Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Kyoto, Osaka, Taipei, New York and Montana
The Secret of Work
Testimonies from Actual Practitioners
• Inspired Works
Design by Atman: Part 1
July 2022, Kyoto, Japan
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Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Translation of Satsangha
The Secret of Work
Clear Away Your Own Baggage First
Kyoto, December 30th, 1998
Q: If I progress in Yoga, will I stop having various conflicts and friction with other people? What will it be like?
MASTER: It will be like the wind, the water, or the air.
Q: While we are in the midst of practicing and making progress, how should we relate to our involvement with others?
MASTER: In this world, even though there are many people who think they can help carry the baggage of others despite the fact that they are struggling with their own baggage and completely occupied with that, what you need to do first is clear away your own baggage. You need to empty yourself—if you do so, when the necessity arises, you’ll be able to help people who are in trouble by carrying their baggage for them. First, you need to look at yourself and work on improving yourself. That will consequently be the best thing you can do for your loved ones, your surroundings, and nature as a whole.
Kyoto, October 8th, 2005
MASTER: When a conflict arises, it’s like a kind of unhinged, confused condition of the mind; simply put, it is a state in which one becomes irrational and loses all sense of reason.
But here’s a hint: don’t get caught up in the emotions and remain calm, and repeat deep, long breathing as much as you can. Just doing that can bring about curious results.
Taipei, May 13th, 2017
Q: What should I do if I have hurt others?
MASTER: It’s good that you are aware that you’ve hurt others. If possible, apologize to the person you’ve hurt. If that isn’t possible, apologize in your heart. And be vigilant in order to not repeat the same mistake again.
Q: What is the reason for apologizing in our hearts?
MASTER: This is for your own benefit. By doing that, the heart ought to purify that particular karma.
Kyoto, January 16th, 1999
Q: How do I stop seeing the shortcomings of others?
MASTER: Instead of seeing the external appearance of that person, see only the essence of that person. What is that essence? It is the same as that which is divine within yourself—see only that noumenon.
Q: In my current state, I can’t see it like that, even so, is it alright just to practice thinking in that direction?
MASTER: If you think more straightforwardly, you can say that the reason these various physical matters are the way they are is that, in the case of animals, it’s because their hearts are pumping, even a plant is active because the source of its life is active, and this is due to the fact that this entire universe, all things that exist, have a life and are active. Then, what is that life, or that great force that keeps them alive? It can’t possibly be coming from different origins for each individual matter. Even if we don’t know what it is, there must be one great force that is unified. It can be understood that myself, others, animals, everything is all made from the same, one essence (that which is the true substance or true nature), and that the noumenon can be considered to be exactly the same thing. Although in Yoga and in various religions, it is called God, among other names, in short, you can understand it to be the great and mysterious power that is beyond physical matter and that makes that matter come alive, and that power is the Essence of all things, the noumenon.
Kyoto, May 14th, 2005
Q: How do I deal with people I don’t get along with?
MASTER: When you think about why people are compatible or are incompatible, that is, why people’s personalities, which are the conditions of their minds, differ, you can say that it’s all due to the fact that their karma is different. Karma is the result of the tendencies brought about by one’s past actions and thoughts. If we use color as metaphor, if someone likes red, and increasingly prefers red more and more, that person might say they love red but dislike other colors, or if someone likes blue, he or she may say they do not like red. In this way, the objects within people’s minds, in other words, the desires and interests that they are being directed toward, are all different, and when these conditions of the mind arise, it is expressed as being compatible or incompatible.
My secret is to dismiss all that and not pay it any mind. Ignore it. [That means] not only ignoring people who are incompatible, but even ignoring compatible people. Ignore both. That is to say, there is no good reason to pay attention to the surface conditions of the mind, such as karma. No matter who it is, the Essence is One and the Same—the Soul, the Noumenon is the same; there are no differences. What is different is the mind that’s as if it is wrapped around the Soul, and because I am aware that it is simply the case that everyone has different colorings, I don’t get tired. Therefore, no matter who it is, even if you feel that you are compatible or incompatible, you should forget about that and treat them such that you only see the Essence of that person.
Kyoto, January 16th, 1999
Q: When treating others equally, which is better: after acknowledging the individuality of each respective individual, treating them equally without any attachment to that, or completely ignoring each person’s individuality altogether?
MASTER: Ignore it. You ignore it completely. Seeing differences is an action done by the mind; therefore, completely, utterly ignore them and remain indifferent to them; don’t let yourself see them at all.
Q: To see people equally—does that mean that no matter if it’s my mother or a person who happens to pass by on the street, I see them as being completely the same?
