Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Satsangha, Kyoto and New York
1999, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2012
Testimonies from Actual Practitioners
Celebratory Messages from Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela
April 1, 2023
• The Guidance of Yogananda—It Will Be Given if You Ask Earnestly
• Love is Enlightenment
• Humble Surrender
• The Grace and Guidance of the Avatara
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Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Translation of Satsangha
The Only One the Mind Must Rely On
Sunday, April 8, 2004, New York
MASTER: The Truth of the Guru is not in the form but in its essence. It is the Existence Itself beyond the form and the words. It is the Truth. It is exactly the same as the Truth within you.
The only thing that the mind must rely on is the Guru and the words of Truth of the Guru.
Sunday, February 12, 2005, Kyoto
MASTER: Just as dusk was falling, in the twilight, people saw something that was all coiled up and everyone was surprised and scared, thinking it was a snake. Then, when someone brought a light and illuminated it, everyone could see that it wasn’t a snake but a coil of rope. Immediately, a change occurred, their fears subsided and they felt at ease.
The state of twilight in which the Truth is unable to be seen indicates the way we are in this world. That is why you need a Light that illuminates the Truth. That is what the Guru is. The original meaning of the word “guru” is the light that illuminates the darkness. That is, by illuminating the mind, which is caused by ignorance, which is an illusion or a mistake, that mistake is dispelled and the Truth is revealed—the role of that Light is named Guru. Therefore, just as that light is necessary, the need for the Guru is absolutely indispensable.
Sunday, May 3, 2008, Kyoto
MASTER: Light and darkness are a metaphor for Truth and ignorance. In the invisible world of the mind, it may be like a state of pitch-black darkness. However, if the light shines into it, you will surely run towards it. Imagine a completely pitch-dark cave. If the ray of light comes into it, you will certainly run towards it. That is the light of hope, it is the light of the breakthrough to Freedom, and it will surely be radiant when it comes, illuminating your very own mind itself. Without having the existence of the Guru, who is likened to that Light, you might need to spend your life in darkness. That would indicate a rather harsh and disastrous fate.
That Light Itself holds the wisdom and the power to dispel that darkness called ignorance; the closer you go towards that Light, the lighter the mind becomes.
Sunday, June 6, 2009, Kyoto
Q: Is the reason why distractions enter during meditation due to my way of doing it?
MASTER: Right. There is a right way to proceed. To use an analogy, it is a herculean task to get yourself out of an unknown forest or to find your way in an unknown country. Even if you are given a map, there is no guarantee that you will actually be able to get out of the darkness. Then, what is needed there is a guide who has a thorough grasp of the true state. If there is a guide, then you will be able to get out promptly. That means that in the path to Satori, you need the right guide. And, the right map is different according to the individual—that too requires the right scriptures and the right teachings. If this is accompanied by your own effort to actually put it into practice, only then are you able to get out promptly and move toward the Light.
Q: Does that mean that it is impossible to do things your own way and expect to make progress in the future someday?
MASTER: There is no way. The reason is that in your own way, you just go around in the world of your own mind. It is that simple.
Sunday, April 25, 2009, Kyoto
MASTER: Shri Ramakrishna said that he would never be a Guru, he does not want to become a Guru. It is impossible to teach a man to teach a man, it is the task that can be done only if one is authorized by God. In other words, he warns that unless one realizes God, one cannot teach people.
Sunday, November 20, 1999, Kyoto
MASTER: Service to the Guru means service to others. The false ones only ask for the one who calls himself or herself “Guru” to be served. That is completely wrong, for the truth is that the Guru is all things. Service to others—this has an opposite meaning as its manifestation. It is there where you can see if he or she is the real Guru or a sham.
Sunday, October 12, 2002, Kyoto
MASTER: It is said that one’s starting condition is viyoga. The word Yoga means to unite into one; to be One—then what does it mean to become One? Of course, it means to be one with the Truth. Viyoga means separation, disunion. That is, it is the word that points to the state of the mind that is separated from the Truth. That is viyoga. Then, one recognizes that it shouldn’t be so, and in an attempt to return to the Truth or seek the Truth, one learns and applies various teachings, putting them into action.
