Teachings of Shri Mahayogi:
Words from the Direct Teaching Class [Asana and Meditation with the Master]: January 12, 2019
The Master’s Teachings from the Satsangha that Followed the Class: January 12, 2019
Testimonies from Actual Practitioners
• The Real Joy of Bhakti
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Teachings of Shri Mahayogi:
Words from the Direct Teaching Class [Asana and Meditation with the Master]: January 12, 2019
The Essence of Yoga
After the asana and meditation practice, Shri Mahayogi spoke mightily and with great intensity about the core teachings of the Truth.
MASTER: Since ancient times, that is to say, whether old or new, East or West, religions and philosophies throughout history have taught that there is something that exists as the Truth. However, the methods that exist to awaken to It, to realize It, are not many. The great content [of that Truth, which has been] discovered through Yoga, is the following: the Truth already exists; however, it seems that something is covering It up. [That something] is the activity of the mind, or the karma that is created by the mind. The cause of karma too [can be traced back, and its] cause is in pain-bearing obstacles, that is, ignorance, which is not knowing the Truth, or rather believing in what is not the Truth—for example deceiving oneself to believe as if the world were eternal, or as if we could gain happiness and freedom by gaining something in this world. Nonetheless, no matter how heroic one is, death comes, and before that, sickness or old age come—the coming of various [forms of] suffering into one’s life are too numerous to mention. History has proven this. Then, what Yoga teaches [is that one is] being bound by karma, just as if one’s own mind is tied down by itself, so therefore all you need to do is simply remove these bonds. In order to remove the bonds, you should eliminate ignorance, which means the incorrect thoughts, and learn the Truth. Reeducate your mind with it. Through doing that, Truth will fill the mind and replace ignorance.
The Truth is unlike knowledge in the world. Its existence is self-evident. It is not something that you can buy with money nor acquire by any means whatsoever. Simply by purifying the mind, by eliminating karma and by removing ignorance, that True Wisdom will emerge and reveal itself. That is the way the Truth is. The Earth may have been around for billions of years, this macrocosm may have been around for even longer and may continue on, and even though the forms may keep changing, what exists is only One, without a second. Only One Existence exists. This Eternal Existence, Immortal Existence, is the essence of the entire universe, of all things, of all and of everything. Therefore, everyone can experience It. As I mentioned in the beginning, [what you need to do is] remove the little bit of dirt in the mind that seems as if it is covering It. The concrete learnings and ways to realize It are provided in Yoga.
Asana, which may have appeared to be like exercise, is not just a mere exercise for the sake of health. Through the asana [that we have practiced today], the body will become healthier, however it also has the role of nurturing the mind to be more flexible and tenacious. First of all, the breath is what mediates between the physical body and the mind. Through [practicing] asana, one can make changes to one’s breathing. Because the breath is an action of the autonomic nervous system, it is not easy to reform it. However, [being shaped] in the mold, which is asana, the breath transforms gradually. At the core of the breath, or the content of the breath, is prana—the energy that has been translated since long ago as ki [in Japanese]—it is translated as cosmic energy or life energy too, but either way, it is only because of this power, prana, that the physical body and the mind can be in activity, and that the entire universe can operate. Prana is that energy or power that pervades this universe. Of course, this microcosm, the human physical body is also maintained by prana. This prana transforms [through asana]—and through asana, the prana becomes full and enhanced. At the same time, it brings purification not only to the body but also to the mind.
The result of karma, which is what is brought about by attachment to wrong things, is suffering and sadness, therefore no one wants such things. There is no need for these errors. So, eliminate the errors promptly. Then, you must realize the Truth—simply stated, Eternal Happiness, Freedom—You must realize That.
There is an Existence that has been referred to as God since ancient times. Old religions are presided over by specific gods. However, God is not something that belongs to a specific religion, nor does it belong to a specific thought or idea. If God exists, then it must be eternal, and it must be universal. If God changes according to humans’ whims, then that’s not God. The Immortal, Eternal Existence, as mentioned earlier, is the real identity of God! The Existence called God in truth does not even have a name, “God.”
