Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Satsangha, Kyoto and Taipei
2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2017
The Secret of Work
Meditation: The Basic Level
The Way of Viveka (Discernment or Discrimination)
Testimonies from Actual Practitioners
Celebratory Messages from Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela
April 1, 2023
• Miracle Revived in the Present
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Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Translation of Satsangha
The Secret of Work
How to Choose an Occupation
Kyoto, October 26th, 2002
MASTER: Rather than basing it on your likes and dislikes, understand what your strengths and weaknesses are, and in choosing based on your strengths, you can make the best use of yourself, no matter what occupation it might be. That would be fine when it comes to choosing a job.
The real job that must be done while you are alive is to purify yourself as a human being, and it is to reach Satori. Whatever other job you have doesn’t make much difference. It’s just that, since people are born with various characteristics and tendencies, find an occupation that makes good use of these character traits.
Kyoto, March 13th, 2004
(Shri Mahayogi was concerned about a woman who mentioned that she has to work extremely long hours and said this:)
MASTER: As we often say, the person does not exist for the job, but the job exists for the person—you should reconsider [the fact] that people are not there for the sake of work, but work is there for the sake of people, and regulate and control your work accordingly. It is not worth it to be controlled by your job.
Of course, I don’t mean that you should take your job lightly; you have to work hard. Even so, I think that when it comes to the way of doing that, it is through human wisdom that you distribute the way of doing it according to that criterion—humanity; if you are dominated by your work, then you are only losing honor as a human. If you say that that is the way society works today, then you just have to change that. If you look at the situation of a hundred or two hundred years ago, when the age of electricity was not yet so developed, people worked using sunrise and sunset as a guide, and thieves worked after the sun went down.
Nonetheless, due to the development of various civilizations and of science and technology, we have lost sight of one another and lost our sense of time. As a result, the human mind, which corresponds to nature, may have lost its measuring stick. However, once you realize that, I think it’s wise to take it back again. Because, take work, for example—I think everyone says that the reason they work is because they want to become happy. However, it would be a contradiction if the more work you do, the more unhappy you get.
Kyoto, April 11th, 2009
Q: Lately, I don’t feel a sense of reality in the world. Please teach me what my attitude should be towards my job.
MASTER: When it comes to your job, regardless of what job it is, there is no reality. No matter how great the work is, or even if it has some historical significance, there is no such thing as reality. Therefore, to seek reality in work is a mistake to begin with. Then, why do we have jobs? This is just a matter of engaging in appropriate work according to the seeds that you cannot help but to have sown, that is, karma. And, of course, you have to keep improving and doing your best within that. Even so, that doesn’t mean that’s the goal.
Q: So, we work to reap what we have sown in the past?
MASTER: Yes. This means that that is the respective job that everyone has no choice but to choose.
When it comes to Reality, unless you experience it, you won’t know what Reality is in the true sense. Yet, if you ask where that reality is, that reality is deep within all of your hearts. To know that, to actually experience and realize that, is the true work that is to be done, the reason why we are born. All other jobs in the world merely provide assistance to that end.
Taipei, May 13th, 2017
Q: I have various pressures and issues at work. Should I change my job? Or will it be training for me if I stay?
MASTER: No matter how much you change your workplace, the same trouble may occur again at a new workplace. Certainly, while one is making a living in this world, human relations in the workplace come along with that as a major source of trouble. Everyone has the same problem, whether it be big or small.
Ultimately, you must change yourself. The mind can transform by learning the scriptures, by practicing asana, and by meditating. Continue on the path of Yoga devotedly. Then, you will surely see a positive transformation soon.
And one more piece of advice: even if you encounter such trouble at work, you just have to do the best you can with integrity. Toward that end, be unattached, or indifferent.
Kyoto, June 4th, 2017
Q: I am busy at work, often returning home late at night around 11:00 PM. But I don’t have any sense of fulfillment, and I am often feeling depressed. How can I get rid of these thoughts?
MASTER: It’s preferable if the time you spend at work is shorter…you are spending a few hours too many. If possible, it would be better to improve that. And as for your attitude or your feelings at work—in just about any job, everyone is working to make a living, or surely has thoughts of that as they work. That is inevitable. Even so, the damage you incur differs when working reluctantly or enjoying work. So then, let me speak a little bit about how Yoga views this.
The word Yoga and what it indicates is to realize the Truth. There are many things in this world, and no matter what you do or what you think, it is uncertain, and it is not easy to experience a certain tranquility and peace. Even if one feels happiness for a moment, the anxiety and the worries come right back in the next moment. That is because the mind is causing such disturbance, so to speak, you are disturbing yourself.
Now, looking at what the Truth is, the Truth is Existence, that which is indestructible, that which is utterly complete and harmonious, that which is eternal, having neither flaws nor changes—Existence is such; although vague, that is what is hidden behind the word Truth. Then, where is It? Does it exist somewhere in this universe? As a result of exploring various answers, it was realized that It exists within oneself, and that It exists as the essence within this entire universe and all of nature. It was realized—it means that that is something that you yourself can experience; because, It exists within yourself, not anywhere else.
Now, specifically speaking about what that Truth is—everyone thinks “me” and perhaps for what is usually referred to as the mind, you may vaguely think of it as “me.” However, that protagonist of “me” changes according to various circumstances, from birth to childhood, to when you are a student, to becoming a member of society, becoming a mother, or becoming a father. The vague thought of “me” continues; however, the environment and the situations surrounding it change moment by moment. Even within one day, it changes considerably. Then, will that “me” have changed that much? It won’t have. Everyone thinks, “I am not you, I am me.” This substance, the essence that this “me” indicates, is actually not the mind, It is the Pure Consciousness further within—even right now, if you observe your own mind, it is something that is easy to see in looking into your mind. The mind is witnessed or is known by the Pure Consciousness—the Consciousness that sees the mind. However, that Pure Consciousness is as if it has mingled with the mind, and becomes indistinguishable, and it is in the state as if the mind believes it is “me.” However, actually, the “me” that the mind believes itself to be and the True “I” are completely different things. There is nothing secret about it, but this is precisely the cause that obscures the Truth, like a magic trick.
