Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
The Meditation of Discrimination and the Progress of Bhakti
Satsangha, Kyoto, 2019
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• Specialized Meditation Course, 2020
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Being with Beloved God
October 24, 2020, Kyoto, Japan
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Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Translation of Satsangha
The Meditation of Discrimination and the Progress of Bhakti
Saturday, September 7, 2019, Kyoto Asny, Kyoto
The sky spreads across the large window as dusk falls. The cawing of crows seems to echo slowly and then subsides. When the outside sounds quiet down, it comes to be around starting time, and Shri Mahayogi enters the room.
Shri Mahayogi has just returned three days ago from preaching in New York for two months. As he gazes at each and every person in that unchanging way he always has, a blissful and silent moment flows.
For a while in the beginning, the topic is focused on the footage of Shri Mahayogi that was released on YouTube by the Mission in New York, and how it was during the visit there. Shri Mahayogi speaks about how the disciples in New York have voluntarily begun a gathering called “Study Group,” and how he felt a deepening from the disciples that was different from prior visits. And at the last class, many disciples spoke up about their thoughts and feeling [toward Shri Mahayogi and Yoga] and pleaded for him to return as soon as possible. And later that evening, disciples rushed to the street in front of the Cave where Shri Mahayogi stayed, and sang a kirtan. He joyfully said that the sangha is finally taking shape there.
Thorough, Steadfast Discrimination
(After some silence, Shri Mahayogi begins to speak to everyone.)
MASTER: There is a famous story that goes like this: someone heard that there is a world of Satori on the other side of the shore, and two people who got interested in the realm of Satori began to row a boat trying to get there; they rowed very hard all night long, and as dawn approached, they wondered how far they’d come, so they looked back only to find that they had not moved forward at all; when they looked carefully, the boat was still moored to the shore (laughing). I said to them that you are the same, just like them; no matter how much knowledge you may have or how hard you practice asana and meditation, as long as the most important part, you, are moored to this shore, you cannot move a single step forward to anywhere; so first, what you must do is to remove the rope, that is, first, (emphasis) get rid of the attachments to this world; without that, you cannot get anywhere no matter how much you know or meditate. That was a year ago when I said that, so it must have been good medicine (laughing). Well, actually this isn’t just for the people in America, (Shri Mahayogi and everyone burst into laughter) but it can be said for everyone.
(Some disciples have a bitter laugh as if they are reflecting on it with regard to themselves.)
Gopala: As I continued to discriminate my mind, I understood that I am expecting something or seeking happiness from others and from the world, and I gradually became able to feel that none of these are perfect or the Truth. I understand that true happiness is within, but how can I enter into that which is within?
MASTER: That boils down to the need to get into a concrete method of discrimination then. While going through various experiences, everyone has gotten hurt or set back many times; or, even if it is in the form of hopes or wishes, everyone may have various thoughts. To bring recurring things like these to your mind, whatever they might be—not to artificially bring up an issue, but the things that the mind honestly feels—this is the easiest way to enter into it as a clue.
Then, regarding that issue, grasp well what the truth of it is, what it is—its essence. At the same time, if you ask who is having the issue, then this will lead to yourself as the answer—that is, your own mind is thinking these things. Then, determine again whether these thoughts are perfect and in accordance with the Truth, or whether they have ignorance as their cause. And, if you proceed further, who is the protagonist of these thoughts of the mind; that is, who is this “I”? As you proceed to that point, then your interests in this world will practically disappear. Because the world is constantly changing, and never absolutely perfect. Thoroughly pierce them, discern them, and give up on them. To discriminate means to give up on these thoughts of the mind and cut them off; to give up on and cut them off is, in other words, to renounce. This renunciation is done automatically if discrimination is done thoroughly and completely. If the eternal right answer, which is the Truth, emerges, then when it comes to [the nature of] that which is imperfect, no matter how much the mind believed in it up until that point, the mind comes to realize that it was a mistake, that it was imperfect. That is what giving up and cutting them off is.
