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Vol. 66

Teachings of Shri Mahayogi

Satsangha, New York, February 8th, 2020

Savasana

The Ideal Diet for a Practitioner of Yoga

What’s Needed to Realize the True Self

The Truth of Everyone is Immortal Existence

AUM

What’s Important is Experience

Study the Truth in Yoga to Work Towards
Creating a Mind of Fortitude

Attachment and Vasana

The True Being Exists on this Earth for
the Salvation of this Universe and of All Mankind

The Spiritual Name

Raja Yoga is Referred to as Karma Yoga:
The Path of How You Must Act to Attain the Aim

Become a Better Instrument for the Existence of Truth

 

Testimonies from Actual Practitioners

At the Feet of My Revered Master 
by Misato Oomori
February 2020, Matsuyama, Japan

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Teachings of Shri Mahayogi

Translation of Satsangha
Saturday February 8, 2020, 3 p.m. The Still Mind Zendo, NY

This is the third time that attendees are gathering for Satsangha during Shri Mahayogi’s visit to New York in the winter of 2020. There are a number of new attendees present who are coming to see Shri Mahayogi for the first time or who are coming after experiencing the Master’s presence during the Sunday Sadhana Program. One such attendee, Libia, who speaks primarily Spanish, is present. She has come after meeting Shri Mahayogi for the first time just a few weeks earlier during the Sadhana Program. At that time, although she may not have understood many words, she was deeply moved by the presence of Shri Mahayogi. So, she has returned to hear Shri Mahayogi’s teaching and is sitting on a chair in the back row next to Karuna, who will be translating the Satsangha into Spanish for her.

Cheng Ying is in attendance for the first time after attending both the Sadhana Program and the regular Asana & Meditation class. She was also deeply impacted by her first meeting with Shri Mahayogi and is present with notebook in hand, ready to receive the Master’s words. Also present is a coworker of Sadhya, Pareese, who has attended the regular Asana class. Ross and Lily are new attendees, having just seen a flyer for Shri Mahayogi’s programs at Still Mind Zendo. Intrigued by the prospect of meeting an Enlightened Master, they have arrived unexpectedly today.

Ren Shimamoto, a new student of Shri Mahayogi and a scientist in Kyoto is also present. He came to New York to learn Yoga from Shri Mahayogi.

Just before Shri Mahayogi enters, Yolanda, a coworker of Karuna arrives and quickly enters the classroom.

Shri Mahayogi enters immediately after and the room settles. After a moment of quiet, Sadhya begins by asking Shri Mahayogi about the content of savasana.

Savasana

Sadhya: Shri Mahayogi, I have a question about savasana. For savasana we often say that it is a position of relaxation, maybe when we are practicing asana, but I feel that it is much, much more, and that it has a deep content. But I have noticed that oftentimes in the class, and this may be common, that people fall asleep. So, I would like if Shri Mahayogi could teach us about what the content of savasana is.

MASTER: As you may already know, the meaning of savasana is “corpse.” [A series of] asana are practiced while incorporating savasana, placing it in between various and specific asana. Quite an intense strain and concentration are created during these various asana. In opposition to the state [in which these asana are being practiced,] savasana, which you practice in between these poses, is practiced in the state of completely letting go of the tension [that has been created], in other words, it is practiced in a relaxed state. Through the combination of this intense tension and relaxation, the body tissues are metabolized. And, there is one more important point—it has to do with the breath. We instruct you to make the exhalation longer in the various asana, so that the breathing transforms. Through practicing this way, the rhythm of the restoration that is created by the heart is changed. The internal part of the human body is [governed by the autonomic nervous system, so the mind cannot control it as the mind wishes. However, it is said that only one organ, the lungs, can change its capacity according to training. To calm the breath is to calm the mind—that means that you can create a state in which you will not be disturbed by various stimuli. The mind is constantly agitated by various stimuli. But that will gradually cease. That is to say, the mind will be able to maintain this state of calm continuously. Through having that calm mind, various thoughts, as well as concentration, become sharpened and acute. What creates this foundation are the various asana, savasana and the way you breathe during the practice of asana. So, when it comes to the content of savasana, that is about it.

Sadhya: So does that mean that the non-breathing state may arise more often in savasana than in other asana?

