Teachings of Shri Mahayogi:
Testimonies from Actual Practitioners:
* * * * * * *
Teachings of Shri Mahayogi:
Translation of Satsangha
January 30, 2010
The Ashrama, Kyoto
Discrimination and Renunciation:
Its Practice and Process; Fear of Death
Ms. Mori: Shri Ramakrishna often said that we should not be tempted or led into confusion by the allure of “women” and “money.” However, I myself have a very strong fear of losing money. It is not only with money, but my attachments towards various other things are quite strong. Intellectually, based on all the teachings I’ve heard here, I know that these things are ignorance, yet I cannot let go of these attachments. How should I approach this concretely so that the mind will be truly convinced of it?
MASTER (immediately): Discrimination.
Ms. Mori: Is discrimination practiced at the conscious level?
MASTER: A great deal of it can be done through consciousness.
Ms. Mori: If I have one attachment, I should think about that continuously then…
MASTER (As if to interrupt Ms. Mori): You just said now that you have attachments to things, such as money, or situations. There is also a way of thinking by which you reframe your thinking such that if you lose them, at the time when that happens, you can draw up a new picture according to each situation. If there are things you are attached to, that means that you have already become like a slave to them; so unless you eliminate this relationship, you cannot be liberated. That is discrimination. “To be convinced,” means to understand through your mind, and to actually act upon [that understanding] in a real way. “To actually act upon it” means that the various issues that the mind is attached to are completely eliminated—and this is called discrimination. There are parts that you can discriminate on using the intellect and reason, and there are problems that are solved by further, deeper meditation. Regardless, for issues that can be discriminated upon using the intellect, you must resolve them quickly. (Emphasizing) In order to truly progress in Yoga, that [completely eliminating those attachments] is the most important thing; in fact it is for the purpose of eliminating these obstacles that the teachings and the actual disciplines of the practice are provided. So, if you can eliminate them quickly, you will be able to progress with ease. Don’t ever think so optimistically: “If I practice asana for several years and continue to meditate, they’ll all disappear at some point in time.” (Everyone laughs as Shri Mahayogi purposefully says it in a mocking, humorous tone.) That won’t work. Even if you come here for decades, no way. (laughs ) There is no other way but to do it yourself by yourself, as I say all the time: “Meditation is a battle.” And it goes without saying that it’s the kind of battle you need to be able to die for.
（Shri Mahayogi crosses his arms and smiles at Ms. Mori.）
Ms. Mori: So, I’m not physically eliminating them, but I’m eliminating them in my mind.
MASTER: Yes. To sum it up, most of the time, anxiety due to uncertainty about the future and other such things is the cause of worry—that is suffering. You may worry about what to do if you get sick or lose your job, right? There are so many concerns, but those things don’t matter. (laughs)
Ms. Mori: You mean, it’s OK to tell myself, “These things don’t matter?”
MASTER: Yes, of course. When these things actually happen, then it will work out somehow; you will have to make it work. But until then, if you do the best you can at your job, and if you can engage in your job with good health, then money comes in, and it’s as simple as that. You must be grateful, rather than complain.
(Shri Mahayogi reprimands and encourages her at the same time.)
Ms. Mori: Does that mean that if my bhakti towards Shri Mahayogi becomes stronger, then these attachments will be fading away?
MASTER: Of course, that can happen too. Nevertheless, these individual issues to which the mind is attached must specifically be discriminated upon. Shri Ramakrishna encouraged bhakti for everyone indeed; however, he always made it clear that discrimination and renunciation are a must. It’s just that everyone wants to hear only what’s convenient for them, (Shri Mahayogi and everyone else break into roaring laughter) and then when it comes to inconvenient things, everyone turns a blind eye.
(Shri Mahayogi laughs loudly and warmly, gently providing guidance to everyone.)
Mr. Nishimura: Through studying, I can understand intellectually that death is nothing to be afraid of; however, I still find myself being afraid of my own death or the death of family members and loved ones. Should I be indifferent at these times as well?
MASTER: Yes. It’s the same. Death comes to all eventually. (As if it were irrelevant) It’s no use worrying about such [trifling] matters.
Mr. Nishimura: So dying is actually not that big of a deal?
MASTER: No, it’s not a big deal at all. (Everyone laughs at the way Shri Mahayogi confidently declares this.) Of course, all of your countless incarnations have to be killed off—they must all finish—then finally you awaken into the True Existence. To live anew—that is a big deal. That is the only big deal.
(Shri Mahayogi is instructing them briskly and energetically.)
(Jayadevi begins to say that recently, after a long time, she did something she used to do when she would play as a child: she went underwater in the bathtub and tried to hold her breath for as long as possible. As she did that she felt a sense of fear, as if the ground beneath her feet was crumbling down, and she felt the presence of the fear of death and the desire to live. She said that she then thought how difficult it would be to overcome death in meditation.)
