Different teachings / practices catering the different levels of understanding

Sometimes people might feel confused by the different teachings or practices in yoga that appear to be ‘contradicted’ with one another.

Such as, there is the teachings or external practice of ‘Yama (refraining from immoral conduct) and Niyama (observances)’, ‘positive thinking’, ‘sattvic physical and mental inputs’, ‘breath control’ and ‘physical position’ to influence/balance/purify/control/manipulate the energy field to ‘change’ or ‘influence’ the state of the mind from agitation to calmness, from dullness to brightness, from restlessness to quietness, from negative to positive, from unhealthiness to healthiness, from selfishness to unselfishness, from impurity to purity, from ignorance to the end of ignorance. These are ‘the practice with names and forms’ with the intention to influence or change certain ‘lower qualities’ to be transformed into ‘higher qualities’, or to let go certain old ‘bad’ habits and to develop new ‘good’ habits. This is for the passionate ones who are being conditioned deeply by worldly egoistic thinking/belief/habits/behavior/desire/action and reaction, who still identified strongly with certain qualities of names and forms (family, relationship, given name/self-identity, gender, sexual orientation, personality, self-image, physical appearance/condition/ability/disability, states of the mind of thinking/belief/feelings/emotions, action and the fruit of action, culture, religion, spirituality, community, knowledge, experiences, relationship, nationality, political point of view, and so on), who are still looking for and being determined by the sense of love, happiness, satisfaction, success, meaningfulness, confidence, positiveness, goodness, righteousness, easiness, or pleasurable enjoyments in the qualities of names and forms.

Then, there’s the teachings and internal practice of the senses are being withdrawn from the sense objects, concentration and meditation, which include non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, annihilating egoism or the idea of ‘I’, where there’s no ‘I’ existing being the performer of action or the receiver/enjoyer of the fruit of action. There’s neither ‘I’ am selfish nor ‘I’ am unselfish. There’s neither ‘I’ want goodness/happiness nor ‘I’ don’t want badness/unhappiness. It’s going beyond all the qualities of names and forms, being undetermined by the Gunas/energy fields, the physical condition, the state of the mind, quality of names and forms, duality, actions and the fruit of actions.

This is for the dispassionate ones who have firm determination to transcend the mind perception of a worldly life existence of impermanent and selfless names and forms, who have abandoned worldly egoistic thinking/belief/habits/behavior/desire/action and reaction, who are disinterested in chasing after worldly objects/enjoyments/relationships/satisfaction/meaningfulness/identification/recognition, who have gone beyond the sense of love, happiness, satisfaction, success, meaningfulness, confidence, positiveness, goodness, righteousness, easiness, or pleasurable enjoyments, upon the realization of selflessness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness, non-duality, oneness, or non-separateness derived from self-inquiry under a desireless equanimous mind, being aware of the modification of the mind or the different states of the mind allowing all the pleasant/unpleasant or desirable/undesirable names and forms of all the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, feelings, thoughts in this present moment now being there as it is, without interfering with or controlling or changing the physical condition or the state of the mind to be something else that is not what it is, or to be ‘the way that I desire it to be’, allowing all the names and forms to be arising and passing away, allowing all the impermanent changes to be there, as they are.

There’s neither attachment towards nor identification with the impermanent and selfless physical body/the modification of the mind as ‘I’. These are ‘the nameless and formless practice’ without any intention to influence or change anything, but allowing all and everything to be there as they are, to be changing as they are, to be what they are, as they are.

If the external practice with names and forms are being practiced with the nameless formless internal practice, then one will know how to free the mind from egoism while performing all the external practice and allowing all the effects or benefits coming from the external practice to be there as they are, without intention to be receiving the effects/benefits of the practice, without desire of craving or aversion, without judgment or expectation, without attachment or identification with the practice or the result of the practice.

Just like the sun, the wind, the water, the earth and the space have no intention to be performing action, or to be interfering with one another and everything in the universe, or discriminating/judging/praising/condemning this is good or that is bad, but actions/activities are there constantly influencing each other.

All the different teachings and practices exist to accommodate different states of the mind with different degrees of attachment, openness, awareness, ignorance, understanding and/or realization. There’s no ‘contradiction’ at all. It’s just different stages of the entire yoga practice. However, many yoga enthusiasts might just stop at getting the effects/benefits from the yoga practice and don’t want to proceed any further to free the mind from egoism, impurities, restlessness or ignorance, to free the mind from being determined by the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms, and be free, as they are not interested at all in silencing the modification of the mind, as they are passionately ‘loving’ and ‘enjoying’ the impermanent and selfless worldly life existence so much. And that’s their freedom.

When the mind is being less conditioned by worldly thinking/belief/habits/action/reaction, this mind will be less disturbed by the mind perception of names and forms of all kinds of agreeable/disagreeable or pleasant/unpleasant experiences, and this will allow the mind to see the truth of things as it is, under a calm and quiet state of the mind, intentionlessly, effortlessly, spontaneously.

Approaching a teacher asking to be accepted as student of yoga

Traditionally, when someone is interested in finding a teacher to learn, study and practice yoga and meditation under the guidance of this person (the teacher), one needs to approach the teacher humbly asking to be accepted as a student of yoga under this teacher, serving the teacher without asking/expecting “What am I getting from learning yoga under you?” or “What can you (the teacher) give me in return for offering fees/donations to you to be learning and practicing yoga from you and serving you?”

The teacher will then observe and test this person to see whether this person is fit to be a student of yoga. Once the person is accepted to be a student of yoga, this person will live closely to the teacher for many years, where in the first few years are merely doing some random ‘work/service’ in daily life, such like housekeeping/cooking/gardening/cleaning/washing serving the teacher (very important/efficient initial purification to eliminate worldly habits of egoism and impurities) before being initiated into the practice. There’s high degree of segregation/non-physical contact among the teacher and the student. It’s not like nowadays, most people are looking forward to be touching and hugging as the way to show friendliness, love and care.

The teacher doesn’t advertise/boast about “I am a certified/qualified/experienced/internationally recognized/affiliated yoga teacher” and “What kind of benefits/certification/qualification/result/achievement you will get if you attend my classes/courses learning yoga from me.” but instead, “It’s a hard-work. There will be lots of unpleasantness/pain and hardships/obstacles that you need to deal with by yourself. You have to walk the path alone by yourself. You need to be determined, persevered and vigilant to discipline your own mind until you attain self-realization.” And the students of yoga will be determined to finish their learning under the teacher no matter how much difficulties and obstacles arise during the physical/mental/emotional purification process, while developing discipline and independence in their own practice, as one day, they will have to leave the teacher, or the teacher will leave.

It’s not about to be ‘qualified’ as ‘yoga teachers/masters’, be ‘affiliated’ with ‘yoga alliance’ to be ‘conducting yoga classes’ to teach ‘yoga classes’ or ‘conducting yoga courses’ to be ‘training yoga teachers to teach yoga or conduct yoga classes/yoga courses to other people’. As a ‘yogi’ who knows yoga doesn’t need to be ‘trained’ to be ‘qualified’ to be ‘certified yoga teacher’ and ‘affiliated with’ such and such ‘yoga organization/alliance’ to be ‘recognized/authorized’ to teach yoga to anyone. It’s neither about ‘correct/proper physical alignments’, ‘teaching techniques’, ‘effects/benefits of the yoga practice’, ‘healing’, ‘connecting’, ‘sharing’, ‘hugging’ and ‘touching’.