MASTER: Exactly. You mentioned that there are people who fall asleep during asana. I learned, [and this has been verified,] that through the system of breathing in Yoga, the brain waves immediately change into alpha waves, and this is quite similar to the brain waves during sleep. In other words, the state of the mind, or the surface of the mind is constantly in a state that is comparable to ripples on the surface of water that have been caused by something—external stimuli and internal thoughts. However, through practicing asana, the state of the mind becomes temporarily settled [at that moment]. Especially during the savasasana that are practiced after [releasing from] the intense concentration [of the asana], the state of non-breathing can come. This is not abnormal at all. We are convinced of breathing as something that has to be done all the time as if pedaling a bicycle non-stop [to avoid having it fall over once its wheels stop spinning]; however, in fact that is not the case. During sleep, the number of breaths are reduced, even when you are in deep sleep too. Also, when you are concentrating on something, the breathing can stop temporarily as well. Everyone must have experienced that. And as soon as you notice it, then the breath comes back. And, as concentration and meditation deepen, the number of breaths is reduced and the state of non-breathing comes. This has nothing to do with having a lack of oxygen. Within the body there is an inherent power, called kundalini that has been stored or equipped. It is like life energy. Through the activation of kundalini, you are able to maintain the body even without breathing. In savasasana, an experience similar to that can occur. And, if you practice asana for many years, well, at least twelve years of serious and steady training, then your body, the breath and the mind will be transformed completely. When that happens, you will come to be able to apprehend the words of Holy Beings, and then also come to realize these words for yourself.

The Ideal Diet for a Practitioner of Yoga

Vijay: What is the best food to eat? Is vegetarian plant-based better for the body, the mind and the spirit, or is meat okay?

MASTER: It is better to avoid meats and alcohol. Vegetarian is preferred, since the vegetables do not overwork your organs and they do not cloud the blood, so that you can maintain the system of organs in a better condition. And also, in terms of the amounts, there is no need to eat so much.

What’s Needed to Realize the True Self

Ross: Three times in meditation I have met a God-like version of myself that looked like me, but was perfectly calm, with complete compassion and perfect clarity. And I feel a very strong desire to become this vision of myself. But at the same time that I have this desire, I have also felt an increase in negative thoughts, fears, and anxieties. What advice would you give me?

MASTER: (after some silence) There are two main issues for realizing the Truth in the ways of Yoga. One is to affirmatively concentrate on the Truth, or the image of God, and become One with It; and the other one is to completely and entirely eliminate things in the mind such as karma, pain-bearing obstacles and ignorance that the mind might have. From what you mentioned, that there is uneasiness, anxiety and fear in you that still arises, then you must find out the cause of where these things come from. And you must discriminate whether their causes are worthy of the Truth or not. The Truth exists already within you too, however, if there are still negative things that oppose the Truth in the mind, it shows that you still need to clean them up. (smiling) In order to do that, you must learn the teachings of the Truth, and practice meditation using the method of discrimination—that is to proactively concentrate on that vision that you have seen before. If you practice these things earnestly, then you will realize that ideal.

The Truth of Everyone is Immortal Existence

Lily: I’ve come to terms with physical death—of my own physical death, and those of the people I love in my life. However, it scares me so much to think of the things I will have to do once I find my mother dead. It’s not even the fact that she’s going to be gone, but more of seeing her actual physical body dead and the things that I would have to do to bury her, to get rid of her clothes and things. Those thoughts—I can’t even go there, because it creates such deep, deep fear, and it throws me out of balance completely. And there isn’t any reason, my mom is not sick, but this enters my mind often. Any advice on how to approach this?

MASTER: Even if her physical body dies, it does not mean that she herself dies.  What you are fearing are the memories between you and your mother. That is an erroneous attachment. Recognize the real her, that is, recognize she, who is the Eternal Existence, and exert yourself to the utmost to serve her within this limited span of life. (some silence) The Truth is the Immortal Existence. Everyone is That. It is the one and only One. It is that which has been called “God.” (Silence ensues.)

