrama, Kyoto, March 11, 2016

The main attendees are members and attendees from the Prema Yoga Circle as well as other disciples who are mothers. Last Sunday was the last day of the three-year intensive seminar, called Siddha Marga1, which was designed for the disciples to intensify their practice. Shri Mahayogi asks about the Siddha Marga seminar, saying, “I heard that the last session of Siddha Marga the other day was very good.” Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala) says she is still feeling the aftereffects of it. She mentions that the speech of Mirabai, who was the presenter at the last and final session, was good, and the speeches from Sananda and Sanatana (who were the tutors of this seminar) were also memorable. She felt and expressed, brimming with emotion, that she could express nothing but her gratitude toward Shri Mahayogi, of course, as he was underlying everything, but also Sananda and Sanantana, who poured their energy into all the attendees as they led the seminar for three years—how much energy and work it took from them! She also mentioned that the participants all worked hard on the theme throughout these three years, “to go and be close to one’s own ideal.” But finally, now after the seminar has just ended, she has started to think concretely about what she wants to be.

Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala): I have been confronting myself by asking whether I really want Satori from the depths of my heart or not, and I have not been able to find the answer yet. But, since I am Shri Mahayogi’s disciple, I think that I want to realize Satori. Yet, I’ve been getting to the point where I am not sure myself if it’s authentically said with my words, from a yearning deep in my own heart. I should have clarified this much earlier, (with tears in her eyes) but now I feel that I do want to clarify my answer definitively.

(Shri Mahayogi hears the straightforward words from the depth of her heart, and nods gently as he listens her.)

Ms. Kouno: When Mirabai did a kamishibai (paper theater) for Siddha Marga [as part of her presentation], she spoke about how she got nearer and nearer to the [historical figure] Mira Bai2. She said that she and Mira Bai both had a promise to fulfill with God when they were born, and Mira Bai fulfilled her promise. What she said left an impression on me. Do we all have our own respective promises to God?

MASTER: In other words, it could be an oath, and that is, that each and every one aspires in God’s name, I think.

Ms. Kouno: Is it something that we’ll be led to naturally, or must we look for it by fighting tooth and nail? When I see the senior disciples, they are clearly and efficiently actualizing it through their actions more and more proactively. Now, I’m seeking God desperately, thinking of ideals to see and to learn how I should go about doing things. But I’m not clear if this would mean that I’m truly connected to God, or perhaps this is just my own self-feeling. I am struggling to know how I can find out what my concrete path should be…

MASTER: There is no need to hurry. You should be patient. Right now, you are in the process of that being crystallized. A little bit later, you will see its crystalized form.

Ms. Hamaguchi (Nirmala): Will we all be able to see it if we all continue to practice concretely and consistently?

MASTER: Yes. That is correct.

Ms. Kouno: Mirabai-san says that there is an exchange of love there. So that means that we’ll eventually be able to directly feel it…

MASTER: Yes, you will be able to.


1 The three-year program that was initiated for the concrete growth of each disciple. It was a program made only for serious practitioners who have attended MYM’s classes regularly for some years and were willing to go further. The program was run between April 2013 and March 2016. It was led by Sananda and Sanatana.

2 A 16th-century Hindu poet and bhakta (lover of God). She was a fervent devotee of Krishna and wrote many poems expressing her deep devotion to God.

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Testimonies from Actual Practitioners:


Jayanti Speech 2016:
My Ideal

by Rei Hamaguchi (Nirmala)

Shri Mahayogi, I would like to congratulate you on this sacred day of your birth.

I am so grateful and joyful that I am able to be here on the brightest, most joyous day of the year. I would also like to express my deep gratitude for always guiding me through your love and compassion.

About eight years ago, I visited the Ashrama for the first time. I had already had opportunities to speak with senior disciples from the Mission, I had begun to practice asana, and at that time I was strangely drawn towards Yoga, but I didn’t have any ideas about seeking a guru, nor did I have any self-awareness about that at all.

However, when I first spoke with Shri Mahayogi at the Ashrama, I vividly recall that my tears wouldn’t stop flowing and I cried like a child. Although it was so strange to me at that time how those tears kept rolling down and why I felt so relieved, later on I understood the reason. It was the Pure Consciousness, which I had not been aware of even though it is deep within me, that resonated with Shri Mahayogi’s Existence, which is truly, the Pure Soul itself.

Then, even though I am usually not very good at expressing myself so openly, I found myself saying without hesitation, “Shri Mahayogi, may I think of you, Shri Mahayogi, as my Guru?” and “I live far away from Kyoto, and I’m a householder, and I am raising my children, but is it possible to become your disciple?” Shri Mahayogi kindly accepted, “Of course, you can consider it to be so from today.” I still don’t feel that I myself truly understand the profound depth of how blessed I am to live in the same time as Shri Mahayogi and be accepted as his disciple—the miraculous meaning of this connection. Yet thanks to Shri Mahayogi’s guidance, I have been able to walk on the path of Yoga little by little.

There have been many memorable moments along that path, but there was one experience in particular that connected to my ideal.

