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Dear Krishanji, What makes a seeker mature, and how does he know that he has matured?
An apple seed sprouts to grow into a seedling sapling and a mature apple tree. Throughout its journey, an apple tree is always an apple tree but is considered mature when it blossoms and has apples. The revealing of apples, without a doubt, confirms that the tree indeed is an apple tree, and it was always an apple tree throughout its journey.
Similarly, a seeker of God is considered mature when the Divinity in him is revealed. The revealing of Divinity within confirms that the seeker has matured and he was always Divine throughout his journey.
Without a doubt, you will know when you mature. It is as clear as the apples on the tree. It is a confirmation for the seeker, not a display for others.
Along with many factors, the primary factor which matures a seeker is proper understanding and living knowledge. Reading, memorizing, or trying to understand the whole scripture(s) may seem impressive and scholarly, but it leads to conflicts and confusion. My approach is to glance through the Book without trying to understand it, and then pick a knowledge point or a shloka that appeals to you, something that you would like to cultivate in your life. Then focus on that particular shloka. Gain a proper understanding of it and make an effort to bring the essence of the shloka into your life. You will find that by living the knowledge of one shloka of the Bhagavad Gita, my favorite Scripture of yoga, you are practically living the complete Bhagavad Gita.
When a tree is growing, a lot of action is happening within the tree, but from the outside, it seems effortless. Such must be the effort of a seeker. Living the knowledge requires effort within, but from outside, it is effortless.
As the seeker grows, his understanding of knowledge must also grow. The knowledge needed for a mature seeker is very different from that of a young seeker, just as the music of a mature musician is very different than when he started. He must learn and practice differently.
When a seeker is mature and deserving, God’s grace unveils the Divine within.
Today Sage Anidra sang a song for mature seekers which meant,”
O, noble seeker! Which is your God, the one who is considered light, toward Whom you march, or the one who is both light and darkness? My God is both. So, I don’t march. Remaining established here, witness the play of light and darkness and play along as needed.
O, noble man! Which is your God, the one you pray to for more or the one who has already given you more than you need? Mine is the latter. If you are grateful and also ask for more, you are not truly grateful. A truly grateful cannot pray for more.
My dear seeker! Which is your God, the one considered immortal, from whom you seek immortality, or the one who is both mortal and immortal? My God is both. When I die, He dies. When I am born, He is born. When I am lost, He is lost. Whether mortal or immortal, dead or born, lost or found, asleep or awake, I am never without Him.
O noble being! I have said a lot. Take only that which you can digest. You are a mature seeker. You need very little.”
The Peacock Dance
The peacock’s dance is one of nature’s sublime and dignified beauties. A peacock, while dancing, displays its beauty, grace, energy, and power to attract its mate.
Similarly, for ten days, twice a year, Consciousness reveals its motherly splendor of love, power, strength, knowledge, and wealth, which Her devotees experience. With Her love and opulence, the Divine Mother blesses the world, frees Her devotees from their fears and worries, and more importantly, She attracts mature seekers back to the Self.
These special ten days are called Navaratri. One of the meanings of Navaratri is New Night. This meaning has a profound spiritual significance which I will talk about another day. During these ten days, the devotees sing the glories of Mother Divine and pray for Her blessings. The mature seekers remain in Her remembrance and long for Her.
(Sep 25 – October 5)
How To Celebrate Navaratri!
Carry no ill feelings toward anyone. It’s okay to keep a distance from people you don’t get along with but don’t carry any ill feelings in your heart toward them.
Honor your mother by expressing your gratefulness through your actions.
Don’t look down upon anyone based on their gender.
Observe cleanliness of mind by not encouraging any negative thoughts or emotions in your mind.
Share some of what you have with others.
Sing the glories of Divine Mother, knowing that the Divine Mother, God, and Self are the same.
Pranayamas and Chanting Webinars.
I will conduct 30-minute Webinars twice daily, from September 30 – October 4. These Webinars are for Shudham Oneness Members and those who have attended my courses and retreats recently. Others are welcome to join also, but please note there here will be no instructions, talking, or translation during these Webinars, just the practice of pranayamas and chanting.