AUM

Yajna: I first entered the path of Yoga when I was young, I was 23 years old at the time. The first form of Yoga I learned was Kundalini Yoga. It was a very intense form of yoga and I practiced it with great intensity. Within the first year or two of my practice, I had two kundalini awakening experiences. They happened a couple of weeks apart, and have never happened since. They were a little different than the kundalini awakening that you discussed last Satsangha, in that they were not gradual or progressive—they were explosive. I experienced them as if I had a volcano moving my body. The bliss that I experienced was beyond anything imaginable in the worldly sense, but the terror that went along with it was equally extreme, because the energy was so explosive it felt like it could literally blow my body apart. As the energy was moving through my body in waves, almost as if tidal waves were moving through my body, I felt that with each wave I was hearing the AUM.1 I was not hearing the sound with my ears, it had nothing to do with my ears, I was hearing it with my entire being. So, my question is, was that the AUM? It felt to me that if it was, that the AUM is always present, if only we were able to hear it. And it also caused me to reflect, I don’t remember the exact quote from the New Testament, but it talks about something like “first there was the Word.”2 And it felt to me that if that was the case, then the word alluded to in the New Testament is the AUM, and that that word is responsible for the creation of the Universe. So, what I’m asking you is, is that a correct understanding, was that the AUM that I was hearing, and is the AUM always present for those who can hear it?

MASTER: Yes, your understanding is correct. The beginning of the entire universe and all things arises from the vibration, AUM. And, that which has evolved from AUM in a subtle form into a gross form is the world that we are perceiving with the five senses right now. As it evolves into a more gross condition, then the ability to hear the vibration of AUM retrogresses. Nonetheless, you can say that because in the beginning there was the AUM, the AUM is what is activating [everything] up through the gross plane, this world, through the power of its vibration, and has been doing so ever since then, even now at this moment. That is a very good experience you had. (smiling)

Yajna: Yes, unforgettable.

MASTER: Indeed.

Yajna: Like it happened yesterday. (Shri Mahayogi is smiling.)

MASTER: The kundalini is in another name called Shakti; in simple terms, it is power, but theologically it indicates the Goddess. Therefore, if you keep practicing meditation with bhakti, that kundalini will become more obedient.

Cheng Ying: Shri Mahayogi, I have a follow-up question to this gentleman. Is it possible for his body to blow up; for example, what’s the worst that can happen? Do you use the mind’s power to conquer it, or is there something really bad that can happen?

MASTER: Yes, surely, one will come to experience an enormous power, feeling as if the body is truly going to be destroyed by being blown up. However, that power cannot manifest so easily. (laughing) In the path of Yoga, because this may eventually happen one day, one prepares one’s condition for many years. Well, it is commonly referred to using an analogy—what would happen if ten thousand watts of current were fed into a body with the capacity of only a hundred watts?

Cheng Ying: Oh, so that means he actually hasn’t prepared his body very well, for that kind of thing to happen. So, for everybody, if we can just follow the teacher properly, we should be fine? (All laugh.)

MASTER: Exactly. (laughing) (All laugh.) That is the exact reason why it is said that especially with kundalini yoga, and of course for the entirety of Yoga, it is absolutely essential to have a Guru, the right Guru. (Shri Mahayogi and everyone laugh.)

_________________

[1] AUM represents the sound of the word OM, the sacred pranava, or reverberating essence of all creation, preservation and destruction.

[2] John 1:1

What’s Important is Experience

Karuna: I have been reflecting on my practice, and one of the things that seems to be an obstacle for me is the mind that says “I know already.” I think this mind relates to how culturally in the West we are unfamiliar with the Guru-disciple relationship, the devotion and obedience that is required, and instead, as a culture we are trying to feed our own individual knowing of something or being able to do something alone. So even if we hear Shri Mahayogi’s words, there is a part inside that still has that “I know already.” Shri Mahayogi has said repeatedly that we must empty ourselves in order to receive. But this is so ingrained in us. I would like to ask Shri Mahayogi to give me and my brothers and sisters some advice on how to open up more and more, so that we can really receive from Shri Mahayogi.

MASTER: (after some silence) Mere knowledge is not useful at all. What is important is the experience. Many experiences may come. Each time as an experience comes, the mind unloads some of its baggage. So, then how far do you have to go in order for those experiences to come to an end? The experience itself will teach you. The Guru guides so that his disciples can move forward on the path easily, and bestows upon the disciples blessings and spiritual inspiration. Nevertheless, the ultimate experience has to be experienced by that person themselves. How can you know that the experience is the Truth or not? That is when meditator, the object of meditation, and the meditation as a means disappear, and one simply is aware of the existence of Truth alone. That Existence and Consciousness are One.

