My First Experience of Oneness….Sri Guru Nanak Dev

Dear Krishanji…… The connection with you is the main and natural way to go back to the knowledge of yoga. You are sharing in such a loving and skillful way……  I love the new look of your blog.. the inspiring sharing about the source of your yoga.. the name SHUDHAM! It is exactly what I always got from your presence and your courses.. and I know the same is for so many of your yoga studentsJ ….Beatrice

Thank you Beatrice. The new look, with the new name , is to symbolize the beauty and purity of my Spiritual Masters, and to express my gratefulness to all those who have been a part of my journey.

 

krishanji mongolia

So many of you have contributed to my journey. Thank you. 

 

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Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji   (April 15, 1469 – September 22, 1539)

 

“He who has no faith in himself can never have faith in God.”Guru Nanak, Sri Guru Granth Sahib

“There is but One God, His name is Truth, He is the Creator, He fears none, he is without hate, He never dies, He is beyond the cycle of births and death, He is self illuminated, He is realized by the kindness of the True Guru. He was True in the beginning, He was True when the ages commenced and has ever been True, He is also True now.” Guru Nanak  (source: goodreads.com)

 

<3 From early childhood, I was attracted to many great saints of India, three in particular, SriGuru Nanak Dev, Saint Tulsi Daas, and Saint Kabir Daas. I learnt about them in school, and at home. I liked listening to their stories over and over. They all were Enlightened Masters and mystic poets. Their writings and teachings, which have inspired millions of seekers around the world, depict Truth, Wisdom and Devotion. 

 Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji (lovingly called Guru Nanak) was the founder of Sikhism.

When I was in grade seven, I started carrying a picture of Guru Nanak, similar to the one above. I don’t remember where that picture came from. It was an old and previously used picture, about 3×5″, slightly torn on the upper left corner. I always carried the picture either in my school bag or in a book. I felt affinity with it. 

On the night before my  grade eight English exam, I dreamt about Guru Nanak, looking exactly the same as in the picture I had. He asked me why I had not studied two particular chapters in my English book, which in fact I had not, because they were not considered important enough for the exam. When I woke up, I remembered the dream. but didn’t give any importance to it. At breakfast I told my mother about the dream, and she insisted that I must study those two chapters immediately. She even took my breakfast away saying that I must study first. Thinking that it could only help, I studied.

 When the question paper was given to me, I was happily surprised to see two questions from those two chapters. Though, had I not answered those two questions, I would have still done well in the exam,  but it felt good that Guru Nanak had helped me. After the exam, I was very happy and told all my friends about the dream.

However, it was not any kind of a spiritual experience for me. It was a dream that happened to come true, and after a year or two, the dream faded from my memory, but I continued carrying the same picture  with me, and even when I came to Canada to study engineering, I brought it with me.

 On the night before my exam for Power Systems in the final year of Electrical Engineering, Guru Nanak appeared in my dream again.It was a replicate of earlier dream.  He looked exactly the same as before, and asked me why I had not studied a particular chapter. When I woke up, I remembered the dream, and also had a flashback of the dream from many years ago.  Without any question or doubt in my mind, I studied the chapter which I had neglected to study earlier for the same reason as before.

In the exam, yes, there was a question from that chapter, but I was neither surprised nor happy. Instead, I felt sad.

A realization dawned on me that helping me in the exams was not the purpose of two ditto and eleven-years apart dreams.  It was His way of making me realize His presence in me.  After the exam, I had tears of gratitude and sadness. He had been with me all these years and I had not recognized His presence. He had been waiting so patiently. I was very quiet that day. I shared the dream only with Bharti, whom I married a few weeks later.  

For next few days, after the dream, I continued feeling Guru Nanak’s presence very strongly. Every time I would close my eyes, I would see Him. I felt one with Him. Oneness with the Divine had been awakened in me.

 After the exams, when I moved from the university residence, somehow, I lost that picture. Perhaps, it got lost because it had served its purpose, but I wish I still had it.

After that experience, I began to notice a shift in how I perceived life.  So many questions which I had , they began to diminish, and I began to see life more and more as miraculous, magical, and amazing.

Now, whatever happens in my life, it all amazes me. My body and mind, whether well or unwell, amaze me. When I see life without likes and dislikes, a stormy day seems just as beautiful as a warm sunny day.  When I teach, each word that comes out of me, how it comes, and where it comes from, I see it as a miracle. When I see you, I see a miracle. A flower is a miracle. So is a thorn. Birth amazes me. So does death. It is all a play of Divine love. Seeing the Divine love in both, what I may judge as good or bad, keeps me in Oneness. 

Seeing the Creator in me, I see the whole creation with amazement. I attribute this to Guru Nanak’s grace. 

