While Kyoto is being hit by an unprecedented cold spell, Ms. Mitsui, from Hokkaido, and Yukti, from Fukushima, have come to attend the Satsamgha at the Ashrama. It has been a year since they last attended. Even though it is a weeknight, many disciples from different areas of Japan have gathered at the Ashrama.
Ms. Mitsui says that many flights from Hokkaido were cancelled due to a blizzard, but two mornings ago, the sky miraculously cleared up only for her town of Sapporo and its Chitose Airport.
After the attendees bow to Shri Mahayogi and the Satsamgha begins, Ms. Mitsui raises her head and her eyes meet with those of Shri Mahayogi. Filled with overwhelming emotion, tears roll down her cheeks.
Ms. Mitsui: I would like to ask about meditation. We have learned from you that the objects of meditation are of three types: God, the Truth, or “Who am I?”—and I like meditating on God. And while I am trying to become one with Shri Mahayogi’s essence—envisioning Shri Mahayogi's form in my mind, going deeper into concentration as if I were passing through the body of Shri Mahayogi—and when the concentration is going well, at times I have felt as if I was floating in cosmic space, where it is raining shooting stars. I have tried to go deeper into it, but that is when I get sucked into this cosmic space with extreme velocity, and I see this view of space that seems to be limitless and to go on forever. When I participated in the “specialized meditation class” yesterday, Sanatana, who was leading the class, spoke about the state that is in the depths, beyond this [vast expanse], but I cannot quite reach that state yet. Please teach me what I should do to go further in.
(Shri Mahayogi seems to be deeply pleased, hearing Ms. Mitsui’s story. After some silence, Shri Mahayogi responds to her.)
MASTER: Concretely speaking, there is a state of mind in which that shooting star-like wave, that cosmic space, that is, the “emptiness” in the background [and one’s recognition of it,] will at times become one and disappear. Or, [I should say,] rather than disappear, they become one; therefore, that is why they disappear. While trying to enter into that space more deeply, if you penetrate further into the cosmic space, become one with it and continue to go further still, floating in that space, you will then enter into a deeper state of meditation and experience the phase in which you become emptiness itself, which is what I mentioned before. Then, even in that phase, too, if you go further on to the next phase, that state of disappearing will open up. Anyway, continue in that manner. Then you will definitely be able to awaken to the pure essence that is there, within the depths.
Ms. Mitsui: So, does that mean that it is fine for me to proceed like this?
MASTER: Yes, it is fine. You should continue to do what you are doing.
Ms. Mitsui: I wonder if this vast expanse is the creation of my mind, but I can certainly see it. Is this fine the way it is?
MASTER: It is fine. That is what the scenery of meditation looks like.
Ms. Mitsui: So, when I feel that I am getting sucked into it, then should I just submit to it and continue to let myself get sucked in?
MASTER: Yes. And make the seen, or the object of what is seen, and the consciousness that is seeing, further unite as one.
Ms. Mitsui: My concentration is always interrupted there, so does that mean that I should concentrate more, without interruption?
MASTER: Yes. [You must] become One.
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Ms. Mitsui: May I ask you one more question? When I look at my past sufferings, I see that most of them were caused by attachment; yet, every day I feel how difficult it is to cut that attachment out. If I attach to God and proceed, then will the attachment based on pain-bearing obstacles naturally be stripped away? Please teach me the secret to eliminating attachment.
MASTER: All things and events are formed by added conditions. In individuals, attachment is born over the course of one’s experience, and it is through that experience that the mind becomes bound. So if you look at its formation, you will find that there are specific conditions that have been added [to that attachment]. Now, are these things and these events, formed by added conditions, absolute? Are they the Truth? You will find that they are various things such as pain-bearing obstacles and ignorance. So, since these are not the Truth, they should be discriminated and renounced as being errors. Renunciation means that the errors are removed from the mind.
After all, that which is absolute and true can only be an existence such as God, the Truth or the true Self. All other things, even if they are worldly success, happiness, failure or unhappiness, they are all created by some condition. The mind, inevitably, has been bound by them. Therefore, these [things that belong to] ignorance are meaningless, they are like an illusion, so to speak. So, what is necessary is to educate the mind by being firm with the results of your discrimination, not accepting or listening to the mind, and engraining [those results] into your being. And then continue to concentrate only on God, that which is true. Through practicing this way, then, even if [attachments] still remain in your memory, you surely will not be bound or affected by them.
