Posts Tagged With: My Yoga Journey
Dear Krishan Ji, I am struggling with getting all the practices in. How do I decide what to do and what to leave out? I start my day at 4:30am but find myself unable to fit all the practices in the am and think I will do it in the evening and in the evening I feel very tired to do asanas. Pls help.
There is a well-known story of Lord Ganesha and His brother Lord Kartikeya, the two sons of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lord Kartikeya, the God of war, always looks for difficult challenges and ways to conquer them. Once, Kartikeya challenged Ganesha to race Him and said that whosoever goes around the universe three times first will be the winner. As soon as Ganesh accepted his challenge, Kartikeya, determined to win, took off. But Ganesha just went around His parents three times. He told them,” You are my God and universe. I don’t need to go anywhere. Just by going around you three times, I have finished and won the race.” The Parents were pleased. After overcoming many obstacles and completing three rounds around the universe, when Lord Kartikeya returned home, He was humbled by Ganesha’s faith and simplicity.
A seeker’s faith should be like Ganesha’s faith. If you genuinely believe that God is here and now, what’s the point of struggling? Most seekers believe God is here and now, but they are not rooted in this belief, and therefore, their journey and struggle continue.
You must also know and follow your temperament. If your temperament is like Ganesha, but your journey is like Kartikeya, you will struggle. If your nature is love and devotion, but your path is of knowledge and hatha yoga, you are going against your nature. The great Ved Vyasa’s nature was to understand and know. That’s how he could write Vedas and so much more. Sri Adi Shankaracharyaya was also from the same lineage and of similar nature, with knowledge and practices being His primary focus.
Kabira, Meera, Tulsidas, Guru Nanak, and others alike didn’t have much interest in knowing. Their nature was love. They followed the path of simplicity and loving God. They followed their nature. You must look into whether you are following your nature or going against it.
Even the path of knowledge and practices, if followed properly, leads to loving God. After writing so much knowledge, Sage Ved Vyasa, in the end, wrote loving stories of Lord Krishna in His last book, in which He says there is nothing greater and sweeter than remembering Krishna, Sri Adi Shankaracharya also wrote beautiful songs about the glories of Gods and Goddesses. It was the love for God that brought them fulfillment.
Your spirituality must inspire you to love and long for God. If it doesn’t, it ends in disappointment.
Loving God is loving all. Divine love is like Sun. It shines on all, even on those who reject you. Kabira was rejected and ridiculed by many. But Kabira saw Rama in them. He saw only Rama everywhere. That’s the simplicity and power of the path of love.
So, my dear child, you can continue to wake up every morning at 4:30, but it is not necessary if it is causing you stress. When you struggle, your Soul also becomes restless. When you do your sadhana, even if it is shorter, embrace your body, mind, and Soul. Love your entire being like you are loving God. Surround yourself with the simplicity, faith, and presence of all those who followed the path of love. If you can do this much, God is not far away.
Day and night,
Embrace your entire.
Asleep or awake,
Kindle the love fire.
What you see,
See it not.
Perceive, underneath each,
Lies alluring Divine pot.
After imparting yogic wisdom to Sage Anidra, Lord Narayana instructed him to travel and share the yogic wisdom with those who are ready and worthy of receiving this knowledge.
Lord Narayana blessed Anidra with two boons.
1: Anidra could instantly transport himself to any place with his intention.
2: The Lord gave Anidra one of His cows, Ma Bhagavati, who cherished selfless Sages and desired to serve and protect them like a mother. Ma was a blessed cow. She was ageless, wise, and a knower of the Scriptures. Her milk was heavenly; whosoever drank it lived disease free. She could speak and sing mentally, and only those she permitted could hear and communicate with her. She could transport herself to any place with her will. She could see people’s intentions behind their words and actions. The Lord told Anidra that there was so much more to know about Ma, which he would learn in due time.
Having received the blessings, Anidra felt gratefully humbled. He was tearful and speechless. The Lord continued,” Anidra, you will experience my presence for as long as you remain selfless. You must always observe your intentions. Selfish intentions delude one’s vision; if turned into actions, they ruin even the wisest. If your intentions become selfish, you will lose all that has been bestowed upon you, and Ma will return to me.” After saying so, the Lord retreated into formlessness. Anidra and Ma began their journey as instructed by the Lord.
After sharing wisdom selflessly for many years with deserving seekers in many places, Sage Anidra and Ma settled in their current location, a small village, Govind Gaon. The villagers recognized their holiness and built a small ashram for them. They considered themselves fortunate and blessed to have Sage Anidra and Ma reside in their village. Because of their holy presence, the villagers were now more helpful and kind to each other, and there was a feeling of oneness among villagers.
And now that their King Abhaya, whom they adored, also visited Sage Anidra frequently, they were overjoyed. Whenever the King came to the ashram, he and Ma would go for morning walks. Seeing them passing through their fields, the villagers felt dazed and blissful.
Today the King had come to the ashram. At the ashram, he was only a sincere student.
At the evening gathering, the King asked,” O Holy Master! Could you kindly speak about the Third Eye, what and where it is, and how one can utilize it?”
Sage Anidra spoke,” Abhaya, by engaging the five senses, the mind experiences the apparent world. But that which exists within and beyond the apparent cannot be grasped or experienced by the mind. It can only be experienced with the Third Eye. The Third Eye is the eye of the mind which remains closed and inactive until a seeker has overridden the unnecessary and fluctuating tendencies of the mind and God has become his highest priority.
Abhaya, there are three types of dispassion. First, that which arises out of ignorance (Mithya Vairagya). Second, that which is short-lived (Alpakallik Vairagya). Third, that which arises from the seeker’s inner being after living in proper knowledge and devotion toward God for a long period. Such dispassion is true and complete (Gyanapurna Vairagya).
