Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Satsangha, Kyoto, 2019
Divine Light of Truth
• Not Getting Caught up by Maya
• Shri Mahayogi’s Concentration and Memory of the Truth
• Avatara and the Purity of His Disciples
Realization of the Truth
• What Must be Attained in Life
• Abiding in the State of Yoga
• Demonstrating Your Ideal in Society
• Shri Mahayogi’s Personal History
• Approaching the Mind of a Saint
Testimonies from Actual Practitioners
• Live Without Being Bound by Fear
by Takahito Kosuge
July 2020, Tokyo, Japan
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Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Translation of Satsangha
Divine Light of the Truth
Saturday June 1, 2019, Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto
It is evening but bright light still shines into the room. A breeze coming from the window is moving the flowers freshly arranged in the vase. Participants are joyfully awaiting Shri Mahayogi’s arrival. A little before start time, Shri Mahayogi, wearing an orange kurta, enters the room like a refreshing breeze. When Shri Mahayogi sits down, everyone’s faces become even brighter with joy.
The Will of God
Ms. Yoshioka: I read that everything is done by God. Is “God” here referring not to the Consciousness but rather to God as having a will?
MASTER: God is the Consciousness, the Pure Consciousness itself. It is. “Is”—meaning it Exists.
Regarding whether God has a will—as the word “will” in Japanese is usually written [in a Kanji character] that means “aiming with resolution,” it is a part of the activity within the thoughts of the mind. However, that Pure Consciousness does not have a mind. It doesn’t have a type of mind that a human being or that fauna and flora possess, so to speak. Because it is the Pure Consciousness itself, it does not have a will in an exact sense. Yet, if you can look at It from a very big, big perspective, since there was that primordial Existence in the beginning, and although It had neither form nor name, It manifested into this universe and all things with form—so in the big sense, you can understand that that is being reflected through will. However, what we call “the mind” is apt to make a mistake there; therefore, [for example,] ignorance and such things stifled the will of the Pure Consciousness. Therefore, the mind cannot understand the Consciousness or the will of God. Once a person awakens into God Consciousness, which is the Consciousness transcending the mind, then one can understand it for the first time. That is how it is.
Ms. Yoshioka: How might we understand that humans think they are the doers, but in actuality, God is doing everything? Is that something that we are not understanding at the moment?
MASTER: As I mentioned now, the Beginning, the Primordial, evolved into all things by the Consciousness and will of God. In the most fundamental aspect, the source, which is the Soul and such things, such power is certainly active.
Ms. Yoshioka: Such power—do you mean the will of God?
MASTER: Yes, the power of God. Normally, the mind causes activities and creates various karma and errors. However, because the Beginning has been developed through the will of God, by the Consciousness of God, it’s always in Existence. That is referred to, at times as, “All is done through the will of God.” The errors caused by karma are only transient, as temporary phenomenon in this world, so they continue to change, nevertheless, in reality, that Existence is always active, and it is the driving force—that is the way of understanding this.
Ms. Yoshioka: Hmmm… (starting to think about it)
Gopala: So God’s will, from a big perspective, must conclude with that in order to play?
MASTER: Yes. To share joy, that is the purpose.
Ms. Yoshioka: Because from the origin everything evolved in order to share in joy, even if from a human perspective bad things might happen…and various phenomena occur, in fact God, which is abiding deep within, is doing everything—is this what you mean?
MASTER: If by joy, you mean a completely content, perfect bliss, then you can say so—however, you having no choice but suffering, sadness and tragedy is not the will of God, rather these are created due to error, which is the mind’s ignorance.
Not Getting Caught up by Maya
Ms. Sakaguchi: I came here today because I would like to ask you to teach me about maya. I understand intellectually through reading Shri Mahayogi’s books… In my usual daily life, I am surrounded by people who do not even know the word maya. When I’m alone, I can discard my unpleasant memories of the past and spend time not recalling them, however, during my daily life, there are times when I can’t keep myself from being pulled into them and I cannot stop the thoughts. My current issue has to do with how I can make my mind not get caught up in and dragged down by negative maya. Please advise me.
MASTER: (with a loud, cheerful voice) Yes. The way of thinking in Yoga and the practice in action is: first, you must not be swayed by either the past or the future; in order to do that, you must forget the past, or rather, even though the memory is there, you practice not being stuck in it; as the opposite to that other pole, various anxieties and worries about the future are all delusional, therefore, you must not be caught up by those either; then—the Now that is right in front of your eyes!—you do your best to deal with whatever is instantaneously happening right in front of your eyes. That is the way your daily actions ought to be. Furthermore, deeply study and learn the teachings of Yoga, or the Truth, think and meditate on them. While doing that, you should cultivate conviction and faith within yourself.
Ms. Sakaguchi: So then, does this mean that if I focus on what is in front of me and make every possible effort, and if I study and learn about the Truth and meditate on that, (Shri Mahayogi: Yes.) then, I will be able to establish a kind of firm, thick pillar within me?
MASTER: (immediately) You will!! It is precisely faith that will become the golden rope that will tie you to the Truth. It will become unshakeable.
Ms. Sakaguchi: So does that mean that I will be fine, even if I don’t worry about the future, but rather live my daily life correctly without negative thoughts?
MASTER: (smiling) Yes, it will become unnecessary for you to worry.
Ms. Sakaguchi: (joyfully with a smile) Thank you very much.
Gopala: I think I understand that there is not a past, or not getting stuck in the past, and I have been training to not get dragged down by it—always focusing on “now” and “at the present,” yet I find myself still getting caught up in the past. I think that I must thoroughly discriminate the past. But how should I go about discriminating the past?
MASTER: (lightly) Nah, there is no need to revisit past events again. So then there is no discrimination necessary about the past. Whether you failed, did something bad or good—none of this is necessary. What is needed is, indeed, the Truth, to learn the Truth thoroughly. Truth transcends time, whether it’s the past or the future—It is that which is Eternal and Perfect. Study and learn that firmly. That means learn it now, every instant.
There is asana, which is practiced mainly by operating the body. The body too is constantly changing from a cellular level in its entirety, however there is a memory in you that the body belongs to you. You have done various activities through that body. It may have gotten sick or it may have gotten hurt. Even so, these are events in the past. As you continue practicing asana, the body ought to improve more and more and transform into one that is healthy and strong. Even so, there is also no need to worry about the future, or what will happen if having trouble with the body when it gets old. No matter what may be, it is all about practicing to be better moment by moment, and simply that. It is the same with the mind. Memories are activities within the mind of course, and since various events in the memory have already occurred, and the mind itself is also changing, you don’t have to bother recalling them. The same as with asana, it is a training for the mind. Say, it is like asana for the mind—continuing these practices regularly is the essential task of what you must do in Yoga. That means studying the scriptures, meditating, and having faith.
Gopala: So the best practice for preventing oneself from not getting stuck in the past is to continue to think about the Truth, God.
