Welcome to the Maha Yoga Blog

Welcome to the Maha Yoga Blog

Maha Yoga is a centuries old tradition, whereby a realized Guru (Siddha Guru) awakens the Universal Life Energy (Kundalini Shakti) within a seeker (Sadhak), eventually leading him/her to self-realization. Readers interested in finding out more about Maha Yoga can go to www.mahayoga.org.

To the thousands of Sadhaks in the Maha Yoga tradition all over the world and other interested readers, this blog is intended to provide virtual Satsang. It is intended to help keep Sadhaks engaged in Maha Yoga, be informed about Maha Yoga-related events around the world, and to provide a forum for getting guidance about Maha Yoga from P. P. Shri Kaka Maharaj and other Maha Yoga leaders. Sadhaks can send their questions to self.awakening@gmail.com. Those interested in interacting with other Sadhaks on the web can do so by participating in this group. We also publish a free quarterly e-newsletter, "Self Awakening". Those interested in subscribing to it can do so by going to www.mahayoga.org.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Discussion with P. P. Kaka Maharaj, December, 2011 - Part 2

On December 16th, 2011, the editor of this blog had the good fortune to spend several hours with P. P. Kaka Maharaj at his home in Nashik, India and to engage him in a discussion on Maha Yoga.  We were joined by P. P. Prabhune Maharaj and Shri Nikhil Prabhune, both from Nashik, India.  Despite his advancing age, P. P. Kaka Maharaj continues to remain as enthusiastic as ever about communicating with Sadhaks and in spreading the message of Maha Yoga to everyone on this earth.  Following is the second part of the translated and edited excerpts from that discussion.  This discussion was originally published in the February 2012 issue of P. P. Kaka Maharaj's quarterly e-newsletter, Self Awakening, past issues of which are archived at http://mahayoga.org/selfawakening.htm.

Editor: That brings me to a related issue; why is Maha Yoga Prasar (spreading the word about Maha Yoga) so important?  If some people do not even want to listen to what it is about, and some of those who do, might not even want to try it, then why bother with Prasar?

Gurudev: Because we want as many people as possible become aware of the oneness of us all.  That is the basis of the Advaita philosophy, and we would like as many people as possible to actually experience it.  Maha Yoga is an easy way to experience this oneness, but we also accept all other religions and schools of thought that teach the oneness of all of us on this earth. 

Editor: That is clearly an excellent reason for Prasar, the goal of having everyone on this earth experience a sense of universal brotherhood/sisterhood.  But even in our Maha Yoga tradition, (which can be traced in recent times to P. P. Swami Gangadhar Tirth Maharaj in the mid-19th century), there have been some stalwarts who have not focused much on Prasar.  They have had the attitude that there is no point in trying to get everyone to understand Maha Yoga and to experience it; whoever is fit for Maha Yoga will find out about it, and will meet the right Siddha Guru to get initiated into it.  They did not want to develop large followership; they were content just to initiate those who sought them.

Prabhune Maharaj: That is correct.  Some have had the attitude: “Hame dal nahi badhana hai” (“we do not want to increase the ranks” in Hindi).

Gurudev: Yes, that was true to a certain extent; P. P. Swami Gangadhar Tirth Maharaj is known to have had only one disciple, P. P. Swami Narayan Tirth Dev, and there have been others in the past who were not engaged in Prasar. 

Prabhune Maharaj: But even P. P. Swami Gangadhar Tirth Maharaj told his only disciple, P. P. Swami Narayan Tirth Dev that he has been given the amazing gift of Maha Yoga and that he expects it to spread all over the world.  So even though P. P. Swami Gangadhar Tirth Maharaj himself did not conduct Prasar, he made it happen through the efforts of his disciple P. P. Swami Narayan Tirth Dev.

Gurudev: And further, my Guru, P. P. Loknath Tirth Swami Maharaj was instructed by his Guru, P. P. Swami Shankar Purushottam Tirth Maharaj to go from Kashi in north India to the southern parts of India.  Why was he so instructed?  Only to spread the word about Maha Yoga to those regions.  Once he arrived there he met Shri Vaman Gulvani who became one of his disciples and who we know as P. P. Gulvani Maharaj.  As you know, P. P. Gulvani Maharaj was instrumental in spreading the message of Maha Yoga all over the southwest part of India and beyond.

Editor: I suppose Prasar has been the intent of all Siddha Gurus in our tradition, but some seem to have emphasized it more than others.  On a related matter, some Maha Yoga stalwarts have given Shaktipat Deeksha (Maha Yoga initiation with the transfer of energy from Guru to disciple) only to those Sadhaks they consider as deserving, while others have given such Deeksha to most of those who have asked.  Is there any concern that as we attempt to bring Maha Yoga to every one on this earth, even “undeserving” Sadhaks might get initiated? 

Gurudev: Our answer is that everybody who is mature enough to think for himself is eligible for receiving Shaktipat Deeksha.  When a Sadhak asks for Deeksha and accepts the conditions for receiving it, the Deeksha process gets started. What happens after that is in the hands of God, i.e. the Chaitanya Shakti (Universal Life Energy).  I just tell Sadhaks to sit for Deeksha and whether Deeksha happens or not and what types of Kriyas (automatic physical and mental activities) happen is entirely in the hands of God (Ishwari Shakti).   Who am I to decide whether one Sadhak deserves to receive Deeksha but another one doesn’t?  It is between the Sadhak and the Ishwari Shakti.  We do not ask or urge Sadhaks to receive Deeksha at all.  We simply want to inform everyone what Maha Yoga is all about, and that it is available to all regardless of the superficial differences of religion, class, creed, gender, social status, caste, etc. that divide us.  It is up to the individual to do with that information whatever he wants.  We have no interest in increasing followership at all.  We are just the messengers.  It is the Ishwari Shakti which is the doer.

Prabhune Maharaj: Our principle for Prasar is very simple.  We think we have found something good, something that brings calmness and bliss to all practitioners.  And it does not require anything external for a Sadhak to practice it.  It does not cost anything, nor does one need to forsake one’s religion, career, family, etc.  All we want to do is to share with everyone that this gift is available to all for the asking.

Editor: And you have to do this sharing without your ego getting involved, without any desire to build a followership.  I think that aspect of Prasar is very important.

Prabhune Maharaj: That’s exactly correct.  One should not get involved in Prasar to boost followership or to boost one’s ego.  That is completely counter to the tenets of Maha Yoga. 

It is interesting though, that over the past few years, the Mother Energy seems to have become more active and seems to want to increase the ranks of those who’s Prana Shakti has become activated.  Even a Maha Yoga stalwart such as P. P. Swami Shivom Tirth Maharaj (who departed from this world a couple of years ago - Editor), who was quite selective in granting Deeksha throughout his tenure as a Shaktipat Guru, urged his disciples when he was bedridden to share the gift of Maha Yoga generously with Sadhaks.

Gurudev: It is as if someone has brought me several boxes of Pedhas (Indian sweets) and I want to share them with others.  Is that a wrong thing to do?  I don’t think so.

