The Great Anidra, and The death can be a blessing for seekers!

“Death is Truth, life is a dream”  Guru Nanak Dev

Very very long ago, there lived a mighty king named Abhaya, meaning fearless. After ruling for several decades, he was desirous of learning about Truth, and obtaining liberation. Unsure of whom to seek guidance from, he invited four Masters to his palace. He had heard about their greatness but had never met them before.
Upon their arrival, he honoured them in a kingly and kind-hearted way, and gifted each with some precious jewels. He made them sit on the royal chairs, but he himself sat on the floor, and humbly requested them to tell him about Truth. They all, except one, quoting different scriptures, spoke a lot. The one who didn’t speak much seemed more interested in listening to others. His name was Anidra, meaning the one who is always awake. He looked very young, perhaps twenty, but seemed to have the presence and maturity of a thousand years old. He was short, but looked strong. His face was round, with big and glowing eyes. His face reflected the pleasantness and calmness of His mind. When the other Masters would say something amusing, Anidra would chuckle like an old man. He also frequently nodded His head in appreciation of what the other Masters were saying. It made the whole atmosphere more relaxed and appreciative of each other. Abhaya was mesmerized by Anidta’s presence. He would frequently turn his eyes toward Anidra, but was also being careful to not ignore other Masters. He looked at Anidra like as someone who had lived in a desert all his life and was now looking at the Ocean.

After a lengthy discourse and discussion on Truth, the king thanked them all for coming, and one by one he bid farewell to them. As they were leaving, Abhaya requested for a blessing from each,” O Holy Master, please bless me for a long life so that I may realize the Shiva in me.” The first three Masters to leave blessed the king, “May you live a very long life and realize the Shiva in you!”. The last one to leave was Anidra. Abhaya was very happy to be with Him alone for a while. He approached Him and requested for the same blessing ,” O Holy Master, please bless me for a long life so that I may realize the Shiva in me.” Anidra replied,” I cannot give you such a blessing.” The king looked astound. Anidra continued,” To realize Shiva, one must die. If you must realize Shiva, I bless you. May you die soon!” Then He whispered softly and smilingly,”But don’t worry. It is very easy.” He placed the jewels, which He had received earlier, back in Abhaya’s hands and said ,” These hold more value in your hands.” And He left. Abhaya, holding the jewels in his hands, just stood there and watched Anidra leave. His body, mind, and speech had gone numb. After Anidra had gone out of his sight, he closed his eyes and kept standing there for a long time like a statue. He couldn’t understand what was happening to him, but he had understood what Anidra had meant, that one’s mind must die before one can realize Shiva.

Shiva is called samashan vasa, meaning, the one who resides in a cremation ground. When all the desires in the mind die, it becomes like a samashan. Only such a mind can realize Shiva.
Just as, when the clouds disappear, the entire space again becomes filled with sunshine, similarly, when the desires disappear, the entire mind again becomes filled with Shiva.

There is a story about Guru Nanak Dev. In His early childhood, one day when He didn’t return home from school, his family went looking for him and were shocked to find Him sitting and meditating in a samashan. When asked why He was sitting there, He replied,”This is where I must come at the end, so I am just becoming familiar with it.”  In His mind there was nothing else but God.

The one whose mind has become like a samashan is called a Jeevan mukta, meaning the one who has been liberated even while still living.

For liberation, the death also provides two great opportunities, one just before the death, and another one right after the death.
If you can remember God just before the death, you become liberated. It may seem easy, but it is not. Your last thoughts before you die are mostly about your desires and attachments, which become the reason for your next life. Only the one who cultivates a habit of remembering God with his heart, continuously for many years, may be able to remember God at the end too. That’s why many great Masters have emphasized the importance of remembering God.
Saint Kabir says, “Don’t let even a single breath pass by without remembering Lord Rama, you never know this may be your last breath.” He further says,” Why are you caught up in so many different things? Just sing Rama’s name. Only His name can bring you liberation, and it doesn’t cost anything.”
Guru Nanak Dev says,”The kings and emperors, with mountains of wealth, are not even equal to an ant if they don’t remember God.”
Mahatma Gandhi encouraged people to remember God even while doing worldly activities, which He himself also did. When He was shot to death, the last two words He uttered were ‘Ram..Ram’.

The second opportunity comes right after you die. Dying is like waking up from a dream. You suddenly wake up to the Reality. But it lasts only momentarily as, because of the desires and attachments in the mind, you choose to fall back into sleep for another dream. Only a rare one manages to remain awake. Remembering God just before the death helps you in remaining awake after the death.

Both these opportunities are not available to those who commit suicide because they fail to honour life. To be free, one must honour life, remember God, and be prepared to welcome the death.