Then, the force toward the attachment from the mind to these things ceases all at once and the mind renounces them. However, that “I”-consciousness is quite formidable, and not easily eliminated. Even so, since this “I”-consciousness can only be established when it is with some thought or some object in this world, that is, when being dependent, once these dependent relations cease to exist, then the ego too is fading away.
Gopala: From hearing this, I thought that the reason I cannot go within is because I have not completely grasped the nature of these recurring [thoughts], and I have not been able to discriminate them properly, and that I also have not been able to meditate clearly between what is ego and what is not, which is the true Self. Does it mean that I should discriminate my thoughts and ego, and train or meditate to abide in the true Self?
MASTER: Right. You see, as I mentioned before—thorough discrimination. (Emphasizing) That thoroughness implies that it be thorough and solid, starting with subtle areas and going further to the causes, just as mentioned right now.
Even if where you choose to start is with something gross, various things you feel from the experiences in this world, they are dismissed as a kind of a particular color or shade that each respective mind has.
Gopala: Does that mean that if you are told something by somebody, the reaction can be various to each individual, respectively?
MASTER: Right, it varies by individual, and also, there are some backgrounds that tend to be common, such as wanting to be high in people’s favor or to be in comfort, and wanting to avoid suffering—which are things considered to be pain-bearing obstacles—however, from a phenomenal aspect, each individual has their own coloring. Furthermore, then, how reliable are these common parts really? Strictly speaking, they too all differ respectively by individual, that’s how the thoughts of individuals are. Yet, the fact that everyone inevitably has such thoughts is a shared commonality. But then, what does it mean, that is to say, do they have the quality of the Truth as their essence or not? Determine that.
And, furthermore, the mind that creates all these things—the mind itself, is it the Truth, as Existence itself?
As you progress in this thorough discrimination, what will result in you is everything being neti—that is, not this, not this. (Looking towards everyone) This is what is considered to be like the simple analogy of peeling an onion; saying only this, it may sound very symbolic, but it is truly like that. And, once you’re done peeling everything, there is nothing left.
Tarika: (with a serious expression) Intellectually, I understand what is being taught, or the practice of discrimination; yet even so, at the very, very last moment, if the mind were to not be convinced, and if the mind were to not be able to give up the ego, where there would still be ego, since I would not be able to change that mind no matter how much I would try, then I think and determine that I would choose to believe in Shri Mahayogi rather than believing in my own mind—is it better for me to discriminate much deeper?
MASTER: No, as I mentioned earlier, ego is truly formidable. Therefore, the best thing to do is to apply faith to it.
Tarika: (smiling suddenly) Then, I’ll not believe in my own mind anymore. (Shri Mahayogi: That’s right.) I believe in Shri Mahayogi!
MASTER: That’s better. (Shri Mahayogi and everyone burst into laughter)
Man A: In the teachings of Shri Ramakrishna, the words “pure faith” appear often. (Shri Mahayogi nods deeply.) Would you please explain this.
MASTER: The word faith is interpreted with very broad meanings. In the religious sense, it appears to be that almost all religions have faith evenly, but looking inside their content, most of them are secular and seeking worldly benefit in this lifetime or the next (laughing); such is that kind of faith—man turns to God only when in trouble—one asks for a favor from the gods in order to fulfill a wish. That is the common, general content of religion that appears across the world. However, with Yoga, even if one may begin from such a dualistic religion, one passes through that quickly and progresses towards non-duality, or monism. By then, there is no such faith that seeks something in return. Simply, because God is so adoring, and God is the Truth, one has faith towards God, or one purely reveres Satori or the existence of the Awakened Ones, and has faith towards them. There is no seeking or wishing for any benefit in return. That is what is called pure faith.
Man A: Lately at work, while busily going about my daily life, I am trying to think of God even if it is only a little, but as you mentioned, I find myself looking for something in return… As mentioned, I should not seek for anything in return…
MASTER: That’s right. That is a very important part, so please proceed in that way.
Ramdas: The procedure of shambhavi mudra is to open the eyes and bring the object of one’s meditation to the center of the chest, and focus the mind on it. Because this practice is named Shambhavi, since that is a name of a Goddess, perhaps it is easier to meditate on a god with form, I suppose; but is it okay to seek the true Self while in the condition of having the eyes open?