In the Old Testament, there is a verse said by God himself, “I am that I am.” It mentions only that it exists. It says that I am Existence. No other explanation is added. The word “God” is merely a term that humans arbitrarily named it. In short, the very substance itself is the substance [of everyone’s Existence,] and they are the same. To notice It, and then to awaken into It—the various teachings that are for doing that are within the content of Yoga. The asana [we have practiced] or meditation are one of the approaches to that. It’s not so easy to grasp God as an abstract existence, so in order to make it easier to grasp, there have been existences in human form as ideal deities, or God-like beings who have completely manifested God 100% into human forms, such as Shakyamuni Buddha, Jesus Christ, Shri Ramakrishna and others who have appeared on this earth. They are referred to as the incarnations of God, and during the times when it is chaotic on earth God himself descends as a beacon so that people do not lose sight of God. Therefore, I also recommend meditating on such a being who is the utmost embodiment of God.
Another key [for meditation] is “Who am I?” which is a question that has been inquired into since ancient times. We all say, “I,” “I think this,” or “I go to this place”—there is always a subject, the first person “I” in the beginning. However, “I’m tired,” or, “I’m happy,” or “I’m unhappy”—we believe unintentionally that the environment or condition is [part of] this “I.” But that is not so. Regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, child or an adult, the [notion of] “I” is the same; because “I” is the first person, the subject, for everyone. Take this “I” as a keyword, inquire into who the true Self is, who this “I” is. Whether man or woman, or having a certain ability or not—these are all adding to or patching up various conditions, therefore these conditioned things are all meaningless. If the “I,” the consciousness itself, is simplified, it indicates the Pure Consciousness. It’s not the mind. As proof of this, the mind is constantly being seen by that Pure Consciousness, even now. The mind must be known. Who is the one that is doing the knowing—That is the Pure Consciousness. Just like the word “God,” the word “I” is a mere pronoun. That Pure Consciousness is nothing other than the Eternal Existence which I mentioned earlier.
Only That, That which is without a second, exists!! The physical body eventually disappears. The mind is also constantly changing, and it may eventually go on the journey of reincarnation again. However, that Existence is always existing in the same way, without ever changing. Reality or Existence—truly it is frustrating to use words to describe It, nonetheless it is inevitable because words in and of themselves are tools used within this relative world. Yet, if you can experience that Existence even for a single moment, (powerfully) you will understand that True Reality is only That.
In order to experience that, you must have prepared yourself by clearing away the attachments that the mind is fastened to, keeping the mind empty. You can handle daily activities accordingly with your mind and body, yet prepare yourself by maintaining the mind such that it itself does not impose any burden. In that way, I often say, “be as if you are empty” so to speak—because the secret is to maintain that state of being as if empty. When you maintain it, there are times that even from a gap like that of the tip of an eye of a needle, the Truth [within you] can suddenly Awaken, and Realization will come.
(The Master’s energy coming through his presence and words are so powerful, and even through his breath the spirit of Shri Mahayogi was vividly felt. The room was saturated with the divine vibration emanating from that Existence.)
(A few hours later, the Satsangha was held in the evening. The reverberations from this talk could still be felt, and Satsangha too became a very rich and profound session.)
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The Master’s Teachings from the Satsangha that Followed the Class: January 12, 2019
Ms. Yamazaki: I feel that this year, I would like to seek something more, something that is certain, and to experience it. Is it all right to seek to have a sense of experiencing something?
MASTER: Yes, however, an experience is something that comes as a result, therefore the most vital part is to devote yourself to practice so that its result comes. It all boils down to practice.
Ms. Yamazaki: After all this time practicing Yoga, I haven’t quite grasped “the real sense of it,” [or what it ought to be,] yet. Before I began practicing Yoga, there were times when I felt that I had an experience or I experienced a change in myself even though I was not necessarily seeking something. I just can’t stop seeking the sense of that experience. Intellectually, I think to myself that “the past is the past”… Would it be best to get rid of this [expectation]?
MASTER: Yes, that is an unnecessary thing.
Ms. Yamazaki: So I should simply make new efforts in practice and aim for my target even more?
MASTER: (Definitively) No matter what the mind may think, it is all worthless. It has no value whatsoever. Truth certainly exists. The purpose of Yoga is to experience that. It should never be about chasing after some spiritual experience or ecstasy along the way at all. In seeking that, no matter how much time passes, the mind will not be able to know the Truth! Because the Truth and the mind are completely different things. What must be done is to eliminate the mind by making the mind completely empty. If you do so, then the Truth itself that exists within you will emerge. This is the simple Truth.