Prabhune Maharaj: One other thing I would like to emphasize; we never urge or suggest to people that they receive Deeksha (initiation).  In fact whenever I give talks on Maha Yoga I never talk about Deeksha.  I only explain what Maha Yoga is all about and ask people to sit and try out the Introductory Approach to Maha Yoga.  After the talk is over and the attendees have actually experienced the calmness that comes from having sat for the Introductory Approach, sometimes people gather around me and ask about what there is beyond the Introductory Approach.  Only then do I let them know about Deeksha.  But even then I simply let them know that such a thing as Deeksha is available.  I never suggest that they should sign up for it or urge them in any way to seek it.

Gurudev: In fact, some people even show signs of the Prana Shakti having become activated even when they sit for practicing the Introductory Approach!  The Introductory Approach is not formal Deeksha, but when a Sadhak practices it sometimes the Mother Energy becomes automatically activated.  This has nothing to do with me.  It is entirely between the Sadhak and the Prana Shakti.

There are also cases where Deeksha happens automatically.  For example, we had a gatekeeper here who asked for and received Deeksha one day.  When he returned home that day he had with him a piece of paper which began with the traditional note of reverence and respect for the Guru “Shri, Shri Gurave Namaha”.  When his wife saw the paper and simply read the salutation to the Guru she immediately began to have Kriyas (involuntary actions) and Deeksha happened.  I did not have anything to do with it.  It was between her and the Prana Shakti.  The Prana Shakti within her had gotten activated automatically and the Deeksha just happened.  Ishwari Shakti, or the Divine Power, is the only authority which decides who gets initiated and who doesn’t.  Maha Yoga Deeksha is really an Ishwari Deeksha (Divine Deeksha); it is the Almighty’s Deeksha, not mine.  P. P. Loknath Tirth Swami Maharaj used to refer to it as Bhagwati Deeksha (Lord’s Deeksha); P. P. Gulvani Maharaj used to call it Devachi Deeksha (God’s Deeksha).  I have no idea what causes Deeksha to happen, all I know is that it happens.  It “happens”, it is not “done”.  My hope is that at some point everyone on this earth will be able to experience it.

Editor: In an earlier discussion you had described your role as that of a postman, simply delivering the mail that was sent to the Sadhak.

Gurudev: That is correct, I see myself as a postman, or someone who is delivering newspapers.  I hope the person for whom the newspaper was intended to be delivered reads it; but if some others also read it and get something out of it, so much the better!  I have absolutely no idea who reads the newspaper once it is delivered.  It is between the reader and the newspaper.

Prabhune Maharaj: If P. P. Kaka Maharaj wouldn’t mind, I would like to go back to the issue that was raised earlier about whether a Sadhak should be evaluated for being deserving or not before being granted Deeksha. 

As Sant Tukaram Maharaj (17th century Indian saint) has said, “Loha Parisachi Na Sahe Upma, Sadguru Mahima Agadhachi”.  This means: the analogy of a Paris (touch-stone) turning iron into gold falls far short of what happens between a Guru and a Sadhak; compared to a touch-stone, the true Guru’s greatness is infinite. 

It is one thing for the touchstone to turn iron into gold, but what if the material is copper instead of iron.  A Sadguru (true Guru) not only turns iron into gold but he can also turn anything, even copper, into gold.  There are Gurus who will wait for the copper to somehow turn into iron before they turn it into gold.  But, P. P. Kaka Maharaj’s approach is, “Why wait?  I will let Deeksha happen even to copper or anything else.  Regular Sadhan (Maha Yoga meditation) will convert anyone into iron, and when that conversion happens, the Sadhak will right away turn into gold!”  His issue is, “Who am I to decide who is deserving of Deeksha and who is not; if someone comes to me and earnestly requests Deeksha I will grant it to him, and with regular Sadhan, when the time is right he will achieve self-realization”.

Gurudev: That is why Tukaram Maharaj said “Yare, yare sare jan” (Come everyone).  He did not say, “Only you come, not others”.  He asked the world to come with him.  The whole world is “Deva-swaroop” (Godly form), because the Prana Shakti is in everyone.

Editor: Going back to the issue of Prasar.  As Prabhune Maharaj had said earlier, we do Prasar but it has to be done without the involvement of our egos.  But it often becomes difficult for Sadhaks to keep their egos out of the picture.  For example, if a Sadhak gives a short speech on Maha Yoga and has the audience sit for a few minutes to practice the Introductory Approach Sadhan, and a few people in the audience begin to experience automatic Kriyas.  Even without realizing it explicitly, the Sadhak might get the sense that “Wow, it is because of me that these people are actually experiencing Maha Yoga”.   Or a Sadhak gets questions from others about issues related to Maha Yoga and he gives answers to those questions that result in helping others spiritually and they thank the Sadhak for his advice.  This might make the Sadhak feel, “Wow, I am actually helping others on their spiritual journey”.  This sense of “Me” and “I” often arises in the minds of Sadhaks involved in Prasar.  I can tell you that it happens from my personal experience as well.  So, do you have any advice for those of us in the Sadhak community who are involved in Prasar on how we can minimize the involvement of our egos in this activity?

Gurudev: What you say is correct, but there is no easy cure for it.  There are two ways to think about what happens in such situations.  The first is “I am the doer” and the second is “the awakened Shakti (Mother Energy) is the doer”.  If a Sadhak believes that he is the doer, there is no doubt that Prasar will only result in boosting his ego.  But, if the Sadhak keeps the perspective that the Shakti is the doer; that his own actions as well as the Kriyas (actions) that the audience experiences are all the work of the Shakti and not his own, then his ego will not grow.  If he begins to realize that Prasar is itself a form of Sadhan; that it “happens” because of the Shakti, and does not get “done” by him, his spiritual growth will not be negatively affected, in fact it will get accelerated.

But you are correct, it is difficult for many Sadhaks to realize that Kriyas happen not only when they sit for Sadhan but also in what happens outside of Sadhan.  The awakened Prana Shakti can make all your actions seem like Kriyas if you have the right attitude and let her be the doer.  It is very difficult to let go of one’s ego, but we should always try to remember that it is the Almighty’s power that is getting things done; we are simply the tools being used.  It is the Shakti doing these things; not you, not you, not you!

Prabhune Maharaj: One thing we also have to keep in mind is the fact that the Shakti is not ours; it has been handed down over the millennia within our Parampara (Maha Yoga tradition and lineage).  It is not the Shakti of an individual, but it is the Shakti that arises from Shiva.  She is the doer, not any individual, nor even any of the stalwarts and Siddha Gurus in our or in any other Maha Yoga tradition and lineage.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Maha Yoga – A Key to Success

I was asked to speak on the above topic at the Mahayoga Global Meet 2012.  Here’s the written version of my speech.  For those who are interested, the PowerPoint charts I used are available at 

I have been asked to speak to you about how Maha Yoga can become a key to success, i.e. how the practice of Maha Yoga can help you become successful.