If you observe the mind quietly, you will know that there exists a Consciousness that is the witness. That Pure Consciousness does not have an individuality. I am me, you are you—animals, plants, various things, even in this natural world where there are all kinds of things, the Existence of Truth is One without a second. Therefore, my “I,” in other words, the True “I” is the same as your “I,” and also even for dogs and cats, even for plants, for the “I” of this universe—it may sound strange to say “I” for the universe and such, but—it is the same Existence as their Essence. This Existence has been called God since time immemorial. It doesn’t matter what the word is, since God is a pronoun. In short, there is Eternal Existence. That is the true Self, and everyone’s Essence. It is One without a second. At the very least, by having an understanding of this teaching, you are able to see the Essence in your family at home, and in society, in various workplaces, in relationships with various people, without being misled by the external superiority or inferiority.
As you devote yourself to looking at things in this way, then the burden on your mind and body will be healed considerably, and you will be able to carry it without fatigue, and it would be ideal if you can also set aside time to meditate so that you can deeply sense and experience this within yourself.
Kyoto, September 14th, 2002
Q: With relationships at work, even if I do something with a positive intent, the result doesn’t turn out as expected. Should I just leave that alone?
MASTER: The past cannot be undone. You should reflect and learn from it so that you will not make the same mistake, and there is no need to drag it out any further. Next time, if you act better based on reflection, then that is fine. Therefore, it is important to complete the process of reflecting and learning from it every time things happen, so that you will not drag out such regret, but at the same time, you should think, “next time I should do it this way or that way”—however, there is no such thing as something absolute, therefore, make things better—if you keep on making an effort to do that, that would be good.
Yoga, in a way, is thorough, very realistic. That is, Yoga sees that thinking about the past or the future is a delusion. What you can do are the things in the now, right in front of you. Focusing on the moment-to-moment comes to be very important. Success or failure, these are not so much of an issue. If something doesn’t go well, then reflect on and learn from it, and make it better next time. That is all you can do.
Kyoto, April 29th, 2000
Q: You have taught us that we must work straightforwardly, in a simple way without attachment. How should we bear this in our minds and work on it?
MASTER: To perform tasks straightforwardly and simply does not mean neglecting anything, cutting corners, or being careless at all. Rather, on the contrary, it means that you will, to the best of your ability, process and respond to the task in front of you.
It is often said, “moment by moment”—truly, by doing your best in that limited moment by moment, you can get rid of obsessive attachments. If you are obsessed over something, then you cannot do your best at that moment, moment by moment, for that obsession will get in the way. After all, doing tasks in a simple, straightforward way boils down to doing them to the best of your ability, giving your utmost effort.
Meditation: The Basic Level
The Way of Viveka (Discernment or Discrimination)
Q: Please teach us the meaning of the word “viveka” (discrimination).
MASTER: It can be said that the notions or the ideas recognized by an individual mind are very small, very biased, and limited. The psychological composition is such that when there is an idea that is not perfect, it gives various wrong directions, your mind becomes adhered to them, and in the end the mind is bound by them and suffers as a result. In order to end that, we must do something about these fundamentally narrow ideas themselves. To that end, by learning the teaching of the universal, infallible, perfect Truth—which has the value of being eternally unchangeable, be it in ancient or modern times, in the East or West, across all eras and cultures—you confront yourself with whether your own mind is in alignment with the Truth or in opposition to it. Then, you will come to understand which one is correct. This process of validation, or the work of comparing the Truth to your own mind, is called viveka (discrimination).
If you think about it thoroughly and meditate on it, then it will become clear which is correct. If you find something in your own mind towards which your mind has a prejudice, something that is imperfect, that is incorrect, etc., then it will be removed; a cause of suffering comes to be removed. That is the content of discrimination, one of the pillars of meditation in Yoga.
Therefore, learning and studying the scriptures, learning and studying the Truth, is a very important thing to do. If you do so, then you will come to be convinced through that understanding. There will be many things that you will agree with. There are things that you will notice that even if you agree with the Truth intuitively, out of habit of mind, you may have been doing or thinking in a way that is contrary to the Truth—that [recognition] can also lead to discrimination. In that way, the practice of it will result in the mind becoming more flexible and better.
Q: There is always an emotion of loneliness within me, and I have no idea why it occurs. How should I concretely discriminate it?
MASTER: When that emotion of loneliness arises, there must be a cause for it; you must thoroughly seek out its cause. Why does an emotion such as loneliness arise? Does it mean that something is missing? Is it that you are dissatisfied about something? Is it that you are trying to depend on something? [To find out its cause,] you begin by thinking about it. If your state of thinking deepens, it will become, so to speak, contemplation, which is deep thinking, and if it goes even further, then you will enter into the realm called meditation. This sequence of processes all takes place in the state of concentration. Once someone enters the state of meditation, what was previously invisible will become visible, or the insensible becomes sensible, and the true nature of the object of meditation comes to be clear; so, you may find the cause that you couldn’t see.
In Truth, the true nature of man is independent. It is not dependent on anything. The mind is standing by itself through depending on something. No matter what thought it is, for example, even a thought of, “The Truth is this way or that way,” as long as you have those thoughts, your mind is dependent on them, and through every single thought and emotion brewed by the mind through various ups and downs such as loneliness, sadness, or pain, the mind is active. This is a dependency. The mind can only be active if there are various emotions [such as happiness, anger, loneliness, joy] or if there are thoughts. The true nature is not the mind, but the Independent Consciousness that exists beyond the mind. Remember this well, and make it a hint when you discriminate.
Kyoto, March 5th, 2011
Q: I’m discriminating about the emotion of anger. I can analyze the reason why I’m angry, however, I cannot quite grasp the fundamental cause why anger arises. I think that the way I practice discrimination is only at the surface level, so then how should I practice it in order to dive to a deeper place, in order to be able to remove the seed of anger?
MASTER: Anger is [the activity of] the mind in the form of repulsion, when the mind is hurt, humiliated or is shaken, being influenced by various external factors. It means nothing, but it’s like the ego is causing violence as a reaction to violence coming from outside. Yet be that as it may, that is the perspective of the mind. Therefore, unless you transform the mind itself, whether it’s anger or other emotions, these emotions will not come to an end.