Three years ago, I was teaching a yoga course at  the Art of Living Ashram in Montreal,  and I shared this story with the course participants. Navjeet, one of the participant, told me that it was Guru Nanak’s birthday that day. I didn’t know that, but I was glad that, unknowingly, I was remembering Him on His birthday, and through Navjeet, He was reminding me that He will always be with me. 

Guru Nanak gave me the precious gift of Oneness, which now is so deeply rooted in me, that nothing can take it away.  

Only a few months after my experience of Oneness, I met my first living Spiritual Master……. <3

 

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“Even Kings and emperors with heaps of wealth and vast dominion cannot compare with an ant filled with the love of God.”  Guru Nanak,  Sri Guru Granth Sahib

Happy Guru Purnima!

Hello My Yoga Friends,

Today is a special day for spiritual seekers. Like we celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, today is the day the spiritual seekers take time to celebrate their fullness, to reflect on their spiritual journeys and to express their gratefulness to their Spiritual Masters for their guidance, love, support, protection, and trusting companionship.

I feel very blessed to have met my Spiritual Master, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, over 26 years ago. Since then He has been a very big part of my life.  He is always there for me, and millions of other seekers around the globe. I have learnt and received so much from Him, especially His unconditional love, that there are not enough words to express my gratitude.

He is a true Yogi in action, a living example and inspiration to all those who wonder what Yoga truly is and is it really possible to be Yogi-like as described in Yoga Scriptures! He possesses all the virtues and qualities of a true Yogi that the Yoga Scriptures describe. I feel so fortunate and privileged to witness such a precious presence on Earth.       DSC_4719

One of these days I hope to share with you a few glimpses of my journey with Him. He  leads my way and makes me feel like a king. My heart is filled with gratitude!

On this special day, I also want to express my gratefulness to those of you who have been a part of my spiritual journey. May we continue to grow on the path!

My 15 Minutes Energy Booster Yoga:

As mentioned in my previous post, below is a short and quick yoga program to do on days when you don’t have the time for your full yoga practice, or when you just need a quick boost of energy. I have not given detailed instructions assuming you already know them.

Do the following sequence at medium to fast pace. Hold each posture for about 10 seconds, except during Sun Salutations.

  1. Three rounds of Kapalabhati.
  2.  2-4 rounds of Sun Salutations.
  3. Sequence of  Standing  Forward bend , Backward bend, Sideways bend, and Twist. Repeat the sequence 3 times.
  4. Chair Pose. 5-10 times
  5.  Another two rounds of fast paced Sun Salutation, followed by 5-10 push-ups.
  6. Sequence of Cobra, Bow, Cobra and Dog Pose. Repeat the sequence three times. Child’s pose.
  7. Lie on your back. Sequence of 10 -15 abdominal crunches, Boat, and Bridge pose. Repeat 3 times.
  8. Sitting Forward Bend and Inclined Plane in sequence, 3 times.
  9. Nadi Shodhan Pranayama. 3 -5 rounds.
  10. Rest.

After you do this sequence a few times, it will begin to flow smoothly. You can add your own variations to it, or create your own sequence.  Most importantly, have fun while doing it.  

My Yoga Studio

Now that I am not travelling much, I have opened a yoga studio in Halifax. I have named it Happy Turtle. It has been an exciting and humbling experience.

In my classes now I incorporate some new breath-coordinated  contraction exercises and light weights  to improve muscle tone and strength. To differentiate these classes from regular Sri Sri Yoga classes I call these classes Yoga PRO for now.

Over the years I have seen that most yoga students don’t do enough asanas to strengthen and tone their bones and muscles. Just stretching the muscles alone over a prolonged period can result in weakness and instability of body-joints. Incorporating few minutes of breath-coordinated contraction exercises and  light-weights with yoga practice can avoid this potential problem. People are already reporting additional benefits. I may offer one week refresher course for Sri Sri Yoga teachers so that they can teach this new format.

Q/A

Dear Krishanji:

Every time I read your post about yoga path, tears come to me with gratitude…. I am still teaching Sri Sri Yoga, for 5 years, through ups and downs, and lack of potential enthusiasm and interest in the practices for some moments.                      Started favela and prison projects in Brazil. Remember when you came to Argentina prison with us!

I have not fully learned the ‘skill in action’ yet, but I can feel that I’m a nicer person and a better person.

In Karma Yoga, when Lord Krishna says “do your duty”, How can we know what is that we have to do? Could we elect that in a wrong way?

With love,

Caroline

Dear Caroline,

Like every thing else in life, enthusiasm and interest also go up and down, but the skill is to continue, and you are doing that. It is so wonderful that you are noticing and acknowledging your growth, that you are becoming a better person. In my opinion, the purpose of practicing yoga is to become a better person. Listen to Guru Ji’s talks on Bhagvat Geeta and Karma Yoga, and stop worrying about what you have to do, as you are already performing self-less service and, therefore, are on the path of Karma Yoga. You (we all) just have to get better at it.

