Satsang with German group, 31 March 2000 at Swami Veda Bharati’s Cottage
Q. There are some schools of meditation that neglect or even fully reject to do yoga asanas and to do pranayama. Are they also to be called yoga, or have something to do with the yoga? For example, the Tibetan don’t do asanas as I got to know, and some of the other schools also reject asanas or pranayama.
A. All these are all partial statements. Because yoga is so vast that it is not possible for any one person or for any one school to practice all of the yoga. No individual, no school. So that each individual or disciple is given, by a Master, the part that he can easily manage and pass on. And that becomes a school. But the total picture of yoga includes all of these systems. It is not true that in Tibetan tradition there is no physical asanas. These are all partial statements. There is a very strong physical element in Tibetan-Buddhist practice. For example, before one is given the first high initiation one has to do 125,000 prostrations with a mantra. And so each prostration is like a Surya namaskara. 125,000 repetitions with each going down and coming up, going down and coming up; before you are given the first initiation. The entire Japanese meditation system is linked to their practice of martial arts and that requires a great deal of physical preparation.
The same applies to the question of yoga in action. ‘Is yoga in action, or is yoga withdrawl from action into meditation?’ Whether yoga is in action or a withdrawl from action into meditation. And the answer is that it is both. While you are in the world of action, performing those actions meditatvely is yoga, when you have risen above the bond of karma, then it is not even a withdrawl because there is no action.
When we say that in that higher state there is no action, we do not mean there is no motion. People living in the world, think of motion as action. The highest yogi moves his body without incurring the karmic effects. So that for him it is actionlessness, but not motionlessness. In the eyes of others he is still performing actions, because they think that motion is action. When we use the word action in the sense of karma, we mean “that which becomes attached to us”. A yogi performing actions for the benefit of the world, so that he does not incur any karmic debts.
And when while we are in the world of action, we should also gradually learn to perform the actions the same way that we perform the actions, but we do not incur the karmic debts. For example, if you take from the planet only what is your personal share and no more, then you are not incurring karmic debt. When you take more than your personal share then you incur karmic debt. When you take from someone in a relationship, more than you are giving to him, then you are in debt. And if you are giving more than you are receiving then you are not in debt. So these are basic principles of meditation in action. It is called action in in-action and in-action in action.
Q. Can you say something about vairagya? I want to practice, but it is difficult.
A. If vairagya is difficult, then it is not vairagya. If I find it difficult to give this to you, then it is not a giving. I have love for myself and I would like to keep this diamond. When my love for you is such that I value a diamond as a gift, then it is not difficult to give.
Vairagya is not abandoning the world. Vairagya is loving something else. When you fall in love with one person whom you are going to marry, you do not make a list of all the others whom you will not be marrying. And it is not difficult for you to not marry them. So when you have such love for God, then saying “I am not interested in the world, you don’t even have to say it. Any one of those millions of people whom you have not married, you meet, you are kind, you are courteous, you are friendly, you are affectionate. Your marrying someone is not a negative act against anybody else. Otherwise all those other people would not celebrate your wedding. So, that is vairagya. You had a small diamond, then you saw a big one, so you went back, you paid some extra price, you gave the small diamond back and you got a larger one. Cultivate the love for that which is our higher goal. And everything else goes away like a child’s toy. A ten-year old child now has total vairagya toward the toy with which he played with when he was four. And that is not difficult for him, because you have something larger.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about emotional purification, what it is and how to do it?
A. Take all the actions you have performed in the last one hour, with your body, with your speech and with your mind. See how many of those acts were acts of love for others, without seeking anything in return and that will show you how emotionally pure you are. If those thoughts, words and actions were centered on you, then the feelings you had around them were not pure ones. If they were centered around yourself, then they were not pure feelings. So a person on the spiritual path, checks his entire pattern in all of these three areas of actions. First the person works on the mental part, then on the speech and actions. ‘How self-centered am I?’ ‘Am I thinking all the time about myself, what is going to happen to me?’ ‘Am I going to get something from such and such person, am I not going to?’
Then the second step is; ‘In this particular thought or speech pattern or action there would have been two ways, two possibilities, I could have chosen an unselfish loving way and I could have chosen the selfish unloving way. Which one did I actually choose? Well, I know that I should have chosen the unselfish loving one, but I just didn’t feel like it.’
Slowly you train your mind to incline towards, naturally incline towards choosing the non-self centered thoughts, words and actions. Mother is sitting down to eat her dinner after a long day and here comes in the child and has an immediate need. What does she choose? She forgets the food in front of her and she takes care of her child. That is a pure emotion. When you become Mother to the whole universe, then you are emotionally pure. There is no struggle about it. You just do it naturally. You feel that that is the only response possible from you. Then you look at all different little things that you do, that you speak, that you acquire, that you use. You just look.
Culture also plays a great part in it. We are sitting here and talking about pure emotions. But what does our culture teach us? Is it teaching us to solve our problems with a fight, with an aggression, or is it teaching us to solve our problems by bending down and not resisting, and finding our way around the rock, instead of calling for a bigger hammer and smashing the rock? When you have learned the art of pure emotion, then there are very few resistances left in the world against you. When you do not resist then others do not resist you. It is the first step that is difficult, because the first step requires this trust. You say, ‘how can I trust, I have been hurt so many times.’ The times that you were hurt, can you say that you had no expectations? This time try without any expectation. The trust is not trust in somebody else. The trust is the trust in your love, the trust in the power of your love, your own trust in yourself. It is like the parents, that yes, they trust themselves with the thought of having another child. So examine all your cultural conditioning and as I said, last one hours actions, words and above all, your thoughts. And remember that when you do not resist, others do not resist you.
Trusting the power of your love is the difficult part. Just for the first time. Once you have done it, then you say, ‘oooh, I didn't know I could do it, and it worked’. Try it with the next interpersonal problem you have to deal with it. Dont be afraid. Okay?