HK 13 Satsang 4 – Part a

February 19, 2014 No Comments

From an informal Satsang in HongKong in 2013 (in 2 parts)


Sri M: There is a lovely commentary on the Yogasutras of Pathanjali. Since you are studying it, I think, I don’t know, you might have studied it; but it is worth going through. This is called Yoga Sudhakara. Have you come across it?

Someone in the audience: No.

Sri M: It is called Yoga Sudhakara written originally in Sanskrit by Sadasiva Brahmendra – there used to be, some 200 years ago, a great saint called Sadasiva Brahmendra.

Someone in the audience: I have read a commentary of 18th century master, Swami Hariharananda.

Sri M: Yeah. That is there, but it is.. in which language did you read?

Someone in the audience: I don’t know, originally, probably it was in Sanskrit, but I read through another Bengali scholar in English and then of course Swami Vivekanand.

Sri M: In the complete works, raja yoga chapter is completely commentaries on Yoga Sutras, but this Yoga Sudhakara is important because Sadasiva Brahmendra was a great Avadhootha saint 200 years ago.

In fact, some of the classical music – Carnatic music – has some lyrics also by him, kritis; well known also for his music, and he was like a dhigambar. He wrote this yoga sudhakara, which is sutra by sutra commentary. Now the Shringeri Math in Karnataka has brought out a very good English translation also. I heard that you can get it.

Anybody who is studying the Yoga Sutras of Pathanjali, I recommend that they should go through the Yoga Sudhakara. Because there are subjects like discussion on – in fact, he was trying to bring the vedantic thoughts and yoga together.

Because there is one school, you know, which is completely vedantic and will not touch yoga, in the sense of, it is not necessary if you understand the Upanishads you can understand the Brahman and so on, but Sadasiva Brahmendra himself being a great vedantic and also a practitioner of yoga, nobody knows who initiated him in to yoga, but he wanted to bring both these streams together – that was one of his intentions to show that the kaivalya of rajayoga is not very different from the moksha of vedantha; this was his attempt.

But what is important, some of the things discussed like the gunassatwa guna, rajo guna, and thamo guna – the three gunas which are discussed, he has very beautifully brought it out, especially when people mistake thamo guna for satwa. That particular exposition is really very beautiful.

It usually happens that we sleep and we think we are meditating. We are lazy and we think we are in satwa guna – we don’t have to do anything, basically it is laziness, but if  you think satwa means tranquility, quietness, so this is also quiet.

Someone in the audience: but there is no knowledge in thamo guna.

Sri M: Absolutely, not only no knowledge, no change of one’s ignorance, does not move, it stays there plus it is a very common mistake actually.

Some people don’t like to work simply because they think that “oh! I am in satwa,” which is not correct. To get to satwa guna, we need to first, through the right rajesic activity, activate yourself and move out of this inertia of thamo guna.

Even when Swami Vivekananda started the Ramakrishna Mission said, I do not think you all are going to meditate 24 hours a day, you probably will end up in thamo guna. So do selfless service,  but selfless is important. Then one gets purified and after that one steps up.

My idea is that this yoga sutra should become part of curriculum for schools, it is very important because you don’t need to be part of any particular stream of thought or any cult, nothing, it is plain, direct, simple …

Someone in audience: How do we reconcile the noncreation theory of Yoga Vasishta or Ashtavakra Gita. When you go through the vedantic text of the Upanishads and then suddenly you are initiated or introduced to Ashtavakra line of thought, how do you reconcile?

Sri M: The problem with books like Yoga Vasishta and Ashtavakra Gita is that it is not meant to be studied straightaway. You need to learn many– you know there is a lot of preparation required before one understands Yoga Vasishta.

I advise people not to read Yoga Vasishta unless they have gone through the preliminary preparations for the spiritual life. Otherwise, you might even turn into an atheist if you are serious because even in Yoga Sutra, only in one place ishwara pranidhanena has been mentioned, otherwise there is no where any mention of ishwara. So this is quite possible.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to teach the Ashtavakra Gita to Swami Vivekananda in the privacy of his room. The moment he heard somebody outside, he used to put it under the pillow and then start singing, “hari, hari, hari, hari.” See, everybody is not ready for Ashtavakra Gita and such books. I think it should be studied only when one is advanced enough to understand what is being said.

You know, you don’t have to go to Ashtavakra Gita or to Yoga Vasishta, even the Upanishads – Take the principal Upanishads – take Kenopanishad, or from the sama veda, it is such an important Upanishad.

