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Vol. 82

Teachings of Shri Mahayogi

Satsangha, Kyoto, 2008

The Way of the Yogi

Atman—The True Self

Renunciation and Contentment

Spiritual Silence and Restraining the Activities of the Mind

Salvation of the Soul


Testimonies from Actual Practitioners

The Secret of the Upanishads
Dialogue between Yajnavalkya and Maitreyi
Brihadarayanyaka Upanishad—The Fourth Order of Life
[Chapter II, Verse 4]

by Yogadanda
July 2007, Kyoto, Japan

* * * * * * * * * *


Teachings of Shri Mahayogi

Translation of Satsangha

The Way of the Yogi

Saturday August 30, 2008, Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto

Shri Mahayogi’s visit to the USA is approaching very soon, and many people are gathered at the Ashrama.

Ms. Yoshigaki, who is visiting the Ashrama for the second time, starts to speak.

Ms. Yoshigaki: In the Satsangha (gathering of Truth) that I attended last time, I asked a question; then I realized that my question itself was based on my own prejudice, and so I felt lighter after realizing that. (Shri Mahayogi seems very pleased to hear it.)

During that Satsangha, there was a teaching about junk in the mind, and there is also a part in the book Satori where Shri Mahayogi says: “Compare the thoughts of the mind against the Truth and practice to discriminate between them,” but I came here today because I want to learn and study the Truth, since I don’t understand what the Truth is at all. Please guide me.

MASTER: Truly, the Truth is like something that is so obvious, yet even so, it isn’t taught anywhere, and it is very rare to hear about It or to see It. Nonetheless, it is something that everyone must be able to sense deep within their minds; therefore, if you read books like Satori, there is a lot that you will agree with and feel.

Ms. Yoshigaki: …that I will agree with?

MASTER: Yes, through your intuition.

Atman—The True Self

Ambika: I would like to ask a question about the way to work on my mind. Even though I understand that whatever happens in front of my eyes and whatever is heard by my ears are all things that naturally are there as matters of fact, out of necessity for myself, therefore I should train myself [to conquer my mind] through them, I have prejudice towards them or am bound by them or feel resistance or a desire to avoid these things. [In the practice of discrimination of comparing these things against the Truth,] for example, when I compare someone’s words and actions against the Truth and find that they’re not based on the Truth, for that person too is lost, is it right to ignore the situation or detach from that person, or should I take the direction of loving them since even they are a part of the activities of Atman (true Self), the activities of God in this world?

MASTER: Indeed, everything is a manifestation of Atman, and you can consider all activities of that manifestation to be activities of Atman; however, then karma (cause and effect of action) and pain-bearing obstacles enter there and distort the pure activities of Atman, so to speak. When you recognize these things, then you cannot let yourself accept them. So then, if discrimination is applied toward the truth of it, toward your own self, you will refrain from doing these actions, and for others, if you see it happening in them, then you should consider that to be happening due to the fact that these people are still bound by karma. Concerning these situations, there are cases when you can act upon a person in a positive way, and cases when you cannot. If it’s a case in which it’s possible to act upon someone positively, then you can give that person advice or help them somehow. If it’s a case of that not being possible, then you cannot [do much] but ignore them.

Ambika: For example, in the case when my mind is agitated, I probably cannot act upon the situation positively.

MASTER: (laughing) Well, it cannot be helped that there was activity of the mind at that moment that perceived it that way, but it would be best if you can bring back the Self, Atman, immediately, in other words, return to the Self or Atman, then speak or act through That.

Ambika: So, it would be better to wait a little until returning to Atman

MASTER: Just like you’re taking a deep breath on stage…

Truly, the world is like being in a situation where karma is whirling around, in fact. Even today, I suppose that you passed through some challenging situations or whirlpools before arriving here, too, while on the way in the car or driving over here. However, I think that even these people [you came across] are walking on the path, though it may be unconsciously. Yet, if one learns the Truth, and proceeds proactively and consciously [towards It, according to It], then how much faster would various things come to be resolved.

Truth is—though this is something that is difficult to verbalize this way or that way—the foundation is about what the true Self is. Normally, the mind asserts “me,” and then next comes the attempt of conjuring up the various world called “mine.” Nonetheless, no matter what the things and matters may be that you can get in this world, there is nothing that can bring you into true Happiness. For true Happiness is the eternal Joy or Freedom that can never be destroyed.

