Teachings of Shri Mahayogi:
Testimonies from Actual Practitioners
• To Realize the Truth:
The Practice of Discrimination and Renunciation are Required
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Teachings of Shri Mahayogi:
Discrimination: Face and Overcome Your Fears
Translation of Satsangha
February 26, 2011
Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto
Ranjani asks with a serious expression on her face.
Ranjani: I would like to receive some teaching about fear. I understand that fear comes from my own experience, and I understand that it’s something that’s been created by my own mind too; yet I am in the state of tamas, which is not positive. What is the way to solve this? Do I remove it by telling myself to do so? Should I confront it? How do I properly handle it?
MASTER: Fear, too, surely has a cause; so face it. By facing it, find what it is that you fear, and what the reason is for that fear to be brought about—seek out the cause. By doing this, you remove the cause itself.
Ranjani: So unless I seek out the causes and defeat them at their root, it will keep coming back again and again.
MASTER: For example, there is one big fear that everyone has, which is the issue of death. This fear doesn’t necessarily have to arise after one has aged; it is one of the fears that arises even in childhood. The cause of this fear is not wanting to die. When it comes to death, one thinks that it means entering into the realm of the unknown, where one has no idea what happens; at the same time, there is attachment toward this world and such things—these can be causes that can make one think that one does not want to die. If you dig into these more deeply, you can find the big causes, such as karma, sanskara and ignorance. So, by learning what the Truth teaches about it, how does the Truth teach about death, and how does the Truth teach about that which is beyond death? Through learning these things, the fear then subsides and will eventually disappear.
Ranjani: At times, when I reference teachings, I feel like I’m still resolving them only on the surface, just with words. I feel like I haven’t gotten a sense that they have been eliminated, nor do I feel that I have truly gotten to the bottom of the problems yet.
MASTER: Nonetheless, it is important for the mind to make sense of and comprehend the words of Truth, because gradually that will become the source of power for the mind to destroy the ideas that come from pain-bearing obstacles, ignorance.
Ranjani: So if I continue applying Truth against them, then at some point, I will be convinced, or will feel satisfied.
MASTER: Yes. Unless you have taken such measures [to prepare], you can’t resolve them fundamentally.
Ranjani: Because of the fact that I keep thinking what I’m doing is still at the surface level, it means that the way I have been doing it is still superficial, right?
MASTER: Right. Once you can practice it thoroughly, then you will no longer be bothered by fear.
Shachi: Since ignorance and pain-bearing obstacles don’t exist to begin with, even if we are not convinced about that at the beginning, if we continue telling the Truth to the mind, then will the mind gradually come to understand It?
MASTER: (Decisively) Yes, it will. Needless to say, at the same time, you must also proceed proactively with Yoga, which means sadhana, including meditation and everything else.
Madhavi: So, is that when we will be able to feel that we have overcome our own issue, when the mind does not react to the same situations that we used to take issue with?
MASTER: Yes, exactly.
Ranjani: Is it okay to be frustrated with oneself? (Everyone laughs.) Often, I am so frustrated at myself. I keep getting frustrated again and again for not being able to get over things.
MASTER: Well, that too can become a source of strength. Nevertheless, you can’t keep saying you’re frustrated again and again forever. You don’t want that. That’s why you have to use that as an explosive power to battle for resolving the root cause. It is a battle, indeed.
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Seeing Atman in Others
Ranjani: Please teach us the true meaning of humility. There are times when I feel that people act with humility but only superficially.
MASTER: Well, I think that it is a matter of whether one has genuine, candid respect towards others in these moments. In other words, simply put, it’s about seeing Atman or seeing God in others. At your job or within various social situations, these things are hidden and you only see the ugly surface, so inevitably you may often become agitated by them. Nevertheless, by seeing Atman, which is their essence, you can respect them; you’re respecting the Atman, not respecting the ugly parts, so then I’m sure you will be able to act humbly with courtesy.
Ranjani: So even if the humility of others feels fake to me, I should see Atman in them, and in turn, be humble myself.
MASTER: Yes, exactly.