MASTER: Yes, that’s right. Relatively speaking, I don’t know what the global population is now, but normally, how many people do we know within that? Just a few. We are attached to this few, which is a tiny number of one out of hundreds of millions, or billions of people, saying that they’re parents or friends, or this and that; yet, these parental relationships or friendships, or even the relationship of simply knowing one another, are built upon a cause; the only thing that distinguishes them and others with whom you have no direct acquaintance, whether they are your neighbors, whether they are people in foreign lands, that is, whether they are people who are living here now just like everybody else, is the degree of recognition as to whether you remember them or not.
These things are merely measured by experiences at a certain point in time, and in the next thirty or forty years, you may meet people you don’t know yet; even viewing it from the physical perspective, it can be said that these are quite imperfect, baseless ways to create attachments. From the perspective of psychology, the impressions created through experiences and concepts such as parent or friend are producing attachments. They are being built on something that is extremely vague, that is to say, something that changes, something that is unreliable.
Instead of doing that, whether you know someone externally or not, if you can see only the sameness there as the unchanging Essence, then you can say that that is the Truth that transcends time, space, and even experience itself, and it will be reflected immediately in the realm of experience; you will be able to love others without seeing any differences between them and no mistakes will be able to arise. Well, despite the fact that the mind is tiny, when the mind is attached to something, it can only see that; however, once that attachment is removed, then the mind will, as it were, see that thing as if it were expanding universally—because the attachments of “here” or “that” or “this” will be gone.
Kyoto, December 9th, 2006
MASTER: The common cause of failures in our relations with others is due to seeing the differences in others. It is the perception of differences. Someone who is good for you, someone who is not good for you, someone you love, someone you hate, someone who is beneficial to you, someone who doesn’t bring you any benefit—these various differences make social relationships even more jarring and confusing.
What Yoga teaches is to eliminate this sense of differentiation. The people in front of you and the given situation, whether it be a family member, a colleague or a friend, are just as they are. Therefore, take action indiscriminately, in a proactive manner according to what you think is best for them; simply put, that is what you can do. And, don’t be attached to the results of that, whether your actions worked out well or not. Actions have an object, which is called the other; however, by seeing that which is One there, Atman (the true Self), within each and every person, this becomes possible, and that goes for complete strangers as well as for your own children.
Kyoto, December 26th, 2015
Q: You mentioned some time ago that humans, animals, plants, and minerals are all equal, but I can’t quite understand why minerals were included.
MASTER: Since ancient times, saints have said that when there is injustice, the rocks and mountains will move. That is true.
Most of the abilities that humans have, animals have as well. Animals have minds and sensory organs. Even though their morphology differs, plants also have abilities. You should understand that the difference is in the degree of manifestation of their abilities. Animals and humans may have a relatively higher capacity to see, to hear, to vocalize, and to smell more than plants. Nonetheless, plants also have a life force within them, the same as others have, and they have various sensors around them, and prosper by acquiring the wisdom to thrive and produce descendants. Therefore, they have similar abilities. It’s just that the degree to which they manifest across individuals is different.
When you think about it in this way, you can consider that minerals, too, are the same, that the difference is only one of degree, and that their abilities may be latent, simply hidden from view. As evidence of this, this galaxy and the entire universe are changing at every moment. Stars are born and change, then eventually disappear—the difference in scale is unfathomable in units of human time, such as billions of years. Therefore, it is correct to view it such that although minerals and the entire universe have the same essence and the same ability in that way, it is simply the manifestation of the ability that is different.
Q: I can’t say I fully understand.
MASTER: Then, let’s look at it from a different perspective. Humans and animals have hearts, and with these heart movements, they have life in this world. We also know that plants have life. But do they have hearts? They do not. They don’t have hearts, yet they maintain life. Therefore, we cannot but acknowledge that plants have some essence of life that plays the role of the heart, but in a different form. In the same way, you can infer that when it comes to minerals, even if they are in different forms, such as sand, stones, mud, and others forms, if they exist in this world, they may have lives similar to those of plants. Even if you crush stones, no hearts come out, yet it can be confirmed that a stone exists in this world. That means that there is a certain source of life and vitality in those stones, although different from that of humans, animals or plants.
When you look at this earth, which is a cluster of minerals, even though no one has actually seen it, it is said that there is a mass of fire called magma within it, and it is covered by various layers, and the surface is minerals, or it became something called “land,” and in the parts that are caved in, water accumulated and turned into oceans; so basically, the earth is formed by minerals. However, what is its essence of life? Is it magma? Science is still at the stage where it is hypothesizing about that. Nobody can go to see it. At times, it is known that volcanoes erupt and fire comes out from underground, from the mountains, yet we don’t know how far underground it comes from. No one has witnessed this exactly, whether it comes from the exact center of the earth or it is closer to the surface. The scientists are all merely speculating and theorizing.