The Truth, the true Self, is not the mind, but the soul behind it, the Pure Consciousness itself. The mind, so to say, is being witnessed by that Consciousness. That is the true “I,” or the Self—the true Existence of the “I.” If one can return to this true Self, then one no longer struggles whatsoever, and the state of contentment from being That alone arises.

And, that true Self—in India, it is called Atman—that Atman, is the same One Existence of Atman that is the essence of the entire universe, which includes all people, animals, plants, all and everything.

Of course, even now, Atman already exists as everyone’s essence. However, there is a picture in place that makes it as if the mind’s activities hide the real Atman by mistake. Since the mind has various desires and becomes attached to things that are not the Truth and is busily moving around, the mind cannot notice the Atman within oneself. During the process of learning the Truth and practicing Yoga, [which means training oneself through action according to the teaching of Truth,] the mind will begin to remove or let go of various baggage or attachments—well, it is as if decluttering various junk—then, when the mind calms down and becomes like something transparent, Atman, that is, your true Self, suddenly awakens, in other words, you will come to experience awakening.


Renunciation and Contentment

Ms. Hitomi Mori: I would like to ask how to practice renunciation. I’ve heard before that there is a difference between proactively renouncing and reactively renouncing. When I cannot renounce proactively, is it okay to just start with reactively, reluctantly (everyone laughs) renouncing for now?

MASTER: The fact that renunciation is necessary shows that there is something that ought to be renounced to begin with: ideas based on pain-bearing obstacles and the sanskara (remaining latent psychological impressions) related to them, karma—these are what ought to be renounced. By checking these against the Truth and discriminating them, renunciation is done smoothly. That is the proactive way of renunciation.

Reactive, or in other words, a more inferior form of renunciation is when, although discrimination is still not yet that thorough, you first have the will to aim towards the realization of Yoga anyhow, you work towards following the teachings of Yoga and refraining from taking unnecessary actions and saying unnecessary words—that means first getting rid of the gross things and controlling them. That is the way of practicing renunciation at the somewhat more gross level, compared to the way of renunciation through discrimination.

Naturally, if you learn the Truth more and more, then you will recognize what is truly there and that we are at the mercy of excessively unnecessary things, not only material objects, but also when it comes to living in this society. Therefore, practice to remove these things. Conversely, practicing contentment, that is, to understand that the bare minimum of things is enough, and practicing to be satisfied with that, can make you light in body and mind, clear up your environment and make situations lighter. That too is the way of renunciation. (Ms. Mori is gazing at Shri Mahayogi and nodding “Yes” many times.)

Ms. Hitomi Mori: Even though by comparing these things to the Truth I understand that my attachments are not correct, I still find myself remaining attached to them. Is there anything else I can do other than continuing to tell myself that they’re wrong?

MASTER: It would be best if you can renounce them, but if you cannot, then add the practice of discrimination towards them, and remove the attachments, which means the relation of attachment towards them. Work and train yourself to eliminate the mind that is bound by them.

Ms. Hitomi Mori: Is that something that can disappear gradually if I bring my intention to try to get rid of it?

MASTER: (immediately) They will come to disappear. Contrarily, the deeper that intention, [and therefore detachment,] becomes, the more the mind will be filled with Truth and God; so, I suppose that the frame of mind [that is filled with] fullness, freedom and happiness will increase.

Ms. Hitomi Mori: (with a small voice) Thank you very much.

(Kinkara, with a perplexed expression, begins to speak about how one relates to the world and the effects of the world.)

Kinkara: My generation has not had to make an effort in order to survive. Shri Mahayogi is always showing us the path we must proceed on as practitioners of Yoga, and I think that there exists duty and responsibility of what one must do [as a practitioner of Yoga] and a bare minimum duty and responsibility in order to live as a normal human being in relation to others. How should we think about these?

MASTER: (firmly, after some silence) The duty or responsibility of a practitioner of Yoga is only one thing—Satori. In order to realize That in this limited lifetime, you will solely go towards that aim, and everything else will be discarded. In order to realize Satori, one must stay alive. Here comes a need for the bare minimum of clothing, food and shelter. To have them, you also have to work.