With the rise of the Gyanapurna Vairagya, the five senses relax and retrieve within their source. The mind can no longer engage the senses and is not attracted outwardly. It calms down and remains unaffected by its tendencies, which also become weaker. This stage is the beginning of the opening of the Third Eye.
It is neither the yogic practices nor the cessation of senses through fasting, celibacy, being mute, etc., that relaxes the senses and mind. Only living with proper knowledge and devotion to God calms the senses and mind and brings them back to their source. Therefore, Abhaya, remain established in the knowledge, perform necessary actions, and devote yourself to God.”
Saying this, Anidra became silent. He looked at Ma and asked her to sing something.
Ma sang a song, which meant:
O noble man, you are wise,
Why do you live foolishly?
Should a drowning man
Think of gathering more?
Or should his heart be on
Why grip something,
That must go?
Life is like a river
It must flow.
The world looks rosy.
And it lures.
But, you know
Nothing here is yours.
“Krishan. It feels like being pulled off the path over and over and constantly struggling to get back and stay on again and again. Is this about what life is? Are there ways to walk the path differently? Most likely. What do you think? “
Dear, you are not alone. Many people experience this not just on the spiritual path but in every walk of life. That’s why there is much sadness, emotional pain, depression, and an increased rate of suicide, even among very successful people. One would think this shouldn’t happen in spirituality, but it does.
In the past few decades, the number of spiritual paths has grown exponentially globally. Thousands of different spiritual organizations have their own paths, philosophies, practices, and followers.
In every spiritual path, you will find primarily four categories of followers.
- Those who happily continue.
- Those who are unhappy. Most still continue, and some leave.
- Those who struggle on the path. They remain in uncertainty and keep going off and on the path.
- A small number, for various reasons, end up in disappointment, sadness, mistrust, uncertainty, etc.InIn
In forty years of my spirituality, I have experienced all of the above
Today’s post is primarily for people in the 3rd category.
Don’t give overly importance to whether you are on or off the path. You are neither nearer to God if you are on the path nor away from Him if you are off the path. God is where you are.
Define your spiritual goal on the path. Without it, the journey becomes confusing and even frustrating. Without a clear goal, you can never gauge your progress. Your goal must be realistic and achievable. Enlightenment, awakening, knowing the Truth, etc., are vague and unachievable goals; therefore, you may feel you are not reaching anywhere. The question you must ask yourself is why you are on the path, and even when struggling, why do you want to continue? Identify what pulls you off the path and what pulls you back on. Honest answers will be very helpful to you.
Doubts contribute a lot to your struggle. They carry a negative connotation, but not all doubts are necessarily wrong. Some may be intuitive. However, make your spiritual decisions based on your experiences. Don’t mix your experiences with doubts. Otherwise, they all will seem like doubts. Trust your experiences; they are there to guide you. How much importance you give them is up to you.
Your spiritual practices are important but don’t see them as means to your spiritual goal. Not doing your practices for a while doesn’t mean you are off the path. Don’t judge your spirituality by your practices.
I know many people who have never meditated in their lives, but they imbibe many qualities of a yogi, which Lord Krishna talks about in the Bhagavad Gita. They are very nice people with high human values. If you look around, you will find many such people in your lives too. Perhaps, being such a person could be one of your spiritual goals. You may already be such a person, but because of all that goes on in your mind, you don’t even realize it.
Make your spirituality simple, devoid of feverishness. Live your life with decent human values. It is the essence of all scriptures. Don’t set very high standards for yourself. Instead, grow with them as a musician grows with his music.
Don’t try to know the unknown. You will never know it; no one has. Instead, know yourself by listening more to your inner being, your personal Guide. As you listen more to your inner being, Your mind and spirituality will expand, and you will experience its vastness within you. How can you go on or off the path when you live in the vastness?
I am often asked for my reasons for leaving AOL. My spirituality, influenced by many free thinkers of the past, is free-flowing and spontaneous. And that’s why, despite receiving immense love from Guru Dev and my yoga students in AOL, I just couldn’t fit in the environment of structured spirituality, which is necessary for any organization to grow. I can’t fit in any organization. I remain ever grateful to Guru Dev and AOL for their endless and unconditional love.
If despite your frustrations, you decide to continue on the path, you must compromise and ignore all those things that frustrate you. Don’t keep questioning them. Things may or may not change, but you should move forward, accepting what frustrates you. When things start bothering you again, become more alert to stay on the path. if you do go off, get back on the path quickly. This repeated practice will help you in staying on the path.
Most importantly, don’t blame yourself for your doubts, conflicts, or anything else. Don’t let anyone put a guilty feeling in you. Know that you are a very nice and spiritual person. God loves you. You will always remain the love of God. Any moment you remember God is a spiritual moment.
An Interesting Story:
Several years ago, one of my friends and I would get together every Sunday at 5:00 AM to discuss Kabira and sing his songs. He lived half an hour away from my place. So I will wake up at 4:00 AM, get ready, and drive e to his place with my harmonium. He wanted to learn to play the harmonium. I wasn’t very good at it but was happy to share with him what I knew. He and his wife both were well-educated and belonged to very well-to-do families. But they both, inspired by the simplicity of Kabira lived a very basic life and did odd jobs to meet their needs. They lived like that for years.
Our Sunday meetings continued for 8-10 months. One day he surprised me when he said,” Krishan, I don’t think I am going to find God. Now I am going to try to find the money.” He was serious. They moved to a bigger city, and today he is a very successful and wealthy entrepreneur. He is doing exactly what he was meant to do.
In amazement of Life, I can only babble.
For proper instructions for you, listen to your inner being.
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.