(With Shri Mahayogi’s powerful guidance, Ms. Yamazaki nods firmly, with tears in her eyes.)
Ms. Nakajima: This is my first time participating. I thought that [when one experiences Satori,] the world that we see until then might be seen differently, however when I read the book of Shri Ramakrishna, it seemed to me that the world [of Satori] is a completely different realm. I can understand to a degree that there is a power that is beyond human reach, but I admit that there are times that I can believe that world exists and there are also times that I feel like that world is just the imaginary world that humans may have thought up to escape from suffering. And, from time to time I feel the world that I live in now is vacant; yet I have no other option but to live here… What can I do to have balance between believing in the world after [the attainment of] Satori and the world I live in now at the same time?
MASTER: It’s truly strange—but take you yourself, and this applies to anyone, you sleep one-third of the day. Within that you probably see dreams. The dream world and the world during the day are completely different. Which one is real?
Ms. Nakajima: (with a nervous smile) Right now, I think this current world is real.
MASTER: No, they’re both of the same [kind]. Dreams are in a way a kind of story that emerges from deep within the mind. The world during the day is a world that is caused as a result of the activities that are on the surface of the mind. Either way, both worlds are of the same [kind] since both are creations of the mind. Both are like dreams. On the other hand, the world of Satori, as I mentioned earlier [during the class we had] today, is the world of certain Reality. That alone is the Truth. In seeing from the view of the Truth, the world is truly ephemeral. Like a morning dew, it sparkles for a moment but then quickly disappears. That is the way this world is.
Ms. Nakajima: It is ephemeral, yet we shouldn’t neglect it, am I correct?
MASTER: Right. Because everyone has a physical body. And the physical body is sustained by food; in order to support it by food, one has to have a job to obtain that food. [If you have family,] you also need to maintain your family life. There may be various tasks that go along with that. But that is all there is to it. That is not the purpose [of life].
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Seeking the True Self is the Reason for Being Born
(Sharmini introduces her second daughter, Liho Aiboshi, who is in the first year of high school [the equivalent of a tenth grader in the US] in Tokyo. “Welcome,” Shri Mahayogi says to her with a full smile. Liho has met Shri Mahayogi back in junior high school. Today, she has questions she really needs answering. She looks straight at Shri Mahayogi and asks him her questions.)
Ms. Liho Aiboshi: Please [offer me an answer]. I have two questions. The first one is: since the time around when I was in kindergarten, when I concentrate on “who am I?”—because normally I don’t pay attention to these things in daily life—I get lost and become really confused about what “I” means, and I become uncomfortable. I can contemplate that even now if I intend to. (laughs innocently)
Another question is: there are times that I have troubles, but even during the time when I don’t have any troubles, it is not quite like I want to die, but I feel like I don’t want to have been born. So, I don’t know what it is, but I have a hard time making a serious effort in regards to anything. I don’t know the cause of that, which comes first: is it because I don’t have an ideal I can aspire to that I can’t make an effort, or is it that because I am not making an effort, I don’t have a concrete ideal? I think there will be many times in life from now on when I will have to make a serious effort, and I want to be able to do that. Please advise me on what I should do.
(Shri Mahayogi listened as if very impressed by Liho, who asked these questions with such an innocent expression.)
MASTER: (Smiling) That is very much the way of Yoga and a Yoga-like quality. First of all, in regards to the question that arose at a very young age—the arising of the question about who the self is, even though it might be vague, is an essential matter—it is a very good and an important . In one of the main teachings of Yoga, there is the issue of, “Seeking who am I.” As one grows up, various knowledge is amassed, and one may think, “I am a man,” “I am a woman,” “I am capable of this job or that job,” [or one may identify with] various abilities and titles, or degrees of wealth—and thus one loses sight of the true Self upon getting entangled in various situations and environments, and then one tends to say things like, “I’m this and that,” “I am this way or that way” and “I’m happy or unhappy.” However, that is the very proof that one has lost sight of the Self. The true Self is not the mind. It is not that, but rather, it can be expressed as the soul, or the Pure Consciousness that exists as the essence of the true Self. So I think that probably, you had a glimpse of that when you had that sudden insight when you were younger.
Even the adults here have to be taught this later in life, to seek for who their Self is. (Everyone bursts into laugher.) So from now on, I want you to seek and find the clear answer of who your true Self is. (Shri Mahayogi gently gazes at Liho.)