Karuna: Is Shri Mahayogi saying that unless we experience that, this “I know already” is just like foolishness?

MASTER: Exactly. (laughing) In that, there is a knower, the knowledge that is being known, and the means [of knowing]. Don’t forget the ruler that I mentioned just now.

Study the Truth in Yoga to Work Towards
Creating a Mind of Fortitude

Pareese: Lately I’ve been experiencing a lot of mood changes. At times I am happy, and then suddenly I experience being overwhelmed, or I am anxious or sad. And afterwards, when I try to take some time off to figure out why I feel that way, I find no answers. So, what questions should I ask myself so that I can better understand why I am experiencing these sudden changes in my mood?

(As she begins to ask her question, her voice is filled with emotion.)

MASTER: (leaning in closely and smiling tenderly) You need to understand that the mind and the world are constantly changing like that. Even if that is so, it might be very unpleasant and not so joyful for you. So then, you should seek the condition, or the mind, in which you are always at peace, and work to transform your mind toward that. As I mentioned initially, the mind is constantly changing, so the mind can also change to the positive. Therefore, from now on you should embark on working to transform the mind to be better and more positive. If you do so, then you will come to know the invisible Essence of the world, or the Truth. Olden times, present times, East and West, wherever it may be, people are living with similar troubles and concerns. The state of the world has changed, and keeps changing. Even so, the mind must be the same among the ancient people, modern people, and the people of the future. But if you are caught up with [the changing world], then you can lose sight of the true Self. The true Self is not the mind. It is the Consciousness that is always witnessing the mind. That Consciousness simply sees and knows, but it does not say anything. Yet That is your true Essence. That is your true Self. Therefore, work to create the mind of fortitude so that you are not entangled in the changes of the world and of the mind. Yoga is the wisdom that comes from the study that specializes in the mind and that has been realized from thousands of years ago. If you study that, the Truth in Yoga, then you will surely get better soon.  

Attachment and Vasana

Imani: I have a question about spiritual attachments. I wanted to find out if it is possible for the spirit part of each person to form an attachment to experiences, to other people, to ideas or to things like material possessions? Or is that something that is guided by the mind, emotions, and the body?

MASTER: It depends on how you understand the word “spirit.” If by that you mean that the word “spirit” is synonymous with the “true Existence,” or “God,” then it has no connection to the mind. However, in general there are often various invisible powers of the mind that are referred to as “spirit.” Although these are merely a part of the mind.

Imani: It could be the part of the mind that is spiritual. For instance, the aspect that attaches us to our loved one, is that a spiritual connection, or is that another aspect of the mind that attaches to the things that we love? Is the attachment to the things that we love done by the mind or by some other part?

MASTER: You can understand that the mind has many layers. Normally one thinks or feels using the most surface-level, the gross part of the mind. Normally the most surface-level or gross part of the mind is doing all the thinking and feeling. But if you go further to a deeper layer of the mind, there are subtle workings of the mind; and in Yoga these are called sanskara or vasana. You can understand that you already have a tendency for how you act in this world, so to speak—well, you can think of the act of love, what particular types of people or things you love. That is the deeper layer of the mind that is subtle. Therefore, I think that what you just mentioned relates to the workings of that subtle part of the mind.

The True Being Exists on this Earth for the Salvation of this Universe and of All Mankind

 Sharon: I was listening to Deepak Chopra this morning on TV. I was wondering if you have met him or what you think about his spiritual practices?

And one other thing in conjunction to that: so many religions, so many paths, so many spiritual leaders, how do you know which is the true one, if that is possible?

MASTER: First of all, this is the first time I’ve heard the name Deepak Chopra, therefore I don’t know anything about him. (All burst into laughter.) (Seeing the reaction from all, Shri Mahayogi laughs too.) And, [when it comes to] whether that person is true or not, we must rely on each person’s intuition. It’s not about whether someone can prove it or whether someone has a certificate for that. (All laugh.) If I were to say, the true being is the being who is recognized by all of humanity, by the entire universe. At least, simply stated, you can also say thus: in that person, because there is no ego or self, there is nothing in themselves for their own sake, and instead everything is for others, that is to say, that person exists on this earth for the salvation of this universe and of all mankind.  

