Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
1999 – 2016
Under the Guidance and Grace of the Guru
Karma and the Cause of Suffering
The Truth of the Mind and the World
Testimonies from Actual Practitioners
• Inspired Works
Design by Atman: Part 6
Yoga Design Theory
May 2023, Kyoto, Japan
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Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Translation of Satsangha
Under the Guidance and Grace of the Guru
Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto, 2016
On the second floor of Mahayogi Ashrama—the times that we, the disciples of Shri Mahayogi, spent there with our Master, placing ourselves in this space filled with indescribable tranquility, were exceptional and irreplaceably precious. The words of our Master were full of spirit, and we were impacted by them as if being struck by lightning. Whirlpools of buoyant laughter made unnecessary thoughts slip away. The gentle and exquisite gaze of our Master that would make us forget everything… How much have we been given by our Master? How must our Master have cared for and loved each one of us?
May the blessed words of our Master remind us of the Eternal Relationship between Guru and disciple, and may we internalize the noble Mission of our Guru.
The Guidance and Grace of the Guru
Q: Please speak about the relationship between Guru and disciple.
Master: What was originally One divided into many. Those who have forgotten the original One try to get back to It. The most assured way to get back to It is the way that is given by the One who is already the Truth. Then, there are no longer many, there is only One. Only in the process of returning to It is there a relationship of Guru and disciple. And it is understood that this is a special connection that has continued through countless lifetimes. Of course, this relationship isn’t a relationship of teacher and student like we find in society at large, nor is it one of bargaining or exchange. It is only possible through true Love. You can’t find words for it beyond that.
Q: It is said that Yoga is neither knowledge nor technique. When it comes to reading the sacred scriptures, do the scriptures exist in order to spend our time correctly while we are on the journey until we encounter our own Guru?
Master: [After encountering one’s own Guru], the way in which one is able to understand the scriptures is different. That is, if you are granted the opportunity to walk the path under the guidance of your Guru, what is written in the scriptures will no longer be mere information or knowledge. For example, take the law of karma, or the way the mind works—[the fact is that] this is not at all simply knowledge or information; even so, unless one is led by one’s Guru, in other words, with the understanding of the scriptures one has during the stage [before one has a Guru and can receive guidance], one cannot understand [what is written in the scriptures] beyond the level of knowledge or information.
So, what does that mean? That which understands the scriptures is the mind; that is to say, it is merely about understanding some new knowledge or learning technique without changing the state of that person’s mind. However, if one encounters [and thereby sees the manifestation of the Truth, and learns and practices under] one’s own Guru, one’s mind itself will change and transform; then, the words from the scriptures won’t be mere knowledge or information anymore, they will be directly understood and grasped not as information but as an impulse of Truth, or even a very obvious fact, therefore one will not need to go through intellectual processes anymore. That’s the big difference.
I am sure you have all gone through this, or digested it without knowing it.
Q: Unless one meets one’s Guru, one’s mind will not change or transform?
Master: No, it will not. Indeed, as the saying goes, “All nature is my teacher,” all occurrences and happenings can possibly be your Guru; nonetheless, if you don’t have the ability to recognize that, you are not able to think that everything is your teacher. That means that such a person is only progressing by karma, and therefore cannot get out from beyond the bounds of karma.
Q: In order to get out from beyond the bounds of karma, one will not be able to do that unless one has the power of one’s own Guru…
Master: Right, you need help from the one who is beyond the bounds of karma.
Q: We have been learning about going beyond karma [and what that actually means] under the guidance of Shri Mahayogi. Due to the fact that I was able to meet Shri Mahayogi, I feel that I would like to live this life taking everything as grace, but then how can I live without worrying about karma at all?
Master: It is through thinking only about God, that is, Truth, and being with God and in God. If you do so, then karma is nothing to be afraid of anymore. In fact, all of you who are gathering here are already being pulled out of karma. So, forget about such bad dreams (laughing), and from now on, wake up and live accordingly.