Morning Session, September 30 – October 4, 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM (Toronto Time). Click here to join.
Evening Session, September 30 – October 4, 7:00 PM – 7:30 PM (Toronto Time). Click here to join.
In a beautiful and serene setting, we just finished the Shudham ‘Yoga Retreat’ at the Mandali Centre in Italy. Full to the capacity, there were 52 of us from 16 countries. All participants, some very young and new to spirituality, were amazingly sincere and receptive.
The Shudham Yoga Retreats are an excellent way to relax, rejuvenate, restore, re-balance, and learn practical ways to take care of the whole being. They are conducted in luxury venues that are surrounded by natural beauty and are of historical significance. Because of the high expenses, these yoga retreats are seldom financially rewarding, However, our greatest reward comes from sharing the yogic wisdom with the participants and listening to their transformative experiences on the last day of the retreat. The participants report that these yoga retreats fill their bodies, minds, and hearts and cultivate a feeling of oneness; that’s why many participants are repeaters. These Yoga Retreats also provide a wonderful opportunity to explore new places and make new spiritual friends.
Below are a few pictures and some of the experience-sharings from the Yoga Retreat in Italy.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for a truly beautiful, enriching, fun, honest, deep, soulful, relaxing, enlightening, restoring, and rebalancing week. I am very much looking forward to taking this settled, content, and connected feeling back home and making it my responsibility to keep it up.”
“I came here to hide away. I was very unhappy and recovering from a bad accident. You have changed my life and took off the weight of the world from my shoulders.”
“It’s such an honour, delight, and pleasure to be in your company, to learn from you. With you and in Mandali, I can definitely consider…as heaven on Earth.”
“It’s like being in a forest ashram and receiving timeless wisdom from a master”
“You are my light in the storm.”
“After this one week of Oneness, Self-Love, Amazing Yoga, Pranayamas and so much more… I am looking at nature with renewed eyes; the streams of water look even more fresh and more beautiful…. This renewed love and a more fresh and balanced self is what I take away today,”
There are so many more beautiful sharings of experiences which I will share another day.
Thank you ‘Mandali Staff’ for your welcoming support, patience, and cheerful cooperation.
Thank you Beatrice for making it all happen. You organized everything so beautifully, with love, and to perfection. You were the backbone of this retreat. You also taught so lovingly and wisely. THANK YOU!!
Thank you to all the participants. You were the Soul of this retreat. Teaching you was so easy and fun! I met so many of you for the first time, but I will not forget your sincerity, enthusiasm, and innocence.
A Welcome Note For My Students
Welcome to my door
It opens directly into my Soul
That soothes your scars
And makes you whole
It is full of God’s love
But also vacant
Love takes up no space
And is always patient
Your Soul is the same as mine
Filled with God’s love
Nothing else I see
Below or above
So, welcome to YOUR Soul
Set yourself free and rest
Here you are always loved
No need to be the best.
How to deal with an enemy?
Asked a disciple.
How must I know I don’t have any?
Replied Anidra, and he giggled.
There was a beauty in his giggles.
When he giggled, his whole being giggled.
Then he spoke again:
The worldly ways are many,
that people choose.
Pick up a sword.
But the way of Spirit is only one.
Don’t have an enemy.
What do others think of you?
It shouldn’t be your concern.
What do you think of them?
if you are fixed
in the world
or in your Spirit.
Sun has no choice
but to shine.
Spirit has no choice
but to love.
Last evening, after Sage Anidra spoke on God’s love, he played a song on his flute:
If you can slow down
your mind’s noise,
you will hear
I love you!
I love you!
Whatever your past,
it doesn’t matter.
This is your moment,
make it better.
But still, it doesn’t matter.
I love you!
I love you!
I love you now.
For you, my love,
there will always be
I love you!
I love you!
Do you wish to be awakened?
When you are asleep,
She holds you in her arms.
When you are awake,
She goes away to the farms.