Happy Guru Purnima!

Krishan

 

Why On the Path?

Hello My Yoga Friends:

Happy New Year! May the New Year bring you an abundance of good things!

I am grateful for 2012. It was good to me in many ways. Yes, there were a few rough patches as well, but the ancient wisdom ‘count your blessings’ helped me in accepting them and moving forward with gratefulness.

Today I would like to talk to you about an email I received recently. It gave me an opportunity to reflect back on my own journey and the reasons why I am on the path of yoga.

The e-mail read:

“I have been doing my spiritual practices for over 15 years, regularly and sincerely, but I don’t seem to be getting anywhere.  I was searching for answers, but after all these years I am more confused.  I am losing my faith and interest in the practices…….I don’t see any point in continuing….”

First of all, know that it is okay and normal to feel this way. You are not alone. People experience this feeling of disappointment not just on the spiritual path, but in other fields as well, whether it be sports, music, science, business etc.  There could be many different reasons for this.

Since being regular and sincere on the path is not an issue for you, perhaps you should assess your expectations on the spiritual path.

What is it that you want to gain from your spiritual practices?

Some people follow a path simply to improve their physical and mental health. If they practice regularly and properly, they see the benefits and they happily continue on the path. They see a point in continuing.

Some people follow a path because they have this wrong understanding that it would help them get rid of their problems. They expect that because they meditate and pray every day, they should not face difficulties or failures in life, or they might get better jobs or life partners. I know someone who used to look for winning lottery numbers in his meditation, his logic being that meditation provided clarity to see. Like this, people carry so many wrong expectations and logics in their minds.  Patanjali calls it ‘viparyaya’ , meaning wrong knowledge. It surely brings disappointment. Spiritual practices do not get rid of your difficulties. Instead they give you the strength and wisdom to deal with them.

Some walk on the path in search for answers. They want to know the Truth. They want to know God. They want to get enlightened.  All these are abstract and complicated expectations, which often give rise to more questions and concepts, and can result in disappointment and frustrations, which can continue for a long time until one obtains a certain amount of maturity on the path.

The maturity doesn’t come just by doing a lengthy practice of asanas and meditation every day, though some start feeling mature without actually having matured.  Such people come into a delusion, which can continue for a long time until something happens to puncture their delusion.  Daily practice of asanas and meditation provides a strong base, but to build on it further it requires a higher level of practice, which is understanding the knowledge of yoga properly and applying it  in daily life. It requires effort, alertness and interest.

With this level of practice, maturity begins to dawn and you realize that the path of yoga is not there to solve the mystery of life, but to guide you how to live and enjoy the mystery.

A highly matured yogi is also called  ‘purushotam’ which means a great, refined and nice person. This term provides a fresh perspective on yoga, that the wisdom of yoga is there not to provide answers but, if followed, to make you a better and great person. So instead of searching for answers, if you use the wisdom of yoga to become a better person, it would bring some spiritual maturity in you. You will feel closer to yourself. This is a simple way to be with your Self.

Practicing to become a better person is the true meaning of abhyasa (practice) mentioned in the Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  Making effort to improve yourself is the true meaning of Self-effort mentioned in Yoga Vasistha.

Bhagvat Geeta and other scriptures of yoga describe many qualities of an accomplished yogi. If you want to become accomplished, you will need to cultivate those qualities in you. I will talk about some of those qualities in my next post.

We already know that there is a lot in us that we can improve upon. Start from there. Make effort to overcome your weaknesses. Be honest with your intentions behind what you speak, think, and do. Improve them all in a playful manner, like a child learns how to walk. He falls, but gets up and starts walking again

Practice Hatha Yoga to make your body and mind healthier and stronger.

Practice Karma Yoga, Raja Yoga and Gnana Yoga to remove the mental restlessness and disturbance.  Use the knowledge of yoga to discriminate between right and wrong.

Practice Bhakti Yoga to nurture your Self.

Unless you take this responsibility, your journey will remain a struggle. You will keep blaming the path regardless of which path you travel on.

Give rest to your questions, concepts and expectations. The more questions and concepts you have, the less alert you become. Even to notice your own growth you require alertness.  In fact, a certain level of maturity is already happening in you but perhaps you are not seeing it.

Lord Krishna says to Arjuna,“I am present in every being but an accomplished yogi feels my presence.” This is the reason I am on the path. I want to become a better person. I want to cultivate the qualities of an accomplished yogi in me. I want to flow with life, and not struggle against it.

 

Just like, through effort and practice, an accomplished musician becomes one with the music, same way through abhyasa and self-effort, an accomplished yogi becomes one with the Self.

You have no choice but to continue. When life is continuing, how can you stop:)

May you enjoy your journey!

With best wishes,

Krishan

 

 

Next Blog : Qualities of a yogi as described in Bhagvat Geeta, and my 15 minutes energy booster yoga.