Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Satsangha from November 7, 1998, Kyoto
Satsangha from November 14, 1998, Kyoto
Satsangha from November 21, 1998, Kyoto
Satsangha from November 28, 1998, Kyoto
Satsangha from December 12, 1998, Kyoto
Satsangha from December 26, 1998, Kyoto
Testimonies from Actual Practitioners
• 1. The Work of Constructing a Foundation
for the Practice of Meditation
September 26, 2020
• 2. The Meditation of Discrimination
October 3, 2020
* * * * * * * * * *
Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Satsangha from November 7, 1998, Kyoto
1. Learning the Nature of the Mind and Restraining its Activities
for the State of Nothingness to Arise
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): A while back, in Yoga classes elsewhere that I was taking for a little bit, there was a time to meditate after practicing asana; I was told to make my mind be nothingness, but, when my eyes were closed, I kept thinking about so many unnecessary things. Is it possible to really make the mind be nothingness?
MASTER: Yes, you can, however, the nature of the mind is to be active, so to speak. For example, during sleep, while one is dreaming, the mind is extremely active. During deep sleep, when one is not dreaming, the mind is still active in that realm, which is a realm of emptiness or nothingness, like a black hole, so to speak. That is why when one wakes up, one cannot remember that scenery, for the scenery itself was nothingness. Yet, we are able to confirm that we were asleep. In this way, inevitably the mind is never in a state of non-activity, where the mind itself is in a state of nothingness—for the nature of the mind itself is activity. In this way, it is simple to say “make the mind be nothingness,” yet it is quite a difficult thing to do. Unless one kills the nature of the mind, one’s own mind itself, in other words, unless the mind itself stops being active, it will never be nothingness. During deep sleep, the mind is immersed in the state of nothingness, so to speak; therefore, it is not a real [state of] nothingness, the mind is performing the activity of nothingness. You can say that the mind is performing the activity, having the object as nothingness. In Zen or in the teachings of Yoga, it is easily and commonly said to make the mind be nothingness, but that is merely like hypnotism, merely providing relaxation. In order for the mind to truly and naturally become nothingness, then one must kill the activity of the mind itself. The mind, as a physiological entity, is always active. Psychologically, it doesn’t stop being active due to the power of pain-bearing obstacles, ignorance, and ego. Because of that, karma is the concrete cause of these activities. That means all of these things must be eliminated. By making them into nothingness, then the mind itself becomes the state of nothingness for the first time.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Getting to such a state where we are able to do such a thing means we have become free…
MASTER: Yes, that’s right. Because of that, it can be said that a series of practices of Yoga, such as asana, learning and studying the scriptures and meditation, is the most important part. That is how it is. If I speak further, the mind is originally like something transparent; by ego and ignorance just so happening to have been born, inevitably, activities, which are karma, are born. Therefore, if you recognize that mistake, then you can work to weaken and then eliminate the cause. If you do so, karma-based activities will then stop arising.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Is the mind transparent?
MASTER: Originally, it is transparent in and of itself.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Regarding the law of cause and effect, I heard that Yoga is like multiplying karma by zero. Does that mean that the mind does not react?
MASTER: Right, the mind will stop reacting. Reacting—since there is a cause for reactions, the mind reacts. Therefore, if there is no cause in the mind that receives [other causes of reactions], then it will not receive them anymore.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Are the causes desires?
MASTER: Yes. Desires, pain-bearing obstacles, ignorance, ego.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): If one continues to practice Yoga, then are these lessened?
MASTER: Yes, they will be lessened; and since they were brought about due to the error called ignorance, they will disappear. Also, you will work proactively to eliminate those desires, pain-bearing obstacles, ignorance, and ego—since that is the great purpose of Yoga.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Must I turn my desires into zero? Will I never be free unless I eliminate them completely? (Master: Yes.) Not even a little bit?
MASTER: The thing is that, when the word “desire” is used, it is usually used with a negative connotation, so in that way, that is so, [and they must be eliminated completely]; either way, if anything that the mind wishes for is considered a “desire,” there is a difference depending on whether that desire is coming from pain-bearing obstacles or not, in other words, whether that desire is coming from ignorance or selfishness, or whether it is altruistic or not—altruistic desires might not actually be called desires.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): So it’s okay to have altruistic desires?
MASTER: Yes, if it is truly altruistic; if you aren’t being selfish by performing altruistic actions. (smiles)
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): There is a case that even though we may think that it’s an altruistic action, yet, actually it is not…
MASTER: Well, for example, in cases such as when the mind becomes satisfied by it, or it turns into a view of value judgement for the mind, that’s not good. If that happens, then external altruistic actions become selfish actions.
As I mentioned earlier about Yoga, unless the mind is truly pure, a true altruistic action cannot arise. In order to do that—there are four yoga that are referred to—you should make raja yoga, which internally makes the mind transparent and pure, be your foundation, and work to see Atman or God—only the One is Existence, within you and outside of you; if you do so, you can practice karma yoga within that which is One.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Yes.
(Today, the questions have been asked proactively. We, as individuals, have only to follow the teachings of Yoga ourselves, and continue to apply and diligently practice actions based on Yoga.)
Satsangha from November 14, 1998, Kyoto
1. The Secret of Living:
Understanding the Mechanism of the Mind
and the Way of Working to Dismantle It
Mr. Hotta (Sanatana): I sought Shri Mahayogi’s advice before Shri Mahayogi went to New York, but I am thinking again about the book I would like to write. I’d like to write a book that is useful for organizing and preparing one’s own mind, and in this way, I feel that the teachings of raja yoga or Buddha would be useful exactly as they are.
But also, just as Shri Mahyogi mentioned in the book, Pranava Sara, it is not easy to put Buddha’s teachings into practice perfectly and thoroughly, and if that is normally a very difficult path, then I feel that, if I am aiming to write something that is immediately useful and practicable in the modern world, then writing it exactly as is won’t be useful. However, it still might be important to show the path of Truth.
MASTER: Both are essential. So rather than putting one or the other as the theme, since the understandings of readers will be varied, and even if it is the same person, the understanding and recognition will change over time, what is still the most important is the heart of the seeker; you might not abruptly mention anything about the true Self or the Truth, but at least as long as one exists in this world, even when it comes to one’s desires, or even when it comes to one’s own comfortable life, it should be asked, “Is this the Truth?” No matter what situation a person is in, everyone inevitably must feel this unconditionally, and by entering from there, for the first time, one is led to the fork in the road between correct desires—it’s strange to say “correct desires” but—between the quality of pain-bearing obstacles, and the quality of non pain-bearing obstacles. What is important in that moment is the teaching of Buddha and also the psychology of Yoga. By structuring it into three parts: by going through this initial step, then in the end, putting the great root, “Who am I?” or “What is the Truth?”—I think that this is probably the easiest for everyone to understand and the most practical. When you do that, you may sprinkle throughout one of the four yoga, or, of course, the teachings of Buddha. That is just one suggestion for the structure of the book.
Mr. Hotta (Sanatana): No matter who it is, if there are concerns or sufferings, everyone thinks and tries to resolve them; yet, there is a tendency for us to think of what is convenient for our own selves, and to think that we have resolved the issue, and then we have a relapse of the issue [because the root causes were not resolved]. So, I am thinking about providing an opportunity for people to look at themselves objectively; in order to shift their going around in horizontal circles, to going vertically [upwards], providing various empirical examples or a way to do it so that they can transform their consciousness—and have the readers get used to this a bit. I think that if that becomes the main content, then it can be useful as a problem-solver for individual issues.
MASTER: Yes, I think so. The teachings of Buddha and of the Yogi are generally showing concrete examples as ways of customizing [the teachings according to time, place, and the ability and nature of each person receiving the teachings]. So, even though individual issues are various, there are always and surely these vertical suggestions there, guiding vertically [upward] while dealing with the answer to those issues. It would be best if such techniques, in other words, teachings, are expressed.
