Love, Serve, Remember

Articles by Swami Veda Bharati

Night Meditation

Regina, Saskatchewan, June 1st, [1982], 2:30 a.m., after my night's meditation.

I would like to share these thoughts with you. Just as Spirit is formless yet takes on many forms in its journey, so yoga, the science of the spirit, has no one definite form, yet takes on many forms to fulfill many needs, to serve many people, to heal many illnesses (physical, mental and spiritual). Though some of the methods remain constant, they are adoptable [adaptable?]. The way yoga was taught at the time of the Upanishads is not exactly the way it is taught today. That is, the language is different; the approach is different. How it was taught to the Ancient Greeks was different from the way it was taught to the Chinese. And the way it was taught to the Chinese was different from the way it was later taught to the Japanese. And it is very different in form today, here, in America. Even here in America the language in which Swami Vivekananda spoke was not the same language in which later Swami Rama Tirtha spoke, which is not the same language in which Paramahansa Yogananda spoke. It is not the same language, again, in which Swami Rama speaks, or I speak. And I'm told by Swamiji that the language and the method of teaching that we are adopting today to serve the needs of the communities, at this particular time of the development of this civilization, will not be exactly the same as when my son, Angiris is going to be teaching. His language and his approach is going to be very different than mine.

This applies also: this constant flexibility, this constant resilience of mind required of teachers, implies also the same resilience of mind on the part of the students aspiring to be teachers, aspiring to be kalyana mitras ("noble friends"), buddies, if you will, to help others, to direct others, to advise others. If we understand what it is that is crucial to the yoga science, then we can adopt it and let the inspiration speak from within ourselves. No one statement is going to be universal. No one statement of the aims, goals or content of yoga, or of a yoga center, will be complete, will be complete, will be perfect, will be permanent. It changes from person to person, the one who is speaking about it, and the one to whom he is speaking.

Bearing this is mind, we can adopt – and adopt any phraseology, any paragraphs, write them, cancel them, rewrite them, publish them, withdraw them, retract them, rewrite again, knowing that each time we are going to come up with a new form with new sentences. And in a committee of three or thirty, three or thirty statements, made respectively, are all correct – each one applicable to some situation, applicable to someone's need. It is bearing this in mind that we should proceed with drafting any statement. And I have no doubt, whatever statement you will arrive at, will be a correct one, but it will not be THE correct one. And I'll go along with it, because in some ways, you understand the needs of the society. But I understand [the] human mind. But go ahead, of course, and I look forward to observing this process. No, no, not the process of your drafting a statement about yoga or the Center. No, the process of your self-development as you going along with this drafting. This self-observation of what yoga has meant to you, and how you have progressed in your understanding of it, how you first say it when you first took a physical yoga class or you first took a meditation class, and how you see it now. Your first understanding was not an incorrect one, and your current understanding is not a perfect one, nor is it so in my case.

Confused enough? No, I don't think you are! From year to year it will change.

Now to the current situation. We receive at the Center people of many different backgrounds. We have set up many different experiments to help them. Someone who comes with a thimble goes away with a thimbleful. Someone who comes with a pail goes away with a pailful. Someone with a thimbleful who went away will come back sometime with another thimble, or maybe with another pail. One never knows? We are only responsible for the best that we, each one of us can do, according to our capacity. And that is all: the best we can do according to our capacity. And there is no warrantee that there is any one approach that will keep everybody who comes to the Center's classes or who comes to take initiation. We have initiated 2,200 people in this center so far. We have about 500 on our Initiate Mailing List. But these seeds that was [were] dropped . . . with the other 1,700 also, someplace, somewhere, like a seed lies underground waiting for the timely rain. So, according to our capacity, the best of our capacity we serve.

The people who come to the Center go through many different avenues: classes, Thursday nights, groups of "noble friends," and so forth. None of those systems is working perfectly. Until every human being in a society is perfect, the society will not be perfect. And when it is not perfect, there is a certain discontent, which is simply a call to greater and greater perfection. Discontent is simply a call to greater and greater perfection — in ourselves. Not in the Center, in ourselves! As our capacities increase our approach becomes more and more perfect. Each one of us is a teacher, in his own right in his own place, in his own way. He may not be teaching classes. The best teachers do not teach classes; they teach people.

Many people who do go to the Center's classes do have a place to go to. Some come to Thursday mornings; some come to Thursday night; some take another hatha class, come go into vegetarian cooking classes, and so forth. Now, since our approach requires reducing people's resistances, we cannot herd everybody through one-and-the-same system. Nor can we give one-and-the-same statement to everyone. Nor can we give one one-and-the-same statement to anyone at all of the times of his development. A person who walks in there with high blood pressure, if you say to him, "Sit here. Contemplate 'Who am I?' 'What am I?' 'Why am I here?' he is more likely to develop high blood pressure. No, that's not going to work. Give him what fits him thimble, what fills his thimble. Later, when he has a pail, we will put a pailful of something else in there.

One of the Ten Perfections required of a Bodhisattva, a potential Buddha, before he would become a Buddha, the Enlightened One, one of those Ten Perfections is upaya kaushala, "expertise in the means and methods of liberating others." It is like coaxing a child. And each one of us has to cultivate that method.