This is somewhat of a difficult task, because success, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.  What might seem like success to one might be perceived as abject failure by another.  To some of you, success might mean having good things happen to yourself, i.e. having a good education, having a great job or a career or a business, having a lot of power, having a wonderful family life, making lots of money.  Others might see success in making good things happen to others, i.e. helping others get educated, helping others out of poverty, taking care of the sick and injured, helping lead communities and societies improve their lot, etc.  Still others might not care so much for their own material growth, or for the material uplift of others, but might define success in terms of their own spiritual growth as well as the spiritual growth of others. 

Regardless of these distinctions in how we define success, we tend to be happy only if we think we are being successful in achieving our goals, whether they are material or spiritual, for the uplift of ourselves or for others; and are unhappy if we do not achieve them.  So in all our actions we strive to become successful in achieving our goals, whatever they may be!  But there are two big traps waiting for us in such a goal-oriented success-driven life. 

The first trap is what I call Newton’s Third Law!  Those of you who are familiar with basic physics will know that this law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  This law is not so severe in our day-to-day lives, i.e. the reactions to our actions might not be exactly equal and opposite, but those of us who have been knocked around a bit are quite aware that every action or initiative we take becomes a struggle to overcome the reactions of forces that oppose it.  Sometimes our actions succeed, sometimes they fail.  But if we tie our happiness to our day-to-day successes and failures, whether they are material or spiritual, whether they are for ourselves or for others, we are bound to go through life being ecstatic sometimes and being depressed at other times.  

The second trap we face arises out of the fact that our perceptions of success are short-lived.  If we are successful in achieving our goal, we right away move our goal-posts to achieve what we perceive is a better and higher goal.  In other words, we continually redefine success, and doing so keeps us in a constant state of unhappiness.  I call this the trap of “moving goalposts”.

So, if we define success by our careers, the higher we rise up the corporate ladder, the higher we want to go.  We won’t be satisfied unless we become the Managing Director or the CEO.  And if we become the CEO of the organization we have been working in, we want to become the CEO of a larger, more powerful organization.  If we define success by the amount of money we make, when we think we have achieved the goal of making our first million, we want to make ten million.  If we make ten million, why stop there; we want to make a hundred million, and so on.  And there is nothing inherently wrong with that, other than the fact that as we move the goal posts further, we become unhappy if we do not achieve the next target.  Thus we remain in a constant state of unfulfilled goals which keeps us in a constant state of unhappiness.

If we define success by the impact we have on others, when we have achieved the target of helping a small community of people, we want to help a larger community.  If we are successful in doing that, we might set our sights on being political leaders, of course with the intent of helping others.  And if we fail to achieve our specific objectives and goals we set for ourselves, we become unhappy.  And again, there is nothing wrong with that other than the fact that we tend to define our happiness in terms of wanting to have an ever increasing impact on others and the ever-increasing recognition we receive from others for our good deeds.  Once again, the trap of ever changing goals keeps us in a constant state of unhappiness.

The same applies even when we define success in terms of our spiritual goals!  When we have a particularly enjoyable spiritual experience (Kriya), we get attached to it and we want it to happen over and over again.  Or if we hear that our Sadhak friend has had a specific wonderful experience and we haven’t had it, we want to experience it as well.  Again, there is nothing wrong with that other than the fact that we become unhappy if we do not have that particular experience and we write to P. P. Kaka Maharaj complaining that we haven’t had the experience our friend had.  And to make matters worse, we feel that we have not been as blessed by P. P. Kaka Maharaj as our friend has been, or we are not doing something right!  All such behavior is the antithesis of Maha Yoga!  Again, it is the constant focus on goals and the constant moving of the goal-posts which keeps us unhappy.

Having expressed all these misgivings about how we define success, and the traps that a singular focus on goal-oriented success poses for us in terms of our happiness, how then can we say that Maha Yoga is a key to success? 

In fact, Maha Yoga can not only contribute to success, no matter how it is defined, but more importantly, it is a key to happiness.  In order to support this assertion, let me first briefly describe some of the key elements of Maha Yoga in this regards. 

Unlike most other forms of Yoga, Maha Yoga does not require that the Sadhak actively and intentionally do anything, other than become aware of the Universal Life Energy, the Mother Prana Shakti within himself, and to give her the freedom to do what is needed for the Sadhak’s spiritual progress.  This is the essence of Maha Yoga Sadhan (meditation), the surrendering of the Sadhak’s intent to the Prana Shakti within.  When the Sadhak does that, the Mother Energy within him becomes the “doer” and the Sadhak assumes the role of an observer.  With diligent Maha Yoga Sadhan, the Sadhak is able to actively experience the process of cleansing that the Mother Energy puts him through.  He is able to observe the involuntary actions of his body (physical Kriyas), the involuntary flow of nervous energy through him (Pranic Kriyas), and the involuntary coming and going of thoughts through his mind (mental Kriyas).  Gradually, with diligent Sadhan, he will find his physical, Pranic and mental Kriyas diminishing and more importantly, the interval between successive thoughts (mental Kriyas) beginning to increase.  It is the interval between successive thoughts when the Sadhak begins to experience the bliss of Maha Yoga, and as that interval begins to increase he will increasingly exist in the blissful state, eventually reaching the state of Self-Realization.

So, how can a process designed to help a Sadhak reach the state of Self-Realization contribute in any way to “success” and help him overcome the traps I mentioned so he can be truly happy?  This is because although the purpose of Maha Yoga is Self-Realization, way before he reaches the self-realized state, a Sadhak will experience changes within himself, which are essentially the by-products of Maha Yoga, which will give him the tools needed to be both successful and happy.  He will experience significant improvements in three areas which are highly correlated with perceived success – improved concentration, heightened creativity and increased self-confidence.  He will also find himself delinking his actions from the fruits of those actions, in other words becoming a Karma Yogi, which is the key to avoiding the two types of traps I mentioned earlier.

While Maha Yoga Sadhan does not require a Sadhak to focus on anything (in fact Sadhaks are asked not to intentionally focus on anything at all but to simply surrender to the Mother Energy within and observe what happens), as a by-product of Maha Yoga meditation, a Sadhak’s concentration will show considerable improvement.  In addition to being able to concentrate better, during and after Sadhan, a Sadhak might find himself magically coming up with solutions to problems, personal, professional, you name it, which might have been vexing him.  He will find that the solutions he comes up with are very creative and even Sadhaks who have not considered themselves to be creative at all will find themselves developing creative solutions all of a sudden. 

While this might seem magical, it has nothing to do with magic!  It has been borne out by western science, where in trials conducted at MIT and at other major universities in the US and in Europe, the practice of meditation has been shown to improve powers of concentration as well as creativity.  This happens because Maha Yoga Sadhan helps a Sadhak’s mind to become calm.  And when his mind becomes calm he can concentrate better when he needs to because his mind does not get as easily distracted by random thoughts as before.  Also, when the mind becomes calm, a Sadhak’s intuition becomes heightened, and it is this enhanced intuition that gives him the ability to synthesize his knowledge base, without even being aware of it, and come up with intuitively creative solutions!

