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Vol. 106

Teachings of Shri Mahayogi

Satsangha
Kyoto, Matsuyama and Taipei
1999 – 2019

Satori

The State of Satori

The Experience of Truth

Awakening

What is “Jyakujyou”?
(A Japanese Word Derived From the Sanskrit Word Shanti)

Muichimotsu Mujinzou: Nothing Whatsoever in the Mind is
Inexhaustible Emptiness and Bliss

 

The Secret of Actual Practice
“Live every single day and every single moment seriously.”
—Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa

Part 1: Learn the Truth of Nature

Independence

Having Gratitude is a Natural Act

Be Humble—Bow Toward All Existence

The Equal and Eternal Essence That Belongs to Everyone

 

Part 2: Actual Practice in Daily Life

Progress in Yoga

The Necessity of Putting Up a Fence Around a Sapling

The Power of Sangha That Advances Spiritual Practice

Practice and Non-Attachment

Mastering Through Experience and the Transformation of the Mind

The Tapas That Incinerates Ignorance

The Reformation of Behavior Patterns

Every Action Becomes Yoga

The True Worth of [Your State of] Yoga is Put to the Test in Daily Life

Don’t Get Caught Up in Illusion

The Power of Concentration to
Simultaneously See the Part and the Whole

Exert One Thousand Percent Power

Emulate Your Ideal Person

Yogi Awaken in the Middle of the Night

Do Not Whine or Complain

Act as if You are Already Dead

Emulate the Predecessors

Serve as a Tool for the Truth

How Yoga Practitioners Should Treat Others

Acquire the Eternal Time

Simplify the Mind

Strength for the Sake of Reaching Perfection

 

Testimonies from Actual Practitioners

Inspired Works
Design by Atman: Part 4
Supreme Graphic Design
by Madhri
Jan. 2023, Kyoto, Japan

* * * * * * * * * *

Teachings of Shri Mahayogi

Translation of Satsangha

Satori

The State of Satori

Saturday, October 3, 2009, Kyoto

Q: Would Shri Mahayogi please speak about the state of Satori?

MASTER: It is the place in which there are no troubles and no struggles.
It is the place in which there exists only the Eternal Existence.
It is the One and Only Reality without a second—the True Existence.

The Experience of Truth

Saturday, February 2, 2008, Kyoto

MASTER: When all activities of the mind cease, in that moment, suddenly and without warning, the Truth will be revealed like a thunderclap. You will experience It. That experience is not transient like your daily experiences or your dreams at night. Truly, it is Reality itself. This Truth is nothing other than the essence of all people, of all things, and of the entire universe.

Awakening

Saturday, November 5, 2005, Kyoto

MASTER: The ultimate phase [of Awakening] is indeed closest to the experience of waking up in the morning, which everyone experiences. There is no other experience that is closer than that.

[When you Awaken,] the dream world you were in is no longer there—it is that subtle instant in the moment when you wake up, the moment before opening your eyes and confirming the external world or confirming the sound of the alarm clock or feeling something by the sense of touch—even the five senses have yet to become active, and only the Pure Consciousness suddenly Awakens, It Wakes Up—that pure moment is the closest to it. And so, there is a gap there.

Within the dream, the mind would have been very active, wandering around in a pleasant dream or a scary dream. Whereas in that pure moment of Awakening, since such relative things would have completely vanished, there would be no such things—just being indifferent. Indeed, it is like the relationship between this shore (the world of phenomena) and the other shore (the world of Satori).

What is “Jyakujyou”?
(A Japanese Word Derived From the Sanskrit Word Shanti)

Saturday, March 17, 2007, Kyoto

MASTER: It is a free translation of the word Nirvana, and has the same meaning as seijyaku (in Japanese—both jyakujyou and seijyaku use a combination of the same two kanji characters which mean “solitary” and “stillness, quietness,” thus the word means “solitary silence, tranquil silence, stillness or tranquility”).

In Buddhist pictures, Chintamanichakra (one of the manifestations of a bodhisattava and an avalokitesvara) and Achala Vidyaraja are all sitting on top of a lotus flower. Under that lotus, rock-like forms are often depicted; and later on, those even eventually became a formality and came to be expressed as something more like a form of shumidan (a platform that derives from Mt. Meru); and their background was depicted like the dark depths of the universe. That pedestal, [where mainly Achala is sitting,] is called shishitsuza [in Japanese], which seems to mean “air of solitude.”

Thus, the appearance is of a figure sitting on top of a lonely rock, alone in the middle of what really looks like a wind-swept wilderness, like the end of the universe where there is nothing, no light, no flowers. I think that is an image that expresses the state of jyakujyou (“solitary silence, stillness or tranquility”). In other words, it is the state where the mind is detached from all relationships of dependency and from all attachments, and everything has disappeared, like a void; depending on how it is viewed, it may seem lonely, as if there is nothing, yet there is only That which Exists. I think these pictures are an expression of such a state.

Muichimotsu Mujinzou: Nothing Whatsoever in the Mind is
Inexhaustible Emptiness and Bliss

Saturday, January 17, 2009, Kyoto

MASTER:Muichimotsu (Nothing Whatsoever)” is not indicating something material. There is a figure of speech [in Japanese] that is often used, “ichimotsu (having one thing),” or say, “ichimotsu in the belly (having something up one’s sleeve in the English way of expression).” The word indicates the pain-bearing obstacles and ignorance within the mind. Muichimotsu Mujinzou, “Not One Thing Within is The Inexhaustible,” is the word that expresses that in such a state of Muichimotsu, “not one thing, or, nothing whatsoever,” there is no ignorance nor are there pain-bearing obstacles, and that is where the world of Mujinzou, “The Inexhaustible,” Eternal, immeasurable Bliss exists. This is also called the realization of Atman or [the state of] Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence—Consciousness—Bliss) in Yoga; it expresses the state of Truth.