I work at a daycare center, and around that time I was involved in food preparation. The kitchen is next to the big hall where the kids spend their time, so during work I could always hear the children singing and playing. It happened during the busiest morning hours. As usual, I was concentrating on cutting large amounts of vegetables during that time. Using the power of concentration that had been cultivated through practicing asana, I was immersed in the tasks at hand, when at that moment, suddenly, a sensation came that the sound of the children’s singing was showering over me; and then, like a giant wave, the Truth engulfed me—that all these kids just across that single wall, and the staff taking care of them, were all the same, sacred existence as Shri Mahayogi. Dearness towards everything was overflowing, and I tried hard to hold back my tears. I felt so fortunate to be able to serve all of them, such sacred beings, through the action of preparing food for them. Beyond intellectual understanding, I felt what it was like to see God’s existence within all people, and it directly enveloped my heart. When I told Shri Mahayogi about this experience later, he said, “That is exactly what karma yoga is.” He smiled at me with tender eyes, and I felt so delighted, like a child being encouraged for doing something good. I felt that I had caught a glimpse of how I ought to continue to proceed on the path. In my situation—in which I had a family, a job, and a child—to proactively fulfill these duties amounted to karma yoga, and on the other hand, thinking only of Shri Mahayogi and walking forward depending on that alone, was bhakti yoga. [Through this experience] I started to see, although it was still vague, that my path was to go forth with both of these wheels turning. And then, when I was seeking my ideal during the Siddha Marga course last year, I encountered the Holy Mother1.

The Holy Mother, who manifested in a different body from Shri Ramakrishna but was essentially one with him, is my ideal, since I yearn to be one with Shri Mahayogi.

Even though she was at one with God, and many considered her to also be a manifestation of God, her actual life was filled with difficulties. Nevertheless, she kept fulfilling her daily duties, and through that she demonstrated that even worldly duties can be performed as spiritual acts—she is the image of my ideal karma yogi.

She was constantly with Shri Ramakrishna, and internally she was filled with intense love for Shri Ramakrishna—she was like Radha, and such a form is my ideal bhakta.

I always liked the words of Shri Mahayogi, “Karma yoga and bhakti yoga do not conflict with each other,” but when I found out about the existence of the Holy Mother, who clearly displayed that to me through the way she lived, I clearly realized that she was my ideal. Then, from the very moment in which I realized my ideal, I feel the Holy Mother always with me, even beyond time and space. How reassuring that is!

But even then, it was Shri Mahayogi who bestowed upon me this encounter with the Holy Mother. Because when I asked Shri Mahayogi about my encounter with her, he said, “That’s exactly my intention!”

Again, I am deeply grateful for Shri Mahayogi, who has constantly been guiding me—a person who didn’t even know what it meant to seek a guru—with deep love and grace. Had it not been for his guidance, I would have been tossed around with the happiness of being a mother and the suffering that comes along with it.

Most of the participants of the Prema Yoga Circle2, which we started three years ago, are just like us, housewives who are in the midst of raising children. Having a family life, children, work…such a position as a housewife often feels constrained by something. Even so, and in spite of any circumstances, it is possible to have faith regardless of the situation, and we ourselves must prove that Yoga can be actualized and attained. Seeing God within everything, loving God, and acting towards God…I think that if many people were able to know such a way of life, and to find true happiness that can forever be unbroken, then not only would they benefit, but others around them would receive positive influences. When I think about that, mothers practicing Yoga can make a big impact.

On the 25th day of the last month, Shri Mahayogi graced the Prema Yoga Circle with his presence and a Satsangha was held. We had more participants than we initially expected, and they were able to come into direct contact with Shri Mahayogi’s being and his teachings. For many people, it was their first time meeting with Shri Mahayogi, and Shri Mahayogi spoke very carefully and simply, in a gentle yet powerful way, about the teachings of Yoga to all the people there. He guided everyone there through deep love. [From this group], someone even came to class the week after. It was a precious moment, where yet another person auspiciously became connected to Yoga. In doing the Prema Yoga Circle activities, there is nothing that gives me more joy than seeing more people connect to the path of Truth and walk upon that path together.

The group, Prema Yoga Circle, was named by Shri Mahayogi. Prema is Supreme Love, pure Love itself. Shri Mahayogi taught us that it is the ultimate form of bhakti. For realizing the given name of the group, Prema, and for getting closer and closer to the ideal, I want to live in pure faith. Please allow me to continue to walk on this path alongside you, Shri Mahayogi. I offer all of this body over to Shri Mahayogi, and worship at Shri Mahayogi’s sacred feet.


1 She was the consort as well as a disciple of Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

2 The Prema Yoga Circle began in September 2013 in Osaka when three disciples (Nirmala, Suditi, and Ms. Suematsu) who are mothers, were naturally brought together by the same goal. They truly felt the greatness of Yoga in daily life, so they simply wanted to share Yoga with others. Ms. Suematsu is not currently an active member since her family moved to another city in Japan, however Nirmala and Suditi have continued to hold a morning class for women once a week. back to top

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