A Sadhak’s increased self-confidence comes from improved self-awareness.  With the diligent practice of Maha Yoga, a Sadhak understands himself better and knows fully his strengths and weaknesses.  He also begins to develop an inner sense of calm.  With this sense of inner calm and a better and more accurate understanding of himself, he begins to project true self confidence, not a superficial one that might come out of insecurities and bluster, but one that is based on a true sense of self that comes out of confidence that no matter what happens, his inner peace will remain unaffected by the ups and downs of day-to-day life. 

The change whereby a Sadhak develops the attitude of a Karma Yogi is more gradual, and comes about with diligent Maha Yoga Sadhan (meditation).  It is also the most responsible for Maha Yoga being a key to the Sadhak’s success and more importantly, his ongoing happiness.  With regular Sadhan, a Sadhak begins to experience himself more in the role of an observer rather than the doer, and when he does so he begins to get a perspective which is quite different from the one he had as a goal-oriented doer of actions.  He begins to delink action from the fruits of that action and comes to experientially realize the satisfaction of engaging in action for the joy of the action itself, rather than in anticipation of the rewards that action might bring.  The action he engages in becomes an extension of his Sadhan (meditation); he derives joy from it, he sees himself not as the doer of the action but as the vehicle through which the Prana Shakti within him – the Mother Energy – is projecting herself, and he participates in the action for the joy it brings him and not for the results derived from the action.

For those of you who are familiar with how the brain works, action that is free from the distraction of trying to anticipate outcomes, generally results in superior outcomes.  Athletes are encouraged to “be in the flow” rather than be concerned of whether their performance is a winning one or not.  Making a good cricketing stroke is more fun for a cricketer and results in more runs rather than one that is simply focused on hitting a sixer which often ends up with the batsman getting out.  So, as a Sadhak begins to take enjoyment in the process of action itself rather than in anticipation of the results of the action his performance actually improves and whether he cares about it or not, he experiences a greater degree of success.

But more importantly, the delinking of action from the fruits of that action results in a Sadhak gradually becoming less goal-oriented, thus overcoming the two types of traps I mentioned earlier.  Since the Maha Yoga Sadhak no longer links his happiness to achieving specific goals, he is free from the trap of “Newton’s Third Law” as well as the trap of “moving goalposts”.  He derives his happiness from seeing his actions as Kriyas experienced during perpetual and ongoing Sadhan (meditation).  As far as he is concerned, the results of his actions are secondary to the process of the actions themselves, and do not affect his happiness in the least.  The rest of the world will likely see him as being highly successful.  The Sadhak will not only be successful, but more importantly, happy!

Discussion with P. P. Kaka Maharaj, December, 2011 - Part 1

On December 16th, 2011, the editor of this e-newsletter had the good fortune to spend several hours with P. P. Kaka Maharaj at his home in Nashik, India and to engage him in a discussion on Maha Yoga.  We were joined by P. P. Prabhune Maharaj and Shri Nikhil Prabhune, both from Nashik, India.  Despite his advancing age, P. P. Kaka Maharaj continues to remain as enthusiastic as ever about communicating with Sadhaks and in spreading the message of Maha Yoga to everyone on this earth.   Following is the first part of the translated and edited excerpts from that discussion.

Editor: Thank you Dear Gurudev for this opportunity to talk to you about Maha Yoga on behalf of the readers of Self Awakening, our quarterly e-newsletter.  We have now had similar discussions three times before in which you spoke about your own life experiences, your advice to Sadhaks on Maha Yoga, Shaktipat Deeksha and Sadhan, and how Sadhaks can better integrate Maha Yoga in their day-to-day lives.  Those discussions were very well received by readers of the e-newsletter who found inspiration and guidance from you on many of the questions they have on those topics.  This time I would like to talk to you about your aspiration to make Maha Yoga relevant not just to individuals but also to families, communities, nations and to the entire world.

Gurudev: I am glad that the discussions thus far have been helpful to Sadhaks.  The topic you are suggesting, which is to make Maha Yoga relevant on a global scale is one which I have been interested in for a very long time.  And it is particularly timely, given the Mahayoga Global Meet we have planned for May 1st to 3rd of 2012 to be held in Pune, India.   Dr. Vijay Bhatkar, a Maha Yoga Sadhak who is also an eminent computer scientist and founder and Executive Director of the Center for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) in India, has kindly agreed to lead the Global Meet.  (Editor: CDAC is the force behind the PARAM family of supercomputers in India).  So we are indeed fortunate to have such an eminent person be in charge of leading this effort.  I hope Sadhaks from all over the world will attend.

Editor: I hope so as well.  But I was wondering what prompted you to convene such a Global Meet in the first place.   

Gurudev: Well, ever since I began the study of Maha Yoga many, many years ago, I have been influenced by the writings of Dnyaneshwar Maharaj (13th century Yogi) who wanted to bring the science of Maha Yoga to everyone, including the common man.  For a long time, however, Maha Yoga was introduced only to people who were considered to be “deserving”, i.e. righteous, knowledgeable about the scriptures, wise, etc.  But, what about the common man, doesn’t he deserve to be informed about Maha Yoga as well?  What I found was that it did not matter much whether I thought a person was “deserving”, whether he was knowledgeable about the scriptures, what religion or caste he belonged to or anything else.  The key question to me was whether or not Maha Yoga practice worked for everyone regardless of gender, age, caste, creed, religion, race, status in life, education, etc.  And I found that it worked just fine for everyone, regardless of any of the apparent differences that we humans tend to focus on so much.  So, I have been working on, for quite some time now, to introduce Maha Yoga to the entire world. 

Editor: I suppose that is what prompted you to go on a tour of the UK and the US in 2007.

Gurudev: Yes, but I began this effort in my own small way over 25 – 30 years ago.  I think it was in the early 1980s that I sent out a letter to the heads of state of 80 nations of the world, briefly introducing them to Maha Yoga and urging them to take it to their citizens.  It was somewhat crazy in retrospect, since I did not get a response from anyone, but I felt it was my duty to try regardless. 

Editor: Well, it seems like you have been motivated to make Maha Yoga global for a very long time.

Gurudev: Yes, what has motivated me is the fact that Maha Yoga is extremely simple, even a little child can understand it and experience it and so can an elderly person.  Anyone can practice it because the basis of Maha Yoga is the Prana Shakti, the Universal Life Energy, which pervades us all. The air we all breathe is a gross manifestation of this very same Prana Shakti.  Nobody can deny the fact that we all need air, and the air we breathe is the same for each and every one of us, regardless of where we live.  As Dnyaneshwar Maharaj said, “He Vishvachi maze ghar”, or “This world is my home”, and we are all members of one family.  That is what I believe, and that is what Dr. Bhatkar has emphasized in his invitation to all seekers around the world in the invitation announcing the first Mahayoga Global Meet.

Editor: I was wondering what your intent is behind making Maha Yoga global.  Is it to make the world a better place?   