Now the same thing which Ashtavakra expresses and the same thing which is to be found in Yoga Vasishta is mentioned even much before that in the keno. So the kenopanishad says, “yen manasa na manyuthe – that which the mind cannot conceive of even,” “yenahur mano matham – because of which the mind gets its capacity to think,” “tad eva Brahma twam viddhi – that alone is the Supreme Brahman,” “nedam yat idham upasathe – nothing that you worship here.”

Now this is a sweeping statement. We worship so many things, we adore so many things. So, what they are trying to say – Babaji used to explain to me this very very sweetly. He said, finally one has to realize that the Supreme Truth, which we are seeking cannot be confined to our ordinary logic

Someone in the audience: one plus one is equal to two does not work there.

Sri M: He said “do aur do paanch ho jaatha hai kabhi kabhi,” in the sense that the whole thing is upside down.

Your ordinary logic and conditioned mind about which we spoke yesterday depends on the five senses; the data gathered is imperfect. Even our logical constructs can be found to be imperfect, many a time. So, if you are fully dependent on that, then it is not able to transcend that which cannot be even expressed verbally, you see.

So people get stuck in this intellectual – they think that this intellectual understanding is real understanding. This is only a framework. It is not real understanding. Real understanding can come only through anubhava, and all the great beings who have had this anubhava, have found out that that which transcends ordinary thinking, that which even cannot be put in words, can be found simply by opening the heart.

Because the simple villager discovers this naturally and he has no knowledge, but the person, the vedantic, goes through a lot of study before he understands the fact that this thing which I am seeking  cannot be framed in words or cannot be caught by the intellect, so if this is not possible, then what remains.

Yesterday, we were discussing this in the morning -

Every thought, every thought has a language. You cannot think without a language. Try!

Whatever language you are accustomed to, it will come in, because we frame thoughts according to nama-rupa. So there is already a language involved.

We are saying there are certain things, which do not need a language to express.

Pure music – not vocal, pure music, it does not require a language. It cuts across all language barriers. Love, does not require any language. Even ordinary love does not require any language. Two young people, may be mundane, but I am giving you an example, who say we are in love, sitting in a place, they are not using words, they are looking at each other for an hour saying nothing, what is happening. Now this is mundane.

So can you expand it to a universal context and see what could be that which is expressed here in a mundane manner, which is where Rumi for instance talks about love because it is the heart that is important – when I say heart, I am not talking about the organ, you know that.

So one has to be careful with these scriptures (Ashtavakra Gita or to Yoga Vasishta).

They are taught to sadhaks, who have reached a stage as they do not require any crutches, but not for everybody – it cannot be given to everybody. In that case, look at J. Krishnamurthi. He was talking from a point where everybody cannot touch and if everyone tries to be like that, it is utter disaster.

A lady: You talk about getting in touch with your heart and you see that light in your heart and I have tried for so long, but I am not able to reach that level. If you can tell me some simple techniques to get in touch with that light …

Sri M: it is like this..

That light which you are seeking, it is not something to be produced or imagined, it is already there, every human being, every living being. When I say heart, we are talking about the core of consciousness. Every living being, in the core of their consciousness is a spark of the divine. Whether you know it or not, it is there.

Now, when we sit down and try to fix our attention there, what we are trying to do is to visualize something, right. Because otherwise, it is not possible to fix our attention there.

Now when you do that, you need some help from someone who has seen the light perhaps. This is required. You can try (on your own also). It will take many years, you will also get it. There is no question about it, but if someone has already walked the path and shall I put this way, at least kissed the hem of the garment of truth, let’s say, then there is a possibility, when you sit with a person like that and close your eyes, the light shines forth. I am telling from my personal example, that it was Babaji’s touch that brought about this thing.

I could have sat and done, but it might have taken another three-four lives – terrible thing to happen of course (laughs), but with that it cleared up.

So when you say, the simplest thing is not a technique, but to understand this fact carefully that deep inside the core of our consciousness, the divine spark is already there, whether we see it or not. Keep this as, what we call, drida vishwas, because vishwas is necessary before we actually find something, at least as a hypothesis. So hold on to that plus more than the technique, develop the feeling that this is the most important thing for me.

Feeling is – See, we would like to think that we are intellectual beings, but actually we live by the heart.

How does one go and buy a car for instance? You like it first, or l like this, I like this. Then we find lots of intellectual reasons why we bought it. So it is fuel efficient, it is that, it is this, and in many ways, the feminine gender is more concerned with the color and the shape and things – because of the affection, which little bit is more than in men usually, because mother, you see, that thing is there in the heart. How the mother looks after the baby, the child. Your father can’t do that, it is not possible. I mean, you can, but it’s …

So that feeling is very important!

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to say that nobody cries for God. We cry for so many things. If you shed two tears for God, he said walk one step forward, God moves ten steps towards you, but that one step is difficult to take.