MASTER: Yes. Because only that is truly the Truth. It is the true Existence, which is the substance of everyone, and also, it is the Truth that abides within everything in the entire universe. Everything else is what is called maya, merely appearing as phenomena.
The word maya originally symbolized that world of phenomena; and the act of creating this phenomena—that means, everything in the universe manifested and performs various activities in this universe and on Earth—that fact alone, the fact that the world is phenomena, is called maya as well. However, by ignorance entering into the mind in this process, the mind loses the original Truth, and this brings suffering as a result. That is why the word maya expresses phenomena, while at the same time, it is understood on the other hand to mean something like an erroneous deceit.
Chaitanya: Is there such a thing as the original, primordial ignorance? It seems like since the time that man began to sense the mind and the ego, humans have always had ignorance present; then, is the primordial ignorance that was there from that moment maya, this world of phenomena, manifested, which, as you mentioned earlier, something that does not disappear as long as the world is manifest, even if a Yoga practitioner were to eliminate that ignorance? Does the primordial ignorance exist the moment prakriti (nature and its root cause) appears? Does delusion stick around once it has been manifested?
MASTER: Yoga is realism, or more precisely, rather, to discern whether that exists or not is a very important thing [within Yoga]. In this sense, ignorance did not exist to begin with. Yoga views it as something that is an erroneous delusion—it is an error that strikes the mind, nonetheless it is without a cause. However, to the mind, that ignorance exists as if it is irrefutable, which then gives birth one after another to pain-bearing obstacles and karma; consequently, in the world of phenomena, it definitely becomes inevitable to experience these. Therefore, the mind may perceive ignorance as existing, however, that is not really the case. Ignorance never really existed to begin with! (looking at everyone) Thus, there is no such thing as the pain-bearing obstacles and karma that have arisen due to ignorance.
Chaitanya: Does this mean that it becomes clear that [ignorance] doesn’t exist simultaneously as the mind is being extinguished?
Sananda: I think that Shri Mahayogi just mentioned that ignorance does not have a cause, but I’ve also heard Shri Mahayogi say that ignorance arose from a mistake. From hearing that, I thought that ignorance not having any cause implies that its cause is simply an illusion, like the parable of mistaking a rope for a snake. So then, is it correct to say that one can conclude that clearing away ignorance is not about investigating its cause?
MASTER: That is precisely what discrimination is. In short, through Truth, that ignorance, which is an illusory thing, that fog comes to be cleared.
Sananda: So that means, one comes to realize that it was an illusion—and we can say that that was also its cause—once it is discriminated as such, then ignorance gets cleared away. Is this how it goes?
MASTER: Right. It is just like that parable about the snake and the rope. That is, by shining the light, which is the teaching of Truth, you detect the ignorance that was created in the ambiguous light as being an illusion.
Sananda: So, the ignorance disappears in an instant and the Truth alone remains—these happen simultaneously?
MASTER: Yes, that is exactly so.
Sananda: So that means, it goes like this: because Shri Mahayogi has been continuously telling us that this is not a rope but a snake, we begin to believe it gradually…
MASTER: It’s the opposite, not a snake but a rope. (everyone bursts into laughter)
Sananda: Gradually, we begin to think that might be true, we go closer little by little, and we understand that it’s a rope even though it looks like a snake. That is how the gradual process toward realization goes.
MASTER: Right. And indeed, if it can be accomplished in an instant, it is nothing short of impeccable (laughs); however, the many years of habits, or things that have clung to the mind are strong, therefore, it may take some time. Nonetheless, having said that, if you can accomplish it in one lifetime, that is truly great.
Asanghan: By shining a light upon it, one’s recognition changes fundamentally—what is implied in this final action?
MASTER: In brief, it is that you were then able to discriminate between the snake and the rope. That is why it is precisely called the power of discrimination, or the wisdom of discrimination. It is likened to a light.
Asanghan: So, it gradually changes but ultimately and definitively, it turns into discrimination.
MASTER: Right. That is the state of mind in which the world, shown by various forms of maya, and the activities of the mind lose power, and you are no longer affected by them. It is expressed as a mind of the quality of sattva; and at that time, that wisdom of discrimination and that power of discrimination completes the final phase of discrimination.
Asanghan: If I remember correctly, you have mentioned that [the wisdom of discrimination] is different from Satori…
MASTER: Right, well, the word Satori is often used for when the Truth is known through realization or It is mastered through the experience of It. However, the word can also be used for preliminary steps, a step a little before Satori and its process, so the word has a bit of flexibility in its meaning. Yet, strictly speaking, Satori indicates the state of mind in which the mind remains without being influenced by maya’s deceptions, at the same time, one awakens to or intuits the Truth.
Asanghan: Does that mean that letting go of something by telling the mind that that is not the Truth, versus actually realizing that it’s not the Truth—that these are different things?
MASTER: Right, understanding [through learning] is still in the middle of the process. Once that’s fully understood, then it can be determined definitively through an intuitive sense.
Asanghan: So that means, in order to get there, I need to carefully and closely clean small things, and then once the mind becomes the quality of sattva, I will come to be able to intuit what is Real.
MASTER: Yes, that is right.
Ms. Sakaguchi: (with a deliberate, cautious expression) I’ve heard that whatever we have experienced in our lives, whether good or bad, there is nothing that is unnecessary, without a single exception. What does Shri Mahayogi think about these sayings from the perspective of Yoga?
MASTER: (immediately with a strong tone) Those words are mundane words, totally meaningless! Everyone has experienced such things. Therefore, there is no need in particular to say these words.
Ms. Sakaguchi: So then I should dismiss these words.
MASTER: You don’t need them. Everyone experiences them, whether big or small. So, there is no need to state it like a hyperbole.
Ms. Sakaguchi: (laughing) So it’s okay to dismiss these words?
MASTER: Ah yes, dismiss them. (everyone laughs) Let us proceed boldly! Only Truth Exists. Only God Exists.
Ms. Sakaguchi: (with an energetic smile) Thank you very much.
MASTER: Indeed, Yoga is bold! (laughs)
(Shri Mahayogi speaks vigorously and powerfully, as if to tell us to see and break through the ignorance, as if the essence of the word “bold” itself is being transmitted in an invisible vibration.)
Shri Mahayogi’s Concentration and Memory of the Truth
(Tarika speaks about how she is in charge of a new hire at her workplace. She says that she is trying to be patient, given the new hire doesn’t know much yet and it’s natural if she makes mistakes, however, every time she makes a mistake, Tarika reacts, “again?!” and senses that this is due to the formation of memories. She explains that these days her own mind is very exhausted.)
Tarika: But sitting here, seeing Shri Mahayogi, I thought how minor my issue is—considering [how patient he must have to be!] (everyone laughs)—and I must follow his example from next week. And I thought that Shri Mahayogi does not let the mind be active, or even if there is a mind, he is not bound by memories, so that is why we have been given opportunities like this to be taught again and again (Shri Mahayogi laughs). With regard to how I might behave towards her from next week on, would you mind teaching me how you have been doing it?