Ms. Liho Aiboshi: Does the discomfort come because I do not know the answer to that?
MASTER: Yes, that’s right. As I mentioned earlier, the mind cannot understand the Pure Consciousness at all. Because when the mind sprouts, then self-consciousness grows, then people tend to identify the mind as the self. Ego—if I borrow from English—which is the part, as one of the pillars that constitutes the mind, that mistakenly asserts itself. Then from that mistake, it grows bigger and bigger. As a result, suffering comes. Currently, everyone is trying to make a U-turn (everyone laughs), beginning to seek their true Self. Yoga expounds and teaches about that essential true Self, so I would really like you learn about it.
As for the second question, to seek that true Self is exactly the original reason why we are born. Normally, why are people born? All human beings die. There is a cause for death. Because one is born, one dies. If you weren’t born, you wouldn’t die. Then what caused birth? There was a reason that compelled you to be born. Where does that reason come from? From your past lives. People reincarnate. Whether in the form of a human being or of an animal—even though forms may vary and what form it takes might vary, it is said that we repeatedly incarnate. If this were not the case, you wouldn’t be able to find the cause of birth. If you try to find the cause, it must exist somewhere for certain. It can be traced back to past lives.
There is a famous saying, “one shall reap what one sows.” That is the law of karma—if you had a thought or took an action you must receive the results of it; if you do good, you will receive good results or a happy life will ensue as a result; if you do bad, a life of suffering ensues as a result—that is how the law of karma is working. Also, if your life ends without resolving attachments, in other words, if you had any regret in your mind, then you’ll have to resolve that in the next lifetimes. If you observe your day-to-day lives too, [you can see that it is the same when] you may put off things you couldn’t do yesterday to do today, and today until tomorrow. This day-to-day is the symbolic form of reincarnation, so to speak. Equate one day with one lifetime. It is like yesterday was your past life, today is your current life, and tomorrow is your next life. Of course, no one wants to live a lifetime of suffering. Everyone must be wanting to live happily, a lifetime of happiness. If so, then you must do good. By “good” it means to not be egoistic or selfish, but rather, to be altruistic, to serve others through your actions and thoughts. There is a word “virtue,” [and similar to cultivating one’s virtue], the rewards from good deeds accumulate, and provide positive results for the next lifetime. In that sense, each person has a certain reason for being born.
You are not able to find what you want to pursue in your life—that’s not a negative thing for you. In a way, it is that you are not expecting from the beginning to rely on the world [to provide purpose or happiness]—it can be said that it is very much a Yoga-like quality or the way that Yoga views it (smiling). However, as mentioned earlier, since you are born into this world with a physical body, you must survive, and therefore sufficient ability and wisdom to live in this world is required. It doesn’t need to be anything special. Any job is fine, too. Nevertheless, [what it all boils down to is] knowing your true Self. And, once you know your true Self, you will understand everything in the universe. You will understand the way everything is. There is nothing more entertaining than this (laughing).
Ms. Liho Aiboshi: Thank you very much. If there is one wish that can be fulfilled, I would like to not have “me,” or in other words, I want to be nothing. I don’t want to think about myself. It would be better if I don’t have any of that at all. When people ask me what my hobby is or what I like, well, I like to draw, read books, watch TV too, I like whatever. But most of all, I like to sleep. When I sleep, I dream but I don’t need to think in the dream. Is that weird?
MASTER: No, no, that is a very much the way that Yoga views it. (Shri Mahayogi and everyone laugh.) That is fine. It is best to spend your daily life like that, [without thinking of this “me”]. It will be good to spend time not having unnecessary attachments or to not be caught up by anything more than that. (Liho and Sharmini smile at each other, joyfully)
MASTER: I myself didn’t have any of this, “I want to do this or that,” throughout [my growing up]. So I really understand how you feel.
Sharmini (Mrs. Aiboshi): There is a dilemma in her, that even though she wants to make a serious effort, she is not able to. How can she nurture her motivation?
MASTER: Well, she does not need to exert herself. As it suits her is fine.
Sharmini (Mrs. Aiboshi): Will motivation arise from her naturally?
MASTER: I believe that it will arise and she is already doing the best she can in her own way, so it is fine to trust her.
Sharmini (Mrs. Aiboshi to her daughter Liho): (whispering to Liho) He says you are fine. (To Shri Mahayogi) Thank you very much.
