Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Satsangha, Matsuyama, 2019
Testimonies from Actual Practitioners
• Encountering Yoga
by Lu Pei Jyun (Priya)
November 2015, Taipei, Taiwan
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Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Translation of Special Satsangha in Matsuyama
October 19, 2019, Matsuyama Yoga Circle, Matsuyama
It is Shri Mahayogi’s second visit to Matsuyama this year and the first of two Satsangha that will be held is about to begin. After the visit back in May, Shri Mahayogi named the place that has been the base of the activities of the disciples in Matsuyama, “Yoga Sara Studio,” and the disciples there were filled with joy at the Master’s blessing.
Today, despite the cloudy weather, the orange sign, which has been newly designed by Shri Mahayogi, is brightly shining in the Matsuyama sky. The hall is completely filled with people who have been waiting eagerly for this day, and as soon as Shri Mahayogi enters, everyone is captivated by his presence in no time. When Shri Mahayogi sits down, he pours his gaze filled with compassion upon each and every attendee.
Boldly Controlling the Mind
Mr. Fukami: I feel like when meditation is about to deepen, suddenly something like a sense of fear arises in me and I can’t go further past that point. In daily life, too, whenever I meet someone new or go to a place I’ve never been, or face a task I have never performed at work, I get the same sense of anxiety and fear and I feel that these are considerable obstacles to moving forward boldly in Yoga. Please advise me how I should conquer them.
MASTER: The issue you mentioned is that the mind becomes rattled when encountering the unknown—for such an issue, controlling the mind itself is the approach that is needed. That means that, on the other hand—this may sound a little rough—but by strengthening the mind’s attitude and having the intention to tackle the issue with the attitude of, “Whatever happens, happens, I will just surrender to it—at any rate I just have to work on what comes up in front of my eyes and not get attached to whatever might be the outcome,” your mind’s unrest will lessen and eventually go away. You will also stop having a mind of fear, or the emotion in you of fear itself will gradually go away too. In this way, take the approach of boldly controlling the mind itself.
Mr. Fukami: During meditation, too, I should take that same mindset.
MASTER: (tenderly) Right. If you feel like the wall is so big in meditation, then it is in these exact moments that you should think of the Guru or of a Divine Existence, then I suppose that you will be able to break through the wall quickly.
(Mr. Fukami’s expression softens and he begins to smile.)
What Must be Done While One is Alive
(Ms. Sakai’s younger brother has been suffering from an illness that is causing him to lose his eyesight every year, and he will eventually lose it completely. They practice asana and meditation together. Ms. Sakai said that the only thing she can do is to just bear the heavy sense of fear that is within her brother together with him, and she asks the Master if there are other things that they can do for her brother. Shri Mahayogi asks her and confirms whether they practice asana every day, then gives advice to intensively practice shalabhasana, for this asana can have a positive effect on his condition.)
MASTER: Of course, the most important part is your frame of mind, the part that deals with the aspect of the mind. Illness may befall everyone, even if the shape or form differs. As a matter of fact, everyone will age and eventually die; that is inevitable. However, there are a lot of things you can do while you’re alive. That is, to correctly know your own existence; the thing is that the body is not everything. Even if the body has defects or illnesses, there is no difference in the existence of a human being, and the sanctity of that existence cannot be measured physically. Rather, the Soul, or a sacred Existence that ought to be called God, is the essence of everyone. One must learn this, and if you can have faith towards it, then a state of ease will be brought about, so please advise your brother about this aspect.
Ms. Sakai: Yes, I understand. First I should learn, then communicate to him about it—I will put this into action.
MASTER: Yes. Please take care. I hope he will feel better soon.
(Ms. Oomori, who just met Shri Mahayogi for the first time last month, starts to speak while holding back tears.)
Ms. Oomori: Because death befalls everyone, I am aware that I should not even speak about this, but when I think about the day when even Shri Mahayogi is no longer in the physical body, I become desperately anxious, and feel as if I’m in a rush. I have been greatly supported by the fact that I can meet Shri Mahayogi like this, and when I ask him questions, he gives me answers…so then, when I think about why I become so anxious, feeling as if I’m in a rush, when I think about it, I think that it is because I want to grow up spiritually as fast as possible and show that to Shri Mahayogi—if I say it concretely, I want to realize Satori and I want Him to see that. Because I feel that if that happens, Shri Mahayogi would be happy. May I say, please be with us forever more.