Q: I’ve heard that the relationship between family or lovers does not continue eternally, but that the spiritual connection is eternal. What is the eternal spiritual connection like?
Master: In this world, everyone is born from a father and a mother and forms a unit called a family; there is an intimate relationship different from that of others as a family connected by blood. Of course, it is natural to help each other, encourage each other, and grow in the process within this family situation. Furthermore, parents raise their children, and also children take care of their parents when they are old—this is one of the important tasks in the family. But still, it is about a family unit supported by the physical body of blood.
As you continue to learn Yoga, you will come to acknowledge reincarnation, so you will understand that one’s family situation was caused by one’s own karma. That is to say, one’s present circumstances or those that one is born into in this life, and furthermore, the taste of both happiness and unhappiness in one’s experiences in this life, too, are works that are done to achieve results, so to speak, due to past karma; therefore, the family connected by blood, too, can be understood as a circumstance that is inevitably brought about by karma, so to speak.
On the other hand, sometimes one’s comrades in Yoga are referred to as family. There might not be a blood relation but there is a deep connection of spirit, called the soul. The meaning of the statement that the spiritual family is more important than the so-called blood related family, so to speak, is that the blood family is a family that is connected once, only in one lifetime, whereas the spiritual family can maintain a family connection for many lives. That is to say, in the sense that karma becomes less and less through practicing Yoga [over many lives] and one goes further, closer to Satori, the comrades, the brother and sister disciples, continue to walk in the same way, and since they will give and receive all kinds of help, support, and encouragement to and from one another, and since they will carry over a lot of things, not as karma but as virtues, the connection will not end in this life but will continue into the next life and even further until each one reaches Satori, or strictly speaking, even if one reaches Satori, a new mission will begin yet again.
It is to such an extent that spiritual ties transcend time and space; therefore, that relation is frequently referred to as brother and sister disciples, but that means that you are already brother and sister and it’s like forming one family.
Q: That doesn’t necessarily mean that even if one is reborn again and again aiming for Satori, one can encounter Shri Mahayogi in the next life, does it? Yet I also think that from the fact that I feel that I love Shri Mahayogi so much after encountering him, there is no way that I can’t encounter Shri Mahayogi in my next life. How should I think about this?
Master: In the world, there is a saying that, “even a chance contact between two people’s sleeves comes about as the result of a cause in a previous life.” It means that no matter what it may be, in this wide world, even if it is for complete strangers to have their sleeves brush against each other, that too is the result of some cause in the other life, in other words, because there was some kind of cause in a past life, the contact between sleeves happens, but if there was no cause, it wouldn’t even happen. Then, if the encounter with one’s own Guru has happened, then it is not about such a causal relationship in the realm of worldly karma anymore, it means that such cause and effect that go beyond causality have already been brought about, so this connection is an eternal connection. The eternal connection means that it has the connection of Satori. Therefore, all of you will attain It in this life, you will attain Satori. And further, next time when I will be born, you will come again like you have now. I will make that happen without a doubt. And then, you will work for many more people.
Therefore, feel at ease and do not worry, and I would like you to spend the rest of your life living Satori without any worry. And that does good to others and this world as well.
Q: Is the body of Shri Mahayogi at this time created for the sake of us?
Master: In the deeper sense, it is. (After silence) In the shallow sense, it is simply material (smiling).
Q: When I meditate [on an object of meditation], there is no form, I am not necessarily imagining any form, but when I experience It, because it is so grand, so much that my body, my emotions, my mind cannot contain it, I feel like my body and my mind are almost about to explode.
Master: “That” is that which is beyond the bounds of the mind; therefore, the mind explodes, and then vanishes. At that time, you will realize very clearly and definitively that you are not the mind.
Q: What does it mean to be close to Shri Mahayogi and to be a disciple of Shri Mahayogi in the true sense?
Master: To be a disciple means to know [deeply] the teaching of the Master and live by It. It has nothing to do with the physical distance of far or close, nor anything to do with time—for the Truth is Eternal and Universal.