Gurudev: I don’t really have such grand aspirations.  All I am concerned about is the fact that since each and everyone on this earth is eligible to practice Maha Yoga; I simply want them all to become aware that this treasure is available to all of them.  I can inform everyone what Maha Yoga is all about and the peace and happiness it can bring to all, and I can request everyone to practice it.  It is up to them to practice it or not, but all I can do is to just inform them about it.  So that is what I have been doing all these years, and now there are thousands of people all over the world who have practiced it and have actually experienced the sense of oneness, the calm and bliss it creates within the Sadhak (aspirant). 

Whenever I get an opportunity to be with people interested in seeking peace of mind, I don’t like to give them long talks on Maha Yoga.  Instead, I just ask them to sit in a relaxed posture, close their eyes and observe their breath.  When they do that, Maha Yoga simply “happens”.  It does not get “done”.  As soon as they close their eyes, the Prana Shakti within them automatically begins to rise and go towards the top of their heads.  They actually begin to experience the Prana Shakti that pervades us all.

And the second thing is that since we all depend on the air around us, which is a gross manifestation of the Prana Shakti, we can think of it as if it were our common Mother.  The air all over the world is the same; there are no national boundaries that separate the air in one country from another.  We breathe in and out the very same molecules that others all over the world breathe.  So it is with the Prana Shakti that pervades us all.  She is the one Mother of us all.  So, if all of us around the world have the same Mother, we are all brothers and sisters.  That is why the invitation to the Mahayoga Global Meet emphasizes that we are all members of one family.  And that is why I want everyone on this earth to realize that we are children of the same mother, the Chaitanya Shakti, or the Universal Life Energy which brings us all into existence. 

So after closing their eyes, I tell Sadhaks to observe their breath and surrender to the Prana Shakti within them, which their breath represents.  This is not surrendering to some stranger, but it is the same as surrendering to one’s own mother, the Mother Energy which keeps us all alive.  And which person on this earth will not want to surrender to his/her mother and have her lead him?  We know our mothers always have our interest at heart; therefore we trust them and are willing to do anything for them.  Sometimes our earthly mothers may not be aware of what is best for us, but Mother Prana Shakti is in fact one better.  She knows exactly what we need for spiritual progress.  So I tell Sadhaks that after they close their eyes and begin to observe their breath, they should surrender everything to the Mother Prana Shakti, their bodies and their minds.  I tell them to surrender their bodies by being as relaxed as possible; to surrender their breath by letting the Mother Prana Shakti control the inhalation and exhalation of breath; and all their thoughts, so the mind begins to calm down.  When a Sadhak has such an attitude of surrender to the Prana Shakti, Sadhan “happens”!  It is not “done” by the Sadhak. 

People all over the world are entirely capable of experiencing this type of Sadhan.  Therefore, I think if we can make people around the world become aware of Maha Yoga, I am convinced that the entire world will want to embrace it.  Of course people will continue to have differences among themselves related to material issues and will likely continue to fight with each other.  But I think such discord is similar to the fights that children have within families.  Two children of the same Mother might fight with each other but the Mother will love them both.  And because of the love they get from their Mother they will eventually realize that such fights are meaningless.  Better to live in peace and harmony with each other.

Editor:  That is correct; if everyone realizes that they are the children of the same Mother Energy, Prana Shakti, the world would be better off.  But how can we get people from different nations, sometimes from nations that are at war with each other, to realize this important truth?

Gurudev:  Well, we have to ask people whether or not it is possible for them to live without air; the air we all share, the air that is a gross form of the Universal Life Energy which keeps us all alive.  Can anyone claim they can survive without air; can they even utter a single word without using the air which is common to us all?  That’s it!

Editor: But we find that some people of different nationalities and religions are often not quite open to even listening to what we have to say about Maha Yoga and its implications for universal brotherhood.  What can we do in such situations?

Gurudev: Maha Yoga is not at all about religion.  It does not matter what religion one was brought up in or what one follows, everyone can practice Maha Yoga.  And they can do so without changing their religious beliefs.

Of course, if someone does not even want to listen to what Maha Yoga is all about, then there is nothing we can do.  We cannot force people to listen to us.  All we can do is to try to make those who are interested in spiritual progress and are not closed-minded, become aware that this very easy and straightforward path exists and is available to all. 

And if they are open to sit quietly for a short time, say ten minutes, and follow the simple instructions I outlined earlier, they will be able to actually experience Maha Yoga Sadhan.  It does not matter what nationality they are or what religion they follow.  They will all be able to experience it.  They do not have to do anything other than to sit quietly, close their eyes, observe their breathing, surrender to the Mother Energy, and simply observe what happens.   Once they become aware of Maha Yoga and have experienced it, it is entirely up to them to practice it or to ignore it.  All we can do is to try to make them aware that such a miraculous path exists and that we are all capable of experiencing its benefits. 

(Editor’s note:  At this point, P. P. Prabhune Maharaj joined the conversation.)

Editor: Welcome to the conversation, Prabhune Maharaj.  We have been talking about how important it is to make the world aware of Maha Yoga, but sometimes we encounter people with closed minds who are not even willing to listen to what we have to say.  We have been discussing what can be done in such situations.

Gurudev: As I said earlier, if people don’t even want to listen to us, there is nothing we can do.  We must try to bring this great gift to everyone, but if some people do not want to receive it we have to leave it at that.  It will take time.  As some people become open to actually trying Maha Yoga, the word about the actual experiences of Sadhaks might spread and gradually, even those who are currently unwilling to listen might become open to listening, and perhaps even trying it out.

Prabhune Maharaj: What he (the editor) says is right.  A couple of days ago when I had gone to give a talk on Maha Yoga at the Engineering College here in Nashik, I met a professor there.  He had come to the talk somewhat intrigued by my engineering background.  After my talk he came to me and said that designing software and teaching his students software design and the mathematics that underlies it, is his meditation and he doesn’t need to sit for any other type of meditation.  He asked me what I thought of his situation.  I told him that he should keep doing what he enjoys and if he thinks that sitting for Maha Yoga meditation is a waste of his time he should not bother with it. 

There are many people in this world with closed minds, so there is nothing we can do about that.  Maha Yoga meditation does not happen unless one has an open mind.  We cannot force closed minds to open.

Gurudev: That is correct.  All we can do is inform those who are willing to listen to us that such an easy and effective path to inner peace and joy is available to them at no cost.  It is up to them to try it and actually experience it.  This path is not an intellectual exercise; it has to be actually experienced.  Without that internal experience, it is not possible to understand it on a purely intellectual level.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Discussion with P. P. Kaka Maharaj, February, 2010 - Part 5

In February 2010, the editor of this blog had the good fortune to spend several hours over a few days with P. P. Kaka Maharaj(Gurudev) in a discussion of Maha Yoga. The following is the fifth and final part of that discussion.

Editor: That’s good advice indeed! I sincerely hope Sadhaks internalize your advice and surrender to Mother Prana Shakti and let her wash us clean and take us to self-realization. However, there is another area of Sadhan we hear Sadhaks being concerned about. Many of them tell us that during Sadhan they get distracted by all kinds of thoughts. What is your advice to them?