In India, traditionally, the ideal way of being was to spend one’s lifetime for Satori, leaving the home as a hermit, almost naked with a loincloth and a single container only for water. I think that even to this day, there are such strictly serious practitioners. However, in modern Japan, it doesn’t quite work that way, so as mentioned earlier about the bare minimum, spending your life thinking about contentment is the way of it. Within that, keep disciplining yourself to practice meditation, bhakti (devotion to God) and karma yoga (selfless action). The thoughts of the mind in that are those of ahimsa, that is, the practice of non-violence and non-killing of any being—and further, proactively practice to serve devotedly and compassionately.

This is not a rule determined by society, but the duty and responsibility that is in accordance with the Truth. If it deepens, then it can help save more people, even if one more. It’s simple, yet it is a major endeavor. However, the more you practice it, the closer God gets, and the more fulfilled one becomes.

(Shri Mahayogi speaks this core essence with an extremely powerful tone, and the place is filled with a crisp and intense atmosphere.)

Spiritual Silence and Restraining the Activities of the Mind

Sarani: A while back, when I was caught up in karma and couldn’t do anything about it as I was so bound by it, I asked Shri Mahayogi for advice; then he said, “What you must do now is practice mauna.” When I am in situations like these, because my mind wants to do something about that state of things in that moment, the mind randomly starts to say lots of things. I’d like to be taught about mauna once again.

MASTER: The world is constantly changing and it is never at rest—that is the Truth. The world, meaning things and matters, and the mind that creates them, their surroundings and situations, everything is constantly moving irregularly. Very often, one’s own mind becomes entangled in that as soon as one becomes involved, and one loses oneself in this vortex. When that happens, by practicing mauna, which is spiritual silence, one can perform the role of retrieving oneself from the vortex, so to speak.

Meanwhile, the vortex is not always taking the same shape, but keeps changing and taking on different shapes, so within the flow of time, its appearance and its condition continue to change every moment. In a way, mauna has the role of rushing one out from this disarray of various streams and makes one immovable; and it has the power to do that. As a result, one will not be affected by the dizzying disturbance in front of one’s eyes, and thus one will not be hurt. And these various happenings that appear to change will continue to proceed in the process of change in their own way—these changes are the force that is trying to balance things out accordingly, yet naturally this vortex does not necessarily become stable, nonetheless, the condition is that it keeps changing while it still tries to balance itself. However, mauna will make one’s mind turn into a fixed state of immobility. That is what you can call the secret power of mauna.

Sarani: Regarding the concrete way of practicing mauna that Shri Mahayogi has just mentioned to us again, is removing myself for the time being from the situation at hand and then meditating on God in silence, or thinking only about the Truth, the correct way to take it?

MASTER: Yes, exactly.

Sarani: When getting entangled in something, it is not necessarily always the case that we are the victim, but at times, we can be the ones hurting others. Even if that is the case, will I be able to atone for that appropriately?

MASTER: (immediately) Yes, there is no difference whether you are the victim or the perpetrator.

And importantly, [the Truth is that] the only savior is God.

Sarani: Then, I suppose that the mind becomes irritated or nervous or tries to make an effort to think since I must do something about it by myself, because I am the one who sowed these seeds; but actually in those moments, I should give up everything, including thinking that I have the power to do something too, and let myself depend truly and solely on God, completely—that is what is meant by what Shri Mahayogi just mentioned…

MASTER: Yes. I think that if you do so, hints on how to proceed through concrete action will come.

Ms. Hitomi Mori: Please teach us concretely what it is to surrender.

MASTER: (at a slow pace) To let go of oneself, to offer oneself up, is what that word indicates. Towards whom?—towards God, or the Truth. Naturally, God or Truth does not accept anything besides that. Ignorance and pain-bearing obstacles are in opposition to them. And, the karma arising from them is rightly so as well. By surrendering, one’s ignorance and pain-bearing obstacles will come to be removed.

Ms. Hitomi Mori: Is that different from entrusting God with everything that happens, or in other words, leaving one’s self to God?

MASTER: These things are that.

Ms. Wada (Dharmini): I was also thinking about “surrender” just now; but I feel that it being done voluntarily is absolutely necessary, and besides that, when things come my way, to take them as they are as God’s will…I still feel that my own effort is absolutely necessary.