MASTER: Shambhavi mudra is a way of practice that is explained in the scripture called, Hatha Yoga Pradipika. This scripture is considered to have been completed in the 12-13th century, however, its roots must have gone further back in time. What is expressed is not “to open the eyes,” but “to not blink,” to remain without blinking to the best of one’s ability, and while doing so, to bring the mind’s focus to the heart, in the center of the chest, and meditate on Shambhavi. A goddess, Shambhavi, Shakti, or Kali—regardless, the right procedure is to meditate on a goddess. Therefore, it’s meaningless to bring the object [of meditation], “Who am I?”.
Ramdas: By not blinking and by thinking about a goddess, that is the valid procedure?
MASTER: Only the procedural part.
Ramdas: Yes. With regard to seeking the true Self, should I close my eyes?
MASTER: Either is fine. (Emphasis) Doesn’t matter either way.
What I can say about both subjects of meditation (he adjusts his seat and forcefully speaks, emphasizing his words) is that you must practice extremely and exceedingly seriously. To that end, how serious you tackle this, the initial motivation as to why you begin, is in question. It can’t be that you do it because it was mentioned in a manual, but the question is, is your heart earnestly seeking it, is it wanting it?—the degree of it becomes fervor or zeal, and that is what supports that meditation to be propelled forward. No matter what, seriousness and fervor are the most essential.
(With Shri Mahayogi’s spirited energy, the room is enveloped in a sense of concentration. Ramdas is nodding with eyes closed.)
Ramdas: The reason why I was practicing shambhavi mudra a little bit is because I wanted to sit properly and correctly practice meditation following the procedure, but seriousness is important even more than that?
MASTER: (with a crisp tone) Right. Discrimination must have been finished by then. You must have completed thorough discrimination. Because the inquiry into the true Self is precisely the purest part of it. Take shambhavi [mudra], it too has an equal level of purity. If you are still in such a condition where there are counterfeits in the mind, there is no way, that means that seriousness or passion has a shadow attached to it.
Haridas: Long ago, Shri Mahayogi taught us that the reason why we force ourselves to not blink in shambhavi mudra is to stop the activities of the mind, and that that becomes a form of mudra; so I practiced not blinking with all my might. Is it better to apply putting our awareness on the goddess, in the position of the heart, at the same time that we stop blinking?
MASTER: Right. (Towards everyone) You already understand the relationship between the mind and prana, since I speak about it often; the relationship is that when the mind stops, prana stops, and when prana stops, the mind stops.
Now, not blinking in shambhavi mudra means that blinking is one of the workings of prana. A large working of prana is, of course, that the entire universe is active through the power of prana, and I suppose that you know already that as it is within this body, which is the microcosm, there are five activities: prana relating to breathing, samana relating to digestion, apana relating to excretion, viyana, which is the working of prana regulating the entire body, and the working of udana, which operates above the nose. It is said that this udana is normally not active, but it becomes active when meditation deepens or when the body dies, and pulls the soul upward to exit through the crown of the head. There are five other kinds of workings of prana, which are tiny activities such as blinking, hiccupping, and other physiological activities. In this way, blinking is one of the workings of prana, therefore, no matter which one it may be, if you can control one of these, then all the workings of prana are restrained, that is, kumbhaka (restraint of the breath), which is pranayama, is realized. What is the result of that? Samadhi, the state of restraining the mind in the absence of breathing. That is the result of shambhavi mudra. Not only shambhavi mudra, but most of the things that have the word mudra in the name are directly connected to samadhi. This is the process to samadhi, as explained through hatha yoga. In raja yoga, the practice is to concentrate on the object then meditate; but in the parts of that concentration and meditation that come from the procedures of mudra, especially through working on prana, [samadhi] is established.
Haridas: I can’t quite visualize the goddess, Shambhavi.