Gurudev: Here again Sadhaks should simply observe their thoughts. A Sadhak should think of his mind as a room that needs to be swept clean of all the dust and the clutter of thoughts that have accumulated over the years. These might be good thoughts, or what he considers are bad thoughts; all of them need to be swept away by the broom of Prana Shakti. During Sadhan, a Sadhak should not try to intentionally “do” anything, including trying to suppress thoughts as they arise, whether they are good or bad. Trying to suppress thoughts will not work and doing so will only bring them out later and perhaps with greater intensity. He should simply observe them as they arise and just let them go. As thoughts arise and they are let go, his mind will begin to calm down.

Our mind is nothing but a succession of thoughts. A thought arises, and by the time it gets resolved, another thought appears. This process during waking hours is almost continuous and overlapping for most people. But what happens if a thought arises, gets resolved, followed by a delay before the next thought comes up? That gap between two successive thoughts is the time when the Sadhak begins to experience his true self. That is the time when “he is there, but he is not there”! “He is there” in the sense that his Prana Shakti is there, but “he is not there” in the sense that his mind activity has stopped for that time interval. The objective of Sadhan is to increase the time interval between thoughts. By being an observer to his thoughts as they bubble up, a Sadhak stands apart from them, and in that very process he lets go of them. As this process goes on, the Sadhak will find that thought generation will slow down and the interval between thoughts will begin to increase. And he will begin to find himself increasingly in the observer (Sakshi) role, which will help him eventually to let go of his ego, a key step towards achieving self-realization.

The outpouring of thoughts during Sadhan is therefore a part of Sadhan itself. It is a type of Kriya which the Prana Shakti is making happen to begin the systematic process of sweeping the mind clean. It does not at all mean that the Sadhak is not making spiritual progress, or that it is an obstacle to Sadhan. Having the room of his mind be swept clean by the broom of Prana Shakti is a very important part of Sadhan.

Editor: Thank you for clarifying the role of thoughts during Sadhan. There is another final area of Sadhan which we sometimes hear some concerns about. It has to do with the feeling of Bhakti (devotion) which sometimes arises in Sadhaks. As you have suggested many times earlier that Sadhaks should leave it up to Prana Shakti to “do” what is needed, and Bhakti is indeed a wonderful feeling to have, as so many people who don’t have it wish they had it! But some Sadhaks get concerned that Bhakti might lead to Saguna Bhava (worship of God with attributes) which might keep them from being one with Nirguna or Brahman. It would be great if you could shed some light in this issue.

Gurudev: The purpose of Sadhan is eventually to go beyond the Gunas. As you know there are three Gunas (attributes, or tendencies), Sattva Guna (uplifting tendencies), Rajo Guna (dynamic tendencies) and Tamo Guna (inactive or inertial tendencies). The lifestyle changes we urge on those seeking Deeksha are designed to increase Sattva Guna, or uplifting tendencies within the Sadhak. This is important during the early stages of Maha Yoga because it helps the Sadhak’s mind become calm by avoiding food and other items that have a tendency to create too much dynamism (Rajo Guna) or inertia (Tamo Guna) in the Sadhak. But eventually, Sadhan goes beyond the Gunas, it becomes Gunaatit, i.e. it transcends the Gunas.

Bhakti is a good Bhava to have. But like other Bhavas that come from Sadhan he should understand that it too will be a passing phase. For example, if a Sadhak experiences seeing God as a bright light or some other form during Sadhan, he might get a good feeling from it. He might therefore want to experience it again and again since he enjoyed it so much the first time it happened. It will create an attachment (Moha, in Sanskrit) within him for that experience. As soon as the Sadhak gets such a desire and an attachment he inadvertently falls into a trap. As they say in cricket, he gets “clean-bowled”!

So, a Sadhak should not have an attitude of wanting or being attached to any specific type of experience during Sadhan or otherwise. He should have a detached attitude towards all Kriyas and Bhavas. He should leave it all to Prana Shakti and let her “do” with him what she needs to do. He need not worry so much if he develops Bhakti or does not develop Bhakti. If he diligently sits for Sadhan and allows Prana Shakti to do the job of cleansing him she will eventually take him beyond any of the Gunas. He will then become Gunaatit, i.e. beyond the Gunas!

Editor: Thank you Gurudev for that wonderful explanation and advice. Your generosity with your time and the enthusiasm with which you discussed all these important issues have indeed been an uplifting experience for me personally. I hope your enthusiasm and generosity come across to readers of this discussion as well.

Gurudev: Thank you for taking my message to the readers.

I would like to thank Dear Shri Gurudev for the wonderful opportunity to be in his inspiring presence during the course of this discussion. I was personally struck by his enthusiasm and energy, despite his advancing years, in communicating the message of Maha Yoga and his strong interest in the spiritual advancement of the Sadhak community and of the world at large. I hope his words inspire Sadhaks to be diligent in their Sadhan, become worry-free, and to make as many people around the world aware of Maha Yoga, this amazing gift which is available for the asking! Any mistakes in translation or editing are my own.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Discussion with P. P. Kaka Maharaj, February, 2010 - Part 4

In February 2010, the editor of this blog had the good fortune to spend several hours over a few days with P. P. Kaka Maharaj (Gurudev) in a discussion of Maha Yoga. The following is the fourth part of that discussion.

Editor: Now that you have elaborated on all the different ways for Sadhaks to get started on the path of Maha Yoga, it would be great to hear your thoughts on Maha Yoga Sadhan itself. For example, we hear quite often from Sadhaks that they don’t think they are making rapid enough progress and they want to know what they should do about that. What is your advice to such Sadhaks?

Gurudev: Sadhaks should understand that Maha Yoga Sadhan is not something one “does”, it just “happens”. All a Sadhak has to do for Sadhan to happen, is to sit comfortably in a quiet place with as few distractions as possible, close his eyes, relax his body as much as possible and simply observe what happens. He should not do anything else!

For example, if he is breathing in and out at his normal rate, he should just observe his normal and automatic breathing. If he can observe/feel the subtle flowing of Prana Shakti within himself he should simply observe it. And in doing so, if he finds himself not inhaling, or retaining his breath for an extended period of time, he should just observe that as well and understand that Kumbhak, a type of Pranayam (structured breathing), has automatically happened. He hasn't done it with any intent, it has simply happened! He hasn't timed his breathing in any way; he is just observing that it has happened. Another Sadhak might feel his body shake involuntarily or feel a sense of warmth in various parts of his body. Still others might find themselves doing Yoga Asanas or Mudras without having any express intent for doing so. Some also begin the chanting of unique Mantras or emit other sounds, again without intent.

What is happening in each of these cases is that the Prana Shakti has begun its process of cleansing the 72,000 Nadis (pathways) within the Sadhaks’ subtle body and it is encountering and removing the obstacles it encounters by having the Sadhak go through physical Kriyas (actions). So you have to observe what is happening and also give it time.

Editor: Tell us more about the importance of Kriyas. Many Sadhaks become concerned that they are not experiencing any physical Kriyas, or the Kriyas which were happening to them in the past during Sadhan are no longer happening. What would you like to say to these Sadhaks?