MASTER: Of course it is so. Even if you leave everything to God, if you don’t do anything, then that does not mean you surrender. Precisely because you leave everything to God, there is a responsibility for your own actions and thoughts. As mentioned now, whatever doesn’t correspond with God or the Truth, thoughts or actions that don’t correspond, will naturally be controlled and come to be renounced. That actual action must be something you yourself must thoroughly execute.

Shachi: While hearing this now, I think that loving God with all one’s heart and soul, single-mindedly, and mauna and surrender are also the same. After all, they are all going toward this end, and everything makes you direct towards that.

MASTER: (with a smile) Yes, that is how it concludes.

Mr. Imai: Earlier, there was a mention of mauna, but is that something even I can practice?

MASTER: (buoyantly) Yes, definitely.

Mr. Imai: Then, for example, is that something that I should do when I’m about to become unsettled, or when a situation calls for it?

MASTER: Originally, mauna is the intrinsic state. However, the sanskara within the mind do not allow mauna to come to exist. By constantly thinking about something and attaching to something, the mind creates utter confusion in its busyness. Therefore, intentional mauna, which is not only simply refraining from speaking, but also the internal action of quieting the mind, is necessary; and making a habit of that and becoming accustomed to it is important.

Understand that mauna is an intrinsic and natural state. And, mauna creates a sort of meditative state—of thinking about the Truth or God. It may be difficult to bring the activities of the mind to zero, which is complete silence. Until you can do that, fill it with bhakti or words of Truth, and other such things. If you do so, it results in mauna. However, at work or in daily life, the bare minimum words and activity are acceptable.

(Afterwards, the topic shifts to Shri Mahayogi’s student years. Various questions are eagerly asked from the disciples. When Shri Mahayogi was in elementary and junior high school, he was playing innocently with his friends, but around the time of high school, he solved various matters related to Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Truth), which led him to be in the state of complete mauna that not only included simply remaining silent, but also complete mauna in action, even to the point of completely abolishing socializing. Even from the beginning, Shri Mahayogi did not get entangled in various stimulations or temptations in the external world, but as his concentration on Yoga deepened, he naturally went towards being in the state of mauna.) 

(Also, he revealed that for the purpose of not creating any contradictions between the subtle thoughts of the mind and his words, he was consciously executing the act of making himself be in satya (honesty, truth), through and through. If the thoughts of the mind remain undigested, they remain as sanskara. In the case of Shri Mahayogi, thoughts were naturally not based on pain-bearing obstacles, but rather, simple ones such as going for a walk, for example. He said, “By doing that, even slight, mundane thoughts in daily life no longer arise as its result.” Thus, Shri Mahayogi used his own experience to validate the mechanism of the mind and of karma, and understood it.)

Jayadevi: So, the reason why Shri Mahayogi says, “Make your deeds, words, and thoughts one and the same”….

MASTER: Yes. It is not about repeating what I have heard or read elsewhere, but it is through [my own] experience, observing it as the teaching of Truth and telling you about it.

Ms. Wada (Dharmini): When you went for a walk responding to the thought that you wanted to go for a walk, that means you were honest with yourself…

MASTER: Yes. Due to that thought, if I didn’t go, then there would be a contradiction. In other words, this clearly gives a result towards that cause. Then that one matter will pass on by.

Ms. Sahagiro (Satya): Why do mundane thoughts stop arising through doing that?

MASTER: One of the things I learned at that time is that the mind is a thing that makes various thoughts spring forth. [In my case,] there weren’t too many, but still there were some—so [I observed that] the mind is a thing that is constantly and limitlessly active. Conversely, it can be concluded that the mind must stop its activities. Actually that is the great first line of the Yoga Sutra, which I found out about later—“Yoga is the restraint of the activities of the mind”—and it is exactly that; I was convinced of it and understood it to be exactly that.

Ranjani: At that time, Shri Mahayogi, what about things that were not necessarily being done out of wanting to do them, but rather, what about things that you were not wanting to do, or not doing?

MASTER: Yes, yes, these things were there also. When I had these thoughts, I went through the thinking of now, why do I not want to do that?—that is because I think that I dislike it, or that it is not my preference. Then, what causes this differentiation between like and dislike?in analyzing this way, the causes are found to be selfishness or pleasure and so on, and so these need to be eliminated through action.