(As if to accept Ms. Oomori’s heart, Shri Mahayogi nods with a deep, compassionate expression.)
MASTER: Yes. Don’t worry. I am always with you. Please show me that state of Satori as soon as possible.
(Ms. Oomori states her gratitude, in a whimpering voice.)
Ms. Takeda: My belief that I am the body and the mind does not go away no matter what; however, both during meditation and during the day, I tell myself, “The true Self is Atman, not the body,” and during the practice of asana, I practice while thinking to myself that I am Atman and that I am doing asana for that. Then I feel like my mind becomes calm and the breath becomes calm. Should I proceed in this way?
MASTER: (firmly) No—you cannot; it’s useless. Realize that there is no time for you to remain sitting so complacently! Haven’t you heard and learned more than enough that your true Self is neither the body nor the mind? Then you must turn your focus to that. Direct your mind and concentrate towards the Truth, such as Atman, or God. Don’t be concerned with the body. Asana doesn’t matter for you any longer—more than anything else, you just have to centralize on concentrating on God, or on Atman. You mustn’t—you have no time to waste dragging along such a baseless, unreliable physical body.
Ms. Takeda: During meditation, too, I tell my mind all the time that I am not the body.
MASTER: (with an intense tone) That’s already obvious so there is no need to say it. Rather, concentrate on God itself, or concentrate upon Atman itself.
Ms. Takeda: To concentrate on Atman itself means that I need to discriminate, so that I clean up my mind, and dive further inward.
MASTER: Enough already! Such a process is a waste of your time. Just directly, look at the target, look only at that and concentrate.
(Shri Mahayogi, who has roused Ms. Takeda with firm words, then gazes at her with a gentle smile at the end.)
Ms. Tabuchi: I have a rather strong desire to be accepted by others, and at times I am dissatisfied feeling a gap between the image of my ideal self and how I am in my present state. When I think of my ideal self, I feel that even if I achieve it and I am satisfied for a moment, I would think that I would want to do more, to go further. I suppose that what I am truly seeking is an unshakable confidence and true happiness; yet, my intention to realize my current goal is so strong that I can’t give that up. From the perspective of true Happiness in Yoga, is what I’m thinking incorrect or a detour [to achieve the real aim in Yoga]?
MASTER: (firmly) Yes, from the perspective of Yoga, that is incorrect. The Happiness referred to in Yoga is a perfect, eternal Happiness, that keeps away even one iota of unhappiness or suffering. (gradually shifting to a gentle tone) However, the happiness in this world, as you’ve mentioned, is a mere relative phenomenon—when things go well just like your mind envisioned, you become happy, and when that’s not the case, it results in suffering and unhappiness; thus, it can be concluded that these are not true happiness.
On the other hand, however, there is also a facet that since everyone is living in this world, somehow everyone has to find a way to make a living, including finding a job and managing one’s own daily life. Within that, making an effort to do a job or various tasks that you do well may be necessary. However, it is incorrect to consider this way of living absolute. Since true Happiness, as mentioned now, is within Existence—the Soul, or true Self—worldly work and daily living are tasks that are performed with the mind and the body parts, which are unrelated to That; therefore they have their respective limitations, they’re imperfect and mere temporary phenomena. While making sure to discern this—well, you’re still young, and you may have many things you want to accomplish and various ideals—you can seek them and follow them respectively. However, on the other hand, if you keep the teaching of Truth in the back of your mind, that none of these things bring about true Happiness, and deepen Yoga, then even if success or failure in this world may come to you, without having to deal a blow to them, you can proceed to your next challenge without suffering or sadness; and not only that, you will surely arrive at the Great True Joy. Of course, this is conditional upon your learning and actually applying and practicing Yoga in action.
Now, what is of utmost importance—what the practice of Yoga aims at and intends to realize is not some knowledge or something that can be gained from somewhere; it is something that is already within yourself. Bear this in mind thoroughly. Your true Self already exists within you. To manifest it, in other words, to allow It to emerge, is the task of Yoga. This is about seeking out that which is nearest, your Self.
(Ms. Wada expresses that in the last Special Satsangha in Matsuyama, Shri Mahayogi instructed her to use the correct standard to practice discrimination, however, she is caught up in the phenomena of daily life and therefore cannot discriminate well. And currently, from time to time she realizes something after receiving the advice from senior disciples, and will then try to discriminate her issue. She asks Shri Mahayogi if the correct way to practice meditation is rather to gain insights from her own meditation instead.)