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Divine Guidance from the Guru
Madhri: I think that Shri Mahayogi spoke in the Direct Teaching class [by Shri Mahayogi] about, when we bring the mind to the condition of being empty, a pathway to the Truth opens up from the point like an eye of a needle. Could you please elaborate a little more about what that eye of the needle is like?
MASTER: It’s a symbolic expression of something that is extremely subtle and fine. When you empty the mind, on one hand, there may be a feeling of something like darkness or like a void. However, beyond that membrane there exists a brilliant shining Atman, the Existence of Truth, which is constantly trying to break out beyond that membrane. Even if there is the slightest opening in it, and if light shines through it, instantly darkness is gone. It was a metaphor for that.
Yogadanda: Is it the effect of the Guru to poke a hole in that membrane?
MASTER: Yes. I’m always poking it. (Everyone bursts into laughter) The rest is your work—you all have to make an effort to create that condition too.
Yogadanda: I’ll try to keep the membrane as thin as possible. (Everyone laughs.)
MASTER: Yes, you have to.
(Laughter continues in a light atmosphere)
Maitri: I love Shri Mahayogi’s Direct Teaching classes. I have felt that Shri Mahayogi’s presence makes a complete difference [in the class], and that Shri Mahayogi has been transmitting something beyond just asana. Will you please teach us the meaning of having the presence of the Guru in that space?
MASTER: The origin of the Hindu word, Guru, has the meaning of “the light that shines upon darkness.” Darkness symbolizes the ignorance that is based in the mind. By what can this be cleared away or made to disappear? It is through light. That role is in the Guru. Because of that, even if it’s asana, which is an elementary sadhana or practice, if you have the presence of the Guru there, which is the light, you are being showered with this light without realizing it, and karma and ignorance are being removed without even being aware of it. It can be said in this way.
(Towards the ending time, an announcement is made that Shri Mahayogi will go to the US from January 16th for approximately two months.)
MASTER: See you in March! Be well.
(What a day filled with inspiration and blessings! The essence of the teachings that poured from the mouth of an incomparable existence, the vibration of the Eternal Truth, was carved deeply into the disciples’ hearts.)
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Testimonies from Actual Practitioners:
The Real Joy of Bhakti
When I ask myself if I have faith in God, I think I do. But, if you ask me if it’s an intense faith…I think that it’s not. That was my honest feeling. What I mean by “God” is my Guru, Shri Mahayogi.
With words like “God” and “love,” and even with singing kirtan or reading the scriptures of Shri Ramakrishna, I had a sense that I liked them, but there was always some distance in my mind and it never felt like it resonated with me 100%. I aspired to be a bhakta who loves God, but observing them, it seemed to me that there was something that they were feeling that I was not able to see or feel. I had a period in which I was thinking that it was probably something different, but at the same time I was somehow avoiding clarifying what this was.
I spoke about this in my speech at last year’s Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela, but the reality was that it had been a decade since I began practicing Yoga, I felt that I could no longer avoid the fact that I needed to face this distance in the mind.
So, I began reading The Gospel of Shri Ramakrishna. This scripture comes with a distinct mood. Ramakrishna constantly preaches about loving God, singing kirtan and entering samadhi. The appearance of intense bhakta and the deep emotion and tears from the disciples and visitors who witnessed that… I couldn’t quite immerse myself in this perspective of that world, but rather I felt that it was not my thing. Even though this was the case, through my analysis, I inferred that it was exactly that “something” that bhakta could feel but I was not able to. So, I thought that first I needed to familiarize myself with this perspective of the world, and read the The Gospel of Shri Ramakrishna every single day no matter what, even if it was one line or one page. If I had a ten-minute break at work, I opened the book anyway and read it until the time was up. Even if it was in short spurts, I tried to make an effort to extend the period of time to be in touch with that world in my daily life. As soon as I began reading the exchange between the author, M (Mahendranath Gupta), and Ramakrishna I would be drawn in. I was captivated by the conversation between M and Ramakrishna, because I felt that M asked Ramakrishna exactly what I was thinking and feeling right now.
M: How, sir, may we fix our minds on God?
Master: Repeat the name of God and sing His glories, and keep holy company; and now and then visit God’s devotees and sadhus (holy men). The mind cannot dwell on God if it is immersed day and night in worldliness, in worldly duties and responsibilities; it is most necessary to go into solitude now and then and think of God.