Also, everyone is always co-existing with various people in this world, in other words, you are living in the [condition] of colliding with the various karma [of others]. It is really pathetic that your mind and heart are swayed by the evaluation of such things, and at the very least, you have to protect yourself in a way that will prevent you from being affected by such influences.
For this, your mind needs to develop the attitude of indifference, otherwise it doesn’t change. Being affected is not only about being hurt, but at times, there is praise—both are unnecessary for the mind. Because if your value goes up and down because of such things, or if you are upset, that’s it, you are done, since you are only the result of such evaluations, you have no independence at all—that is even more pathetic. Therefore, you need to make yourself become thoroughly independent. In order to become independent, you have to build a foundation based upon that which is infallible, the Truth, rather than on emotions. To learn such words of Truth, keep telling them to the mind, and eliminate what goes against the Truth within yourself—that is discrimination.
Kyoto, December 1st, 2001
Q: Does renouncing what I’m attached to mean renouncing with my own will? Does “by meditating, these attachments fall away,” mean renunciation happens naturally?
MASTER: For the gross things, there are things that you can renounce with the mind, through willpower, to a certain extent. However, for subtle things, so to speak, because the mind is the one that does it, it is said that it is as if a thief disguised as the police is chasing after a thief. Since the mind itself tries to catch the mind in order to eliminate the mind, it is quite difficult. It requires an intensely rigorous meditation of discrimination. You proceed solely by putting everything on the scale of whether something is the Truth or not; the mind itself does not clearly know which side is the Truth; yet, since the Truth is within everyone, it is possible for you to sense it; it’s, so to speak, like intuition that goes beyond the intention of the mind, knowing or feeling it subtly. However, in meditation, that can be sharply distinguished.
Q: What do you concretely mean by “subtle things”?
MASTER: Ego, ignorance—the parts that constitute the base of the mind—are created by abstract concepts or ideas. Therefore, they are subtle and difficult to grasp. Even if the mind tries to meditate or discriminate by applying these ideas, even if the mind tries to meditate or discern an idea using that idea itself, in other words, if it takes out the other idea with the same idea, synchronization can occur; nevertheless, it’s quite difficult to have the degree of calmness necessary to discriminate like that—there is no objectivity. Therefore, as one’s meditation deepens, one can objectively know the essence itself, transcending the mind’s subjectivity, which is created by such ideas and concepts.
MASTER: Even after saying this, you can only understand through the mind; so, to proceed further, you’ll have to meditate directly yourself. Then the answer will certainly be found.
Q: Does intuition mean seeing things objectively?
MASTER: The intuition I just mentioned now exists, so to speak, beyond subjectivity. Thoughts are formed by ideas. Intuition is the knowledge sensed instantly without the intervention of any processes from these thoughts.
Simply put, this too uses a word as a clue, if you look for the content of the word “the Truth,” for example, there is a word, “perfection.” If you use the word “perfection” as a clue, since you know that various experiences and thoughts are not perfect, then you must also know that these are not the Truth. By going further to meditate on subtle things as the objects of meditation, and even if the meditation deepens, there is still a situation where there is a meditator, an object that is being meditated on, and meditation. In other words, by having these three conditions established, the action is formed. It can be said that whatever is made up of various conditions is not perfect.
Q: By “sensing it,” it does not mean at the level of one’s emotions, does it?
MASTER: For example, Truth—you cannot state that, “It is not the Truth unless someone recognizes or proves or acknowledges it.” That is because even that “someone” is unreliable, and I think that one must sense that behind Truth there is definitely something that can be proven as absolute or perfect. That means that behind the meaning of the words “perfect” or “absolute,” there is something that is implied, which is something that exists unconditionally, without any conditions. In other words, the Truth exists independently by Itself; neither proof nor, of course, conditions are necessary; It is that which stands by Itself without conditions, and that which exists independently—you can infer that It is something more concrete from the words “perfect” or “absolute,” and even if it would not be described with words like that, each individual knows It, isn’t that so?
“Sensing” is not through one’s emotions, but knowing something unconditionally—it is unconditional knowledge. It is the power of directly knowing something without having to go through any conditions, which are the thoughts of the mind, and the mind’s knowledge. It knows, even without the mind being aware of it. That is “perfect” or “absolute” or “eternal”—the hidden part of the Truth. As you proceed in meditation, and the more your meditation deepens, you will come to understand that even for things that are subtle, as long as something is established based on conditions, it is not the Truth, and then these conditions will be abandoned one by one. What if these conditions were not there? In other words, because there is the mind, the meditator there, there is an object, and there is the act of meditation; so, you can see that if one of the conditions were to be removed, then it has no form and can no longer stand on its own. Then, one will come to realize that the relationships of attachment you have had towards objects are simply imperfect, they are neither absolute nor the Truth; therefore, they are not needed—this is the result arising from discriminating thoroughly and clearly. Then, after the imperfections are renounced, only the Truth remains. The Truth is not something to acquire, but it is something that already exists [within]. So [discrimination, or viveka,] is, so to speak, the work of removing the imperfections covering up that Truth. Of course, the Truth doesn’t even have the word “Truth.” All words, forms, everything will all cease to exist. That is the discrimination toward subtle objects.
Q: When that is done, what happens?
MASTER: One awakens.
The reality is that everyone is still asleep. Right now, it’s like you’re talking in your sleep. All of you, too, when waking up in the morning, you suddenly become aware that that state is different from sleeping or dreaming, that you are awake. That sense is exactly the same. It is completely the same sense. The only difference is whether you are awakening in the material world, or you’re awakening into the Truth. That may be the closest description to express it.
Q: Will the way we perceive things change?