Mr. Hotta (Sanatana): Then, in that aspect, I think that if we refer to it in the way of Yoga, it would be about discrimination, renunciation and detachment; but I wonder if it would be best to say these straightforwardly and not hold back. I initially thought that since discrimination does not require faith or the need to believe, it was something that one can proceed in if one is able to think calmly, but nowadays, I am starting to think that that may not be the case. I suppose that if people are truly suffering or in trouble, then they ought to proceed to detachment, but I think that if the suffering is not so severe, then it is difficult to put detachment from desires into action. If the time has not yet quite come for all of these people to discriminate and renounce, then most of the people will not fall into this category, and so I started to feel that, in that case, the content of the book will not be useful for many.
MASTER: Well, that is why that ultimate question must be given there as the core always; or it needs to be shown from time to time. That is why, unless issues are always dealt with in line with these foundations, then they will remain in limbo or in dimness, as mentioned earlier.
Mr. Hotta (Sanatana): I feel that karma yoga and bhakti yoga have much more additive aspects, not just subtractive aspects, such as discrimination and renunciation.
MASTER: You can bring them as concrete, actual examples; that can be said of karma yoga, bhakti yoga, or of course, of meditation and asana. These are means to an end—actual examples are basically a means to an end too, but for the aim, these means are also necessary. Furthermore, it will be good if, while making sure the aim is firm, the means can be expressed dynamically, as actual examples.
Mr. Hotta (Sanatana): So, let’s say I show a few actual examples. Then, I think that the way of thinking itself will begin to align with the Truth. Then ultimately, how should I handle the part about asking who the self is that wants to renounce that suffering…?
MASTER: Well, that is why, there too, it leads to the question of who is suffering, what is suffering, and, the protagonist of suffering and the substance of suffering itself comes to be revealed. Then, it finally boils down to “Who am I?” “What is the true I?”
Mr. Hotta (Sanatana): When it comes to that, not only with regard to the content of the book, but I myself too am not that different that I may say I am discriminating the branch and cutting it off; but it seems to me that, in the end, branches grow from a branch and I keep cutting the growing branches; so ultimately, unless I cut the original branch too there is not much change, since it only keeps growing. In this case, perhaps we must discriminate on what discrimination is, or some kind of a shift might be needed.
MASTER: Another thing can be—the Buddha’s way of thinking, the Twelve Dependent Originations, which you have been writing about in a series of articles for Paramahamsa; the current article is about love, or trishna (cravings). (Sanatana: Yes, it is.) This too, is not an exception, but everything has a starting point in upadi, which are conditions, in having conditions attached to something. No matter what it is, as soon as a condition of a possessor is formed, attachment arises towards what is being possessed, and a relationship of possession is formed. Regardless of what it is, this structure, the psychological structure, is all this way. Therefore, that suffering or struggle mentioned earlier, too, and even if it’s joy, if they all have a conditional cause behind them, they are not perfect. They are still within the realm of the mind; because conditions are simply a sort of cause created from various experiences of individuals. Even between siblings or between friends, everyone has different personalities. The reason why everyone’s likes and dislikes are different, of course, is due to differences in sanskara, because these sanskara themselves were formed within the realm of individual experiences. Philosophically, these are expressed as conditions. Therefore, the way of thinking that was written in the article this time and the way of thinking in raja yoga are very similar, or rather, they have discovered exactly the same thing. Of course, this mechanism, or in other words, discriminating the act of discrimination as you just mentioned will come to be practiced as well.
You can say that because of the mechanism or the structure of cause and effect, these causal relationships arise. Namely, the mechanism is ego and ignorance—that is the original, great primal cause. So then that means that since at the starting point of the function of the mechanism itself there is an error, which is even referred to as ignorance, one must dismantle it. Or, unless one understands this correctly, one will end up continuing to prune the branches forever.
Chetaka: That means, it’s useless just to keep saying “this is impermanent because it is conditional.”
MASTER: Right, this must be done thoroughly, it is to make its substance come to the surface, and burn it off.
Chetaka: Surface it and burn it off…
MASTER: Burn it off. That is, to eliminate it.
Mr. Hotta (Sanatana): I think that in everyday meditation, if I recognize that there are some specific issues or some lingering things or attachments within me, then it’s best to pursue them and bring them to “who is having these issues,” and when the issues are concrete, the power of concentration is there. When there are no issues—well such cases are temporary—as for the thinking I do in these times, compared to that of the times when I am suffering for some concrete issue, the power of the concentration is weak, or the way of thinking is shallow. Even so, it seems silly to intentionally go look for issues and solve them, since it just increases the amount of thoughts; yet, if I’m just being absent minded, then nothing progresses. I suppose that precisely during such times, I should truly inquire, “Who am I?”; nonetheless, in such times, concentration is not there. When we are not especially aware that we are in suffering in everyday life, what should we do? I feel that there is seemingly a contradiction between not thinking about much, and on the other hand, thinking seriously and wholeheartedly about the ultimate “Who am I?”.
MASTER: As long as the mind is still sympathetic to relative conditions, there are waves similar to nature, where it follows a type of biorhythm. Therefore it is impossible to continuously maintain a single intense concentration, nor is it possible to maintain an opposite condition. Simply said, it comes down to whether all and everything has been renounced or not. Renunciation here means discriminating and renouncing, so under this understanding, whether you have discriminated and renounced them or not, or, whether you are truly in a state of peace of mind—peace means there are no longer any worries, troubles or sufferings at all, and this can only be said because everything has already been renounced—and if you can be immersed in that, then there won’t be any confusions. However, if the biorhythms arise from time to time, then you must make the discrimination and renunciation I just mentioned, be through and through. One other thing, with extreme intensity and force, you must bring yourself to concentrate on the realization of the Truth; then eliminate that ebb and flow of the biorhythm, and from there you must bring yourself to create a state of ekagrata (single-pointed concentration)—because survival, which is living itself, comes with instability.
Mr. Hotta (Sanatana): So, that means that I must create a habit of concentrating as much as possible, even if there are no issues I’m struggling much with.
MASTER: You must do that.
Mr. Hotta (Sanatana): Even if I think my concentration is not strong, is it better that I practice concentration using the phrase “Who am I?” and such words as clues?
MASTER: You should. You must do that. In the current Pranavasara (Satsangha) series of articles (in Paramahamsa magazine), there is a part written where, in response to a question, I answered that there are five states of the mind. I think that this is truly a tremendous psychological discovery by the yogi; the first three are scattered states of the mind, the other two are one-pointed states, and restrained, in which it can be said that these are the psychological states of a yogi, and one should not let them be temporary or passing. This [latter] state means that it is not about concentrating just within the time frame of meditation out of the 24 hour day, but it means that you make yourself be in a completely devoted state for the whole 24 hours, or in the state of concentration. In bhakti, it is relatively easier for this state to be created; since the object of bhakti is continuously there, you completely forget everything else and the state in which you are concentrated only on that is created. The same can be said of jnana yoga and raja yoga; the state of concentration in the inquiry or discrimination is there. These are not partial or time-based meditations, but they lead one to enter into a constant state of meditation. In this way, this is truly, literally, the way it is, that it is to enter into the entire state of concentration with all of your body and soul. Even then, it should not interfere with using the body for activities of daily living. You should be able to perform these without being affected at all.
Mr. Hotta (Sanatana): My commute to school on the train takes four hours round trip. I spend the time on the train, in good amounts, absent mindedly, neither meditating nor reading. Even so, it seems strange to specifically look for objects of discrimination. When there are things to think about, I do think about them no matter what situation I’m in. During these times, is it better if I consciously think about the subject, the Self?
MASTER: You don’t want to waste these two hours. If possible, it would be better, if perhaps you plan concretely about the writing you just mentioned—of course, the writing itself can only be expressed for the first time if you meditate on it, so then you will have to meditate on it proactively; and it’s better to use your time for such things.
Satsangha from November 21, 1998, Kyoto
1. All Practices are Means to an End: Asana
After a while, Shri Mahayogi asks how Kinkala is doing, and he responds happily speaking about his new job and his own sadhana. One year has passed since disciples have started to conduct the classes. Ms. Shibasaki, who has been attending classes since that time has begun to practice sirsasana (headstand).