Nowadays, this tradition is no longer be seen/practiced/appreciated. One of the reason would be the existence of ‘sincere teacher of yoga’ and ‘sincere student of yoga’ is very rare now.

In this modern commercialized world of ‘higher education and higher quality of life with worldly social values and practice’, the ‘yoga teachers’ have to ‘advertise’ or ‘boast’ about their ‘certification/qualification/recognition/affiliation/experiences/achievements’ and ‘to be presenting’ something ‘unique, enjoyable, innovative and attractive’ to attract people to be interested to come to attend the ‘yoga classes’ or ‘yoga courses’ conducted by them, while gratifying the people’s desire of craving and aversion, by giving them what they want/like and don’t give them what they don’t want/like, to make them feel treasured, appreciated, valued, pampered, satisfied and empowered. Both the teacher and the students also want to develop and maintain an inter-dependent ‘connection/relationship’ where the students ceaselessly need to receive attention, love, care, support, acknowledgement, advice or feedback from the teacher, while the teacher wants to ‘be close’ to the students, ‘be there’ for the students, ‘be connecting’ with the students, or ‘be loved/needed/glorified/supported/respected’ by the students.

Because most egoistic impure minds are being conditioned deeply by the worldly thinking behavior pattern, almost all of the ‘yoga enthusiasts’ or the ‘prospect/potential students/clients’ of the ‘yoga school/yoga studio/yoga centre’ will have some kind of ‘request’ or ‘expectation’ towards the ‘yoga school’, ‘yoga studio’, ‘yoga center’, ‘yoga classes’, ‘yoga courses’ or ‘yoga teachers’ to meet up their ‘requests’ and ‘expectation’ in terms of the ‘quality’ of the ‘professional profile/image’, ‘qualification’, ‘certification’, ‘recognition’, ‘affiliation’, ‘organization’, ‘experience’, ‘achievement’, or ‘result orientation’, and above all, “How much and what do I get from paying this amount of ‘fees’/’donation’ to the ‘yoga school’/’yoga studio’/’yoga centre’/’yoga teacher’ for attending the ‘yoga classes’/’yoga courses’.”

Many of the untrained worldly egoistic impure minds will have doubt/insecurity towards their own ‘determination’ being determined by whether they will like/enjoy ‘the teacher’s over-all presentation/image/charm/professionalism/credibility/teaching style’ or ‘the classes’ or ‘the practice’, or not, where they are unsure/unwilling to pay fees in advance which might be ‘non-refundable’ if they want to ‘give up’ when they experience discomfort or difficulty, or when they ‘don’t like/enjoy’ the ‘teacher/classes/practice’, while the truth of the purification process deriving from performing ‘serious/intense/persevered yoga and meditation practice to eliminate ignorance/egoism/impurities/restlessness’ is inevitably ‘unpleasant’ and ‘painful’ physically/mentally/emotionally for all egoistic impure minds. Even before the students come to the ‘yoga school/yoga studio/yoga centre’ to begin learning and practicing yoga under the teacher, the test/obstacle derived from the purification process already started. All kinds of obstacles manifest in the form of physical/mental/emotional discomfort and doubt.

Unfortunately, there are quite many stories of ‘impure yoga teachers’ existing in the world ‘taking advantage’ of the attention/love seeking ‘yoga students’, where people looking forward to be ‘touched’, creating many forms of ‘corruption’, and then there are ‘impure yoga students’ who didn’t get what they like and want from the teachers and they criticized and bitched about the teachers with the intention to hurt/damage the teacher’s reputation, that makes it even harder and more challenging for ‘yoga enthusiasts’ to ‘surrender’ all doubts/insecurity, to be opened to approach a teacher to ask to be accepted as ‘student of yoga’ and to ‘serve’ the teacher without attachment, identification and expectation, to be effectively purifying and eliminating egoism and impurities, to free the mind from restlessness and the veil of ignorance.

There’s neither right nor wrong, neither good nor bad. It’s just how things are in this world.

Anyway, ‘sincere teachers of yoga’ and ‘sincere students of yoga’ will meet each other in due time and due cause. There’s no ‘attachment’, ‘identification’ or ‘expectation’ towards each other. The students/practitioners ‘serve’ the teacher humbly for years, surrendering the ego and worldly passionate desire/ambition/thinking/belief/social behavior pattern, and developing self-discipline. After learning/receiving the teachings from the teachers, the students retreat into seclusion and solitude, working diligently and independently towards purifying and silencing the modification of the mind, to perform self-inquiry upon the truth of everything, to attain self-realization and total annihilation of the mind or the mind perception of an impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of countless ‘births’ and ‘deaths’ of names and forms (thoughts/feelings/emotions/relationships) arising and passing away, of ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering.

“You are left alone now.” – Swami Sivananda

Inquire the truth of everything

The prerequisites for the mind to inquire the truth of everything –

An open mind that is unattached towards any particular way of thinking and belief to analyze or judge everything. Letting go all kinds of subjective judgment and comparison.

Free from expectation towards everything that everything has to be/not to be in certain ways. Allowing everything to be what they are, even if the mind dislikes and disagrees with it. Being undisturbed by names and forms that the mind dislikes, disagrees with and doesn’t want.

Free from pride and arrogance or low self-esteem (they both are the same thing.)

Free from blind-believing, blind-following, blind-practicing, blind-preaching, blind-sharing.

Free from fear towards ‘religious authority’, ‘superstitions’, ‘criticism’, ‘condemn’, or ‘the truth that is not necessarily the way that the mind believes what it is or how the mind would like it to be’.

Being aware of the mind is ignorant towards the unknown, or many things that are beyond the knowledge of the mind, and is aware of the mind is functioning/perceiving/understanding everything under a particular way of thinking and belief in the mind that influence how the mind perceives, analyzes, judges, feels, acts and reacts towards all the mind perception of names and forms, which is nothing to do with the truth of what things are.

The state of the mind of calmness, quietness and purity, being free from stimulation, incorrect/corrupted thinking, restlessness and impurities.

It’s like the function of a mirror.

The mirror that is cracked/contorted, or is shaky, or is full of dust and dirt, cannot reflect the image of things as it is. The reflection of things is distorted/contorted, or blurred, or not what it is. Even though the reflection/image of things are distorted/contorted, blurred and not what it is, being reflected onto a cracked/contorted, shaky and dirty mirror, it doesn’t change the truth of the things. The truth of things is still what it is, being undetermined, unaffected, undisturbed, or unaltered by the cracked/contorted, shaky and dirty mirror.

Just like a mind that is functioning under the influence of the defilement of ignorance or incorrect and corrupted thinking, or is restless, or is under the influence of egoism and impurities, cannot reflect the truth of things as it is. The perception or understanding of things are incorrect, corrupted, blurred, or not what it is. Even though the perception or understanding of things is incorrect, corrupted, blurred and not what it is, being perceived under a mind that is over-powered by ignorance/incorrect or corrupted thinking, restlessness and impurity, it doesn’t change the truth of things. The truth of things is still what it is, being undetermined, unaffected, undisturbed, or unaltered by the ignorant, corrupted, restless and impure state of the mind.