MASTER: Either way is fine. At your current state, the advice from senior disciples is a very good reference, therefore it is best to listen to them with gratitude, and keep practicing hard. That is good.
Ms. Wada: I think that having one’s ideal is necessary in practicing Yoga, but I have realized that the meaning of life and what the most important thing is in life, are not clarified within me. Is this something that I will be able to know gradually as I continue to discriminate?
MASTER: Yes, it can be said so. I think that the closest, most important thing, and this goes for everyone, is the “I.” That “I,” the word “I,” the first person, appears first; then, next comes the “I want this,” or the “I want to do this”—“x” and “y” and so on are added to “I”—first “I” ought to be what appears for everyone. This indicates one’s own self, right? The question is, who exactly is that self? People say, “I think this,” or, “I am this way,” “I am that way,” which involves wearing [that “I”] with various things and conditions in the world, saying “I am this, I am that, I am a man, I am a woman, this way, that way, etc.” However, these are not the self, in fact. They’re merely ingredients from the environment or the situation; and whether one is male or female, young or old, one is human regardless. Even children say, “I,” and even old people say, “I.” The question is, who is that self? What is that self?
Ms. Wada: So, I should meditate on that?
MASTER: Yes. Since ancient times, It has been called the Soul, the Pure Consciousness; in Buddhism it is called Buddha-Nature; or It has been called God-Consciousness, or God—the terms are different depending on the era, religion or ideas, yet, in short, it means the same one thing. Since that True Existence cannot be named, it is often called by different names. However, what is important is to experience It yourself. It is possible to experience It, because it is rightfully your Self. It means that you experience your true Self. Now, to eliminate the attachment to anything other than That is discrimination. In discrimination, anything other than That is discerned to be transient, and not the Truth, so it is insignificant, unnecessary; the discernment to determine this in such a way is discrimination. If you can do that, then such attachments of the mind will be renounced. The True Existence cannot be gotten rid of, even if you try to do so. There is only That. That is the way it is. You should continue to practice discrimination in this way.
(When Ms. Naomi Sayama met Shri Mahayogi for the first time, she was taught to only see the Essence, and that knowing one’s true Self will resolve all issues.)
Ms. Sayama: Guided by the words of Ramana Maharishi from the scriptures, I began to train my mind to concentrate on the true Self within me about a month ago. The scripture says that it is important to continue to inquire, “Who am I?”; is that the same as discrimination?
MASTER: That is different from the practice of discrimination. To directly proceed towards the true Self, towards your real Self, called Atman, is the method [of self-inquiry]. In this way, the practice of discrimination is already completed by this point. With regard to the practice of discrimination, when the mind still has some kinds of attachments, the obstacles still remain in the mind, you apply discrimination by checking the mind’s issue against what the Truth teaches about it, contemplate and examine it carefully, then come to understand its essence. As a result of this, the mistakes of the mind are eliminated. That is discrimination. The practice of discrimination consists of the task of removing defilements, such as the mind’s attachments and impurities.
Ms. Sayama: May I ask how I proceed with continuously inquiring, “Who am I?”?
MASTER: Of course, we all have I-consciousness. However, in a normal state, because there is something like the ego-consciousness within the mind, most of the time you refer to it as “I,” or the “self.” However, that is not the true Self. More importantly, isolate that I-consciousness. Since you have to isolate the “I” and experience it to know the essence of It, concentrate on what is meant by the “I,” and continue to inquire further. Then, you will eventually arrive at a point where the I-consciousness arising from the ego disappears. Once that ego-consciousness disappears, then the true Self emerges for the first time. That is how it is.
Ms. Sayama: Is it difficult for me to practice it in my current state?
MASTER: Not at all, anyone can do this. As mentioned earlier, everyone has the consciousness of “I,” therefore you can proceed using that as a clue. Since this is a very universal, normal word, it is nothing like a word from a specific religion, so anyone can do this.
Ms. Jinno: By encountering Yoga, I learned that my biggest anxieties are the products of preconceived notions, habits, and experiences; yet, even so, when various things happen in daily life, I am back to how I was before. When I cannot get rid of anxiety, where should I learn about what I need to concentrate on, what should I strongly think about within myself?