Perhaps it may be considered an ancient science that, through meditation, the Yogi examined the way all things are. Then, they saw that this entire universe is moving, it is active; morning comes and the sky becomes beautiful; then, after dusk comes nighttime again—why do things change at every moment? The ancient people may have said that this is how God is directing it; however, there must truly be a great power, that great power that we once called God, which is working as the source of life in this entire universe. By that power, the sun moves, and the moon, and the stars, and the living beings all move. Of course, minerals are included in this as well. Therefore, do not have any feeling of discrimination between animals and minerals.
Kyoto, November 4th, 2006
Q: I worry about what others think of me. What should I do?
MASTER: Heighten your belief in yourself. At times you may receive praise. At other times you may receive criticism as well. You must not be affected by either; your value does not go up or down based on the opinions of others. If you adhere to that thoroughly, then ultimately you will realize that what’s important is for you to devote yourself to living your own life, and that you will have to persevere in doing that. That also means that you are compelled to heighten your belief, and also, heightening your belief leads to heightening your ideals. The more you heighten and improve your inner state, the less affected by various external voices and influences you will be.
Kyoto, October 27th, 2001
Q: Please teach us about not putting people on scales.
MASTER: When you measure something, you need a standard unit with which to measure; it is the same for weighing or measuring the length of physical matter. However, the standard of measure is constructed by everyone’s subjectivity, and that results in measuring based on that subjectivity as the standard. That’s why it doesn’t have absolute value, and in this sense, it can be said that the act of measuring itself is uncertain and unreliable, and it is filled with errors.
Another thing is that since those standards themselves can change at any given moment, as can the objects that are being measured, even if you take it moment by moment or take only one activity to measure, when you examine this within the flow of time, due to the fact that even a moment can already become the past, and due to the fact that the future will continue to change, you can acknowledge that it is also a mistake to judge from that particular moment. Therefore, the act of measuring itself is already filled with mistakes, or in other words, you can say that it is filled with ignorance. You need to proactively work to restrain or eliminate this. I think Jesus also said, “Judge not,”1 because if you do, then you will also be judged using the same scale—those are words intended to admonish ignorance.
Since deepening Yoga is nothing other than acquiring the Truth through one’s whole being and embodying the Truth itself, you need to mentally stop any acts of measuring that arise and eliminate them.
 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1)
Osaka, July 23rd, 2006
Q: Even if I take an action thinking that it will be for the good of others, I think that at times, it hurts others. Please teach us what a good action is.
MASTER: Regarding the issue of good and evil, since ancient times, it has always been quite a sensitive matter; oftentimes, something that looks good from one perspective could be evil from another perspective. However, let’s set that aside for right now and let me explain how to easily distinguish good from evil. It can be roughly divided into things that seek selfish results, which are evil, and things that are altruistic and seek to benefit others, which are good—which bring about the happiness of others.
However, there are times when something seems good from one perspective, but causes harm from another. That is inevitable. All you can do is accept that the world, in this sense, simultaneously has both good and bad, pure and impure.
That is to say, there is no such thing as a world that is entirely good, or a world that is only filled with evil. Therefore, when you find yourself feeling various things between good and evil, you should see that as food for thought or some kind of lesson you need to learn so that you aim for better things. When it comes to relationships in the workplace, this is something where everyone has similar situations and experiences things in similar ways. Even so, it would be ideal to acknowledge this, in other words, it would be ideal to reform your own behavior such that you won’t harm others as much as possible, and instead bring joy to others as much as you can. Practice like that.
Incidentally, there is a verse in the Yoga Sutra, an ancient, authoritative scripture on Yoga, stating thus: “The karma of the Yoga practitioner is neither white nor black, whereas the karma of the general population is either white or black, or mixed.”1 With regard to white and black, white means good, black means bad. Thus, this sutra indicates that as one practices Yoga, one transcends karma.
This too stands to reason. That is, it means that karma is something that grows out of the ego as the protagonist and that is where the central axle of the mind is, and then that karma comes back to that ego. As you practice Yoga and deepen it, and as the ego thins out and disappears, then karma no longer accrues. No matter what action is performed, one does not receive the results of those actions. It can be said that it is because one has transcended good and evil. That is the best way.
 The karma of yoga practitioners is neither black nor white, whereas the karma of others is of three kinds. (Yoga Sutra 4:7)
Kyoto, July 23rd, 2015
MASTER: Loving Kindness means that for those who are joyful, rejoice in equal measure with them. It is like within a friendship, it is to share the joy, to have the feeling of joy.
Compassion means that for those who are sad and grieving, or suffering, stand by them and have sympathy towards them.
Sympathetic Joy is to be joyful. When you meet someone who has any kinds of virtues, have sincere respect and aspiration towards that person, rather than being envious or jealous, and think of how wonderful that person is, or aspire to become like them.