Vijay: It seems that Shri Mahayogi has a certificate. Your name, Paramahansa, Satguru, Shri Mahayogi—it’s a beautiful name. Can Shri Mahayogi tell us about the reason behind this name?

MASTER: I was born and grew up in Japan. When I was around eight, I realized the Truth, and I saw that it was not limited to India, nor was it limited to the East, but that it is the Universal Truth as well. I entered into my teens then and felt a contradiction between my understanding of that Truth and the suffering in the world. Then I found the cause of that suffering, and the path to end suffering. It is the same path that the Buddha, and Shri Ramakrishna, and many Holy Beings in India once followed. For this reason, from early on, I renounced my Japanese name, and simply, I was just called “Yogi,” and that is how I have been called since then. Over twenty years ago, I came to New York City for the first time. And at that time, Anandamali here and a few others began to add other names (laughing). (All laugh.) Well, the name is merely a symbol, so it is not that important. (smiling)

Cheng Ying: My question is, if Satori is realized without doing anything, why did you have to practice going through various trainings, and what is the significance of this?

MASTER: In hindsight, it was for you all. (smiling)

Cheng Ying: (immediately) Thank you so much. (All laugh.)

Karuna: This is a question from Libia. Shri Mahayogi said that he found the cause of suffering and the path. Her question is, what is the cause of suffering? 

MASTER: Ignorance. Ignorance means that, due to not knowing the Truth, the mind is being caught up in incorrect thoughts.

The Spiritual Name

Kamalakshi: My question is, what is the significance of the spiritual name that you’ve given to us? Is this name our Dharma as described in the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna? Is it a challenge that we face in this lifetime and our spiritual obligation to fulfill, something that one must develop deeply and bring to fruition? I was just reading [the meaning of] my name, and looking at the full meaning of it, it felt daunting. (some laugh) So, could you give us some guidance on this? (many laugh)

MASTER: When you were born, your parents named you. When you are born into the spiritual world, that is when the spiritual name is bestowed. The parents who have named you are the father and the mother in heaven. How you live that life is up to you.

Kamalakshi: Thank you.

Raja Yoga is Referred to as Karma Yoga:
The Path of How You Must Act to Attain the Aim

Aniruddha: I have a question regarding raja yoga. I am reading about raja yoga, and it explains about the different limbs, like the different levels of practice, and I want to know, was that originally a step by step practice? I also want to know because I realized that the way in which you teach us to do our asana practice, it seems like it incorporates the practice of pranayama and pratyahara, which are involved in that part of practice as well, in how Shri Mahayogi is teaching us. So, I want to understand deeper, is that correct or…?

MASTER: That is the correct understanding. The eight limbs that are explained in raja yoga are something that are compiled into an easy to understand way. As far as yama and niyama are concerned, they are disciplines that must be practiced as long as you have a physical body. And the next steps continue as asana, pranayama, pratyahara and dharana; and it shows the order of progressing from the physical body to the breath, then to the mind, from the gross parts to the more subtle parts.  

Sadhya: So, then it means that without a strong practice of yama and niyama, the remainder of them are ineffective, so to say.

MASTER: They must be practiced and be carried on simultaneously. The completion of yama and niyama happens at the time when the ultimate Samadhi is completed.

Sadhya: So, then would it be safe to say that the most important thing for all limbs of raja yoga would be the aim with which one practices them?    

MASTER: Exactly, and, the important point in order to attain the aim is, how you must act. (Sadhya: I see.) That is why at times raja yoga is also referred to as karma yoga. That is to say, the Yoga of action. 

Lily: How can I not to be attached to this aim? Because sometimes I feel like I understand the goal of why we are doing this, but my attachment to it is preventing me from attaining it.

MASTER: The content of the goal of Yoga is non-attachment. (Shri Mahayogi and all laugh.) Therefore, I would like you to understand this point correctly, that you must attach greatly to that goal (smiling), however, in fact that goal is non-attachment. (Shri Mahayogi and all laugh.) Therefore, the big attachment too will eventually disappear. (Shri Mahayogi and all laugh.