It seems possible for this learning and practice to be done alone, but in fact it is not. Since no matter what you learn or practice, when putting it into action, as long as you practice on your own, ultimately your understanding remains within the realm of your own mind; so, what is needed is to break the shell of that mind itself. I’m sure you remember not only Shri Ramakrishna but the advice from other Saints in the past, which is, “to be in the company of persons with virtue, to be in the company of Holy Beings.” Holy Beings can influence the condition of viyoga. No matter how many scriptures one might learn by oneself, no matter how much practice one might have done, there is nothing equal to being with a Holy Being. Without having this one blessing, you cannot break the shell. If you can receive that blessing, a lot of cumbersome learning and practice is omitted. Even if you don’t go through that, the shell is broken.
Being in the company of Holy Beings is the most important thing, and there is nothing that surpasses it. Even without being aware, one will be taken to that deep or tranquil realm. Simply speaking, it is darshan; it is experienced as the supreme grace.
Sunday, June 30, 2012, Kyoto
Q: Please teach us about if we meet someone like Shri Mahayogi, if regardless of the number of times we meet or how long we meet, the karma that has accumulated over many lives will dissolve, or if it will change depending on [what we do on] our side, on our consciousness as the ones who perceive it.
MASTER: If one does not encounter Yoga, and one spends one’s life only in one’s karma, the reincarnation of that lifetime must be fraught with unimaginable and terrible repetitions. However, fortunately, if one encounters the correct Yoga, and encounters the right teachings and right Guru—it is one’s good karma that will lead to such encounters—and when that is realized, then the future suffering and reincarnations come to disappear in a moment.
Yet, it does not work only by coming to see me once. Certainly, by listening to and learning the Truth more than sufficiently, then by putting the teachings into action firsthand, diligently and seriously, the transformation of the mind happens for real. Since karma is memorized within the mind, in order to eliminate these memories themselves, such practical actions are required. You know that the cause of karma is pain-bearing obstacles, and the cause of pain-bearing obstacles is ignorance; however, knowing this with the intellect alone does not solve this problem. If you could solve this problem only intellectually, then all the scholars in the world would be Enlightened. However, that is not the case. There is no such story of the universities having produced Enlightened Beings.
It all boils down to how much the transformation of the mind has progressed, and at the same time, how much one has united into One with the Truth. It boils down to how much one has ekagrata, that is, one-pointed concentration, occupying the mind—ekagrata is, whether it be jnana, bhakti, raja yoga or karma yoga, being one with the Truth—that is the proof of actual progress, and that is what you need to make the mind understand.
The mind is stupid. The mind should have kept ignorance at bay, but since one is walking together with ignorance, there is nothing more stupid than the mind. Therefore, you need to educate it to be wise. Wise does not mean going to school. It is [found] in the Truth.
In order to confirm whether your path is steadily progressing, whether you are practicing correctly, you need to come to Satsangha from time to time. Even if there are no concrete questions and answers, if you only come here or meet me, I am sure you will get it. Of course, it is not only about meeting physically, but if you can heighten the intensity of your will more and more, and live the teachings seamlessly, then you should be progressing. By doing this, you will be able to eliminate all of the countless lives of reincarnations. In this sense, Satsangha, or meeting with the Guru, conveys something that is beyond the experiences of many lifetimes.
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Celebratory Messages from Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela
April 1, 2023
The Guidance of Yogananda—It Will Be Given if You Ask Earnestly
Like a divine passport to draw closer to God, Autobiography of a Yogi carried me to the feet of the Guru. Because, by the grace (bestowed) on the day I first met Shri Mahayogi, I was taught that, “Everything is precious existence,” my relationship to my father was completely transformed into a relationship that was amicable and well-balanced. Several days later, my father gave me his favorite book, Autobiography of a Yogi. When I opened the end of the book, I was transfixed by Paramahamsa Yogananda’s last smile. His eyes awakened something important that lay dormant within me. Later on, when I told my father that I wanted to learn Yoga in Kyoto, my father assented cordially, saying that, “A teacher who recommends this book is unmistakably [the right teacher].” From that time on, Yogananda led me to seek God.