Equanimity means that for those who do not have virtue, who do not have good qualities as human beings, who perform evil deeds or are disingenuous, it is best to ignore them, because if you say something to them, it could get bigger and it could be like adding fuel to the fire. Therefore, there is no option but to wait for that person to realize it themselves. In order to prevent the damage or harm or the bad influence from expanding, you ignore them as a countermeasure. That is the way of thinking in Equanimity.
There are so many different kinds of people. No matter what the situation is, keep the mind calm and unagitated. That is one of the concrete teachings.
Kyoto, August 26th, 2006
MASTER: Since learning Yoga means learning the Truth, not only of human beings but of the entire universe, assume that dealing with others can be reasonable, and what must change, and what can be changed, is you yourself, which means that it is all up to you. If you practice this thoroughly, no matter what kind of shortcomings or inadequacies you have that may appear on the surface, you can’t help but acknowledge that the causes are all within you. The solution to all the confusion is nowhere but within yourself, after all.
Taipei, May11th, 2017
Q: In Yoga, how do we think about having children or raising them? I’d like to have a child, but is that an attachment?
MASTER: All beings repeat the cycle of birth and rebirth in this world. Therefore, it is natural that everyone wants to have a child. It’s just that, you ought to raise them without having any attachment to them. There is a question in an ancient scripture called Bhagavad Gita: “What happens if I do not reach perfection in this lifetime even though I haved learned and practiced Yoga?” God, Lord Krishna, answers thus: “That practitioner’s efforts are never lost. He or she will be reborn into a family of an illumined Yoga practitioner.”1 The more you deepen Yoga, the more wonderful a child you will beget.
 Paraphrase of Bhagavad Gita 6:41
Kyoto, September 28th, 2019
Q: In raising children, please teach us if there is anything that becomes the core as you raise a child as a person.
MASTER: If you tell them, God (pointing to his chest) is here, within the child’s chest, then I am sure that child will be able to make this the core and will be able to overcome many things.
Kyoto, October 21th, 2006
MASTER: How should the child behave toward the parents? Conversely, by what standard does a parent consider what makes a child joyous? In one word, it is nothing but happiness. For the child to become happy is the happiness of the parents.
Now, the question is, what constitutes happiness? If you think from the perspective of the child, or rather think again as an individual person about what happiness truly is, [you will conclude that] if one can live this precious lifetime happily and harmoniously without any suffering, that would be the most wonderful thing. This “being happy and harmonious without having any suffering” is possible only in Satori. That is, there is nothing that compares to becoming a perfect human being, a perfect True Human, because there is happiness and unhappiness, joy and sadness in life—that is the general way people spend their lives. In this sense, to get close to Bliss, which is the ultimate Happiness, that is, Satori, or to become That, is the happiest; therefore, the children realizing Satori ought to be the biggest joy for the parents as well.
This world is immersed in relative matters. Naturally, parents are older than children, so they age or they get sick. Generally, their lives end earlier than the children’s lives. In that regard, try to be filial to your parents as much as possible; what might be referred to as filial piety means serving them devotedly as much as possible, in material and mental aspects—so it means to attend to that.
There is an old [Japanese] proverb, “Your parents aren’t around when you finally want to serve them.” Therefore, while your parents are alive, it is only natural to do the best you can.
And, if you are a Yoga practitioner, then don’t limit that to the family of blood relatives, but expand your view much more, to the entire universe, to the whole of humanity, and to all things, and practice with such a feeling and act on it.
Kyoto, March 16th, 2002
MASTER: Ever since I was little, I was probably a child who didn’t behave in the way that my parents wished me to (laughing); but one time, I just thought randomly about what the ultimate filial piety would be. Perhaps, listening to and accepting whatever one’s parents say might be one; of course, not causing trouble in the world, or to become successful in the world might be one, too. However, I had no such things in mind at all, and I thought that the ultimate filial piety was to realize Satori. Therefore, no matter how much they lectured me or how much I didn’t do things the way they wanted me to, it was of no concern to me.
Not only for parents, but the highest gift for all others as well, is none other than realizing Satori—I believe that. Therefore, I believe the same can be said of spouses or children.
Kyoto, January 29th, 2005
MASTER: The Truth of the Guru is not in the form, but in the Essence. It is the Existence Itself, beyond form and word. It is the Truth. It is the same as the Truth within you.
Seekers and practitioners are still in a state of imperfection on the way to Satori. In order to perfect it, there are teachings from scriptures, and also, the direct guidance of the Guru, a Master, is necessary. However, in order to deepen one’s spiritual state more assuredly, there is nothing greater than the grace bestowed by a Holy Being. This is granted through darshan, a single glance. It cannot be seen by the eye, yet blessings and spiritual inspiration are most assuredly being poured into the recipient.