Q: I am sure that there is an ineffably great mechanism [at work] and an aim, of course, for why Shri Mahayogi descended to Japan this time, and not in the country where there is a history or base [of Yoga]—one of these aims is that you came to lead us, is that right?
Master: Yes, it is. And what is important is that the work that has been done within this tradition and history until now has to be done outside of that. The Truth is universal, so Its manifestation must also be universal. Therefore, it is for the purpose of all of you proving that, whether in Japan or in the West or in many other places…
Especially the religions that continue from ancient times, just as Ramakrishna said, even though their essence is the same, even though there is no difference, and the ancient religions must have the same point as their culmination, there are very few people who realize this. Then, people take in religion for their convenience and adapt it as they see fit based on their own egos, and therefore, actually even now [in the year 2001], there are conflicts that are happening in Afghanistan. If Truth exists—of course, religions are all rooted in It, so Truth must exist, and all [who follow those religions] believe that Truth exists—then, it has to be One just like there is no border in the sky or in the ocean. It has to be the same. If one sees one’s own religion as something superior, or conversely, rejects the religion of others, that is like killing one’s own religion.
Yoga ignores dogma, rituals, religious precepts and other things that belong to such particular sects to begin with. From the beginning, following that which is Universal, the Truth, and completely realizing It, is the content of Yoga. Therefore, Yoga is based on the essence of all religions, and also, that must be what every religion seeks. [If they realize that,] then there is no doubt that there would be no more conflicts between religions, ethnicities, cultures, and various other frictions. And, I think that that is what has to happen.
Yet, in order to achieve that, as I just said, it is not enough to do so only within thousands of years of history and tradition, but it must be proven also from outside of that. Truth is [Truth] not because it is in accordance with the scriptures, the scriptures must conform to the Truth. Only living human beings can prove It, not books.
The following is a dialogue on the occasion of Shri Mahayogi’s Jayanti in 1999.
Q: Even since I started to attend the Ashrama [to learn Yoga], the state of the sangha has changed rapidly. Shri Mahayogi witnesses everything about the Ashrama, [from the people to the activities,] over this past twenty plus years until now (in 1999), and you have always been the same. What do you think about the way or the future prospects of Yoga and the Ashrama?
Master: What I myself (pointing to his body) have been saying to myself all along is that it is simply to convey only the ancient Yoga, the right Yoga, so that there is no mistake. So, what I hope for others is the same: the internal aspect is the realization of Satori, which I believe will naturally and inevitably manifest itself in external actions, devoted actions of giving yourself.
It is understood that it can be calculated to have been exactly two thousand years since Jesus Christ was born; I think that in this history of two thousand years, there have been very savage and cruel or chaotic situations happening in various fields, not only in politics, technology, the economy, but also even in the fields of religion and philosophy. If a break of a thousand years makes no kind of small impression on people’s minds, I hope to make the coming one thousand years amount to something better. In this case, the development of a mass of computers has come about, or various other technologies, yet, ultimately, it all comes down to the issue of each individual’s mind.
There are various ethnic groups and various religions in the world, and they will continue from now on too. I think that what’s important is not to destroy them but to harmonize them more. For that, the universality of the Truth has to be sought much more, and that has to be acted on. I hope that, including myself, we all can live such a life.
Karma and the Cause of Suffering
Saturday, May 28, 2005, Kyoto
MASTER: Truly, man’s unhappiness and suffering are all a creation of the mind. What creates them in the mind is attachment. Through chance, [which is linked by cause and effect,] certain people become family members, lovers, married couples, parents and children, friends, and everyone is living in this world with various relationships. No one lives alone. There isn’t anybody who doesn’t have little ties or connections.