Yukti: Thorough and total discrimination is very difficult to do. Even if I think I've done it, at other times, that mind comes right back and it turns into a wild goose chase. Will intensifying one’s bhakti or passion yield some sort of effect in [the practice of] discrimination?
MASTER: Yes. In bhakti, you are only thinking about God, and since that is the Truth, anything other than the Truth, such as ignorance and pain-bearing obstacles, will naturally diminish.
Yukti: So, could I say that bhakti becomes the power to discriminate between the Truth and non-truth in meditation?
MASTER: Of course. As I said now, the Truth, in other words, is God, or the true Self; that is this Existence, which is also referred to as Sat Chit Ananda—there is only That. Everything else is like a dream world created by the mind. As for discrimination, in order for discrimination to not turn into a wild goose chase, rather than working on detailed discrimination, you should proceed boldly in that way, and [discern that] only God is the Truth, and nothing else other than God is necessary—everything else comes from ignorance.
That is exactly why Jesus said, “You need only to answer Yes or No. Everything else comes forth from Satan.” Satan means ignorance. The way it was said is a bit different, but the meaning is similar.
Mirabai: When one arrives at the state in which only God is the Truth, and everything else is created by the mind, what is the appropriate way to think and act while living in the world?
MASTER: There is no need to think about it, is there?
Mirabai: No need? (everyone laughs) It is no longer necessary?... Okay, I understand.
MASTER (Smiling): Even when it comes to living in the world, by always being with God, and knowing that there is only God—that will be sufficient to live in this world.
Mirabai: Will the concept of “this world” then disappear?
MASTER: Yes. That is what is meant by there being no need to think about it any longer.
Ms. Uchiyama: I have so much admiration for the state of being that Shri Mahayogi just mentioned now, that of being with God. But when I think of Shri Mahayogi when I’m not with Shri Mahayogi, and when I meet you just like this, the states are very different. But does that mean that we will eventually be able to be in the same state, even when we are not actually meeting with Shri Mahayogi?
MASTER (firmly): Yes, you will. (smiling)
Ms. Uchiyama: Is that something that I can actually realize?
MASTER: Yes, it is possible, because (pointing at Ms. Uchiyama) what is within that body and (pointing to himself) what is within this body is one and the same. So it is definitely possible.
Ms. Uchiyama: Does it mean that the joy that we feel when we are with Shri Mahayogi is already present?
MASTER: Yes, but being together like this is extraordinary.
(Shri Mahayogi and Ms. Uchiyama smile at each other.)
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Beloved Sri Mahayogi,
I have heard You say before that you are always with me in my heart. I believe you when you say it, yet when faced with your absence, I have struggled to sustain that feeling, and experience the realization of it. In spite of my desire to understand more deeply, I have merely been grasping intellectually at the idea of it and trying to hold onto you by repeatedly trying to relive those words. I think that the reason I have not fully felt Your presence is because I am still trying to grasp onto parts of the world around me, to memories and ideas. But little by little I am letting go and I find that the more I do so and the more I am able to restrain the mind from indulging itself, the more I am able to feel Your presence and Your guidance. I feel You working everywhere, and even though there may be moments when it is more difficult for me to perceive this, my faith grows stronger and I am convinced that it is true.
Over the past year I have experienced many changes. When I think about it, the visual image that comes to mind is that of a rug being pulled out from under my feet. Its as if the rug was holding the room together and once the rug goes the room falls apart and I find myself trying to put my feet down again but every time my toes touch the ground and I get a vision of the space around me, the ground gives way and so do the surroundings. Where can I find something sturdy? Where can I find a place to rest? Is there somewhere that I can take refuge from this tumult? There is only one place that I have found, that uplifts me, that gives me steadiness, strength and a place to rest in stillness…and that is in You. You are the constant, you are the one who guides me, and it is You whose hand feeds me, cares for me, shines the light on me so that I can see the bondage I have created for myself and then challenges me to break out of it.
As I experience you more, my faith becomes stronger and the passion that I feel to know You, to know Love, to know Truth is intensifying ever more. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with joy by a momentary realization of something small, by sharing with my fellow Gurubai or simply by the mere thought of your existence. For Your Jayanti, please allow me to share the experience of one such moment.