MASTER: (smiling) Yes. Indeed, now that you mention it, I may have been saying the same things over and over again for decades. (Shri Mahayogi and everyone burst into laughter) However…(with a serious expression) I myself, and today is no exception, right now, here at this place, am solely devoting myself to concentrating carefully on and understanding one question at each moment. If I do so, then I can see the answer there, or rather, the answer is already within the questioner in fact, and I can perceive it. So, I’m activating such a power of concentration, and at the same time, memory. Memory—but it is not about the kind of memory that comes from my personal experiences, but it is a memory of the Truth as a teaching. Let’s say there is a question. Then, there are an incredible amount of means that come related to what the best answer could be, like how it might happen in a computer. Then I instantly discriminate which is the best one to pick. (everyone sighs in amazement) At times, that takes a little time. (everyone laughs loudly) I truly concentrate on that alone.
In dealing with that newly hired person too, indeed, concentrate on the situation each time and respond to it accordingly. (laughs)
Tarika: (smiling) Yes, I understand. Thank you very much. I will make an effort to follow your example!
MASTER: Yes. (laughs)
Dharmini: Since you are only activating the memory of the Truth, then you don’t have a thought that the same question was asked before at all?
MASTER: Right. I’m not concerned about it or bound by that. Well, if I think about it, there are similar questions all the time. (Shri Mahayogi and everyone burst into laughter) Even the person who asks, that same person might be asking the same question, yet he or she is not concerned about it at all.
(Shri Mahayogi laughs loudly with everyone and says it lightly as if he was an innocent boy.)
Truth Cannot be Renounced
Ms. Nagaoka: Please teach us about renunciation.
MASTER: (with a cheerful voice) What is to be renounced?—Ignorance! What can never be renounced even if you try?—the Truth! (Everyone gasps in amazement.) The Truth is what exists originally, therefore, you cannot renounce it even if you try. Therefore, leave it alone. Even if you leave it alone, It exists.
Ms. Nagaoka: The Truth?
MASTER: Even if you’re not attached to the Truth, even if you don’t own it, It is always there. It always exists. There is only the Truth.
Ms. Nagaoka: Ignorance must be renounced proactively.
Ms. Nagaoka: What is the way of renunciation?
MASTER: Discrimination. Another thing is faith, of course.
Ms. Nagaoka: Is discrimination something that—by bringing the teaching of Truth to light, ignorance comes to disappear, or is it that one makes ignorance disappear?
MASTER: By bringing the Truth, you create a confrontation. It’s a real match to determine—which side is correct. To think it over carefully, and meditate, and then settle at a place that is indubitable and free of error. Then, you will clearly see that the teaching of the Truth is irrefutable, and on the other hand, everything based on ignorance is incorrect. That is discrimination. Once that discrimination is done, then automatically ignorance ought to be renounced.
Ms. Nagaoka: If it remains and comes up again, then does that mean that the discrimination was not perfected?
MASTER: Right. Redo it again, one more time.
Ms. Nagaoka: Is discrimination not something that can be done instantaneously during a daily event, but rather must be done in meditation?
MASTER: There is a term used often, “contemplation.” You can understand that a deepened state of contemplation is meditation.
Ms. Nagaoka: There may be times when something from a scene during my daily life catches my attention, but at that time I’m not meditating—how do I discern whether that is the Truth or not?
MASTER: When something arises or there is something bothersome in your mind, then you should discriminate at that moment, instantly.
Ms. Nagaoka: Instantly?
MASTER: Yes, because the recognition of that arising from within the mind is an opportunity [to renounce a form of ignorance].
Ms. Nagaoka: So take these opportunities and discriminate more and more?
Avatara and the Purity of His Disciples
(Yogadanda speaks about how his opportunities to come into contact with people have increased lately, and that he would like to interact with people proactively [so that eventually he can share Yoga with them]; he thinks the best way to spread the teachings is to himself advance nearer to Satori. A while back, he heard from Shri Mahayogi that years after Buddha’s passing, the later disciples of Buddha argued with other religions, so then they established a doctrine that there is no Atman. Yogadanda says that he personally feels that the reason why Buddha neither said that Atman exists nor did he say that Atman does not exist might be because Buddha meant to correct the direction that some disciples were taking, busying themselves with arguing with people in order to expand the sangha, and as a result forgetting about working on themselves to realize the Truth. Yogadanda begins to ask Shri Mahayogi questions about this.)
Yogadanda: I would like to ask again, what does Shri Mahayogi see as the stance of Buddha and the distortion of it by his disciples? Also, please teach us if there is anything we must keep in mind as we are granted the privilege to propagate your teachings.
MASTER: (after some silence) Buddha tried various means of practices of disciplines and teachings that must have been very popular at the time, however he perfected them right away and ascended to further heights. He realized a greater, more profound Satori. It is said that no one else had reached that level at that time. I would conclude that that was the case. He became such a perfect and pure Existence, and from there, many precious teachings were imparted. Then, what is the difference with his disciples? That is inevitably the difference between an Avatara who descended, and others who must ascend… The Yoga Sutra, too, defines Ishvara as an Existence that is not defiled by any past dependencies of karma—that means, the pure Existence, that which has not been influenced by ignorance, pain-bearing obstacles, or karma, any of these defilements whatsoever at all, is Ishvara. That Existence is precisely what an Avatara is.
Perhaps, among the disciples, there might be ones who may have reached Nirvana, the ultimate state that Buddha taught, the state of Satori. However, there is a difference there in whether they were even slightly smeared by defilement, which are the dependencies of karma, or not. (after some pause) Even so, after the Maha-Nirvana of Buddha, the disciples devoted themselves to compiling his teachings into scriptures to leave, and also went into the masses to provide helping hands of salvation.
When it comes to propagating the teachings, the foundation that it boils down to is to master purity and completeness as much as possible within oneself, and then transmit that.
(As Shri Mahayogi’s voice resounds, everyone is gazing at him with serious eyes.)
Anandi: I heard from a gurubai years ago, that Shri Mahayogi said Latu had a very pure Satori, out of all the great direct disciples of Shri Ramakrishna, many of whom were considered nitya siddha (eternally perfected ones). What specific aspect is it that brings a difference in the purity of Satori?
MASTER: Besides Latu, almost all of them were intellectuals who graduated from college. Especially Vivekananda—we might be able to say that he may have had the sharpest brain in the world at the time. However, that was simply intellectual knowledge, and the mastering of Satori through experiencing It has nothing to do with knowledge. When Satori is mastered through experiencing It, ignorance and even wisdom, everything is renounced. Many disciples inevitably acquired knowledge, yet even then, I am sure they must have made full use of their knowledge to serve others as necessary, while removing it for the sake of their own possession or attachment. On the other hand, Latu didn’t have any of that to begin with, so this demonstrates the depth of the purity he had, I feel.
