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 email@example.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
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
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
In February 2010, the editor of this blog had the good fortune to spend several hours over a few days with P. P.
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
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
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
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
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!