Ranjani: I haven’t quite gotten to that state yet.
MASTER: You should look at them as the daily training ground of real life which you have been given for practice—it is a test too, at the same time it is also sadhana. (after a long silence, gazing all around towards everyone) Well, what obstructs such humility is arrogance. Where does arrogance come from? Conceit, looking down on others, and having a sense of superiority or inferiority. Especially conceit, when one justifies everything about oneself, arrogance grows more and more. No matter whether you know more than others, or are more capable than others, that isn’t important. Practicing to be modest and humbling yourself without judging others will lead to humility. Therefore, you should make every effort to practice this as a concrete action to be courteous and kind and use a humble demeanor, and all the while being careful about things emanating on the surface in order to not let arrogance come through, whether it be in your facial expression, your words or your actions.
Ranjani: So no matter how fake I feel others act, if I keep thinking, “How fake they are!” then I am also arrogant, right?
MASTER: It’s fine to expose them, but you must remain calm. It’s no good if you become arrogant by reacting to them. So, stay objective.
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Discrimination: the Way of Proactive Discipline
Kinkala: (with a very serious expression in his face) When discriminating, how do I generate disgust towards ignorance? Not just a surface level of discrimination. Unless I truly want to get away from ignorance… From the fact that attachments are still there, then I must still have desire towards them, or feelings of liking them must still remain there, liking ignorance remains—that’s why I can’t get away from it, and that means I haven’t been able to discriminate on them completely. I suppose that that can mean that I’m not serious enough. But still, how do I generate this feeling that I truly want to get away from these things and that place [of ignorance].
MASTER: The Yoga Sutra clearly states what things are included in ignorance. You must remember them, right?
Kinkala: Seeing impermanence as permanence, suffering as happiness, the non-self as the Self, and the impure as pure.
MASTER: Right. It boils down to if your mind has truly understood this and is convinced of it—if you confirm [the truth of ignorance] then ignorance will disappear. (after some silence) The rest of what you need to do is to not give any space for ignorance to arise. One of the ways is to perform every action as Yoga; it can be meditation of course, or karma yoga, kirtan—there are various actions. If everything becomes Yoga, then even your actions in daily life and in your job ought to become Yoga.
Sananda: So, there are six crocodiles.
MASTER: Oh, it’s been a while, here come the crocodiles. (Everyone laughs.)
Sananda: The cause of these six crocodiles is ignorance, however, these six crocodiles don’t go away so easily. Even if we think they have disappeared, they come out again quickly. I feel them inside of me, and they come out in various situations. Is thorough discrimination the only way to exterminate these six crocodiles?
MASTER: (thinks for a while) Hmmm…discrimination, well, that is to say, vairagya, renunciation. What were the six crocodiles again? Do you remember?
Ranjani: Arrogance, lament, anger, lust, envy, and…what was the other one?”
(Both Sananda and Shaci try to ask for help from each other, and laughter ensues.)
MASTER: Arrogance and conceit. Well, either way, these have ignorance as their big cause for sure. And from these, attachment is derived. Attachment. So, unless you eliminate ignorance, these attachments won’t disappear, and eliminating these things is called detachment or non-attachment. This must be carried out proactively, and on the other hand, you must also carry out sadhana positively and proactively. These two big means, or rather it is to say, these two wisdoms and the application of them through your actions are necessary.
Sananda: So the way to practice this is that when these emotions arise, we should discriminate the cause of their arising, such as obsessions, or in other words, attachments, then actually practice discrimination with renunciation and action—is that so?
MASTER: Yes, that is precisely so. That’s why the way to proceed is not to wait for them to come up [to the surface to deal with them]; in order to proceed swiftly, you must proactively and willingly invade the enemy territory. Then carry this out in meditation.
Sananda: Whenever these six emotions and desires arise, or the crocodiles are there, as you proceed to practice Yoga, they disappear quickly. Then we might feel as if they’re gone.
MASTER: They are diving underwater.
Sananda: That’s right, isn’t it? So I suppose that going into enemy territory means to proactively practice discrimination and such, but are you saying that we need to enter into a situation where that can easily occur proactively?