Gurudev: Since every Sadhak has his unique set of accumulated Samskaras from his current and all his previous lives, which result in blockages to the free flow of Prana Shakti, the Nadi cleansing process is likely to be different for each Sadhak. The physical Kriyas that happen during Sadhan are a gross manifestation of the subtle process of Nadi Shuddhi (cleansing of the pathways). They are neither to be feared nor should they be desired. They are unique to each Sadhak and they occur based on his/her situation and needs. If a Sadhak needs to have certain types of Pranayam happen, Prana Shakti will make them happen. If certain Asanas or Mudras are needed given the specific needs of a Sadhak, he will find himself doing them without any express intent on his part. And as the Sadhak’s Nadi-cleansing needs change over time, the Kriyas he might have experienced previously may not need to occur any longer, because the needed cleansing has already been accomplished, the blockages have been removed. Eventually, when Nadi-Shuddhi is completed, all physical Kriyas will stop. So I want to urge all Sadhaks to simply have the attitude of an observer during Sadhan and also not be attached to any Kriyas at all! If Kriyas happen, they happen; if they don’t that’s great!

In fact, from one perspective, the occurrence of Kriyas is an indication of the continued presence of obstacles along the pathways, which are blocking the free flow of Prana Shakti. So Sadhaks should not become concerned if the Kriyas have reduced or have been completely abated. It is in fact a sign of progress; indeed, a good development! The occurrence of physical Kriyas is good only in the sense that it can be an external indicator that the Prana Shakti is being channeled. But here again they are not necessary. There was one Sadhak from Goa, who had no Kriyas happen to him after Deeksha. He went right away to a calm meditative state! Kriyas were completely unnecessary for him, because of his past Samskaras. In fact, the abatement and non-occurrence of Kriyas is an indication that the Sadhak is progressing toward getting to a calm state. When Kriyas happen, the Sadhak’s mind tends to get absorbed by all that Kriya-related activity. So, even if he is simply observing them, his mind is likely to remain active in that process and is unlikely to get into a calm state.

My advice to Sadhaks is to leave it up to Prana Shakti to cause or stop the occurrence of Kriyas. Let Mother Prana Shakti do what is needed. Think of it as your Mother scrubbing a soiled shirt. As long as the dirt does not come off the shirt, she will keep scrubbing it. When the shirt is free of all the dirt and is clean, she will stop scrubbing. Deeksha is the signal to Prana Shakti to begin the scrubbing. Whether the shirt has been soiled by “good” things like food or sweets/desserts spilled during lunch, or by “bad” things like dirt after having tripped on the playground, the shirt has to be scrubbed clean of them all!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Discussion with P. P. Kaka Maharaj, February, 2010 - Part 3

In February 2010, the editor of this blog had the good fortune to spend several hours over a few days with P. P. Kaka Maharaj (Gurudev) in a discussion on Maha Yoga. We will be posting translated and edited excerpts from that discussion over the next couple of weeks. The following is the third part of that discussion

Editor: That is a wonderful explanation of the introductory approach and the Global Maha Yoga Trials for Peace. Now, what about formal Deeksha, and how is it different from these introductory approaches?

Gurudev: All of us want a sense of peace and calm in our day-to-day lives, which makes us explore practices such as Yoga in the first place. This desire in our current lives is also to some extent a reflection of our having pursued Yoga or other such related practices in our prior lives. So even though we may not be aware of our prior efforts in these areas, I am quite certain that most of us who have an interest in Maha Yoga do have these Samskaras (past activities, either in this life or in prior lives). The introductory approach is called Purva-abhyas in Sanskrit. This term means “prior study”, which can be interpreted in two ways, as study prior to initiation or study that was done prior to this time. It is in fact a reflection of both; which is why when we have attendees participate in Purva-abhyas (introductory approach), because of their prior involvement with Yoga and related approaches, either in their current or prior lives, many of them are able to get the Maha Yoga Sadhan experience. And continued practice of the introductory approach in the privacy of their own homes, gradually (“Shanai, shanai”, in Sanskrit) has the potential to eventually take them towards self-realization.

The Global Trial for Peace is another way for us to increase awareness of Maha Yoga and for people all over the world to participate in the introductory approach at a propitious local time. For example, the next Global Trial will be held on May 16th, 2010 on Akshay Tritiya, the third day of the bright half of Vaishak (a lunar month). This is a very auspicious day; and it was on that day many years ago when P. P. Swami Gangadhar Tirth Maharaj gave Deeksha to P. P. Swami Narayan Dev Tirth Maharaj, the first two documented Gurus in our Maha Yoga Shaktipat lineage. Also, given the large number of people who participate in this event on the same day, it has a reinforcing effect on all participants in creating a shared feeling of Universal Brotherhood.

Deeksha is somewhat different from Purva-abhyas or the introductory approach, because it requires us to pray to our Gurudev to have Prana Shakti in the Sadhak who has requested Deeksha, to be directed and channeled into his Sushumna Nadi (subtle pathway along the spine). It is also called Shaktipat, which is the transfer of Prana energy from the Guru to the Sadhak. For Deeksha to happen, i.e. for our prayer to get answered, the Sadhak has to have a strong urge to receive Deeksha and a willingness to accept certain lifestyle restrictions, including on the type of food he eats, the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other such items, etc. These restrictions are there only for the benefit of the Sadhak, for him to be able to make unobstructed and steady progress on the Maha Yoga path once Deeksha has happened. So, in a way Deeksha is a lifetime commitment on part of the Sadhak. But it takes a Sadhak to a more advanced stage instantly compared with the introductory approach.

Deeksha is binding in the sense that it imposes certain lifestyle restrictions, but it is also binding in another sense, which is that it instantly binds the normally unfocused and distracted Prana Shakti directly into the Sushumna Nadi and aligns it upwards in the specific direction needed for the Sadhak to achieve self-realization. So, while the introductory approach will give Sadhak’s a sense of what the Maha Yoga experience is like, due to which they might later become interested in asking for Deeksha to happen, Deeksha instantly puts the Sadhak directly on the self-realization path.

It is important to point out here that while the restrictions associated with Deeksha might seem onerous at first, many people who diligently and seriously follow the introductory approach to Maha Yoga or even other Yoga paths, over time automatically and voluntarily change their lifestyles along the lines prescribed for accepting Deeksha. Accepting these lifestyle changes, as a precondition for having Deeksha happen, just accelerates that process and helps a Sadhak make unobstructed progress following Deeksha. The acceptance of such restrictions is also indicative of the strength of a Sadhak’s internal urge to receive Deeksha and his seriousness in making further progress.