MASTER: Shambhavi is the feminine form of Shambhava; that is how the word turns into a goddess. Shambhava is Shiva, it is another name for Shiva. In this way, when it is Shambhavi, it can be exactly that Shambhavi [of Shiva], or Kali or Shakti or Durga. The teaching of hatha yoga has the existence of Shiva and Shakti at its foundation. That is why Shambhavi is even more so, the goddess of a consort of Shiva; since in order to know Shiva, one must know Him going through Shambhavi.
Sananda: Shri Mahayogi said that to not blink in shambhavi mudra can work as a procedure, but in order for it to be successful, one must have gotten adept at the control of prana through the practice of asana and pranayama after all, in other words, only a yogi who can concentrate keenly will succeed?
MASTER: (leaning forward and with robustness) Another thing you must not forget is that it will not succeed unless there is bhakti (devotion towards God); as mentioned now, Shiva and Shakti are its foundation.
Sananda: So it’s not just about the concentration of energy.
MASTER: (Intense tone) Not good. That won’t work—it’s not such a physical matter.
Ms. Oomori: (with a nervous expression) Shri Mahayogi, this is my first time meeting you.
MASTER: (with a bright smile) Ah, yes (smiling).
Ms. Oomori: The reason I became interested in Yoga and meditation is because I became (tears welling up) so afraid…of my own attachments, and…wanted to do something about them. …As you spoke about it to others, now I understand I need to practice discrimination, I get that what I am grasping is not eternal, and not the true Self; however, I feel that I don’t understand what it is to renounce and I feel like I am stuck at just recognition. To renounce—how do I renounce?
(Shri Mahayogi leans forward a bit and gently speaks to her.)
MASTER: Renunciation cannot be done just haphazardly. Through right discrimination, once the mind comes to understand that they are errors, they are unnecessary, they are not perfect, they are not eternal, then these issues will have already been discriminated and they will automatically be renounced. (Smiling as if to encourage her) Therefore, what you must do is practice to work on checking the issues that are bothering you against the words of Truth, [to see] whether these [issues] are perfect, whether they are happiness, whether they exist eternally, or are the Truth. If you practice this, you can capture the side that is true through intuition. Practice discrimination in this way.
And, well, in a way, everyone, whilst having similar issues, [with similar] worries, has begun to learn Yoga like this, and much of the weight has been lifted off their shoulders (laughs), so from now on, do your best in this pursuit.
(Ms. Oomori, who was crying, relaxes gradually and a smile begins to emanate from her face.)
MASTER: (in a casual tone) Where are you visiting from?
Ms. Oomori: I came from Matsuyama, and I heard about Shri Mahayogi from a person I have known for a long time. I am planning to attend Shri Mahayogi’s special Satsangha in Matsuyama next month. I am honored to have met you. (The Master responds with a full smile.)
Saturday, October 5, 2019, Kyoto Asny, Kyoto
(A woman who is attending for the first time is introduced. She found out about Shri Mahayogi from the website, and thought she must go meet a living person who has realized Satori.)
Woman A: I would like to ask one thing. At the time, I didn’t have a way to escape it, but no matter what, I cannot forgive myself for being subjected to sexual abuse as a child. I have forgiven the perpetrator, but I would like to ask you what I should do.
MASTER: What Yoga seeks is the Truth; that is, what is called Atman, God or the Truth. If you aim to learn and aim to realize Yoga, then you must fix your eyes solely on that. What you mentioned now is merely an experience of the body and mind, therefore it is insignificant. No matter what happened, no matter what happens, do not spare any interest in the body and the mind. Then, you must solely see the Truth, and meditate only on That. Even if conflict in the mind still remains, to overcome it is itself the training, and it is the discipline of practicing through action. Therefore, fix your eyes only on the Truth.
(She keeps nodding as she hears Shri Mahayogi’s words, and thanks him with a smile.)
Ms. Sasanuma: (wiping away her tears) I try to live my daily life without thinking about how unwell I am, but my mind gets overcome by it. I think that continuing this unglamorous battle is a study for me to learn that the true Self is neither this body nor this mind; yet, the thought of tiredness and pain and the wish to lie down controls me. How can I be stronger? Do I just keep fighting this unglamorous battle as it is?