MASTER (nodding deeply): Yes, indeed.
Jayadevi: What saddened me most was that if [I died] I would completely forget that I have met you like this and I will be born into the next life. And yet I could feel that I’ve repeated such lifetimes before. I also thought that I couldn’t think of anything that would be sadder than if I had nothing reliable to depend on at the moment of death. Then, thinking about how I must find something truly reliable that I can depend upon in meditation and in this lifetime by staking my life on it, I cried bitterly in the bathtub. (Everyone laughs.)
MASTER: Perhaps the water in the bathtub became much deeper after that? (Everyone laughs.)
Jayadevi: I thought of how amazing Buddha was. [Because he overcame] the desire to live, which is so strong. (As she recalls this she speaks in a quivering voice.)
MASTER: Yes, it is counted as one of the pillars of the pain-bearing obstacles. The deeply embedded will to live is unfathomably large. But there will come a time when you can transcend it! It will come, for sure. That, of course, depends upon discrimination and renunciation. When everything (with emphasis) is renounced from the mind, the will to live itself becomes atrophied. The will to live also depends upon things such as the ego and the ephemeral, fleeting desires. So once these things are renounced, then the state of transcending [that will to live] arrives with such ease.
(Everyone is breathless and gazing at Shri Mahayogi, as he powerfully teaches and engulfs them all in his enormous love.)
(Then he teases Jayadevi, “But please don’t die in a bathtub.” In an instant, the tension in the atmosphere evaporates and everyone laughs loudly with Shri Mahayogi.)
Mr. Shocho Takahashi: It’s probably best not to play a dangerous game like that, right?
MASTER: Yes, however, there are similar things in Yoga’s sadhana. There are similar methods, and actually pranayama is like that.
Mr. Shocho Takahashi: Kumbhaka?
MASTER: Yes. You may not be able to arrive at the conclusion and penetrate it just by reading scriptures, but there is an expression that says, “Conduct kumbhaka until you exhibit signs of [having] the face of death.” Rather than just appearing to have the face of a dead person, this means that one actually becomes dead and goes beyond it. It is very subtle, but the body does not want the life to leave, so it will put the brakes on it. However, through the power of the Goddess Kundalini, even if the body enters the realm of the dead, one can arrive at the state where one’s life can be sustained. It can also happen through meditation. Either way, Yoga practitioners make thorough preparations, by discrimination and renunciation, and, in a way, as the natural consequence of that, such a state will come.
* * *
Discrimination and Renunciation: Cultivating Pure Faith
Translation of Satsangha
February 27, 2010
The Ashrama, Kyoto
Ms. Mori: Please teach us in more detail about how to quit acting in a habitual manner, and how to act independently instead.
MASTER: If I say that it depends on how you think about things, then there is nothing more that can be said about it. Our daily lives, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, are controlled by something. It could be your job, or it could be things that the mind attaches to. These things ultimately become karma. So, by switching your dependency upon ‘things’ to a dependency upon ‘that which is eternal,’ you will no longer be affected by karma, regardless of whether you continue working at the same job or performing the various activities of life. Therefore you should constantly yearn for and think of the Truth. Belief and pure faith—these must be placed as the foundation of your mind.
Ms. Mori: Thank you very much.
(Ms. Mori is holding back tears and steadfastly receiving the teaching.)
Ms. Fukoue (Anandi): I want to be able to have this yearning towards the Truth at all times, but upon further reflection, I feel that I am not serious enough about it. What should I do to cultivate the seriousness needed for that?
MASTER (after thinking for a while): The key to succeeding in Yoga lies in abhyasa and vairagya. That means repeatedly training yourself to the point of mastery, that is to say, to study and to train yourself, and at the same time, [to practice] non-attachment—these two will guide you to success. So, concretely speaking, what abhyasa—training and mastery—do you need to undertake? This is what is called kriya yoga: tapas, svadhyaya, and ishvarapranidhana. Read, become familiar with and learn from the scriptures daily, and practice a discipline that involves the physical body. That would be asana and pranayama, and also be careful about your daily behavioral patterns and tendencies; and meditate on the Truth or God. To practice these disciplines without neglecting a day is abhyasa. As for non-attachment, it is necessary to practice discrimination proactively, and to renounce that which is not the Truth, or in other words, eliminate non-Truth and attachment from the mind, so that you are no longer bothered by such things [that are not the Truth]. By doing so, your belief will eventually become pure faith.
Ms. Fukoue (Anandi): Thank you very much.
* * *
Daily Practice: The Concentration of Yoga
Ms. Sawahiro (Satya): When I think about concentration in my daily life, I think of getting completely immersed in one thing. However, when I see long-time Yoga practitioners, and also from what I observed when I accompanied Shri Mahayogi to New York, I sense that they are able to do one thing and yet know exactly what is going on around them, or even though they are concentrated in that very moment, at the exact same time they have also grasped and considered the future consequences. What is the difference between a normal type of one-pointed concentration and yogic concentration?