Anandi: When Shri Mahayogi said that Latu was not a nitya siddha, it gave me a lot of hope. He reached It solely with a prodigious single-pointed concentration towards God.
MASTER: That’s right, indeed, you can say that that quality of purity, that pure faith, made him that Saint.
Even though the ending time for Satsangha is arriving, the questions continue.
During the end, Shri Mahayogi speaks powerfully, in a way that permeates into everyone’s mind: “In order to acquire pure faith, you must become guileless, simple, and directly face and confront the Truth and God. If there are any doubts, then go back to the basics and discern what path you must take going forward.”
As everyone bows, Shri Mahayogi slowly goes towards the exit. Outside the window it is totally dark now, and the contrast between the white of the sheepskin where Shri Mahayogi was sitting, and the bright yellow of the coreopsis, stands out in the room, becoming even more pronounced with the background of the night sky.
Realization of the Truth
Saturday September 28, 2019, Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto
This summer, a YouTube video of Shri Mahayogi was released, and perhaps as a result, there has been an increase in people who earnestly wish to meet a living Awakened Being in the present day. To answer their passionate pleas, Shri Mahayogi conducts a Satsangha today, mainly for beginners. Everyone is anticipating the emotional moment of Shri Mahayogi’s appearance, with a pleasant but tense atmosphere inside of Mahayogi Ashrama. Shri Mahayogi, wearing an orange kurta, comes upstairs with a light step, and sits down in such a beautiful siddhasana.
What Must be Attained in Life
Satsangha begins with Ms. Shinoda’s question. It’s been seven years since she began to attend Asana and Meditation classes in Nagaokakyo City. This is her second time attending Satsangha. She expresses that previously, she had a strong craving for a feeling of high self-esteem and for being approved of by others, which led her to be agitated by the results of various things; however, nowadays, she is able to think that she simply wants to be useful to those in front of her, and she feels that humility, which she learned from Yoga, has started to be cultivated within her. However, recently she was told by someone who is close to her that has strong religious faith, that if she is content with her present life and gives up earning more money, then she is sinning against God for not using her God-given talent.
Ms. Shinoda: If I seek to have a hungry attitude, where I strive to always attain more, then I feel like my humility disappears. But when told [by my acquaintance] that to earn more money and return that to society is the exact role for those who have certain abilities, and that neglecting that is doing what those who are lazy do—then I get confused as to how I should face my career and live my life in the future… Will you please teach me what the criteria are for judging this?
MASTER: It is sufficient to do your best in whatever position or situation you find yourself. I do not agree with the way your acquaintance thinks. Because, to be honest, it is incorrect to make the goal about making money or getting promoted, which, frankly speaking, are unimportant things in the world. (Ms. Shinoda sighs as if relieved.) Nevertheless, it’s not good to be lazy, but if you do your best within your own position or situation, then that itself is enough.
If I add one more thing, the meaning and reason why we’re born into this world is not for worldly purposes such as money-making or to have a respectable title that looks good, a degree or a job. To realize the Truth—that is the true purpose. “Truth” is to know your real Self, and it is to know God, and to know the Truth and realize It—that is the purpose. Jobs are simply nothing more than a means to maintain your physical life, so your job can be anything. However, in the job that you are given, or in your current position or situation, you just do your best accordingly, and that is that.
Ms. Shinoda: I understand. Thank you very much.
(Mr. Shimamoto, who is a researcher for IPS (Induced Pluripotent Stem) cells, is sitting right near Shri Mahayogi and is listening to his teachings with bright eyes.)
Mr. Shimamoto: Her question is very similar to my question. My motivation, up until recently, was my curiosity about organisms and ultimately to get promoted to become a professor and have my own lab. However, after encountering Yoga, I started to feel there is no need to desire a promotion, and I have become unable to work too hard. Instead, I started to want to spend more time with my family and want to contribute to the betterment of my local community. I am currently happy and feel more balanced within myself.
At times, I cannot catch up to my own transformation. So, in order to confirm for myself where I am, I undertake more practice of Yoga, concentrating through applying my body and trying to examine whether I, in this present being, am truly matching with the one that seems to be in the process of transforming, but I don’t know, and it does not become visible. So then, from time to time, I feel anxious about it. Please give me guidance on how I can handle myself, and how I should proceed.
MASTER: You just mentioned wanting to get promoted, wanting to become a professor—if you look at what is behind these thoughts, surely there must have been an expectation that you will become happy if that were to be achieved or that you will find happiness there. However, the key point here is, whether the sense of success in various careers or events in this world truly brings about true happiness or not? In conclusion, these will not bring about true happiness. They may bring temporary joy, however, after three days pass, you’ll end up having to create a new target. Getting deeper into your research, or making a new discovery, or being recognized and renowned in the world—there is a possibility that targets which have changed into various names will arise. Regardless, with those too, as I mentioned earlier, you will surely taste the same sense of loss in the result, even after you achieve them. Why? Because they are a temporal and false happiness.
Then, what is the true Happiness? It is inexhaustible Bliss, complete happiness that is no longer touched by any worry or suffering—such a thing exists. Where does it exist? It is the Existence called the true Self—that is It. Everyone must think that “I am ‘me’,” different from others. However, this is a result of the activities of the mind, the ego. The true Self is not that, but that which is called the Reality of yourself, the real Existence—that is the true identity of your true Self. There is nothing else that truly Exists!
At this moment, we all have physical bodies, yet [that simply means that] we only have temporal physical existences, and that these bodies were one day born, and therefore will one day disappear. And in the time between [birth and death], the bodies change every moment—you surely know this well because you are a researcher—it is said that even cells, billions of them, continue to change every day. However, the Existence of this Reality never changes, has never been born and never dies. Such Eternal Existence is everyone’s essence, and it is the true Self. It is, in another name, called God. You must first know this. Then you must realize It. This teaching and the means for that are accumulated in Yoga.
Therefore, what you must truly do, what you ought to truly do since you have been born, is that—realize the true Self. It is to obtain true Happiness. “Obtain” is the wrong word. To awaken to the true Self, to true Bliss, is rather what is correct. Because it’s not something you obtain. In truth, it already exists. Therefore, please prioritize this great undertaking first and foremost. It is not just your own individual matter—the essence of your family, of the people in your local community, of everyone here, of all things in the world, is the same That. Therefore, naturally you must be kind to your neighbors, the same with your family obviously, and it follows that you must be kind and love them.
Having understood this and practiced it, you can engage in the know-how you nurtured in this world and with the various topics that you are good at or are deeply interested in, such as your job, accordingly. Then the rest is—you control the content of your work, which does not mean you skimp on completing your work, of course, but that you increase your precision and heighten the concentration in your research field, and thus you should be able to shorten the time required for your work as a consequence, as well as the production of respective results; as a result of that, you should be able to write good dissertations—therefore as long as you clarify and organize [your approach], then your practice should become smoother going forward.
