Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Satsangha, Kyoto, 2012
Confronting “Life” and “Death”
• The Meaning of “Life” and “Soul”—To Know the Essence of Existence, the “I”
• The True Identity of Death—Transcending the Mind and Meditation
• Nivritti and Thorough Discrimination
• Meditation on Death: Put Death Itself on the Operating Table
• What is Needed in Discrimination
• Keep Your Actions, Words and Thoughts Consistent With Each Other
—If You Fail, Correct Yourself Again and Again
• The Step Before Perfection: Sadhana Without Intention
• Self-Existence: True Independence Without Any Dependence Whatsoever
• The Constant Meditative State of Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga
• The Strong Yearning to Seek Only for What is Real
• Devote Your Best Effort Regardless of the Outcome
—Remain Neutral in the Face of Duality
Testimonies from Actual Practitioners
• Living on the Words of Mother—Part 3
by Yukti (Yuri Shibasaki)
Nov. 2013 – Jan. 2014, Fukushima, Japan
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Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Translation of Satsangha
Confronting “Life” and “Death”
The Meaning of “Life” and “Soul”
—To Know the Essence of Existence, the “I”
Saturday September 08, 2012, 7 p.m. Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto
(Ms. Katada who came from Tokyo to attend the Satsangha for the first time asks a question.)
Ms. Katada: When my daughter feels down, she says from time to time, “What are we living for?” I would like to ask you about what to say to my daughter as a parent.
MASTER: Indeed, all of humanity living on this earth is facing a similar issue. The Yoga that began in ancient times has also tried to answer that question. What are we living for, and who is living—“I am living” may be how you answer that. Then, what is that “I”? Who am “I”? Being born, growing up, then going through various studies, jobs, and making a living, then dying. What is the meaning of all of this? After all, the answer cannot come unless you ultimately come to know who you are.
The answer that Yoga found, which is actually related to this conversation I just mentioned, is that the essence—“I”—is neither the body nor the mind, it is the Soul that exists deeper within. And Yoga teaches through experience that this Soul is the Eternal Existence; and that the Soul of the person who experiences this and the soul of others, or the substance that is abiding as the essence of the entire universe, do not differ one iota and are exactly the same. It is the One without a second. It is merely this Eternal Existence that is repeating being born and dying again and again within the limited realm of space and time. By knowing the true substance, you will become unentangled in things like ephemeral joy and pain, or the sadness that arises from the experiences in the world. These are just like inevitable conditions that refer to the world, so you just have to deal with them accordingly.
What’s more important is to know that even though it is within this limited time frame, the brilliance of this Existence—this sacred Life—is within everyone and you yourself are That. By knowing that, if you come to know the most important thing for yourself, then you will no longer be entangled so much in other things, meaning the experiences of this world. Realizing that is Satori, and [that Truth] is the very essence of everyone. [It is important to] tell your own mind this, since the mind does not know it. For that is the only absolute salvation.
The teaching of Yoga is the universal Truth, so I am sure that if your daughter hears it or reads about it a little, she will be able to find the answers there; when she is having doubts like that, then she must be seeking, therefore it is a good opportunity [to open herself to find a real answer].
The True Identity of Death
—Transcending the Mind and Meditation
Saturday January 21, 2012, 7 p.m. Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto
(Ms. Higaki mentions that she has never really thought about her own death until recently, but she was recommended to get life insurance and it triggered her to think about death.)
Ms. Higaki: Do I need to concretely think about death?
MASTER: As one of the objects of meditation, there is a meditation on death. It is to transcend the true identity of death through meditation. You cannot simply intellectualize it, [for that would be ineffective] due to the fact that the fear of death exists within everybody in the depths of the mind. Since the fear of death is so firmly fixed within the heart of the mind, transcending death means, in other words, transcending the mind itself; thus, transcending the mind is for the purpose of realizing the state that is the actualization of Satori, the realization of the Truth. That means, or it can be said in other words, that death stands in the way of Satori. Therefore, meditation on death cannot just be done on a whim, it won’t succeed unless you meditate with such intensity that it is as if you were in a tight corner with death truly staring you in the face. However, by practicing this way, you will be able to clarify the true identity of death, and transcend it along with the mind itself.
Yet, having said that, even at an intellectual level, you should practice so that you will have gotten rid of the fear of death. Death comes to everyone eventually, but it simply means that the physical body no longer functions. But the physical body that was destroyed in death will eventually take a new body in the next life, and as long as karma (cause and effect of action) exists, reincarnation repeats again and again. If one wants to avoid suffering within one’s reincarnations, then there comes the need to eliminate the fear of death, which is one of the obstacles related to karma.
If I say it in another aspect, there is that which never dies, the Eternal Existence. Actually, that is the true identity, the true Self; that which has been called God is That too, and it is also the Truth. Therefore, grow your faith towards these. This [practice], on the other hand, will consequently ease and weaken the fear of death. Therefore, deepen your faith.
Who cares about life insurance. (everyone laughs) I’ve always really hated this concept since childhood, and I’ve never had life insurance. It is the same [system] as a modern cult, they collect money by shoving the fear of death into people’s faces. I think that life insurance and cults are very similar because I sense from life insurance that it is somewhat taking advantage of people’s weaknesses. I believe that if you live sincerely with integrity, then no matter when that life ends, [not only will it have done good for you, but] also for those who are left behind—family and friends—they will be left with something even better than money.
(Shachi mentions that Sanatana told her that he believes that when he gets writer’s block, it is because the content of the article needs to be considered much more deeply, and that when her computer suddenly stops while she is working for layout, she too has noticed similar things as what Sanatana mentioned—for example, there were more edits and typos, and the article was not print-ready—and that she feels that she started noticing these things more when she began practicing Yoga.)
Shachi: As concentration deepens, do these types of things occur like messages?
MASTER: I think that is so. That too is included in the philosophy of Yoga, and it is explained in the Yoga Sutra as well. Concentration is the task to pour 100% of the mind towards the object [of concentration]. When that concentration is done well, then beyond that comes the expansion into the realm of meditation. The object of meditation you were concentrating on single-pointedly, while having it as a pillar, expands its realm greatly. What is meant by “expanding” is that one sees all across it, to the utmost extent, naturally. Such a condition becomes meditation, then further, one becomes immersed into the object, its pillar—[the state of] samadhi comes beyond that. Meditation is the state or condition, in which one becomes separate from the mind’s intentions, and receives various things objectively, or notices many different things. As meditation deepens, the way of the mind is always established as such, therefore if one concentrates on something, one naturally senses and is able to perceive subtle insights that relate to or are around the object of concentration from that state. It can be said that that is the power of Yoga.
Sanatana: Normally, we ignore these.
MASTER: Right, that is due to the way the mind is gathered during concentration, in other words, it can be that you are too caught up in the object to see.
Sanatana: Are the intuitions or the signs we get during meditation and the sense of the wisdom that arises from samadhi completely different?
MASTER: They are different. The various insights and intuitions in meditation are not that of the True Existence as the Truth, or that which is Pure, they still have a residue of worldly shades. There are many levels within samadhi, yet, since one is able to know the true identity as the essence [in samadhi], even if the object is of this world, the degree of purity [in the wisdom one intuits] in samadhi is much higher than that of meditation. In the ultimate samadhi, that is to say, in the state of samadhi that comes when sanskara (latent subconscious impressions) have been eradicated, one realizes or awakens into the true Existence, the true identity of Purity itself. I always say it, but It is already within you.