 

The Secret of Actual Practice
“Live every single day and every single moment seriously”
—Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa

Part 1: Learn the Truth of Nature

Independence

Saturday, May 17, 2014, Kyoto

Q: I think that independence is an important keyword in Yoga; however, there is a difference between the general way of thinking and the way of thinking about it when we are walking on the path of Yoga. Can you please teach us the true meaning of independence as a yogi?

MASTER: It is recognized that the way a human being is in this world is caused by karma. And in Yoga, you eliminate your karma and realize the Truth that has no relation to karma, and that Truth exists within yourself—and this is the first important thing that is taught. How do we deal with this karma? You have brought it upon yourself—what you have sown you must reap. It is inevitable that no matter what results may come, the causes were created or will be created by you, yourself.

On the other hand, it is a fact that in order to live in this world, it is inevitable that all kinds of things have to depend on one another, supporting one another in order to live. From the shelter and clothing that protects us from the heat and cold, to, of course, our daily food—we cannot fathom how many people were involved in creating these things. While having to receive these benefits, we are mutually supporting one another—this is also the truth of this world. It is there that the problem of good and evil conduct arises, or the attachment towards various desires, in short, this is the problem that creates karma. If you correctly understand these basics, then it is natural and obvious not to cause trouble and not to bother others as much as possible, and it is also better to create fewer relationships of dependency on others as much as possible. It may not be possible to be completely independent in the life within this world. We have to acknowledge that we are in dependent relationships of supporting one another, that we are mutually supporting one another. However, we can reduce that dependence as much as possible.

With regard to an independent life in material aspects, including clothing, food and shelter, the first principle is to live simply and live by conducting yourself humbly. Through practicing this, your dependence on the internal dependencies, which refers to the way the mind relies on something or always depends on something, the way it blames others when mistakes occur too, such things will come to cease. If you can correctly and firmly understand the law of, “as you sow, so you shall reap,” then you will not push your responsibilities onto others, and no matter how badly the results may come to you, you understand that these are all seeds you have sown, and also, even if good results may come, you also understand that these are all seeds you have sown. If you can make your mind stay simple, calm and undisturbed, then independence in the aspect of the mind will be established.

Since in Yoga, the goal above all else is to understand and to realize this tranquility of mind, this unshakeable mind, and the Truth, mental independence in this sense will gradually be cultivated as one starts to learn Yoga; this will become one’s virtue. And as you learn the Truth, gradually, you will, or rather, you have to come to learn the meaning of the Life that you are living in this world, the meaning of existence, and more than anything, the Existence that is your own Essence, and you have to realize That. In that sense, as much independence from material aspects as possible, including economic independence, independence in this world, and mental independence, will eventually all boil down to the true Self, or the Truth, that which is Independent and Unbegotten, because the true Self is that which is Independent and Unbegotten.

Having Gratitude is a Natural Act

Saturday, November 20, 2004, Kyoto

Q: Is there any secret to constantly maintaining gratitude?

MASTER: For anyone, as we take notice of the world or at least when we seem to begin to understand things in the world, when we are in our teenage years, we are so self-righteous that we are prone to the false pride that we were all born by and live by our own powers, yet if we think carefully, it is impossible for us to say that we are living by our own power. Without eating food daily we cannot live; even with that, our bodies are maintained through rice, vegetables and other foods grown by someone else’s hands. There is no single thing that allows us to say that we can live on our own, even by mistake—just look at the air, the water, even the order of the universe. That is to say, the sun rises and sets, then the moon rises, the stars shine—imagine if any of these things were to stop for even a few seconds, what would happen?—all life would disappear immediately. However, they run with precision so that such things never happen. Thanks to that, our tiny bodies are able to survive and to think various thoughts.

Therefore, first of all, one ought to be able to humbly bow to this great nature and the blessings from that nature. In that moment, gratitude will arise as a natural emotion. Everyone must have felt something like that at least once in their lives. Also, I think that you cannot help but to be grateful for your parents, siblings, friends, and various people in society, each and every existence on Earth. That is what I myself have always felt. Therefore, I’m sure everyone must be feeling the same thing. Thanking them because you receive something or because you gain something—that isn’t included in gratitude. Only being grateful depending on whether things go well at work or not—that has nothing to do with being grateful. The blessings from the Invisible Power, and also the Power that appears within that which is visible—that is the blessing we should bow down to. That is the origin of gratitude.

Furthermore, I think that a healthy and sound development of the life that you have received, which includes good and bad deeds, and actions toward Satori, which are beyond good and evil, are the acts that most express that gratitude. Of course, the mind of gratitude has to be expressed through one’s conduct. If not, things won’t go well. It’s not enough just to think about it. To make thoughts, words and deeds be as one means that if you have thoughts of gratitude, then you must express them through your words and your actions. You should practice making sure that there are no contradictions between them.

If you can be deeply impressed upon by nature and by all things in this way, the feeling of gratitude will arise in you as a natural response, and for that matter, any awareness of discrimination will disappear; there will be no sense of inferiority at all. For it follows that all things are nurtured by one another, and that each is benefiting the other.

What’s important is the Essence that is further within; the power that made the ancient rishi wonder why the sun doesn’t fall from the firmament when there is no hook holding it up; and why does the heart keep beating even though no one is operating it? Even science has not yet been able to prove this. Even if you dismiss the question saying that it is the life of the universe, then what is life? Is life simply some kind of energy generated just by a mixture of oxygen and various compounds? Nay, there is the One, that which is behind all things and everything, working as the great force and the great Consciousness. Through that force, the sun rises, the moon shines, and all things breathe. That great Being must exist within our chests as well.