Abiding in the State of Yoga
(Ms. Maruyama met Shri Mahayogi for the first time at the Satsangha in July. She introduces herself saying, “I was introduced last time as a dancer,” and Shri Mahayogi remembers, smiling towards her in an unassuming, friendly manner. Ms. Maruyama asks Shri Mahayogi to share his experience of the process of realizing the Truth.)
MASTER: I realized what is called the Truth when I was an elementary school student. I was eight at the time. It happened quite naturally without any warning, no prior study, not to mention having any means of finding out anything about these spiritual matters—no preparation. It was truly as if I woke up in the morning—the sense was just like that.
Ms. Maruyama: When you awoke at age eight, was there any kind of concrete sense of realization?
MASTER: Of course there was. At that time, I became acutely aware of that Existence, the Immortal Existence. After all, as long as one is alive, who is self-aware of this?—it is one’s own Self, therefore it is Consciousness as well. That is why it is Existence, and at the same time, Consciousness. There is nothing else whatsoever. There is only That.
Ms. Maruyama: Did you speak to friends around you about this realization?
MASTER: Well, I was an elementary school student, so naturally we often had small talk about the TV shows we watched or various things that happened the day before. The next day, [after the experience of Awakening], I went to school (pointing to the North, towards the nearby Ninna Elementary School), over there nearby (laughs), and thought to talk to my friend about it. Right in the moment when I was about to speak about it, the words came to my throat, but then disappeared. Because, the friend in front of me was also the Same, so I could not verbalize anything. I had such an experience. (laughs)
A Woman: Do you participate in politics?
A Woman: Because [politics] never change?
MASTER: With that experience during elementary school, mentioned earlier, and later in junior high school, I began to find out about the world little by little, and around that time I found out about Yoga quite unexpectedly, and since then I have been within [the state of] Yoga; therefore there is nothing other than that. (smiles)
Demonstrating Your Ideal in Society
(Ms. Ichikawa has been attending Asana and Meditation classes for a long time. She is a scholar who specializes in researching about peace, and she is especially interested in war resisters [(conscientious objectors)]. She shares that in her thesis, she wrote about the importance of respecting the human rights of those who protest against a society.)
Ms. Ichikawa: I can’t quite see where Yoga and society meet, with respect to what you mentioned just now. I would like to ask how practicing Yoga can connect to my research. I research about military service conscientious objectors who refuse to follow the orders to kill others [while in service], following instead their own internal conscience. They are people who have something very strong within them as individuals. I struggle with how to evaluate their conscience. I would appreciate if you can advise me.
MASTER: It may not be an exaggeration to say that the Truth that Yoga teaches is unlike any other—it is the only Truth. However, can everyone realize it right away?—that may not be the case. Because, truly, there are so many people in the world, but the fact of the matter is that most people are born with karma. Surely, there is good karma among it; not all karma [one is born with] is bad, there is the good kind too. The opportunity to have an encounter with Yoga and learn it continuously is very good karma, and ultimately, the application of the practice of Yoga in action results in the elimination of karma. Yet, unless karma is completely eradicated, people cannot help but be under the influence of their own karma. Even so, as mentioned earlier, there is also good karma, therefore bring what you have learned in Yoga to life, and research and present the ideal way of society. That itself will in turn become further good karma, turning into good virtue, which is therefore never a negative or bad karma.
Take the example of Gandhi, he is called Mahatma Gandhi. He was born in a wealthy family, highly educated in Britain, and it is said that his way of thinking and life habits were all steeped in the Western way. However, on his way home to his motherland, India, he was discriminated against in South Africa, or somewhere. He felt indignation over the fact that he was still discriminated against regardless, even with the acquisition of a superior Western education—and so he questioned this. And after he returned to India, he revisited and reconsidered the teachings of the great saints from the past. You already know that as a result, he became a leader of a big political movement that led to transformation in India. Importantly, the origin of that reformation is the teaching of Yoga in India and his application of it in action. So then, it can be said that while he was seriously learning the teachings of the Truth, [as a result,] and as his duty, he happened to fulfill a political role in such a time.
Therefore, if the professor continues to learn Yoga, then you will be able to see a higher ideal—so continue to follow your conscience and wish for the way the world ought to be.
Ms. Ichikawa: Isn’t that ego?
MASTER: No, it is not ego. Ego is translated [in Japanese] as egoism—which indulges self-interest—but for the end of benefiting others, that is altruism. If your main focus is placed on being for the sake of others, for the well-being of others, you’ll never become egoistic.
Ms. Ichikawa: If in politics, in the case when one person says, “This is serving others,” but others disagree, how do I know who is right, or whether it is truly altruistic?
MASTER: For that, you need to examine and verify it through that person’s actual content—their attitude toward life, actions, words, behaviors. If there are any contradictions happening, then you can see that there is surely egoism taking place; if all is done without contradictions, purely without being caught up by any self-interested desire, then there is no contradiction with altruism.
The Universal God
(Ms. Sekiyama begins to speak by excusing her question as being something personal. Since the time her family was initiated into a new-age sect, she has been deeply involved in it for years. Even after leaving the sect, she has not completely steered clear of the brainwashing. Since about 20 years ago, she has been influenced by the world of Yoga through meeting Haridas, but she still has resistance to attending things like Satsangha, and she says that she feels that she was able to take one step forward today.)
Ms. Sekiyama: I wonder why my entire family, including me, got involved in a new-age cult… I think it is due to a very strong effect of karma. I sometimes lose self-confidence in daily life, when I feel like I catch myself being caught up in mind control again, or a thought arises that perhaps it is due to karma. I think that overcoming it will depend on my practice of Yoga, but I don’t know where I should generate the strong passion needed, I don’t know what’s missing in myself, and I worry about whether I can get rid of the brainwashed thoughts while I’m still alive. Please advise, even if briefly. I would appreciate it.
MASTER: The Truth, or the Existence of God, in Yoga is not limited to a specific religion or ideology. Rather, it is universal. If it is universal, then even if the religion or the ideology is different, if one can know the ultimate God, that is what must be the same. If the gods are different—well, the gods set up by ordinary new-age cults are all different gods, and they always keep saying that their god is the right one and others are wrong—that is not true God, not the Truth. Yoga denies that from the beginning; [and teaches that] if Truth or God exists, then whether one is from ancient times, or from the future, or from the present time, regardless of nationality or religion, it must be the same. It would be strange if that wasn’t the case. If God or Truth can be changeable, then it’s no longer qualified to be God. Because it is perfect Existence, because it is changeless, it is God, it is the Truth.
This might be new a thing for you, yet you probably agree somewhere in your heart. That is why, you shouldn’t agree just because I say it, but verify it within yourself. If you proceed in such a way, then there will be many more things to learn, and if you become immersed in it, then your various past events and current happenings will be forgotten.
Ms. Sekiyama: So these are different from karma?
MASTER: These have become karma, however, even so, since you have left or quit the cult, that karma has already ended.
Ms. Sekiyama: (with an expression of understanding and relief) Ah, I have moved one step forward.