Sananda: As we practice meditation, bhakti yoga or karma yoga and such, the prana itself may be transforming; in this case, if the prana transforms, then asana may no longer be necessary to practice for it has served its purpose; but will the quality of asana itself change as well? That is to say, originally, there is a progression of steps such as asana, pranayama and meditation, but is there then a counterproductive effect in asana [at some point]?
MASTER: It is very difficult to tell you at which point that occurs; but when you practice asana as your main practice in the introductory period of Yoga, asana still has the quality of sattva compared to other things and activities. Because of that, the qualities of tamas or rajas, conditioned to be as the norm, start to gradually become the quality of sattva. However, as karma yoga or bhakti or meditation deepen accordingly, relatively speaking, asana then becomes more the quality of rajas in comparison. In this sense, asana could rather disturb prana.
Asana is something that seeks psychological transformation, through mainly handling the body and changing the breathing. Regarding meditation, as its own result, the quality of sattva, in terms of the psychological, is brought to the mind; so compared to that, at the level of the physical body, the physical body itself is the quality of tamas, and moving that physical body makes it become the quality of rajas. So these qualities are getting reversed.
Sananda: So then, if meditation and other practices advance and deepen, then asana itself can work in a negative aspect…
MASTER: It becomes negative. Frankly speaking, it can become negative.
Sananda: In this case, does that mean that it’s best not to continue asana at that point?
MASTER: Better not to practice it.
Ramakrishna clearly declared that “There is no need to do hatha yoga.” Of course, he said it after having experienced it himself; and it is based on the premise [that it is unnecessary] when it comes to bhakti and the actual Realization of Yoga—that can be said.
Right now, we are only introducing asana as a preparatory step to raise up to intense, pure bhakti, such as that taught by Ramakrishna himself; so just like a ladder, once the purpose of the step is completed, then you can say that it’s no longer needed.
In the same way as Ramakrishna, since I did not begin Yoga because of an illness, I was healthy to begin with and had a very vigorous body and lively mind, so I began and did Yoga beyond such purposes. [That was my case,] but, in the so-called “yoga” of today’s world, there are many who have started due to illnesses, and I often see the case that because they were able to overcome their conditions through practicing asana, they become attached to and bound by practicing asana for the rest of their lives; it looks like they lost Yoga.
Furthermore, even the study of scriptures and meditation are a means to an end. It may sound a bit blunt, but the Pure Consciousness, in other words, Satori Itself, already exists within everyone, right now, and that is the Truth. Therefore, you must finish with these means as soon as possible.
Sananda: Sometimes, for example, by reading a book of Vivekananda, the mind intellectually understands it, and by thinking about it, the mind is disturbed. Lately, there is no [feeling that my meditation] is deepened by reading something; in which case, is there no need to force myself to read, and is it better for me to meditate much further?
MASTER: For the rest, these will be digested in meditation and actions.
Certainly, the speeches and preaching of Vivekananda are full of extreme power, and the heat coming from him, which inspires others greatly, is extremely high. So, there is a case in which that can become a big stimulus; that is how the intellect is. Intellect tends to feel an impact from passion and power. Therefore, in renouncing the intellect, the intuition within meditation and within actions opens up the path ahead.
Therefore, when you read a book, when you familiarize yourself with such words of Vivekananda, since you probably already have intellectually understood the gist of Vivekananda’s preaching, you must try to feel his heart, something much deeper in the depth of his soul. As I always say, feel his body heat, feel his breath—it’s a physiological expression, but these are hints for entering into him. Words are such that once they come out of the mouth, they may become imprinted, already losing the body heat. So familiarize yourself in such a way; [in your case,] you don’t need to think forcefully to make yourself read.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): I have heard that the nature of the mind is for it to be constantly moving around; so for example, even if I wanted to spend my life calmly, and simply, it’s probably impossible if the mind is cluttered. In that case, is it best just to act from regarding the mind to be something that is always moving, or is it necessary to make an effort to not let the mind become cluttered, as well?
MASTER: Both are necessary; and what is most important is that it is required to have thoroughly understood that your Self is not the mind. It is not so easy to recognize this unless you are practicing Yoga, but as mentioned now, the mind has the nature of moving constantly, therefore you become entangled in it and go hither and thither; you yourself get dragged down with the condition of the mind—when things are going well, the mind gets elated, and when things aren’t, it gets depressed. But then, what is that true Self? The conditions change and you are given various experiences through changing conditions, yet, is that the Self? It is referred to as Atman and the true Self—but the real Self, the Real “I,” is the Existence, Consciousness, that simply witnesses, and knows the experiences of the world. The current situation, whether it be good or bad, is the result of products created by combining various conditions; therefore, as long as you identify the “I” as the subject of that experience, that is, as long as you identify with the mind, it is as if you’re wandering within a labyrinth.
Therefore, if you are able to have disconnected the self from the experiences of the mind, then even if the mind is responding to situations in the world, you are no longer getting caught up in them. That is the state of stillness, and the immovable mind arises; having an immovable mind is not about having a mind that’s numb like a stone, as if it were dead, but rather, it is about having a mind that is not shaken or affected by anything.
In the true sense, unless you have an immovable mind, one truly is not able to handle the petty matters of various experiences of the world in daily life. If the mind is immovable, then while you let the mind move according to its nature, handling various matters, you are able to sustain a state of stillness at the essential level.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): That means that we can be involved, yet we must not be attached.
MASTER: Right, do not become entangled in [anything].
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): That’s a bit too difficult for me right now, in this case, for example, in the case where I know in advance that I’ll be entangled or I’ll be very disturbed by a particular situation, is it necessary to not physically approach that situation, is it necessary to keep my distance?
MASTER: There are cases where or when you can keep your distance. Then, if you look at what would be the fundamental solution, then you’ll see that actually distance doesn’t matter. You must be able to recognize that that issue arose within your own mind, therefore, you ought to be able to find the cause that created the issue within yourself. You will recognize that, “Things have to be this way or that way”—the thoughts that your own mind made up, or the way of your own mind’s thinking become the cause, which is, the condition, and then because of that you have invited the result, “I cannot let this go, this is a big issue.”
In this way, no matter how cruel or difficult and painful the situation is, the answer is always within, that is, always within your mind. If the mind does not respond or if the activities of the mind are restrained—in the Yoga Sutra the word used is “restrained”—then there won’t be any issues whatsoever.
There may have been an article about this in Paramahamsa magazine; the body complains about some abnormality, which is the body complaining about some kind of presence, often times it complains about an abnormality such as tiredness, or illness. When the body is really healthy and comfortable, it does not say anything. Like nothingness, as if the mind might have forgotten about the body. The mind is the same way; the condition in which the mind is being truly healthy and comfortable, is as if the mind doesn’t exist, and if the mind complains about something, then there is some kind of an abnormality there. You will become able to understand that abnormality as an illness that is out of tune with the original essence. In this way, by shifting your thinking and introspecting within your mind, you ought to be able to find that the cause of the issue is within you, and find, so to speak, some sort of preconceived ideas there.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Yes.
MASTER: Ok, so let’s try sirsasana.
(Shri Mahayogi begins to instruct sirsasana to Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti). When Shri Mahayogi demonstrates, everyone is captivated by the sight and forgets to pay attention to the important points of the instruction of this asana. That is how splendid and powerful Shri Mahayogi’s asana is. In Japan, it has become so rare that Shri Mahayogi directly instructs asana. The instruction of asana has become the work and responsibility that disciples take on.)
Satsangha from November 28, 1998, Kyoto
1. The Way of Weakening Attachment and
the Meaning of Self-Sacrifice
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Shri Mahayogi often says that it’s fine to do things we want to do but not be attached to them. What are the criteria? In other words, isn’t wanting to do something itself considered to be an attachment?
MASTER: It is considered to be an attachment.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Hmm (laughs). If I do something I want to do, then I get so entangled in emotions. I have always been this way, but I tend to worry a lot about where the line of attachment is. To do what I want…it sounds strange to ask if it is okay to do that, but, is it okay to do what I want to do?
MASTER: Without being attached.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Does non-attachment mean that I eliminate even the want to do something?