MASTER: Indeed, the power to solve math problems is also concentration, and concentration is essential in various types of problems, research and studies, and it is the power of that concentration that is being applied. (Putting the tips of his fingers together.) It is a very one-pointed power that is applied to such problems. The concentration in Yoga is the same, but as you become accustomed to concentrating, that concentration may go further and lead to a much broader, more expansive perspective. The essence of the object [of concentration] emerges and at the same time the continuous connections (gestures by pushing the front of his hand with his palm) and expansions can all emerge together. Then the realm of concentration goes further and takes on a more universal quality. This means that that concentration is not only [involved with] the individual theme at hand, but also with another [realm of] something [more] universal that includes that theme. So even though it is one-pointed concentration, an all-out expansion takes place.
Ms. Sawahiro (Satya): So, normally, concentration does not reach that far, but as a result of practicing Yoga, one is eventually able to go further to that level of concentration?
MASTER: Yes, I think it will happen eventually.
Ms. Sawahiro (Satya): To cultivate that concentration, one must repeatedly train oneself in daily life, as you have mentioned earlier.
MASTER: Yes. And another thing, vairagya, is also important. Because the obstacles to extreme concentration or meditation are the unnecessary samskara that potentially lie within the mind. They become like an obstacle, so they must also be proactively eliminated.
Ms. Sawahiro (Satya): So I must repeatedly practice non-attachment, just like I need to practice the other things—repeated training.
MASTER (nodding strongly several times): Yes. Actually, non-attachment may be more crucial.
Ms. Sawahiro (Satya): I see.
* * *
Independent of Atman
Translation of Satsangha
March 6, 2010
The Ashrama, Kyoto
(Noriyasu is about to graduate from university and move away from Kyoto to start working at a new job. He seems anxious about this new life and job, so he asks a follow-up question from the Satsangha last week regarding his “wish.”)
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi: My question has to do with ascertaining what the correct wish is. Does a “correct wish” equal incurring karma?
MASTER: Not incurring. It is that which eliminates karma.
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi: Eliminates?
MASTER: Yes. That is the correct wish.
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi: So it’s not about simply receiving the results of karma.
MASTER: It’s not about that, because that would mean accepting one’s fate. So there are two main paths: the path of karma and the path of Yoga. The path of Yoga is the correct wish. It can be said without a doubt that the path of karma is not the correct path.
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi: To eliminate karma means to not create any additional karma?
MASTER: Not only that, but also engaging in the proactive method of eliminating karma and samskara created in the past.
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi: So by realizing the desire to walk on the path of Yoga, one’s past karma will be eliminated and future karma will no longer be created?
MASTER: That is right.
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi: I have one more question. If I think about the correct wish of the mind, if I suppress and divert the tendencies of my mind or my character from going in a particular direction and instead force them to go toward the path of Yoga, then it’s not good if the wish to go on the path of karma still remains. In that case, how should I deal with it? Would the only solution be to convince myself through discrimination?
MASTER: You must proceed until there is nothing left.
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi: Proceed in discrimination?
MASTER: Yes. Discrimination and renunciation—that is the task of Yoga. As you introduce new tendencies from Yoga, your tendencies and your thoughts will change. It is vital for you to build up the power of Yoga to be that strong and formidable.
(Noriyasu falls silent as he digests Shri Mahayogi’s answer and thinks deeply.)
Mr. Shocho Takahashi: About [my son] Noriyasu, I feel that he has a stronger tendency toward the wish to succeed in society compared to his sister or brother.
MASTER (in a strict tone): What is that? What do you mean by ‘succeed in society’?
Mr. Shocho Takahashi (silent for a while): Women and gold…
MASTER: Is that success? (laughs)
Mr. Shocho Takahashi: Could I conclude that by deepening Yoga, worldly wishes will eventually transform into the wish for Yoga?
MASTER: What do you mean by “transform”?
Mr. Shocho Takahashi: I am afraid that I don’t know because he hasn’t started working yet, but perhaps, there is a strong tendency to want social approval from others and so on…
MASTER: Approval from whom?
Mr. Shocho Takahashi: For example, right now, from the teachers of his seminars and his friends.
MASTER (Looking at Noriyasu): Have you been thinking these things?
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi (looking downward, in small voice): I think that I am not so much aware of it myself, but if my father observes that in me…
MASTER (Sternly):That is nonsense. (Sternly looking at Mr. Takahashi, the father.) That is nonsense. Who are these seminar teachers? (laughs) What great authority do they have?