In this way, even from the trivial mundane feeling of gratitude, it leads toward the path to Atman, the path to Brahman. If you can feel that much, then the feeling of gratitude will come naturally, and you can act humbly and straightforwardly.

Be Humble—Bow Toward All Existence

Saturday, March 19, 2011, Kyoto

MASTER: When we think of humility, the opposite can be found in selfish thoughts such as arrogance, self-conceit, a sense of superiority. As these grow bigger, the sense of discriminating between things grows bigger, and one becomes increasingly arrogant and gives off an overwhelming stench. Understand that humility is the exact opposite of that. When you are able to see yourself as inexperienced or not good enough, as a small, little thing, and rather respect others no matter who they are, only then, having such a view, will you be able to humble yourself when you interact with others, and you can humble yourself not only towards others, but towards all beings. That is what humility is.

The Truth teaches that God dwells within all and everything. If not using the word “God,” you can use these words, “precious Existence” instead. Because that is precisely the Essence of all things, regardless of the visible shape or form, just seeing that Essence alone will result in you humbling yourself. And further, it’s not enough just to think about humility, you have to act on it with real actions, otherwise there will be a contradiction. This world may be made up of various distinctions and discriminations, so to say—a younger person in age, someone with seniority, subordinates—however, these are just roles, simply provided as conveniences in order to get the job done. These are not at all relevant to the Essence. Therefore, those who are learning Yoga should ignore such things and bow their heads indiscriminately to all beings, or rather, be humble.

The Equal and Eternal Essence That Belongs to Everyone

Saturday, July 19, 2014, Kyoto

Q: What should I practice in order to understand true equality?

MASTER: Equality is one of the pillars of the Truth. Now, what constitutes equality? Because all things are equal, being the same thing in their Essence, it is a given that all are equal. However, in this world of experience, a view of discrimination is created based on various superficial things, such as educational background and occupation; then we get caught up in these things. These are clearly mistakes. Since it is not the Essence, and it is merely a temporary phenomenon, superiority and inferiority eventually change and disappear. Therefore, they are neither Eternal nor the Essence.

Here, the word Eternal becomes another one of the key [concepts]. When something is equal, one and the same, it also means, on the other hand, that it is Eternal. Through this, you must see equality in everything. Because it is the Truth—Truth is true because its Essence is so, the Truth. However, since the minds of most people in this world are leaning on ignorance and not the Truth, and the mind has become defiled, so to speak, discrimination spreads more and more, even now, and in the end, there will be wars and conflicts, and all we will do is sow the seeds of suffering.

Therefore, I think it is most ideal for everyone to be able to recognize the Essence and to work towards being able to know It, and being able to live by It. It is good for those who come to know It early on to do work for this aim and leave it behind, in other words, act on It for those who will follow. That way should not be give-and-take but it should truly be giving of devotional service, giving without expecting anything in return, such that there are no contradictions, doubts or confusions within that.

 

Part 2: Actual Practice in Daily Life

Progress in Yoga

Saturday, May 13, 2017, Taipei

Q: It’s been a while since I began to learn Yoga; however, meditation is not quite progressing. What can I work on in order to make progress?

MASTER: Spiritual progress from the perspective of the mind means that the mind comes to be, so to speak, more transparent, which means it is about purification. The task of cleaning up the mind that has been defiled by karma and pain-bearing obstacles is Yoga. Although the mind is originally something transparent, containing nothing, it’s been packed with dirt from various pain-bearing obstacles; from another perspective, the mind isn’t able to be independent, and it’s always depending on something. Progressing in Yoga is about eliminating this habit of the mind. Meditation is, of course, a great way to do this, but the power of faith serves a large part of it as well. Practice Yoga while having faith towards Satori, which is that which is perfect, or the Existence of God. Through practicing this, you will make noticeable progress.

The Necessity of Putting Up a Fence Around a Sapling

Saturday, August 18, 2001, Kyoto

Q: Please teach us about the importance of participating in class.

MASTER: A simple analogy is that a sapling must be protected by a sturdy fence. When a sapling grows and becomes a large tree someday, then even if an elephant is tied to it, it won’t budge. This indicates the state of being steadfast, which even if the greatest power or influence in this world comes along, you will no longer be swayed by it. After all, since in some aspect, the mind has habits, which are addictive in nature, that have been cultivated from the past, until the mind firmly acquires a new habit from Yoga and transforms thoroughly, you must proceed with caution. For that, the Guru (Spiritual Master) and the teachings are indispensable, in addition, you need the help of your comrades, for any place [where there is a gathering among comrades] will be filled with the teachings of the Guru. Therefore, in many ways, it’s good to participate in being in such places as much as possible and work to proceed together. That is the best way in all aspects.

The Power of Sangha That Advances Spiritual Practice

Sunday, October 20, 2019, Matsuyama

Q: What is the difference between training alone, secluded in a cave like in ancient times, and gathering together as a sangha to proceed in practice?

MASTER: Indeed, if one lives and practices alone in the forests and mountains, there is also the danger of getting stuck in and retreating into one’s own world. Whereas if you practice together with many practitioners, you can inspire each other in a good way, or encourage and help one another, and so on—in many ways, this becomes the force that promotes one’s practice; in a way, if it is otherwise, there is no sense in being together. It seems that to that end, a monastic, or I should say a group, or non-individual system has been considered to be effective.

Q: Does that mean that it is precisely within sangha where there is an opportunity in which I can work to change myself?

MASTER: Indeed, it naturally cleans the mind faster. You can say that this can enhance one’s humility or longing towards that which is holy; it heightens it, in other words, that is what cleans the mind faster.

Q: I think that there were rather strict precepts for Buddha’s monks, but regardless of whether those had to do with something that needs to be kept in mind within sangha or for one’s own conduct, what is the most important of them all?