Therefore, deepen meditation. In order to do that, what is crucial is to purify the mind—to purify means to eradicate pain-bearing obstacles and ignorance. The biggest power for that is indeed, (emphasis) faith. Pure faith will bring you the power to proceed with leaps and bounds. And then you yourself awaken to the Truth that is within you. That is the supreme directive of Yoga.
Saturday January 28, 2012, 7 p.m. Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto
Sananda: Shri Mahayogi tells us to discriminate on death and to make death the object of meditation. I deduce that we ourselves are not clear how we want to live our own lives, perhaps because of not thinking thoroughly about death. Is it indeed necessary to think about death? Or, is it enough to just simply and steadily concentrate on Yoga?
MASTER: Within the process of concentrating on Yoga, over time, there comes an inevitable point in which one must conquer death. Why?—because a large part of the attachments that occupy the depths of the mind are resting upon death. In order to make progress in Yoga, you cannot avoid eradicating the sanskara of the fear of death. Conversely, simply and precisely because we were born, ignorance, pain-bearing obstacles, and various attachments, including the fear of death arise. Despite this fact, humans forget that they were born, and are deluded into or fancy living in their own physical body forever. This is the huge illusion of ignorance. That is exactly why you meditate on death and conquer and transcend it; and through that you will transcend the mind itself.
Sananda: I didn’t quite understand the meaning of “a large part of the attachment is resting upon death.”
MASTER: The opposite of death is life due to birth, right? That means this physical life. Resting upon physical death, means resting upon physical life.
Sananda: So it means that it is inevitable that if we are to progress in Yoga, we will have no choice but to transcend death before death actually comes.
MASTER: Yes. Unless you transcend death, the condition of the restraint of the mind itself will not arise, and that also means that one will not reach the state of Satori.
Sanatana: There was a time when Vivekananda was possessed by meditation on Kali (the Goddess). Was that related to death, or was it something else?
MASTER: I would conclude that when his bhakti (devotion towards God) towards Kali intensified, he must have touched the substance of shakti itself, the origin of prakriti (primordial matter).
I assume that everyone must remember the eleventh chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. In that chapter, Krishna reveals his divine form to Arjuna. Arjuna witnesses that Krishna manifests into countless bodies, and within that, the world forms and dies, then forms and dies, forms and dies…and with that he is shown a majestic panorama. I would conclude that Vivekananda must have experienced such a vision.
Sanatana: When Arjuna saw it, he was terrified…
MASTER: That’s right.
Sanatana: With Vivekananda’s case, somehow he endured it…and I guess, because he saw shakti, he went mad, but does the madness of Chaitanya and other holy beings come from the same place?
MASTER: Yes, that is my understanding. Regarding death, I presume that it is not in the form of death that the mind normally thinks of, but rather, the primordial substance that is death itself.
Mr. Takahashi: During meditation I imagine Shri Mahayogi sitting on top of a lotus. I would like to ask you when I practice meditation on death, is it okay to imagine the vajra (a Buddhist tool used by the Shingon sect) on top of the lotus along with the idea of indestructability and immortality?
MASTER: That becomes a mere conceptual meditation. What senses death is the mind. Therefore, you must rather enter more into the mind itself.
Mr. Takahashi: So then, the photo of when Shri Ramakrishna is passing away, laying in front of the disciples surrounding him, is what comes to my mind. I should meditate on my mind itself at the moment of separation, [when the Master passes away]…
MASTER: No, no! It has nothing to do with Ramakrishna. How does your mind grasp death?—that is what the issue is. Death is not somebody else’s issue. The point is, how your own mind is grasping death.
You can’t just intellectually conclude that what dies is simply the body, and that the soul never dies. It doesn’t work unless you bring yourself to directly face death more, and enter into death itself. It requires a meditation that has an intensity to the extent of a sort of simulation-like experience—as if truly you are about to die now. (With power) All logic is completely useless! So forget what you have learned for once. These are only intellectual understandings.
(after a while, smiling) Let’s move on.
Mr. Takahashi: Please, I need one more hint, if you could teach me. How about meditating on the death of Shri Mahayogi on top of a lotus…
MASTER: My death? As I just mentioned now, it has nothing to do with my death. It is about your own death!
Mr. Takahashi: May I ask you to teach me some kind of a clue about how to connect the vision of your honor, Shri Mahayogi, sitting on top of a lotus, to my own death.
MASTER: Meditation on a lotus is in other words, the meditation on Eternal Existence. It is unrelated to death. Therefore, the essence of the soul in Truth is its immortality, the never dying Eternal Existence that is immortal, that never dies; yet on the other hand, it is also true that the mind holds a most terrifying idea about death, or the mind is possessed by that. In order to conquer death, you must truly experience your own death through entering into death itself! For that, you don’t need any tool whatsoever. Even the Amitabha is useless. It is unrelated to any Holy Being. [Because the practice you do is to] apply sanyama (concentration, meditation, samadhi) on death itself! On death itself—that means on your own mind itself.
Ramana Maharishi was possessed by death at the age of 17, and unexpectedly and suddenly entered into meditation on death. It is said that at that moment, he got into the profound—“I’m going to die, but who is dying? What is it that is dying?” Then, he transcended the threshold of death and reached to the “I” that never dies—that is Atman. Meditation surely cannot be perfected by just these few phrases, nonetheless, these are the key points.
Shachi: When Shri Mahayogi faced death as a child, did you also have these types of thoughts?
MASTER: Yes, I did. It was during elementary school that what is called “death” came for a few days. The physical body was quite healthy and I was living my daily life in a lively manner. Then, I entered what is called death. I mean, it automatically became a meditative state. “What will happen to the world when I die?” or the thought of “Will the world continue to be active, forgetting about me…?” came to me in a flash. Then, suddenly a vision of looking at my own corpse from far away up in the air appeared—it seemed like a scene in which exactly on the street in front of this house, the Ashrama, the corpse was just being carried out to be cremated. I had no interest in who was gathered there at all, I was just extremely calmly looking only at my own corpse. A while later, I found my consciousness was further into the void, and the Ashrama was no longer visible, having zoomed out so much, and there was a tennis-ball size earth floating in the pitch-black space. My vision then went back to this body inside of this house, and I found that the fear and prior understanding [I had] towards death had come to an end at that point. At the same time, I clearly came to know the Pure Consciousness, or the Existence of the Soul itself.
The meditation on death, is not something I’m simply saying using words, but it is based on my own experience—that is why I’m telling all of you this.
Nivritti and Thorough Discrimination
Saturday February 4, 2012, 7 p.m. Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto
Jayadevi: I attended the special Yoga & Meditation Class in Osaka. During the program, I felt through thoroughly and carefully confronting each asana (practice of physical positions), positively grasping and taking hold of [what the essence of] the physical body and its death are while working to attempt to transcend them, is how asana came about, and at the same time, that this is the way of the yogi, and a proactive process of “neti neti” (not this-not that—the method of negation through analysis).