So keep on working on this until that becomes your first priority, the most important thing!

Such people have discovered it, and actually cry with a broken heart. Say this is all that I want, give it to me, you see that the light comes much better than practising any technique. Techniques help of course to calm the mind and so on.

My parampara is kriya yoga. Of course, I can’t deny that it helps in some way, but it is not enough. Do you think one can touch the divine simply by breathing in and out?

Kabirdas – you have heard of Kabirdas? – the beautiful dohas of Kabir. He was a disciple of Ramananda of Banaras. In one place he says, “Ja dhad prem na sanchare, so dhad jaan shmashan, jaise khaal luhar ki saans leth bin pran.”  You know, says that heart which does not have devotion and love – love meaning not only for one’s own fellow creatures, but mainly for God, consider such a heart to be like a shmashan.

Ja dhad prem na sanchare, so dhad jaan shmashan, jaise khaal luhar ki saans leth bin pran” – he is saying that the bellows of the blacksmith, they also breathe, but there is no life in them. So, any practice becomes like the bellows of the blacksmith if there is no love and devotion, but when there is love and devotion, when there is this yearning to get it; after all, what we are seeking is the dearest thing that we have actually.

We don’t realize it because we got so mixed up in other things. It’s the dearest and the closest thing to us. You just have to ask with all your heart and it will certainly reveal. There is no question about this and all practices only help to centre our mind so that for a time it is away from other things.

So this is my suggestion. You hold on and ask!

In the Bible, there is a beautiful statement – “Ask and it shall be given thee, Seek and you shall find; Knock and it shall be opened unto thee.” In this, the more you go closer to this asking, the more you disappear and there is only that, you know.

This might sound vedantic, but it is not (confined to Vedanta only).

You have heard of the famous sufi, Jalaluddin, yesterday we were discussing. One place, the Rumi goes to, and knocks at the door –  entry to God’s kingdom – the door he knocks, and the voice asks, “who is there.”

He says, “I want to see you.” So the voice from inside says, “who is it?” He says, “it’s me, Jalaluddin.” It says, “go away, time is not up.”

He goes second time and does the same thing.

Third time, he understands, because he some (..)  has filled him with the love of  the divine. He is completely rubbed out, there is no him. So he goes and knocks and the voice asks, “who is there?” He said “it is you.”

The doors are open, you know.

(Sri M speaks in response to someone wanting help from the bottom of her heart, for seeking a genuine spiritual connection)

Sri M: I’m glad that you did. Let’s see.

I know one thing, no call, desperate call for spiritual fulfillment goes unanswered. It may take time sometimes because of various reasons. The thing is to hold on, to stick to it and don’t get discouraged, hold on. Because it’s…

See, what happens is, we read the lives of saints. We see, oh! how they called on God and God came to them. Why he is not coming to us?

What we don’t think is that for them that was the only priority. Nothing else mattered. They said that the world sink, go to hell, I want this. So they found it.

So now for us, we have other things. There is nothing wrong with that, we have other ______. So, it will not be as fast as it happened with them. So we should not get discouraged because of that.

Also, some of them have gone through all this, so that you don’t have to go through all this. This is also there.

But when we feel uncomfortable, God has some plan, I’ve called, this is what we should think, but we haven’t yet become so committed to it as they were, and it is also grace to a great extent.

I keep saying, it is everywhere, all the time, it is. If there was no grace, what would I have done. I can’t understand what would I have done.

Babaji had not found me at that age, what would have happened to me, but I was also at some point of my life, like you say, on the point of a breakdown. This life is not worth, if I don’t get it. Not even knowing what was it that I was seeking. There was some fulfillment somewhere, which I could not find anywhere. That is required.

If it is there, be patient. Patience is of the essence in these matters.

You must impatiently search for it, but when it doesn’t come, we should patiently bear with it. You know, go to Shirdi – Shirdi Sai Baba’s samadhi – he is sitting there, where  only two things are written – one is shraddha and the other is saburi. Saburi, I think it is Marathi. Saburi means sabr. So important to (be able to) wait.

Continued in Part b

Related posts:

  1. Satsang with Sri M at 136.1 Yoga Studio Chennai. Part 1.
  2. Satsang at Yoga Studio Chennai, Part 6
  3. HK 13 Satsang 3 – Part b
  4. HK 13 Satsang 4 Part b
  5. Satsang with Sri M at 136.1 Yoga Studio Chennai. Part 4.
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The Satsang Foundation, founded by Sri M, is a meeting point for spiritual seekers of all persuasions. Apart from this primary function, the Foundation extends a helping hand to the less privileged of the society.