MASTER: I don’t think you can rely on rules or regulations given from the outside, for after all, unless these arise naturally from within, they aren’t real. In that sense, what it all boils down to is to keep improving yourself, to keep striving to realize Satori, and to humbly, guilelessly, honestly and seriously continue to make an effort. I believe that through making such progress, as a result, everything will proceed smoothly and go well. Thus, I haven’t gone into too much detail. I truly believe in all of you. You all have something positive, I am sure of that.

Practice and Non-Attachment

Saturday, October 2, 2004, Kyoto

Q: Suffering, to the degree that something bothers me a little, fades away after a while, but if it isn’t yet resolved, it appears again. Is there any way to eliminate these sufferings completely?

MASTER: First of all, it is said that the important thing for proceeding in Yoga is to practice, [which in Japanese kanji is “to learn to master,”] and to remain unattached. Practice means to proactively continue to learn the Truth, and to keep applying various trainings and practices [for the realization of Truth] in action. The other part, non-attachment, is to release your mind, which unavoidably has been controlled by pain-bearing obstacles, from being affected by them.

If you have noticed that the problem of suffering has emerged, then since there is always a cause for it, you can start to see that the cause is the thoughts toward some object, that is, your attachment or obsession, and further, you can start to see what constitutes the cause of that attachment. If you continue to dig into it, you can see that it is based on an idea that is the opposite of the Truth, called ignorance, and unless you delve into that level and eliminate [the attachments and their causes], you will not be able to uproot them all. Through practicing this way, you will detach from them.

Meanwhile, you must proactively realize the Truth itself through experiencing It. In other words, it is like educating the mind. What can arise inevitably in this process is faith, and, the power of Yoga, wisdom, and discriminative insight will arise from practice. Therefore, it is only when you are accompanied by these two, [practice and non-attachment,] like two wheels of a car, that you can proceed smoothly. If it’s only one, you will keep spinning around and go nowhere. Therefore, you must constantly observe yourself and make your mind conform to the Truth.

Q: Does it mean that no matter how small the issue, we should not leave it alone, but proactively catch it and dig down to the cause?

MASTER: Yes. The fact that bubbles are coming up implies that you already have the cause for it, so that will end only when bubbles really stop coming up—you must do this. At the same time, you have to act on practice proactively so that you will be able to embody the Truth—you can’t just sit still—what is needed for that is karma yoga, bhakti yoga, the concrete actions that use the physical body are required; otherwise, you cannot embody It. In this sense, everything in your life must become Yoga.

Mastering Through Experience and the Transformation of the Mind

Saturday, February 5, 2005, Kyoto

Q: I feel that even though I understand something intellectually, I find it difficult to master through experience. What is the difference between understanding and mastering it through experience?

MASTER: For example (using both his hands to create an oval spherical form), if we assume that the mind is in this state, then intellectual work is such that it is carried out (pointing towards the top of the sphere) only along the upper edge of this manifested consciousness. However, the mind still has many sanskara underneath in the latent form, and it has many layers of desire, attachment, pain-bearing obstacles and ignorance.

Mastering through experience (pointing to the bottom of the sphere) is diving deep underneath to this point. When you are able to understand and be convinced by mastering through experience, since it will not only be at the upper edge but you will have dived down to the bottom, the mind itself comes to transform.

The Tapas That Incinerates Ignorance

Saturday, June 1, 2013, Kyoto

Q: I think that in practice or in non-attachment, tapas is generated, and as a result the mind comes to be transformed. Please teach us the practical aspects of tapas.

MASTER: I think if I were to put it into words, it would all boil down to one’s seriousness and serious actual practice. With either practice or non-attachment—it comes down to the question of how serious you are. Tapas will arise in accordance with one’s seriousness. Obviously, since the greater the heat called tapas becomes, the more it purifies the mind, the level of seriousness must be strong and pure.

Tapas in ancient times referred to just torturing the physical body and thereby generating heat. But that was denied by Yoga, the same as it was by Buddha, you have to go the middle way—the middle way is not the extreme of extremes, such as abusive ascetism or its opposite, a hedonistic way of life, but rather it is the middle, balanced path that is the most royal path—that was the answer derived by the Yogi and by Buddha. So, what the word tapas indicates has changed from the ancient asceticism of physical abuse to an internal, mental asceticism.

Indeed, when dealing with the karma and pain-bearing obstacles that the mind has become accustomed to, the mind may experience considerable pain. However, if you tackle them seriously and thoroughly, the heat arising from that earnest seriousness will burn out those erroneous things, called pain-bearing obstacles, and as a result, pain-bearing obstacles and ignorance will be renounced from the mind. Renunciation does not mean forcefully letting go of an attachment that is there, rather it refers to natural annihilation. The mind is made to realize that these are not the Truth and that they were a mistake [of the mind]—that is how renunciation and non-attachment occur. To confront ignorance and check it against the Truth is discrimination, and that also becomes tapas.

In short, there is something urgent about the fundamental question of whether you are seriously trying to live in a way that is true to yourself, what you are living for, who you, the one who is living, are, and who the “I” is.

The Reformation of Behavior Patterns

Saturday, September 30, 2000, Kyoto

Q: Is it important to discriminate, not only while meditating, but also on a regular basis?

MASTER: That is very important. The process of spiritual discipline and practice is that by gradually reforming your patterns of behavior that have previously gone unchecked, and then incorporating better habits, even though in the beginning of your practice of spiritual discipline that may be just for a part of the day, for example, two or three hours of study and practice of Yoga, if the mind applies all its passion towards Satori, then even if time is spent for the spiritual discipline of moving the body or studying two or three hours, the mind itself expands, and it will permeate into other times in daily life—thus, in the end, the direction of the mind will be set on Satori 24/7, around the clock—then, as a result, actions and activities that create karma will decrease. However, when it comes to everyday actions, there are many simple everyday actions that are unrelated to karma; these will be done accordingly.