MASTER: This has been said in Yoga since ancient times, of course, and it is called nivritti, the process of going against the flow. Normally, philosophically, the flow is: from the prakriti of Shiva (male deity) the world manifests, then this flow of manifestation continues more and more—this is called vritti. However, what the yogi practice is nivritti, a backtracking, or going against the flow. Indeed, the activity of a human being has physical action as human nature, just the same as [the nature of] an animal. However, [in Yoga,] you bring [this activity] to a stop—this is exactly what going against the flow is. And, while normally the state of non-breathing brings death, in Yoga you train to stop the breath. Indeed, that is also going against the flow (smiling). The same thing can be said of the mind; the mind wants to know and do various things, and normally, the expansion of desires and wants is considered good; however, [in Yoga,] you train proactively to eliminate these more and more, aiming to empty the mind. “Going against” in all aspects—that is nivritti, an extraordinary, tremendous power!
Vritti is the power of maya (illusion). The development of shakti, that which manifests and becomes the world, is also referred to as the power of maya; since maya also covers up the Truth—unless you go against this, you can’t see the truth of maya. It’s truly fascinating, isn’t it? (laughs)
Jayadevi: It is fascinating. And what is the drive behind the enthusiasm that it takes to go to that extent…what were they trying to seek…?
MASTER: Well, I conclude that they were (with an intense tone) seeking something absolutely reliable or Real. Without a doubt the mind too is seeking this; nevertheless, in this world of experience, you cannot encounter anything Real. Surely, everyone must be looking for real happiness, real love, real freedom—however, the versions of these things that are experienced in the world are imperfect, at times betraying you and inviting suffering to come as a result. Even so, deep within the heart, everyone is always seeking, believing that something Real exists somewhere. Perhaps, it’s like a signal for one to return to the origin, the place which one came from.
Meditation on Death:
Put Death Itself on the Operating Table
Mr. Takahashi: I would like to meditate on what fear is, and ask about the method of meditation on death. During the practice of kumbhaka (stopping of the breath), I feel a sense of fear towards holding the breath, yet I am thinking about using “stopping of the breath” as a technique. Is it good to use it during meditation?
MASTER: (immediately) No, that is not good. The focus should only be on concentration—since, as a concrete object, the issue, that is, death, is already presented there [in meditation].
Mr. Takahashi: So, to get over the wall named death…
MASTER: Rather than getting over it, first, you must become one with death; otherwise, you will not be able to transcend it. To become one with the object is sanyama (complete restraint).
Everyone wishes not to die, whereas Yoga says one should go through the experience of it [in the realm of meditation]—how fascinating is this teaching of Yoga. (Shri Mahayogi and everyone laugh.)
Madhavi: Conquering death is a matter of the mind—I understand, yet the level of this is far beyond just being fearful of death. I don’t quite understand what it means to become One with death…
MASTER: As I mentioned just now, to become One with death is to penetrate into and grasp the essence of death itself. (with a powerful tone) With regard to death—it is just that everyone merely has some vague idea of what death is. But realistically, who dies? What dies? Unless you become one with the essence of death, you will not be able to know its secret. Until then, the ideas of death that everyone holds are ideas that belong to an illusory world.
Sananda: I suppose that in order to perform sanyama on death, a truly tremendous power is required, yet it is not something that we can easily practice, [even though one may try,] and the bottom line is that we must not change the subject of meditation very often.
MASTER: Stop making it a daily special on your menu. (Everyone laughs.)
Sananda: Truly, to become One with it—I can’t imagine accomplishing it in one week or even one month.
MASTER: It may continue for months and years on end. Nonetheless, that’s how much you must be possessed by it! Literally. Indeed, it is exactly madness—bhakta (those who are devoted to God), jnani (those who Know), they are all people who are mad in this sense. But just like one cannot give up thinking about one’s lover, once you fall in love with God or Atman, then you won’t be able to see or hear anything else, and you’ll solely be immersed in it more and more—that is the way of the yogi.
Anything, whatever it is, can become an object of concentration and meditation. What is revealed there is the essence of that matter. And, the most important part [for the process of realizing the Truth], that is, whether that object is the Truth or not, is realized there as well.
Mr. Takahashi: I saw a documentary about a woman who is terminally ill with cancer. What is the difference between a patient who is constantly having to confront death, and a yogi with a healthy physical body confronting death?
MASTER: The aspects are slightly different. However, in the very first of the Four Noble Truths (dukkha, or suffering, as in “Everything is suffering”), the first teaching of the Buddha, sickness is listed [in the four major sufferings: birth, old age, sickness and death]. Since it is a universal subject matter, sickness is also an issue that continues to lie within the mind, and this hasn’t changed in contemporary times.
Mr. Takahashi: I am still unsure from which perspective I should meditate on death.
MASTER: (as if interrupting, speaking in a powerful tone) As I mentioned earlier, concentration and meditation [on death] are like putting death itself on top of an operating table—this concentration, this meditation, is, so to speak, like being a surgeon! It is extremely scientific, medical, philosophical, and psychological. (definitively and firmly) You must not bring your preconceived notions! Truly, you put death itself on the operating table, dissect it, and find out what’s in there! It is a scientific task of discerning it. There are, as mentioned now too, conceptual thoughts, medical concepts, philosophical, psychological, and various elements that are vaguely creating the image of death. You must dissect each and every one of them, discriminate and make them completely naked! Meditation is like anatomy, so to say. You must thoroughly perform it, so much so that it is like that!
You must perform it with power, more and more seriously and eagerly.
(Everyone has become silent. The tension is building.)
Kinkala: I think that what dies, who dies, cannot be understood unless you know the true Self.
MASTER: (immediately) No, even while you are still in the process where you don’t understand, you can practice it. That is why you must practice it.
Kinkala: It seems to me that it is one of the big objects of meditation, so much so that it can be said that [meditation on death] could almost become the fourth object of meditation, after the three objects.
MASTER: No, I think that it is contained in discrimination, since it is recognized as one of the biggest causes that make up the mind.
What is Needed in Discrimination
Saturday December 8, 2012, 7 p.m. Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto
Ms. Yamamoto: When I practice the meditation of discrimination, I am trying to delve into what the cause is, or what the pain-bearing obstacles are in me, which have brought about the disturbance of my mind during daily life; but along the way, even if I’m trying to find them, my focus rather shifts to what happened, and I can’t see any further. May I ask, how do I continue inquiring without shifting the focus toward the phenomenon of what happened?
MASTER: That means there is still a lack in your power of concentration. In order to cultivate concentration, seriousness is required. Even if the phenomena of what happened was a trifle of a matter, since there is the fact that your mind is bothered by it, then [you must ask and confront yourself with]—how does that relate to your Soul, to being alive? Is it that you want to say that living without trouble is not living—that that’s how Life is? Then what is the Truth of the Soul and of being alive? Actually, the teaching of Truth teaches you many things about that.