Mr. Shocho Takahashi: I don’t think it’s right at all…
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi: What I think of myself is that I have a sense of inferiority in areas where I haven’t exerted enough effort. (He begins to shed tears as he is no longer able to hold them back.) I am aware that if I make an effort, I can create certain results, so I have a sense of inferiority when I cannot accomplish that. It may be that this inferiority is connected to wanting to be approved of by others.
MASTER: That is absolutely incorrect. If you think that way, then you need to use discrimination [to recognize] that as a mistake. To be approved of by others or by society is not the purpose of life. Do not be concerned about such things. The only existence able to judge is God, or the Truth that ought to be called God. I do not know any other existence qualified to do that. You can look at history from ancient times and recently, East and West, can you name anyone? There may have been great inventors or explorers, or people who were considered to have achieved great success in society. However, these things are utterly useless.
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi: As far as self-awareness is concerned, I don’t think I’m that fettered by social status. I do look at people who have succeeded in life and feel that most of them walk on the path of karma.
MASTER: Who are the people who have succeeded in life? I have not seen one.
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi: For example, when I observe a founder of a corporation that appears in newspapers…
MASTER: Is that so? That is a very myopic view. Do you interpret that person’s actual life or human essence from a newspaper article? (looking into Noriyasu’s downcast eyes)
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi: No, not that far…
MASTER: You cannot judge from just the sales or the numbers.
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi: Their ability to maintain concentration… because I do not have that skill.
MASTER: In other words, that is karma.
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi: Certainly…(looks down and falls silent.)
MASTER: It is not good to overly praise such things as that. Be more objective, and think about what the true value is, as a human existence. Various works are accomplished according to the needs of each era. For example, Konosuke Matushita, [the founder of Panasonic,] created light bulbs inexpensively and sold electronic products far and wide. Because of that he is considered a God of corporate management. However, that is what the era demanded. And that was simply that. The same can be said of the founders of other companies: there were probably many who had similar principles and lived their lives that way, whether they had produced as much of a result as him or not. However, that does not indicate that they attained perfection as individual human beings. It is the same in every sector. That means that you can say the same for the religious sector. Yoga does not get involved in such things. At the very least, you must first discriminate that.
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi: I understand that my thoughts on social status are from intellectual understanding, and that they are probably incorrect. But I do not yet find myself in the place where I am supposed to be when it comes to achieving increased concentration on Yoga. And in this sense, it is possible that I am attached to social status, and that I feel I need to reach a certain level. I thought that I somewhat understood intellectually that the presidents of corporations are mostly attached to karma, and that the power of concentration is something entirely different from that. However, since I am going to be working for a corporation, I feel like I have to aim for a certain level. I was thinking that if I cannot reach a certain level, then I will feel that sense of inferiority again.
MASTER: There is no need to feel a sense of inferiority. Of course, there is no need to have a sense of superiority either. Because these are some sorts of metrics that you have created by yourself, and then you get caught up in this feeling of pluses and minuses based on these metrics. If you can get rid of the metrics themselves, then there won’t be any inferiority or superiority. In Yoga, practitioners discriminate matters by maintaining the view that both the sense of superiority and the sense of inferiority are wrong, and therefore we must not have either of them. And so the proper outcome of this practice should be the absence of any sense of superiority or inferiority arising.
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi: If I am to repent for my lack of effort, how should I…? In my case, I feel that I am getting that mixed up with this sense of inferiority, which is the wrong thing.
MASTER: First, look for the reasons why you feel that you are inferior. The sense of inferiority indicates that you think that something is superior and you feel inferior to it. So then what do you consider to be superior? By doing that you will see what you are attached to deep within your mind. Then you can discriminate whether that is correct knowledge or not.
(Noriyasu continues to shed tears. Shri Mahayogi asks Sananda, who has been practicing Yoga while working at a corporation for a long time, to say a few words. Sananda mentions that people’s judgments change over time and cannot be relied upon. So one must discriminate thoroughly on what it is that one can truly rely upon.)
MASTER: It is certain that once you begin school or work, that becomes a duty and you must complete it. That is a given. However, that is not the same as doing it because you are seeking approval. Approval is a result, so you should carry out your work while disregarding [the results]. (Gazing again at Noriyasu) Have you ever read “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahamsa Yogananda? (looking back and forth from Mr. Takahashi to Noriyasu)
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi: I have not read it.
Mr. Shocho Takahashi: I have read it.