Q: What are the actions unrelated to karma?

MASTER: First, the actions that eliminate karma are actions based on Yoga. The actions that are unrelated to karma are the ones that are related to neither; for example, simple tasks and daily life chores that can be done without attachment—these actions keep on going with no relation to karma. Karma must always have a cause for it to be created. The cause is the activity of the mind that is related to pain-bearing obstacles. Conversely, work that is like that of Yoga, which is not based on pain-bearing obstacles, will gradually eliminate karma.

No matter what it may be, the mind is always active, having a tendency to be attached to something. Not only that, because the mind acts through a [filtered] background of personal sanskara and pain-bearing obstacles, the direction of each individual’s actions becomes varied, creating various karma as a result. However, as I mentioned just now, by discernment of [the causes within your mind], it will be prevented from further evolution, and will rather move towards the annihilation of your own sanskara and pain-bearing obstacles. When your only remaining attachment is the desire for Satori, then all activities of Yoga will proceed well for the very first time. Thus, the desire for Satori itself becomes such that no trace of karma is left behind; that is because the more you progress in [the state of] Yoga, the more that will end up eliminating sanskara.

Every Action Becomes Yoga

Saturday, July 7, 2012, Kyoto

MASTER: Kriya yoga literally refers to the yoga that the word “action” or “actual practice” indicates. What you put into action, consists of the three pillars: tapas—physical and mental discipline, study of scriptures, and meditation on God. And if we understand kriya yoga in a narrower sense, tapas is the spiritual discipline centered on asana and pranayama (controlling ki or breath control), and for the study of scriptures and meditation on God, these are literal. There will be time dedicated for this outside of work and daily chores. That is the narrow sense of the way to practice it.

However, as [your state of] Yoga deepens, the time for your actual practice will expand from part-time to the entire time; that is, even in the time of daily living or work, the execution of Yoga will inevitably come to be practiced. Then, even during the times when you are working and living according to karma, you will shift from the passive form of karma yoga—passive means that you must obligingly fulfill the work and life [duties] that have been created by your own karma, so to speak—[in other words,] what you used to do negatively as karma or passively as an obligation, as the eye or Yoga of seeing Atman in everything or God in everything is cultivated, you will then be able to carry out your work and life as proactive karma yoga.

Then, what you understood as kriya yoga, expands from being a partial kriya yoga to the whole kriya yoga, so to speak, and it does not just refer to asana and pranayama, but even down to every thought in the mind, every word, every action, and your way of conduct will come to be included within kriya yoga. Kriya yoga itself transforms in this way, in other words, everything ought to become the action of Yoga.

The True Worth of [Your State of] Yoga is Put to the Test in Daily Life

Saturday, December 22, 2001, Kyoto

Q: Will we be able to make progress in working on our habits, behaviors and the things we need to renounce if we are not proactively working on them within society?

MASTER: As I’ve often said, meditating at home is like practicing to gain discipline, you are repeatedly training, so to speak. However, where the real showdown takes place is in society, or through society, or your connections with others, and in the world—that is where the true value [of your practice] is put to the test; and at the same time, as you overcome the trials there, your practice becomes more pragmatic. Therefore, rather than sitting alone in a cave, it is about whether you can still mingle in the town yet remain steadfast—that is where all kinds of things come into your way; there will be praise, there will be condemnation, there will be successes, there will be failures, and many things come upon you; I think that is exactly where the true worth of your practice of Yoga is put to the test, not when meditating in the cave of your home; that is precisely how the real thing gets grinded and polished—that is a very important [part of your practice].

Don’t Get Caught Up in Illusion

Saturday, June 1, 2019, Kyoto

Q: When I’m alone, I can let go of unpleasant memories from the past and I can have times when I do not recall such things, yet nevertheless in my daily life, I inevitably get drawn back into them and sometimes I cannot stop thinking about these things. Please teach me how I can keep the mind from getting caught up in these memories or becoming obsessed with them?

MASTER: The way of thinking and the way of actual practice in Yoga is, first of all, you must not be swayed by the past or the future; in order to do that, forget the past, or rather, even though you may still have memories, you must not get obsessed with them; conversely, since various anxieties and worries about the future are all delusional, do not get caught up in these either; and for the Now, that which is right in front of your eyes!—it is about responding to this very moment, whatever is happening in front of you, and do your best; that’s the way to be in daily life. Furthermore, you learn the teachings of Yoga, or the Truth, think deeply about them, and meditate on them—through such situations, you cultivate belief and faith within yourself.

Q: Is it possible for me to have a sturdy, thick pillar within, if I only look at what is in front of my eyes and work hard to respond to it, to learn the Truth and practice meditation?

MASTER: It is possible! And you will be able to! Because, truly, faith becomes the golden thread that connects [you to] the Truth. It will become unbreakable.

The Power of Concentration to
Simultaneously See the Part and the Whole

Saturday, November 6, 2013, Kyoto

Q: Children have so much energy, and they move around everywhere, talking all the time. I have many house chores and tasks I must do, and I really want to do them carefully one by one, but I also have to look at the whole picture. I’ve also heard that as you deepen your state in Yoga, your field of view becomes wider and wider. What and how should I practice?

MASTER: [Having a wider field of view]—that is a very Yoga-like way. When leading a Yoga class, for example, if there are ten or twenty people, and the degree of their experience varies, and the degree of what they can do is also different, then each person’s personal corrections need to be taken care of, and while doing that, at the same time, we need to be aware of and pay attention to the overall situation, such as whether there are other people who need to have personal corrections, checking how well each person is concentrating, and we have to control the length of each asana. I think the situation is similar in that you have to always look at the whole while looking at the part, but in order to cultivate that ability, it still comes back to concentration.