MASTER: That’s right.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Then, can it be said to be a given that I will always become entangled in emotions, when I do what I want to do?
MASTER: On the contrary, when you do what you want to do in Yoga, or what you think you want to do in Yoga, the power of attachment is coming under control. So even if you act on whatever you want to do, the power of internal attachment is fading; and that is what you must make happen. In other words: “Do not do what you want to do, if you do so, then you will be able to do what you want to do.” This says the same thing.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): It is the same?
MASTER: Yes, it has the same meaning.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Is it right to say that included in the meaning is that even if I want to do something, but I don’t do it, then even though the action may not be taken, if I keep thinking about it, then it is still an attachment, right?
MASTER: Right. Therefore, the words, “if you do so” imply the passage of time. “If you do so, you can do what you want to do”—at that time, the power of attachment is not there anymore, so you can do it without attachment, once you get the secret of it or understand it. And also, as you gain in faith towards Yoga and gain in strength, then you can do things you used to think you wanted to do or that you used to have an attachment towards, but without being attached—[if you have practiced not doing what you want to do] then, you will come to be able to perform things at once without attachment [as they occur].
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Then, at my current stage, for example, is it better for me to not do what I think I want to do…?
MASTER: If you cannot do things without attachment, then don’t do them. Then you’ll be able to do them. (laughs)
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): I understand.
The words “self-sacrifice” often appear in the teaching of Yoga. Will you please teach me about it?
MASTER: Well, as long as there is ego and ignorance, we sacrifice others while living in this world. Looking after one’s own benefit while sacrificing others for one’s own sake is the general way of being [in the world]. As I mentioned now, this is compelled by ego and ignorance; ignorance is totally unfazed by hurting others, or compelling others to sacrifice. However, as one deepens the practice and state of Yoga, then one will be able to sacrifice one’s own body and mind, rather than others, for the sake of others. In truth, as long as you’re saying “I will sacrifice myself,” or “I sacrifice myself,” you may not be able to self-sacrifice in the true sense yet, and it may still be in the midst of training. Once the state of Yoga has been completed, then you will come to act only for the sake of others, quite naturally, without having any thought about it at all. It’s not something that comes from theory, but for that doer, since ego or ignorance are already gone, even though the appearances and forms of all things may look varied, at the same time, the doer sees that there is only One—only That Exists. That is how what must be done is performed naturally according to the respective forms.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Is that kind of feeling something that arises naturally as one deepens Yoga?
MASTER: Yes. Yoga teaches that very directly as karma yoga, and also it is the Realization of seeing God in everything from bhakti yoga—“All things are the manifestation of God itself”; even though the word love is not necessarily mentioned like in Christianity—there is a famous phrase, “Love thy neighbor”—that is how one transforms, as a character, as an Existence.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): One comes to be Love…
MASTER: (smiling) One becomes Love itself.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): I am not being particularly useful to others, I am just working normally, like everyone else, eating, sleeping, doing asana—as such, I am just enjoying in a way. Even though I am doing things like this, will It naturally begin to grow?
MASTER: It will naturally begin to grow. Rather than beginning to grow, the truth is that It is within you, It already exists—it is more correct to say that the latter is emerging more and becoming more predominate.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): In Karma Yoga, [the collection of lectures by Swami Vivekananda,] it is written that we should serve the poorest people. By poorest, does it mean financially? I suppose that if it is in India, there may be many who are in abject poverty, but in Japan, does it refer to people like the homeless, or does it refer to people who are ill, or mentally ill? What is meant by “the poorest”?
MASTER: Well, I think that poverty is various according to the situation. Japan is certainly a fortunately wealthy country, compared to India, and it appears to be the case that there are no physical manifestations of poverty such as starvation, at a glance; however, there are many who are suffering from illness. There are cases of suffering and poverty from various inequities and discrimination—there is discrimination in many different ways. And although these are at a different level, there is intellectual poverty, and there is spiritual poverty as well. To give what is needed according to the respective poverty is the teaching of karma yoga; now, at a concrete level, rather than the spiritual level, how many people there are in Japan suffering from illness, poverty, starvation and discrimination, is not easy to know since it is not as obvious as in India, but I think that work in these areas is needed.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): At a material level…
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): There are people who are happy even though relatively poor.
MASTER: Right. The poverty in India is almost to the limit of death, which is the condition of being at the most critical edge of a cliff. We grow up and live in an island country called Japan, however, these works are accepted, not only in Japan, but also in India, Africa, the USA, and anywhere—and that is what ought to be practiced.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Going back to the emotions I asked about earlier, for example, when the emotion of anger arises, at times, I am not sure what that emotion is. For example, tears come out often, but I’m not sure if I’m crying because I’m sad, or I’m angry, or I’m jealous. Is it necessary to analyze what that emotion is?
MASTER: Yes, it is necessary.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): What should I do to know it?
MASTER: Tears are a result, aren’t they? Since results always must have a cause, by introspecting within the mind, which eventually leads to meditation, you should work to fathom within your mind what it is you are sad about, what’s irritating you, or what’s making you happy.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): I am aware that that emotion is, for example, something that belongs in the category of anger, or sadness—not a good emotion, but do I really need to know what exactly it belongs to?
MASTER: The fact that you have a thought, which you think is not good, is itself an indication that it needs to be removed. In order to do that, you must talk to your mind itself very clearly about the anger, which is a more concrete [emotion]—the cause that produces the anger, in which ego works greatly to produce it.
Ms. Shibasaki Yukti): (interrupting) Talk to my mind?
MASTER: Talk to your mind. You educate your mind and make the mind acknowledge that: “Here’s the cause of it; the power that can get me in bad trouble is still deep within the mind. So let’s make sure such foolish thoughts never arise again.” You can train your mind in such way.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Is it like, if I continue to train that way continuously, then even if I can’t do it at first, the ego will lessen?
MASTER: It will lessen; as you just mentioned, you already know that it’s not good; and everyone ought to want for themselves to be good. That is why it is very important to stay in communion with scriptures and holy comrades. By doing that, the bad things will keep shrinking.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): If I can do that, then even if I am relating to people, I can deal with that without attachment…
MASTER: That’s right, yes. You ought to be able to have much better communication.
Satsangha from December 12, 1998, Kyoto
1. “Whoever Loses his Life for My Sake
[and the Gospel’s Sake]
Will Find It”
There was another staff meeting held about Paramahamsa just before the start of Satsangha this week. After that, the Mission’s original 1999 calendar, which has just been completed, is finally introduced.
Shri Mahayogi looks at each page carefully for a while, and then speaks to Ms. Shibasaki, whose gaze is captivated by the calendar.
MASTER: Are the quotes in the calendar difficult to understand?
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Oh, the quotes? I don’t understand much. On the month with the portrait of Christ, it says, “For whoever wants to save their life will destroy it,” but what is destroyed here?
(The March and April calendar page has the portrait of Christ, and it has the following teaching1:
If anyone wants to come after Me,
he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for My sake [and the Gospel’s sake] will find it.)
MASTER: This is referring to one’s life.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Life? You mean this body that is living?
MASTER: Yes… (reconfirming the words in the calendar) That is right. It is referring to this physical body or the life that is in the material world. Therefore, it refers to the mind.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): The mind…… Does the earlier phrase, “deny himself” mean one denies one’s own self?
MASTER: Right. It is to deny the realm of the mind based on the ego.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Do we have to deny ourselves when seeking God?
MASTER: The “self” mentioned here—what is really the true self? (pointing to the 1998 calendar on the wall, with the words of Ramana Maharishi) As it says over there, “Who am I?”—that is the point of this. Everyone thinks the self is what exists in the realm of the mind, or the mind itself; so everyone tries to save it; the one who believes the world of the mind and the mind are the only things that truly exist and [therefore] want to enrich it, end up destroying or losing it despite themselves. Therefore, if you truly have faith and want to follow the Truth, then you must deny the incorrect mind and the ego itself, and then “follow Him”—that is the message, or rather, the teaching. Lastly, “whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel’s sake will find It,” implying “True Life,” “Eternal Life” and the “true Self.”