By what? According to the ideas put forth in Yoga or in Buddhism, it is due to karma, due to the seeds that one has sown, that certain environments, certain circumstances, are given, or rather, you yourself caused them. As long as one follows this natural flow, there is no way to resolve this issue. Because people don’t know a sure way, they try every possible means to take various measures. Nonetheless, the results are the same by every measure. Sometimes the suffering is greater, sometimes it lasts; even so, it never rests. Just as one rests at night and can temporarily forget about what is in one’s own mind, one might become engrossed in something else and forget about the suffering temporarily, yet the suffering sprouts again. Frankly speaking, unless a fundamental solution is implemented, it will be difficult to solve by taking other paths. The only way to escape from this is to remove the pain-bearing obstacles themselves from the root—there is no other way. Adamantly tell your mind that the cause [of this suffering] is the pain-bearing obstacles, that this is ignorance, that this is due to the errors of your own mind, and on the other hand, attain Satori—that is the only way.
Saturday, January 25, 2014, Kyoto
MASTER: You might have heard the ancient words in Japan, which are Buddhist words: “Everything conditioned is impermanent,” “All phenomena (conditioned or unconditioned things) are empty and devoid of Self,” and “All things are [causes of] suffering.” And that is what appears at the beginning of the famous epic account, “The Tale of Heike” (from early 13th century, Japan). It begins with, “The sound of the Gion temple’s bell echoing the impermanence of all things.” These are the Three Seals, which are the three great Truths of the Universe. “Everything conditioned is impermanent,” states that this world is not eternal. “All phenomena (conditioned or unconditioned things) are empty and devoid of Self,” states that there is no Truth in phenomena—here, “the Self” means Atman—it means that there is no Atman in phenomena. And, “All things are causes of suffering”—this states the true state or truth of this world.
There is another important phrase that is used in the definition of ignorance, “Eternity-Purity-Bliss-Self,” in which the first word has the meaning of eternal, the second, pure, the next, bliss, happiness, and the last one is Atman, the true Self; even this impermanence is the Truth, in other words, the world is impermanent, not eternal; therefore, even if you seek eternity within this world, since the world is not eternal, you will not be able to realize it, and even if you seek purity within this world, since this world is not pure, you will not be able to attain that either; everyone wishes to be happy and comfortable, but ultimately it will end in suffering; more than anything, you misunderstand the true Self, your real Self, that even though in actuality you are not the ego, which is part of the mind, you believe that that ego is your self, and that is your mistake.
Ignorance means that you misunderstand the Truth, which is [stated as], “Eternity-Purity-Bliss-Self.” This is the fundamental mistake; and from this, you get busy struggling to seek happiness in this world, to seek comfort or ease, to satisfy yourself, your ego. However, in the end, in this world, as I just mentioned, since everything is completely the opposite, it ends in miserable suffering. That is why it is important to understand this Truth first. In other words, [what must be done is] to remove the ignorance.
Various thoughts of the mind—namely, attachments, obsessions, clashes of opinions—all of these can be traced to their root cause, which is there in ignorance. So, to put it another way, if you eliminate these, there will be no more troubles. And only love and harmony will be left there.
Saturday, May 22, 2016, Matsuyama
Q: If man’s nature is Truth, the true Self, God, then why are these sufferings born one after another in perpetuity?
MASTER: Truly, that is precisely the big question that has been there since ancient times. The answer is the ignorance created by the mind, in olden words, it is called the “absence of light,” in short, it is due to not knowing the Truth—in fact, the mind clings to wrong knowledge that is not the Truth, spins various desires from it, and ends up attaching to them and obsessing over them, which results in suffering; that is the course of things.
Ignorance, which is not knowing the Truth, means, for example, to believe and hope that this world is eternal. This is not correct. The world constantly changes; you can see the same if you look at your own physical body and mind, situations, circumstances, and all happenings, and living beings—all and everything is moving with changes. What is born will inevitably disappear. It cannot be eternal. Even so, the mind does not know this.
And, believing that the wrong self is the Self, that is, believing that the ego is the Self, is one of the big mistakes. The true Self is the Pure Consciousness or the Soul that is behind it, but it is not the ego.
And further, I think that although everyone strives for happiness in this life, whether that happiness and joy are really eternal or complete or not is the same as this world, the happiness that has been created also changes from moment to moment as the situation changes; fleeting joy can eventually turn into suffering and sorrow. When one comes into contact with such things, one’s heart aches, and suffering and sorrow arise. However, these are, so to say, a phase of change; there are good moments, there are moments that are not good.