MASTER: (cheerfully) You can say it that way. Therefore, from now on, you should take new actions to become devoted to studying and learning the universal Truth.
Ms. Sekiyama: So is the learning important?
MASTER: Yes, it is important to create a good environment; and the [content of] the practice of Yoga is to study and learn from the scriptures. What is meant by scriptures in this sense here is the collection of words and teachings left by true indubitable Awakened Beings and Saints—these are called scriptures. Various mundane religions recommend this scripture and that scripture respectively, but it’s not about them. Indubitable Saints are extremely rare and limited. For example, the Bible or the Buddhist sutra, these were compiled for decades and centuries after Jesus and Buddha passed away, and they are likely to be the enumerated writings by newer devotees that were gathered. Take even the Bible—it has been researched to examine how much of it truly comes from the actual words of Jesus. I heard that it’s been found that his actual words were very limited, and that it has started to become known through research that the majority of parts are added by the devotees in later eras, which was a digression. However, in this current age, there are Saints who have appeared, who are considered to be indubitable incarnations of God, therefore you can read their words as well. If you can familiarize yourself with their words, then you will be able to understand the Truth more and more, and move towards the direction of the Truth. Proceed with this.
Ms. Sekiyama: Thank you very much.
Journey to Seek Atman
(Ms. Nakanishi is introduced to Shri Mahayogi. She first met Shri Mahayogi when she was in elementary school.)
(Shri Mahayogi looks at Ms. Nakanishi and says, “Wow, you and your expression hasn’t changed much,” with a friendly, kind smile.)
Ms. Nakanishi: I began asana back in April. My entire name, my last name and my first name changed, so I really wasn’t sure what or who I was at all. During that time, I came to know about Atman, or the true Self, and hearing that there is something that never changes, I felt that it might be true. After starting to think in that way, that is always in the back of my mind; however, I thought that maybe I shouldn’t think about it too much, and I’m confused about how to distance myself from it, or how to relate to it.
MASTER: Well, a direct teaching of Yoga says, ask yourself, “Who am I?” It is a question. (laughing)
Ms. Nakanishi: “Who am I?”
MASTER: Yes, “who am I?” Until one hears about such things, one believes this thing that includes the physical body is the “I”—however, the physical body gets hurt, breaks and eventually dies and disappears; yet the consciousness of “I” is still there, even if the physical body changes in various ways, right? It is the same when you were little, [it is the same] now, and it will be the same when you get old—well then, who exactly is that “I”? What is it? When you ask in such a way, then you normally answer with what the mind experiences—I’m a woman, I’m a mother, my profession is such, I have this job, this title and that—which, oftentimes, all accompanies and adheres to the “I” to produce what the “I” is. However, jobs change, and various situations like those just mentioned, change. You are already married, no?
Ms. Nakanishi: Yes.
MASTER: (smiling) See, your family name changed—people’s names may change. Even so, within these changes, the consciousness of “I” does not change. Then, the ego within the mind, that is, “me”—the self-consciousness—is that the “I”? No, it’s not. Ego-consciousness is simply like a mark that distinguishes oneself from others, and that’s all. However, due to mistakenly believing that the consciousness of “me” is the true Self, various desires, ideas and thoughts accompany and adhere to “me,” which keeps swelling. However, since this is a part of the mind, it keeps changing, and it is neither eternal nor perfect. Therefore, the ego-consciousness, or the consciousness of “me” that is coming from the ego, is not the real thing. Atman, or the true Self—the true Self is Atman in the language of India—is not the ego-consciousness of the mind.
The most easy-to-understand example is what I mentioned earlier about the Consciousness, I said that it is Existence, it is Consciousness. Right now, at this very moment, watch your mind. Then, who is watching it?
The mind is thinking and feeling while changing in various ways, even so, there is a Consciousness that simply witnesses, or knows it. That is a glimpse of Atman. That Consciousness does not say anything. The ego says this and that, but the Pure Consciousness simply witnesses, simply knows, and it says nothing. Yet, that Consciousness has an eternal quality, a perfect quality, as the Existence. And, you can experience That—which means you can awaken to It. That Consciousness is present as the core, however it is normally as if the mind—the ego and the various thoughts of the mind—are covering it up, and especially karma [covers it up]. In this sense, you need to make the mind clean, as if to be transparent, or in other words, to be purified. In sum, by getting rid of things such as karma based on mistakes and ignorance, the mind becomes as if transparent. In these moments, there are times that Atman can suddenly awaken. Everyone tackles Yoga with the desire to experience that as soon as possible. That is realizing the Truth, and it is what Satori is. In this sense, [what you went through might be confusing to you, however, even the fact that your first or last names change again and again (smiling), too, may become a catalyst for your journey to seek Atman.
Ms. Nakanishi: Yes. Thank you. I will do my best to realize the true Self!
MASTER: (with a big smile) Good. (laughing)
(Shri Mahayogi seems to be very joyful to see Ms. Nakanishi again. He asks about her current life situation and a joyous conversation continues for a while.)
Shri Mahayogi’s Personal History
(Ms. Morooka, who is visiting from Fukuoka Prefecture1 asks a question.)
Ms. Morooka: I am very fortunate to be able to meet you. Please tell us how Shri Mahayogi encountered Yoga and what caused him to begin, what he gained from continuing, and how long he has been doing Yoga.
MASTER: Well, with regard to my personal history (laughing), earlier, I spoke a little bit about my experience in elementary school. During the time that I was in junior high school—back then Yoga had still not been introduced in Japan, that is to say, no one was doing it in Japan—a little bit of information on the subject came to me, that there was something mysterious (laughs), which I think referred to asana, and that became somewhat of a topic. I myself had no idea what it was at all since naturally there were no books about it, and no practitioners. Somehow, I had a very strong interest in it, and made an effort to figure it out in the dark, alone, and I continued doing it. Also, I did not have any expectations or desires towards the world. I had no wish whatsoever about the future, how I wanted to be, or what I wanted at all. Well, I had plenty of time, so I continued to engage in Yoga, and by the time I was a high school student, before I knew it, I was naturally meditating to resolve any questions within the world or to know the answers to the mysteries of the world. That is how I spent my teenage years. By the time I was nineteen, I had no questions, and everything was concluded. It’s been the same since then.
I practiced asana every day, devotedly, for about twelve years since junior high school. After that, it was on and off for about four years; and then around that time people began to come, so then I began to engage in introducing Yoga here. It’s been forty plus years since then.
Ms. Morooka: (with admiration) That is amazing. Mastering one thing and continuing it—where does that energy arise from?
MASTER: As I mentioned earlier, I had no interest in anything else. Only that. Perhaps, (looking at Mr. Shimamoto) it may be the same to a research scientist.
Mr. Shimamoto: (amazed and humbled) Completely different [from a research scientist]. (everyone bursts into laughter)
MASTER: Perhaps the fact that Yoga had not yet been introduced in Japan was in my favor. Because that is why I had to go seek the answers myself. Well, that is why I was able to pursue it without neglecting anything. (Ms. Morooka: That is great.) In the meantime, Yoga began to be gradually introduced in Japan too, and people began to get interested in it, and that triggered some people to come here, which is how it has continued.