MASTER: I just recalled from that book that Yogananda’s guru’s guru, Lahiri Mahashaya, was a holy being who was initiated into Yoga directly by the legendary Babaji. He lived around the same time as Shri Ramakrishna. He worked at a government bureau most of his life. While having that worldly life, after work he would immerse himself in Yoga. Before the end of his life, many disciples and devotees gathered around him. One of the legends stated in this book is that the work he did at the bureau was exemplary, although at the time, it was not recognized [and thus he received no credit] for it. Much later, a successor discovered his great work and brought it to their attention that he did a great deal of work but he was not recognized in a way befitting his accomplishments, and that was unjust. So in the latter part of his life, his work was revalued, and they rewarded him for his work. He was probably doing his best, as he considered that work to be his duty. However, his purpose in life was in Yoga, so he probably didn’t care about being credited for his work. This means that in terms of effort he did his best, but he was unconcerned with the results. But, in the right hands, credit will eventually be given where it’s due. So as you go out into the world and are engaged in a job, you never know what kind of boss you are going to get. You do not know if there will be a boss who can value your work correctly. There is no guarantee that anyone will. As Sananda just mentioned, human resources and jobs get moved around, and they are practically nebulous and never reliable. However, as long as you maintain your integrity as you work, someone will surely understand and approve of your work. So you should disregard the results or the approval, and do your job. You must make an effort at work. You must do your best. Because that is your duty.
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi: So I shouldn’t even think about whether the approval is appropriate for the effort I have put in.
MASTER: Don’t even think about it. So, perform everything with sincerity—in your job and in your daily life. Of course, that includes Yoga, that is, your internal discipline, and your relationship to others. You will have to cope with your relationships to others every day in society as if they were trials for you. Within the company, within daily life, they arise out of necessity and they are inevitable. In all kinds of situations you will be tested on your demeanor as a Yoga practitioner. Success at work does not mean becoming first at something or getting approval. Regardless of the kind of work it is, your contribution to society is the main purpose. Then, you may profit so that the company can continue to operate smoothly. That includes being able to support a family, a company, and even a society; it includes everything.
Have neither the sense of inferiority nor superiority. (gently gazing upon Noriyasu) In either case, you could become bound by them. Yoga, from the beginning, only aims toward freedom. Any other kinds of things can become the seeds of bondage.
Shachi: “To perform everything sincerely”—Shri Mahayogi often says this, but somehow these words just struck me now.
MASTER: Really? (laughs)
Shachi: I felt that it was so important.
MASTER: Yes. It is important. Sincerity is a reflection of the nature of the quality of sattva and the purity of the mind. In this sense, one must examine oneself at all times. No matter what one is doing, 24/7, even though it may be a continuous stream of challenges and tests.
(After a sustained silence, after thinking deeply and grinding his teeth, Noriyasu begins to speak as if he has arrived at a determination.)
Mr. Noriyasu Takahashi: Since what Shri Mahayogi and Sananda said is the Truth, I must discriminate within myself.
MASTER: Yes. Obviously, as you go out into the world, you’ll probably face various problems and many things may trouble you. So then ask for advice; Sananda has overcome all of those things (laughs). He may be the best advisor.
(Shri Mahayogi and Sananda look at each other and laugh.)
(As Shri Mahayogi continues conversing and laughing, he continues to give darshan to Noriyasu, who is thinking anxiously. He must surely be guiding Noriyasu, who is leaving Kyoto to start his first job.)
* * *
(Sarani read a back issue of “Paramahamsa” and has been thinking about spiritual independence. Shri Mahayogi’s teaching, Treating the Things of the World Like the Wind, struck her.)
Sarani: I thought that not being attached to things, and constantly and firmly teaching my mind that the purpose of my life is to realize the Truth, would lead to spiritual independence. Is that the correct understanding?
MASTER: That is fine. If I were to add to that, according to yogic psychology as it is written in the “Yoga Sutra,” the mind is always dependent on something—it is not independent. However, that dependence is a mistake. By eliminating the habit of mistaken dependency, that is, by mastering the Truth of Yoga through experience, the dependencies are eliminated—simply because those dependencies, in other words, are pain-bearing obstacles such as attachment or desires—and as a result independence is established. Therefore what you said is correct.
In the world, there are as many notions of values that exist as there are people—if there are ten people, then there are ten values, if there are a hundred, then a hundred notions of values. The mind tends to be easily influenced by the information that comes from them. These are the hugetraps [that create] dependency. That is why the tasks of studying the Truth, applying discrimination, and eliminating pain-bearing obstacles and attachment from the mind, become the path to independence. Eventually, this establishes a strong belief in the mind—‘true confidence’ in its purest sense—your own belief. It will also become an enormous power that will propel you to live your own life [according to your own beliefs].
As your state of Yoga deepens, you will be guided toward pure faith. That is not dependency, but it is like a self-generated, autonomous motion. Then Yoga is attained. It seems that Buddha left these last words, “Rely on yourself,” and the true intention behind that is what I just mentioned now.
(Sanatana said that the Nirvana Sutra (Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra), which contains Buddha’s teachings written before Buddha passed away, includes some non-Buddhist-like teachings, such as, “Rely on yourself,” using the word Atman; as well as, “Those who see only my body are not my disciples,” and “The world is beautiful.”)