When it comes to concentration, you tend to focus only on what is in front of you without being able to see anything else, but rather, concentration is to exert both of these concentrations at the same time, and that can be done with the power of Yoga. The power of Yoga, concretely speaking, refers to the way you breathe, and the length of your breaths. If the mind moves a little, or is upset, or is stimulated, even the mind that has finally calmed down can be disturbed. However, when the mind is concentrating, the breathing becomes so calm and deep that even if you move your attention or concentration in various ways, or even if various things happen and jump up as stimuli, the rhythm of your breathing will not be disturbed and you will remain in the same state. Then, you’ll be able to deal with these situations quite well. In order to cultivate breathing and concentration of the mind, the application of the practice of Yoga in action is indispensable, of course, that means it is not just about practicing asana, but meditation and the whole of Yoga. Therefore, of course, it is important to always practice these. And one more thing—if you take it as if you are training for that in your current daily life situation, that is, the day-by-day child-rearing, then I think you’ll begin to see things differently over time.

Exert One Thousand Percent Power

Saturday, April 10, 2010, Kyoto

Q: When teaching dance to children, as I focus on teaching a child who is serious about it, other children begin to play around. How can I keep the other kids engaged as well?

MASTER: Commonly, people often use the expression, one hundred percent, but if you are responding to that child with one hundred percent attention, then that means there’s zero percent attention for the other children, therefore it doesn’t reach them all. So, you must know that [the scale to be used] is not a scale of one hundred percent. It is one thousand percent! You can attend one hundred percent to that one child, but you still have nine hundred percent left.

This is not simply rhetoric, perhaps your ability is one hundred percent, but, through faith, and through the power of Yoga, the additional nine hundred percent will come; then, it will be demonstrated as one thousand percent—that’s how it is described. Therefore, you just have to respond to the child with one hundred percent of your attention, to the full extent. But before that, by opening your mind and heart to God, or to the ideal of Truth, the passageway to the other nine hundred percent will be opened. Then, it will become one thousand percent, and it will be fine no matter how many more kids come.

It is often found in paintings from India or in Buddhist paintings—normally humans are given only two eyes, but the third eye is also depicted as an expression of the divine; and there are pictures that also depict countless eyes all over the entire body; this is also a symbol that if you look at something with the human eye, you can only see one direction because inevitably there are two eyes, but if you have countless eyes, you can respond to an infinite number of things in an infinite number of ways.

Emulate Your Ideal Person

Saturday, July 7, 2001, Kyoto

MASTER: The most ideal way to practice daily action is to follow the person who is your ideal. For example, if Buddha is your ideal, then think about how Buddha would act in such a situation, and wish for you yourself to be like that; thus, you meditate moment by moment, and act accordingly based on that. Of course, since the era we live in is different, the lifestyle is different, so the actions may not be exactly the same; even so, if you think of how Buddha would have thought, how he would have felt, how he would have acted if Buddha were you, you surely ought to be able to take the right action at each of these moments. That is the easiest, most reliable way.

In fact, I also did this often. I concentrated and meditated on Buddha—how Buddha thought and what conclusions he came to. The scriptures about Buddha don’t matter then, because nothing is needed for that. You intuitively grasp this through meditation. Then you will be able to experience the rhythm of his breath, and even his body temperature—without a doubt.

Yogi Awaken in the Middle of the Night

Saturday, June 11, 2005, Kyoto

MASTER: There is a saying in the famous scripture, Bhagavad Gita, that says:

“When the sun rises, for people it is a time of activity; but for the Yogi, it is the time to sleep. And in the middle of the night, at midnight, it is a time for people to go to sleep, and for the Yogi, it is time to wake up.”1

It means that daytime is the time for engaging in activities, such as general activities or social activities, which is the time understood as the hours of karma; however, since yogi have nothing to do with karma, even if they are awake and acting during that time, their minds are actually asleep; but at night, though people fall asleep, for the practitioner of Yoga, truly, the time of the night is precisely the time for the spiritual activity of meditation.

_________________________

[1] Shri Mahayogi’s free translation of Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 2, Verse 69): What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled sages; and the time of awakening for all beings, that is the night for the sage who sees [the Self].

Do Not Whine or Complain

Saturday, March 18, 2000, Kyoto

(In response to a practitioner who complained about the difficulty of practicing in an environment with family, the following reply was given.)

MASTER: If you are serious about seeking, never make a sound of weakness, never whine or complain. Do not whine or complain about any matter or situation. Understand that whatever the situation may be, you must detach from it and fulfill your obligation simply, as it is your duty. However, I don’t think there are any twenty-four hour obligations attached to you, so when you leave your duty, seek only the Truth and be completely indifferent to anything else—that strength is necessary. You must never make excuses.

Act as if You are Already Dead

Saturday, February 8, 2014, Kyoto

Q: What does it mean to act as if you are already dead?

MASTER: It means to transform the mind in an instant. Being as if you are dead already truly has the tremendous power to really transform the mind. It may not be possible unless there is a lot of pressure put on the mind. At times, such situations arise in the various scenes at work or in life, but even in situations where the state of affairs is such that the mind thinks it is absolutely impossible to do something, or the mind completely rejects it, in order to convince your mind that you must do it, you need to be like you’re already dead. Since being like you are already dead means you become a different personality, you can do anything if, for the time being, you abandon all the personality of what you thought you didn’t like and the character of the mind itself that you’ve had until then, and face things anew, in an innocent state as if you’re reborn, thinking like you are dead.