In Kyoto, I spent very blessed times living with the senior disciples and attending classes and weekly Satsangha. Half a year later when it was time for me to return to Matsuyama, I asked Shri Mahayogi about meditation, because at that time I was stuck in all directions, not being able to deepen my understanding of the teachings, and my meditation was filled with distracting thoughts. Shri Mahayogi said, “Try meditating on the words of Truth from Autobiography of a Yogi that go straight to your heart.” When I read from the first chapter again carefully, there was always Truth that resonated in my mind, and I sensed fresh amazement. In order to calm the disturbances of my mind, I kept etching these words into my heart.
The words that especially encouraged me during my job were: “Fulfilling one’s earthly responsibilities need not separate man from God, provided he maintains a mental uninvolvement with egotistical desires and plays his part in life as a willing instrument of the Divine.” As I kept repeating these words, my mind began to be gradually trained, to follow the footsteps of Yogananda.
Yogananda has unshakable belief that any destiny can definitely be overcome by one’s fervent love for God. I have admired his belief in himself and his authentic seriousness in seeking God. Yogananda ran away from home, believing that a Guru who lived in the Himalayas would guide him. Every time, he was captured by his brother and returned to his home. However, Yogananda’s pure faith towards God is absolutely unshakeable. A while back, I learned from Shri Mahayogi that, “Pure faith is an extremely pure passion. Passion is a flame that cannot be suppressed.” The admiration that Yogananda had for God was something that was irrepressible. Later on, Yogananda was finally able to meet the god-like Guru whom he had been seeking for many years, and in that moment, his joy exploded. I was fascinated by this scene without any logical reason, and I began to meditate with enthusiasm. At first, I pretended to be Yogananda and cried out “Gurudeva!!” in my heart, and experienced the pure joy and stoked the fires of excitement at finally being able to meet the Guru. Yogananda, who ran straight to the feet of the Guru without reservation merges and becomes one with the Guru, beyond words and thoughts. There is no higher ideal than this—I really admired this from the bottom of my heart. I overlapped the scene of Yogananda’s encounter with his Guru, with my encounter with Shri Mahayogi. As I continued meditating on it for years, it gradually transformed into something densely rich and irreplaceable that unites Guru and disciple into One.
There are as many encounters as there are disciples, but I think that when the seriousness to seek something certain arises within a disciple, then the Guru will sense that feeling and show his precious form at the best, most appropriate timing. What inspired me in the figure of Yogananda was that the intimacy between Guru and disciple has nothing to do with how long they have lived together in this world, but the disciple should treat the Guru amenably, opening their heart, with love and respect and furthermore, seriousness with which he seeks to become one with the Guru, with all his body and soul. The time that Yogananda was able to spend with his Guru was only about ten years, but even after that, the Guru was always there in his heart, and the Guru guided Yogananda ceaselessly.
One day when I was meditating, suddenly the fear of death flashed in my mind. But, immediately in the next moment, the thought erupted like lava that, “Fine—if I die now, my long-cherished desire is satisfied! There is nothing happier than dying thinking of God!” and it blew away my anxiety and fear in an instant. Through admiring Yogananda’s absolute devotion towards God, it became obvious to me that being One with the god-like Guru is more important to me than my life.
Yogananda is watching over us beyond time and space. Through his pure workings, I was granted the conviction that the Guru is always within me. The relationship between Guru and disciple is an eternal connection, and even if one is not able to meet the Guru in person, one will be able to sense the guidance of the Guru within, in accordance with one’s seriousness.
Autobiography of a Yogi is a divine passport to draw closer to God, given to all who are seeking. Even now, even in this very moment, we are led by Yogananda to awaken to the joy of loving God and living with God!
“I give you unconditional love.”
Yukteswar told Yogananda this at their first meeting. At that destined moment when Yogananda finally met his Guru, after being wholeheartedly devoted to the search for his own Guru, Yukteswar fully accepted him, also telling him, “O my own, how many years I have waited for you!”
When I read this paragraph before meeting Yogi-san, I could only feel how admirable of a story, like a romantic scene of pure love from an innocent romance drama! At that time, although I longed to meet my Guru, my understanding of the love between Guru and disciple was extremely vague and filled with my own romantic fantasies. I had never even thought about what preparation a disciple needs in order to fully receive the love that comes from a Guru.