Kyoto, May 28th, 2005
MASTER: The most important thing is to encounter the Existence of Truth. Even if that Existence doesn’t utter any words, that isn’t a problem—for the Truth is beyond words to begin with. That is why in India, when one completes all of one’s studies, one wanders around here and there, seeking darshan from a Guru—to receive only a single moment of darshan. That is worth tens of thousands, nay, an infinite volume of scriptures and words.
New York, August 19th, 2011
MASTER: Long ago, in the middle ages, there was a saint named Kabir. It is said that he was a weaver in the old town of Benares (Varanasi), and he was already in quite an advanced state of spirituality. Yet he was still missing one thing. That was the existence of a Guru. One time, he found out that Ramananda, a famous saint at the time, was on his way to Benares. He hid in advance in the street where the saint was expected to pass by later, and right before the saint passed by, he threw himself from behind the building where he’d been hiding right in front of the saint. Ramananda, because suddenly there was a person laying right in front of him, almost tripped over him and happened to look at him involuntarily. The darshan of a saint was granted. Kabir was blessed. Thus, his Satori was complete.
This is a rather symbolic legend. Yoga cannot be realized just through learning intellectual knowledge or merely acquiring techniques. The existence of a Guru is an absolute necessity.
The Guru guides the disciples with a love that seeks no reward, and makes them just like the Guru. At that moment, the relationship of master and disciple ceases to exist, for they become One and the Same. Such beautiful stories of Guru and disciple can be seen in the legends of many saints.
Kyoto, April 5th, 2008
Q: Please tell us how we should humbly receive the grace and guidance of the Guru, and also, what is taking place when that happens.
MASTER: Truly, the human mind is arrogant, cunning and filled with falsehoods. Whether the human mind knows it or not, the earth is spinning, and it orbits around the sun without the sun moving. Even during the night when the sun is hiding, the moon takes its place, and the sun remains hiding over on the other side.
It is clear that regardless of whether the mind knows it or not, all things that exist in nature are working beyond the capacity of human knowledge. Pioneering scientists have begun to unravel these things little by little, and the prophets have been explaining them since ancient times. And, that providence referred to as the grace of God—this too is undeniably present.
In short, depending on the condition of the mind of the receiver of grace, the receiver may receive it, or may not notice it, or may not be able to receive it. However, based on the fact that all things in nature are working in order, there must be a fundamental existence of Truth that underlies everything. That becomes grace, and it is always present.
Grace is, so to speak, to get closer to or touch the mystery of God, one mystery at a time—such is grace.
Kyoto, November 23rd, 1998
MASTER: “Disciple” is just a positional word used in relation to the Master while the disciple is still imperfect. In the Bhagavad Gita, it says: “Serve the wise by reverent prostration, inquiry and service, then the wise will impart the Truth.”1
The Truth is originally the Essence Itself that is inherently dwelling already in all people and in all things. When that realization hasn’t yet been revealed, the state is referred to as incomplete. In reality, completion is already there; it is already completed. Believing that you are not yet complete, or the idea of incomplete itself, is a mistake. That is why, in order to remove that ignorance swiftly, a Master, or a Guru, who is the Truth itself, is necessary.
Needless to say, to practice the teachings of sadhana is a must, and disciples must also act based on aligning their deeds, words, and thoughts, in order to remove all ego and ignorance. Whether you are a sannyasin or a householder, young or old, male or female, none of that is of any concern.
To honor yourself as an individual, as a precious existence, so that you can manifest that precious awareness and take action with your own body—to single-mindedly devote yourself to that is the greatest duty of a disciple.
Concretely, do not neglect to constantly learn the Truth, to perform selfless actions internally and externally, and to practice meditation; you must deepen your reverence and love for the precious Existence. Through these acts, being in name “someone’s disciple” will shift to “someone’s master.” The words disciple or master are simply names given to a particular stage. What is there is the nameless, unnamable, True Existence. That is everything that the disciple must do.
 “Know that by prostration, inquiry and service, the wise who have realized the Truth will impart the Knowledge to you.” (Bhagavad Gita 4:34)
Kyoto, February 12th, 2005
MASTER: The original meaning of sangha is the gathering of practitioners. Practitioners, of course, refers to the earnest seekers who practice with Satori as their aim. Sangha is the gathering of such disciples. In the olden days of Buddha, at the time when what could be called social reform, or perhaps it ought to be called religious reform, was needed, or when the world had to be made better, he taught that there were three treasures in this world—these are, the Buddha, who is the awakened one, the Dharma, which are the teachings of Truth, and the Sangha, the ones who follow the Buddha. “Buddha Dharma Sangha” is how it’s been said since ancient times; they became the Three Jewels, or the Three Treasures.