MASTER: No, not that, (with emphasis) it is about practicing this thoroughly and completely in meditation, right away.
Ranjani: Does that mean that I need to pick those situations that always make anger arise in me?
MASTER: Yes. Of course, before meditation, you need to think about them. By focusing on them before one enters into [the state of] meditation, one concentrates on that and thinks really deeply about it, and as this heightens, then one is supposed to enter naturally into the subtle realm, which is meditation.
Kinkala: I find real life to be more realistic than meditation. I suppose that we ought to proceed more realistically in meditation, digging deeper to more subconscious levels, and that we ought to meditate and then apply that in our daily life. But [Shri Mahayogi is saying that] even that actual practice of daily life needs to be done and completed within meditation. So then it needs to be a deep, realistic battle accompanied by tapas—so what’s missing that causes it to end at a very surface level?
MASTER: (thinks for a while) What’s missing is—one is physical time, another is the level of purity of focus. You see, meditation is not just about sitting politely for 30 minutes to an hour during the day. If the mind is occupied very seriously by some matter, then you won’t be able to stay still, that is to say, you may not be able to sit. No matter where you are or what you do, you won’t be able to stop thinking about it, and the level of purity ends up increasing more and more. From a time perspective, it becomes limitless. It’s like that. Therefore, narrow down the object, earnestly. Behind that, surely there awaits the spiritual inspiration and blessing that declares, “The Truth can’t possibly be these things. The Truth is Eternal, Perfect and Free from the beginning.”
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Meditation Must be Done with Such Power
that It Can Penetrate Thousands of Lifetimes
Translation of Satsangha
April 16, 2011
Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto
Ms. Wada: In order to practice Yoga by putting it into action, it’s very important to have faith in the teachings of the Truth, Shri Mahayogi’s teaching, without any doubt…
MASTER: (Immediately) No, it’s fine to doubt me (Shri Mahayogi and everyone burst into laughter).
MASTER: (Laughing) Don’t just have blind faith. You must thoroughly validate it.
Ms. Wada: Yes, this is true… Well, shall I continue?
On the other hand, it’s important to continue practicing by believing in oneself—in the scriptures, it also says, “Approach it with the mindset that you will attain Satori tomorrow.” I think that it’s very important to envision a positive result. Would you please teach us about the significance of that and its relation to the workings of the mind around it?
MASTER: The shape that this world takes on is a result of the thoughts in the mind that have been formed within the realm of time. When you look into one person’s life, you can see that the result is in accordance with the object of their thoughts and the intenseness of the mind towards those thoughts. A clear example of this, is that of Niranjan (a disciple of Shri Mahayogi whose story is told in the Mahayogi Yoga Mission’s DVD documentary: In the Cave with the Master), who was enthusiastic about theater, dance and such since childhood. As the result of this, he eventually performed on Broadway and various stages. Then, his life took some turns and here he is. With that too, the thoughts brought his body here. All the events and matters in the world are a result of the mind’s thoughts. Meditation in Yoga must be practiced with such enormous vigor that its power will annihilate not only what was formed in this lifetime, but over hundreds or thousands of lifetimes—that too is the will that comes from one’s thoughts. Meditation requires the level of enthusiasm and strength that can penetrate into [and burn away] thousands of lifetimes, rather than what is limited to just one lifetime. By doing this, you will be able to exterminate the karma and sanskara that have been cultivated over thousands of past lifetimes. Simply put, the thoughts in the mind cover over the true Existence. Therefore, in this way you burn away or pick up the seeds of karma that might have been sleeping latently in the depths of the mind. That is the meditation of Yoga… These words, too, you should verify by checking them with the teachings of Vivekananda or Shri Ramakrishna. (Everyone laughs.)