Become a Better Instrument for the Existence of Truth

Yolanda: My name is Yolanda. I am very sensitive to energy, which has amazing experiences, like being here in your presence, I can really enjoy the teachings. It’s even more fulfilling when the mind just stops, and the power of the energy of your voice and your presence just surrounds me and shapes the energy inside.

My question is, how can I balance my energy when I am surrounded by all the people that have very strong negative energy? And also, I am a teacher, so when I work with my students and they are struggling I take their suffering very deeply. And I would like to be more patient without taking their suffering, so that I can support them better.

MASTER: (tenderly) That’s wonderful. (smiling) If possible, cherish and foster the feeling that you are feeling right now. At least have faith toward the Truth. If you have faith in God, then that is also good. That Existence is the protagonist, and is taking care of everything, as well as the students. Therefore, in that moment, you should become a better instrument for that Existence of the Truth. You should give advice simply praying to ease the sufferings of these students, even if it is just a little bit more and a little bit more. Don’t forget the Truth. It is within you, even now. It is there always. You are That. (smiling)

Anandamali: Thank you very much.
Jai Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa Ki, Jai!!!

MASTER: I will see you again.

 

 

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Testimonies from a Practitioner

At the Feet of My Revered Master 

by Misato Oomori
February 2020, Matsuyama, Japan

“There is absolutely no way I can go to New York!”

Last year, the night when Shri Mahayogi’s visit to the United States was announced, while staying at one of the disciple’s houses where I was spending the night, the senior disciples told us about their experiences in New York. At first, I enjoyed hearing their stories, but then I noticed a thought in me, and it was the quote above. I felt that if I were to stay with Shri Mahayogi 24/7, I would expose all my flaws! I don’t want my beloved Shri Mahayogi to see them! That was why I thought that there would be absolutely no way for me to go to New York! However, the next day I thought:

 “Huh? For what kind of trifling reasons am I practicing Yoga?”

To cover up my shortcomings? To show off only the good parts of myself? To get approval from others?

 “No! I am practicing Yoga to realize the Truth, to realize Satori!”

From that moment, all my heart and soul went straight to New York. I had no idea how to go there, neither did I have a passport or an airplane ticket, nor had I received the approval of Shri Mahayogi. Even so, I had no doubt that I was going to New York. I think that one of the reasons why I was impelled to go to New York so much was that I had a special admiration towards spending my daily life with the Master, just like Swami Adbhutananda did under Shri Ramakrishna, and Paramahansa Yogananda did under Shri Yukteswar. Then, letting myself go with this momentum, I was officially permitted to stay with Shri Mahayogi in New York.

Independence is Imperative!
I think that it was the day I arrived at the Cave, I asked Shri Mahayogi: “Is there anything else besides asana and meditation that I should do for spiritual practice of disciplines?” Though I had no inkling whatsoever at the time, this question would lead me to a great realization over the course of my stay.

Shri Mahayogi taught me by answering, “Be kind to others, and perform your tasks simply and steadily without attachment, because time is limited.” For a few months up until that point I had been thinking that I wanted to be kind to others, so I was taken aback by that answer. Actually, at my work, I am often the opposite of kind, and I was getting totally sick of it. Most of my colleagues at work are newer than I am, so I naturally have come to be in the position in which I have to pick up after them in many ways. I had been harboring thoughts like, “This is not supposed to be my job” and “Look how much extra I have to work,” and the more I picked up after them, the more I became irritated as a result of these thoughts, so I took it out on others around me more and more. Shri Mahayogi taught me by saying, “Behind the thought of ‘I am doing exceedingly much for others’ there are thoughts of pride coming from arrogance and worry about others’ opinion of you. If you are worried about others’ opinion of you, then this shows that you are dependent on others. You need to become independent in the truest sense.”

 “Independent in the truest sense.” During my stay, I kept thinking about this key phrase and I began to confront the dependent mind that was deeply rooted in the way I lived and thought.

