(A guided meditation preceded the lecture.)
May the peace mind of the universe fill your personal mind. God bless you.
Eternity to be packed in forty five minutes, no problem, it can be packed into one trillionth of a second if we know how to enter the consciousness of one trillionth of a second and that is what the yogis have done for thousands of years of the history of this earth.
Yoga is much misunderstood. When I first came to Minnesota in 1967 I borrowed the use of the basement of one of my Sanskrit students as I was teaching at the Department of East Asian Studies. It was a spacious basement and we announced a class on yoga. So the first evening the place was full. There must have been a hundred and fifty people packed in that basement or more. The boring speaker that I am, in the following week on Thursday, there were fifteen students because I did not know that in this culture yoga meant doing postures. I did not know that. So I walked in with my book of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and starting expounding the whole philosophy and they said what kind of yoga is that? We didn’t do any postures.
So I am here to clear these misinterpretations of yoga. Yoga, as one progresses in it, gives you many benefits. Yes, you have less headaches. Yes, you can manage your stress. Yes, it will help you with your high blood pressure. Yes, it will help you cope. What else does yoga do? The yoga that I talk about is not what you are doing in the yoga spas. I have no quarrel with that, but that is not even the tip of the iceberg.
Yoga of calmness, of mind, observing the mind. Mind’s unruly stormy waves calming down and becoming an even flowing stream. These are just the first steps but what was Jesus doing forty days in the wilderness? What was Zarathustra doing ten years sitting in the cave? What was Mohammed doing in the cave of Hira? What was the Buddha doing sitting absolutely still under the bodhi tree for forty nine days and forty nine nights? What were they doing? It is that yoga to which I want to draw your attention.
Someone sat under a tree for forty nine days and forty nine nights, and pilgrims from all over the world go to see that tree and possibly bring one fallen leaf from there to their home because somebody sat twenty six centuries ago under that tree for forty nine days and forty nine nights absolutely still. Are you ambitious enough? I think right in this hall once I spoke on meaning of ambition. Are you ambitious enough to sit absolutely still with a becalmed mind for forty nine minutes? Forty nine seconds? That is the ambition I want the yoga students to have. To obtain that calm flow of the stream of consciousness for forty nine seconds. Once you have had those forty nine seconds you will never forget them. Those forty nine seconds stand between you and your true ambition. Once you have actually experienced those forty nine seconds you’ll look forward to the next time you can have the calm flow of the stream of consciousness for forty nine, maybe this time fifty one seconds. Progress.
As you walk on the path of yoga changes occur in you. First you realize, you begin to realize that there is something changeable in you, and changes occur in you. Your body language changes. There is no more uncertainty in your body language. There’s no more demonstration of conflict in your body language. One shoulder this way, one shoulder that way. That will stop. Neck sometime this way, sometime that way, sometime that way, sometime that way. That will change. Your body language will become balanced. That change occurs.
I have here somewhere a secret Himalayan herbal cream. Rub that everyday. You will have less wrinkles on your face. It’s an invisible cream and it’s for free. The less wrinkles form on your face as you progress spiritually. That change occurs.
You become more and more a neutral observer of events. Events in your body, events in your surroundings so that you become a neutral observer of your own illnesses and pains and thereby you learn the art of self healing. These are just a few examples I am giving.
The more someone scowls the more you smile. That change occurs in you. Your voice becomes softer and therefore more effective because it invokes the response of a yes from the listener. Just yoga postures in the spa will not give you that. It’s a start, some sort of a start. You become less prone to anger, more prone to compassion. You begin to take the side of your opponent and explain your opponent to others. You begin to explain your opponent to others.
I have a little book titled Sayings, and in that I have a chapter. All the sentences in that chapter begin with “be naughty.” One of the sentences is: be naughty. Holding a public office, write a series of articles criticizing all your policies anonymously or under a pseudonym and publish the articles. Chuckle when the opponents quote the articles against you. The first Prime Minister of independent India was known to have done that. He wrote a whole series of articles in the press criticizing all his policies under a pseudonym. It was very well written with all proofs and arguments and the opposition benches came waving the article. Mr. Prime Minister, have you read this article, this series of articles? Later it was found out that he was the writer. That and Nehru’s habit of doing a head stand daily are a connected event. He turned the world upside down. You look at the world from the opposite angle because as the duels in your mind become less noisy more and more they become duets of harmony. That is one of the symptoms of doing yoga. The yoga that we are teaching in the Himalayan tradition or the yoga the Tibetan yogis are teaching or the yoga that my friends the Sufis are teaching. It is that yoga to change the duels of conflict of your mind to duets of harmony. These are changes that occur in you.