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Purity and Ishvara
Translation of Satsangha
April 23, 2011
Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto
Kinkala: There are four categories of ignorance (the misunderstandings of what is permanent, what is pure, what is happiness and what is the Self). Seeing the Eternal in the non-eternal, seeing the true Self in what is not the true Self, which are the objects of meditation itself, along with seeing happiness in suffering, this is what Buddha taught first in the very beginning. I feel like the second ignorance, “seeing the pure in what is impure” actually includes these three; but even so it is one of the four kinds of ignorance—I don’t understand that. I feel like maybe there is another different root cause to it. Please teach us about this second ignorance, seeing the pure in what is impure.
MASTER: The term is not really used anymore nowadays, but “purity” uses the same character as “Pure-Land” or heaven. It means the pure realm of the afterlife. In Amitabbha [Buddhist] thought, the Pure-Land is expressed as an ideal heavenly utopia, but actually, it in fact also indicates Nirvana.
There is a similar expression of purity in the Yoga Sutra. In the first chapter where it explains Ishvara, it states that Ishvara is the origin, Purusha, Atman, Brahman, where the formless existence has taken on a personified God form—and that condition is called Ishvara, and it can be said to be God, who is Pure. This Ishvara in the Yoga Sutra is considered to be the Guru of all guru—the primary Guru. That is to say, in Yoga, learning and continuously practicing disciplines under a guru is imperative, therefore even a guru ought to have his or her own guru, so if we trace that back, what do we reach? It is like the chicken and the egg. The root of it all is said to be Ishvara, God itself, the Truth itself.
Now, what is the difference between Ishvara and the guru that came after? The difference is that Ishvara is the Pure Existence that has never been tainted by pain-bearing obstacles and ignorance, that is how the Yoga Sutra refers to it. This world, as opposed to that Pure-Land, is expressed as the world that has both purity and impurity, [whereas the Pure-Land] is the Original Pure Existence. However, Ishvara is unrelated to such a world; it is the Pristine Pure Existence to begin with, It has never been tainted whatsoever—It is Pure, Untainted, Complete, therefore, It is pure. That is why it is a different category or different concept from whether something is eternal or not. Nonetheless, that pureness is quite an important point. You can say that it is the clear content of the Existence that is the Truth or God. That is what these four ignorances indicate as well.
(after some silence) So during meditation, when you deepen your meditation into seeking [the Self] by inquiring “Who am I?” if you apply this “pureness” to it, things that are not pure, that means the body, the mind and so on, they would all be discriminated and then renounced. You continue on, confirming that, “This is not It,” “That is not It.”
Dayamati: In your answer just now, the only pure thing is Ishvara, the Guru of all the guru, and normal guru are not pure [in that absolute sense].
MASTER: Something Pure can be defined as God itself—it is nothing other than Ishvara. You can say that other guru are born with karma more or less, or that they became pure in a particular lifetime as the result of practicing disciplines or through noble deeds in past lives, [and through that] then became a guru.
Dayamati: When I’m meditating, I get an image of gurubai, holy beings, and at the end, Shri Mahayogi’s face…only occasionally though. I thought it was fine as it is, but Shri Mahayogi is not a regular guru, is he? (Everyone burst into laughter.)
Dayamati: Thank you very much.
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Bhakti Yoga: the Practice of Discrimination in Meditation
Translation of Satsangha
April 30, 2011
Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto
Mr. Takahashi: In the case of bhakti yoga, is the practice to bring focus directly on God alone, without doing any discrimination?
MASTER: (immediately) No, even if it’s bhakti or karma yoga, you still need discrimination at the minimum.
Mr. Takahashi: In the process of focusing on God, I have been practicing discrimination by eliminating various distracting thoughts as they arise, and thinking only on God. Besides that, is there any content of discrimination that needs to be practiced as one proceeds to practice bhakti yoga?
MASTER: Let’s say that the thoughts in the mind are in one cluster. If this cluster of the mind is almost 100% pointed towards bhakti, then there are no longer any distracting thoughts, therefore one can go towards bhakti without having the need to discriminate. However, if bhakti is not yet perfected that far and is 50/50, then it shows that half of the mind is still filled with miscellaneous distractions. So one has to apply discrimination on these [miscellaneous] parts.
Mr. Takahashi: Regarding the motivation to discriminate, should we use faith as the foundation from which to practice discrimination?