For a long time, in the Hindu world, individual liberation or individual salvation was set as the highest value, and the practice centered more around aiming towards a hermetic, individual practice, and individual perfection; however, through the teachings of Buddha, the importance of sangha was brought into it. About a thousand and some years later, someone named Shankara Charya came forth and saw the need for sangha in the Hindu world as well, and he established the Swami Order. It seems that because of that, later on, in modern Hinduism in India, institutional organizations of monks called swami came to be established. By taking on the form of sangha, they learn from and encourage one another, and further, sangha developed in such a way as to have a positive impact on human society more broadly. The longevity of each person’s physical body is limited, however, a bridge that connects to the future, or a vessel to transmit [the Truth], arises from sangha to sangha; it doesn’t just end with individual liberation, but operates beyond time and space—that is the significance of sangha, which we can see.
Even though it is a sangha, each and every person who is part of that group makes up a sangha, and gives it form, so in that sense, each and every person has the mission to reach Satori, and to correctly transmit Satori and connect It to the future.
Kyoto, September 14th, 2013
Q: Out of the Three Treasures, I believe that the Awakened One and Dharma are truly precious, but why did Buddha bring sangha into it?
MASTER: Sangha is often translated as practitioners, or a gathering of practitioners. That means they are the future Buddha. As for Buddha and Dharma, their content is the Existence, as the Eternal Truth, which is in the world yet not bound by the world. On the other hand, there is this limited world that is unfolding. The dreamscape created by the mind and its delusions are not the Truth, because their cause lies in the pain-bearing obstacles and ignorance. The nature of these practitioners is to awaken from the dream that inevitably and eventually causes suffering and sadness, and realize the Truth, or to make the resolution to realize Satori.
Broadly speaking, this can be said of every living being, everything in this world, but there are people who just fall asleep, people who are in the midst of the dream, and people who are trying to wake up from the dream—there are various kinds. The people who are called “practitioners” are the ones who have encountered the Buddha’s teachings of Truth and who strive to wake up as soon as possible due to the very fact that they have encountered those teachings of Truth by the Buddha. Even in the case of the Buddha, the body is limited, therefore, Dharma, which is the Truth, must inevitably be absorbed and transmitted within this limited world. Indubitably, its essence is the Truth, that is to say, Dharma, and its vessel, the physical body, will result in the transformation of the practitioner’s body. That is how the vessel will become the precious existence of Sangha. In order to continuously shine such Divine Light, which is Dharma’s Light of Truth, upon the world, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha have come to be honored as the Three Treasures of this world.
Kyoto, March 17th, 2012
The relationship between Guru and disciple, and the relationship of brother and sister disciples called sangha, is often considered to be a spiritual family. When it comes to family, naturally it is often understood to mean blood relatives, such as the parents who gave birth to you and the siblings born of the same parents. However, this physical family lasts only a single generation. In comparison, a spiritual family has ties transcending many, many lifetimes.
Not only in Yoga, but what the religions of the world teach is that the Truth is One. If we speak of this in mythological, Cosmic Creationism: there was one Existence, and from there all things were born. Humans, animals, plants, minerals—each and every natural phenomenon in the universe is like that. Satori means to realize the source of all of this as well, so to speak. If this understanding can be experienced, then you will be able to see the One within all things, which may appear to be different. The difference is only in the appearance of mere forms and names, and also in their karma. Therefore, as you continuously learn Yoga and practice it, then your own karma will be eliminated, and you will get closer to the source, the One Existence. Since the ones who share this same aim make up the sangha, therefore there must be a greater, stronger bond than the feeling towards one’s conventional family.
Unmistakably, each and every person, everyone, is that precious One Existence. That is why the gurubai (brother and sister disciples) must support one another, encourage one another, and realize that Truth as soon as possible. Through one’s own deepening, one can offer the highest gift even to the physical family that does not yet know Yoga.
Montana, July 30th, 2011
Q: You have put emphasis on the relationship between Guru and disciple, but what should we do if we don’t live near the Guru?
MASTER: The relationship between Guru and disciple doesn’t indicate physical proximity. It is a matter of the heart. Therefore, even if you are on the other side of the earth, that relationship is strongly bound. In order for you to understand this better, I will introduce the last words spoken by the great Buddha: “My disciples are not the ones who are near this body, but those who live by my teachings are the true disciples.” Of course, the teachings of Buddha, the teachings of the Truth, transcend time and space. If you live his teachings, even we who are living in the 21st Century can become his direct disciples. The Truth and the teachings of Truth transcend time and space. Therefore, even if you live far away, the relationship between Guru and disciple is possible.
Q: How should a disciple serve the Guru?
MASTER: There is nothing that the Guru needs in this world. However, the Guru lives for the disciples. The Guru lives for the sake of teaching and guiding the disciples, and for the sake of serving them. There are many things that are necessary in order for the Guru to do that. Find out what is needed for that in various situations and at various moments, and proactively serve the Guru.