The training given to Yogananda by Yukteswar was very strict; Yukteswar rarely praised him, and Yukteswar never mentioned the word “love” again. Yogananda, in the age of youth and vigor, naturally had rebellion and complaints, yet he was always subdued by the tranquility and simplicity of his Guru. From the beginning, he was required to complete his studies, and later, his Guru pointed out his distraction during meditation, upbraided sharply the errors he made due to his carelessness, and even gave a long list of his imperfections in front of his father. It was only straightforward, stern words and severe reprimand. Some disciples found this unbearable due to their vanity, and chose to return to the mundane world and give up their spiritual pursuits. Some turned to ways of practice that can bring instant sympathy and the comforting recognition of one’s merit. However, Yukteswar did not provide such things.
Isn’t “unconditional” love just about loving each other? Why are there so many hardships?
Yogananda wrote, “This flattening-to-the-ego treatment was hard to endure, but my unchangeable resolve was to allow Shri Yukteswar to iron out all of my psychological kinks. As he labored at this titanic transformation, I shook many times under the weight of his disciplinary hammer.” Yogananda had transferred the burden of his life to his Guru, and his Guru had also assumed responsibility for his disciple’s life.
How many efforts did the Guru make for the transformation and improvement of his disciple? For those disciples who could not endure the training and left, the Guru was so heartbroken that he even shed tears. Yogananda, being by his Guru’s side, was able to witness and experience all of this deeply. After he had abandoned underlying resentment, he found a marked decrease in his chastisement, and he felt even more the lovingness and clemency of his Guru. “I want nothing from you but your own improvement.” “Your happiness is my happiness,” Yukteswar said to Yogananda.
It turns out that these strict demands are the manifestation of the Guru‘s love.
After truly practicing the teachings of Yogi-san in daily life, although Yogi-san did not treat me as strictly as Yukteswar did to Yogananada or hit my self-esteem, I corrected my arrogant and wrong behavior again and again through the experiences in life, with the teachings of Yoga, and eliminated my suffering. I gradually realized that to accept the love of my Guru, I must abandon myself completely.
Only by completely abandoning oneself can one completely melt into the love between the Guru and the disciple. It is purity far beyond romance and matters of love. In other words, it is only after Enlightenment, becoming the same existence as the Guru, that one can fully experience and accept this love. The Love the Guru bestows on the disciple is Enlightenment itself.
After Yogananda returned from America, he ached to hear the words from the Guru, “I love you” once again. The Guru granted his wish and said to him with clear teardrops, “Yogananda, I love you always.” The Guru‘s love transcended the tangible body and mortal life, and even after the physical body died, the Eternal Soul remained with Yogananda, allowing him to realize that the world is a dream of the Divine.
At their first meeting, when Yogananda asked the Guru, “I want to see God,” the Guru replied, “Let your wish be my wish.” Your wish is my wish, your happiness is my happiness, and your improvement is my only request. In short, in the Guru‘s heart, “I am you,” and, “you are me.” The Guru‘s only wish is for the disciple to realize Enlightenment. What kind of love is comparable to this?
I once asked Yogi-san at the Satsangha in Taiwan, what kind of love is the love between a Guru and a disciple? Yogi-san answered: the love between a Guru and a disciple is pure, ceaseless, and unfazed by death. When I listened, my tears streamed down. I didn’t know what that was, but I deeply felt a sense of security, as if being guarded. In this life, as one of the people who are fortunate enough to meet the Guru, how can I not strive to practice and achieve the Enlightenment that I have not achieved in my previous lives?
Now, after a hundred years since the time of Yogananda, we, as disciples of Yogi-san, are able to witness the majesty and kindness of the Guru, just like Yogananada did, and to feel the essence of the love between the Guru and the disciple. How fortunate we are! I think that only when the disciples determine to achieve Enlightenment as their wish, can they reach the feet of the Guru and merge their wishes into One. I want to become Yogi-san’s Love itself, and become the same existence as Yogi-san. I want to make efforts to completely abandon myself and fully melt into Yogi-san’s Love. I will continue to work hard under your teaching and guidance. Please continuously guide me.