Rain is necessary for the agricultural countries of the East and it enriches the crops, but if it increases too much, it will flood and take people’s lives. A cooking knife, too, is the same, it can make delicious cuisines, and it can hurt people. There are two sides to everything. It is difficult to say unilaterally that something is good or evil. Nonetheless, the mind attaches to something, and clings to it. That is all because the mind can’t see it correctly, and as a result, the mind suffers and feels pain and sadness when something does not go the way the mind wants. While the mind is based on such mistakes, it is trying to create various joys in this world without knowing that which is ephemeral; and then it clings to it, it becomes obsessed with it—that becomes suffering. Such ignorance, and the pain-bearing obstacles born from that ignorance, namely, desires and attachments, even though they are your own creations, they cause you to suffer—this is the answer to the question that was mentioned earlier.
Now, the way out of suffering is also implied there. That is, you just have to get rid of ignorance. It is a very simple thing. If you learn the right wisdom, the Truth, ignorance will disappear. Then you won’t chase the ephemeral, you won’t be obsessed with it, and your mind won’t be confused.
It’s easy to say that in words, but in actuality, even though the mind is told that in theory it’s like this, the mind will not follow that. That is where it gets tricky. Therefore, it requires some time. And also, about learning too—if I use the old words, it is the discipline of the practice [to master one’s sanskara, or actions], you have to put in effort, because this ignorance was not created yesterday nor the day before yesterday; since it has formed over the time of repeatedly being born again and again, reincarnating from an unimaginably long time immemorial, in order to clean up the mind itself completely and thoroughly, you need to prepare the mind for it to be a bit of a hassle and for it to take time. However, the fact that you have the chance to encounter this wisdom in your life is the hope that you can achieve It in your lifetime. You definitely can.
The Truth of the Mind and the World
Saturday, February 12, 2011, Kyoto
MASTER: Thoughts can be likened to seeds. The seeds are sown in the field called the mind, and those seeds will sprout one day and bear fruit, their results. Then, what causes those seeds to be produced? The attachment to or obsession with a particular desire traps that thought in the form of a seed. Then, where does that desire come from? It is created by the pain-bearing obstacles, and fundamentally, ignorance, which is delusion, a misconception that is held there. In Yoga, you work to remove the seeds, not by the method of plucking them one by one—you can take out the rough ones, of course, yet it is impossible to pluck them all—but through the practice of discernment you can eliminate the pain-bearing obstacles and ignorance.
If the pain-bearing obstacles and ignorance get weaker, or they are almost gone, even though a seed is still there as a memory, that seed will no longer bear the results from that time [when the seed was created]. That is, as I said earlier, [normally] the seed causes a specific result, but [in this case] it will manifest in a different result. In this way, once the ignorance is gone, even though there are seeds that remain, they will either be burned out or they will manifest in different forms. Therefore, it all boils down to eliminating the pain-bearing obstacles and ignorance, the big causes.
Saturday, January 10, 2004, Kyoto
Q: Are the actions we take while moving toward the Truth the only actions that will not create karma?
MASTER: Since the so-called spiritual practices of discipline [for realizing Satori] are the only actions that transcend good and bad, those actions do not leave karma. And the further one goes, the more one erases past karma.
Q: Does erasing past karma mean that even though I receive the result of what I have done in the past, I will not be affected by it?
MASTER: Even though you receive them as phenomena, you will not resent them as karma. Since olden times, karma has often been likened to an arrow that has been shot, an arrow that has been set on the bowstring, and an arrow that is still contained in the quiver. The arrow that was shot is already flying and cannot be stopped anymore; that is the karma that has already been done. And the arrow that is set on the bowstring can be discarded by returning the arrow from the drawn bow; this is the process of practicing spiritual disciplines. And through proceeding well with strength, you can discard the arrows in the quiver that may still be left. It is said that this is an easy metaphor that has been referred to from long ago.