Ranjani: That means that for whatever things you wanted to stop doing, the absolute necessity of practicing discrimination arose.

MASTER: Indeed, that is exactly so. In the Karma Yoga article (Pranavadipa Vol. 81) in Paramahamsa, Shachi wrote a little bit about an episode from my youth; certainly when I was faced with a situation in which the circumstances required that I participate in business, I had no knowledge about it, and I was at a loss of what to do for not knowing. However, I think the discrimination that I just mentioned was done automatically, and I was able to smoothly perform the tasks I thought I disliked. The experiences that followed in that work were surely tasks I was inept at or full of things that I am not good at, nonetheless I somehow completed them. (laughs)

Ms. Wada (Dharmini): When we think of doing things that we dislike or we’re not good at, it requires a lot of courage.

MASTER: That is not necessarily so if you actually try. At any rate, since no matter who you are, everyone needs to inevitably be involved in an occupation or livelihood, it’s not all that impossible. It is just that the mind may get perplexed about new things or happenings, or hesitate towards areas of inexperience, but even so, you may be able to get on with them unexpectedly well.

With this too, you must not expect dreamy results. You must not optimistically expect anything. Neither need you be pessimistic. This is where the teaching of “Just do what must be done without attaching to the results” comes in.

That is what Krishna implies in the Bhagavad Gita, and it is precisely the very thing that Krishna is teaching.

Salvation of the Soul

(This day, lively questions and answers keep going without interruption. After all attendees have bowed to worship, disciples start to bring up a discussion around the significance of contributions once again. Sanatana says that contributions are the manifestation of the expressions of gratitude from disciples for receiving guidance from the Guru (even without seeing the Guru in person); and that the amount is currently on a sliding scale upon consultation, based on each individual’s financial situation.

Previously, when asked for advice, we learned from Shri Mahayogi that 10% of one’s monthly income should be the ideal for the monthly contribution amount; and that actually, in India, this is customarily practiced towards temples and spiritual organizations. Until now, the contribution amount was based on the will of disciples.

In addition, Sanatana shares an anecdote mentioned by Ramakrishna as follows: There once was someone who visited the Master often. He received teachings and encouragement for spiritual growth, but he did not leave any donation in return. Ramakrishna pointed out that that is not good since it will turn into karma for that person. Sanatana also mentions, “Donations are something that should be practiced from the heart without it needing to be suggested. Therefore, in the process of learning the teaching that we must respect more and more that which is holy, we also have to learn what donation is. And there is also another teaching about how we should not take on the view of thinking about it as a mere principle of exchange.”

Thoughts expressed by the participants include: “It is difficult to explain donations to other people” and “I don’t understand the relationship between Yoga and donations.”

For a while, the discussion amongst the disciples continues. Shri Mahayogi quietly observes it, but suddenly, he begins to speak with a stern expression.)

MASTER: Truth is given to all people, like air, and is open to all—certainly that is true. Yet, on the other hand, it is also true that [one must] practice making contributions to spiritual places.

If that goes in the wrong direction, some places turn it into a money-making scheme by turning into a religious organization—then, that cannot be considered religion at all. Rather, it can be considered a crime.

Anyway, let me share with you stories from two situations I encountered in New York. First was a family group that visited, and I think that the children were still young; there were about two elementary school age children. On the way out, the parents left contributions and taught the children, “Here are your share of contributions. Right now, we, your parents, are practicing it for you, but when you grow up, you must make the contributions yourselves.” Another case, which occurs often, is that in a public Satsangha in New York, a suggested donation is specified. However, from time to time when people ask for a private meeting, the MYM encourages the suggested donation amount that is appropriate [for a private meeting]. Then, there were a few people that said, “Why do I need to pay to hear the Truth?” I usually refuse to meet with people who say such things. Because with some tens of dollars, one can transform his or her soul, yet, if one can’t even understand the practice of that, then such a person does not have bright prospects.