MASTER: The way you view things will completely change, because there will no longer be any attachments or obsessions; you will realize the true Self, or come to understand the Truth of God. When one is in this state, whatever is not That becomes completely irrelevant. Therefore, there isn’t anything like having interest or not having interest; all of that becomes irrelevant. As long as you think you’re the mind or the body, you are imperfect, not eternal, and you stick to anxiety and agony. However, the Self or the “I” that has nothing to do with these things has neither form nor name, It does not have a physical body; yet, Existence, which is the only Reality, exists there. “Reality” is a word that refers to That, [Existence,] and That doesn’t get affected or hurt or destroyed by anything; It is neither born, nor will It die, which is why It is Eternal, and there is only That that Exists. That is I, You, and All Things.
When you awaken to That, the happenings of this world won’t even reach the level of dreams; yet, at the same time, because everything is That, then you play the play of the One as long as you are wearing this physical body. That is how it is.
Kyoto, December 29th, 2001
MASTER: The cause of our errors is due to placing this first person “I,” which we all think about, in the wrong place—the mind. By the mind creating our consciousness, the ego, through the mind itself, the mind believes in it so much so that it reaches the point in which one does not even doubt the Self is the consciousness of ego, that is, the mind.
On the other hand, the mind experiences various things, thinks about many things, remembers, creates ideas, and along with these changing ingredients, the mind becomes enlarged, and believes that the ego (the self), or the consciousness of “I” is at the center of it. However, these experiences are constantly changing, thus they are neither eternal nor absolute, and the ego that you are sensing there, strengthens or weakens according to those changes, causing you to worry through its changing of forms.
The understanding and determining of whether this ego is the true Self or not is viveka (discrimination). It has been proven through the words of the Awakened Ones that there is no self, the ego does not exist. On the other hand, [it has been proven that] the sacred Existence deep within the mind, or behind the mind, is the Consciousness that even knows or simply sees that ego, that consciousness—and that is the real Self. Since this Pure Consciousness does not have individuality, it is universal and it is eternal. To sense, confirm and establish this within oneself through the scriptures, or the words of the Awakened Ones, or through intuition arising from the depths of one’s own mind, is the entire process of Yoga. While one is on the way, learn the various things that were just mentioned now, and apply practice into action for acquiring them, namely meditation and viveka.
In order to practice viveka correctly, first of all, you cannot base it on an incorrect point of view. In order to measure things correctly, first, you must either have made the base point upon which to stand unmovable, or have made it be based on something fair and neutral, otherwise, you cannot have a correct measure. Viveka and meditation are done by the mind, but if you bring the ego, which is considered to be an error, then, since the scale will be set incorrectly at the root, consequently, viveka, which is the result of it, may not be done correctly. That is exactly what has been said from olden times, that it is as if a thief disguised as the police is chasing a thief—that is, catching the mind, or examining it by using the mind itself is quite difficult.
We learn asana within the system of Yoga. You will understand this when you experience asana—if the body is out of condition, or if there is any abnormal or weakened part somewhere in the body, it will complain. However, when the body is completely healthy and comfortable, you will not be conscious of the body, as if the body does not exist. The same thing can be said of the mind. When the mind is healthy and comfortable, it does not whine or complain. When the mind is whining or complaining, or when it creates desires, it is like a body that is pointing out its illness or weakness. I think you’ve experienced and learned from going through these things in practicing asana.
Now, for progressing in the meditation of viveka, and thereby in order to remove the imbalance, which is ego, you need to use, so to speak, the same knack that you have learned through practicing asana, and that is, to use an analogy, the state as if you are hanging in midair without being attached to anything—that is the state of neutrality. Concentration and meditation are done with the mind, but you’ll have to do it without adding weight or partiality, such as ego or ideas, like being in midair. If you do so, that viveka will bring the right answer.
One other thing is, you practice viveka while relying on the sacred Existence abiding deeper within; that can be the Awakened Ones and their words as the manifestation of this immoveable state. Through that, correct meditation as well as bhakti meditation deepen.
Here, there are two types of content in meditation. One is to get rid of what is not the Truth, this vague thing that the ego represents, and to get rid of the various thoughts and ideas arising from these, so that you will not be entangled by such things; it is, so to speak, bringing [your mind] to the neutral condition, as if hanging in midair, and in that state, proceeding further with discrimination.
The other one is to gather the mind on that which is immoveable, the sacred essence of all things that is in the depths of or behind the mind. Especially the meditation of bhakti should be easy to do whilst having concrete forms.
Kyoto, December 8th, 2001
Q: When distinguishing ego and ignorance, an analogy of a thief disguised as police, and the mind is chasing after the mind, making it difficult, was used—is there anything we need to be aware of or be careful of to prevent from doing that?
MASTER: What you must be aware of is that there is a case in which even though you are working to discriminate a deep subtle cause, you might inadvertently end up chasing after something gross, regardless. That is what you must be careful about. That means, if you find a subtle, fundamental cause, then you must thoroughly discriminate only that, and enter deeply into meditation. The reason I say this is because this is exactly the point when a trick can often easily happen, where the thief disguised as police chases after the thief. That is because, since the mind is the one who is doing all of it—the discriminating and the meditating—and since the mind is changeable, there is a danger of there being a change in the subtle direction. The only way to resolve it is, solely and simply to keep deepening the meditation. Through doing so, it will come to be completely dyed through and settle on either the subject or the object, or their actions. What happens then, is that the essence of that thing is revealed—which means, discrimination has succeeded; that is, it’s not merely an intellectual understanding, but concrete transformation of the mind itself that happens.
Kyoto, March 2nd, 2002
MASTER: The Truth is independent. However, the realm of the mind has some dependent relationship, and at the same time, in it there is a setting that comes with some conditions. So, if the object of viveka is independent without any condition, then that is Truth, and if the object is conditioned and is in a dependent relationship, then it is not considered to be the Truth—these are like the keywords to further progress in viveka easily.
For example, even when it comes to the Truth, which is an abstract thing, the Truth needs no mind, words or anything to prove it. Otherwise, you can’t say it’s the Truth. If Truth is proven by words, then it is a kind of truth that relies on words, which are conditions, then if those words change, that is, if the conditions change, then the proof no longer holds true. That is a simple equation.
In this way, regardless of what it is, in keeping with this, discrimination can be done swiftly. If you deepen it all the way, as a result of that, no matter what it is, even a word as a single sound, it will become impure as something that gives conditions; that, too, will be gone since it’s incomplete.