MASTER: True Existence is the Existence without a second. At times, It is called Truth, or God. And, you can find Its substance, called the true Self, the real Self, within you. Therefore, it is best to concentrate on one of these three. It doesn’t matter which of these three. If you think of God, then ardently focus on God. If you are attracted to finding out your real Self, the true Self, then seek the true Self as mentioned just now, within.
Ms. Jinno: Does inquiring into the true Self begin from believing in myself?
MASTER: Yes. I suppose that everyone believes in one’s own self to a substantial degree. Yet, at times, that can turn into self-betrayal, or self-hate—such activities of the mind can arise; even so, there is the “I” there that never changes. It may still be an ego-consciousness, however, “the self” as being something that is indubitable, exists in the mind regardless of who you are. Therefore, you proceed toward the true Self from there using it as a clue.
Ms. Yamazaki: I’ve asked about discrimination and renunciation again and again, but I feel like I’m creating limitations for myself and keep going around in the same circle. I would like to ask, how do I move forward and where should I break through?—I am aware I might be admonished since I’ve asked about this so many times…but please offer guidance.
MASTER: So then, practice in a really simple way—just think of God.
Ms. Yamazaki: Discrimination is no longer…
MASTER: No longer needed! It’s pointless if you are going around in circles. Then it’s better not to do it. (sternly) It’s even a waste of time.
Ms. Yamazaki: Then, is it correct that I should practice just thinking only about a Holy Being?
MASTER: (immediately) Right. Simply, that is all. [Your practice becomes simple,] however, replace it with devoted practice.
Ms. Yamazaki: Does that mean that whether it is in meditation, or in daily life, always, always think about that being…?
MASTER: (with emphasis) Anytime. You can do it anytime, anywhere, (opens up his arms) in any position. (laughter from all)
Ms. Yamazaki: I understand.
MASTER: Simply practice, just do it this simple way.
(A bold yet simple answer, with the gesture of Shri Mahayogi, creates a genial atmosphere in the room.)
(A man who has been attending classes devotedly, asks a question.)
Man A: I am now having to take care of my mother and I have strong anxiety. At work and at home, I spend my days anxiously, worried whether I’ve made a mistake, or whether something bad has happened or not. As I practice meditation and asana, my anxiety has become lighter, but will the anxiety be gone if I continue to practice? I would like to ask one more question; when I meditate on my real Self, what do I need to think of initially as I enter into meditation?
MASTER: In order to create a sturdy, coherent meditation, it is required to practice discrimination—as was mentioned in various talks earlier today—to organize the various manifestations and activities of the mind and to eliminate them in advance. The reason being that the true Self unmistakably already exists within everyone even now; however, the activities of the mind seem to cover that Truth. Within the mind too, that which is called ego asserts the “I,” it unnecessarily makes the confusion bigger, making the mind utterly exhausted. Therefore, for the purpose of realizing the true Self, too, you need to discern what is not the true Self.
When it comes to “Who am I?”—is the “I” the body? Whether the body becomes ill, or parts are removed due to malfunction, the “I” is still there unchanged. The body is born and eventually dies, so it is not eternal. Then is that the real Self? It leads to the conclusion that the physical body is not the “I”; the “I” is not the physical body. Is the mind “I”? The mind too has good times and bad times; and during a single day, there is a time to be awake and a time to be dreaming. While dreaming, you ought to feel as if the dream world is reality; and also, there are times when you are sleeping deeply, not even dreaming. So then where does the “I” go?—it’s neither dreaming nor awake. Even so, when you wake up from sleep, then there is the self, still the same self from yesterday. Then that leads to the conclusion that the self must be continuous. Yet, the mind changes variously, at times good, at times bad, sometimes confused and sometimes it becomes shaken too. Then, is that the true Self? Such an unstable, unreliable thing is not the true Self.
Once you arrive at last to that point, the “I,” the consciousness, is still there unchanged. Is that it? Even that too is something that is working together with the activities of the mind, as I just mentioned, the “I”-consciousness, or the ego-consciousness, cannot work independently. I like this, I don’t like this, I want to do this, I want that—it seems that with saying these various things, always trying to gather something, the “I”-consciousness, called the ego, is barely established. When these ingredients disappear, then ego-consciousness cannot stand any longer, for it doesn’t have independence; it is always dependent. However, the true Self is nothing like that. The true Self is not the mind; therefore, the “I” is not the mind either.
In such a way, by eliminating what is not the “I,” then the mind comes to be discriminated, or in other words, the mind is purified, the mind ends up becoming something like transparent, free from worries, so to speak. Then, the true Self, at that time, will manifest on its own.