(with a stronger voice) You are embarking on an endeavor where even if you stake your life on it, it may not be enough. Such is Satori—even if you stake your life, you don’t know if you’ll be able to realize It, regardless, you intend to live your life within the faith of Yoga. This is how it is, yet, if you are stingy to part with even a few dollars, that indicates that you are considering the value of your soul to be only at that value. On the other hand, the same persons may spend their entire life savings or spend everything they own, or even go into debt, to follow through with their karma. Isn’t that strange?

The practice of making donations definitely is not wrong at all. This has been a custom in ancient India as well. As mentioned today, in India, it is possible to live naked without a dwelling, and money then just becomes an impediment. However, in Japan or in the USA, it doesn’t work that way. Even to go to the USA, we need to get on an airplane. These are inevitabilities.

However, we (at MYM) have not established a set amount, and we also try to work with each individual situation, exactly as mentioned before by Sanatana. Therefore, frankly ask for advice, or speak to us about your situation.

Shri Mahayogi quietly ends the conversation. Yet after this unusual spirit and the overwhelmingly powerful guidance by the Master, only breathtaking silence remains. Going to proceed towards only Satori by staking one’s entire life, one’s spirit—the level of one’s seriousness for that is truly asked for from everyone there.


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Testimonies from a Practitioner

The Secret of the Upanishads

Dialogue between Yajnavalkya and Maitreyi
Brihadarayanyaka Upanishad—The Fourth Order of Life
[Chapter II, Verse 4]
(Sacred theatrical performance offered at Jayanti, 2004)

by Yogadanda
July 2007, Kyoto, Japan

Yajnavalkya is a charismatic existence in the Upanishads. It was through him that the teaching of Atman, coming from intuitive inspiration up until that time, was inquired into, mastered, and came to be expressed more clearly and vividly. He was wise, and his actions were bold yet free, and at times even humorous. Even before the debate about Brahman began, he tried to come out of it having already won the prize; he utterly refuted each and every esteemed brahmin through debate. (This was what was performed in the theatrical performance during the 2006 Jayanti1.) Then, he declared the meaninglessness of receiving good luck through conducting offertory rituals without knowing Atman. He, who was an authority in the rituals originally, let the shift from the era of Karmakanda (ritualistic division [of the Vedas]) to Jananakanda (wisdom division [of the Vedas]) rest on him—this was his mission.

For the purpose of both furthering Satori towards a more perfect Satori, and for demonstrating It to the world through the way he lived his life, he made a determination to go on a wandering journey, and one day told Maitreyi, his scholarly wife about what was in his heart:


“Maitreyi, I am resolved to renounce the world, to renounce the life of a householder, and to begin a wandering journey. I wish, therefore, to divide my property between you and my other wife, Katyayani.”

“Venerable Sir, if indeed this whole earth belonged to me, with all its wealth—should I through its possession attain immortality?”

“No, you should not. Your life would be like that of the rich. None can possibly hope to attain immortality through wealth.”

“Then what need have I of wealth that would not make me immortal? Tell me, venerable Sir, what you have realized about the way to immortality.”


Maitreyi, who purely sought the Truth alone, did not have the slightest trace of attachment towards wealth, nor the emotions of a wife sending her husband away on a journey. Yajnavalkya was moved by her mind of seeking, which was something he had also had in the past.


“Dear to me have you always been, and now you ask to learn of that truth which is nearest to my heart. I will explain it to you, so listen carefully while meditating to reflect steadfastly on the meaning of my words.

Verily, it is not for the sake of the husband that the husband is dear, but for the sake of Atman that he is dear.

It is not for the sake of the wife that the wife is dear, but for the sake of Atman that she is dear.

It is not for the sake of the children that the children are dear, but for the sake of Atman that they are dear.

It is not for the sake of all things that all things are dear, but for the sake of Atman that all things, [manifest and unmanifest,] are dear.

Maitreyi, Atman is to be heard of, reflected upon, and meditated upon. By the knowing the Atman, one comes to know all in the whole universe.”


When the mind loves various phenomena in the world, that love is limited by various conditions. However, when one’s mind is extinguished, like with Yajnavalkya, and one sees Atman in all and everything, then that love becomes unconditional. The former love changes and ends in suffering, but the latter love is eternal joy. However, the word Atman is still abstract and difficult to grasp. Therefore, one must listen to the words of the Awakened Ones, deeply reflect on them, and meditate upon them.  