Saturday, November 10, 2007, Kyoto
Q: What does it mean to transcend karma through practicing the disciplines of Yoga?
MASTER: Karma is the harvest of what has grown from the seeds that were sown. The results have to be reaped by you yourself. If you compare it to an arrow, to shoot is to sow, and the arrow that is shot by you will come back to you; that is the result.
However, when the result comes, depending on whether you are practicing Yoga or not practicing it, the way you receive the results will be different. Karma, the cause, which was working as this great force, will come; however, if the mind of the receiver has changed and transformed through Yoga, [due to practicing its disciplines,] then the way the mind receives it will be different. Even consequences that are very painful can be thought of as not that painful. And there are also joyful results, but even so, you will not be ecstatic with joy. In the midst of such changes in the mind itself, the one thing that can be said is that the way in which karma will be received as the result will be different.
And, although it seems that there are various strengths and weaknesses invisible in karma, there are also cases in which trivial things can pass by without having the power to bear fruit anymore as a result. In other words, even if it does come back, it can be dodged to the extent that it just rubs or grazes you, or rather, there are times it may change in that way. This is due to the fact that by solidly deepening Yoga, the pain-bearing obstacles and ignorance that are latent in the mind are diminishing, that’s why it will be like what I just mentioned.
Q: What does it mean to discard the arrows within the quiver?
MASTER: The arrows in the quiver indicate the seeds of karma that can manifest not only in this life but also in the next life and the life after the next, and in the countless future lives to come. Since making progress in Yoga means burning out such potentially remembered karma themselves, the karma that would manifest in future lives is burnt away and therefore vanishes. That is the meaning of discarding the arrows in the quiver.
Saturday, January 21, 2015, Kyoto
MASTER: One of the well quoted sutra is: “Future pain is that which is to be avoided.”1 The past cannot change. Even so, people are troubled by memories from various experiences in the past. “I wish it was this way…or that way…”
However, memory is very vague, and if you continue to apply [the teachings of] Yoga, the impression of the past memories that really plagued you before you began Yoga will disappear. Actually, it is not the memory that disappears, the memory itself will remain but the impression of the memory disappears. Whatever you think, such as, “it was painful,” or, “it was happy,” are impressions. And the degree of the impression makes your mind suffer and become troubled. But if you continue to practice, applying [the teachings of] Yoga, because you are getting to the place where you will eventually no longer be dragged down by such impressions of the past, even if you have a memory, you will not be tormented or troubled by it anymore.
 Yoga Sutra 2:16
Saturday, April 10, 1999, Kyoto
MASTER: Using the example of colors, you say that you like this kind of color or that kind of color—that is because you saw that color and that color stayed in your mind; and even if you forget it on the surface, it remains in your subconscious memory, and your favorite color is imprinted. Then, the next time you choose a color, you will jump to choose that color. In this way, almost all experiences are stored in the mind once and are just like an inexhaustible amount of movie film spinning around, and images from the experiences that left a strong impression at that time will come to mind dearly, and those that did not are vague and do not remain in the video; and this mechanism is called sanskara.
You can see that sanskara connects with the memory function of the mind. Another thing is about how you make the impression on your mind, there must be a further cause for it. If there are ten colors, why do you select that color? Naturally, the cause of this may also be found in sanskara, but in a previous one; but, if you trace it back like this, it will be endless. In any case, you must be able to find the root cause. Then you will find that there are pain-bearing obstacles there. Pain-bearing obstacles are preferences and dislikes created by the individual’s mind that have also formed from past experiences. Having that as the cause, as a result, that impression grows bigger and bigger in the next experience going forward. Your preferences of likes and dislikes, as I just said, are something that are created.