MASTER: (with a gentle expression) This fight is like your own mind battling against your own mind. That’s why it is dull and unglamorous. Once you come to the end of this step, cleaning away the wavering and anguish completely, you can declare victory, yet truly that is probably the only moment that rings with a flashy fanfare; until then, it is a test of endurance.
Because the mind is truly maya, which is the source that creates the trickery and illusions; you, on the other hand, must heavily apply the wisdom of Yoga that can see right through them. For that, meditation is the most effective. Therefore, even though it is unglamorous, by ardently practicing meditation, your battle will come to an end. Continue patiently without giving up.
Ms. Sasanuma: (smiling) I will do my best.
Gopala: How do I discriminate and renounce the “I”-consciousness of the mind? I can use the mind to discriminate the attachment towards the world and such, but I feel like the “I”-consciousness is something that will be eliminated without using the mind.
MASTER: By entering the source, further and further, from where the “I”-consciousness arises, a point where the “I”-consciousness disappears will come.
Gopala: How can I know the source of where “I”-consciousness arises?
MASTER: There is no other way but to trace back the path of that “I”-consciousness.
Gopala: That is the part that I don’t quite understand yet…
MASTER: Normally, the “I”-consciousness has various activities of the mind and sanskara (latent psychological impressions that remain) adhered to it, and the world is filled with these; but first, detach from these gross things, if you do so, then only and simply the “I”-consciousness remains. It is what is called ahankara, the ego-consciousness, in the 24 principles. Therefore, in order to destroy it, the only way is to trace back to its source and destroy it.
Gopala: Trace back to [its source]… (Shri Mahayogi: Yes.)…by focusing on the “I”……
MASTER: There is a thing called buddhi (intellect), which is one step earlier than ahankara, and this buddhi is the cause of creating all names and forms, called nama rupa. Therefore, if you arrive at the source of “I”-consciousness, you will inevitably arrive at the truth of the actual source of nama rupa, and since nama rupa too is something that was generated as the world evolved, it can also disappear. Disappear means pulling it back to prakriti, the source; in actuality, it is an interaction of disappearing.
Gopala: So ahankara comes first?
MASTER: Buddhi is the beginning. Buddhi leads to ahankara, then eventually, manas (notions).
Gopala: Does one naturally enter the consciousness that divides oneself from others, in other words, if one goes further inward, then is one led to a state where these have already disappeared?
MASTER: That’s right.
Gopala: I understand. In this state, there is only concentration.
Asangan: I thought buddhi referred to making decisions or judgements, but it’s different from these things?
MASTER: No, these recognitions and judgements, well, actually since judgements are formed due to recognition, it means that behind all of these, there is recognition. Where recognition comes from, is nama rupa, the names and forms of everything.
Asangan: Do names and forms come first?
MASTER: Yes, or it can be said to be simultaneous. There is a reciprocal-relationship; there is recognition and on the other hand, there is an object called by name and form, and they are validated when they meet.
Asangan: By their unfolding, the ego comes into existence.
Asangan: Does that mean that in the practice of, “Who is saying this?” we trace it back to there?
MASTER: That is so.
Asangan: Shri Mahayogi guided us in the Master’s class to focus on the Consciousness that is witnessing the mind. By doing that, I feel like I am bypassing discrimination and directly coming face to face with it, yet, do I need to discriminate and enter a deeper place, in order to eliminate obstacles?
MASTER: That’s right. (Looking around the entire room) To begin with, the content of discrimination can be divided into two main categories. For the thoughts—the various desires and thoughts towards this world that the mind attaches to—have to be discriminated as gross matters, and one must confirm whether they’re the Truth or not. If the attachment to various things in this world is uniformly weakened and disappears, then next, apply discrimination towards subtle matters; subtle matters, for which I mean to discriminate the aforementioned things such as ahankara and buddhi that happen to be what the mind consists of. By practicing that, the perfect disappearance of the mind, or the state of stoppage of the mind comes.
Asangan: Does that mean that if there are unnecessary things, we cannot reach that point?
MASTER: Right. You need to have rid yourself of the gross matters first. That is, the thoughts of the mind are codependent on this world, and they become karma and sanskara; therefore, you have to get rid of and eliminate the attachments to that external world—become detached. Even then, the functionality of the mind still remains. That is why the next step is to discriminate that functionality of the mind itself.