On this particular occasion, I had been in class at the university working on an assignment when quite unexpectedly my mind started making many different connections between mathematical concepts and the teachings of Truth. I started to see how math is merely an attempt to seek, understand and represent Truth. But I could not see how it could ever possibly do so fully, how it could go beyond a mere approximation at best. What’s more, it became clear that all of the other school subjects are similarly attempting to do the same, just through slightly different means. There is really not much difference between them—all are imperfect. Suddenly education had never seemed so interesting and meaningless to me all at the same time. I could not believe how I might be so blessed as to have met You, Sri Mahayogi, one who fully Knows the Truth, a True Master, a True teacher. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and by the time the class let out and I started on my way to the train, I was brimming with elation and joy at the thought of being touched by Your grace.
In spite of being shy about letting my voice be heard in public places, I spontaneously began to sing Your sacred Stotram and then continued repeating a bhajan to Krishna. I could not help myself—I was so intently focused on You and the joy of chanting for you that it seemed silly that I should feel the need to hide my voice or my expression of devotion. Who was I hiding it from? No one—it was impossible. I looked around at the faces on the train and at the train itself. You were all around me. Your ears were everywhere, you were listening through every person and every thing. You were pleased to hear me chanting to you and I lost myself in our blissful exchange. In that moment I realized that, just as we are sustained by Your love, You are also sustained by our love and the expression of our love and devotion for You.
I cannot let go of this notion and I do not want to lose the moments of closeness that I have felt with you. Rather, I want to nurture them and make them stronger. I long to be close to You and to serve You.
I used to say a prayer before eating any food that whatever it was that I was about to eat nourish this body and mind and give it the strength to realize the Truth. But lately that prayer has transformed. Now I pray that whatever I am about to take in nourish You and provide this body and mind with the strength and purity to serve and love You without thought of anything else.
At the end of the final class this year in New York, after You disappeared from our sight, I found myself in a strong embrace with my sister, Anandamali. As we cried and laughed together, emotion welled within me and I felt more strongly than ever an immense gratitude for Your existence and a strong passion to unite with Your very essence. I also felt an immense gratitude for and dedication to Sangha, one of your most precious gifts to us.
In regards to Sangha, I would like to make mention of our brother, Aniruddha. He is someone who, because of our similar nature, I can easily relate to and he has inspired and moved me on many occasions. For some time now we have been practicing Your Stotram, preparing to offer it to You during Your visit. In the beginning, Aniruddha could not sing at all and even when he attempted to, it was impossible to detect even the slightest hint of melody or rhythm in his voice. But the problem wasn’t really that he couldn’t carry a melody, rather it was that he could not allow himself to sing. It took a great amount of pushing and encouraging to get him to practice and, like me in other ways, he was resistant to free himself. We continued to push him, practicing in the car and in any opportune moment we could find.
Then one night, when he was driving me home after the class, to my great surprise Aniruddha began to sing your Stotram…all on his own!!! He was good! It was completely spontaneous!!! I was so shocked! I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to interrupt him or for him to stop. I was so very happy to hear his voice lifted in Your name, that I joined him and together we sang Your praises again and again. With each word I was filled with gratitude for You, Sri Mahayogi, and for the gift of Sangha.
During the last class, I was so happy to finally be able to offer the Stotram to You. It felt like I had been waiting for so long. From the very first time Anandmali had us listen to the Stotram I felt deeply touched by it and there was something about it that felt very familiar to me. I have thought about the hymn and how I wanted to offer it to You so much and I was waiting and waiting for that precious moment. We were blessed to have the opportunity to offer it to You as a Sangha. As a Sangha and as disciples we must continue to grow, support and inspire one another as well as to continue to expand the work of the Mission, Your work.
Thank you Sri Mahayogi for your coming to the world on this most auspicious of occasions. Thank you for shedding your light of Truth upon me, upon my brothers and sisters and upon all beings. And thank you for all that you do to lift the veil that hangs before my eyes and wake me from this dream. You told me to depend on God’s love alone and I feel that I am finally ready to wholeheartedly do that.
Today, on this most holy of days, I offer to you all the joy and gratitude that Your precious existence inspires within me. I place myself before you as I am and offer to you my heart, my dedication, my devotion and my determination to unite with You, to realize the Truth and serve as proof of the existence of the Great Paramahansa.
Jai to my Beloved! Jai to the Paramahansa, the Great Yogi, the Christ, the Buddha! Jai to the Awakened One! Jai to the True Master! Jai to the One who embodies the Truth! Jai! Jai! Jai!!!