The meditator and the mind of the meditator that exist there, too—they are nothing but simply a certain time and space, along with specific conditions as the cause and effect that are there. If you remove any of these conditions, the mind cannot stand any more. However, whether such conditions exist or not, the Truth absolutely Exists.
Kyoto, March 13th, 2004
MASTER: An example of an easy-to-understand way to practice viveka—there is the word “God” which exists in any and all ethnicities. There are also images of “God.” Now, as you apply viveka as to whether that God is the real authentic God or not, and if God refers to an absolute, eternal, immortal Existence, and if that is the only Truth, then the God you are worshipping must be exactly the same and equal to the God being worshipped in other ethnicities on opposite ends of the earth. If the names of religions are different, and that in turn makes the gods incongruent, then that means that that god is limited and imperfect, for it can only be established based on the condition of being bound within a specific name of religion.
However, true God ought not be limited by these things. So then, even the names of religions, or the word, “God,” if even these names, which are variously called Christ and Allah, put limits [on God], then these [names and forms] need to be removed. What can remain then, the Existence, is that which is unnamable yet the only One, that which must exist as Existence—that is universal, eternal and the Only Existence. Unrelated to things such as era or ethnicity or religion, it simply exists. There is only That. Once you create a boundary of religion, or a boundary of names or images, then that god can no longer be the Truth.
That is how you practice viveka. “God” must be the easiest example. With other things, too, you can simply proceed in viveka with the procedure mentioned now. It is nothing like philosophical reasoning. It’s more intuitive and simple.
Kyoto, August 2nd, 2014
Q: When I keep looking at my own mind to see what kinds of situations cause it to be disturbed, I recognize that at the root of it lies fear, and that disturbance arises due to being afraid something is getting hurt or that something is being lost; however, I don’t quite understand what can be lost. There is a desire to do something about this fear in me, but is practicing viveka on it meaningless unless this desire has heightened?
MASTER: Certainly, unless you have an urgent problem in your mind, it may be difficult to go deeper into meditation to find the answer. That is to say, if you bring up the problem using only the thoughts of the mind or intellect, it ends up with intellect or being within the realm of intellect and such. Indeed, it’s difficult to go to the deeper parts of the mind. However, by using the power of Yoga, it is possible to make the problem more apparent and to dive deeper into it. The power of Yoga means the teachings of Yoga. Teachings mean the teachings of the Truth. Even from what you have just mentioned, too, if anyone thinks about this a little bit, behind the things that you are obsessed with or towards which you still have attachment remaining, lies the fear or unrest over not losing or not getting hurt, and such things are haunting you. However, even if you want to inquire deeper into it, you can’t quite see its identity. It is, so to speak, that even though the mind tries to work out the mind’s own issues, just like the analogy of a thief disguised as police, unable to catch a thief, it may slip away somewhere. Therefore, if you reach that far, then you can face that sense of fear and ask from slightly different angles who the one feeling the fear intensely is, and what you are afraid of. If you do so, its identity will become a little more apparent. You just mentioned that you sense fear in you—not wanting to be hurt, feeling fear and anxiety about the uncertainty of the future, not wanting to lose something, but whatever it might be, since when the mind moves, there is always a cause, you can check these causes against the Truth taught by Yoga. If you do so, you’ll be able to grasp them more clearly, and get rid of them. If you can approach this from different angles, then it should not be so difficult.
Q: I find it strange that even if this is about me, I do not feel a sense of urgency.
MASTER: That is also one right answer. I said earlier, who is feeling that there? On one hand, the mind feels the fear, but on the other hand, the true Self knows that it is not related to any of these things. You’ll be able to see through it and call out that it is simply the baseless thought that the mind created, just like illusions or dreams, so to speak. Therefore, [practice viveka] applying it from multiple angles, a little more.
Kyoto, June 14th, 2014
Q: I think that when discrimination is complete against one issue and one is no longer obsessed by it, then one can apply it to other issues and those various issues can naturally be resolved at the same time. Yet, even so, if the same things arise as issues again after a while, does that mean more discrimination is necessary?
MASTER: Yes. There is a verse in the Yoga Sutra explaining ignorance, that whether dormant or interrupted, it is there.1 Therefore, even if the effect of viveka prevails over an issue temporarily, and it may become dormant, if it’s still not completely removed, it may appear again at an opportune moment. That is why, unless you proceed with viveka through and through, the issues may not come to their end.
Q: What is the timing of when the opportune moment comes?
MASTER: These are revived in accordance with a certain connection of time, space and its causality as the law of karma. However, if you act through viveka, ignorance within the mind must come to its end; therefore, it means that you must do this thoroughly and in a thoroughgoing manner. And if you leave your mind or actions unattended to, then it is possible for these opportunities to arise again soon, therefore, it is important for you to use right actions and right words, and reflect actions of Yoga in your actual conduct. The actions of Yoga—I think that there are many hints in the way that past Saints, about whom you have been learning, lived and left legacies. Follow their footsteps.
 Ignorance is the ground for the other afflictives, whether they are dormant, or attenuated, interrupted, or active. (Yoga Sutra 2:4)
Kyoto, December 8th, 2012
Q: In the meditation of viveka, I try to find the cause of when my mind became disturbed in daily life, but while doing that, my focus shifts to the phenomena itself, and I cannot inquire into the cause deeply. How should I work on this?
MASTER: That means your power of concentration is still not sufficient. In order to cultivate concentration, seriousness is required. Even if it’s a trifling matter that occurred, if the mind is troubled by it—then how does this relate to your Life, or you living your life? Do you want to say that you are living because you have this struggle, and that that is Life? Then what is the Truth of Life or of living? The teachings of Truth have been teaching you many things about this.