“Just as from a fire kindled with wet fuel, various kinds of smoke issue forth; exactly like that, the breath of Atman is all things in this universe.

For example, just as the ocean is the one goal where all waters merge, so the skin is the one goal where all kinds of touch merge, and so the words are the one goal where all knowledge merges. Precisely like that, Atman is the one goal where every being and thing in the universe merges.

Just as a lump of salt dropped into water dissolves into its components, making the water taste only of salt due to its pervasive character and its loss of being a separate entity, its interior and exterior having been dissolved into the water, so does ego-consciousness [or the individual self], which is a lump of pure knowledge, dissolve—and when it dissolves there will neither be inside nor outside. This self [or individuality] arises [as a various separate entity] from various elements, and [this separation is destroyed in] returning and vanishing upon being dissolved into Atman. After attaining this Oneness, ego-consciousness, or individuality is no more.

Maitreyi, this is it, that is what I wanted to tell you.”


Yajnavalkya explains here the condition in which the mind dissolves. For example, when a lump of salt is refined from seawater, it exists as an individual lump, but when it dissolves in water, it no longer has any individuality. Similarly, ego-consciousness is doing the work of recognizing activities through the light of Atman, but as soon as the object of recognition or the act of recognizing is destroyed, then it naturally vanishes and becomes Atman itself.


“Just here you have thrown me into confusion, venerable Sir, by saying that after attaining oneness the consciousness of individuality is no more. I do not quite understand that which is called Atman.

“Certainly I am not saying anything confusing, my beloved; for when there is duality, as it were, then one sees the other, one hears the other, savors the other, and one knows the other. But when [for the illumined soul] all is dissolved into Atman, then through what [instrument] should one see, and through what should one hear, and through what should one savor, and through what should one know? Through what should One know That, owing to which all this is known—through what should one know the Knower [or Subject]?

Atman, is described as “Neti (not this), neti (not this),” it is incomprehensible, for it cannot be comprehended; without decaying, for it never decays; unattached, for it never attaches itself; unbound, for it is never bound.

Maitreyi, this is it that I teach you. This is the truth of immortality.”

Then, Yajnavalkya embarked upon the path of renunciation.


To become Atman, the subject of recognition itself is the answer to immortality that Yajnavalkya concluded. In that, there is neither birth nor death. For example, even if one sees sacred visions or experiences nothingness, as long as one can describe these with words, there is a separation between subject and object, and eventually there is an end. That means, it is not the immortal Atman. Unless names and forms are transcended, Atman cannot be reached.

This was the era when there were no firmly established ways of meditation, and each individual practitioner was seeking and inquiring in their own way. Fervor, to the point of madness, to know solely the Truth, must have driven Yajnavalkya to attain Atman. His explanations may seem to be intellectual and cool at a glance, but nevertheless, it is impossible for mere intellectual inquiry performed on the surface of the mind to destroy the mind itself. As Buddha sat under the Bodhi tree for his last meditation, the level of enthusiasm to dive in with one’s entire body and soul, [to realize the Truth, or Atman], was necessary.

Are only exceptional souls like Buddha and Yajnavalkya equipped with this kind of fervor? It cannot be so. Just like Maitreyi, we, who live in the modern era, thirst for the Truth and knock on the door of Yoga. No one can ever find true peace within something that is not eternal. The rest depends on how much each one of us can heighten this fervor, in other words, how honest and straightforward each one of us can be with our own selves.

When one awakens into Atman, that person will love the entire universe and play freely in this world while living in Eternal Life. Without using words, through action, or through the atmosphere exuded, the Truth is manifested in that person. Such a person is precisely a true brahmin—that is the message of Yajnavalkya.

There is a saying from ancient India—when the lotus flower blossoms, bees naturally gather to it. Shri Mahayogi said, “Because nowadays, in this age, there are too many bees who do not know the fragrant scent of lotus flowers or the beauty of lotus flowers, perhaps, the lotus flower can now move [towards them].” What an enjoyable play will unfold if souls that have awakened themselves like Yajnavalkya, move around freely! I believe that if we continue to walk forward while only seeing the Truth, then it is certain that we will realize It—for we exist for that very reason.

[1] Ceremony in celebration of the holy birth of Shri Mahayogi.



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