Emulate the Predecessors

Saturday, November 16, 2002, Kyoto

MASTER: How do you think the Yogi lived? Indeed, they woke up early, and all day, even after sunset, even in the middle of the night, they spent their entire time immersing themselves in practice, doing asana, pranayama, and meditation; day after day, year after year, for decades. From time to time think about these predecessors. I’m sure there is much you can emulate from their example.

Serve as a Tool for the Truth

Saturday, March 15, 2004, Kyoto

Q: I teach in Yoga classes, but my feeling is that I cannot teach unless my work towards Satori is getting stronger.

MASTER: Rather than thinking such thoughts, see yourself as a tool. Speaking of what tool that is, it is a tool used by the Truth, which is God, so to speak, and through being this tool, you serve. You do not teach, you serve; because everyone who comes to class, whether they’re suffering or hurt, everyone is God Himself, Atman Itself. What is broken is that which is on the outside, which will eventually be gone; however, as long as that outside part is in this world, it also needs to be better cared for. You must become a tool for that; and the Truth, God, knows exactly which ones are good tools; just as professional workers can see the quality of the tools they need, they don’t use bad tools, because they can’t do good work. Thus, all of you should not neglect to take care of yourself so that you can be good tools, and while not neglecting to take care of yourself so that you can be a good tool, it’s good to think, “Please use me anytime.”

How Yoga Practitioners Should Treat Others

Saturday, January 20, 2007, Kyoto

MASTER: First of all, for the practitioner of Yoga, there should already be a preliminary restraint not to inadvertently jump into various situations, to not create such situations; of course, that comes only after a certain amount of learning and practice.

Even then, since a practitioner does not live alone at all, inevitably, one has to interact with others, and in no small way at that; there are not only gatherings of practitioners, but also there is time and space provided in society to coexist with people who are not practicing Yoga at all. And in society, there are various things that come attached to it through long-standing habits; whether that’s a title, fame, superiority or inferiority, there are various factors—that’s how society and workplaces are formed, so it may be unavoidable.

Then, as for how the practitioner of Yoga should deal with such things, it is better to treat it all equally; also, since whether one is Enlightened or not, everything is precious, the Existence of Atman, the Existence of the Divine, there is no need to exaggerate it, yet treat all with politeness, with the understanding of That—the Truth—that means being kind is at the base; also, avoid meddling unnecessarily, and also, one will come to not interfere unnecessarily either; after all, it is important to stick to having a neutral position, or something like that. However, if you are asked for advice by someone in need, then you will sympathize with them in good faith, think about what is best for them with kindness, and act upon that. I have just said “a practitioner,” but I don’t think it will change even after realizing [Satori].

Ultimately, Existence—the only thing that exists as the True Existence is Atman, which is the Truth, or the Existence of God. Even if there are many different forms, there exists only one Truth. Even so, nature is changing from moment to moment, and the living beings cannot help but wriggle around in it. As yogi deepen their practice, they remain in the immovable Atman, so they are no longer entangled by their surroundings.

Indeed, that is why it becomes a relationship as if Atman is acting towards Atman. That is exactly why one must be careful, and one will have to be equipped with renunciation or indifference to anything other than Atman; this is not something that can ever cause any impoliteness or discourtesy, but rather the opposite, that which is graceful and beautiful is born.

Acquire the Eternal Time

Saturday, April 6, 2019, Kyoto

Q: My daily life feels like I am being moved around in a play where I am struggling with time, like in that of a factory, and when the factory closes, I suddenly regain my composure and wake up from my dream. Please offer me some advice on how I should take or react to this race against time, and how I should grasp the contradiction of even wanting to live in eternity but being thrown into that race once the factory opens.

MASTER: Time and space, and the causal law that arises there, these three elements bind the mind. If you want the mind to be liberated, then there is no choice but to remove these conditions. The only way to solve this is to acquire the eternal time of Yoga firmly—for that is how the world works. If [the state of] Yoga deepens, that Eternal Bliss becomes more pervasive, and even if time, space and causality are placed there, you will no longer be affected by them. There is definitely a point where it can be converted like that. Therefore, it is also important to gradually ease the addictive habit of being forced to work at a dizzying pace without exhaling, like working in a factory.

 

Simplify the Mind

Saturday, February 6, 1999, Kyoto

Q: Should I just simply complete daily tasks? Is there a need to think deeply about them?

MASTER: Everything changes. Neither the good, nor the bad, neither one’s own self nor others, nothing in this world is eternal. No matter what happens, you cannot make it into something that lasts forever. That is the Truth of this world: “Impermanence.” Therefore, do not be caught up in things that change.

However, our bodies have to act and deal within this real world, and we have to pay attention to the various events that happen there; in other words, we just have to relate to them in a simple way; which is to be simple and free of attachment, and to engage this body and mind in the happenings, in other words, the phenomena of this world. I think that whatever kind of ending there is, whether good or bad, don’t worry about it, of course, and instead keep things simple all the time, that would be the better way. In this sense, simplify the mind like that. For the world, train yourself to become simplified, and on the other hand, heighten your passion for that which is Eternal.

Q: If there is nothing I need to do, should I try to remain in that state without struggling?

MASTER: The mind cannot feel at ease unless it is always depending on something—such is the nature of the mind. Therefore, a neutral, blank state may be unbearable for the mind. However, it is through training, which is the training of Yoga, that you can gradually make the mind get a taste of it and get accustomed to it.

You must create a mind that can withstand it. Don’t struggle, no matter what the situation may be—since busy time is busy time, leisure time is leisure time. Whatever it is, make the mind be an unshakeable mind—establish such a mind.