Anidra’s presence and His words had made Abhaya very restless. His mind had been stirred. There were so many what, why, and how in his mind, that he wanted to know the answers to. And he knew who could give him the correct answers. But, above all, he wanted to be in Anidra’s presence again.
Unable to sleep, in the middle of the night he decided to go to see Anidra who lived several miles away from his palace. For the first time in his life, he was walking alone in the middle of the night, bare feet, and empty handed. For the first time he felt that he had nothing to give to someone. His heart was telling him that Anidra was not only a Master, but also a mystic Faqir who, like Consciousness, was self-supporting and self-sufficient. His heart was also telling him how to go to a Faquir. The mighty king walked like a helpless beggar the whole night.
To be continued…

What a beautiful journey it has been!

Below are some pictures from my recent courses:
I enjoyed every minute of being with all the course participants. Thank you all. Your sincerity and dedication touches me deeply.

Yoga and Wellness Retreat, Taiwan
SSY TRM, Los Angeles
SSY Deep Dive, Dallas
Art of Silence Course, Toronto

What a beautiful journey it has been!

The Yoga Scriptures say that one must learn yoga under a Master. I have been fortunate enough to learn yoga under the kind guidance of Gurudev Sri Sri Rave Shankar. Prior to that I have had the fortune of learning yoga from many other Masters and teachers. Therefore, my whole yoga journey has been a learning experience, guided and inspired by great spiritual Masters.

I met Gurudev in 1986 in Halifax, canada, and since then not a single day has passed without learning or experiencing something new.
The most beautiful experience has been to witness the non-changing nature of Gurudev. In spite of all the changes and enormous growth that have taken place in AOL, He himself has remained unchanged. His simplicity, and purity of His un-conditional love for all have remained the same. The Scriptures call such a great being a ‘Niranjana’, the one who remains unaffected and unchanged by the changing events.
Another amazing experience has been to witness the supreme dispassion in Gurudev. He loves all, but is not bound to anyone. He has millions of followers, hundreds of ashrams, and He oversees thousands of projects all around the world, but He is not attached to any one of them.
He is the embodiment of the true vairagya, the great dispassion.
He is the living example of a true yogi, and I feel blessed and ever grateful to witness, experience, and learn the true meaning of yoga under Him.

My yoga student from all around the world have been one of the biggest highlights of my journey. I have received more from them than I have given. I have learnt more from them than I have taught. I am so grateful to each and every one of them. They have been my inspiration and the reason to continue teaching so far.
But now, after teaching AOL and SSY courses for over 30 years, I feel the need to retire and , therefore, will no longer be teaching AOL and SSY courses. I will surely miss teaching these courses as they have been a big part of me.
However, this doesn’t mean I am leaving AOL. I will still be supporting the AOL and SSY School in anyway I can, and you may still see me at at the AOL ashrams taking courses with you.

Since it is in my blood to teach yoga, I, like many other independent SSY teachers, may still offer some online programs or even one or two destination programs a year independently. I will keep you posted as the future unfolds.

With Gurudev seated in my heart, I send my love and best wishes to all my yoga students.

Do You Really Leave Empty Handed!

You are in Him
How can you do wrong or right?
Surrounding you forever
He is always in your sight

Do You Really Leave Empty- Handed!

The saying that ‘you leave the world empty-handed’ is only partially true. In fact, you carry a lot of baggage with you. Your mind carries it all, and there is no restriction to how much you can carry.

The baggage you carry consists of your karma, desires, obsessions, bondages, and strong concepts and judgements etc., most of it being unnecessary.
Do you know that you can also carry your honestly-earned money with you? You just need to donate it for a good cause, and it will get deposited to your secured account right away with a very high interest rate, and will be given to you in your next life. So, in fact, you can carry as much money as you want with you.

The baggage that your mind carries determines your next life.

The one who is a non-doer, detached, and carries no ill feelings toward anyone, he travels very light, both, while living and after death. Such a person does good deeds but without wanting anything in return. He leaves the world with very little or no baggage and enters into a new and higher dimension of life. But the one without wisdom, burdened with desires and likes and dislikes, life after life, keeps living the same old life. Only the faces change.

Likewise, if you enter into the New Year carrying previous baggage, then the newness doesn’t last very long. Soon, the past baggage and patterns take over. Through the practice of knowledge, if you are able to leave some of your baggage behind, then with a free mind you can truly experience the newness and freshness of life. Then only the New Year is truly a New Year for you.
But, you don’t have to wait for a New Year to do this. Any moment you do this, becomes a New Year for you.

This year make a resolution to lose some unnecessary mental weight. It can be done and must be done. Nothing else can make you more happy and content.
For the seekers, this is the greatest spiritual practice of all.

Happy New Year

May you become healthier and happier!
May you become more peaceful!
May good and auspicious things happen in your life!
May you experience fulfillment in this life!