And thus, all the different forms of yoga practice is to be calming, quieting and purifying the mind, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness, to allow the mind to reflect/see things as they are, being free from the influence of any particular worldly cultural/social/religious/spiritual/national/racial/political/educational/philosophical idea, accumulated knowledge, thinking, belief, value and practice to analyze or judge everything.

Reflect upon the truth of things as it is. Everything is just what they are. Neither good nor bad. Neither right nor wrong. Neither positive nor negative. Neither meaningful nor meaningless. Neither happiness nor unhappiness. Neither spiritual nor non-spiritual. Neither superior nor inferior.

Be free.

Purifying, calming and quieting the restless mind efficiently

All the different forms of external yoga practice must be accompanied by the internal yoga practice of annihilating egoism of attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, supported by the internal mental strength, flexibility and stamina of patience, perseverance, determination, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation, as well as cultivating the essential tools for self-inquiry and self-realization, such as awareness, dispassion, desireless, renunciation, self-discipline, self-reliance, seclusion, solitude, care-free, fearlessness and equanimity, to be efficiently purifying, calming and quieting the impure egoistic restless mind, to prepare the mind for spontaneous meditation into Silence (complete annihilation of the mind/birthlessness and deathlessness/attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness/oneness or non-separateness).

Even if one’s physical body is unable to perform any external yoga practice, it doesn’t stop the mind from performing internal yoga practice to annihilate egoism, impurities and restlessness, and be free.

Without the internal yoga practice of annihilating egoism and impurities which is nothing to do with the impermanent and selfless physical and mental condition, ability and limitation, the mind will always be disturbed by the mind perception of names and forms of all kinds of pleasant and unpleasant, desirable and undesirable, agreeable and disagreeable life experiences, where there’s clinging and craving towards pleasant/desirable/agreeable experiences and aversion towards unpleasant/undesirable/disagreeable experiences, even after many years and huge amount of external yoga practice that one has been performing or many years of teaching yoga and meditation practice to many other people, and getting all the momentary effects and benefits from the regular external form of yoga practice.

The mind might be rendered calm and quiet momentarily during and after all those external yoga and meditation practice, but it doesn’t last long, as very soon, the mind would unwittingly slip back into restlessness due to the stubborn egoistic mind habits of chasing after the objects of the senses, worldly enjoyments and stimulation, passionate desires of worldly and/or spiritual aspirations and ambitions, worldly social interactions and activities, and the ceaseless impurities generated through countless actions and reactions towards the mind perceptions of names and forms due to egoism of attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, where the mind is restless most of the time, even if the mind can attain certain degrees of relief from restlessness for a short period of time during deep sleep state, or during and after the different forms of external yoga practice.

By freeing the mind from egoism would allow the mind to be undetermined or undisturbed by the mind perception of names and forms, of quality and duality, or the good and bad/positive and negative/pleasant and unpleasant/desirable and undesirable life experiences, that allow the mind to be free from impurities and restlessness thoroughly.

And hence, the importance of the practice of silence for those who truly want to conquer the restless modification of the mind, to attain Silence.

After some time of practicing some kind of yoga and meditation practice regularly, one needs to perform self-introspection, “Is the mind still being determined or affected by the impermanent and selfless physical and mental condition, ability and limitation, as well as the worldly affairs, relationship, friendship, social activities and interactions, and worldly and/or spiritual achievements and acknowledgements to feel good, confident and meaningful, or not?” and “Is the mind still being determined by duality of good and bad/positive and negative/right and wrong/meaningfulness and meaninglessness/happiness and unhappiness, or all the mind perceptions of different qualities of names and forms, to feel good, positive, rightful, joyful and meaningful, or not?” or “Is the mind still being disturbed by what the mind thinks and believes as bad, wrong, negative, unhappiness and hurtful?” If the answer is yes, it means the mind is still not free, even if one has been performing yoga practice for a long time, or possessing many ‘yoga certifications’, and believing in ‘goodness’, ‘righteousness’ and ‘positiveness’.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want and don’t want to practice.

Worldly identifications

One of the great obstacles or challenges for the yoga enthusiasts to be free from egoism is the intense attachment towards worldly identifications with some qualities of names and forms to be existing as ‘I’.

It’s ‘unthinkable’ for the egoistic minds to be ‘functioning’ or ‘aware of the mind perception of a worldly life of names and forms’ without any identifications with some qualities of names and forms to be acknowledged by oneself and others as ‘This is I’.

There’s great fear towards losing the sense of the existence of ‘I’, or ‘selflessness/’I’-lessness’, or being unable to be acknowledged by oneself and others as “I am this and that”, if without any of the identifications that the egoistic thinking mind would like to acknowledge itself and be acknowledged by others that “I exist as an (unique/special/distinctive/meaningful) individual being with such and such qualities of names and forms.”

Similarly, most minds have great fear towards letting go all kinds of superstitious thinking, beliefs, values and practices that were being ingrained into the minds from very young age by their elders, parents, relatives, friends, school teachers, religious teachers, the community and the society. Very few minds would question the truth of all those thinking, beliefs, values and practices, to inquire the truth of everything that was told or informed by everyone, and would just blind-believing, blind-following, blind-practicing and blind-passing on all these thinking, beliefs, values and practices. As most people would ‘label’ themselves or be ‘labeled’ by others as ‘bad person’ or ‘traitor’ towards one’s root and ancestor’s cultural background and family values, if they don’t embrace or follow or pass down those thinking, beliefs, values and practices.

For many people, this is the ‘normal’, ‘good’, ‘productive’, ‘positive’, ‘healthy’, ‘successful’, ‘meaningful’ and ‘rightful’ way of life or living.

Not only that there was a ‘basic identity upon birth’ that relates to a ‘given name’, a ‘gender’, a ‘family’, an ‘ethnicity’, a ‘birth place’, a ‘nationality’ and a ‘security ID number’, but everyone was growing up being conditioned by the society to identify oneself with a ‘sexual orientation’, a ‘personality’, a ‘physical appearance’, a ‘self-image’, a ‘body image’, a ‘physical condition’, a ‘mental state’, a ‘religion’, a ‘culture’, a ‘lifestyle’, a ‘trend’, and etc. Most minds are being ‘encouraged’ by the society to be constantly ‘developing’ and ‘possessing’ further more other qualities of names and forms to empower or strengthen that ‘self-identity’, that would allow the minds to feel proud, confident and meaningful towards the existence of ‘I’ under such identifications. Such like, “I am a ‘good’, ‘strong’, ‘healthy’, ‘fit’, ‘beautiful’, ‘attractive’, ‘stylish’, ‘successful’, ‘intelligent’, ‘knowledgeable’, ‘positive’, ‘multi tasking’, ‘talented’, ‘well-informed’, ‘well-behaved’, ‘inspirational’, ‘generous’ and ‘kind loving’ human being on top of all the identifications with a particular belief, religion, spirituality, culture, caste, sect, educational level, social status, community group, political views, profession, interests, qualifications, certifications, achievements, contributions, possessions, relationships, connections, and so on.

There are some common sayings such as –
“Be good, do good, and life will be all good and you will be happy.”
“Be nice and friendly to other people, and other people will be nice and friendly to you.”
That is not necessary true.

But everyone has been circulating that kind of sayings especially from the elders to the youngsters, or from the yoga teachers to the yoga students. Many people experiencing disappointment, depression and meaninglessness because they have such expectation towards life, where everyone and everything has to be in certain ways based on those sayings.