If you don’t sense the urgency with your mind, with your struggles, viveka will not progress. Mere intellectual viveka is meaningless. It boils down to whether you have the keen seriousness that is urgent enough for this. That is, in other words, it is about thirst to know the essence of your own Life and existence even from within trifling matters. If you cannot know it, then such phenomena or anything else are all meaningless. Focus on that point of origin. And search for a teaching around that point of origin. There are several teachings of Truth [on it]. Then bring these teachings, recall them, and check them against your problem regarding that phenomenon—that is viveka. The mind thinks this way, but the Truth teaches it this way. Which is correct really? Truly, seriously deal with it. It’s fine to struggle over it! Seriously and fiercely concentrate on this until the end is reached—that is viveka. Viveka is not a perfunctory musing about something.
Truly, Yoga is a fierce battle—towards your own Life.
Kyoto, March 29th, 2003
MASTER: Viveka is the heat of knowledge. By applying it to the object of concentration, vasana (tendencies of the mind, [and their] latent power) are burned out. Just seeing vasana won’t do. They need to be burned out, otherwise it won’t be effective. And [they need to be burned out] so that you prevent them from ever sprouting again. That is how powerful the power of viveka is. It has a terrific power and heat. You will see that that is where the true meaning of tapas lies. And, Yoga is precisely about this task.
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What Struck Me in Autobiography of a Yogi and the Push to Proceed Boldly Towards the Truth
What I was most struck by in Autobiography of a Yogi is in chapter 43, “The Resurrection of Shri Yukteswar.” Yogananda wrote down the entirety of what his Guru revealed for him about the world after the body disappears, the astral planet. I cannot understand what Yogananda described about the whole of the astral planet with my limited five senses, but after reading it, I came to understand more that behind this material world there exists the Pure Joy that is much more vast and incomparable, and that that great power supports all of the universe. Until that point, I’d always had a fear of death, and I was afraid to lose what I had in my hands at the moment, but suddenly, I was overwhelmed with that great Existence, and I came to feel that the world in front of me was so tiny.
That feeling became bigger and bigger, and I was made to confront reality—all of what I possess in this moment is, in fact, only a fleeting illusion, like fireworks. It convinced me that the theme of reincarnation is truly related to me, that as long as I came to be born as a human being, this is a very important matter. This content [in the book] gave me very powerful hints and became ingrained in my daily life. I was made to acknowledge that no matter what I was doing, there were many contradictions between my usual actions, my thoughts and the teachings; and, I began to always think about what the happiness is that I should truly seek, and what is truly important in life.
The more I thought about this, my admiration for Yogananda started to grow. I do not want to be on the sidelines anymore. I want to follow his steadfast determination and strong zeal to seek the Truth. I want to get closer to how he was. I began to attempt to grasp each and every word of Yogananda.
This book is filled with teachings from various angles, without leaving anything out, and the stories of saints are recorded in detail. Yogananda wrote hints about how to reach toward the Truth, using very simple words. For example, his Guru, at first, made him go home rather than letting him live with the Guru. And even though Yogananda was not interested in studies, the Guru made him continue until he graduated. At a glance, it is very simple content, but it is like the book is saying to me that even though I am not physically with my Guru, regardless of wherever I am, as long as there is the blessing from the Guru and a thirst for the Truth, the distance will not be an obstacle at all. Also, as I continued to read the book, at times I was moved by Yogananda’s pure faith. Even if the Guru seemed to especially favor a particular disciple, he was not disturbed. He clearly knew that what he sought was beyond everything external, and that the Guru would always provide the most appropriate guidance based on the needs of the disciple. I very much admire his airtight and thorough emotion towards the Guru. The way in which Yogananda goes ahead towards the Truth without discouragement, became my beacon, and he gave me the supportive push to keep moving forward with boldness. It’s inevitable that we get frustrated in our daily lives, but I want to become unruffled towards external matters as soon as possible, eliminate in my life what is not in alignment with the Truth, and make every moment an act of worship of God.
I would like to truly express my gratitude to Yogananda, who wrote this book. There were no wasteful words whatsoever in the elaborate descriptions and dialogues; it helped me to gradually deepen my trust towards the Truth. He proved that with passion towards the Truth, one can definitely reach the Truth. The way he lived gives me conviction and helps me to hone in on the Eternal Truth.
What is truly fortunate is that we have the rare and great Guru, Shri Mahayogi, just like Yogananda had. From now on, I would like to continue to train and hone my faith until it becomes rock solid, expand my passion towards the Truth, and follow the footsteps of the great saints to live the true Self!
To me, the image of Paramahamsa Yogananda is someone who is forging ahead on the path of God. He is lighthearted and full of curiosity, and his laugh is carefree, yet, he forges on with intense determination—he seeks only God, and only God is the source of his joy. I think that the reason why Yogananda was fearless was because he knew God. I was always drawn into the very straightforward, pure heart of Yogananda, who loves God. Every time I came across him, he made me feel strongly that I wanted to go towards God.
Also, in savoring the breath [of life that is within the stories] of the holy beings, Yogananda is exceptional. The holy beings who have offered their lives to God felt calm, light and beautiful. And supremely humble.
What is great about this autobiography is that Yogananda wrote about his experience from his encounters with those holy beings using his rich emotion and the brilliant stroke of his pen; even if one does not know God, one can sense a glimpse of God overflowing from these holy beings as if one could taste them.
With Yogananda, my heart often heated up, overfilled with emotions, and I got excited, and I shed tears.
The holy beings said again and again that there is a Great Existence behind this nature, and that the reason we are alive like this is not by our own power.
One time, Shri Yukteswar said, “So long as you breathe the free air of earth, you are under obligation to render grateful service. Only he that has fully mastered the breathless state is freed from cosmic imperatives.”
However, the very one who is freed from all duty, is Truly working for the world.
It has been said in India since ancient times that based on the needs of the era, Avatara and Great Masters manifest in this world. Yogananda says that they come solely to serve [the whole of] humanity.
And Yogananda himself, too, was one who carried a mission since before birth, and served that mission. He did not remain in the happy daily life of living under his beloved Guru, but dedicated the last half of his life to disseminating Yoga in the West.
It was said that pioneering in an unfamiliar territory where he did not know a single person wasn’t always easy. How did Yogananda, who thought he wanted to return to India many times, continue to remain in the U.S.?
In Autobiography of a Yogi these things are not mentioned much. However, we are fortunate to have photos and films that remain of him.