Now, to this group I address the problem, only of [a] certain other group, because you are capable of handling that group. There are others who are capable of handling other things. Since my own time has become so limited here at this center, a way needs to be found so that that time is used to optimum effect. Okay. People who come to our annual countryside retreat are one category of people. And their needs are being served. Those who prefer to come to a more comfortable surrounding – the October Retreat – their needs are not yet being served – because of their age group of teachers and a number of other factors. Those people prefer to be taught by their own kind, prefer to be reassured by their own kind, by their own age group, by their own professional peers, if you will. Okay. We must bear this in mind. We are not trying to draw them to the Center. That is a by-product, just as the Center is a support system for the teaching. The teaching remains crucial. Some of these people come in, take a yoga class, and don't know where they fit into the scheme of things – and so many programs, and so on and so forth. Someone needs to talk with them. Someone needs to befriend them, someone with whom they can feel at home. Someone is home; they can come have breakfast on a business day, or lunch. And then they can be advised: "Okay, you have taken a physical yoga class? You have taken a basic relaxation class? You might want to study with Dr. Arya. How would you like to attend a weekend retreat with him? In this way, I can serve them.

You see, one of the functions I perform is to bring a select number of people to my master. I draw them to his attention. If he feels that he wants to pay attention to them, he does. If he feels he doesn't want to pay attention to them, he doesn't. Sometime he pays attention, and they don't even know what he has done for them. Things begin to happen in their lives without him actually sitting down and talking to them. Similarly, if you want to make the best use of my time while I am here, bring people into contact with me. Some of these people are already there, just waiting for someone to tell there where to go, what to do. They will come to one retreat. They will be advised. Draw my attention to anyone's particular need as Rolf, Mary Gail, Michael Smith do: "I have such-and-such person in my class." "I have such-and-such person with whom I have had lunch," you might say. "This is his background. This is his problem." And I can be helpful. So in this way you are helping with my teaching. And whatever I can do for them, I will do for them.

At present, Thursday nights and the weekend retreats seems to be the only times . . . . Well, there is one more, and that is an opportunity to have a personal meditation. Sometimes a personal meditation alone is insufficient. One needs to hear something more. Again, in each case the method will be a flexible one, will be a different one. Some things will appeal to one. Some things will not appeal to the same one. And so on.

And, this is for this year. Next year I might have a place for these people to come and study with me in Rishikesh if they want to take two months off. The approach will change. You will never sit in one place.

So, bearing this overall view in mind, then whatever you decide, please go ahead, and whatever you advise me, I would like to, of course, listen and accept a major part of it, unless I have some strong objection – which I have never have any strong objection to anything you do. This is one principle of my personal life. One principle of my personal life is never to have a strong objection.

So I look forward to the results of this meeting. I would, however, suggest that while you are perfecting the approach – which will become perfect only when each one of you becomes a Buddha – while you are perfecting the phraseology of a statement, which will be perfected only when you have learned to write sutras and have become, each one [of you] a Patanjali, while you are perfecting it — people who are present sitting on the periphery, some are being served; some are being directed; some are not being served, I would suggest to get in touch with them and help them develop a program of study: which retreats they might attend, which lectures they might attend, which group they might join, or in what other way they might progress. And these names should be fed toi your committee. And gradually, you should not just be three persons; you should become thirty, three-hundred.

"Bahu-jana-hitaya, bhau-jana-sukhaya" : For the benefit of the many, for the comfort of the many."

Thank you all. Thank you. Thank you for everything that you all do.

Note: "The Buddha on Teaching" by Swami Veda Bharati

In the ancient writings we find the Buddha praising an Almsman who "in his doctrinal discourse was demonstrating to the brethren, making the Law acceptable to them, setting them afire, gladdening them with urbane words, well enunciated without hoarseness, with exposition of the meaning, pertinent and unbiased."

The same expressions recur in the Dammapada, where the Buddha explains that he adapts his teaching to his audience: ("Whatever may be their sort, I make myself of the like sort, whatever their language, I speak that language" — i.e., becoming as we are that we may be as he is), "But they knew me not when I spoke, and would ask 'Who may this be that speaks thus, a man or a god?' Whereupon I demonstrated the Law, made it acceptable to them, set them on fire (samuttejetva), gladdened them, etc." The argument is always ad hominem: for as Lankavatara Sutra 11.122 expresses it, "Whatever is not adapted to such and such persons as, are to be taught, cannot be called teaching". It is thus that "He preaches the lovely Law, with its moral and spiritual meanings (dhammam deseti . . . kalyanam sattham savyanjanam, Dammapada 1.250).


"Wherever there is suffering, that is your place.
Charatha bhikkavo charikam bahu-jana-hitaya, Bhau-jana-sukhaya."

When the Buddha sent out his first band of monks, he said,
"Monks, wander, for the benefit of the many, for the comfort of the many."
"Monks, wander," he said, "for the benefit of the many, for the comfort of the many."
"Monks, wander. . . ."
That is the motto: ". . . bahu-jana-hitaya, Bhau-jana-sukhaya."
". . . for the benefit of the many, for the comfort of the many."

 Upaaya-Kaushala: Expertise in the Means of Liberating Oneself and Others by Swami Veda Bharati can be read at https://ahymsin.org/main/swami-veda-bharati/upaaya-kaushala-expertise-in-the-means-of-liberating-oneself-and-others.html

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