Man A: Does that mean eliminating anger or fear?
MASTER: Yes. Since these kinds of things are always brought about by conditions, if there were no causes, then such things as anger as a result would have never happened. These causes too are not absolute, but they are some of the occurrences that take place due to various details that happen to be randomly there, that is to say, since they are mere phenomena, there isn’t much meaning in them; in other words, these are only temporary things. Anger, and conversely, this also applies to joy, are both temporal things; therefore they are unrelated to true Existence—they are simply the mere experiences within the mind’s world. At times, they’re referred to as karma, as a whole.
In order to find the true Self, eliminate what is not the “I” at a rough, or gross level. Even if the environment or the situation does not change, if you can eliminate the attachment towards it, in other words, the dependency of the mind, then it disappears. Even if your mother is in front of you and you have to take care of her, you are able to do it and be unfazed by it; whether at work or in society, even if the situation has not changed at all from the past until now, if the mind changes, then the way you handle them and the results will differ completely. In this way, start with practicing to purify the mind. By practicing this, strength, in its truest sense, will be born, and you will also gain composure and tranquility.
(The man, who has been leaning forward, nodding and listening seriously to Shri Mahayogi’s words, folds his palms together and deeply bows.)
Ms. Chisa Ono: There is a story of a faithful weaver, and I have begun to admire such a state of mind as that of the weaver in the parable—despite even being put in jail for being mistaken for a thief, the weaver believes it is Rama’s will—so I think to myself every morning, as I commute to work, that “whatever happens today is the will of God,” and I tell my mind that God’s power is what keeps blood pumping in my heart, which allows me to breathe; but there are many occurrences and happenings in everyday life, and I fret over ups and downs, and I cannot quite achieve that weaver’s state of mind. I would like to receive the teachings on how I should practice so that I can surrender everything to God more and more, and be filled only with love and joy.
MASTER: Then, a little more…a lot more (everyone laughs) think about God intensely, eagerly and enthusiastically. That is all.
Ms. Chisa Ono: I understand.
MASTER: It’s been said often, that if you take one step, thinking of God, then God takes three steps towards you. That is unmistakable because it is a true testimony from the Awakened Ones who have experienced such things. Therefore, apply the practices that deepen devotion to God from your side, even just for a few steps.
Ms. Etsuko Yamamoto: When I sit to meditate, thinking of “Who am I?” or the “true Self,” it feels like it dwells in the chest, concentrating there, and at times, there is a sensation right at that spot. Is the way I proceed in meditation appropriate?
MASTER: That is fine. Continue in that spot. Atman or the true Self, or God, is formless, at the same time, saturating all and everything—it is in this air, within your body, within everything, (pointing to the flower in the vase) even in this flower. It cannot be seen by the eye, yet it exists as their essence. Simply put, everything has a Life or Soul. The further essence of that Life or Soul, the primary force of the Life or Soul, the root origin of Life, is God, or True Existence and such. If It didn’t exist, then this world…there is nothing that would appear. Unfortunately, this world repeats limited creation and destruction, due to time and space—that is inevitable. (intensely) However, that true Existence is never born and will never die. It Exists eternally. It is certain that it is something that everyone can experience. Therefore, the seekers have staked their lives on seeking it since ancient times. If you gather the words that they left behind, as mentioned now, even though It exists universally everywhere, for a spiritual practitioner, it was very often experienced in the center of the chest. That is why it is said that in the center of the chest is where Atman dwells, or God exists inside the chest. That means that the center of the chest is the spot where that was easier to grasp. Indeed, It is omnipresent—it exists in these fingertips, in the tips of these nails, within this air. Yet, it is very difficult to grasp. [As it has been proven, they say] one can grasp It within one’s most central core, inside the chest, through the heart. Therefore, what you have been doing is fine.
(Ms. O, who has been attending a class1 that Anandi has been offering to high school students, and who wanted to meet Shri Mahayogi, is participating in Satsangha for the first time. As she speaks, a little nervously, Shri Mahayogi nods and gazes at her gently.)
Ms. O: In daily life, on a whim, difficult memories from the past come to my mind all of a sudden. In order to erase them, what would be the proper way to practice?