M was the person who after [having that conversation] would practice, and he became a holy being. Such a great person like him had the same state of the mind as I do now—it was very surprising and at the same time encouraging. The answer to M was exactly the answer to me.
Specifically, I interpreted “chanting God’s name and singing his glories” to mean singing kirtan, and “keeping sacred company, and visiting devotees and sadhus” to mean interacting with gurubai, of course, but it also meant that I interact with Ramakrishna, a bhakta, through reading The Gospel of Shri Ramakrishna. And “thinking about God in secluded areas” meant meditating on God late at night.
As for the The Gospel of Shri Ramakrishna, I continued reading. And as my new practice, I began to sing kirtan as much as possible; and when time permitted me to sing in front of the altar, I did that. But that singing was a miniscule period of time out of the entire day. So, when I was walking down the street or riding my bicycle, I began to sing out loud, and when I was riding the train or when I had a spare moment at work, I sang silently in my heart—as Ramakrishna mentioned, I tried to prevent myself from getting immersed in worldly tasks and duties throughout the day by intentionally trying to direct my mind towards God alone as much as possible.
To be honest, this practice in action did not go as well. It was fine when I was singing out loud, but when I sang silently in my mind, other thoughts interrupted it immediately. It was quite often that the heart would get dragged and slip into these distractions and when I noticed I had already spent a good bit of time thinking about trivial things. Noticing and starting over again, and then the mind slipping again… As this cycle repeated, I found another answer again in The Gospel of Shri Ramakrishna.
A devotee: How can I take delight in God’s name?
MASTER: Pray to God with a yearning heart that you may take delight in His name. He will certainly fulfill your heart’s desire.
Yes. The reason why I easily forget to chant God’s name is because I don’t feel joy in God’s name. If I chant it forcefully just like a spell, it washes away as soon as a more interesting thought arises in the mind. If I feel joy in chanting Gods name, then I ought to simply want to keep chanting without making effort. As Ramakrishna said, I began the practice of praying from the bottom of my heart.
My initial prayer was, “Please allow me to feel joy in God’s name!” Nonetheless, joy won’t arise so easily just because you pray. I didn’t have any sense that my prayers were being answered, rather I felt that the words of my prayers just floated in the air, with no one to receive them. In addition, I kept falling into a rut, slipping into something else, forgetting to sing kirtan, and I felt more and more pathetic. On the other hand, I found myself little by little getting more used to the perspective of the world of The Gospel of Shri Ramakrishna. I want to feel God directly like that, I want to see Ramakrishna drunk with God. My yearning began to grow little by little.
As I put this practice into action for several months, I began to get disgusted with myself for not making any progress whatsoever. What am I doing wrong? I wonder, is it that even though I think I’m serious, my seriousness is not enough? Is God really listening to my feelings?… I drifted into thoughts of these things constantly. This got bigger and gradually I became possessed by these thoughts. One day, I felt so devastated about myself for not feeling joy in chanting God’s name at all and how easily I would fail to chant that I fell down in the middle of the street and cried. The sense of being miserable turned into anger, and I pleaded with God, “I only want to love you but why do you ignore me! Don’t forsake me!!!!”
Even after that, I saw that there was no change whatsoever. In fact, only a clear premonition came to me that my miniscule, never-progressing practices were utterly worthless to be counted as a spell of “effort”; that even if I were to make an effort of a thousand-fold, this lifetime would not be enough for me. Feeling like the amount of effort that was required was suddenly placed tangibly in front of my eyes, I was overwhelmed, and the shock made me hesitate practicing for days. Shri Ramakrishna said:
“Cry to the Lord with an intensely yearning heart and you will certainly see Him. People shed a whole jug of tears for wife and children. They swim in tears for money. But who weeps for God? Cry to Him with a real cry.”
However, even though I would cry or get angry, there was no single thing that would be changed at that moment. I could have quit practicing altogether. In fact, at that point, [I was so distraught that] I even became unclear about why I should quit or not. Yet, I understood that what I was hoping to have is not that easy to acquire, and that it was beyond my own effort, and so it was something that was not guaranteed just because I made an effort.
At that time, I stopped forcing myself to sing kirtan and read the poem that Ramakrishna liked and often sang with his devotees over and over again. I felt that its expression was very close to how I was feeling at the time. As I read this poem day after day while crying, my mind began to become assimilated with the poem.