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): It says, “for My sake and the Gospel’s sake,” is Christ considered to be God?
MASTER: Yes. The “I” here is not like the human individual, or the relative individual, but God as the Universal Consciousness.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): The word “gospel” is referring to the teachings of Christ, isn’t it? Then, if it’s applied to Yoga, is it the teachings of Yoga?
MASTER: Right. And, the teachings of Yoga, those of the Truth, these teachings of Jesus, and the teachings of Buddha do not contradict one another at all, and it can be said that they’re truly the same, exactly the same. However, Buddha and Jesus both taught using the method of customizing the teachings according to time, place, and the ability and nature of each person receiving the teaching, so in this aspect, within the wide interpretation of the word “gospel,” the various facets of these individualized teachings can be found.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Yes. Is it okay to consider all these beings in the calendar to be God?
MASTER: Yes. (Looking at Mr. Hotta [Sanatana]) That is the concept, right? (laughs)
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Is the reason why God appears as a human in order to save the seekers?
MASTER: Yes, it can be said that not only seekers, but all and everything in the universe.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): To save all things in the universe.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Does “all things” include (pointing at objects in the room) these regular objects….
MASTER: Including nature, from the smallest of animals to the plants.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Does it mean that even plants are seeking the path?
MASTER: One way of viewing it is that plants reincarnate into animals, then animals reincarnate into humans, then humans reincarnate into celestials or gods, or that which corresponds to one step before God. And, there is also a way of viewing in which one step before God is considered as that of reincarnating as God, [which means as the Avatara].
Simply put, everything in the universe existing as the universe itself, already [indicates] that that is where salvation comes into effect. Humans are especially struggling and suffering, and at the same time, [only] humans can awaken to God-consciousness, so the salvation of humanity is probably the biggest factor in it.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): At this present moment, I cannot see that God abides in all things, but when I realize Satori, then they will be seen that way regardless?
MASTER: God has neither form nor can it be seen, but you can know it as God.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): What do you mean to “know” it? Is it like we sense it in our very bones…?
MASTER: Understanding intellectually can be “knowing,” but “knowing” sensually is also that you recognize it beyond simply using reasoning. This is still one of the activities of the mind, but when one transcends that, and there is no thought or intention, and no longer even a mention about “that is God” or “that is not God,” that is probably when one comes to really “know” God. Therefore, “the knower,” “that which is known” and “the act of knowing”—the intellect, the senses, as just mentioned, or intuition; these various actions and means themselves become one, or rather, I should say their separation ends, and simply what exists is the only One Existence; that is why no words can arise at all beyond that. When one becomes empty, nothingness is the true Satori. But until that point, one must learn the Truth, by intellect, by senses, by intuition, and come to arrive at and realize It. More than anything, your own true Nature, true Essence is where Satori lies, the Truth.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): This is the part…this appears when the mind has completely restrained the activities of the mind-stuff…
MASTER: Right. That, which already exists, emerges.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): We already have it dwelling within us since we were born…
MASTER: Yes, everyone. As everyone’s essence, and the essence of all things, It exists. It is simply that, as if there were something like (pointing at the desk lamp) a lampshade obstructing it a bit.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Is maya something that covers things up?
MASTER: Right. It is the word that is used for that meaning.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Is maya the mind?
MASTER: It is the mind, it is also the activity of the mind itself, and nature, as well; because these are all recognized by the mind, maya can be said to be the mind.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): For example, let’s say that there is money, is the desire of wanting that money considered to be maya?
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): [Maya is] not the money itself?
MASTER: In the original sense, it is not.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Then, does this mean that when that mind is restrained, maya disappears?
MASTER: Right. Therefore, you can understand maya as the workings that cover the Truth. That’s why you work to make your mind not have such activities—because they make maya bigger by collaborating with both internal and external stimulation together—that is the reason we have all the various spiritual learning and practices that lead towards Satori.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): With regard to stimuli, is it best to keep away from it if it is possible, to be physically separate from stimuli?
MASTER: If the mind is strong, or rather I should say, the mind has been getting trained, then it may not feel stimulus as stimulus; but if you receive it as a stimulus, then if you separate from it as much as possible, then you will come to not be affected by it.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): For example, when I am being social or meeting with others, I get a lot of stimuli, would it be better to make for more time alone in daily life?
MASTER: It is better to do that. To address another point, can everything be solved merely by being alone without seeing anyone, for example, in a deserted island or in a forest?—that is a bit of a stretch in logic, too; since it can be understood that no matter where you go, that person and the world are within the mind, it’s best to work to lessen stimuli, but at the same time it is also important to establish a mind that does not succumb to it. If you eliminate your own interest towards the stimuli—because the stimuli is like a magnet and you have something that attracts the stimuli, the stimuli is drawn toward you, but—if you heighten the power of repulsion, the opposing magnetic force, then even if the object of attraction comes in front of your eyes, it won’t attach and will move away. That reverse magnetism is the outcome being cultivated through your current practice, and also, it can be born out of faith.
 Matthew 16:24-25
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): What is faith? I don’t understand it very well; so I don’t understand how that faith is born.
MASTER: The lowest level is, let’s say, when one is in a bind and asks for favors from God—various forms are included in this type and they are one aspect of faith—but the true sense of faith is not such types of things. Faith is not logical, it is unconditional—the two characters that make up the [Japanese] word for faith, are “believe” and “respect; seek for; leave to; depend on”—faith implies such an attitude of mind towards the Truth, it is the reverence towards the Truth or God; admiration and love are important, and there is a wish and desire to become closer and to become one with God—everything of longing and admiration is all there is. That will become naturally evident and will manifest.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Is it something we can recognize by ourselves?
MASTER: Yes, there will be a time when you yourself, too, will understand it. Even without knowing the reason, something good, a sensation will come when your mind thinks of the word “God” or of the word “Truth,” or even to think about these beings in the calendar. That is the beginning of faith.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): So I just need to think about these Awakened Beings in my mind?
MASTER: Yes. They are symbolic existences; they are concrete, yet at the same time symbolic existences; because we are all manifestations of God. They were aware of It. That is to say, awareness here means that they knew what the Truth was and they also knew what it was not. Most human beings still don’t even know clearly what that is. The difference is only that. You see the difference only while you say you don’t understand. When you understand, you’ll see that everyone is the manifestation of the One, God itself. There is no difference whatsoever in It; Him, I, you, everyone, too. That is the Eternal Life—the life of the true Self in the sacred quote of Christ in the calendar.
(Silence ensues. Everyone has their eyes closed, meditating, except for Ms. Shibasaki who is asking questions. Concentrating on Shri Mahayogi’s voice, gently and slowly speaking…)
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Even after death, will attachments follow us?
MASTER: If the mind holds those thoughts about it before you die, it will follow you around.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): It follows me after death; and I bring it back when reincarnating…
MASTER: Yes, these attachments determine your future incarnation.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Does that mean the attachments right before death?
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Will they follow us around, regardless of the size of the attachments, even if very small?
MASTER: Yes, they will follow you around. (silence)
Our true Self has various names, like God-Consciousness and Soul, but it is something that cannot be named. We use these words only as a matter of convenience, but it is something that is pure and does not have any desires at all—therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to cause attachment. From the beginning to the end, what gets attached?—the mind that is as if it is enveloping that pure Existence causes attachment. If there is a desire, then the result is wanted, and by attaching to various things, the mind experiences various emotional ups and downs in the experience called life. The point is, when it comes to these emotions, by validating whether the mind, who is the one tasting these ups and downs, is the Truth or not; by validating whether or not that mind is eternal, absolute, and perfect, you will see that it’s not. That realization is called Satori.
In the calendar, Buddha says, “All the desires that arise inwardly, let him learn to subdue them, always being thoughtful. Let him learn every Dharma inwardly or outwardly.” The word “Dharma” (Truth) here indicates that one must realize this Truth that was mentioned. By doing that, the mind who has been the false protagonist will disappear like mist, since it was imaginary to begin with.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): There are so many impressions I’ve put within myself, so with regard to going through them to discern whether they’re the Truth or not, and know their truth, if I need to do that one by one, I feel like it requires enormous amounts of time and energy.