MASTER: If you are tormented by memories of the past, then that means you become confused by bringing to the present something that is irreversible, that you can no longer change because it is already gone; so you have entered into something that is in the realm of an illusion, and therefore it is not reality. So, in Yoga, regardless of what the past memory was, there is no reason to think of it as a serious matter. The bad, and certainly, the good—neither are needed. Think of the past as something that no longer exists. Of course, there is no future either. You may dream, envision or idealize how the future should be; however, just like pulling the past up into the present, you are actually pulling the future into the present—the same [concept is happening]—it is still a fantasy at that present moment; thus, you don’t need this either. Then what do you need? Each and every moment, that which is right in front of your eyes; that happening and thought of each moment—concentrate on that, and exert your best effort. The truth is that this is what ought to be done. Train yourself in such a way.
Ms. O: Yes, I understand.
(Shri Mahayogi continues talking towards everyone in the room. Everyone gazes at Shri Mahayogi with utmost concentration.)
MASTER: Ultimately, the entire process of Yoga can be summarized in this way. Inevitably, everyone is born with karma. In karma, there is both good and bad, however, as it is said that everything is suffering on the whole, even if good things happen, everyone will have suffering through inevitable death in the end. Therefore, regardless of what happens, it all turns to suffering after all. What brought it about is karma, which is returning the results of happenings from past lives and past experiences.
People have differences in their faces, shapes, talents, jobs, families—everyone is different; and these [differences] are all brought about by different experiences too; that means, you can say that each person has created their own environment suited to resolve their respective karma by themselves. However, as long as one is subservient to this karma, one cannot get away from it. Because on one hand, even though you can eliminate karma from past lives by fulfilling it, you end up creating new karma again—that is how you are endlessly being born and dying, reincarnating. That means, you cannot help but inevitably repeat many lifetimes. Within this cycle, there is no way to view it optimistically—because it is colored by suffering.
Therefore, Yoga teaches that first you need to understand the truth or reason; if you understand that, then you must understand what you should do—in order to remove the sufferings, you need to concretely eliminate the habits of your own mind and karma; because if you put it into practice and eliminate them, then, you will no longer even be affected by suffering. These are the reasons behind the process, and this is what underlies the practice of asana, meditation, the study of scriptures, or attending Satsangha like this—it is all for aiming to bring yourself closer and closer toward [the state of] true Happiness by any and all means, and concurrently, to eliminate suffering, the opposite of Happiness.
That is why this is truly one’s life’s work, the task of a lifetime. If you can complete this in one lifetime, then truly, that is extremely lucky (everyone laughs)—the chain reactions of reincarnation continue throughout many lifetimes. You can see that is how enormous the amount of karma is, and [you can also imagine] that currently there is an escape drama happening. Therefore, all of you are the protagonists of this drama, you are heroes and heroines, you see, so then I would like you to be like heroes (joyously and powerfully) much, much more!! Get out quickly—these sufferings, or this karma that creates these sufferings, doesn’t exist to begin with, in fact! These are illusions created by the mind. Since the mind and ignorance, due to not knowing the Truth, attach to wrong things believing they’re real—as a result, these things keep turning into karma, and the beginning is something like an illusion, a fantasy. However, unfortunately, the mind becomes entangled in it, and one’s life becomes messy—that is how this human society is. Even so, even if one person can notice this reality, seriously face it and overcome it, and if there is a testimony of each and every person to realize that Truth itself, this will surely have a positive effect on the surrounding people as well! The surrounding people could be your family, your colleagues, or society, and if I say it more broadly, the rest of the world. Therefore, it boils down to the fact that the realization of it by each person is very important. As mentioned today, that Truth is not something you bring from elsewhere; It is already within your own self. If you get rid of the unnecessary things that are covering it, then It will manifest on its own. That is how it is. Therefore, (looking towards Ms. Oomori), as you mentioned, show me your realization of Satori. Otherwise, I can’t die without regrets. I plead to all of you. (Shri Mahayogi laughs heartily.)
(Shri Mahayogi explained the Truth dynamically as if to encourage everyone. Everyone’s expressions transformed into brilliance filled with hope. Some are shedding tears from being moved. A blissful mood surrounds the room.)
(Around the time Satsangha ends, the cloudy sky shifts completely to an orange sunset. If you get rid of the clouds in the mind, then only Atman exists!)
(The Satsangha made us vow in our hearts to get even one step closer to the wish of Shri Mahayogi—to realize Satori.)
 The class is held one or two times a month in an alternative school for students who, for various reasons, have opted not to attend the traditional schools where they are supposed to go.