Many times, life is not necessarily all good and people are not happy even after they are being good and they have done many good. And it’s okay.

People don’t have to be happy all the time. Just be good and do good, and allow the fruit of actions to be what it is, not necessarily has to be the way that we would like it to be.

Sometimes, people are not being grateful or appreciative towards our kindness and friendliness, and are not being nice or friendly to us when we are being nice and friendly to them. And it’s okay.

People don’t have to be grateful and appreciative, and be nice and friendly to others, if they don’t want to. Just be nice and friendly to others, without the expectation that other people should be grateful and appreciative, and be nice and friendly to us in return.

The most practical way in the yoga practice to eliminate egoism from the mind is via renunciation of what most minds being conditioned to think and believe as the ‘normal’ and ‘meaningful’ way of life. Moving the mind away from the egoistic worldly social cultural thinking and beliefs, ideas, relationships, connections, interactions and activities, and letting go novels, news and magazines reading, radio listening, movies watching and theater visiting. Be determined to observe seclusion and solitude for at least five or six years, cutting off all kinds of worldly social cultural inputs, ideas, connections, activities and interactions, to allow the mind to be free from being conditioned by worldly thinking and beliefs that are all about empowering worldly attachment and identification. Only then the mind can see the truth of names and forms as it is.

Once the mind is free from being conditioned by worldly egoistic thinking and beliefs, it is no longer being determined by any of the worldly identifications with qualities of names and forms to be existing as ‘I’. There’s no need to feel proud, confident or meaningful towards “I am somebody endowed with this and that prideful, superior and meaningful qualities.”

There’s no ‘I’ being there that needs to be empowered, be acknowledged, be motivated, be inspired, be loved, be proud, be confident and be meaningful. There’s no ‘I’ being there to be strong, be weak, be happy, be unhappy, be positive, be negative, be good, be bad, be hurt, be healed, be pleased, be displeased, be praised, be insulted, be selfish, be unselfish, be unfree or be free.

While the entire world emphasize on the empowerment of a strong self-identity nurtured with the qualities of names and forms of particular social/cultural/ethnicity/nationality ideas/values/practices, yoga practice is mainly to free the mind from all these identifications with any qualities of names and forms.

Even the idea of “I am a yoga practitioner practicing yoga of annihilating ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness” and the desire of “I want to practice yoga to be free from ignorance and suffering” vanished from the minds that know thyself.

Perform self-inquiry towards all the doubts in one’s mind

There’s nothing wrong with reading and memorizing and studying the teachings from the ancient scriptures of Yoga or Buddhism. Just that one needs to know how to unattached towards all the teachings in the scriptures, even if some or all of the teachings might seem to be agreeable or disagreeable to the mind based on what the mind thinks it knows, without blind-agreeing/disagreeing, blind-believing, or blind-following, but be determined to purify the mind to free the mind from egoism and impurities, to allow the mind to perform inquiry/investigation to inquire the truth of all these teachings whether they are true, or not.

At the same time, when the mind is still under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, the mind might generate disagreement or dislike towards some or all of the teachings, and out of the egoistic habit of the mind, it might feel disturbed or resentment towards the teachings that the mind disagrees with or dislikes. The disturbed mind would want to argue or debate or discuss about the truth of this and that, which the mind itself isn’t sure what it is. The mind that ‘knows’, would be in silence, allowing others to ‘understand’ or ‘interpret’ this and that in their own ways/versions.

It’s not so much about whether the teachings in the scriptures are all true, or not. Or whether there’s some misinterpretation coming from the impure mind while studying and analyzing the teachings, or there’s some misleading coming from those who ‘prepared’ the scriptures while putting the teachings into words/texts in a particular language, or there’s some imperfection while describing/translating the teachings into a particular language.

Any kinds of written texts or verbal words in any particular form of language is imperfect. That’s why the truth can only be realized through self-realization under a pure mind, and it can never be described/translated into the form of verbal or written words/texts of any languages. Buddha already stated that the truth can only be attained through self-realization via a pure and quiet mind reflection for the mind reflects upon itself to know thyself, it’s never through reading/studying/analyzing/debating/discussing or getting answers from anyone by asking questions, as one will never know whether all the answers from anyone is true, or not, unless one realizes the truth by itself.

Dhamma cannot be written down in words of any languages, and if the teachings had to be passing down through verbal form and be translated into other languages in verbal or written form, and be kept in the form of texts/words in any particular languages, it’s not perfect. Everyone who sincerely wants to follow the path of yoga or Buddhism, must work diligently on purifying and quieting the restless mind to allow the mind to inquire/reflect the truth of everything, including all the teachings from all the scriptures (any kind of teachings in text form or in verbal form of any particular language.)

And it’s not important at all whether the agreements and disagreements coming from the impure mind towards the teachings are true, or not. But it’s about the mind develops non-attachment towards all the teachings as well as all the impure mind reactions of agreements and disagreements towards everything based on ‘what the mind thinks it knows or understands’, without being disturbed by something that the mind disagrees with or dislikes, without being attached onto something that the mind agrees with or likes, remain equanimous being free from craving and aversion towards the duality of what the mind thinks and believes or understands as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, or ‘true’ and ‘untrue’, that is upmost important.

Any form of argument, debate and discussion that derived from impure minds are useless as the minds are functioning under the influence of impurities. If the mind is free from impurities, there’s no argument, debate or discussion. Swami Sivananda mentioned repeatedly many times in many of his books – Abandon all forms of argument, debate and discussion. Purify and silent the mind. Meditate and realize. Ajahn Chah mentioned in his teachings – There’s only one book to read – the heart, look within and know thyself. Buddha’s teaching – Do not blind-believing or blind-following, investigate the truth of everything via self-realization through purification of the mind and the annihilation of ignorance and egoism – attachment, identification, the desire of craving and aversion.

The truth is there as it is when the mind is pure and quiet, being free from the influence of duality, being free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance – egoism, impurities and restlessness of the modification of the mind. The truth is not a belief. The truth is just what things are. The truth is still the truth, that all are impermanent and selfless, including what the impure mind perceives as pleasurable enjoyment or painful suffering, regardless of what the mind thinks it knows or doesn’t know, or whether the mind agrees or disagrees with what it perceives based on what it thinks it understands, or whether the mind thinks itself is perfect or imperfect, or whether the world that the mind perceives through the senses appears to be pleasant or unpleasant, or whether the mind is happy or unhappy.

Those who had never read or come in contact with any scriptures or teachings, can still attain self-realization and be free from ignorance and suffering, when the mind is pure. Being free from ignorance and suffering doesn’t change the truth of impermanence and selflessness in all the names and forms, or doesn’t change all the names and forms to be the way that the impure egoistic minds would like them to be.

Getting the benefits of doing yoga exercises regularly but didn’t eliminate ignorance, egoism and impurities?

What it’s like if we are getting many health and fitness benefits from doing the yoga exercises regularly, but we didn’t eliminate ignorance, egoism and impurities?

It’s like a beautiful garden with lots of nice fragrant flowers blooming and filling the air with really nice fragrance, but there were also smells of cat shits/pees and decapitated rotting dead body parts of birds and frogs that the cats killed for fun and left behind in the garden here and there.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with that.

Some say, “It’s okay. I love cats. I don’t mind the smells of cat shits/pees and decapitated rotting dead body parts of birds and frogs that the cats killed for fun. I can still smelling the fragrance of the flowers. The nice fragrance of the flowers can ‘sort of’ cover those smells. I don’t need to do anything.” That’s their choice of freedom.