You can’t progress in discrimination unless you keenly and urgently sense your mind and its concerns. The practice of discrimination on the level of mere intellectual knowledge is meaningless. It boils down to if you have that urgent seriousness. In other words, it is about striving to know the essence of your Soul and of existence, even through the slightest of phenomena [that occur in your daily life]. If you cannot come to know it, then all those phenomena would be meaningless. You have to see the origin like that. And then, [think of and search for] whether there are teachings about that origin or not… [Then you will be able to find that] there are several teachings of the Truth [that are related to it]. So then, bring these teachings, or recall them, and check them against your concerns over that phenomena—that is discrimination. The mind thinks in one way, however the Truth teaches it another way. Which one is correct? (emphasis) Inquire into that seriously and earnestly—you may suffer as you struggle to find the answer, but so what! To seriously, seriously, concentrate and exhaustively probe into the matter [until the very end] is discrimination. Discrimination is not just a superficial, casual way of thinking about something.
Truly, Yoga is literally a very serious and very real battle—a battle for your own Soul, a battle for your true Life.
Keep Your Actions, Words and Thoughts Consistent With Each Other
—If You Fail, Correct Yourself Again and Again
Saturday February 4, 2012, 7 p.m. Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto
Ms. Morioka: About the teaching of making one’s deeds, words and thoughts correspond as one—at times, selfish thoughts that contradict the teachings arise and they unwittingly come out of one’s mouth—when that happens, one’s actions, words, and thoughts may be in alignment, yet I am aware that that is different from what this teaching is saying. (everyone laughs) So, when that happens, are the thoughts going to disappear if I refrain from saying them?
MASTER: That is the right direction. As you just mentioned, even if the thoughts, words and actions are consistent with one another, you ought to feel whether they’re the Truth, or rather, whether they’re right or not, whether they’re selfish or not. Then if you recognize them as such, “Oh, these thoughts are in error,” then correct them. In this sense, it is a very practical sadhana, and if you discipline yourself in this way, then you ought to gradually stop having incorrect thoughts, and then you will only think of correct thoughts, which will turn into words and actions.
Ms. Hiraoka (Amala): Even though we’ve been taught that neither the mind nor the body is the Self, I repeatedly get entangled in it whenever I feel as though I’ve been driven to the corner; and although I practice meditation as if I am simply seeing the mind and the physical body, I feel like it is not effective in daily life. What should I do? (with a serious expression)
MASTER: (immediately without pause) This too is the same answer to Ms. Morioka’s—there is no other way but to correct those errors again and again as they arise. Even if you are fine when nothing happens, it is not good if you are shaken or agitated according to the situation; so, in this sense, when you react to a given situation, that is precisely the opportunity for you to face these errors with real earnestness. That is precisely why [when some situation makes you notice your issues or errors,] during these times you should reflect on them, then mend and correct them. That is a very important sadhana.
The Step Before Perfection: Sadhana Without Intention
Madhavi: Initially, we start with the aim of improving ourselves, but as we progress that aim disappears. I’ve heard that Shri Mahayogi said that the sadhana without this aim or motivation in the background is the most important one. When I heard that, I thought my understanding was shallow. Please teach us once again the true meaning of sadhana.
MASTER: Sadhana is often translated as the practice of discipline [for mastery]. Now, what is it that requires disciplining and needs practice? That which is not Satori. Then everything other than Satori needs to be disciplined—the actions and the thoughts, and anything that is practiced within that can be called sadhana, whether one is aware of it or not. However, if one is unaware of one’s sadhana, it is difficult to make progress, and it may be possible to regress in the direction of karma; therefore, you can say that the correct sadhana is done while consciously learning about the direction, the destination of sadhana, meaning, to learn Yoga, and to practice Yoga. Besides asana or meditation, all your daily actions and thoughts become sadhana in Yoga, and that means if you avoid sadhana, there is a danger of things turning into the creation of karma, therefore you can say that [the discipline of practicing from] all directions is sadhana. All in all, this is for becoming the perfect Existence called Satori.
Yogadanda: Sadhana without any underlying motives—then is that when one arrives at a stage where one has already conquered the various concerns and sufferings that one can perceive, yet the subconscious ones still remain, thus one must simply continue to practice steadily?
MASTER: Yes. Generally, people begin Yoga in order to conquer physical illness or weakness in the body, or some begin by having a motive to conquer mental concerns and weaknesses. Or, some may be seeking Satori. Either way, these are clearly recognizable, surface-level motivations. However, the causes of sanskara or pain-bearing obstacles are underneath the subconscious mind and do not directly float to the surface easily, therefore these are the parts that will be revealed gradually through sadhana. This difference lies in one being aware or not being aware.
Madhavi: So the things that come up to the surface, we become aware of them, and for the things that do not come up to the surface, we are not able to recognize them. Do we need to proactively seek out the ones that have not come up yet?
MASTER: Yes. Of course, with enthusiasm towards Satori, the perfection of Yoga, and earnest sadhana, one will begin to see these things. They can also come to the surface in the way you relate to something or due to various situations and conditions in daily life.
Shachi: I think that Shri Mahayogi mentioned that the completion of Satori, and going towards It, is also a clear motivation. I assume that one has to practice extreme amounts of sadhana in order to reach the realm of sadhana without any underlying motives.
MASTER: (immediately) That’s right. (everyone laughs) To put it simply, perfect Satori is naturally intention-less. It can be said that one remains just as is, without any kind of intentionality. And, that is the Essence as well, and you aim towards that. In a step before that condition, or a state of perfectly harmonious, natural intentionless-ness, a state arrives in which obstacles are nearly removed—yet the condition of perfectly harmonious, natural intentionless-ness still has not been reached. That, [sadhana without any underlying motives,] is the way of being during that stage.
Self-Existence: True Independence
Without Any Dependence Whatsoever
Haridas: Is there really nothing wrong with the prana going up and the throat closing? The reason I ask is that I feel meditation should be something that is more sattvic.
MASTER: There is nothing wrong with it. [You may feel this way] because it is still in progress. The metaphor used in kundalini yoga is: Shiva is abiding in the sahasrara chakra, the lotus with a thousand petals, which is considered to be located at the top of the head. And the goddess Kundalini, runs up towards Shiva. Your current state is still in the process of the middle of her running up. Because of that it involves that intense power, kundalini, and so this rajasic movement is appearing upfront. However, once shakti or kundalini becomes One with Shiva, an extremely sattvic state arises just as if you were in an ecstatic embrace. There, movement stops. They become One. Just how it is compared to an embrace between a man and a woman (brings palms together), they have become One.
Haridas: So then I should understand that the desire to become One is being heightened, is that correct?
MASTER: Yes, that is fine. And, everyone’s Essence and Soul, what is commonly referred to as Satori, is the Existence itself. It is Reality itself. It is Self-Existence and it is Independent. It has no relation to others whatsoever—it is being a perfect Independent Existence. (emphasizing) For all else—thinking depends on words, which depend on the mind, which depends on memory, which depends on thought—all of them stand by being entangled in co-dependent relationships. That is why all complex things are still merely imperfect things that belong to the relative world. Therefore, even if you intellectually understand the philosophy of that realm, all is a sort of mere illusion created by words and by the mind. There is no reality to it—because there is dependency. If one falls to the ground, everything else falls.
However, since that Existence, which is its essence, is not dependent on anything to begin with, it can be said that only That exists eternally. And That Exists as everyone’s essence. It is not acquired from elsewhere at all, here It already Exists. That is why in meditation, It is placed as the final target; and if things get in the way, they are to be removed through discrimination, or, on the other hand, in order to accelerate the approach to true Existence, one practices bhakti or inquires into Atman, the true Self. This route is very simple. Only the mind makes it complicated.