(Ms. Morooka has been attending the classes in Fukuoka-City with her daughter, for the past two years since the class began there. Yogadanda, who is originally from Fukuoka Prefecture and who goes there to lead classes from Kyoto once a month, reports that a mere ten-year old child, [Ms. Morooka’s daughter,] has been attending class earnestly, and Shri Mahayogi listens to the report with a tender smile.)
 From Kyoto City to Fukuoka City is about 515km/320 miles
Approaching the Mind of a Saint
Ms. Yamaguchi: Shri Ramakrishna loved God, and he wanted to meet the Goddess Kali, so much that he sought out the Goddess to the point of putting a knife to his throat, not willing to live if he could not meet her. I believe that he sought the real tangible presence of God, or God itself, and I admire very much that amount of passion, or that state of mind, in other words, his total absorption in thinking of meeting with God. I want to experience that, I want to approach his state of mind. Is that possible for me too?
MASTER: (definitively) Of course, it is possible.
Ms. Yamaguchi: Is that through meditation? Or can it be understood elsewhere?
MASTER: Yes. (pointing to his own seat) Meditation is not just practicing only in a seated, well-mannered position like this. Really, no matter what it takes, more than anything else, the mind only craves for God, craves for knowing only God, or craves for becoming One with God—the more such thoughts become stronger, the mind will be bound to become more saturated with these thoughts, whenever or wherever, in whatever position [the body is in]. That is the depth of how much you must think about God.
Ms. Yamaguchi: Should I try to approach the God I seek directly, rather than trying to approach coming closer to Ramakrishna?
MASTER: Yes. You should seek the God that is in your feelings, in the thoughts of the mind, straightforwardly.
Ms. Yamaguchi: Then, at that time, I will come to know the same thing Ramakrishna knew.
MASTER: Yes, that is so—anytime, anywhere, in any circumstance.
Ms. Yamaguchi: I understand. I have one more question. I want to meet Ramakrishna. When I read the scripture, The Gospel of Shri Ramakrishna, the more I touched its vibration, its breath and its atmosphere, the more I really desired to know his voice and his tone, what kind of atmosphere he radiated, and how he sang the kirtan. How will I be able to know that?
MASTER: Enter even more into the scripture, The Gospel of Shri Ramakrishna, or in other words, read it as if you are experiencing it and try to enter the scripture. That, too, is about enthusiasm—it boils down to that. As the desire grows more and more, and more, it will surely be realized.
Ms. Yamaguchi: Either way, the conclusion is that I must increase my enthusiasm to think of God, and to touch the world of Ramakrishna. May I ask, what am I missing?
MASTER: Nothing in particular. Simply, just what I mentioned now is all you need.
God is Here
(Mr. Hashimoto, who works at the same home health care agency as Yogadanda and Gopala, begins to speak with a robust tone.)
Mr. Hashimoto: I have three sons: eleven, eight and two years old. As I raise them, I tell them to be kind to others, to not lie; but please teach me if there are things that should become the core of their being as they grow up as a person, that is, things that must not be missed.
(Shri Mahayogi remains silent for a while. As people await his words, a hushed silence reigns over the room.)
MASTER: (with a tender expression) Tell your children that “God is here” (points to his chest), it is inside your children’s chest—if you say that, I am sure that your children will be able to make that their core and will be able to overcome various things in life.
(The words of Shri Mahayogi penetrate into everyone’s hearts. Silence comes again, and the Ashrama is filled with an overwhelming prana of deep emotion.)
(The end of Satsangha arrives, and everyone bows, filled with gratitude. Inexplicable joy is brimming from everyone’s expressions. Everyone is fascinated and deeply impressed by Shri Mahayogi’s limitless kindness, sincerity, what he is, and his presence. Today, everyone has received the most important answers on living life: the purpose of our lives. This message engraves an impression deep within many of us, and gives strength for us to continue walking on the journey.)
* * *
Testimonies from a Practitioner
Live Without Being Bound by Fear
by Takahito Kosuge
July 2020, Tokyo Japan
I am supremely fortunate to be able to have encountered Yoga during my lifetime and to be able to look up to Shri Mahayogi as my Master. In one book, it was written that, “To encounter a true Guru is the most auspicious thing in life.” Left to my own devices, my mind is apt to lean towards taking the easy way out, or the way of worldly enjoyment. In order to know the Truth of Yoga, I would like to have a Guru who can guide me through my weaknesses—I was simply wishing for this, just like an innocent child who, without anything in mind, seeks out its own mother’s face. No matter how much I studied the knowledge of Yoga and was practicing on my own, it was merely philosophy, psychology, and a method of maintaining one’s health, and it was not really learning Yoga—I felt that something was lacking. I yearned for a Guru who would take over my soul and ceaselessly shake it up, just like a storm that blows all the dry leaves away and fells a tree.
Ever since a few years ago, when I began to attend an Asana class taught by an acquaintance of mine whenever I traveled to Kyoto, I got interested in Yoga philosophy and began to participate in a monthly workshop series, which I attended for about a year and a half, traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto. When I came to know, through the Veda and Yoga Sutra that the mind is not the true Self, I remember feeling a big sense of relief that the true Self is not this “difficult to handle” me, but it is something else. Indeed, I waited eagerly for the monthly workshop in Kyoto, but I kept looking for a place to study Yoga in Tokyo where I live, thinking that it would also be good if I could find one. I eventually came across the website for Mahayogi Mission’s Special Meditation class in Tokyo and began to attend. I heard from a gurubai there that there is a Yoga Master in Kyoto named “Shri Mahayogi” and from then on, my yearning to meet Shri Mahayogi kept heightening every day. I think Shri Mahayogi was guiding me from Kyoto already by that point. I could not get away from Kyoto after all! Even though I kept thinking about Shri Mahayogi and kept participating in the Yoga Asana & Meditation classes as well as the meditation gatherings, I could not quite make a decision to go to see him. Then a gurubai gave me a push and, finally, I was able to participate in the last of Shri Mahayogi’s Direct Asana classes, as well as the Satsangha that took place that night and so I was able to meet him!
In Shri Mahayogi’s Direct Asana class, I was enveloped by a mysterious sensation of the unification of affection and sternness that exudes from Shri Mahayogi, and I was able to concentrate like never before. At the end of the class, responding to a participant’s question, Shri Mahayogi powerfully answered, “Your true Self (pointing to the area around his chest) exists here. That is your true Self!” In that moment, inexplicably, tears began to fall from my eyes. I found it to be a wonder, I had no idea what was happening. I think Shri Mahayogi spoke in a way that was directly touching the disciples’ souls. It was a moment that allowed me to experience the power of the Guru that instantly transforms intellectual knowledge into Reality.