MASTER: That too is important, but the thing is that if that faith is big, then as I mentioned in the beginning, one’s bhakti becomes closer to 100%; however, if that reality is still not there, then one must apply discrimination just as in jnana yoga or raja yoga.
Mr. Takahashi: So this means that even though bhakti meditation has the power to get to the goal in one leap, it is also still necessary to go through the procedure of practicing discrimination persistently as in jnana yoga or raja yoga.
MASTER: (immediately) It depends on the person. As I mentioned now…your wife is not here today? Have you ever fallen in love? (Everyone laughs.)
Mr. Takahashi: (with a serious facial expression) Honestly, until I met Shri Mahayogi I’d never fallen in love.
MASTER: (reacting as if this was funny) Ha ha. What are you saying? (roaring laughter) (Gently and calmly) Those of you who have fallen in love must know this, but when you fall head-over-heels in love, only that person completely occupies the mind, and everything else, whether it’s your job or family status, or whatever it might be, it all disappears. That is when it’s at 100%, and that is the same as this aspect of bhakti. However, while you’re in love, if there are various issues, whatever they may be—like what to do with your job, or concern about introducing him or her to your family members—that love still has parts that are immature, and there are other elements to it. And these are the parts that one must think about and resolve. It is the same with bhakti, if there are unresolved areas, then one must apply the practice of discriminating them—it’s the same situation. Therefore there are people who really enter into bhakti head-over-heels, and there are also people who still have parts that are immature. It varies (laughing).
Well, I’ve heard that with love too, one begins to fall in love with “falling in love” itself from a very young age. So it will be good to make bhakti bigger and more pure little by little, more and more. That is the power of faith.
Mr. Takahashi: (seriously) For people who have such an intense experience of falling in love, it is easier to get into the meditation of bhakti.
MASTER: Bhakti is a yoga that has a specific, personified god as the object [of bhakti], however, the entirety of Yoga actually has elements of bhakti. For example, to perfect Yoga, or to long for Satori, these have a kind of element of bhakti in a way. Therefore either way, whether it is a personified god or a non-personified god, you need passion, which means longing for and becoming immersed in the object.
Ms. Nakajima: Earlier, Shri Mahayogi mentioned that there are people who think of God almost 100% and 50% of the time, and that it depends on the person. For example, if I become aware that I’m only at 50%, is it better to make an effort to eliminate that 50% of non-bhakti distractions to result in 100%, rather than trying to heighten bhakti up to 100%?
MASTER: Either way, you must work on it concretely. So then how do you work on this concretely? On one hand, heighten your thoughts towards bhakti; on the other hand, discriminate what is counter to bhakti and eliminate it. You need both practices to be concrete. And then you should make an effort to become 100%.
Mr. Kawazoe (Asangan): I have various distractions in the mind, but where do I start discriminating, and how?
MASTER: It doesn’t matter what you use as a start, however it should be something that is actually bothering your mind. The point of the practice of discrimination is to ultimately eliminate the relationship between the mind and whatever object it is attached to. For example, an attachment to your job. Does this attachment go away by quitting your job? It does not. Even if you continue your job, you can practice and remove the attachments toward it. But even so, you ought to reframe your understanding of work, or renew your understanding of various matters.
Mr. Kawazoe (Asangan): So I should start from whatever it is that is bothering my mind in daily living.
MASTER: Yes, that is the hint, the clue.
Jayadevi: A while back, when I was reading about a perfect bhakta, I clearly understood that there was only God within that person. So then there was a time I thought that whenever I began to say “I,” I would concretely intend to switch that to “You.”
MASTER: I see. That is why learning scriptures is about learning about the way past Holy Beings were and their states of mind, including what their faith was like, and this is nothing other than receiving a positive influence. [Their spirit] is directly transmitted as a vibration [during the learning] and it is that vibration that becomes the power to transform the mind.