(Shri Mahayogi powerfully preaches the Truth, while turning again and again towards Haridas and Mr. Asakawa, who is just beginning to start the practice of meditation.)
The Constant Meditative State of Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga
Sananda: When discriminating, will the [various] building blocks of the mind, such as nama rupa, eventually be discriminated?
MASTER: Yes, of course.
Sananda: So does that mean that eventually one will definitely come to arrive at that in jnana yoga or raja yoga?
MASTER: That is absolutely indispensable, especially in jnana yoga or raja yoga.
Sananda: I assume that that depth of discrimination cannot be completed merely by sitting in meditation for one or two hours, and that it will only be accomplished through discriminating continuously at all the times.
MASTER: Just as in bhakti yoga it is as if the mind of a person is falling in love, it cannot end after one or two hours. (laughs) Just as the mind yearns for the beloved all the time, the same thing can be said for meditation too. Even if it is discrimination, it is not limited to one or two hours—you will come to be absorbed into the object of discrimination, which means that this will become a state of meditation.
Sananda: In the case of bhakti, we use the power of emotion, but in jnana yoga, are we to carry it out through the power of the will?
MASTER: Yes. The will and also the intellect may be used.
Sananda: That flow of meditation that continues at all times—will that become the same state as bhakti [where the mind is occupied by the thought of the object]?
MASTER: Yes, it will.
Sananda: But it can’t be reached unless it is at all times.
MASTER: Well, it will not be possible as a part-time [yearning and practice] (laughing).
Jayadevi: In bhakti, it is said that the method and aim are the same, so then even in that state of discrimination in jnana yoga, does this too become the same way?
MASTER: Yes, it does. It must have always been that way since ancient times. Whether it’s Patanjali or Buddha or Shri Ramakrishna, it seems that they were viewed as mad men by other people. However, it only looked as if they were eccentric because unlike others in the world, they were constantly immersed in the state of meditation. Bhakta were especially that way; Mirabai, Kabir, they were all that way, and Chaitanya too.
Haridas: In order to deepen raja yoga and jnana yoga, bhakti is required, and conversely, jnana is practiced in bhakti too; so I think it’s not just one way or another.
MASTER: Right. From the raja yoga perspective, single-pointed concentration is happening in both jnana and bhakti. Normally, the mind is scattered and has interests and attachments going in many directions, however, in both bhakta and jnani, the objects may be different but they’re focused on a single point. In these aspects of the mind, from the raja yoga perspective, they’re the same. Of course, that Truth, that Existence, and God are One, so they’re the same.
The Strong Yearning to Seek Only for What is Real
Sananda: Did Shri Mahayogi ever discriminate about his own character or tendencies when he was younger?
MASTER: I have never thought about character or tendencies.
Sananda: People’s characters and tendencies are formed due to various sanskara, and their root causes are ignorance and pain-bearing obstacles. Will a person’s character ever be the object of discrimination?
MASTER: I think it could be possible.
Sananda: Must we discriminate these things thoroughly?
MASTER: This may be similar to what’s out there in general, but when you notice your strengths and weaknesses, then you can strengthen your strengths, but you must reflect on your weaknesses and work to eliminate them; and the same can be said of one’s character and tendencies.
Sananda: I think that we view various things through our own preconceived ideas about them. Take the example of seeing something—what is produced in the mind is different from person to person, and that gives an effect to or is because of one’s character; (MASTER: Yes.) and I understand that the task and process of discrimination is neutralizing these preconceived ideas through investigating and discerning them. In that sense, is it a necessity to discriminate comprehensively in that manner?
MASTER: Yes, it is a must. Indeed, this world is dualistic—from one angle, something can be seen as good, while it can be seen as evil from another angle, and vice versa. It is impossible to set an absolute standard for anything. Furthermore, each individual’s mind creates preconceived ideas, loaded with their own world view and values. Therefore, these become even more ambiguous, or the ground upon which they rest becomes shaken and unsteady. It is the same with what one calls oneself in terms of “my own character.” Because of that, you can’t keep putting such unreliable things at the core of your mind, or saving them as something that affects the mind. Yoga, or rather [I should say], [what is underneath the desire] to realize the true Self, is a strong yearning to seek solely for what is Real. If that true Self is found, then the right understanding towards this world will arise… [Ultimately,] the ideal can only be found there, nowhere else.
(Shri Mahayogi quietly proclaims what the true ideal is.)
Sananda: What happens when all of nama rupa ceases to exist within the idea?
MASTER: As I mentioned earlier—it will be empty yet full, just Self-Existing, and that’s all. Even if the entire universe is gone, you will never be touched by troubles.
Haridas: Does that mean that yogi only take the view of there being no concerns, no matter what happens in this world?
MASTER: Well, on the other hand, this world is manifested, so then it is better to enjoy a version of the world that is as good as possible, within a better world (laughing). You can’t enjoy unless it’s a good world. Having fun alone is not good, as that’s egotistical. The ideal is that the entire world is filled with joy and happiness, therefore we can only act for and towards actualizing that, since life [in this world] does not last forever. Therefore, fundamentally, it doesn’t matter how the world goes, yet, as I mentioned now, since I have been manifested into this world with life, I wish to contribute to making it better.
Devote Your Best Effort Regardless of the Outcome
—Remain Neutral in the Face of Duality
Sanatana: There is something that I would like to ask about. Let’s say, every person is wishing to make things better, but no matter how much sincere effort was made, there were no positive outcomes. From here, there can be a few cases: the first one is, even if there is no positive outcome, one is not concerned about the results; the second is, because the result was not produced, one reflects on one’s own self. The third one is, one is self-content and feels completely fine toward the fact that no result was produced from the things that one worked hard towards and made a very serious effort in. With regard to not having attachment to the outcome, can the differences among these create subtle differences or not…in other words, to what extent does one need to be watchful when it comes to this?
MASTER: There is no need to worry about these things. However, it boils down to this: you must devote the best effort you can toward things without ego and attachment, regardless of the outcome. Today’s result may not seem to be good or may not be seen, but you never know how it will be tomorrow.
Sanatana: That means that I should stop being concerned over “I should probably be able to do much better” or “it still isn’t going well even though I know what to do” or “this task might not be suited to me.” (Everyone laughs, as Sanatana convinces himself by saying these things.)
MASTER: Well, you can’t just remain completely carefree. There may be things you must reflect on and mend within yourself or improve upon, of course, and that will be the setting for your effort in the next opportunity to apply practice, therefore it will be enough for you to see such things objectively.
Sanatana: Long ago, Shri Mahayogi spoke using the example of an artist who continues to make pieces of work one after another, without ever feeling satisfaction, even after making a masterpiece. If even the great artists are like that—then should I think that that is the way it is?
MASTER: I think so (laughing). I am sure when they are working on their piece, they must be really concentrating and pouring their utmost enthusiasm into it to create and complete it, even so, if you gather the last words of the renowned artists who were considered geniuses and who left their mark, none of them were content with their work. They left words that imply that their works were still far from reaching complete mastery, or what they were intended for, and that they were very aware of it. That may be the way it goes. [From this, you can see that even though that is true for them]—still, to the world, their names were carved into history as rare and exceptional geniuses.