Sanatana: Because Buddhist doctrine teaches that the world is suffering and an illusion, and that there is no Atman, do [these words in the Nirvana Sutra suggest that] the Buddha’s teaching changed as he got older? On the other hand, I suppose that he probably had the same strictness as an ascetic. However, I noticed that there were many similar teachings that can only be found among his last teachings in the Nirvana Sutra.
MASTER: That is so. There are many strange words that he uttered there. But I suspect that when they were editing the scripture, they probably eliminated any teachings that would have been disadvantageous for the organization, or any teachings that they did not understand. So you can recognize these words as being some of the words that are probably the very real, actual words that they remembered [to include]. So, it is a very important point to see how we go about interpreting these words.
From the teachings of Buddha himself, I do not feel that there is any place that he denies Atman. And I think that the word Atman [which he spoke] in the end, translated as “myself or yourself,” [as in “rely on yourself” meaning “rely on Atman”], does not mean Atman in the sense of being something that needs to be sought far away, to be found inside a book, or to be relied on as an imaginary concept, but rather it means that Atman itself exists unmistakably within all—and that is the same meaning that the yogi spoke about in later years. However, the actual word “Atman” itself, in the beginning, also simply meant “myself,” which is yourself as an individual, including the body or the self as the first person, “I” and “myself.” But it is a fact that the meaning of “Atman” transformed, as it began to express more of the deeper aspects, or the essence of Reality, to mean some existence deeper within, which is neither the body nor the mind. However, I feel that in the age of Buddha, the word wasn’t as clearly distinguished as in later times. That also seems to have confused the latter year Buddhists, or it was the part that the Buddhists could not understand. That is why Buddhism is often seen as a pessimistic philosophy.
In order to give a warning to people’s minds, like in the analogy of a house on fire, first they must be made to be accept the reality that everything is suffering—to liken it to a disease, one must [first] become aware of the symptoms, that one is suffering and anxious, and observe the symptoms and search for the cause, and then [finally] one can revert back to the original state of health by applying the cure—thus you can see the fundamental, logical thread running through the pathway of the Four Noble Truths (duhkha, trishna, Nirvana and marga). I think that, in a manner that was purposefully strict, Buddha consistently taught about that from the beginning to the end. Even with what are considered to be his last words, I think that he was seriously and constantly looking only at the Truth—relying only on the Truth—and he wanted to express that It is nowhere else but within oneself, and that is why he chose to use the word “Atman.”
(Gazing upon Sarani) The spiritual independence that I just mentioned is not about an assertive independence, but rather, on the contrary, it is about the Independence that assertive independence is lacking. When it happens, the true Self, Atman, itself Exists, and becomes Independent. I feel so much humanity manifesting from these last words of Buddha. It is not at some level of shallow, philosophical argument, nor is it some mere intellectual exercise, and I feel that there is a sense of approachability towards Atman for a human who had a mind and struggled with it and realized the Truth even while suffering.
(After the Satsangha)
MASTER: Now, you can see a sahasrara chakra flag at Yoga Vihara. In the middle, there is a triangle seat and a pair of footprints. It is a symbol of divine Existence. [It symbolizes] the want to be in touch with God-like existence, the want for people to encounter divine existence. That is the meaning of the footprints, or it could be sandals—to receive the grace of being in touch with the Existence.
(Kenji says that he felt like he was in worship when he performed asana in front of the flag.)
MASTER: Sanatana will probably mention it in the seminar, “Buddha”, but in the most ancient times, they could not express ‘Awakened One’ with the shape of a human being. So they simply drew a sort of a throne of Meru, and above it was just space, symbolizing Buddha sitting there, or there was a picture of a Bodhi tree. It seemed that they tried to express Buddha as a human and his teaching through various symbols. Several hundred years later, images of Buddha in the form of statues began to appear in Gandhara, probably influenced by the exchange between Helenism, Greece, and Rome. Since that time, a Buddha Statue in the form of a human being became mainstream, and has remained so up until now. These footprints are one of the older forms of symbols.
* * *
Jayanti Speech 2015
by Ms. Hirai
November 23, 2015 The Ashrama, Kyoto
Shri Mahayogi, Happy Jayanti.
When I first found Yoga and began to practice, I thought that through attaining Satori people would reach perfection; through attaining Satori, people will transform. I had an impression that Satori would suddenly come one day, and from the next day on, that person would be a completely different person.
However, through actually learning Yoga and meeting Shri Mahayogi here like this, and in the process of walking little by little, one step at a time, I have come to understand that Satori is not something that you can just reach in a single leap, but rather it is realized through taking steady, untiring and continuous steps forward. I finally came to understand that one does not change by Satori, but as one changes and becomes more pure, one gets closer to Satori and is able to realize it eventually. Of course, there are beings like Shri Mahayogi or other holy beings who simply awaken, but I was born with karma and I can concretely feel that I must overcome this. Although there is truly no other way but to work steadily, untiringly and continuously, at times I get impatient, and worry about whether I’m making any progress at all, so there was an occasion, when feeling compulsively anxious, I asked Shri Mahayogi, “Is it possible to realize Satori if I continue like this?”