Some say, “The nice fragrance of the flowers don’t really cover or remove the smells of cat shits/pees and rotting dead body parts of the birds and frogs killed by the cats and being left behind in the garden. The air is filled with the mixture of the fragrance from the flowers and the smells from the consequences of cats’ behavior. The fragrance of the flowers is no longer a nice fragrant, but it’s contaminated by the smells of the consequences left behind by the cats. What is there to be enjoying about? I have to clean up all these existing cat shits, wash away the pees, and take away all the dead body parts of birds and frogs, and then I’ll do my best to keep the cats away as much as possible. Then I can truly enjoy the nice pure fragrance of the flowers in the garden.” This is similar to the essential purification process of performing the yoga practice.

It’s not so much about attaining and accumulating the benefits of the yoga exercises, and making the body and mind feels good momentarily after doing the yoga exercises, or accumulating virtues and merits by doing lots of ‘good actions’, but more important, is to clean up the ceaseless generation and accumulation of ‘rubbish’ in the mind – The annihilation of ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Huge amount of accumulated virtues and merits are nothing if ignorance, egoism and impurities are ceaselessly ‘occupying’ and ‘contaminating’ the mind.

Be free.

 

Sadhana advice from Swami Sivananda

If you give up idle talk and gossiping and idle curiosity to hear rumours and news of others and if you do not meddle with the affairs of others you will have ample time to do meditation.

Environments are not bad but your mind is bad. Your mind is not disciplined properly. Do not complain against bad environments but complain first against your own mind.

Train your mind first. If you practice concentration amidst unfavorable environments, you will grow strong, you will develop your will force quickly, you will become a dynamic personality.

Know things in their proper light. Do not be deluded. Emotion is mistaken for devotion. Violent jumping in the air during Sankirtan for divine ecstasy. Falling down in a swoon on account of exhaustion from too much jumping for Bhava Samadhi. Rajasic restlessness and motion for divine activities and Karma Yoga. A Tamasic man for a Sattvic man. Movement of air in rheumatism in the back for ascent of Kundalini. Tandri and deep sleep for Samadhi. Manorajya or building castles in the air for meditation. Physical nudity for Jivanmukta state. Learn to discriminate and become wise.

Do not utter such words as are calculated to bring your own self-glorification. You must forget at once what is bad. But you must not forget any good done to you by others. There is no expiation for that man who is ungrateful. Forget your good qualities. Forget the bad qualities of others. Forget the enmity of those who are inimical to you. Forget the good actions that you have done to others.

Do not be afraid of any other devil. Fear itself is the greatest devil. Kill this devil first. All other devils will take to their heels. All troubles are only imaginary. Fear comes of ignorance. There is fear where there is duality.

When you remain in the world, association with worldly persons is unavoidable. Cut short the conversation and the period of mixing with them.

The worldly duties are not ties. The world is the best teacher. You are not require to renounce the world and take shelter in the Himalayan cave to claim back your lost divinity. The world cannot stand in the way of your God-realisation. Live in the world but allow not the world to live in you. He, who living in the midst of temptations of the world attains perfection, is true hero.

If a yogi or a Sannyasin who is able to keep up serenity of mind while living in a cave in the forest, complains of disturbance of mind when he lives in the bustle of a city, he has no control of mind. He has no inner spiritual strength. He is not a practical Vedantin. He has no Self-realisation. He has not attained the goal of life. He is still within the domain of Maya.

A real yogi or a practical Vedantin is one who can keep perfect calmness of mind while performing intense activities amidst the bustle of a city. This is the central teaching of the Gita.

By destroying Vasanas and Sankalpas, you melt or annihilate the mind. By annihilating the mind, you kill egoism. By killing egoism, you know the Self. By knowing the Self you attain Self-realisation. By attaining Self-realisation you become free from all sorts of pains, tribulations and miseries. You enjoy supreme unalloyed bliss of the eternal and become That.

Destroy the Vasanas (of body, world and booklore). Withdraw the mind. Identified yourself with the Sakshi (silent witness of the mind).

You cannot wash the mind with soap and water to get rid of its impurities but if you eradicate desires and attachment, the mind will be purified of itself.

This Atman is Silence. The best conception of God is ‘Silence’. Therefore learn to be silent. Make the mind silent, waveless, thoughtless and desireless. This is real silence.

The world is a big wheel. It is revolving unceasingly. The mind is the nave of this wheel. Those who are egoistic, proud, passionate and greedy are caught up in this wheel. If you can stop the mind from moving, the world-wheel will come to a standstill and you will be freed from the round of births and deaths. If you wish to stop the mind from moving, you will have to annihilate egoism, pride, desire and greed.

Truth dawns by itself upon the mind of the tranquil who are equally good and friendly to all beings. Tranquillity of the mind is attained by eradication of desires and thoughts. Mind is agitated by desires and thoughts. When desires and thoughts are controlled, the mind becomes as calm as the lake which is not agitated by the winds. Tranquillity cannot be attained within a week or a month. Practice for a long time is essential.

Do not enter into heated discussion with people. Restrain the senses. Annihilate Raga-Dvesha (likes and dislikes). Extend compassion to all creatures. You will soon attain immortality.

A real aspirant who thirst for Self-realisation should be absolute honest in every dealing. Honesty is not only the best policy in him, but also a strict rule of daily conduct.

Life is not a misery. One should live for hundred years by performing action without attachment. Life is not a bondage when it is looked with the proper light. Such a man of proper knowledge looks on all beings as his own Self and his self as all beings. To him everything is his own Self, and he is not affected by grief, delusion or sorrow of any kind.

The Atman is not born, nor does it dies. It has not come from anywhere and it has not become anything. Unborn, constant, eternal, primeval, this one is not slain when the body is slain. This Atman is hidden in the deep core of the heart of beings. It cannot be attained by any amount of reasoning, study or instruction. It comes only through the Supreme grace. A man of bad conduct, who has not ceased from crookedness, cannot hope to attain the Atman.

The road to Supreme is clothed with pricking thorns. It is sharp like the edge of a razor, hard to tread, a very difficult path! It can be trodden only with the help of knowledge obtained from men of wisdom. Knowing That, one is liberated from the terrible mouth of death.

The mind and the senses always run outwards. Only the man of self-discipline and perseverance can gaze inward and experience the state of Atman as it really is. The childish who have no knowledge of the Truth, run after external pleasures and they fall into the widespread of death. Only the wise, knowing the state of Immortality, seek not the stable Brahman among things which are impermanent here.

The Atman or the Brahman has no connection with the world of change. The goodness, the light, the pleasure and the beauty of the world is not to be found there even in name. That State is experienced when the senses cease to work together with the mind and when the intellect does not move, and when there is mere consciousness. When all desires which are lodged in the heart are liberated, then the mortal becomes immortal. Herein he attains Brahman.

Brahman is Truth, Knowledge, Infinity, Bliss. Brahman is Bhuma where one sees nothing else, hears nothing else and understands nothing else. It rests on nothing else. On it everything else rests. One who knows this rejoices in his own Self and rests contented in his own Self.

