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Dear Yoga Mentor, My Question Is…

Sometimes students have written to or asked Swami Veda Bharati, Swami Ritavan Bharati, and other senior teachers in our tradition questions about practice.  This is one such “Question and Answer,” or Q&A.


"Not till your aspiration reaches the level of desperation will it be fully realized."
— Swami Veda Bharati

This point is made over and over in the scriptures. But why is it so? What is the inner logic behind such a construct? Thank you in advance...


Carolyn Hume, Stephen Parker (Stoma), Lalita Arya (Ammaji) and Swami Ritavan Bharati have responded to this question.

From Carolyn Hume:

Your question reminded me of a time years ago. I cannot remember the comment or question that was posed, but Swami Rama called this individual up on the stage whereupon Swami Rama blocked the individual's nose and mouth. After a little bit, he asked the individual his name, no response. The individual could not breathe. When Swami Rama let the individual breathe again, he said that only when you wanted God as badly as that individual wanted to breathe (wanting to breathe so badly that he cannot remember his own name or think of anything else) will you realize God. The impression of that time is strongly in my mind, but not so much the words. Hopefully, I have not misrepresented what Swami Rama said.

From Stephen Parker (Stoma):

Until one’s aspiration reaches such a pitch, our efforts in sādhana are all captive of ahamkāra. They are my efforts. When one has exhausted all the efforts we can make and we feel our incapacity to do it all ourselves, only then do we escape the bondage of ego and a space opens for grace to do its work. Only in that desperate aspiration for realization can we let go enough to really let the Guru in. We are perfectible, but not by our efforts alone; it is always a collaboration with the Guru.

From Lalita Arya (Ammaji):

Thanks for this very informative piece of reality as demonstrated by Swami Rama. Again, I would like to repeat, as we do this often with ourselves and our students to remind us of his teachings, one of these included his advice - Do not believe everything I say. Go out and practice for yourselves. Well, here in this demonstration, he just helped someone to find the answer in a very direct, positive and desperate way. What other answer can be as striking as this one?

YS1:3 – Tada drishtuh swarupe-avasthanam...then only the seer dwells in the true nature of her spiritual self. Yoga Sutras Vol 1 Samadhi Pada- (Usharbudh Arya/Swami Veda)

That is after the mind modifications have been quietened...I would add through that desperate pursuit.

From Swami Ritavan Bharati:

Desperation and Dedication
Desperation and Dedication are the valley and the mountain, the two known only to each other.
Desperation and Dedication are the two sides of the same coin,
A coin spent, nay, surrendered as the currency of ambition for the purpose of life.
Why suffer human folly when you can enjoy divine beauty.
Satisfy that seeking, yearning, desiring that calls to you -- day and night from that inner hunger of mind’s fear, worry and despondency.
With this currency of ambition make a purchase that is so beautiful, so sweet and fulfill this natural, innate human urge to know atman the spiritual self.
Your purpose, your destiny reveals that Wisdom beyond all unfulfilled identities and fears.
Deserve to serve your saintly destiny.
Pay the price in surrender and purchase the quest: “In This Very Life You Come to Know God.”

Editor’s Note:

If you have a question about spiritual practice, you can use the "Contact the Spiritual Committee" link on the AHYMSIN website to ask it.

Previous columns can be read at “Dear Yoga Mentor, My Question Is…”



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