Immediately, Shri Mahayogi said, “Yes you can! Make no mistake of it, because I am saying it. Believe me!” I thought that I was doing Yoga, and that I believed in Shri Mahayogi. But when I received these words, I realized that I was not believing in you completely. I want to believe Shri Mahayogi. I want to walk forth only believing in Shri Mahayogi. And I want to realize the words that Shri Mahayogi gave to me. I consider Shri Mahayogi to be my guru. I believe that you are the true and authentic incarnation of God. That is why I don’t want your words to be disproved. Since Shri Mahayogi has told me that “Satori can be realized,” I must realize it even if it costs me my life.
In continuing this path towards the realization of Satori, from now on I have an ideal. And that is, to actualize the love of the Holy Mother. I had the opportunity to encounter Yoga, and I was saved by Shri Mahayogi’s existence. I was saved by the love that is unchanging and unconditional, that love you simply continue to give without end. By the fact that I was able to find Shri Mahayogi, I have become able to see that all the past events and suffering and sadness that I experienced were all necessary for me, and I accepted them all because I was able to arrive at the feet of Shri Mahayogi. To be able to meet Shri Mahahyogi and live as his disciple is the greatest joy and the most supreme gift from God. So I wish to have as many people meet Shri Mahayogi as possible—to meet God, to know God’s love, and to love God. What I can do now is to convey Shri Mahayogi’s love to as many people as possible, and to work hard so that they feel Shri Mahayogi. I will continue to purify this mind and body so that when Shri Mahayogi’s boundless and infinite love works through this mind and body, the ultimate motherly love like that of the Holy Mother will appear.
It’s been said that the Holy Mother’s love was “stronger than our own mother’s love.” I want to be that love. As it’s been said that, “People who did not know a mother’s love, when they came into contact with the Holy Mother, they received far more than what they had never been able to receive before.” If I can realize the Holy Mother’s love, I strongly believe that many will be saved. And that love is in dire need in this day and age. I have been given an opportunity to convey Yoga to mothers. Lately, there seems to be an increase in mothers who do not feel motherly towards their children, so their nursing does not go very well. When I thought about how to help them, I thought that there is no other way but through Yoga that they could be saved. Only through learning Yoga and through Shri Mahayogi’s existence can our past karma be overcome. It is too sad to have forgotten that we were born to love each other and then live this precious life in suffering! Since there is only love, and from love the sweet, exquisite joy—the exchange of love—is born there, I want to fill my mind with God until offering myself up completely becomes the natural state. And as Shri Mahayogi always reminds us when he speaks about service, at first I would like to start by serving the people closest to me, my husband and my children, to create their joy.
May I grow in purity so that I am able to work as a pure tool of Shri Mahayogi.
I offer my unending love, gratitude, and joy to my most beloved Guru’s feet, with eternal worship.
* * *
Jayanti Speech 2015
by Shaci, representing all disciples
November 23, 2015 The Ashrama, Kyoto
Shri Mahayogi, I would like to express my deepest gratitude for being able to celebrate the auspicious day of your birth with all the brothers and sisters here, united as one by the same aspiration. In offering our gratitude for your guidance, so constant and unconditional, I would like to make a congratulatory closing statement on behalf of all the disciples.
I first visited the Mahayogi Ashrama in the year of the 20th anniversary, so next year it will have been twenty years since I first began to receive Shri Mahayogi’s guidance. One day, it was during the time when I was in New York with Shri Mahayogi—the second year after I began learning, I was accepted to go there with Shri Mahayogi—I was about to leave to do the laundry and I was carrying a large rolled up rug from the Cave. Shri Mahayogi kindly asked if I would be ok carrying it all by myself, so I answered, “I’m fine. This is my role.” Then Shri Mahayogi smiled and said, “That’s right.” When I heard Shri Mahayogi’s reply, I somehow understood that I had been playing this role of the strong woman throughout my life, and at the same time, to tell the truth, I felt a little disappointed.
This memory left a deep impression on me, and I have not been able to forget its ever since. However, now things are turning out exactly according to the words I spoke. After all these years of learning up to now, there is something that I feel has clearly been transformed within me: that my strength and my willpower have increased exponentially. My role in life is not that of a pretty, lovely woman that others feel obligated to support, and I am getting further and further away from that delicate fragility that I once aspired to. As I gain in age every year, I have inevitably gotten stronger and more powerful whether I wanted to or not. My big arms have not withered at all. Even if I pretend to be fragile and frail, no one believes it any more. Just as it is implied by this name “Shaci,” which means power, by that strength and power of will I can overcome more or less anything. And, why is that so? I believe that it is the result that came to fruition through Yoga, and that this power has been given to me. I fully intend to utilize this power, which is filled with blessings, to march onward with the works of the Mission.