Asangan: As long as one’s mind is still haunted by the physical body and such, one cannot enter it?
MASTER: Yes, first you must discriminate the gross matters—that includes the body too, so that you will become detached from them.
Asangan: Once these are gone, will they have already been discriminated naturally?
Sharmini: (seemingly overwhelmed) When I think about Shri Mahayogi or God, well, in the beginning, I was filled with sweetness or joy, but the more I think, the more I struggle, and I become unable to breathe. Truly, it is so much struggle, and because I don’t want to experience it, and I don’t like to struggle, I look away from it…I want to keep thinking [about Shri Mahayogi or God], but I know I’ll feel pain again, so I am unable to proceed further. How should I overcome this?
MASTER: Don’t go backwards, but you had better keep going deeper; since that is the process of kumbhaka in bhakti. The training of kumbhaka in pranayama in raja yoga or hatha yoga requires tremendous, strenuous effort, but in the case of bhakti, bhakti can create the state of kumbhaka extremely fast. Therefore, do not be afraid, it may be hard but by entering further inward, the breathlessness of a blissful state called kumbhaka will come.
[In the case of Yoga,] it does not mean that being in the state of non-breathing physically or physiologically is dangerous at all. In a spiritual meaning or content, it is considered quite a blessed advancement, so do not worry and continue deepening.
Sharmini: (seeming to be relieved) Thank you very much.
Satya: It was mentioned earlier that discrimination has two types, gross and subtle; in bhakti yoga, I think discrimination is necessary as well, but how far is discrimination needed?
MASTER: If the gross discrimination is completed, then the rest of subtle discrimination can be done automatically through bhakti alone.
Satya: So then, does it mean that in the case of bhakti, we don’t need to intend to think about God in order to specifically eliminate the ego, but by thinking about God, ego will eventually disappear?
Satya: I don’t quite understand the process of seeing the same in everything, the point that will come that is further than the place where the ego will have disappeared by thinking about and loving God. What is the process we pass through to get to such a state?
MASTER: When one gets even closer to God and becomes one, then the mind no longer sees anything else but God. In this state, when the eyes shift to all things of the world, the eyes only see the One, that is, there is only God. Therefore, first, you must connect firmly with God and be absorbed in God. If you do so, the rest is, you will see that God exists in everything as Lila (God’s divine play)—you will see God.
(The announcement is made about the immediate decision for Shri Mahayogi to visit New York again. The period will be three months starting from December 11th. It is the first time Shri Mahayogi has ever visited the United States three times in one year. The past few years, Shri Mahayogi has answered the passionate pleas of disciples in various locations, and the opportunity to visit various places such as New York, Taiwan and Matsuyama has increased, causing him to be absent from Kyoto more often.)
Madhri: We now see what an extremely rare and precious opportunity it was for Shri Mahayogi to offer Satsangha every week, previously. What is the secret to accelerating progress on our paths even during the period when we cannot meet the Guru?
MASTER: Individually, each individual deepens internally—of course, this progresses through meditation. Externally, karma yoga, since even if I am not around, the class and the works and activities of the Mission continue, so participate in them proactively—that is for the benefit of each participant themselves as well, because through these activities, you can hear various stories from senior disciples, so they will become precious opportunities. The secret is to act on both these internal and external aspects, proactively.
Ms. Hirokawa: (choking up) Please teach us what makes God happy.
MASTER: Eliminate the self and serve to make others happy.
Ms. Hirokawa: …That is not something that we can understand through thinking about it, right?
MASTER: It would be the same as mentioned now, it boils down to proactively being in action—practice in action, really acting on this is important.
(The ending time is near, and Shri Mahayogi smiles towards the newcomers and confirms that there are no further questions.
Shri Mahayogi never thinks about himself, and is always devotedly, selflessly serving others and the disciples—only for the sake of people to awaken to Atman, God, True Existence, only for the sake of liberating the souls of the disciples…)
(Everyone bows down and sends Shri Mahayogi off. Watching as he leaves, everyone has etched into their hearts the strong intention to strive towards an even higher state.)