Ms. Sawahiro (Satya): The other day, Kinkara-san showed me a documentary about Mother Theresa. Towards the end, the Mother said, “You must surrender,” and a disciple of the Mother said, “I may not have food tomorrow, but I don’t concern myself about such things. That’s why I am free.” It was quite powerful, and I felt that they were truly being authentic, and so thorough. Then I felt that I want to practice surrender too. But when I thought about what was obstructing me from practicing it, I thought that sure enough ego and surrender are not compatible. And I thought, if I keep saying that I am not able to surrender because I have ego, no matter how the time passes I will never be able to surrender. I wondered if by trying to practice surrendering, perhaps the ego will stop appearing.
MASTER: Yes. I think so.
Ms. Sawahiro (Satya): How should I practice in order to surrender more and more thoroughly?
MASTER: That teaching of Mother Theresa is about faith. Through faith, surrender is attained. I have mentioned faith and discrimination today, and through that faith and that discrimination, you can realize surrender. Surrender is the same as renunciation, therefore ego will come to be eliminated through that, and as a result, the same thing occurs.
Ms. Sawahiro (Satya): Thorough discrimination.
MASTER: Yes. And one more thing, faith.
Ms. Sawahiro (Satya): When I practice discrimination for the problems that have arisen, I can always see my lack in the depth of discrimination, however, I feel like these problems don’t arise often in daily life. Even so, do I need to observe and check keenly into where problems are hiding in daily life?
MASTER: Not in daily life. When one practices discrimination, while concentrating simply on Truth, if there are things that are “non-Truth” in the mind, then these things come to be discriminated. This too can be one of the forms of faith; you should progress proactively, with faith towards an abstract Truth such as the realization of Truth, or a non-personified God, as the object. Then, unnecessary things will clearly emerge. For example, ego, or attachment to something, or ideas, which are the incorrect thoughts towards things that make up ignorance.
Ms. Sawahiro (Satya): By discriminating on that [Truth], what is not the Truth emerges.
MASTER: Yes. If they’re in your mind, they will appear, then they are discriminated and renounced. In this sense, it is a very concrete practice.
Ms. Sawahiro (Satya): I need a more serious, earnest approach.
MASTER: Yes. Whether it is faith or discrimination, the strong will from determination, so much that you would feel it’s not worth living life if you were to be living life sluggishly without knowing them, is needed too.
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Testimonies from Actual Practitioners:
To Realize the Truth:
The Practice of Discrimination and Renunciation are Required
by Madhri, July 2019
“You must totally peel away everything that clings to the mind.”
What am I living for?—ever since the answer to this question was established as “to realize the Truth,” I have surely been holding onto this ideal without wavering, yet for a good period of time I was continuously feeling stuck because I could not see any progress in myself. I was feeling that there was something missing in order for me to progress towards the completion of Satori, and that from the point when I arrived to the mind of spiritual awakening, or my eyes opening to the aim of realizing Satori, there needed to be further determination and impetus towards it. One time, I asked Shri Mahayogi what was necessary for that.
“What is necessary is discrimination. To actually have awakened to the aim of realizing the Truth means that you have discerned the emptiness of the fleeting world and thereby changed the direction in which you are walking to go towards the Truth. Next comes determination, which requires that you identify the causes, the reasons or the essence of the emptiness of this world with certainty. That is precisely what discrimination is, and so by practicing that, you will be able to gain the firmness within yourself to never go back [towards the fleeting world] again. Conversely, there will arise a strength to go towards the Truth, Satori. Therefore, what is necessary is discrimination. That is to say, discrimination and the renunciation that comes as its result. By another name, it is non-attachment.
This is absolutely a must. The cause of the illusion of this world is the incorrect thought called ignorance. It has nothing to do with intellectually understanding it—the work of completely getting rid of the things persistently adhering to the mind is a prerequisite. If you do that, then determination will arise.”
At that time, I could not react to Shri Mahayogi’s teaching, and my understanding of ignorance remained only within the realm of words, and I continued to not be able to probe further into the mind in order to figure out what exactly is clinging to the mind. Even afterwards, Shri Mahayogi said to me several times to, “get rid of whatever is clinging to the mind.”
In order for me to confront this, it took a little more time.