Sacrifice cannot bring salvation. They are mere temptations which bind one to birth and death. The deluded people think that mere sacrifice and charity constitute eternal blessedness. They are mistaken. What is not the effect of action is not attained by any amount of action. Brahman which is not done cannot be attained by what is done. Having scrutinised the nature of the world, a wise man should arrive at indifference and dispassion. He must approach a preceptor and learn Brahma-Vidya from him. Such a fortunate soul rends asunder the knot of ignorance.

There is no other duty for man except meditation on the Self. Dismissing all else, one should establish himself in the Self. There remains nothing to be done or attained, when the Self is experienced. There is nothing but Brahman. All this is Brahman.

Existence alone was in the beginning. This was one alone without a second. From that everything else was produced. The modifications of it are only apparent. There is no world except mere names and forms, mysteriously connected with one another. There is no sun or moon except mere colours or fictitious forms. When the colours are distinguished, the sun loses it sunhood, the moon loses its moonhood, things loses their thingness. Brahman alone exists.

The Self alone is dear. One who loves something other than the Self loses what he loves. The Self is the Absolute. One who knows this becomes indestructible. He is only a beast who considers he and his God are different. Not for the sake of this all this is dear, but for the sake of the Self this all is dear. By knowing that Self, everything else becomes automatically known, for the Self indeed is this all.

The Self is an ocean without a shore and a surface. It is mere Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. Where there is duality as it were, one can speak to the other, see the other and understand the other, but where everything is just one’s own Self, then who can speak to whom, who can see whom, who can understand whom? This is the Supreme end. That is the Supreme blessing. That is the Supreme Bliss. On a part of this Bliss other creatures are living.

He who is without desire, who is freed from desire, whose desire is satisfied, whose desire is the Self – his Pranas do not depart. He being Brahman Itself, becomes Brahman immediately.

One who sees His own Atman in all beings, and all beings in his own Atman – he becomes fearless. He is not deluded by the objects of the senses. He is not particularly attached to any object or being. Time and space bow before him and withdraw. He lives in the one Great Present. There is neither a past nor a future for him. There is neither a ‘here’ not a ‘there’.

The apparent change does not belong to the Atman. Nay, even death is not the end. It is but another apparent change. Life continues beyond. Man sleeps with one encasement and wakes up after a short while with another encasement! Death has lost its dread for him! He has achieved the impossible – he has eluded the grasp of Death itself!

The senses have been created with a natural tendency to flow out towards the objective universe. This externalisation dissipates the rays of the mind, weaken the intellect and blind the eyes of intuitive perception. Unity is falsely represented as diversity, the untrue appears to be True, pain appears to be pleasure, and shadows holds out greater charms that the Substance Itself. This is the path of ‘Preya’ (the Pleasant) which the dullwitted ignorant man pursues.

The Atman is Akarta, non-doer. It is Abhokta, non-enjoyer! Realisation of this Truth enables man to transcend Samsara or the cycle of births and deaths.

Renunciation is necessary, but inner renunciation born out of true knowledge that the Atman is Akarta and Abhokta, and that it is not affected by the actions of the sense-organs, is considered preferable to external renunciation of physical actions. Man should perform his duties, in the proper spirit. Such actions do not bind him, but on the other hand they help him to liberate himself.

The deluded attachment to men and women, friends and relatives, money and gold, has to be ruthlessly burnt to ashes! All the so-called duties of the world have to be kicked away for the sake of that glorious state of Self-realisation.

Kick off the world ruthlessly. Enough of tea and coffee, enough of soda, lemonade and crushes, enough of novels and cinemas, enough of races and aeroplanes, enough of father, mother, brothers, children, friends and relatives! You came alone and you will go alone.

A worldly-minded fashionable wife (or husband) is a sharp knife to cut off the life of the husband (or wife). Be wedded to Santi and have Vairagya as as the sons, and Viveka the magnanimous daughter and eat the delicious divine fruit of Atma Jnana which can make you immortal!

Application of soap to the body, oil to the hair, powder to the face, looking into the mirror a thousand and one times a day, wearing rings on the fingers – these and many like these will intensify your attachment to the body. Therefore give up all these things ruthlessly.

The cause of pain is love of pleasure. The cause of death is love of sensual life. Death is a horrible thing to him who is intensely attached to sensual life. Words like cremation, murder, death, corpse, burial, make the sensualist shudder at heart, for he is extremely attached to the body and the objects of the senses. “How to part with the sensual objects?” is his great cause of misery. Pity!

According to vedanta, annihilation of Adviya or ignorance leads to Samadhi. According to Patanjali Rishi, the aspirant attains Samadhi by removing the hold of Prakriti by practice and discipline.

The Vedantin enjoys the eternal bliss and natural easiness of Sahaja Samadhi. He remains as Sakshi or silent witness. He does not make any serious attempt to control the psychic stream or thought-current. He raises the Brahmakara Vritti by meditating on the significance of “Tat Tvam Asi” Mahavakya.

The Samadhi in the Jnani is effortless and spontaneous. Wherever the mind goes, there it experiences Samadhi. He rests in Samadhi always. There is no “In Samadhi” and “Out of Samadhi” for a sage. He enjoys freedom, bliss and peace, in all moments of his life.

Yogic Samadhi is analytical and discriminative. In this Samadhi greater stress is laid upon the discrimination between the Prakriti and the Purusha. In Jnana Samadhi, no discrimination is needed. Brahmakara Vritti, raised by an attempt to become identical with the Supreme Self or Brahma Chintana, destroys Avidya and dies by itself.

No more words. Enough of discussions and heated debates. Retire into a solitary room. Close your eyes. Have deep silent meditation. destroy the Sankalpas, thoughts, whims, fancies and desires when they arise from the surface of the mind.

You are left alone now. You have nothing to see and nothing to hear. There is none to cheer you. You will have to depend on yourself. Do not look backward. Forget the past. Forget the body and the world.

“Gathering his mind, the Yogi should retire to a mountain-cave, a temple or a secluded room. He should not associate with anything through mind, speech and action, for accumulation of and association with things cause misery to Yogis. He should cultivate indifference towards everything. He should be regular about his diet. Worldly gain should cause him no pleasure, nor worldly loss any sorrow. He should look upon one with an equal eye, both who censures him and one who bows before him. Whether good is happening to anybody or evil, he should not reflect. When there is gain he should not be besides himself with joy, nor should he worry when there is loss. He should look upon all beings with an equal eye and should remain unattached like the air. He who thus keeps his mind in health, works for others, cultivates an equal eye towards everything and everybody and lives for six months a regular disciplined life, can realise Brahman and attain Brahmanhood (Nirvikalpa Samadhi) himself.” (Mahabharata – Santi-Parva)

“Humility, unpretentiousness, harmlessness, forgiveness, rectitude, service of the teacher, purity, steadfastness, self-control, dispassion towards the objects of the senses, insight into the pain and evil of birth, death, old age and sickness, unattachment, absence of self-identification with son, wife, or home, and constant balance of mind in wished-for and unwished-for events, unflinching devotion to Me by Yoga, without other objects, resort to sequestered places, absence of enjoyment in the company of men, constancy in the wisdom of the Self, understanding the object of essential wisdom, that is declared to be real wisdom, all else is ignorance.” (Bhagavadgita)

The function of memory and the existence of ‘I’

The existence of ‘I’ is very much influenced by the function of memory to remember all or some of the relationships and experiences with everyone and the objects of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, and the accumulated knowledge and skills through remembering all its learning and training from the past till the present, with all kinds of imagination, anticipation, speculation, projection and expectation, plus all the thought activities of pleasant and unpleasant reactions of feelings and emotions towards all the good and bad, desirable and undesirable experiences.