* * *
Specialized Meditation Course, 2020
—Exposing the Actual Practice of Meditation!:
Anecdotes from the Experience of Real Practice
October 24, 2020, Kyoto, Japan
Being with Beloved God
Gradually, the mind began to have blank space, and I came to be able to start living my daily life lightly. However, that blank space—it is fine if it is naturally sustained, but due to the nature of the mind, movement in the direction of wanting to think, to have a presence, inevitably arises. Previously, since I had a mountain of issues that I had to resolve, it was possible to use my mind towards solving those. However, I got the impression that because I didn’t have many issues, the mind had time on its hands, and time started to weigh heavily on my shoulders; I began to think irrelevant thoughts, and these seemed to begin to assert their presence as if they were big issues.
Then I realized it was meaningless to have finished decluttering the mind if I continued to remain where I was. At the same time, I had also come to understand something about whether my true purpose was to declutter the mind, whether it was all satisfactory in being able to live somewhat easier, since even if the mind is decluttered, due to the nature of the mind, that state would not last forever. The truth is that, unless I reach all the way to the state where the mind is stilled in a true sense, the issues will occur again from time to time, and I will clean them—life will be a litany of this. That did not appeal to me at all. So, rather than that, I began to think that there is no other way forward than to abide as a completely independent, true Self, which no longer attracts any issues, which has no uneasiness or fear.
Around that time, I decided to change the object of my meditation. Concretely, I decided to stop practicing the meditation of discrimination, and switch to meditation on God (bhakti meditation). There were various processes of how I came to this decision, but basically I determined to straightforwardly follow the words of Shri Mahayogi given to me. From then on, I embarked on the endeavor of binding my mind to a divine object.
At that time, to me, the existence called “God” was still vague. So, I thought that if I can’t figure it out, I have no other way but to be taught by someone who knows. The person who knows “God,” who immediately came to my mind, was SHRI RAMAKRISHNA. I’ve read some books and knew plenty about his existence, yet I had the impression that something about it was hard to approach, and honestly [I felt that], I don’t get it. It was not that I doubted his words, but I could not understand them at all. I think that was because I felt that he was feeling something I could not see or sense, and that was the part that felt hard to approach. Nonetheless, since I wouldn’t be going anywhere just by continuing to say “I don’t understand,”I decided to simply begin by reading The Gospel of Shri Ramakrishna.
As soon as I began reading, I was captivated by the dialogue between Shri Ramakrishna and the author, Mahendranath Gupta.
“Sir, how may one fix one’s mind on God?”
Mahendranath Gupta later became a holy being. I was surprised to find out that even someone like him had times just like me when he could not concentrate his mind on God.
Shri Ramakrishna said:
To that end one must chant without ceasing the name of God and His great attributes. One ought always to seek the company of holy men. One must always go among the Lord’s devotees or those that have given up things of this world for the sake of the Lord. It is hard, no doubt, to fix one’s mind on God in the midst of the world’s care and anxieties. Hence one must go into solitude now and then in order to meditate on Him.
This teaching was given from Ramakrishna to Mahendra Gupta, but at that moment, I felt that he said it to me. So I determined to actually practice what Ramakrishna was saying: concretely, to sing kirtan, and to read The Gospel of Ramakrishna daily as much as possible in my spare time, even if I didn’t feel like reading at that moment, and to switch the object of meditation to God.
What I did was that I tried to chant the name of God as much as possible during the day, and read the scripture of Ramakrishna who spoke about God; by doing this, I trained my mind to not think unnecessary thoughts, so that if I am to think about something, that thinking becomes all about God instead. Though it was gradual, my admiration for Ramakrishna grew.