The Importance of Words
Gratefully, I was given an opportunity to interact with the gurubai in New York, so I asked a question: “How do you keep your passion alive in order to progress in your respective spiritual practice of disciplines while waiting for Shri Mahayogi’s return—being in this living environment, physically far away from Shri Mahayogi and thus not being able to see him even once a month?” Their answer was that this also is one of the issues they face, and that they are in the midst of the process of tackling this exact issue through trial and error within programs such as the “Study in Practice” group, where gurubai gather together so that they can potentially keep generating and heightening their motivation and passion. What’s more, I learnt that the gurubai in New York live far apart from each other, so it’s not easy for everyone to gather. Actually, during my stay, Anandamali-san requested of me several times that for the benefit of gurubai I think about and make preparations to discuss some topics so that I am ready to concretely share how the gurubai in Japan think of Shri Mahayogi, what kind of questions we ask, and how we interact practically, inspiring one another. Having this opportunity to speak with the gurubai in New York, made me understand why she requested for me to do that.

I live in Matsuyama City,1 Japan, and whenever I go to the Yoga Sara Studio2 I can meet with gurubai. Gratefully, I have experienced many times that my passion for Yoga heightens through hearing their thoughts and the content of their actual practice of disciplines. Through this opportunity in New York, I then came to realize how important it is to share with others what I learnt and thought using words, because until that point I had actually kept to myself whatever I had reflected on after hearing their thoughts, or what I had learnt or been inspired by, and simply ended it there with the impression of, “I had a good time.”

I feel that this is the same with regard to Shri Mahayogi. After Satsangha and the Sadhana program taught by Shri Mahayogi (The Direct Teaching Classes by the Master), Anandamali-san goes back to the Cave with Shri Mahayogi in the same car. I saw how even in this short period of time after class ends and before the car leaves, Anandamali-san was catching as many participants as possible to hear their thoughts. And then as soon as she got into the car returning to the Cave, she communicated the actual impressions coming freshly from the participants to Shri Mahayogi. When I witnessed her attitude, I felt that even if Shri Mahayogi knows everything, it is an important courtesy to communicate it in words to Shri Mahayogi, who has provided the opportunity for Satsangha and the Sadhana Program, and at the same time it is an important means of expressing gratitude to Shri Mahayogi. I thought that the same thing can be said toward gurubai, family, or anyone.

Everything is Up to Me!
Before going to New York, I had an expectation that Shri Mahayogi would tell me everything, from step 1 to step 10. I was thinking that I would be gratefully able to receive his strict pointing out all my shortcomings and flaws, made entirely from a single minor detail of my behavior and way of conducting myself in my sadhana, and then instruct me to do this or that. However, in fact he did not say a single word about any small details at all. I confess that I kept making many little blunders and mistakes that I am afraid to share with everyone; however, nonetheless, Shri Mahayogi always generously accepted me, and actually this presence of Shri Mahayogi led me to realize that there is no other way but for me to do my own work to resolve my issues and that no one would do it for me. If Shri Mahayogi instructed me in the details of everything from A to Z, then I would have completely depended on that and would have neglected voluntarily thinking about these things for myself. The person who practices asana or meditation is none other than myself. The person who chooses the path of Yoga or the path of karma every day is also me. The existence of a Master is imperative for spiritual growth, but even if the Master is here, unless I make a determination to actually practice spiritual disciplines, I will never be able to proceed towards the realization of Truth. If I expect others to make a decision for me, then I think that this demonstrates that I am not taking responsibility for myself. But whatever it is, very clearly the person who is living here is none other than myself. Without exception, if I don’t practice, then the outcome of that too will simply come back to me, and if I do practice, the outcome of that also comes back to me. Throughout my stay, I fully recognized that everything is up to me, I am responsible for that.

Upon Returning to Matsuyama City!
Up until recently, [a month after my return to my home city of Matsuyama,] the way I was living was very far from a life of independence, both physically and mentally. Now that I have faced this fact, it is a bit painful for me, honestly. Yet since I’ve recognized it, I can’t go back to the way I used to be, as if I didn’t see it, and I know that if I escape from my reality right now, then I will be in the same repetitious cycle again. I don’t want that—so I’ve embarked on first changing my living environment, in which I was completely dependent on my family; this means moving out of my parents’ house.  However, after making this resolution, my ego has started a desperate protest movement, saying, “The current situation is much easier, both economically and in daily living! Isn’t it more comfortable to be with your family?” But then I recognized that the discipline of Yoga actually became a strong ally: establish fortitude within the mind through practicing the discipline of asana, and learning the words of Truth by studying the scriptures and discriminating until the mind is totally resigned to the fact that the objects of my dependencies are transitory existences. I trust that practicing these disciplines daily, steadily, and matter-of-factly will assist in my independence. I felt that actually Shri Mahayogi helped me realize that in order to climb the huge mountain—the realization of Truth—it is necessary for me to first climb the mountain of independence before me, and in order to do that, it all boils down to the importance of carrying on the daily asana, meditation and study of scriptures.  