Kyoto, October 31st, 2009
If you look at modern times, the way in which Shri Ramakrishna and his disciples lived a hundred years and a few decades ago has been handed down in a very pristine form even after the Guru concealed his form. Through these direct disciples, even to this day, the disciples and devotees have continued to grow in increasingly large numbers. Compared to the way these direct disciples lived, it may feel like the disciples in this day and age leave much to be desired, yet the teachings, which are the core, and the Truth, are ever present and continue on. What can be observed from this is that through his own body, the Guru, Shri Ramakrishna, showed the example of the way to live on this earth—throughout his life, from the time he was born to the time he left the physical body. Then, the disciples heeded this example and emulated it.
Therefore, if you’re a disciple, then you need to live an exemplary life, even if it starts out as just an imitation, emulate the Guru and follow the example of the Guru, and furthermore, make that your source of joy and your reason for living, and thrive on that. That would be good. As long as you have a physical body, that will surely be an auspicious gift to the people around you and relating to you, and even after the body ends its role and is gone, its work will continue on into the future. What it all comes down to for each one of you, each and every individual disciple, is, precisely, to face your own life with utmost seriousness and live your life seriously. [Remember, the Truth is] that the Guru and disciple are originally one to begin with. The reason they appear to be different is only because their given roles are different, just like the roles in a play.
Kyoto, January 18th, 2014
Q: What kind of resolve does Shri Mahayogi bring to his work, and how can we get closer to that?
MASTER: Vivekananda once said thus: “If there were another Vivekananda, he would have understood what Vivekananda has done.”
In order for you to understand me, you will have to become me. And, I want for you to become That, to be That. That means nothing less than realizing the True Existence, called Atman, which is One without second, that is within you, and within each and every individual—that is all.
And the work can be, [for example,] in this limited lifespan of the physical body, helping as many people as possible to encounter the correct Yoga and be able to realize the Truth just the same [as me]—that can be through scriptures, and in the distant future, a monastery, which will become a guide that may be necessary. Everything you do is simply work that is done for the sake of realizing the Truth within each and every person. You are all doing this while temporarily working in various jobs and having various lifestyles, yet that’s where the real work lies.
Have the resolve, the determination, that you will realize the Truth, that you will become the same as me, without any difference. Through that, everything will work out accordingly.
Kyoto, November 23rd, 2003, Kyoto
There is a proverb: “Everything is suffering.” That is, if the greatest suffering is to die, then getting old, getting sick, and therefore, even having a physical body, that is, being born itself, is nothing other than the cause of suffering. In that sense, this birthday becomes an inauspicious, disgusting thing, and it’s quite impossible that it be something to celebrate. However, that is only one view, seen from a particular perspective.
Indeed, that is the truth of this world, as well as the intersection of the physical body and the mind. However, by forsaking the world, and the body and mind that are constantly changing, and through finding the Truth and realizing It, everything becomes Joy—the reason why you can realize this and experience this is precisely because you have been born. Because of that, the physical body becomes that which is auspicious, that which is blessed.
In ancient times, the holy sages taught that being born into a human life, seeking the Truth and having the Life of a human being that enables one to realize That, are extremely precious. Truly, being born as a human being, that birth ought to be inherently auspicious. You will eventually come to know that seeing everything as suffering was a mistake of the mind.
The Truth is something that is eternally unchanging. It is not something that appears at one point in time, It is already here, It is here now, and It will continue to exist. It will never change, and It will never be destroyed, let alone disappear. To be born as a human being who can realize this Truth, this Joy—let this birth be a Joyous one, within each and every one of you, and make it truly auspicious.
* * *
Design by Atman: Part 1
July 2022, Kyoto, Japan
Mahayogi Mission’s design department is called “Atman.”1 Everyone must already know that the person who is the core existence, who has created many of the designs, is our Master, Shri Mahayogi.
In 2016, Prema Ashrama was established in the district of Omuro2 in Kyoto, and nowadays, an atelier on the second floor is the main workspace; however, when recalling the origin of the works that I was graciously allowed to engage in with Shri Mahayogi, the scenes from the previous residence, Seva Kutira, come alive vividly in my mind. Shri Mahayogi would come to one of the rooms called “The Design Room” (which was also used as Shaci-san’s bedroom)—whether it was a scorching hot day, or an extremely cold, snowy day, Shri Mahayogi would come by riding his small folding black bike. There were times when the work continued late into the night. There were times he came dashing in from early morning saying, “Let’s do it right away!” Although when seeing us all helter-skelter, not being ready yet, Shri Mahayogi would generously laugh and say, “Was I a bit too early?”—these incidents always sobered our attitudes and made us always stand by so that we would be ready to do the work of Shri Mahayogi at any time.
Shri Mahayogi, sitting in front of the MacBook computer screen, expeditiously giving us directions on layout and color. His intense eyes, staring at what was being completed, again and again. His extreme concentration, to the degree that we often hesitated to interrupt him. His innocent smile of being pleased as the works came to completion: “Good job!!!” I can recall in my heart the lovely images of Shri Mahayogi, with he himself being completely immersed in designing and enjoying the process.