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by Lu Pei Jyun (Priya)
Nov. 2015, Taipei, Taiwan
Starting from Admiration for Senior Disciples
When I first visited Kyoto in March, 2014, I actually was not that interested in Yoga.
Back in Taiwan at that time, Lynn (Prasadini) decided to take a trip to Kyoto to meet Shri Mahayogi, and at the time I was about to go to Japan for an exchange student program at Kanazawa University, so Lynn asked me to go to Kyoto with her. I had heard about Shri Mahayogi from Lynn before then. She said with conviction and reverence that “Shri Mahayogi is an Enlightened, Awakened Being.” I had doubts about that. However, I’d noticed that since Lynn met Shri Mahayogi in New York, there was some kind of change in her, and her words and ways of thinking changed. I understood that Awakened Beings are very rare existences in this world. I thought that I would like to confirm for myself if Shri Mahayogi was a real One or not, so I decided to accept Lynn’s invitation.
The day I arrived in Kyoto, it was drizzling. A very cool woman and two men with shaven heads, came to pick us up with full smiles. It was the beginning of transforming everything about myself. But back then, I could not have even imagined how my life would unfold from that moment on.
During these two weeks, Lynn and I took many classes and met many gurubai (brother and sister disciples). These people were very different from the types of people who do Yoga that I had seen in Taiwan. They weren’t wearing special yoga-wear, and they looked very natural and simple. Everyone had warm smiles, and they kindly told me about Yoga and their own experiences.
Before coming to Japan, I didn’t have much experience in asana (physical postures) and did not know about Yoga at all. Because of that, I could not understand most of what was spoken about in class or when Lynn and the senior disciples were conversing. Even so, I could feel their sincerity and the passion of their talks. Also, the one thing that left the biggest impression on me was how the senior disciples lived their lives. From their words and their conduct in their daily lives, I perceived that they are living very seriously, yet happily, and that they dealt with all matters and with everyone wholeheartedly. They also used every object so preciously, which is very rare to witness in a modern society filled with abundance.
I will share an example here. I heard that one of the senior disciples in charge of the cooking class, “Samarasa’s Kitchen,” practices tea ceremonies, the Path of Tea. She said that recently when she made a cup of tea, and drank the first sip, she felt the condensed essence of everything in the universe from the tea in front of her. The tea tree grows from the soil, then it is shined upon by the sun and the moon, and it is raised by the tea farmer and grows bigger, and through various processes, it becomes this tea. In the same way, the ingredients for cooking also become the cuisine in front of our eyes, going through such processes. Deeply perceiving that her own Life can continue only due to being supported by all things, her heart was filled with gratitude. Hearing this, I was very moved by it, because this senior disciple was not only leading the class with sincerity, but she also attended gently to the food ingredients with such humility.
After starting to associate with the senior disciples, I was amazed to know that there are such wonderful and kind people actually existing in the world, and I was captivated by these senior disciples. Nevertheless, when it came to Shri Mahayogi, my admirable senior disciples became like fans chasing their idols, they kept talking about him forever, so much so that they could not stop due to becoming so euphoric and exhilarated. I wondered what kind of person Shri Mahayogi was, who was so loved by these marvelous people.
I Met God
Within this two-week stay, I participated in three Satsangha. The first Satsangha had many attendees; everyone had a passionate gaze towards Shri Mahayogi, and there were people who were weeping softly. Seeing that, I felt that the gathering was a bit like some kind of a dubious gathering. Senior disciples encouraged me to ask Shri Mahayogi any questions. So I asked, “I don’t want to be a lawyer [which I was expected to become as an extension of my school career]. What should I do?”
Shri Mahayogi: “Lawyers can help many people, it’s a good job, isn’t it? Why do you not want to pursue it?”
Me: “I don’t like [the field of] law.”
Then Shri Mahayogi said, “Then, what about being a Yoga teacher?” I thought “isn’t that an improbable answer?”—because my life so far hadn’t even intersected with Yoga at all.
In the second Satsangha, while listening to the answers from Shri Mahayogi to an attendee, Lynn and I were so greatly moved that we cried until our noses were running. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember the content of either the question or the answer at all, but I even felt something mysterious from Shri Mahayogi and thought that, “Oh, I am becoming weird now, too.”