The photos of Yogananda exude a beauty that shines forth from within, and I feel that they have the power to dye the viewer with purity. And from the film, though there were only a few seconds recorded in the U.S., when I saw the footage, I unintentionally uttered, “Yogananda was so happy!”—I clearly felt that. Yogananda must have deeply loved each and every one of God’s children and he must have always been filled with Joy of God, deep within his heart.
It is said that Yogananda traveled to many countries, and he was struck with sadness at the suffering of these countries. Then he said that the West and the East must support each other mutually and come into harmony, that “the ill attributed anthropomorphic abstraction called “society” may be laid more realistically at the door of every man,” and that requires each and every person’s internal reformation. “A man who has reformed himself will reform thousands.” For this end, man must directly experience God, and must see “the world as one’s homeland—a unity based on humanity’s direct perception of God”—precisely that will then result in the realization of the world’s highest ideal, which is peace.
Wishing for people to “overcome misery” and enter the path of God, Yogananda established SRF (Self Realization Fellowship), and continued to teach Kriya Yoga. He said that “the realization of the Truth is possible by every devotee of God that strives manfully.” Yet, it was Yogananda who spared no effort more than anyone else, and who passionately helped and guided each and every one of their reformations more than anyone else. He put an end to his personal wishes, and he lived his life solely for the salvation and joy of others. Yogananda, who walked the path of God, remarkably, must have attracted a large number of people, and brought about their reformations.
It was Mahavatara Babaji who set out to send Yogananda to the West. Seeing the direction in which the earth was heading, Babaji sensed the necessity for Yoga, and thus carried out the Divine plan. Before then, there was the great devotion of Vivekananda, who was entrusted a mission by Ramakrishna. And now, we have Shri Mahayogi in front of us. The unbroken continuous flow of spirituality, through time, is displayed not in India this time, but in the land of Kyoto, Japan.
We can only perceive this moment, this single point. However, I see that it is indeed God, the Creator of us all, who has been working for the sake of the salvation of all humanity and the world, beyond time and space. Every time I come to know of this unknowable feat of God, the unfathomable, majestic plan of the Divine, I cannot help but to think how small it is to live life just for the sake of myself. I see that God has been pouring blessings of profound Love through these great Masters.
Yogananda says, “God is love; His plan for creation can be rooted only in love.” In the Autobiography of a Yogi, the great Masters and Yogananda show within God’s Lila how beautiful God’s world is and how it is filled with Joy. And even to this day, Yogananda continues to powerfully encourage us to walk on the path of God
Cherry blossom petals of blessings rain upon us from the sky. We, who live this moment with Shri Mahayogi, bow with tremendous joy and offer our gratitude. Thank you very much.
Today, I’d like to speak about Autobiography of a Yogi, which continues to inspire people throughout the world.
I hesitate to have to share such minor personal things, but back in 1976 or 1977, I was in San Francisco, going from bookstore to bookstore, looking for books on Indian miniatures, which are Shri Mahayogi’s favorite. There were some bookstores that were also vinyl record shops, and some record covers had miniatures on them, so I was excited to find anything with miniatures and bought anything that had them on it.
One day, the book adorning the entirety of the large shop window of a certain bookstore was Autobiography of a Yogi, which was translated into many languages. “Who is this person?” Feeling this strange feeling. I mustered up enough courage to pick up and open the book, but it was full of [English] words, so I gave up, thinking there was no way I was going to be able to read it all.
Time passed, and sometime in the 80’s, one day when I was out with Shri Mahayogi, we stopped by an old bookstore that specialized in Buddhist and Philosophy texts. Looking across the store, I immediately caught a glimpse of the Japanese version of Autobiography of a Yogi. Immediately I had an intense yearning to read it, but since Shri Mahayogi had said before that “Many books relating to Yoga are fake, and the only books you need to read are at the Ashrama,” I timidly asked Shri Mahayogi, “I’d like to read this book…”
Shri Mahayogi skimmed through the book and then only said, “Okay,” so with a bouncing heart, I bought the book. However, the person who read it first was actually Shri Mahayogi. Whaaat!?
But the surprise was brief as he read it in only three days, and then the book found itself in my hands. With much anticipation and excitement, from the very moment I opened up the book, I was humbled, and I began to read it, taking to it like a fish to water, and when I came to, I had already finished reading the book in three days as well.
In 1991, based on the wishes of Shri Mahayogi, the Tokyo missionary activities began, which was the first time I lived alone away from home, and the first development of the class activities—everything was a series of firsts; in addition, the formerly named “Mahayogi Yoga Ashrama” was completely unknown in Tokyo, but on top of all that, while there were various other types of yoga that had a presence there, when I was at a loss as to what to do, Shri Mahayogi would give me some words. Since this grace I’ve always thought of as something that was given to all gurubai, I’d like to share it with you at this opportunity.
“You, who are walking on the path of Yoga, which uninterruptedly continues from olden times, ought not to have gone unnoticed by the Paramahamsa Yogananda. Firmly trust that he is always warmly watching over you.”
The Autobiography of a Yogi that I saw for the first time, the compassion-filled gaze of Paramahamsa Yogananda, the miraculous Truth [in the book] that inspired me, and Paramahamsa Yogananda, who purely and intensely sought God—immediately, the world of unfathomable profundity expanded in front of me, and I was filled with joy.
And I recalled the sublime teaching by Shri Mahayogi, “Live as a Yogi, 24/7,” I could only prostrate in reverence.
I have learned that every person chooses the time and space they are born according to one’s will. Starting from the encounter with Yoga, through that passion, under our rare encounter with Shri Mahayogi, we are learning the true wisdom of Yoga, and we are where we are now.
This seemingly very mysterious situation was actually a necessity, and if we can see the birds-eye-view from the side of Sanatana Dharma, it is as if the necessary people are placed where they are needed, like chess pieces, and I can’t help but to think this is truly all a Divine plan.
We have learned from Shri Mahayogi that the ancient path, which was indicated by the signpost used by Buddha, is the uninterrupted, continuous path of Yoga since the ancient times, and it represents the Truth itself.