Strength for the Sake of Reaching Perfection

Saturday, December 12, 2009, Kyoto

MASTER: The practitioners or seekers who succeed in Yoga are required to have a strong body and mind from the beginning. Even if working and living in this world, a healthy body and harmonious mind are essential. However, if one is to succeed in Yoga, having an average amount of strength is not enough. A stronger body and an indomitable spirit are required. Like in the modern world, if Yoga is seen as mere relaxation or for health consciousness, it may be a healing exercise for the sick or for the weak-minded, but from the stand point of the original Yoga, such problems should have already been resolved, and further strength is required. And as you learn Yoga and advance in your actual practice and practical training, your strength will increase even more. The strength here does not refer to muscle strength or arm strength, but rather the unshakable body and mind towards your aspiration and ideals, and the strength to concentrate on one point until precise perfection is truly reached—it is that kind of strength.

 

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Testimonies from a Practitioner

Inspired Works

Design by Atman: Part 4
Supreme Graphic Design

by Madhri
January 2023, Kyoto, Japan

Among the many design works by Shri Mahayogi, I’d like to feature a planning project for the cover design of Mahayogi Mission’s periodical, Paramahamsa, that left a particularly strong impression on me.

It all started with the voice of one of the participants in our asana and meditation class. Back then, there was a person who was involved in publishing-related work who had been participating in the classes and he advised us on how to proofread Paramahamsa and helped us with book publishing. At one point, this person suggested, “The content of Paramahamsa and the drawings are fantastic every time, but perhaps it would be good to change the design of the front cover.” Immediately, I thought, “That’s great! I want to try it! If we can make a cover design based on artwork by Shri Mahayogi that would be amazing!” So, together with Shaci-san, I consulted with Shri Mahayogi. He immediately agreed, saying “That sounds interesting!”

First, we began our work by photographing and scanning various artworks that were stored at the Ashrama. Shri Mahayogi was humble, saying, “I’m not sure there are many usable ones…,” but there were those drawn on canvas, those on woodblock prints, sketches, watercolors, ema (a small wooden plaque, common in Japan, in which prayers and wishes are written or drawn), etc., in which a wide variety of art materials and techniques [had been utilized], and among them, there were many New Year’s postcards left, which are the many artworks of Buddhist art, Chinese zodiac art, ink marbling, and calligraphy. There was also a T-shirt painted with quite a novel and edgy painting of hell (which was not used for the cover of Paramahamsa)—these artworks of Shri Mahayogi, which we saw for the first time, blew our minds and we were extremely excited. At the same time, we also felt that this would become an important task of preserving the precious and valuable artworks of Shri Mahayogi.

Once the groundwork was ready, under the complete leadership of Shri Mahayogi, the design work began. It was a supremely enjoyable, delightful, and quite an extravagant project of designing by combining the artwork of Shri Mahayogi as a motif with typography! Beginning from the March 2008 issue and for more than a year, Shri Mahayogi’s artwork graced the front cover of Paramahamsa, and after that, an original calendar [of his artwork] was produced, and his New Year’s works often appeared in the New Year’s issues.

Shri Mahayogi selected the font each time according to the mood of each piece, and did the layout. It seemed that as soon as the subject, the artwork, was decided, he had an inspiration for the design, including the font and typography. Each time, my heart leapt, because I couldn’t help but look forward to seeing what kind of font Shri Mahayogi would choose, and how the layout would come out in the end.

Shri Mahayogi looked again and again at a font book with a red cover. There are many sophisticated typefaces in it, from basic fonts to unique fonts, and it was an indispensable tool especially when using Roman fonts. And also, not only from the sample posted there, but at times we searched the internet for images that Shri Mahayogi would ask for fonts from, [outside of the book,] saying, “Do you have any fonts in the style of the Devanagari [script of India]?” or, “I wonder if there’s something more elegant in the hand-drawn style.” We desperately searched as hard as we could for the typeface that would meet Shri Mahayogi’s refined sensibilities from an enormous collection of fonts online. There were times when we felt like there was nothing good no matter how much we searched, and there were times when we felt like we were looking at a list of similar fonts over and over again, and suddenly something would catch Shri Mahayogi’s eye, and he would say, “Ah, that one, that one right there is interesting!”

I always wondered what made Shri Mahayogi notice a particular font. I can certainly think that whatever Shri Mahayogi chooses as good is, indeed, truly a good one, but if I were asked if I could choose it myself from the beginning, I couldn’t choose. On very rare occasions, what I proposed was adopted, but I only had a sense that it felt like a total fluke, and I could not catch up to Shri Mahayogi’s refined sense and sensibilities at all.

This may be just a glimpse, but there was something I could feel while working together with Shri Mahayogi. Shri Mahayogi examined the characteristics of every single letter, the way the inflection is attached, the beauty of the form, the taste and zest of embellishments, the overall balance when they’re laid out side by side, etc.—truly from so many various angles. It was very detailed, at the same time, intuitive. In addition, the title, “PARAMAHAMSA” has many “A’s” and depending on the shape of the font, the “A” may stand out or be wider.

When spelling it out with lowercase letters, “Paramahamsa,” the impression changes, but if they are all uppercase, there are no letters that have descenders like “g” or “y”, so it will be prone to giving a flat impression. Then he’d think about what it would look like if you make the first letter lowercase, or how about italicizing it and so on—what he did was a careful selection that took into account each and every fine detail.

In one volume, he used a sophisticated calligraphy, while in other volumes, the playful Art Deco style, the traditional formal Roman typeface, etc.—each time, the typeface with a very different atmosphere artfully matched Shri Mahayogi’s picture. Depending on the artwork, Shri Mahayogi used ingenious layout techniques such as centering the text elements according to the picture, making them asymmetrical, or breaking apart the parts and boldly creating a large space. Indeed, I think that he showed us something that was truly worthy of the title, “This is the Ultimate Graphic Design!”

(to be continued)

 

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