It took a very long time for me to declare such an intention as my own. Since working for the Mission is the same as deepening Yoga, I could never think of quitting these works for the Mission. And yet I confessed that there were times when, rather than walking the path of work, the wish that came to mind was, “I just want to be a smiling bhakta sitting beside Shri Mahayogi!”
Through that process, I realized that Shri Mahayogi was giving me an assignment—to eliminate the ‘little me’ ego that would rear its head so often. Most of these times, Shri Mahayogi showed me my ego and these assignments through silence or through action or attitude. If I failed to stop the ego even then, you would allow me to feel some pain in order to help me recognize it.
I would like to be able to help Shri Mahayogi’s work in any way I can, no matter how small. And I shall not stop the flow of love that I have received from Shri Mahayogi, here within me. I must give this back to others, through this mind and body—I have thought about this many times. So, the question is, what is that ‘work’? What ought to be done?
I used to always think, “What can I do?” as if I was looking for a place that I could feel secure. I searched for things within my comfort zone or my ability, and I would get disappointed or anxious whenever I would focus on myself and think about me, about what I was not good at, or what I wasn’t able to do well. But that was wrong. What we ought to do is to live as Shri Mahayogi’s disciples. It’s time for me to stop focusing on the parts of me that think I cannot do something, or I cannot do things well. And I must realize what it is that I have been given. Everyone has been given something. The ‘little me’ is what worries about how various things appear to be different on the outside. I am finally starting to understand that by restraining the ‘little me,’ I can be more effective at doing the work. It is all part of the master plan, that as the ‘little me’ starts to occupy less and less space, the space within me will be brimming with Shri Mahayogi. I now feel a premonition that this is coming. I am overjoyed! “I love Shri Mahayogi so much, and that’s why I work so hard!”—that is the type of disciple I want to become.
Since I have decided to live my life as Shri Mahayogi’s disciple, I would like to take on the work of Shri Mahayogi, even if it is only one one-hundred-thousandth of it, or even if I may not be able to take on even that much.
Shri Mahayogi, graciously, you have created this Mahayogi Ashrama, Mahayogi Yoga Mission. You have worked on many of the designs, taken on the personal development of your disciples, and been guiding us to Satori. One day in satsangha, when asked about your mission, Shri Mahayogi mentioned, “Whether I live in an obscure corner of town somewhere and simply be a yogi alone, or be with everyone like this, the great Mission is accomplished either way.” However, you have renounced living as a lone yogi, and have given us opportunities to tangibly, visibly see the ways we should work. I feel that we must all understand and respond to this on a much, much deeper level. And it’s not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
The other day, about thirty of the disciples gathered around Shri Mahayogi. I was sitting in front of Shri Mahayogi, and I was looking around randomly without thinking. I saw that everyone’s eyes were focused upon Shri Mahayogi, and they were shining with light. There were old, young, male, female, a variety of disciples. Shri Mahayogi was unconditionally captivating every one of them. Are there any other beings like him? I re-realized that Shri Mahayogi is a very rare existence.
Because of Shri Mahayogi’s existence, I came to know the existence of Truth, and understood that my path is to seek It. Through the light, Shri Mahayogi, the covering of darkness transformed at once, and I came to know True Love. I always tried to go back to the ‘beginner’s mind’ and question my own path, but I no longer think about it. No matter how many times, no matter how much I think about this, I am convinced that the path of Yoga is my path.
It is said that each direct disciple of Shri Ramakrishna took on some parts of his various characteristics. We want to be the same.
The number of people gathered here today would have been unimaginable twenty years ago. If we think of disciples in the US, Europe, and Taiwan, there are people with various characteristics. To express the Truth of Shri Mahayogi through the written word, and to leave them purely for the future, to show true Asana and disseminate it to later generations, to demonstrate the Truth by serving others, to support this Mission, to express True Love… If we, the disciples, can embody even just one aspect of Shri Mahayogi, then the world will be covered in Truth.
At the Mission, we have singing divas, poets, true philosophers, men and women of action, elegant people, cute people, graceful people, kind people—they can all take on various roles. I will continue to practice the best I can to do more and more of the Mission’s work, while also making sure that I fulfill the role of a comedian.
May the root underlying all of this be filled with True Love. Let us act out of Love, and let us Love because of Love itself. The next year, 2016, will be the 40th anniversary of the Mahayogi Ashrama. With my loving comrades, and living up to the name “Shaci”—Power of God, given to me by Shri Mahayogi, I will continue to work until we can enjoy lila together.
* * *