Ms. Sawahiro (Satya): I remember that once a task came to me, and I believed I had done everything, making the utmost efforts from all angles, so that I would not have any regrets. But then the evaluation I received was not a positive one, so I got very disappointed. Then I got disappointed in myself about the fact that I had this reaction of being disappointed by a negative evaluation that I had received. But during my stay in New York [when I was accepted to stay at the Cave with Shri Mahayogi], I was completely unconcerned over the results of my actions at all. And I don’t have any clue what made one different from the other…
MASTER: This too is the appearance of a sort of attachment. That is to say, I assume that when you were in New York, you were in a situation where you were truly able to devote all of your efforts to it without ego and attachments, but from what you just mentioned now, where you were disappointed in reaction to a bad result, shows that you might be still somewhat attached to it. However, you were able to recognize that something like that still existed, and you were able to pull out these weed sprouts. Next time such an opportunity arises, it may be your next test again (laughing). The same thing can be said to everyone. Things that make you recognize something in daily life are the closest issues. However, as you confront these and work to proceed, even the subtlest thoughts will eventually no longer arise. That is good—you should continue to do it like that.
Ms. Sawahiro (Satya): Is it better not to worry or focus on it too much?
MASTER: Well, as long as you continue to practice concentrating on your task while making the best efforts each time, then most attachments to the result will come to disappear.
Ms. Morioka: How should I receive compliments when I did concentrate on what’s in front of me?
MASTER: You have to be careful not to become conceited with that especially. And you must not pay attention to it afterwards. On the contrary, it’s best to forget it. The same thing can be said when you have failure and receive criticism. In this manner, it is important to train in a way for the mind to perceive the duality yet remain neutral.
* * *
Testimonies from a Practitioner
The following Testimony is a translation of the articles written by Yukti, a disciple of Shri Mahayogi in Japan, which were published in Paramahamsa (Mahayogi Mission’s bi-monthly magazine in Japanese) between Sept. 2012 and Jan. 2014. This is the last of three parts. The first and second parts are in Pranavadipa Vol. 67 and Vol. 68. Please refer to “Searching for God’s Love” in the Recommended Reading, Teachings, Mahayogi Yoga Mission website.
Living on the Words of Mother
by Yukti (Yuri Shibasaki)
Nov. 2013 – Jan. 2014, Fukushima, Japan
VII. “Be only all for Jesus through Mary” —Mother Teresa
On September 5, 1997, Mother Teresa left this world, leaving her words, “Jesus, I love you.” She humbly requested to have her sandals removed, so that she could go barefoot in front of the Lord. After her death, a letter was discovered on her desk. It was written on the day she passed. Because the letter remained unsigned by her, Sister Nirmala, her successor, signed it and sent it out to all those involved in the Missionaries of Charity.
My dearest Children,
This brings you Mother’s love, prayer and blessing that each one of you may be only all for Jesus, through Mary. I know that Mother says often—“Be only all for Jesus Through Mary”—but that is because that is all Mother wants for you, all Mother wants from you. If in your heart you are only all for Jesus through Mary, and if you do everything only all for Jesus through Mary, you will be true MC [(Missionaries of Charity)].
As my trip to Fukushima was getting closer, I continued to attend the lectures of Father K in Kobe, in order to understand as much as possible about the words of Mother. In the lecture when this letter was introduced, I did not understand the meaning of it, being written in such a Christian way of expression. However, I was sure that it was something supremely important because it was “all Mother wants for you, all Mother wants from you.” I asked the Father in order to understand better, “What is the meaning of ‘through Mary’? Why can’t I dedicate directly to Jesus? What was the role of Mary in this context?”
Father said, “Mary is the ultimate example of faith. Mary was considered to be the handmaiden of God. Handmaids do not know the intentions of the Master. They only go to places they’re told to go, and do things they’re told to do. Mary was someone who dedicated everything solely to God, through humility and trust.”
Mother’s letter continues:
September 10th (Inspiration Day, that day in 1946 on the train to Darjeeling Sister Teresa got the inspiration for the ‘Call within a call’ as she names it herself) is coming very close. That is another beautiful chance for us to stand near Our Lady, to listen to the Thirst of Jesus and to answer with our whole heart. It is only with Our Lady that we can hear Jesus cry ‘I THIRST’, and it is only with Our Lady that we can thank God properly for giving this great gift to our Society.
As in the above words of Mother, she teaches the importance of being with the Holy Mother, Mary. But who was this person, Mary then?
The name Mary means “One beloved by God” in Hebrew. The Bible does not mention the Holy Mother Mary often. There are only a few scenes where she appears. I will share what I have understood and thought about through the words of Mother, what I have heard from the Father, the Bible, and various other books I have researched.
In the Catholic Church, Holy Mother Mary is a very special existence. In fact, Mother often offered prayers to Mary, and I feel her faith towards Mary was just as deep as her faith towards Jesus. To begin with, the whole of her organization, Missionaries of Charity, is dedicated to Mary Immaculate, and all Sisters are named after her. With this concept of the “Veneration of Mary (Catholic Mariology),” why is Mary so revered? The glory of Mary is in being the birth mother of the son of God, Jesus. However, in Christianity, God alone is worshipped—Mary is not recognized as an incarnation of God, and one should abstain from excessively worshipping Mary. She was been honored by many as a person who, regardless of being a regular human being, was granted the most supreme form of blessing, in that she gave birth to the son of God, full of grace. However, in the Bible, there is no mention of her taking caring of and raising Jesus tenderly with great motherliness. It mentions Mary living her life as an obedient and faithful servant of God through serving the son of God, Jesus, as a mother.
In the famous scene of the annunciation, when an angel comes to tell Mary that she will conceive the son of God, Mary shows some hesitation but then says:
“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy words.”
She did not have any personal joy from her becoming a mother. And she had not yet married Joseph, but even so, she did not even think about what others would see or think, having conceived a child before marriage. She just prayed that God’s will be fulfilled.
Also it is said that when Jesus was crucified, Mary was sitting amongst the disciples of Jesus so near that they could hear his voice. It has been conveyed that at that time crucifixion was extremely cruel and said to be most tragic—one can imagine that it would be unbearable for a mother to watch. Yet, strangely, there is no mention of how Mary was during this moment. Why was Mary able to witness her child being executed so close by? One of the reasons was considered to be because she was able to take on the pain and suffering of Jesus by being near the cross, which is to say, in a way, she herself was crucified with him. The other reason was that Mary, just like she did at the annunciation, simply took it as God’s will. She only wished that God’s will be fulfilled, and she fulfilled the role given to her.
What can we learn from the way Mary lived? It is the way to live in pure faith—placing one’s own trust in God, offering up everything to God, and being only all for God, offering yourself to belong to God.
A person who loves God purely in such a way, is able to hear the thirst of Jesus most near. Once, Mother said that the words of Jesus, “I THIRST,” have a more profound meaning than the words, “I love you.” Mary was someone who was able to feel the love of God most closely and deeply.