It is a great honor and a blessing to be able to participate and to give glory and praise to the Avatara, the spotless manifestation of God in human form, born without karma. The Avatara returns to the world purely out of love for humanity, to bring back balance into the world when there is too much evil in the world. Tonight’s celebration is about the life of Swami Paramahansa Yogananda and how he took responsibility and honored the request of his Guru, Sri Yukteswar, to go to America and share the yogic sciences with the West, and demonstrate the harmony between Christianity and the Science of Yoga.
In Paramahansa Yogananda’s famous book Autobiography of a Yogi, he also shares in the celebration of the Avatara and the Eternal bond between the Guru and disciple relationship. In preparation for Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela, I was asked, “what does Sanatana Dharma mean to me?” From reading Autobiography of a Yogi again, and recalling Sri Yukteswar and Yogananda’s first meeting, I intuitively felt that It is the humble surrender of the disciple to the Guru. The Guru knows the disciple through and through and how to bring about the best in the disciple, but that requires the disciple to forget what he thinks he believes or he knows in order to humbly surrender to the guidance of the Guru, only then can Sanatana Dharma manifest within the disciple. The humble surrender to the Avatara and the Guru is displayed through the Avatara, Babaji, and the life of Lahiri Mahasaya as the householder Guru, through Sri Yukteswar’s having faith in the arrival of his pupil and preparing him for his mission for the west, and through Yogananda, who, though not having much desire for school, went to university at the request of Sri Yukteswar in preparation for going to America. Reading about the life of Lahiri Mahasaya caused me to reflect on my life and the times the Mahayogi Mission asked me to participate in a project or write an article and I failed to fully accomplish them or [had] fear of participating. This is not the way of the yogi.
This issue of responsibility is a subject I have struggled with; whenever things became overly difficult or stressful, I often wanted to quit or walk away, making excuses such as, “I already have a busy life, I don’t want to add more to it.” So when Anandamali told the Sangha that we would be doing a play for Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela, I knew I could not quit this time. The Sangha is dependent on me and Shri Mahayogi is giving me an opportunity to grow. As the weeks grew closer, the stress level intensified, I didn’t want to give any excuse not to fulfil my responsibilities. I thought deeply of the example of Lahiri Mahasaya’s life as the householder Guru, and how exemplary he was in performing his business responsibilities, as well as his social responsibilities, and still devoted time for duties to God. I wanted to do the same by having faith in Shri Mahayogi, the same way that Yogananda had faith in Sri Yukteswar during his university years.
The process of the sangha working on the play for Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela was a very unifying one because we had to work in unison with one another over a two-month period, guided closely by the meticulous direction of Anandamali. The emotional feelings some of us felt and went through, including myself, I’m still trying to process. The spiritual blessings we all received is difficult to measure, but I feel a deep sense that the Avatara is here, right now. How rare to be in the presence of an Avatara. We read of men who find their lives are not worthy if they are not accepted as a disciple. Yet you chose us to be your disciples, our souls are already blessed. I look back at my life, at the past five or ten years, and I know I’m a different person, just as all of us here can say, and it’s because of you, Satguru Shri Mahayogi. There is a lot more on my part to be done, you tell us to cut the rope that ties us to the shore. I ask of you, our Holy Lord Mahayogi, to give me and all of us the wisdom to see our ropes and the courage to cut them today, so that we can experience the True Freedom and the Real Joy of Sanatana Dharma. I want to take advantage of this life, to realize the Real Life now that I have an Avatara as my Guru.
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for “Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela”—this spring celebration named and brought to life by Shri Mahayogi.
In 2017, when I heard that a spring celebration named “Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela” was going to be held for the first time, I was astounded by its title. A few months before the celebration, I wanted to feel what the unfathomably enormous meaning of “Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela” is, however small, so I meditated on the title.
As I continued to meditate on it, one day, suddenly, a vision of a golden, shining Lahiri Mahasaya appeared in front of me without warning.
I shouted within. I came out of meditation, then immediately I read Autobiography of a Yogi again. Then, I strongly sensed Lahiri Mahasaya’s hidden great works, which I never noticed until then. Many saints appearing in Autobiography of a Yogi, including Yogananda’s Guru, Shri Yukteswar, were disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya. While he was taking on a worldly job during the day, and at night holding Satsangha, he planted the seeds of Truth diligently and steadfastly in each person’s mind, and Truth sprouted. I sensed that, because of these hidden works of Lahiri Mahasaya, the foundation of spirituality was established, and the Eternal Truth, Sanatana Dharma, was transmitted to Shri Yukteswar and then to Paramahansa Yogananda.