MASTER: The attachments and impressions that have risen to the surface of the mind can be eliminated through meditation, by discriminating whether they’re the Truth or not, as mentioned now. Even so, there may still be unimaginable amounts in the subconscious. Digging them up is quite a difficult thing to do. The best way, and you can understand that they are burned or imprinted onto a film called the mind, is rather than dealing with all individual impressions, you eliminate the mind itself, which is their base, their foundation. For this, you must learn how the mind was constructed and what the nature of the mind is, at the same time, you must also learn the Truth, which is not the mind. By doing that, gradually, you’ll come to see that the mind itself, which seems as if it forms into individual personalities, characteristics and nature, is simply formed based on the causal relation between ego, past desires and attachments. Now, the keys here are the big factors, which are the driving force that moves these things, and they are referred to as pain-bearing obstacles and ignorance. If you can understand this, and realize it firmly and thoroughly through meditation, then ego, ignorance, and pain-bearing obstacles will gradually weaken and disappear, including these impressions from the past.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Will they all turn into zero again?
MASTER: They will.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): So we will not react even if we see the triggering objects?
MASTER: You will come to not react. The mind has such a nature, even as its norm. For example, if it happens that something you liked and were very attached to ten years ago appears in front of your eyes now, you may not have any interest in it. This is the mind itself exposing the fact that the mind is always changing, it is ambiguous and completely undependable, (laughs) unreliable, and it is not Eternal, not the Truth. But as long as you believe that you are the mind, or are entangled in the mind, because the mind keeps getting interested in many things, one thing after another, it looks like it is continuous, and that is all. The important power that is working here is the mind that is constantly seeking pleasure and enjoyment; these are its motives. That is why it happens that ten years ago, something was likable and pleasant to you, to your mind, however now, something different gives you more pleasure, so you are no longer interested in that something from ten years ago. However, the pleasure from this realm of experience has as its opposite, suffering, too, which inevitably follows you around like light and shadow. So then, if you ask whether there is such a thing as perfect pleasure without suffering, or whether it can be sought after, anyone, if you have experienced life a bit, can conclude that there is no such thing; even so, people continue to seek this without tiring and act on it. That is ignorance—to seek the eternal in something that is not the Truth; losing sight of the true Self, and pretending the Self is something else, that is, believing that the pleasures in that experience are the Self. You must get rid of all of such mistakes, all ignorance. That is why, take happiness in this world or take anything, it doesn’t matter what it is, it is important to strictly observe it by yourself from the realm of experience in this way, whether it is true or not; true means it is unchanging, never disappearing. If you do so, as the result, the real Self will awaken in the end. There are phrases like “the mind disappears” or “the mind is restrained or controlled,” but the mind may strongly resist these expressions or even reject them. That is because the mind does not know what the Truth is, so it fears it.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): The mind fears the Truth…but, for example, thinking that if I keep practicing Yoga, I might come to understand that the Truth is also the mind, isn’t that so?
MASTER: Yes, that is the positive activity of the mind, the power of the activity that stands up against that fear; so you work to make that bigger and bigger. Pronouncing to the mind immediately that the mind itself must disappear, is like the mind is being sentenced to death, so the mind won’t be persuaded by it so easily; therefore it may take some time to make the mind able to accept that. To do that, there is nothing else but for the mind to keep learning the Truth and to keep training. If the mind does that, the mind will not receive various impressions and their results, and the mind is liberated. The mind becomes free.
(Shri Mahayogi picks up the calendar) The words featured here have been carefully examined and selected by Mr. Hotta [Sanatana], so each and every quote has very deep and significant meaning. Beautifully done; of course, Dayamati’s drawings and Shaci’s design are all wonderful, (joyfully looking at the calendar) don’t you agree?
(Indeed, all have really done such great work, however, behind it all, there is always the supervision and enormous support of Shri Mahayogi, who is tenderly watching over all aspects. We are learning about God’s work directly from God, and are given these works directly from God. Everything is within grace and all for that which is One.)
Satsangha from December 26, 1998, Kyoto
1. The Workings of the Guna
For the last Satsangha of the year, Chetaka shows up with his head shaven, expressing his resolution to live as a sannyasin. Beforehand, there was a staff meeting for next month’s issue of Paramahamsa No. 11. This issue has various types of content, so the layout has been challenging and it is progressing slowly. Sananda, Sanatana and Chetaka have all been very occupied with writing. Mr. Suzuki, who has been very busy at work for the end of the year, shows up after a long absence, and when everyone has arrived, Michiyo-san [Shantimayi, Shri Mahayogi’s sister,] brings out a traditional lacquered box with a lid on top of it for each attendee, containing prasad that she has cooked. When everyone sits down, Shri Mahayogi begins to speak.
MASTER: Today is the last Satsangha of the year, and yesterday when we gathered, Chetaka gave a wonderful closing [declaring to live as a sannyasin]. So today, let’s spend the time having a meal together. Everyone please feel at ease, we can talk while eating. So then, itadakimasu.
(As everyone opens the lid of their lacquered box, there is rice formed in the shape of Brahma Garbha, or the egg of Brahman, and on both sides of it there are pickles symbolizing the sun (ha) and moon (tha) made of yellow and white daikon radish. The egg-shaped brown rice has been divided into three sections, the closest part has black sesame sprinkles, the middle part has red umeboshi plum paste, and the top has been left white as is. Shri Mahayogi starts to explain about the foods.)
MASTER: As in sattva, white expresses its transparency, rajas is the moving, dynamic red, and tamas is dull, heavy and dark in color—each color symbolizes each quality of nature.
Normally, the three guna are active, and the mind’s disturbance is, in other words, you can say is expressed by the movement of the guna. As you continue to practice Yoga, the guna of tamas and of rajas will not be there, and what comes to be is the state of the quality of pureness, called sattva. Ultimately, one transcends all three guna—that is, so to speak, the metaphysics of Yoga. Now then, you just have to eat them all. (laughs) Please enjoy the food.
(First, Shri Mahayogi starts to eat. Then immediately without hesitation, Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti) begins.)
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): As for rajas or tamas, which is better?
MASTER: For both of them, it’s not about good or bad, these are the words that express nature. Therefore, we can explain all matter using these guna. For example, it is said that relative situations can be understood through the three guna. This universe, all things, and the psychological workings and activities of the mind—all these are in action through the nature of these guna; such as, the nature of light, of clearness, and of openness, that is the nature of sattva, conversely, the nature of slowness and heaviness and of covering up is tamas, and the force that moves them, the force of activity, that is, the power that makes everything change constantly, moment by moment, without ever remaining in any constant state—this nature belongs to rajas; it can be said that it is stirring things around. So, all things, nature, the workings of the mind, they all have these three elements. It is a matter of which nature is stronger or weaker. For example, knowledge, if it is close to the knowledge of Truth, is the nature of sattva, and conversely, ignorance is the nature of tamas. However, there is also a power existing there that moves these things, that is, the guna of rajas. It can be rephrased that the reason why we experience suffering and can’t maintain a state of absolute tranquility, which is Satori, is because rajas and tamas are in action; and [that means that] it can also be said that you can gradually eliminate the power of these guna—rajas and tamas—and their nature. This, in other words, is ignorance and pain-bearing obstacles coming to be eliminated.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): If we lessen the pain-bearing obstacles, then we can get closer to sattva…
MASTER: Yes. Because the Yoga Sutra, [which mainly uses psychological language,] explains having such metaphysics as being at the base as well, so at times, the guna are mentioned…in other words, that’s another way of viewing it.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Can the guna be applied to people’s personalities, such as “tamas is strong”?
MASTER: Yes, it can be said so. Therefore, it goes that a cheerful nature is that of sattva, and a gloomy nature is that of tamas, and a restless nature is that of rajas.
MASTER: Well everyone, please start eating. (laughs)
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Going back to the earlier conversation about the guna, why do these differences of being stronger or weaker in one’s nature occur, such as rajas being stronger or tamas being stronger?