“Oh Mother! Please make me mad with your love. What knowledge or answers do I need? Please make me drunk, with the nectar of your love. Alas! The one who steals the hearts of devotees, please drown me deep in the ocean of your love. In your madhouse, which is this world, some laugh, some cry and some dance with joy. Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Gauranga, they are all drunk from the wine of your love. Oh Mother, when will I be blessed to be able to join this fortunate group?”
One day, as I was walking down the street, I suddenly noticed hearing the name of God from somewhere. As I listened carefully, there was something that rang out slowly from the deepest depths of my heart. It was so faint to the degree that I had to stop walking again and again in order to check to make sure, but I felt that its ringing was automatic, not related to my own intentions. Something is changing!!! I will not let it escape! Feeling like clutching even at straws, I clung to this faint, tiny name of God. This sound began to increase day by day. And in a particular moment, an absolute confidence came to me that God answered my prayers. The mind that was moving in one direction then one-sidedly reversed itself completely as if what I had thought was right became left, what I had thought to be up became down, and it startled me to turn over and fall down into this. I believe that was the great ocean of God’s Love. From that threshold, my mind changed completely.
God’s name kept ringing independent of my intentions, the joy of chanting pulsed throughout the entire body. The feeling of love for God heightened more and more, and Joy would suddenly occupy my heart.
Thinking solely about God became so automatic, my head felt heavy if I tried to think about something else, then gradually I would lose and not be able to recognize what I was thinking, and suddenly I noticed myself thinking about God again. Seeing the sky, the sunset, the rain clouds, the moon, sensing the wind and the light, no matter what I saw or what I was doing, my heart associated it with God, and Joy would spring forth, or thoughts would explode, crying, laughing—days went on where I could not control this. At times, I’d suddenly come to and question myself, “was I always like this?”; but then, as if the ability to observe myself was gone, Joy would drown it out and only the thought of God would remain in the end. In my relations with others, I only wanted to talk about God with them, so I only sought out those I could have conversations with about God, and if I had to talk about something else, almost an anger-like frustration arose in me feeling, “Why do I need to speak about such a thing!”
Afterwards, I became so fond of the perspective of the world of The Gospel of Shri Ramakrishna that I didn’t want to let it go; I kept reading it whenever there was a spare moment. The boundary between the book world and the real world, or I should say the boundary between the real world and it disappeared, I was carried away as if I was attending Ramakrishna’s Satsangha, and I felt the joy of sitting next to Ramakrishna with the devotees every night.
However, the time of peak of my joy is when I actually see Shri Mahayogi. When I knew that I would be able to see Shri Mahayogi, I wouldn’t be able to hold myself any longer, and I would run out of the house and wait for his arrival eagerly looking at the direction from where he would arrive, even much earlier than the expected time. From the moment I would see Shri Mahayogi’s face, then I wouldn’t be able to see anything else, and the world became only Shri Mahayogi. When I was speaking with Shri Mahayogi, I was not able to distinguish whether Shri Mahayogi was me or if I was Shri Mahayogi, and I thought, “Oh? I don’t know who is who anymore,” nonetheless, that didn’t matter anymore, because what existed there was only Joy. When he left, I would want to see him again immediately, and when I was near him, I didn’t want to leave. My mind was always occupied only by thoughts of just wanting to meet Shri Mahayogi, to see Shri Mahayogi.
Strangely, even when I could not be in the physical presence of Shri Mahayogi, I continuously felt Shri Mahayogi nearby, and I had a feeling of being together. When I stayed in the state in which I surrendered everything, I was wrapped in overwhelming happiness and security. Because the mind was fulfilled, my appetite disappeared and I forgot to eat. Rather, I felt that if I ate, my awareness would go towards the physical body, so my wanting to eat disappeared. Even so, the body was not affected by it. My world transformed drastically.
This state continued for about three months, then this uncontrollable situation subsided, and the part of the mind that could objectively see myself began to move. It was so disappointing, yet it is not that I returned to the original state. Love towards God sprouted for certain, and to me that Love towards God is absolute more than anything else.
I see this as my introductory chapter in the journey of bhakti—this is the starting point. The only path I can take is to continue to love and yearn for God—simply, I yearn to dive deeper into the great ocean of Gods’ love, and always be One with Shri Mahayogi.