Furthermore, as I was rereading Autobiography of a Yogi, the words of Jesus Christ on the first page captivated me.
“Except ye see signs and wonders,
ye will not believe.”
What does this “signs and wonders” mean?
When I was thinking about this, Shri Mahayogi, as if he was Jesus Christ himself, said the following:
“Because people cannot understand unless they see signs, let me show you all kinds of signs. The best sign is the body of each individual disciple.”
I had thought that the supernatural powers like the siddhi that Jesus exhibited were the “signs and wonders,” but the signs were actually the “bodies of the disciples.” That is, “A person seeks God and practices for it and reaches God”—this is the true sign, and that indeed is truly a miracle, I felt.
Lahiri Mahasaya left behind numerous signs and wonders called disciples. However, Lahiri Mahasaya, as a sign and a wonder himself, was also the feat of another Existence. That is, Babaji. Babaji is the Avatara who lives in the depths of the Himalayas and has been guiding humanity towards the Truth for millennia. It’s said that he transmitted kriya yoga to saints such as Shankara and Kabir. And when the wave of Western materialism swept across the entire world in the 19th Century, Babaji initiated kriya yoga to Lahiri Mahasaya, and through him, lead humanity to the Truth.
Babaji is an Avatara who does not have a physical body limited by lifespan, but since ancient times, many Avatara have manifested in this world having physical bodies just like us. Buddha, Jesus, Shri Ramakrishna, and others—through the Existence and guidance of these great Avatara, Truth became revealed, and they led people to It according to each era in which they appeared.
“Whenever there is a decline of dharma and rise of adharma, I manifest myself.”
These words of Krishna express this straightforwardly. When the Truth declines, the Avatara appears, and practices personally, staking their life by themselves and realizing the Truth, then transmitting the Truth to mankind. Seeing the form and how he or she is, and the actions the Avatara takes, enables people to desire to become God; by becoming a disciple, one can follow the footsteps [of the Avatara].
Eternal Truth, Sanatana Dharma, Exists!!!
Avatara themselves reveal that originally people are God, and give the hope that people can become God, and they show the path to become God—that is exactly the grace that the Avatara continue to bestow upon us, this is what I sense.
When I thought about the grace and works of the Avatara that have been continuous since ancient times, I was awed by the greatness of the mission of the modern Avatara, Shri Mahayogi. Because, I felt that Shri Mahayogi is taking on by himself in a single generation the mission that was accomplished through three generations starting from Lahiri Mahasaya, Shri Yukteswar, then Yogananda. Just like Lahiri Mahasaya, Shri Mahayogi gives Satsangha from his home, planting seeds of Truth, and just like Shri Yukteswar, he nurtured disciples strictly yet with love, and just like Yogananda, he travels across the world, and further, he brought about the book, Shri Mahayogi’s Words of Truth—he continues to bless many people even now. And at the age of eight, he experienced the awakening of the true Self, like Ramana Maharishi, and in his teens, he thoroughly practiced the meditation of discrimination that Buddha did; furthermore, he even has the sweetness of Krishna in rasa and lila….I am speechless. That is the biggest sign and wonder!!!
The person who can name this celebration and host the gathering of Avatara!!!
At this spring celebration, as the cherry blossoms gloriously bloom, I vow to express my gratitude towards Sanatana Dharma and Shri Mahayogi through the actual practice of Truth and by acting in service of the Truth. Lahiri Mahasaya diligently practiced Yoga, guided people to the Truth and served them, while remaining in the mundane world. He taught that diligent and steady daily practice and service are the foundations of Sanatana Dharma. I myself believe that through following the conduct of Lahiri Mahasaya and the many saints and Awakened ones, and first and foremost, through the diligent and steadfast practice of Shri Mahayogi’s teachings of Truth, that when that is complete we can become Shri Mahayogi’s signs and wonders.
Let all of us who are here today, become Shri Mahayogi’s signs and wonders!!!