“Krishan ji …I have been practicing and teaching yoga for several years, but at times, I feel stuck and frustrated for not being able to maintain discipline and implement knowledge in my life. Please advise.”
Most yoga seekers face this frustration and either give up the journey or continue it but remain stuck in frustrations. Some of the reasons for frustrations are; Unrealistic expectations, wrong understanding of knowledge, and inability to be at ease with the shortcomings and imperfections.
I have been singing and playing flute and harmonium for over 40 years. I should be a pretty good musician by now, but I am not. On the contrary, I am still at the rudimentary level.
About 40 years ago, my favorite flutist, Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, came to Halifax to perform. I was lucky to be able to meet him alone. I had taken my flute with me and requested him for a few tips. He asked me to play something. I played a short song. He told me a couple of things, and then, to my surprise, he took out his flute and played the same piece. It sounded a million times better. Foolishly, I asked him how long it would take for me to play like that? He replied, ‘keep practicing’.
I do not lack interest, sincerity, and effort, but still, my progress has been very slow. There are two reasons for it. I didn’t have the opportunity to learn music properly, and the primary hindrance for me has been my inability to understand and grasp music. Even after listening to a simple tune hundreds of times, I can’t capture and remember it correctly. My three-year-old granddaughter can remember and sing a song so naturally. She already has hundreds of songs in her head. She has music in her. I love music, but I don’t have it in me. I am almost tone-deaf. As a result, despite many years of sincere effort, my music remains rudimentary and filled with imperfections.
But does it frustrate or discourage me, or do I feel stuck? Not at all. On the contrary, my passion for music keeps growing. Playing music is a joy and fun for me. While I continue to make an effort to improve, I don’t have a desire to be a great musician. I am at ease with my limitations to learning music and imperfections in my music.
This inability to grasp, understand and sustain is one of the major obstacles that most spiritual seekers face. In modern-day spirituality, there seems to be a feverishness to learn and achieve quickly. People jump into the deeper waters of spirituality without learning to swim correctly in shallow waters. Within a very short time, they get exposed to multitudes of scriptures and practices, which leads to an incorrect understanding of spiritual knowledge and a struggled discipline.
To bring joy to your spirituality, you must do self-study to recognize your limitations and imperfections and be at ease with them while making an effort to improve them. The scriptures and stories of great sages are there for you to show a path that has no end. How far you will reach, you don’t know. But because you aim for the end, your inability to reach there frustrates you. Your high spiritual ambitions and expectations, combined with your worldly aspirations and responsibilities, can lead to confusion and frustrations.
So, be kind to yourself. Slow down. Recognize your shortcomings honestly, and be at ease with them while improving them Are you struggling with your meditations and keep craving for more profound experiences? Sing and dance more instead. Do you keep striving for more body flexibility? Know that it’s not a spiritual accomplishment. Be at ease with your body. Relax your discipline. Give Ashtavakra a break. Don’t keep wrestling to understand Him. Instead, celebrate Him in your heart.
My inability to understand and play music has been a blessing for me. It has shown me that joy lies even in imperfections. It has taught me to be at ease with my weaknesses. It has expanded my oneness as I am at ease with others’ shortcomings.
I don’t understand music, but I feel the music. I feel life’s beauty without wanting to understand life. Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia says that Lord Krishna plays through him when he plays the flute, I believe him. When I listen to his music, I feel Krishna. What a blessing!
Gopal and Leela were a happily married couple with their four-year-old son, Hari. They had a farm in the same village where Sage Andra’s ashram was. They had developed closeness toward Anidra. They worked hard, especially Leela. She was the strength of the family and the whole village. She inspired people to work hard. She would tell them that working hard was the secret to being worry-free and that God had gifted them with bodies and minds which they must use sincerely and wisely; otherwise, they would be dishonoring God. She was very cheerful and would add playfulness to her work. She was the village’s pride, everyone from young to old adored her.
Gopal, like Leela, also inspired villagers to be self-sufficient and independent. He would tell them that there was nothing worse than a capable person becoming reliant on others and that without self-effort, believing in God was meaningless. He would inspire people to be proud of themselves but without becoming arrogant.