I can go on, and there is no end as I have observed my own journey. I don’t know if I have made any progress but journey. As I observe the progress of my student yoga practitioners, these are the changes I observe. Your language changes. That is to say, the sense in which you use the words before you now use them in a very different sense. As you might have noticed in the yoga circles, this also has happened. Two practitioners meet, and one asks the other “Do you sit? “and you know what that means, “Do you sit for your daily meditation?” The meaning of the word has changed.
As you progress in this yoga, you become a person of fewer words. Softer voice and fewer words because in fewer words you express more, more effectively at a softer tone. When I meet students who ask for teaching, I look for these symptoms. Whether someone is making progress or not making progress. How much do they fidget when they are sitting in front of me. That’s what I look for. That is what any meditation master or a small teacher like myself looks for.
As you make spiritual progress, you will learn without having to learn. You will learn without having to learn how to transcend intellect and go take a short cut to intuition. Many, many years ago I gave a lecture at the World Trade Center Rotterdam in Holland to the CEO’s of the information industry on the subject of intuition. You can obtain a CD of that. What exactly is intuition? Learn to take short cuts across intellect.
The knowledge just flashes and you can take a whole lifetime explaining in words what you experienced, what you saw in that one second flash. That is called intuition. It is not arrived at by the processes of syllogisms. It does not arise from the intellectual surfaces of the mind. There is another place in you. The modern psychology studies problematic mind. It has done very little study on the areas of the mind that are non problematic but someday I will speak about that.
I have this funny habit of walking to my lectures with fat books hoping to speak from them, and I never get to touch them. They just sit there and they go back and everybody says why do you bring it? So I was going to read you something from the Upanishads but there is only so much time. Let me continue.
Look for these changes in you. With that intuitive knowledge, your visions of times, spaces and realities expand vastly. You become incapable of thinking in terms of ethnicities, religions, groups, nations, opponents. You become incapable of thinking. Someday a thousand years or ten thousand years from now after sadly speaking, really sadly speaking when I look into the future after the humanity has suffered a lot more unfortunately, very sadly, because you are choosing to run humanity that way, in that direction. Someday a thousand years or ten thousand years from now will come a time when wisdom will prevail. There will be no names for religions. There will only be paths and philosophies of self realization. There will be no names for counties, there will only be administrative units and geographical features named. I cry when I think about it in my meditations.
That time is very far away but you all can begin to sow the seeds for that time by making personal spiritual progress and maybe a thousand years or ten thousand years from now when you reincarnate you will have the power to bring about that change. Have that ambition. Do you have that ambition? If not in this life, then in the life a thousand years from now you will have the spiritual force to bring about that change. You make the resolve now. Realize it slowly.
To a meditator, all sciences come easily, because he draws, he takes a short cut to knowledge and dips into the intuition. Not many people know that long before these modern telescopes the yogis in their texts wrote of, spoke of, taught their disciples the vision of reality where the smallest moment in time is kshana, micro moment and that smallest unit of time is defined in the ancient texts of two thousand five hundred-three thousand years ago as the time it takes an atom, a minute atomic particle to traverse it’s own length. There were no electron microscopes at that time.
The entire literature of Hindu, Jaina, Buddhist India and Asia doesn’t speak of this one planet. A hundred and forty earth type planets have been discovered through these radio telescopes today. It doesn’t come to me as any kind of exciting news because I grew up with those texts of Sanskrit language written by the yogis speaking of anata koti Brahmana, countless myriad universes. Those were my lessons from Sanskrit texts at the age of five, six and seven. Countless myriad universes being born, being dissolved, being born, being dissolved. Time spans of billions of years.
Even now millions of Hindu priests when they perform their ceremonies, perform a wedding or funeral rites or anything, they recite the date on which it is being performed and they recite this vision of the universe. They start with these uncountable myriad universes in our particular universe, in this particular solar system. Then they come down to this planet, and then they come down to the space between two rivers at this spot. Then they recite the time, the date. If you look at Hindi newspapers, Hindi newspapers or Tamil newspapers, the date of the newspaper takes a four line paragraph. What is the location of the Jupiter, what is the location of the Saturn, what is the location of the Mars? Which date?