After about ten years into it I felt that the path of Yoga became more and more severe and difficult. In the early days, I was filled with joy and hope from having encountered Yoga and having encountered Shri Mahahyogi, and to have found what I was looking for, so the Truth was absorbed deep within me with freshness. Issues that I needed to overcome kept coming up one after another, yet I concretely sensed the effect that they were clearing up one by one, as well as the transformation of my mind. The love towards God that was kindled in my heart became bigger little by little, and I started to feel that this was the source of my life. However, even with these feelings, feelings that should have been incessantly overflowing, from some point it felt like a heavy lid was placed on top of the mind. I suffered from a situation where it felt like something very important was missing.
Regardless of what I felt or whether there was transformation or not, there was always work for me to do for the Mission right in front of my eyes. I think that actually, through working on the tasks for the Mission no matter what, I continued to be fastened to Yoga, and it gave me the propulsion to keep going every day. I felt that these works for the Mission were very important works for me that had to be taken as my priority, that they were my own sadhana, and that more than anything, the work is the blessing of Shri Mahayogi himself.
Just as I was planning to create a new project for our class activities in order to bring the fascination of Yoga that I had been learning and feeling to many more people, my father developed a serious illness and this situation forced me to go back home. My way of living suddenly changed completely. At the time, because it was a life-threatening condition, my family, badly shaken, passed each day desperately going back and forth between the hospital and the family business, where I had to help out even though I was unfamiliar with it. About half a year passed and sometime after my father was discharged from a very long-term hospitalization, there were financial concerns, and in feeling exhausted due to the unknown future of the at-home care for my father, various anxieties started to flash into my mind.
What’s going to happen to my family? My way of living?
Will I continue to not be able to do the Yoga-related work that I aspired to?
What’s going to happen in the future?
The mind began to be cornered, and for many days, I felt like I naturally and continuously entered into my mind through various things and events.
The world surrounding me keeps changing: connections to people, the Mission, the work of the Mission… [Going through this situation] made me realize that there is illusion or clinging even to things that I thought were Yoga, that were dear to me.
One day, suddenly, I clearly saw the condition of my mind being entangled by hard, heavy chains. I intuitively sensed that this was the composition of the mind, that it was bound by the chain reaction of karma that is entangled with the various conditions throughout the axis of time that I had lived until then, the situations and the conditions that I was placed in, and the experiences, actions and thoughts arising from them. All of it was “reaping what I have sown.” I must cut off these chains of karma right at this moment—I intensely struggled in such desperation. I struggled and struggled, and it was only when I was finally about to completely give up that a moment occurred when the chains fell apart with a loud sound.
Then, sometime later, I had the sense that whatever had been supporting me crumbled down and revealed what the mind was depending upon. That which is defending this existence of “me,” trying to establish it, no longer has a place to go and is standing on the edge of a precipice. This is not the true Self—it is the false “me.” “I might as well just jump off!” I could hear a voice saying that, yet it kept standing firmly and stubbornly, and would not jump. Terror and agony rushed into my chest, and involuntarily I sat erect on the floor, with my legs folded under at my father’s bedside.
This is what is clinging persistently to my mind. I think that at that time, finally I was able to sense its true identity. I fought with it fiercely for quite a long while. And then when I reached the limit, the scene rapidly changed as if everything had burst open. It felt like I was floating, having lost my footing, in a space of pitch darkness—blank, nothing could be seen.
I don’t know how long it continued; but at the same time it felt like I kept being absorbed into something continuously too, so I could not endure that intense condition, and that scene eventually came to an end. But the feeling of this must be the very beginning of real meditation, the entrance to the Truth left within me.
These experiences were nothing like merely looking at my mind calmly and objectively at all. It was a continuous, entirely uphill battle. However, I could not help but feel Shri Mahayogi’s guidance and grace behind it all. When the mind was about to reach its limit, I surely felt Shri Mahayogi’s existence, his affectionate gaze. It was always Shri Mahayogi who created the breakthroughs within me.
I want to go into the entrance and reach what exists at its depth. Simultaneously, as something peeled away, I was able to return to my original thought.