Through this stay [at the Cave in New York], I believe that Shri Mahayogi bestowed non-verbal teachings upon me. The ten days I spent with Shri Mahayogi were so dazzling, like treasures, but I don’t want to merely leave them as a memory, nay, I do not have enough words to express the gratitude towards Shri Mahayogi for accepting for me to spend this time together. I can only hope that even if it is little by little I can express my gratitude by taking my own steps one by one and deepening in Yoga.


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Editors Note:
For Ms. Oomori, the aim of life is very clear: TO REALIZE THE TRUTH. Upon her hearing about Shri Mahayogi’s upcoming visit to Matsuyama in October 2019, she didn’t waste her time, she travelled right away from her home town, Matsuyama City, to attend Shri Mahayogi’s Satsangha in Kyoto in September 2019, to see him for the first time. After that it seems that her speed of hungering for the Truth was accelerated and after four months, in mid-January, she was already at the Cave in New York. What is inspiring about her is how she demonstrates her resolution through action, showing how real her thirst is to know the Truth, as is her willingness and proactiveness to change her way of being through concrete action.  The story of her thirst for Truth and the process of her concrete transformation continues. After she finished writing this article, she left her family home and began to live with Ryoko, another gurubhai in Matsuyama who had also been living with her parents.

Her story is very inspiring and a great example of how important it is to be clear about the aim of one’s life, and through her demonstration we can learn a concrete example of what it means to apply the teachings of Truth in our real lives, and how we too can apply into action the teachings of Truth or of Shri Mahayogi in our own lives.

Ms. Oomori is in her early 30’s.

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Below are the words she shared in May 2020:

“After living with Ryoko-san, the thing that I have been feeling most is gratitude and gladness for having the environment to speak, share and think about Shri Mahayogi and Yoga everyday to my heart’s content.

Because of this living situation, Yoga is naturally in the center of everything, even though due to the situation of coronavirus I have not been able to attend the classes in Matsuyama or go to Kyoto to attend the Satsangha.

We tell each other whatever it is that we start to understand about the teachings of Yoga in our daily activities and we share our delight whenever either one of us has a dream of Shri Mahayogi. And we also spend time together reading and meditating on the poems of Kabir, or singing kirtan.

Even though our incomes are low, by living together and supporting each other in every way, I do really feel now that I can live separate from my parents. Indeed, by cooking and being engaged in other chores to be responsible for myself, I truly feel that I am living my life. This might be nothing special for others, but because I was so dependent on and reliant on my parents before, this sense of responsibility was greatly lacking in me until now.

Now because I am living, not with my parents, who would accept me and spoil me, but with Ryoko-san, this opportunity has made me realize and reflect more and more on how my conduct and words came from allowing myself to pass time taking only my own pleasure as my priority, and not taking actions based on what would be helpful to others or make them happy.

I am still in the midst of ‘trial and error,’ but if there are things that I need to reflect and amend within myself, I immediately correct myself or the way I conduct or handle myself, and I work on paying attention to what’s in front of me, whatever I can do in my daily life.”

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[1] The distance between Matsuyama City, Ehime prefecture and Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture is about 304 kilometers (189 miles). It is about a 5-hour drive by highway.

[2] Yoga Sara Studio is a center where Shri Mahayogi’s disciples in Matsuyama City organize and practice together. It was formerly called Matsuyama Yoga Circle, and is the place that Anandi, a disciple of Shri Mahayogi who lives in Matsuyama, initiated out of her hope to spread the teaching and practice of Yoga taught by her Guru, Shri Mahayogi. Yoga Sara Studio is the name that Shri Mahayogi bestowed to them, recognizing their years of sincere efforts.

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