When God develops this world, there is always depicted the form of a female who loves God. Shakti, who loved Shiva; Radha who loved Krishna; and then Mary is also an example of that. The purpose of these depictions is for us human beings to awaken to our true nature, to “Love God.” When we realize that and then transcend our minds, living with a pure heart and pure actions like these women did, only then for the first time can we serve and please God. Just as children emulate their mothers and become like them, if we constantly keep putting Mary at the center in our own lives, thinking about her all the time, if we constantly look to Mary for guidance and strength, then we become like Mary. That is why Mother told us to serve God through living in the spirit of the Holy Mother Mary. Many researchers and devotees of Mary, say that the more they come to know Mary, the more faith toward Jesus is deepened. Even if we’re only looking to Mary, in fact, through her faith, our hearts are directed to Jesus, and God the Father.
“Be only all for Jesus through Mary”
In order for us to have a sense of familiarity with Mary, she did not avoid life’s difficulties through miracles. It is said that the aspects of her life were just like those of any one of us, completely simple.
Mother expressed the spirit of Mary in three ways: “Loving trust,” “Total surrender,” and “Cheerfulness”. These are the required characteristics for the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity. I heard that the person who had these qualities perfectly was Mary herself. Mother, following the spirit of Mary, always said:
“To accept whatever He gives. And to give whatever it takes, with a big smile.”
There are so many anecdotes of how Mother accepted all kinds of challenges, with joy, just as Mary did. In the early days, when Mother’s organization began its activities in Kolkata in the center of a Hindu district, various misunderstandings and oppositions came up against their activities. When a Hindu man yelled, “I will kill you!” Mother did not even move, and said with a smile, “If you kill us, we would only hope to reach God sooner.” Mother knew that both honor and disgrace come from the same divine hand. So to her, it didn’t matter either way. She could accept either with joy. It is said that from the time she answered “Yes” to the call of Jesus, to the time she took her last breath, she never refused a single calling from God.
Through the past two years-worth of experience working in support of the relief efforts in the disaster areas, I knew that there was not much I could do in Fukushima for the recovery. What was important was not where and what I did, but how I lived in whatever environment I found myself in at that moment. When I came to know about Mary, and how much Mother trusted Mary and lived by following her, I looked back at my own life and reflected on how much I had been refusing to heed the call of God, as if I were the opposite of the sisters. If I stay the way I am now, not only can I not please God, but I will not even be able to take on a small part of the work of God. If I keep doing what I like to do, and as much as I want to do it, then these are all just my own desires and I’ll never be able to respond to God’s will. However, no matter how much my mind has resistance toward whatever situations I find myself in or whatever tasks or situations come to me, if I simply answer “Yes,” obediently accepting them continuously and willingly, then eventually, perhaps God will share the suffering of others into my own mind that will have become empty. To answer “Yes” is the beginning of surrendering one’s own self. The more we give of our “own,” the more it pleases God. After all, the only thing of all the things that we can do, is to make an effort to make our own minds more pure.
This spring, I moved to Fukushima. What I noticed after I came here was the shift in my own mind. Last year I decided to work at a hospital in Fukushima because I wanted to sense the thirst deep within the patients and to live healing their thirst just as Mother felt the thirst of Jesus in the poor and worked for healing their thirst. However, I don’t know why, but I found myself no longer able to sense the thirst in the patients suffering or dying here like I could before when I was working as a nurse. Dying people are beautiful. I could touch that beauty, however I found myself no longer able to feel the light emanating from them, nor the impulse that would bring about the intense thirst within me, as I used to. Instead, there are simply expanses of peacefulness in the moment after attending to the dying, having watched over a person’s final hours, and having sent them off with a smile, internally saying, “With my respect for all your life and work, I wish for you a nice journey.” I found that to me, from the place where I stand right now, it no longer mattered whether the person in front of me was going towards death or going towards life.
Before, I was so eagerly striving to see God in the people in front of me. I wanted to see God. I convinced myself that if I could see God in everything, the way I lived would change. However, on the contrary, that mind that was desiring so eagerly to see God in some way, made me go far away from loving the person in front of me. And I had overlooked how their words, gestures or expressions were trying to appeal to me. The fact and the Truth is that God is within everybody, whether I can see It or not. What I must do is only one thing—to get rid of my own thoughts, empty my mind, and continue to act, bringing the mind to the God in front of me. That is the way to purify ourselves and that is the meaning of purifying our mind and actions—to become such that you belong to God. I realized that there was nothing left for me to do but to aim for that.
Mother said, “All this will be possible if you keep close to Mary the Mother of Jesus and our Mother. She will guide & protect you and help you only all for Jesus.”
I am living well in Fukushima now, feeling Mother and Mary walking in front of me and graciously being with me.
VIII. “God is with us”
Mother Teresa realized an ideal through the way she lived. She loved Jesus single-mindedly and unceasingly, she served Jesus, she spoke about the words of Jesus, and she lived just like Jesus did. I learned that in Christianity the way of living in faith like this is expressed as “Walking with Jesus.” Jesus Christ was someone who lived about two thousand years ago, and the following are some of the last words he left:
“I will be with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
This means that Jesus is living with us, even now. Mother knew this best. She said, “[And that radiating joy is real,] for we have no reason not to be happy because we have no Christ with us.” No matter how she came to be unable to feel the love of Jesus in her spiritual darkness, she confirmed the sharing with God that was taking place in her agony, and felt a deep joy emerge from it. Being able to trust that you yourself are with God, no matter how difficult the trials are and what you must go through—that must be what faith is.
“God loved the world so much that he gave his son—it was a giving—it is as much as if to say it hurt God to give, because he loved the world so much that he gave his son, and he gave him to Virgin Mary… we have Jesus with us.”
The only son of God, Jesus Christ. To be with Jesus means to feel the love of God. It is a very interesting inquiry to find out how Mother was with Jesus. She said that joy is the fruit of union with God, of being in the presence of God, that living in the presence of God fills us with joy. When I found out about that, I knew very little about this person, Jesus, but my desire to know who this person, someone who is loved by Mother so much, grew rapidly, and I began to read the Bible a little at a time.
Jesus Christ was considered to be a messiah of suffering, not a messiah of glory (savior). This is because, from the moment he was born in a manger, in a humble stable to Jewish parents, to when he died through the brutal punishment of crucifixion, which was only used for slaves and political prisoners, he walked the same life as those at the bottom of society. When Jesus appeared, Israel was under the rule of the Roman Empire, the masses were suffering under heavy taxation, and the class of slaves emerged due to a skewed socio-economic structure, and they were despised as criminals all their lives. No matter how faithfully they observed the religious laws that were the core of the teaching of Judaism at the time, none of their living or social conditions improved. The suffering masses long-awaited the appearance of a messiah. It was said that God could not forsake the suffering people, and would descend to the human world as a man, living among the people, entering into the misery and chaos. If there was someone who was suffering, no matter what social class they belonged to, he himself went to their side, spent time with them, broke bread with them, healed their physical bodies, and preached the love of God. However, because Jesus said, “The Father and I are One,” he was feared by the leaders of Judaism for his power, denounced for blasphemy, then framed as a political criminal and crucified. What Jesus had to face was not just the simple phenomena of life but that which lies beneath the surface—the weaknesses of human beings, such as jealousy, anger, envy and superiority. Jesus chose to take on the sins of humans and become a sacrifice. And for the sake of becoming the one who was closest to human beings, he even tasted the biggest suffering in this world while on the cross—the suffering of the feeling of being abandoned by God—and then died, leaving these last words, “Father, why have you forsaken me?” Even though he was a perfect God, by his own will, he tried to accord himself with the weakness of human beings, and sacrificed his own life for humanity. I learned that it is said that the person who lived with perfect love was Jesus Christ.