After the third Satsangha ended, a senior disciple encouraged me, so I mustered up the courage and asked, “Why do disciples have peacock feathers in their homes?” Shri Mahayogi answered, “Peacocks eat tree nuts, poisonous bugs and snakes, yet they’re fine because they are unaffected by [the poison]. I am a peacock,” then smiled gently. That answer has been branded into my heart.
The trip to Kyoto ended, and I headed to Kanazawa City. The new school year began, and I spent the days very busily; but not knowing why, I wanted to see Shri Mahayogi so badly.
Actually, the reason I decided to go as an exchange student to Japan was that I wanted to escape from the life I had before then. Several years before, I felt that I was living everyday as if I was in darkness. There was no expectation or hope for the future, everything in the world felt only empty, and I couldn’t find anything significant to live for. Because I didn’t want to hurt my family, in order to survive, I read a lot of New Age books. These books comforted my mind a little, but they did not resolve the problems fundamentally within me. When things were difficult, I often cried and prayed. God, if you truly exist, please save me! Please take away everything from me! Please take me with you!
I barely spoke about these dark memories to others. Because I felt that they were too heavy for others, I always kept them deep within my heart. But, when I heard Shri Mahayogi saying that he is a peacock, and he is not affected even though he eats both the good and the bad, all of the weight on me lifted, and I was relieved from the bottom of my heart, as if I was wrapped within the palm of God’s compassionate hand, and I no longer needed to fear anything. Even though I was a useless, unqualified person, I felt that Shri Mahayogi accepted everything about me unconditionally and loved me. I began to believe that it is fine to rely on Shri Mahayogi for everything. That is because, Shri Mahayogi is a God-like Existence, because he is Divine. In the book, Satori, a teaching of Ramakrishna was introduced, “Think of God, then God will notice and come to you”; when I read that, tears welled up unstoppably, and I sympathized with these words. Why? Because in this big wide world, I encountered Shri Mahayogi!
Towards the Path of Yoga
The senior disciples always suggested to me that it would be best to practice asana every day, so even in Kanazawa, I practiced it every day as much as possible. Since for many years, I had always studied in a sedentary way, my body was weak and inflexible. I felt so good when opening up and stretching the entire body through asana. Through daily practice of asana, my body gradually became stronger. One curious thing is that not only the body, but my mind also became tough simultaneously, and both the mind and body became lighter.
Besides the daily practice of asana, I began to read scriptures and the blog articles. The more I came to know Shri Mahayogi’s teachings, the more I became convinced that the solution to all life’s doubts and suffering, such as work, family and relationships, are in Yoga. Also, although I previously thought that only wealthy people or people who are seeking beauty and health practiced Yoga, now I think everyone should learn Yoga, regardless of age, gender, occupation, race, or nationality. People around me, as well as everyone in the world, are living while suffering or in fear, but I believe that if people can learn the right teachings and cultivate the right view, then everyone can absolutely be freed from suffering. One other thing—Shri Mahayogi always says to serve others devotedly. These words resonated within my heart. If everyone stopped thinking all about their own benefit, and instead would think wholeheartedly on practicing good service, then what a beautiful world it would be!
I want to be like Shri Mahayogi who loves people unconditionally. I want to transmit Shri Mahayogi’s teachings to the people. Because, that is what is meaningful and valuable in the truest sense, and that is that which must be truly done. Unbeknownst to me, I began to think in such a way. I want more and more people to find out about the Existence of Shri Mahayogi, the teachings of Shri Mahayogi, and everything about Shri Mahayogi.
As my love for Shri Mahayogi gradually grew, there was a time when I considered moving to Kyoto. However, after my exchange program ended in Kanazawa, I went to Matsuyama for a week, then my view changed too. There, I witnessed Anandi-san serve tirelessly in Matsuyama, with heart and soul, and was moved very much. There are other gurubai in Tokyo, Yukti-san is in Fukushima alone, and Anandamali-san is in far-away New York—even though they don’t live in Kyoto, they all continue to work hard and practice Shri Mahayogi’s teachings. Since Lynn (Prasadini) is doing it in Taiwan, in order for me to dedicate everything to Shri Mahayogi, I made up my mind to help Lynn (Prasadini) out in Taiwan.
I would like to express my gratitude towards the senior disciples. Because looking at and following their backs, I gradually came to realize the greatness of Shri Mahayogi. The person I would like to thank most is, of course, Shri Mahayogi. Because through Shri Mahayogi’s guidance, I finally found what I truly want to do—that is, to walk on the path of Yoga, and realize the Truth.