If the mind couldn’t remember certain experiences in the past, it won’t relate itself with those experiences and will have no identification with those experiences. At some points, the mind might confuse some wild imaginations and the dreams that it remembers as part of the life experiences that it thinks it experienced in life. Under the function of memory, most of the time, the mind doesn’t remember things exactly as they were. A lot of the details of the memories are doubtful and confused. And the ego attached onto these blurred memories of the past to be identifying as ‘I’, and judges itself and everyone and everything based on these memories.

If the function of memory doesn’t exist, or the mind couldn’t recall all that it perceived of what it saw/heard/smelled/tasted/felt/thought/knew/acknowledged/learned/experienced/practiced/acted/reacted/acquired/possessed, or what it liked and didn’t like towards all the perceived names and forms, there’s no remembrance of an existence or identification of ‘I’ and any relationships with anyone in the present. Whatever was being processed in the mind wasn’t being stored as a conscious memory to be recall into the present, though there will be subtle imprints of all the present reactions of craving and aversion towards all the perceptions of names and forms being stored in the subconscious mind where all these subtle imprints of craving and aversion would bubble up to the surface of the conscious mind during the deep mind purification process, when the mind stops reacting with craving and aversion towards all the perceptions in the present.

Without memory storage of what it perceives through the senses and what is being processed through the thinking faculty, the mind won’t remember a continuous/permanent identity that attached onto some qualities of names and forms that comes with certain accumulated knowledge, experiences and relationships with everyone to be identifying as “This is what I was/am from the past till now.” This mind won’t be influenced by any particular ethnic and social background, culture, knowledge, idea, practice, thinking, belief, or learning, to apply any judgment, comparison, or expectation that based on the memories of past experiences of accumulated knowledge, ideas, beliefs, actions and reactions towards all the mind perceptions of names and forms in this existence now, such like, “I had this before. This was good, I liked this. I want this again.” or “I had that before. That was bad, I didn’t like that. I don’t want that again.”

Even though there might be spontaneous reaction of craving or aversion towards the mind perception of names and forms in the present now, but then, the mind won’t be able to remember this experience and its reaction of craving and aversion towards this experience. All experiences will appear to be something new or unknown to it. The desire of craving and aversion on the conscious level are very much influenced by the memories of the past pleasant and unpleasant experiences. “I experienced this before or I know this, I remember either I had liked this and I want this again (craving), or I didn’t like this and I don’t want this again (aversion).” Meanwhile, the subtle desires of craving and aversion that continuously bubble up to the surface of the conscious mind which the memoryless mind doesn’t remember or doesn’t know what they are or where they come from, but somehow there are ceaseless reaction of craving and aversion towards all the names and forms being generated due to these subtle imprints of desires.

If the mind developed awareness towards the existence of these subtle desires of craving and aversion, without attachment towards these desires or identification with them, or it is uninfluenced by these existing subtle desires to generate more reactions of craving and aversion, this mind is free.

That’s why for those who take seriously in the path of yoga and meditation, the practice of renunciation and seclusion, reducing and restricting mind inputs of all sorts, or the contact with objects of names and forms, or social interactions and activities in the world, is a very important observation to minimize and restrict the accumulation of subtle imprints of under current desires even if the mind has no awareness or memories of all its reactions of craving and aversion towards all the perceptions of names and forms.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their worldly life existence of the impermanent and selfless body and mind.

For those who are absolutely okay with the impermanent and selfless function of the body and mind, who are free from clinging and craving towards good condition and free from aversion towards bad condition, and aren’t disturbed or determined by all kinds of suffering in the world of names and forms that derived from ignorance and egoism and impurities, they don’t need to practice yoga and meditation, as they are free as they are.

Be free.

No one can discipline our mind for us but the mind itself

No one can discipline our mind for us but the mind itself.

No one can purify our mind for us but the mind itself.

No one can do our practice for us but the mind itself.

No one can free the mind from ignorance and egoism for us but the mind itself.

No one can liberate the mind from suffering of anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, lust, pride, dissatisfaction, disappointment, fear and worry for us but the mind itself.

When the mind is free from ignorance and egoism and impurities, the mind will be peaceful as it is, undetermined by the good or bad condition of the body and the mind, the ups and downs of life experiences, the good and bad relationships with everyone, the good and bad condition of the world and the surrounding environment.

When one thinks and feels and says, “I am contented, happy and peaceful. I’m all good. Life is good. The part of the world where I live in is good. The people in my life are good and wonderful.” Know that this mind is not necessarily free. The mind might still be affected and disturbed by what the mind thinks and believes as ‘not good’, ‘bad’, ‘negative’, ‘suffering’ and ‘wrong’, based on the worldly thinking and belief that has been ingraining into their minds, influenced by many influences coming from everywhere (The parents, the society, the friends circle, the social network, the education, the religious teachings, the stories told by different people from everywhere, the researchers, the scientists, the philosophers, the medias, the politicians, the world leaders, and so on.)

There’s nothing abnormal or wrong for anyone to think and feel contended, happy and peaceful, when one perceives everything about oneself, as well as everything and everyone that are related to one’s life, is all good, is the way that how one would like it to be. Or, one should feel grateful when things are like this, and one should feel bad, angry, guilty and shameful when things are like that. And people would hurt themselves or others, in pursuit of a life that they think is ‘meaningful’, ‘fruitful’, ‘successful’ and ‘happy’, or people might hurt themselves and/or others when they think they should be feeling bad, angry, guilty and shameful about something. People manipulate or make use of other people’s feelings and emotions to be ‘doing’ something for them unwittingly. People stir up other people’s anger, hatred and fear to create a situation in the society that will allow them to achieve something that they want.

There are many minds don’t mind being ‘not free’, as they think and believe that that is what human life is about – achieving a life that what they think and believe as ‘meaningful’, ‘fruitful’, ‘successful’ and ‘happy’. They are ‘free’ in their own world when they feel contented and happy (as long as everything and everyone is the way that they like it to be, and all their desires are being gratified). That’s their freedom.

Minds that are deeply conditioned by particular thinking and belief to think, to behave, to act and react, to feel confident or not, to feel happy or not, to feel meaningful or not, and to feel good or bad, are easily being influenced by intentional manipulation from those who want to influence the people to think in certain ways and to believe in certain beliefs, so that they can get the support that they want from the people to be in power to achieve what they want to achieve in the world of selfish desires.

The yoga and meditation practice is to purify the mind, to free the mind from the pollution of conditional worldly thinking and belief, which is the product of ignorance and egoism, as well as the fuel that feeds ignorance and egoism. And all these worldly thinking and belief about what is a meaningful, fruitful, successful and happy life, how people should think and behave, act and react, and what people should believe in, are being manipulated by many impure selfish minds. If the mind is under the influence of ignorance and egoism, it is easily be manipulated and influenced by what they perceive through the senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking, that are not necessarily the truth of what things are. No matter how intelligent that the mind thinks it is, it still can be manipulated and influenced by worldly conditional thinking and belief, without knowing that it has already been manipulated or influenced by them.