Further, even that has a cause, and that cause is called ignorance. Ignorance is believing that you are your mind; that is how the preference is created—if you know that you are not the mind, the preference cannot be created. Because “me,” the ego-consciousness, was born, you are trying to seek some kinds of happiness in this world, thus you’ve created likes and dislikes in the hopes that it would last forever. The original cause is ignorance. However, this world is not eternal, and the experience of happiness [in this world] is neither perpetual nor perfect. This fundamental misunderstanding is called ignorance. The biggest ignorance is that you believe that you are the body and the mind. But instead, if you recognize that your real Self is the Pure Consciousness that simply witnesses, or simply knows the experiences that this body and mind are going through, then you will no longer be at the mercy of various experiences and there will be no more suffering. This is no secret or anything—it is the content of the teaching of Yoga, or what Buddha taught.
You all hear the word karma a lot; it is commonly referred to as having been brought upon oneself—whatever you have sown, you must reap—that is the Truth of this world. This is the natural law. What creates that karma is sanskara. The cause of sanskara is, as I just said, the pain-bearing obstacles, and it is recognized that the cause of those pain-bearing obstacles is ignorance. Therefore, if you eliminate the fundamental mistaken thoughts, or ignorance, the rest will all vanish. That is, to put it simply, in other words, it is to eliminate the attachment, the obsession.
Studying Yoga and practicing asana too can become sanskara as memory; yet, these are considered to be correct wisdom, so to speak, and so they do not result in the undesirable result of karma, but rather act as a force in order to get rid of mistakes that were made in the past. Therefore, it can be understood that studying Yoga and practicing asana and meditation can leave positive sanskara.
Saturday, April 12, 2008, Kyoto
Q: In Autobiography of a Yogi, there is a part when Paramahansa Yogananda stopped trying to kill a mosquito, and he was asked by his master Shri Yukteswara why he didn’t finish the job, so he then asked Shri Yukteswara about why, since the reason he stopped was the teaching of non-violence, the master still asked him; then Shri Yukteswara told him that “No, the deathblow had already been struck in your mind.” Please teach me the difference between thoughts and actions.
MASTER: Thoughts, which are the subtle phase, or form, are likened to seeds. The thought has not yet taken the form of the resulting fruit, but it undoubtedly bears the cause of becoming a certain fruit, in other words, as long as there is a cause, there is a result within the cause. However, the time, space and conditions, such as various climates and nutrients etc., are added, and through the passage of time, then materially, we can finally see the resulting fruit.
In this way, a thought that is produced in the mind becomes a cause and it already has a result there within it. Therefore, in the episode of the moment that Yogananda thought to kill a mosquito, he had already killed it, or the deathblow had already been struck, which suggests that if there is a cause there is a result already in it.
The mind is always thinking something; however, such things can also be eliminated through habit. If you bear this teaching deeply in your mind, it can put the brakes on the cause of thinking, or of making the seeds. This cause and result are sanskara and karma. That is why you need to have your mind filled with thoughts toward [the perfection of] Yoga. If not, the thoughts that have the quality of karma come one after another.
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Design by Atman: Part 6
Yoga Design Theory
May 2023, Kyoto, Japan
“In the task of design, from the start, the condition of what it is for is given. Inevitably, name and form become necessary”—this is what Shri Mahayogi says, and he also says that, “In the process of finalizing the resulting design, its spirit, which is what best reflects the conditions of its content without wasting anything, is expressed so that that spirit can come to manifest.”
I’ve felt that when Shri Mahayogi is designing something, he always has a singularly consistent, clear vision as he works. One time, I heard Shri Mahayogi say, “When a plan for something arises and action must be taken, a vision emerges as a result. The rest is the task of concretely moving one’s hands and creating a blueprint-like design or plan.” This means that right from the beginning of taking action, the result is already included there, [before taking action]. I think that no matter how [it appears] to be changing during the process, since the initial vision is absolutely clear, there isn’t any ambiguity felt at all in the work of Shri Mahayogi.
If you leave the destination vague, yet expand the materials this way and that way, things may get out of control or the work may not progress, but I think that even if you may not be able to give it shape right away, if there is an intuitive vision that flashes before you, everything will go smoothly as a result. This is not just limited to design, but the same thing can be said, for example, for cooking or for any task, that when it comes to concentration and meditation, the more clear the ideal, which is the goal, the more clear and definitive the course to get to that point should become, without any need for hesitation or getting lost in confusion.