There is also another important difference between the introductory Maha Yoga approach and Deeksha. Since the purpose of the introductory approach is to increase Maha Yoga awareness, we want everyone on Earth to try it, with no commitments of any kind in terms of restriction, etc. So we encourage all Sadhaks to make as many people become aware of Maha Yoga as possible and to urge them all to try out the introductory approach or participate in the Global Trials. However, Deeksha is something quite different. We do not want anyone to push or urge someone else to ask for Deeksha. The desire for Deeksha has to come from within, and it should be a strong urge from within, not at the urging of someone else. A person desirous of receiving Deeksha has to send us a written note, by whatever means possible, that he or she is very interested in having that happen. Only then can we pray to our Gurudev and to the all-pervasive Prana Shakti, to have Deeksha happen for that Sadhak.

Having said that, we also find some Sadhaks who are simply following the introductory Maha Yoga approach and have not asked for formal Deeksha, show signs of Prana Shakti beginning to flow into the Sushumna Nadi. They begin having physical Kriyas (involuntary body movements) as the Prana Shakti begins its work of removing blockages along their Nadis. It is as if they have received Deeksha without having formally asked for it! I frankly don’t know why it happens, but it might indicate that their Samskaras are such that the introductory approach becomes the equivalent of Deeksha for them. In that sense, even following the introductory Maha Yoga approach can be considered to be a form of Deeksha.

Regardless, Maha Yoga is an amazing gift to humanity from our forebears. Once a Sadhak begins following it in whatever form, he can rest assured that he is on the path toward self-realization and he will eventually get there. In that sense Prana Shakti very much becomes like his Mother holding his hand. This is quite different from the Sadhak holding his Mother’s hand. If the Sadhak is holding his Mother’s hand, upon getting distracted he might just let go of his Mother’s hand and run off somewhere and not get to his destination. But if the Mother is holding the Sadhak’s hand, she will not let go until she has taken him to his final goal!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Discussion with P. P. Kaka Maharaj, February, 2010 - Part 2

In February 2010, the editor of this blog had the good fortune to spend several hours over a few days with P. P. Kaka Maharaj (Gurudev) in a discussion on Maha Yoga. We will be posting translated and edited excerpts from that discussion over the next couple of weeks. The following is the second part of that discussion

Editor: Heaven on earth, indeed! But in order to get there, Sadhaks need to become Maha Yogis! So please tell us how Sadhaks can get started. There is of course Deeksha (formal initiation) available to Sadhaks who are serious about following this path, but you have also created an introductory approach to Maha Yoga which can be tried by those who are in the early stages of exploring it. And you have also launched a tradition in recent years, of conducting periodic Maha Yoga Global Trails, with the next one to be held on May 16th 2010. So please talk to us about these different methods for Sadhaks to get started on the Maha Yoga path.

Gurudev: We created the introductory approach specifically for the purpose of introducing Maha Yoga to everyone. As you know, for formal Deeksha to happen a Sadhak has to agree to follow certain lifestyle restrictions. Of course, the purpose of these restrictions is to enable the Sadhak to make rapid and unobstructed progress without encountering any difficulties once Deeksha happens. But we often come across people who are interested in Maha Yoga, but have not actually experienced Maha Yoga Sadhan, and are therefore understandably reluctant to make lifestyle changing commitments. The introductory approach has been created for them. By following the introductory approach they can gradually begin to experience Maha Yoga Sadhan without having to make any lifestyle change commitments. So instead of jumping in feet-first, this introductory approach provides an intermediate step to those who are interested, and which over time has the potential to create a strong desire in Sadhaks for making a more complete commitment which will inevitably benefit them.

Also, when we talk to people all over the world about Maha Yoga, they sometimes find it difficult to believe that there is such a simple, easy and no-cost way to achieving self-realization and they want us to give them more theoretical explanations. So then, instead of talking to them further about it and lecturing to them, we simply have them sit comfortably, close their eyes and observe their breathing, i.e. introduce them directly to Maha Yoga. As soon as they do that, Prana Shakti automatically begins to rise within them. This is a subtle process, and when we direct people to observe it, most of them feel it. As the Prana Shakti begins to rise within their subtle bodies, people begin to turn inwards. They have their eyes closed, so they don’t have any visual distractions to begin with, but they also gradually stop hearing the sounds around them and awareness of the chair or the Asana (mat or seat) on which they are sitting. It is not that their ears, eyes and other sensory organs quit functioning, but their awareness of the room in which they are sitting, or even the world around them, begins to diminish. The Prana Shakti, which usually moves around in a distracted manner through their subtle bodies, and being externally focused provides the constant barrage of sensory inputs, now becomes inward-directed. They automatically begin to experience a sense of calm and inner peace. I think this actual experience is much more useful and valuable to them than my giving long discourses and explanations. This was clearly the case in one of the peace events we took part in during our visit to California, when the organizers of that event were moved to write to us that the introduction to Maha Yoga we conducted there, with a short period of Sadhan, was much more effective in creating a sense of peace within the attendees than all the other discourses on peace given by other speakers.

Further, it is our intent to share this approach with everyone in the world. Not just to keep it hidden for the benefit of a few people. It also costs the Sadhak nothing, not a penny/paisa, either to participate in the introductory approach or to receive formal Deeksha. So cost can never be an issue with Maha Yoga.

As you mentioned, we have also been conducting periodic Global Maha Yoga Trials for Peace over the past few years. Our intent here is to increase awareness of Maha Yoga within all corners of the world. As you know, we have people all over the world participate in these trials.

The next global trial will be held on May 16th this year (2010). People have been asked to sit for Sadhan in their own homes for 21 minutes beginning 6:05 am until 6:26 am local time. They do not need to synchronize their time of Sadhan with the time in India or anywhere else in the world. They should just follow the clock in their own country or time-zone and sit when their own clock reads 6:05 am on that day. They should just sit comfortably, close their eyes and observe their automatic breathing. It is important that they not try to control their breathing or anything else, just observe it. For example, if they find themselves not breathing in for a while after they have exhaled, that is fine, just observe it and realize that a type of Pranayam called Bahir Kumbhak has automatically and involuntarily happened. Bahir Kumbhak has happened, it has not been done! Of course, they might experience nothing breathing-related beyond just their normal breathing patterns, but they will inevitably experience a sense of calm during their Sadhan. It is important for the participant to not “do” anything intentionally during this period. He should just let what happens to his body and his mind happen. Prana Shakti will be the “doer” during this time, the Sadhak should just observe.

Our other intent with the global trial is to spread the concept of peace worldwide and to have people actually experience a sense of universal brotherhood and sisterhood. The air we breathe can be considered to be a gross aspect of the subtle Prana Shakti which resides in all of us. And as you are aware, we consider Prana Shakti to be the Mother Energy, which makes the air we breathe the equivalent of our Mother who supports us all! None of us can live without the air around us, so the air we all breathe on this planet of ours, regardless of the national or state borders within which we live, can be considered to be the Mother to us all. That makes us all brothers and sisters! With this in mind, I have a strong desire to make everyone on this earth realize our universal brotherhood and sisterhood, regardless of where we live, and to understand that Maha Yoga can actually and experientially give us this awareness. Therefore, I want to make as many people as possible aware of this path. Of course, it is up to them to pursue it and benefit from it; I just want to make everyone aware that such a path exists. Maha Yoga is the worship of Prana Shakti, our common Mother, which resides within us and supports us all!