Gopal and Leela would often go to the ashram. Gopal liked being around Anidra, whereas Leela would spend more time with Anidra’s cow, Maan Bhagavati. She would bathe her, feed her, and sometimes even put some jewelry and makeup on her. She would then show her a mirror, and they both would have a good laughter. Maan would teach Leela singing. When they sang together, it sounded angelic and celestial.
One of their favorite songs was ‘Just Like Him.’
When I see you,
I perceive Divine
It’s my fortune
I feel you are mine
For sure, I know
you are just like Him
Whenever I see you
My heart sings you a hymn
You walk like Him
You talk like Him
Without a doubt
you are every inch like Him.
Nothing more I want
Nothing more I need
You are the complete gift
I have received.
Sadly, a few days ago, Gopal fell critically ill. Within a short period, his health began to deteriorate rapidly. Doctors couldn’t diagnose the cause of his sickness, and no medicine was working. He had become bedridden and very frail. The whole village was sorrowful. The villagers would gather around Gopal’s house and pray for his recovery. Many would fast all day, hoping that their sacrifices would help Gopal. But nothing helped. Leela would spend all day being with Gopal and looking after him. She stopped meeting people as she didn’t want to discuss Gopal’s condition anymore. She had even stopped going to the ashram. Hari didn’t understand what was happening, but he just wanted to be around his abba.
All eyes now turned to Anidra. They believed in him. Gopal’s parents and a few others would go to the ashram daily and request Anidra for his blessings for Gopal’s recovery. Anidra would remain compassionately silent. At times, Gopal’s parents would insist that Leela come along with them as they felt that Leela was very close to him and he would certainly bless her. But Leela would refuse to go. She would tell them,” Anidra knows Gopal is sick. He loves Gopal. I don’t need to ask him for anything.”
Leela remembered what Anidra had said once,” God is not partial that He blesses one and not another. Having more doesn’t mean one is more blessed. Having less means that your turn to have more will come again. The wheel continues. The rich will become poor again, and the poor will become rich again. Have compassion for those who have less. Someday you will need their compassion. Neither a long life is a blessing, nor a short life is a misfortune. See both as this is how it is. Have the courage to flow with life. Life is beautiful. So is death. It takes you back from the skin to Soul. Rise above the blessings. Instead, love God. Those who love do not seek blessings.”
Leela believed in love. Seeing God in all, she loved all. Anidra’s words and her love for all were her strength.
Earlier today, Anidra and Maan had come to see Gopal. The villagers became hopeful that their presence would heal Gopal. They prayed to them for their blessings. When Anidra went inside the house, Maan stood outside near a window to see Gopal. Gopal was unconscious, but it was apparent from some movement in his eyes and hands that he could feel their presence. Anidra sat on Gopal’s bed and held his hand. Anidra carried Hari in his lap. Looking down, Leela sat on the floor. There were tears in her eyes and sighs in her breath. She knew it was time for farewell.
Later that day, Gopal passed away. Anidra heard the loud cries. He asked people at the ashram to arrange for Gopal’s cremation. One corner of his ashram was used as the cremation ground for the village. Anidra would attend every funeral and ask people to meditate on the reality of life while the body was being burned.
Gopal’s body was brought there, and after a few rituals, it was set on fire. Soon the fire was in full blaze. Some people stood there crying. Some sat there meditating. Anidra sat on the ground, watching the flames. Maan asked Leela to follow her as she went around the fire a few times while chanting Om.
When the flames began to subside, Leela asked one of the villagers to bring Hari there. When Hari came there, seeing the fire and so many people there, some still crying, he got scared and cried loudly. Leela held him tightly close to her heart.
After a few minutes, Hari looked around and asked Leela where abba was? Leela pointed to his heart and then her heart and said, ” In our hearts.” She held him tightly, as closely as she could.
The next day Leela was back on the fields. In the evening, she and Hari came to the ashram. Seeing her, Anidra said to Maan, ” Leela is God’s dignity!”