I continued practicing this diligently, but honestly, could I get rid of the vague feeling toward what is called “God”? It was rather difficult and I struggled a lot; and I kept thinking that perhaps I was practicing incorrectly, whether I might lack seriousness, or perhaps it was something that was simply impossible for someone like me… I began to even lose motivation to keep making an effort, and all I could do was pray. “I want to love God, and that is all—you told me that it would be good for me to do that, but why will you not care for me? Please don’t forsake me!”—this was the prayer from my heart. When I exhausted all of my resources and I could no longer do anything, I solely read, again and again, the lyrics of the song that Ramakrishna liked to sing with his devotees:
Oh Mother, make me mad with Thy love. What need have I for knowledge or reason? Make me drunk with Thy love’s wine. Oh Thou who stealest Thy bhakta’s hearts. Drown me deep in the sea of Thy love. Here in this world this madhouse of Thine. Some laugh some weep some dance for joy. Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Gauranga, all are drunk with the wine of Thy love. Oh Mother, when shall I be blessed by joining Their blissful company?
One day, I was walking down the street, and suddenly, I noticed that I heard the name of God from somewhere. As I began to listen carefully, I felt that it was ringing from the deepest depth of my heart, slowly, certainly and steadily. That sound grew day by day, and at some instant, an absolute confidence that my plea was heard by God, came. My mind had been flowing towards God one-sidedly, but the flow reversed completely in the opposite direction as if whatever I thought to be right became left, and up became down; and in that instant, everything changed.
Then, regardless of whether I intended it or not, the thought of God, of loving God, was heightened, and Joy permeated throughout the body. Because thinking about God proceeded automatically, on the contrary, I became unable to think about anything but God, and if I tried to think about something else, my head became heavy and I gradually lost track of what I was thinking and went right back to thinking about God. Because the sense that God was vague was gone, and rather, I was able to think of God like a very close and intimate existence, with regard to meditation too, it was not only limited to happening while sitting but [it was happening] regardless of what I was doing—I was loving God.
Since the mind was completely transformed, concentrating on God unintentionally rather than thinking about God intentionally, was sustained.
Since the old me was busy organizing and decluttering my mind, I was in a state where I kept moving my mind all the time, constantly observing my mind, and if there was any slight issue, I sought the cause, and with that I put the entire mind under siege, going into full-time battle mode in order to prevail in that battle against the mind, dedicating my body and soul. However, thinking about God is completely different from such a state, it is a state where while being calm and [feeling] happiness, as if the tension from my entire body is relaxed, I am thinking about the beloved God and being with God, abiding in God. I got many things out of my head unintentionally, and by contrast, actually things proceeded rather naturally without any issues.
Nowadays, when I sit in meditation, when I am not sitting in meditation, I am always thinking of God.
What I thought of while thinking about the content for the two sessions for the Specialized Meditation Course, actually, is that I myself did not do anything specifically in order to become able to meditate (e.g. forcing myself to sit at a certain time every day), but rather, in the course of thinking seriously about how I wanted to live my life, that which is the only thing that occupied my mind, awake or asleep, became the object of focus, and that became meditation. Previously, the object was my concerns, and now, it is adoring my beloved God.
How you want to live—it does not necessarily need to start from a highly noble aim from the beginning, it is a matter that can simply be something that everyone hopes for, such as a hope for decreasing anxiety or worry, or a hope for always being genial. Nevertheless, as you live in this world, it is difficult to realize these aims, since various issues are always present, and even if you are happy for a little while, the next moment, anxiety often grips your mind nonetheless. If you look back at the life that you have lived so far, and think about whether there was any way of solving the issues in it, perhaps the only solution you might have had was to say “That’s the way life is,” and not directly confront the issue itself.
In Yoga, such lukewarm answers do not count. Yoga teaches that people are sure to have anxiety or dissatisfaction and what the ways to become eternally happy are—and because that eternal happiness is one’s own Essence itself, simply, one just has to find out. Yoga, which has been cultivated over thousands of years of history, teaches the ways to realize the Truth for anyone in any circumstance.
Since life is unpredictable and none of us know how long we’ll live, and because this is your own life, not anyone else’s, it is good to be troubled a great deal by thinking about how you want to live your life. And simply, with having a goal to be happy eternally, learn the teachings of Yoga to find out what you must do in order to realize that goal, carry out what you are learning by using your own body, and acquire Yoga yourself—by doing that, I believe that everything about your life will become meditation.