In the design projects of the Mission, there were times when Shri Mahayogi’s blueprints had undergone changes after he had drawn them once. The book cover design and binding of Shri Mahayogi’s Words of Truth was exactly like that. Because this was going to be the book that can be said to be the culmination of his teachings, we originally envisioned a luxurious two-volume hardcover set. We wanted the cover to be bound with a leather-like cloth, and for it to have a box set…and our dreams expanded—but because of inflation and the weakness of the Japanese Yen, and also because it would be a self-published book with a limited number to print, the estimate was too high. The disciples would have been happy for the publication of this memorable edition to materialize, even if it would have been somewhat costly. However, Shri Mahayogi wished, first and foremost, for this book to reach as many people as possible. After checking the price range of various reliable scriptures on the market, he thoroughly considered how to reduce the cost while maintaining the quality in these difficult conditions. Then, he overturned the initial plan and redesigned the book cover and binding entirely. I think that normally, even if conditions change, it is difficult to change our perspective due to our various fixed ideas. However, I felt that Shri Mahayogi was able to freely and flexibly expand his horizons depending on the conditions.
My impression of this was that he pursues the aim thoroughly, without making any compromises at all rather than seeking to find options that are compromises. Shri Mahayogi looked over an enormous paper sample book, again and again. In my mind, I was whispering, “Shri Mahayogi, you’ve already seen this sample book many times, so it may not have what you seek,” however, seeing Shri Mahayogi in extreme concentration in front of me, there was no space for me to interrupt with such words, and so the task of looking over the paper sample book continued endlessly. After getting many estimates, and after the paper selection was narrowed down and negotiations were settled with the printing company, finally the specifications were finalized.
The new book design—with Shri Mahayogi’s form as the cover photo, exuding full magnificence and dignity, and also with the beautiful design, layout, paper quality and color, the dignity felt when you hold it in your hand, the readability—everything was perfect, and the result turned out to be as splendid as the contents of the book, which are incomparable to any other. I feel that for those who will see and hold the book, Shri Mahayogi represented the ultimate form in response to the given conditions.
So far, I’ve written a series about the design works of Atman in these articles. The content that I wrote has been from very limited scenes at work, however, I hope you can feel how much energy and spirit Shri Mahayogi puts into creating every single thing, the unseen and invisible parts of Shri Mahayogi at work in these design scenes, and his breath, even for just a bit.
To me, working on design works with Shri Mahayogi is a moment when I forget myself and am riveted, or striving desperately to try to tune in to Shri Mahayogi’s outstanding sensibilities, and it is also a path to follow and to try to get closer to the way Shri Mahayogi works, the way he lives. And more than anything else, it is a tremendous joy to be able to witness the unfolding of Shri Mahayogi’s unconventional, infinite creations.
Time and time again, Shri Mahayogi generated one of a kind designs that would be of spiritual help to us in the timely circumstances of each occasion; I think that it is the design that awakens the divinity that exists within everyone, the joy of the Soul, and strongly connects the mind to the Truth, and speaks directly to the heart of the viewer.
Images, letters and characters, colors, layouts and designs, compositions and forms—everything in design is prana, and we can feel and taste that through our five senses. Just as the words of Truth spun by Shri Mahayogi become letters on a page and become Light for those who seek the path, even in the future, the prana emanating from Shri Mahayogi’s designs too will continue to emit Divine Power.
For Shri Mahayogi’s devotion, his giving of himself, I express my gratitude from the bottom of my heart.
Lastly, I would like to conclude this series of articles with a quote from Shri Mahayogi:
“Design is not only about merely creating colors or forms. The basis of design is philosophy. Therefore, it has thoughts behind it, and it must have a clear concept. When you pursue this, it ends in Yoga. Put that way, it is to understand that this whole universe was designed by God—from the galactic cosmos to the tiniest of insects.”