“Inspiration just keeps coming, pop, pop, pop, pop!”—one time, Shri Mahayogi expressed this. He expressed that if there is even a single keyword [as a creative brief], the completed form would appear visibly, suddenly and clearly, like a ray of light suddenly shooting through, yet nevertheless, it would take time to actually manifest it into form.
While being engaged in these works, with the feeling that for the sake of materializing the things that Shri Mahayogi envisioned, I would like to be of help, even if just a little, and with the wish that I would like to come closer to Shri Mahayogi’s sensibilities and become the hands and feet to accurately express them as soon as possible, I was graciously allowed to savor many times the sense of exaltation and the uplifting moments of joy when Shri Mahayogi’s vision would take form.
In this series of articles called “Inspired Works,” I will take inventory of the precious opportunities of the actual scenes of Shri Mahayogi’s work that I witnessed, and report about what I have learned and sensed from these anecdotes of Design Works. Also, through design, I aim for us to get closer to the essence of Yoga, even if it’s only just a little.
I first encountered Shri Mahayogi’s designs at the place where the Mission used to hold the Yoga classes when I began attending them over 20 years ago. I remember that I was drawn to the beautiful design of Yoga Asanas, in which the sun and the moon are symbolically designed, and I bought it on impulse for its cover design. Sometime later, I heard that many designs were done by the Guru (Master) of Yoga himself, and I was shocked. At the time, I was working as a web designer, and I thought that design and Yoga were way too unrelated of fields, so my head was filled with wonder—if one attains the state of Satori, then does one become able to do anything, like having omniscient and omnipotent abilities?
I later learned that Shri Mahayogi got the idea of the long horizonal design of Yoga Asanas from a traditional sutra format of India (originally written on leaves). The sun [on the cover] symbolizes the Ha and the moon [on the cover] symbolizes the Tha of hatha yoga, and the words [on the cover], “MAHAYOGI YOGA MISSION” and “YOGA ASANAS” express the sushumna (central path of prana). Yoga Asanas is sold out.
From traditional Japanese painting, to Eastern and Western fine arts, from classical to modern art, Shri Mahayogi has profound knowledge about art in general, and the works he has done are wide-ranging, from traditional techniques to the graphic design unique to today’s digitized world, video direction, space design…etc. Has there ever been an Awakened Being who left to the world this many marvelous designs in visible form?
Shri Mahayogi, since childhood, has written with a good hand and he excelled at drawing. However, he mentioned that from his school years, his aspiration towards Yoga became greater, and the impulse to express something like a modern artist would cease to arise within him at all. I heard, however, that when he thought about the need to get some kind of a job [in order to make a living], due to thinking that he could be wide open to create, there was a period when he aimed to enter an art university with the thought of getting a job in design, and at that time, he considered that he himself could design so much as to move the world through that. I am amazed at the scale of his vision—but we learned that in the end, he did not go to an art university, but instead, while he interned under designers, and also worked as a live-in apprentice at an atelier for a textile designer of clothing, when a situation arose in his family that affected them in a way that was crucial to his family’s survival, then he helped out with the [new] business of his family in the interior furnishings industry from then on. It was some years later when Mahayogi Yoga Ashrama was established at his family home in response to the request of seekers.
When the Ashrama was established, Shri Mahayogi first created the signage that has a painted silhouette of a Yogi, and then, he created the flag of the sahasrara chakra. The symbol of the Yogi later became a motif for various designs, such as tapestries, furoshiki (a cloth for wrapping things), badges, T-shirts. As we have continued to go to the Ashrama, we have always looked up to the little signage outside that’s been there without change for over 45 years. And, in various scenes, such as festivals or outdoor activities, putting up the flag of the sahasrara chakra, many of us have gathered under that flag flying high. What we saw overlapping with these symbols was the existence of Shri Mahayogi and the state of perfect Satori.
In the developing of Mahayogi Mission’s activities, design is essential. Publications, events, classes…wherever the Mission goes, there is always “Atman” working together. To hand down Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Truth) far and wide is the foundation of all of our activities; to represent what is needed in accordance with each moment, in whatever form is needed, is the main task of “Atman.”
In the upcoming articles, I will touch upon Shri Mahayogi’s work while I introduce the design works of the performance, Amrita, the newsletter, the Paramahamsa publication, and the original T-shirts.
 A play on words
 The Omuro, together with the Kinugasa, are the districts that comprise a large portion of northwestern Kyoto, with Mt. Kinugasa at their center. This was once a flourishing area, filled with the villas of aristocrats and the Imperial family, dating back to the 8th century. Ninna-ji (first founded in 888 AD), a UNESCO World Heritage site, is there near the Prema Ashrama.