MASTER: Everyone exudes such changes in the guna. Yet, it is simply applying the guna from a relative view, but it’s not absolute, it’s not set in stone. Therefore, each individual, compared to another, may be more tamasic or rajasic, but if you look at only the individual, then you can say that there are times when this person is tamasic, when this person is rajasic, or sattvic. We’re merely naming states that are constantly changing, so once you can understand that, then the rest of what is required is what you do about it so that you can proceed.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Then, is it that we should always be conscious about constantly heightening the quality of sattva?
MASTER: Yes. Exactly.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): For heightening sattva, will sattva come to be heightened through reading scriptures, discussing about Yoga, or doing things related to Yoga?
MASTER: Right. Everyone’s true Self, Atman, is the Existence that is originally clean and pristine; however, the mind’s various activities and thoughts hide and cover it up. Since we can understand that the mind is activated, and amplified by the guna, if you use the word “guna” to explain it, you can say that the nature of tamas of the mind is what hides and covers up the Truth. So, as the mind keeps learning the various [teachings of the] Truth and keeps practicing sadhana, then the fluctuations affected by them will be lessened, becoming cleaner and more purified. You are working to make it become purified. Therefore, you make the ignorance and pain-bearing obstacles purified and cleaned, then ego will of course be fading away rapidly, and as its result, the state of the quality of sattva is established. In these moments, the true Self is realized.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): When that ego is gone, then will the self lose its presence?
MASTER: You awaken into the “real Self.” You awaken into “real Existence.” We believe we exist right now, through our physical bodies, through our minds—what do you say, what is the base of thinking that? What do you think?
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): The body?
MASTER: But the body is born from something that is formless and is now in a state of “being,” but sizes are various, so are the conditions, and eventually, it will die and disappear. Then, when it comes to Existence, if you ask by what measure you can call it Existence, it’s probably not easy to grasp, is it?
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Right, it’s not easy.
MASTER: Then, even if you answer that it is “the mind” that knows It, the same thing can be said; since the mind too changes day after day, and when it’s sleeping, it even forgets about It. Therefore, what is the real Self? What is real Existence? What is required is that you learn the Truth of It, and realize It.
(It hasn’t been long since Ms. Shibasaki met Shri Mahayogi; yet, she has been ardently attending classes and learning Yoga.)
* * *
Specialized Meditation Course, 2020
—Exposing the Actual Practice of Meditation!:
Anecdotes from the Experience of Real Practice
1. The Work of Constructing a Foundation
for the Practice of Meditation
September 26, 2020
Since ancient times, there have been three objects of meditation: God, the true Self, and [the work of] discrimination. For the first ten years after I began practicing Yoga, my practice was centered on the meditation of discrimination. But be that as it may, was I able to settle the subject of meditation immediately? I was not.
First, I’d like to state clearly that in order to deepen meditation, two things are absolutely indispensable: the foundation and the central pillar. Just as a good [traditional Japanese] house cannot be built unless the construction of the foundation and the central pillar that supports the house are well built and sturdy, one cannot meditate well unless one’s foundation and pillar are sturdy.
Then, what are the foundation and the pillar of meditation? First, I am going to speak about the foundation. About half a year had passed after I began to practice Yoga, I was graciously allowed to accompany the Master on a visit to New York and stay at the Cave for about two and a half months. Because I lacked stamina, the Master ordered me to run every day in the afternoon; and I executed it daily. My practice of meditation consisted of just sitting for about an hour per day without having settled the object of meditation; on the way back to the Cave from running to Battery Park (the daily course pointed out by Shri Mahayogi was from the Cave to the end of Battery Park and back to the Cave again), I meditated in the park by the Hudson River, and at times, I meditated at night on a bench in the garden of the New York University campus. However, even though I accustomed myself to sitting, I could not feel the deepening of my meditation at all. So, towards the last half of the stay, I asked the Master, “My meditation is not deepening. What should I do?” The Master directed me to do the following:
“Make your body, mouth and intention in daily life match.”
“Body-Mouth-Intention” means to unify one’s “deeds, words, and thoughts.” If these three do not match with one other, the mind cannot focus on one point during meditation. Even if one brings one’s words and actions to match in accordance with one’s ego or desires, one cannot meditate, for the mind is mixed up. Therefore, the key to bringing “Body-Mouth-Intention” to conform, is to “keep putting practice into action in accordance with the teachings of Yoga.”
Since my stay at the Cave, there is a teaching of Yoga that I treasure; it is the teaching of “satya.” Satya means to “not lie”—it is about “honesty” and “integrity.” It goes without saying that I should not lie to others, but I have paid utmost attention to practice strictly complying with “not lying to myself” and “bringing myself to align with the teachings of Yoga.” For example, even though I may decide to practice asana every day, if I skip a day, then I’m lying to myself, which also means that it is contrary to satya. So, if I decide to do something daily, then I have to really walk the talk. Also, we can point out that there is a tendency that we are apt to fall into when we practice Yoga—that is to think that the practice of asana and meditation are the practice of Yoga. So, while making myself practice asana and meditation solidly, I consciously trained myself to perform thoroughly and with integrity during the rest of the time in daily life—such as performing daily tasks, cooking, cleaning, considering these to be the field for practicing Yoga as well. To perform them thoroughly and with integrity means do them carefully and meticulously, at the same time, promptly, with great care from my heart. If there is slacking, laziness or dullness, then the power of concentration that is needed for meditation does not get cultivated. So I began to train myself to be able to perform work, to cook and to clean, efficiently and quickly, while staying alert.
What I can say to sum it up is that, what I did [and therefore what I think what is important to practice,] is to bring “Body-Mouth-Intention” to align within myself, in accordance with the teachings of Yoga, in order for me not to let myself slack off or cheat in any aspect. I believe that this pragmatic training and practice of aligning “Body-Mouth-Intention” has come to establish within me the foundation of meditation, in which we bring our minds to be able to focus on one single point.
Next is about the central pillar. Going back to the question I asked the Master—“My meditation is not deepening. What should I do?”—after he gave me the first direction, then he pointed out the following:
“Rather, how would you like to live?”
In a way, “I want to live in Yoga”—this thought was in me continuously. Yoga is the path to reach the Truth, and the path’s goal, “Truth Itself.” The state of pureness, where there are no pain-bearing obstacles, attachments, or egotistical thoughts in the mind, without any falsehood, is the “Truth.” However, in retrospect, I was aware that in my mind there were thoughts of wanting to live in the Truth, yet there were also impure thoughts contrary to the Truth; therefore, I found for myself that I could not confidently declare that “I am living in the Truth.” But one time, there was something1 that triggered me to think brutally from the bottom of my heart: “I am so fed up with living a life of falsehood, fooling my own self!” I thought that if I half-heartedly continued Yoga, then it was meaningless to continue Yoga, and I had better just quit. It was then that I made the determination to confront these falsehoods. Since then, in meditation, I made these falsehoods battle against the Truth for many years. Actually, in the next talk, the last half of my talk, I will go into this concrete practice of meditation—this battle was the meditation of discrimination. What I can say now is that, as a result of these continuous practices, now my only thought is, “I want to live in the Truth.”
Looking back now, I feel that the reason why the pillar of my feeling of wanting to live in the Truth came to be established was because there was the foundation, which was actual continuous training and application of the practice of satya—concretely, “do not lie” and “do everything with integrity.” If I had deceived and then lied to myself on a usual basis, wanting to live in the Truth would have never arisen in me. There is a [Japanese] saying, “Lying is the start of a thief”—but I feel that, “Not lying is the start of a yogi.”
I mentioned in the beginning that in order to build a house, the foundation and the central pillar are absolutely indispensable; the foundation and the pillar that support me now are the teachings I have received from the Master. The Master is indeed like having the existence of a master carpenter in my life. All [I have done] is because of the guidance of the Master. I would like to complete and realize a perfect house called the Truth, as soon as possible, to make the Master happy!