Regardless of what condition or situation I’m in, I will live for the realization of the Truth.
What I needed was to thoroughly understand the cause of what was persistently clinging to my mind—the illusions of the mind—not intellectually, but through all of the senses, and then, by using this cleaned up mind, I also needed to recall the great significance of this lifetime, in which I have been able to meet the Existence of Shri Mahayogi, and then have a strong and determined will to fulfill this Path with all seriousness.
I shall not waver. I shall not give up. I feel that the will that I etched into the mind in that moment has continued to back me up since then, and by returning to that origin again and again, it has given me the strength to keep moving forward no matter what happens.
In this way, the fears and anxieties disappeared, and I finally became able to feel at ease while giving priority to taking care of my parents in the moment; I would do the best I could to do the housekeeping at my parents’ home and family business, the works for the Mission, and my sadhana, no matter where I was, so that in the future, I would be able to just envision it as needed. Things gradually got better. Fortunately, my father also was moving towards recovery, and the situation was becoming ready for me to begin to do the work for the Mission—to edit the recordings of Satsangha, that I’d been hoping to resume too. I concentrated on these tasks whenever time permitted.
A few months after that, my parents, with a relaxed demeanor, conveyed their feeling of intending to send me back, saying with relief, “We’re fine now, so you should go back and do your work. We are so grateful for all you’ve done for us.”
I participated in a Satsangha after one year of absence. The instant I sat down on the second floor of the Ashrama, time suddenly filled up with joy. This was the place where I used to go every week, taking it for granted—[this time] I profoundly acknowledged how rare and precious it is to be able to gather with the sangha. It had only been a year, yet I felt like after going through a long, long journey I had finally come back beneath [the feet of] the Guru.
I told Shri Mahayogi that what I experienced at home was nothing like an objective discrimination, but rather, it was like a life-or-death desperate struggle. He said:
“That is good. Calm discrimination is still working merely at the level of the intellect. Rather, to battle with the perturbation coming from the depths of the mind is exactly what has the power to transform the mind itself. Not through reasoning, but by confronting it in the actual sense, and by battling it, correct discrimination, in other words, discrimination in the truest sense is carried out.
“What is called egoism and ahankara, and attachments, or things like fear of death associated with them are so firmly stuck to the depths of the mind to such a degree [that a battle is required]. But what you had was the experience of them coming to the surface.”
Then I asked how to proceed further from there.
“It is no longer needed to discriminate within the realm of words nor objective. Rather, you should even forget about these completely, and just try to be content in the mind with it being empty. A condition of being empty or floating would be fine, there is neither thought arising, nor anxiety—practice to maintain such conditions and that would be enough.
Atman, which is the Truth, the true Self exists tangibly there already. Therefore, when it is the best time, it brings about definitive recognition rather than awakening.”
I thought that the only thing left for me to do is nothing more than to diligently keep performing disciplines even further. The experience that happened to me earlier was real, yet that only happened under the condition in which the mind found itself in an extremely difficult situation. Actually, it wasn’t that easy to maintain the condition where the mind is empty. Even so, the urgent strained condition of the mind cannot come again either. If I use the feeling from the past as a hint to go back, then that may be unnecessary planning or activity of the mind. If even the slightest concern arises in me, then the covering is trying to stick to the mind again, and the chain of karma tries to become entangled.
Since that time up to now, the teaching that Shri Mahayogi granted me then has become a very important guiding principle. In order to unconditionally maintain an empty state, I must discipline myself to not have any petty complaints, excuses or concerns and worries whatsoever. I started to sense that the state of the mind during the day keenly matters and is seriously tested, rather than the state of the mind when sitting in meditation.
Shri Mahayogi says that if one practices to empty the mind, even from a subtle, tiny, needle-sized hole, the light of Atman can shine through instantly.
To keep the mind always as empty as the sky—that is the incessant application and practice of disciplines through action, or the preparation we must take in order to realize the Truth. It will continue until the day we can confidently declare that there is nothing that holds us back, nothing that drags down the mind.