Mother Teresa walked for long hours in the sweltering heat every day in order to save the poorest of the poor, the people who weren’t even allowed to be the lowest caste of India, those who were considered impure from birth, rejected by everyone. She picked up their bodies from sewer ditches and garbage dumps, brought them back, washed their bodies covered in human waste, fed them, clothed them, and smiled at them. She kept telling those who were dying on the street about the love of God, “You are precious to Him,” so that they would not die in desperation. She said, “The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.” She appealed that the cause of suffering of those in poverty is the fact that we did not give notice to them, to those who we are around, and did not share in their pain. In Mother’s own daily living, she strictly and doggedly carried out being in and living out poverty throughout her entire life. The reason for all these actions were all because of Jesus. Because that was the way that Jesus lived—she lived as he lived. How much Mother really strived to be like Jesus—when I sensed Mother’s earnest, pure, and single-minded devotion through the life of Jesus, I was so amazed and moved.
And at the same time, I recognized that all my striving to live by following the example of how Mother lived, meant that I too had been living through Jesus. By living through Mother, I was already with Jesus. I was glad to discover it, yet my understanding was merely at the surface, at the level of words; and unfortunately, I didn’t have a real sense within me that I was living in Jesus, or that I was with Jesus.
In the midst of all this, I found the words that could spur me into getting closer to Jesus, in what is considered to be Mother’s “spiritual will,” the letter she wrote to the Sisters and Brothers.
We may spend time in chapel—but have you seen with the eyes of your soul how He looks at you with love? Do you really know the living Jesus—not from books but from being with Him in your heart? Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you?… Never give up this daily intimate contact with Jesus as the real living person—not just the idea. How can we last even one day without hearing Jesus say “I love you”—impossible. Our soul needs that as much as the body needs to breathe the air.
The content in these words of Mother expresses prayer. It is said that prayer in Christianity is not about simply wishing for something, but that it is to listen to the call of Jesus, by going deep within our hearts where Jesus Christ abides. It is to feel the existence of Jesus through the silence within the mind. However, it felt difficult for me to meet and feel this “being with Jesus,” even if I stilled my mind and went deeper. Mother yearned to meet with Jesus in the silence deep within her heart, yet she did not mention about the way to do that. I put all my energy into concentration, trying to find Jesus within my heart, but I felt like I was sensing my own image of Jesus that I myself had created and, in the end, only tasting the atmosphere within that image. Even so, at least my yearning to feel the moment of being with the living Jesus, just like Mother, heightened.
In the midst of that state of mind, Father K had informed me that there was going to be a lecture by Father B, a Belgian who had had one of the closest connections to Mother Teresa, so I went to a church in Rokko (a mountainous area near Kobe City, Hyogo prefecture). It was around one year prior to last fall. I was listening to Father B talk about Mother, looking at his face. Then a while later, the cross on the wall right in front of the sanctuary, next to the father’s face, began to come into my view. Before I knew it, my gaze had shifted to focus on the Christ on the cross, and I recalled the altar in Kolkata. Unlike the clean and beautiful church located in this serene environment of Rokko, the chapel of the Missionaries of Charity was very humble, and because it was facing one of the big streets of Kolkata, the tremendous noise from the street often covered over the voice of the sermon. Because Father B was talking about Mother, naturally, I began to see her form in the Kolkata chapel. At the very last row where she always sat, she slowly stood up, and began to walk straight towards the cross right in the front. As she walked, I could hear the white saree with the blue trim, rubbing together and creating a slight sound. Her feet bent with bunions, large compared to her body, that supported the long, strenuous work Mother had been doing, moved her tiny frame forward, barely 150 cm (4 feet, 11 inches) with a hunched back, slowly with a long stride, one step at a time. In the chapel where everyone was gone, I could even hear her breath. It was as if the outdoor noise was shut off completely, there was only the surrounding silence. Mother stopped in front of Jesus on the cross, she was tenderly grasping the rosary with both hands and kissing it, and then folding her hands together just as she always does. Like in the picture that I had seen one day, her palms were rounded in the middle. From an oft downcast gaze, she slowly raised her eyes to meet Jesus on the cross, looking up at him. That sharp gaze was so straightforward, it did not allow for anything else to enter other than Jesus. I felt my eyes overlap Mother’s eyes, and I was looking at the Jesus that had come into my own view. I don’t know how long passed, but my eyes became fixated on the hands and feet of Jesus, and I became unable to look away. Blank moments continued. There was nothing else. Then suddenly, I sensed that Mother’s thoughts were pouring into my heart. It was her painful yearning, “I just want to be the hands and feet of Christ.” I felt that that the yearning of Mother could not be contained within her tiny body and it overflowed into my heart, and flowed into me, who was gazing at Jesus together with her. After a while, I suddenly returned to reality and was looking at Father B speaking vividly about Mother’s anecdotes again. The lecture ended and I left the church; I was walking downhill of Rokko, and turning over the words of Mother to the sisters, “Meet the living Christ.” And all I can say is that this blank moment I experienced while gazing at Jesus, was nothing like actually meeting Jesus with a human form, a person from two thousand years ago, or like Jesus calling my name and speaking to me, but it was simply blank; I thought, even so, in that moment, I felt that perhaps I had touched the living Jesus through Mother.
A little after this happened, I made the decision to move to Fukushima. I no longer had much hesitation in leaving Kyoto, because I had come to be able to trust that I could always be with God through her, and that she will always show me the path that I should take no matter what. Right now, I am in Fukushima, but ever since the day I went to the church in Rokko, I am always able to stand with Mother in front of the cross in the chapel in Kolkata. When I bring my heart towards that place, I feel Mother breathing, the warmth of her skin, and I can feel being with Jesus.
Until that point, there was some part of me that felt that even though I was trying to follow Mother in some way through her words, I was only satisfied with words such as “faith” and “love,” but my actions ended with the actions themselves, as if just copying the surface of them. However, after experiencing looking at the cross through her and feeling that moment of being with Jesus, these thoughts have started to disappear. By living like Mother, one becomes Mother as a person, and lives with Mother—I became able to feel that I was coming closer to her.
Three years ago, I went to India, seeking an answer to the question, “How can the dying best be served?” Mother Teresa sent me the words, “Be holy.” From then, I myself chose to walk the same path as Mother—because I was convinced that making her life my own would be the most certain way to become holy.
About holiness, Mother spoke to a congregation of Hindus, Muslims, Parsis and Christians, “It consists in accepting and following the will of God.” The way to love is various, yet the path walked by a holy person, is certainly linked to God, the One. No matter what path we choose, if we walk with them, we will reach the same destination. Today, tomorrow and to the end of life, I would like to continue to walk on the same path that Mother walked, and right alongside her.
“Love should be as natural as living and breathing, day after day until our death.”