Even now the culture continues, and when the priests recite the date, one billion, nine hundred and forty million, fifty thousand and six or fifty thousand and eight, something like that is the date of the current creation era of this planet. This has been recited this way for the last thousands of years. They recite the date in billions of years and have done so for thousands of years because the dates were given by the yogis and are calculated on the basis of the texts of astronomy composed by the yogis.
Only a meditation master could have come up with the concept of zero, and what is the Sanskrit word for zero? Do you know? Shunya. The basic of Buddhist philosophy, that is the word for zero in mathematics. This was just by the way. What I’m saying is through the practice of meditative yoga these changes will occur in you, and your concepts and visions of times, spaces and reality will vastly expand into infinity, and you will see everything, everything, every event in the context of infinity. That is it. Five minutes before six, even that is seen in the context of infinity.
These changes occur. To one in whom these changes have occurred could be a very lonely person. Right, because nobody will understand his language. Am I lonely? There was a time in my life when I used to get sad and lonely. Now I try to catch that moment, I can’t. It has dropped off. I don’t know where. I don’t want to trace back my journey and look for where I dropped my loneliness. Is it here somewhere?
Loneliness is where there is two. Fear is where there are two. dhyad vaybhyam bhavati. The Upanishad says fear arises from the concept of a second, from the concept of an other, but for one for whom it is all single delititude there is no other and there is no loneliness. The loneliness being in the entire universe must be God. He has no companion. Is he lonely? Is he a lonely God? Haven’t read that in any scripture of the world. Whatever you want to define as God consciousness, as that consciousness grows in you, your loneliness drops. Your fear drops, your concept of their being an opponent drops. Your concept of there being an opponent drops, and on these grounds you test your spiritual progress.
I have recently written a book, it is not yet published, titled Mind, The Playground of Gods. This poor much maligned mind is always suffering something, always causing trouble or so you think, but in the Vedas, in the ancient Vedas, we have hymns extolling the beauty of mind. Someday I’ll recite those hymns for you. Hymns to the mind. It is that mind with which a yogi identifies himself or herself.
I have said this many, many times, all your disturbances are on the surface of the mind as the healing waves are on the surface of the ocean, but a diver dives and twenty feet below it’s absolute silence. From fifty feet below, he looks up to the surface and the boat from which he had jumped is bobbing up and down like anything, and the people sitting in that boat who do not know how to dive are scared that they might fall over to the place where the diver is enjoying the silence of the depth of the sea. That is the relationship between the yogi and the non-yogi. The yogi dwells in the depth, looks up, the boats are still bobbing up and down and people in those boats are still living in fear, but he is neutral and compassionate. That is why he teaches. The teaching is done out of that helpless sense of compassion, helpless. One cannot help it. If a child crying with hunger, a mother cannot help but lift up the child and give the child her breast. A meditation master or a small time meditation teacher like myself cannot help but sit here and share this with you.
So how about once again, I’m right on time. Instead of the earlier twenty minutes we took four minutes and from now please go with these ambitions about yourself. Just free your hands of all your possessions. Don’t take notes just put away everything. Put away your pens and papers. Make a mental note. Simply bring your awareness to yourself.
Let your forehead relax.
I’m sorry the figure I gave you was not one billion, nine hundred and forty million. It’s supposed to be one billion, nine hundred seventy.
Coming back, relax your forehead. Calm mind. Feel the flow and the touch of your breath in your nostrils. Let the entire mind flow in your breath. Breathing out gently, slowly, smoothly, without a break breathing in. Breathing out think in your mind one. Breathing in think two. Breathing out one. Breathing in two. Continue to feel the breath in the nostrils. Maintaining the count of one and two without a break. Maintain the awareness of the flow with the count. Without breaking the flow observe your entire mind becoming an even flowing stream. Without breaking the flow gently open your eyes. Let all your consciousness remain a calm flowing stream even with your eyes open.
Practice this often. I wish you success in obtaining forty nine seconds of absolute stillness under a tree between now until we meet next year. God bless you all. Thank you.
Swami Veda Bharati
University of Minnesota
Signs of Meditative Progress
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
August 4, 2010