I’ve only met Shri Mahayogi three times, such as in Satsangha (and one additional time in a dream). Due to the situation caused by Covid-19, the Mission activities have been suspended and there are no opportunities for me to see Shri Mahayogi. However, with the support of the gurubai in Tokyo I have been learning the Master’s teachings. I feel that Shri Mahayogi is with us, transcending time and space even during such a difficult time.
Last year, I retired from work and began living out the second part of my life, transitioning into working at a small organization. I would like to share with you a series of events that triggered my learning of Yoga.
Until I graduated from the university, I lived a very easy life, without any struggles whatsoever. My approach to an easygoing life was to avoid anything that was uncomfortable, or that I didn’t like. Even then, I lived my life without encountering any big walls. The storms began to rage in my mind when I went out into the world and began working. My first job was as a teacher in a junior high school. Due to some thoughtless words that I said while instructing a female student, I became a target of rebellion and was ignored by all female students in the class. The feeling of the students who had previously adored me so much, changed in an instant, and the class fell apart—my mind could not face it. I know now, and therefore understand objectively, that for a faction it’s a common group behavior for girls during puberty, but at that time, I had just graduated from college and I was not mentally mature, even in comparison with others. I became depressed, being obsessed with the thoughts that my existence was completely denied.
Around that time, I sought salvation and attended a Christian church for a while. However, the mind kept directing only towards the concept of “sin” rather than salvation, and I left the church, after doing nothing more than continuing to blame myself. Shri Mahayogi teaches that Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, all religions go towards the same goal, “the Truth,” however, at that time, I did not understand Christianity correctly. Before long, I left the teaching profession. I believe that my decision was a good choice for both myself and for future students, because after deep consideration, I became convinced that the teaching profession was not suited to me. However, this experience continued to abide as the darkness called “fear” within my mind. No matter how smoothly things were going, the fear never went away, the fear that I would be pulled back into darkness again.
Afterwards, I changed my career and worked at that job until I retired; but when the relationships in my workplace became complicated or issues arose at work that required me to cope with complaints, I was oftentimes seized by a fear that would drag me into the darkness of my mind again through creating a non-existent future tragedy, that was not even present yet. One saving grace for me was playing music, which I joyfully shared with my friends. It felt to me that it was the only place where I could truly be myself, away from the troubles of work and those of family. However, as the musical activities expanded, I saw myself in self-denial, comparing myself to other performers who were better or bands that were more active and doing well. What am I playing music for? Why do I need to suffer even though I’m doing something I like? After I kept asking myself, I recognized that I had come to rely on a self-image that my ego created—“ME—Who Plays Music”—as my emotional support. I started to play music simply because music was fun for me, but, I realized that before I knew it, music had become a means for me to distinguish myself from others. I thought that I was able to be who I am, but the truth is, I was swayed by the judgement of others, and I did not have any understanding of who my true Self was at all. Around that time I had an encounter with Shri Mahayogi—my desire to focus on Yoga was becoming stronger, and I decided to quit music for a while, even though it meant I might need to take a leave from my music-related friends.
I want to live in peace continuously, without any anxiety—that may have been what I was seeking. But I kept thinking so much about—I want things to go the way I want. I don’t want to be separated from my loved ones. I don’t want to meet with people I hate. I don’t want to deal with my impure mind and body—so in fact I was attached to avoiding the “Suffering” that Buddha taught as life itself. Out of the various pain-bearing obstacles that cause suffering, I was especially bound by the attachment to avoid things I hate (dvesha), and by the attachment to things that are desirable to me (raga). I realized that in order to escape from anxiety, I was attached to a “fear” that was not necessary at all, but deliberately created by my mind. In order to avoid suffering, I was firmly attached to the cause of it—it was as if I was building a bonfire in order to extinguish a fire.
As long as we’re alive, the seeds of daily anxieties are endless. Yes, they’re exactly “seeds” indeed. Whether we choose to burn out the seeds with the fire of Yoga, or whether we choose to nurture these seeds daily with the water of attachment and be bound by fear that will eventually grow like intertwined ivy. It was significantly valuable for me to learn Yoga and understand the mechanism of the mind, particularly since I was constantly being swung around by my mind. The true Self is not the mind itself, but That which is witnessing the mind that is simply behaving however it wants—when I learned that, how relieved I was to take such a load off my mind.
When practicing asana, there are times that I fear that I will pass out from suffocation during halasana. But, I recognize that this is because the mind is directed towards “fear.” If I gather my mind to concentrate on the breath alone, then I don’t feel like I’m suffocating. One day, I was practicing the tree pose, which I had no concerns about, however, at the very moment the thought of comparing myself to those around me arose, I lost my balance. After that, I lost my confidence in that pose and kept losing balance in that pose in class. After about half a year of continuous practice passed, I realized that what was necessary was to have single-pointed focus on a very obvious consciousness, “I stand.” Since then, my lack of confidence disappeared and the pose became stable.
We are often required to make some kind of decision in various situations. The accumulations of these decisions are what make up life. When we look back at the decisions and actions in our own past, there might be many things that we have doubts about. But at the time, we must have thought these were the right things to do. When I asked Shri Mahayogi about the criteria for making decisions, he taught me thus: “Treasure your intuition. Through Yoga, it will become sharper. Then, don’t attach to the results.” I think that fear indicates attachment to the results that are yet to come from our present actions and decisions—I ought to know what I should do, yet simply, ignorance is hiding it and nothing more than that, and that fear will disappear if I focus on this present moment, now, and see only the Truth, that is, the eternal Existence that never wavers. I understood that the single-pointed concentration is exactly the same during asana as it is during daily life.
I can only do a limited number of asana poses, and I have a long way to go before I can be like the senior gurubai. However, as I have continued to practice asana, I have begun to have a conversation with my body. When I feel pain in a particular area, if I speak to my body, asking, “Why struggle so much? Try to release a little bit”—at times, the pain quickly dissipates and the pose becomes deeper. Then I recognize it’s the same with my life. My mind can become completely bound up by attaching itself to past experiences and anxieties about the future. Even now, there are times that I still get jealous or feel anxiety about the future. But after learning the teachings of Yoga, even if these emotions arise in my mind, I have come to be able to objectively view and think of them as different from the true Self, as “activities of the mind” instead. Shri Mahayogi taught me that, “There is no need to seek the true Self—because It is already within you. It can also be called God. You are That.” It is said that a Guru gives the necessary answer at the right time to each individual disciple. I feel that Shri Mahayogi never makes generalizations, but undoubtedly speaks directly to the “I.”
My life path behind me is now surely longer than the path in front of me. From now on, I want to live directing my mind not towards fear, but solely towards the ideal of Yoga. Even after reaching the age of 60, I am full of weaknesses, yet in order to realize the ideal of Yoga, I need Shri Mahayogi’s teachings every day. Until the day I have to take off the body, I want to continue to seek the “Truth”—without being bound by fear, but instead, being bound by the breath of the Guru.