Right now, within the authentic lineage of Yoga, we are blessed with a rare and precious place, Satsangha, which is the way that the essence of Yoga has been passed down from ancient times, through “sitting near” (as in the meaning of the word “Upanishad”) Shri Mahayogi, where we can learn directly from him.
In other words, the breath of Truth that Paramahamsa Yogananda put down in detail through his book is revived in our present time, and we are living inside the Truth, and allowed to live inside the Truth.
Today, as Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela is being held, we are receiving from the great soul, Paramahamsa Yogananda, a great blessing and the steadfast courage to sincerely come face to face with Yoga anew.
Just like Autobiography of a Yogi was translated into dozens of languages within thirty years of its publication, Shri Mahayogi’s precious teachings, The Universal Gospel of Yoga has been published and translated in Japanese, English, Spanish and Taiwanese Chinese. And in the near future, Shri Mahayogi’s Words of Truth will be translated to many languages, and many more people will benefit from the blessing, the Holy Light (Dipika)!
Autobiography of a Yogi is the book that Paramahansa Yogananda recorded of his life. The first edition was published 77 years ago, in 1946, when Yogananda was 53. Through this autobiography, Yogananda’s missionary work spread across the world, beyond the U.S.
Our true nature is Eternal Truth. Since ancient times, the inquiry into the Truth was the treasure of India. Yogananda was entrusted with the mission from Babaji to disseminate this treasure to the “spiritually seeking souls in the West.” It must have been a lot of hard work to transmit Yoga in a land with a different history, culture and religion. Yogananda himself wrote what he was thinking, “To dare the Western airs, an Oriental teacher should be hardy beyond the trials of any Himalayan cold!” However, Yogananda overcame these struggles and guided the Western souls. After some time, this autobiography has been translated into 50 languages, going beyond nationality and race, to attract people to the Eternal Truth, to Yoga, and it continues to guide them to this day in many countries in the world.
Babaji told Yogananda, who was leaving for the U.S. thus: “Kriya Yoga, the scientific technique of God-realization will ultimately spread in all lands, and aid in harmonizing the nations through man’s personal, transcendental perception of the Infinite father.” I think that even now, this very moment, Babaji is continuously watching over the fate of the great feat of Yogananda and his autobiography.
In the Autobiography’s profound teachings, Yogananda’s intense thirst for the Truth, his encounters with holy beings due to that zeal, and the deep bond between the Guru and the disciple are recounted. Throughout the whole book, it is full of his cheerfulness, his joviality, and it feels as if Yogananda is directly speaking to you. And the book introduces us to the existence of Babaji, and the sacred lives of Lahiri Mahasaya and Shri Yukteswar. As the book mentions, “The rishis wrote in one sentence profundities that commentating scholars busy themselves over for generations,” we receive from this single book, a gigantic Love and Wisdom that can envelop the entirety of humanity. And, through this autobiography, we come to know about the brilliant miracles of saints, yet the most amazing miracle is that as we read the book, its sacred sound shakes the depths within our hearts, and we direct ourselves towards the Truth and meet the way the saints live, their teachings, their characters, in the raw.
I tried to approach the feelings of Yogananda, who left this autobiography [to humanity], but I can’t possibly catch up to the thoughts of a great saint. Perhaps, he left the autobiography for it to become a manual, hoping that future souls, having been born as human beings, would encounter authentic Yoga just as he had encountered it, walk the path of spirituality, and pass this on to the next generations with a pioneering spirit, just as Yogananda had. If so, I would like to better understand this sacred gift of Yogananda, deepen my understanding, and live according to that.
The saints that appear in the autobiography are all wonderous and captivating. I especially am fond of the scenes where Babaji and Lahiri Mahasaya’s disciples appear, and I read it again and again. Please allow me to share an especially moving anecdote.
When Lahiri Mahasaya had gone to a Kumba Mela, a great festival of India, he noticed one sadhu. “The thought arose in his mind that the man was hypocritical, wearing the outward symbols of renunciation without a corresponding inward grace. No sooner had he passed the ascetic than his astonished eye fell on Babaji, kneeling in front of a matted-haired anchorite. ‘Guruji!’ He hastened to his side. ‘Sir, what are you doing here?’ ‘I am washing the feet of a renunciate, and then I shall clean his cooking utensils.’ Then Babaji smiled at him like a child; Lahiri Mahasaya knew Babaji was intimating that Babaji wanted him to criticize no one, but to see the Lord as residing equally in all body-temples, whether of superior or inferior men.”
Whenever I read this part, my heart, imagining Babaji, a supremely holy and beautiful Being, the highest of the high, who sees God in man and treats humanity as such, leaps up with the fact that Lahiri Mahasaya received that Love.
We have encountered an Authentic Master, Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa, and have received this auspicious connection. Because of the presence of our Master, we are able to understand this scripture in the most direct way, and picture the form of the saints. I am convinced by reading Autobiography of a Yogi that Babaji and Shri Mahayogi are exactly the same. Shri Mahayogi is always hiding himself so well. Isn’t that so, Shri Mahayogi!?
Back in 2017, when Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela was first held, Shri Mahayogi told this to us:
“Sanatana Dharma is eternal, but Avatara have manifested within history. In that sense, there is a vertical axis (warp) of time that is flowing, and then, a horizontal axis (weft) as Mahayogi Mission is crossing it, creating a tapestry in the present. All our activities are contained within Sanatana Dharma. I would like this opportunity to be like that, to let us develop and expand this festival into a further, bigger tapestry!”
The immense hope that Yogananda put into Autobiography of a Yogi is connected to us, Mahayogi Mission. Now that Shri Mahayogi’s Words of Truth has been published, we wove the teachings of Shri Mahayogi, following the weft that Yogananda wove into the tapestry earlier—the time has come to expand this auspicious tapestry. Shri Mahayogi’s Words of Truth is the treasure of all humanity, of the entire universe. I am convinced that now is the dawn of the era in which we can come into union to deliver The Words of Truth to as many people as possible—I pray to press forward. This means that we “Live” by following the footsteps of Yogananda and the other saints who have manifested on this Earth.