 At that time, I was reading Vivekananda—A Biography, and as I read, I was sensing Vivekananda’s firm confidence, or pride as a sannyasin that he could naturally state flatly: “I am a sannyasin!” As I looked at him and reflected on myself, whether I could state it flatly just like Vivekananda did, I found that I was not able to, and that I was still in a place between worldliness and Yoga. Then a sense of urgency arose in me, the absolute necessity of clarifying for myself whether I wanted to live as a worldly person or to live as a yogi, for I was really tired of being in a betwixt and between state.
2. The Meditation of Discrimination
October 3, 2020, Kyoto
In the last session, I shared briefly that after I keenly felt that “I am so fed up with living a life of falsehood, fooling my own self!” I began to practice the meditation of discrimination, which makes illusory pain-bearing obstacles battle against the Truth. In this session, I would like to speak about the concrete content in the process of the meditation of discrimination: the battle of the Truth and the pain-bearing obstacles. Mitsuhide Akechi, [a well-known samurai general from the 1500’s who, during the fight to come into power, said], “The enemy is in Honno Temple!” but I would like to open this session by stating, “The enemy is in pain-bearing obstacles!”
First, what is a “pain-bearing obstacle”? Generally, it is said that there are 108 pain-bearing obstacles [in Buddhism], however, in the teaching of Yoga, there are five pain-bearing obstacles listed. “Egoism that considers the mind to be the self,” “being attached to pleasures,” “trying to avoid pain,” “clinging to life,” and the root cause of all of these, “ignorance, which is not knowing the Truth”—these five are considered to be the pain-bearing obstacles. From these five obstacles, various desires symbolized by the 108 obstacles arise without end.
In the meditation of discrimination, we check pain-bearing obstacles against the teaching of Truth. One of the important teachings of the Truth is “Permanence-Purity-Joy-Self”: Permanence = eternal, Purity = purity without any defilements, Joy = ultimate happiness, and Self = the true Self. This teaching of “Permanence-Purity-Joy-Self” becomes the weapon to battle against pain-bearing obstacles.
However, since pain-bearing obstacles are the workings that arise from deep within the mind, they’re difficult to grasp. Therefore, I first began to apply the teaching of Truth towards “objects of desire” arising from these pain-bearing obstacles. For example, if I have something that I strongly desire, such as alcohol and sweets, then I first apply the Truth of “Permanence-Purity-Joy-Self” towards these visible objects, checking: “Is it eternal? Is it pure? Is it bliss? Is it the true Self?”
At the beginning, I did not understand anything by performing this meditation of discrimination at all; it was like an empty prayer, I had no sense of whether I was doing it correctly or not. Nonetheless, because I was feeling so strongly that, “I am so fed up with living a life of falsehood, fooling my own self. I want to put a clear end to it!”—I continued to pit the Truth against objects of desire. As for my application of the practice of discrimination, not only did I practice it in meditation, I approached it from various aspects, such as asking the Master about the practice of discrimination during Satsangha, attending meditation classes and learning from senior disciples, and also I restrained myself from reaching for the actual objects of desire in practice. What I thought about when I looked back anew on the path I took, is that one of the important points was to keep going persistently without giving up, even though at the beginning I was not able to do well, I did not allow myself to think, “I don’t understand,” “I can’t do it,” or, “It’s not for me.” By persisting, even though I didn’t quite understand or didn’t have any sense of the meditation of discrimination, my mind, which was used to immediately jumping at an object and getting entangled in it, was gradually separated from the objects, and I began to be able to discriminate with actually sensing, little by little, that, “The objects of desire are not the Existence that is eternal or pure, that can bring Bliss.”
Then next, I began to recognize the common workings of the mind, in which the mind hopes for something on the pretext of the objects of desires—the commonality of what the mind seeks behind it all, even though the forms of the objects may differ. It was one of the pain-bearing obstacles, the seeking of “pleasurableness”; and who desires it?—it was the “egoistic nature” that seeks only for my own benefit. In other words, I came to be able to grasp these and acknowledge them as enemies. Because of that, I then began to apply the “Permanence-Purity-Joy-Self” to the activities of the mind that seek pleasures, and to its subject, the ego.
As I continued this meditation of discrimination, I surely sensed that the thirst for pleasure came to be lessened, and the power of pain-bearing obstacles was actually weakened. Nonetheless, the pain-bearing obstacles would keep coming back to life; like monsters or zombies….they are quite formidable. In a way, pain-bearing obstacles are like the soldiers led by General Ego, yet no matter how many soldiers I defeated again and again, the enemies kept sending in more soldiers and fighting back indomitably.
Having my weapon of “Permanence-Purity-Joy-Self,” I kept up this kind of battle for several years. But at some point, I stopped trying to defeat pain-bearing obstacles. At that point, I stopped using that weapon I’d been using for so long continuously. Instead of trying to defeat or eliminate pain-bearing obstacles, I shifted my way of meditation to trace back the power that is behind the ego, that is, the power behind the General. The reason why I shifted is because when I was struggling with discrimination, not being able to eliminate the impregnable ego-consciousness, I asked the Master in Satsangha how to break through this issue, and the Master gave me a big hint—“the meditation of tracing back the cause of the ego”; that is the teaching of the 24 principles expounded by Sankya philosophy—the recognition of Buddhi (cognition), that is in the stage prior to where ego-consciousness arises:
“Buddhi (cognition), which happens one step before ahamkara (ego-consciousness), is the cause of the creation of all nama (name) rupa (form). Therefore, inevitably, once you trace back to the root of I-consciousness, you will reach the true identity of that nama rupa, or the root origin of it; and since nama rupa too arose at the same time as the manifestation of this world, they can disappear. By disappearing, it means that you bring it back to prakriti, which is the root origin; they actually disappear—that is its relation.”
When I heard this teaching, I felt like the scales fell from my eyes. “Because of buddhi, I am able to distinguish between myself and others, and the ego can stand!”—I thought.
Then, I began to practice meditation on the 24 principles to trace back to the workings of buddhi that ego is dependent on and further to prakriti, its root origin of the workings. At the same time, I also practiced meditation on the Twelve Dependent Originations [from Buddhism], which is quite similar to the 24 principles. During the time I was practicing this meditation, I was going through a very busy period, so I constantly thought, “I have no time, no time”; but I had some free time before going to work, so using that time, I practiced the meditation of discrimination to trace back the power behind the ego. As I continued, suddenly, I had a sensation that the mind became disassembled. In that moment, I naturally was made to realize that the mind itself is “that which is without substance.” Figuratively speaking, it was an experience that was as if the castle that had been protecting the General was ruined. Earlier, I mentioned that pain-bearing obstacles are like monsters or zombies, but truly, I was made to realize that indeed the mind itself was like a castle made of sand, without any substance, and that I was merely fighting against falsehoods that were like illusions projecting from it. Fighting against illusions on the stage of illusion—indeed, it was exactly the mind’s own monologue.
The fall of the castle of the mind—after this experience, strangely, the momentum of the mind itself was much weakened, and even if there are things and events that are desirable or undesirable, I am able to discard them, as they’re insignificant, so I am no longer constrained by them, and thereby I am able to spend my daily life with a tranquil mind more often. Nowadays, I have been concentrating single-pointedly on “Living in the Truth,” meditating directly on the true Self, that is, the Truth itself, for realizing the Truth.
However, the disassembly of the mind that I just mentioned, only happened once. Just like how the story tells that even if [the samurai General,] Mitsuhide Akechi, defeated Nobunaga Oda, [his enemy samurai General who had power before Mitsuhide Akechi defeated him,] the country did not immediately gain unified peace under single sovereignty. For preventing myself from ending up with Three Day Sovereignty—[Mitsuhide Akechi was only in power for a few days before he himself was defeated]—I myself will be careful and be on the lookout for remnants of pain-bearing obstacles, and try to fill my mind with the Truth. I wrote about satya in yama and niyama in the previous article, that once the Master said about ten years ago during my stay at the Cave, “At the very moment you think that you’ve mastered any one of the yama or niyama, the progress of your practice comes to a standstill.” I burned these words of the Master into myself and I will continue to apply Yoga honestly and faithfully, without loosening my grip, until I reach the final state, the Realization of the Truth!!!