If one’s mind starts to reason/doubt/investigate the truth of the information that has been feeding to it from here and there, it will be hammered and threatened by worldly people around and from part of itself that is being conditioned to believe that ‘This is bad and evil!’, ‘This is wrong!’, ‘You are bad and evil!’, ‘You don’t deserve love and goodness!’, ‘You will be condemned to hell!’, ‘You will be punished and suffered!’, ‘You will bring shame and suffering to your family!’, and so on.

We can understand why many religious people or organizations or politicians or capitalists or business people don’t like it if people are being exposed to the teachings of BUDDHISM, YOGA and MEDITATION about SELF-INQUIRY to investigate the truth of everything and be free from worldly conditioned thinking and belief. When yoga is being commercialized with lots of ‘yoga products’ and ‘organic health and beauty related yogic products’, and there are many of the ‘yoga practitioners’, ‘yoga teachers’, or ‘yoga lovers’ are being influenced by it without knowing that they have become the ‘slaves’ of particular people or groups or organizations who are playing the mind games.

Yoga and meditation practice is to free the mind that has been conditioning by all these worldly thinking and belief. And thus, there is a very important part of the yoga and meditation practice that is being ignored or criticized by many worldly people, including those who think they love yoga and practice yoga, which is the practice of SILENCE, to be in solitude and seclusion for a sustained period of time (at least 5-6 years), to move away from the society, stop mixing with worldly people, stop engaging in worldly interactions and conversations, stop reading newspapers, novels and magazines, stop watching TV programs, advertisements and movies, stop all kinds of worldly contact and communication. It doesn’t matter whether the mind thinks these ‘inputs’ of the mind are true, or not true. By allowing the mind to be in silence and cleared out of all the worldly thinking and belief, be free from conditional judgment and expectation based on the worldly thinking and belief, the mind will be able to see the truth of things as it is. This sounds extreme or horrible for many people, but it is the most effective way to free the mind from being manipulated or influenced by ceaseless ‘inputs’ that are not the truth of what things are. Only those who are determined and are fearless to let go all the worldly thinking and belief as well as worldly identity with qualities of names and forms can truly practice yoga and meditation. Or else, everyone is just doing some forms of different styles and brands of ‘yoga exercises’ to feel good and look good.

Be free.

Saucha – Internal and external purity or cleanliness

One of the teachings or practice of yoga is the observation of Saucha – Internal and external purity or cleanliness.

Internal purity or cleanliness is to maintain purity or cleanliness of the mind by eliminate impurities from the mind, to allow the mind to be able to see the truth of things as it is, without being influenced by any impurities.

External purity or cleanliness is doing our best within our capability to maintain cleanliness of the physical body, the living environment and the yoga and meditation practice space to allow ourselves to be able to perform physical form of yoga and meditation practice in a clean and conducive practice space, and be able to perform all our duties and responsibilities towards ourselves and others with a healthy physical body.

There’s no limitation for the internal mind purification or cleanliness, except lack of non-attachment, self-awareness, introspection, self-discipline, self-control, determination and perseverance in oneself. Meanwhile there’s some limitation for external purification or cleanliness as there are external elements or factors that are beyond the control within our capability. Although most untrained minds will be affected and influenced more or less by external conditions, that’s why external cleanliness is an important factor in yoga and meditation practice, but, all kinds of external limitations couldn’t and wouldn’t stop one from achieving internal purification or cleanliness, if one knows what is non-attachment.

I’ll do my best to have a clean living and practice space for my personal physical yoga practice at home and while travelling. But, if a clean living and practice space or environment is not available for me to be performing physical form of yoga and meditation practice, it’s okay. It won’t stop me from performing internal yoga and meditation practice continuously.

For running the yoga retreats, I’ll do my best to provide and maintain a clean living and practice space for the retreat guests. But, what is beyond the control within my capability, I’ll let it be and allow the guests to practice non-attachment and learn to accept the reality that is not necessarily the way that how we would like it to be.

By having a clean living space to live in, or having a clean body for achieving physical good health and high fitness level, or having a clean practice space to perform physical form of yoga and meditation practice doesn’t guarantee that one will be free from ignorance and suffering. It is the internal practice of non-attachment, non-craving and non-aversion that allows the mind to be free from ignorance and suffering, under any conditions and situations, whether a clean living and practice space is available to us, or not.

Om shanti.

Be free…

The mind itself is neither good nor bad.

It’s the subjective thinking and beliefs, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, as well as all the impurities that are occupying the mind that are being projected onto everything that it perceives through the senses of what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches and thinks.

Free the mind from the influence of conditioned subjective thinking and beliefs, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, and any impurities, the mind will see the truth of things as they are.

When we hear the sound of airplane flying over the sky during the yoga class, those whose minds are influenced by negative thinking will feel annoyed and disturbed by the sound, as their minds perceive this sound as ‘unpleasant’, ‘annoying’ and ‘disturbing’. Those whose minds are influenced by positive thinking will feel challenged by the sound, as their minds perceive this sounds as something ‘good’ to help them in the practice of non-attachment. Those whose minds are influenced by the idea of ‘Everything is God’, will feel blessed by the sound, as their minds perceive this sound as ‘Om’, as a blessing coming from God to encourage them in their spiritual practice. Those whose minds are influenced by fear will feel terrified by the sound, as their minds perceive this sound as something ‘threatening’.

Those whose minds are free from any influences, will be aware of the sound as it is, and allow the sound to be what it is, to be there as it is, without judgment or attachment. It is neither negative, nor positive, nor divine, nor fearful.

The sound has no intention or quality to be something negative to annoy anyone, or to be something positive to empower anyone, or to be something divine to bless anyone, or to be something threatening to terrify anyone.

No matter what type of influences that is influencing the mind perception of names and forms, whatever the mind perceives and how the mind reacts, whether the mind is positive or negative, whether it recognizes something as ‘pleasant’ or ‘unpleasant’, whether the mind feels ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it’s impermanent.

Remove whatever that is occupying and influencing the mind, and be free.

Purification process of the mind?

The purification process of yoga and meditation practice is like cleaning a drainage system that hasn’t been cleared for a long time. Blocked drains can cause problems to our lives and the environment.

For some people the cleansing process is not necessarily pleasant.

Before we open the cover to look what is inside the drain we don’t see any disgusting rubbish and it doesn’t smell too bad. But as soon as we open the cover and look inside there might be bad smells or unsightly rubbish and waste floating on top. It can be quite unpleasant or disturbing. When we use a rake or net to remove the rubbish floating on the surface the smell becomes more intense and more undesirable waste is revealed. It becomes even more unpleasant or disturbing. If we generate aversion towards this experience, we might want to stop cleaning and replace the cover. We might not want to deal with the drain or the rubbish right now. And the drain continues to accumulate more and more rubbish and generates further problems in lives and in the environment.

It’s similar when we practice yoga and meditation. It is an intense cleansing process. The mind needs to be cleansed regularly so that it doesn’t cause problems to ourselves and to society.

The purification process can be unpleasant, or even quite painful for certain people. All the past accumulated mental and emotional tension that we have suppressed, or tried to run away from, comes up to the surface of the mind.

Some people retreat from the purification process, as they can’t bear or handle unpleasant experiences, while others are determined to go through the purification process without judgment or expectation, without craving or aversion, developing non-attachment and non-identification towards the mind and its contents, as they have developed a certain degree of understanding of the mind, and are determined to free the mind from impurities to benefit oneself and others.

Om shanti.

Money cannot buy love, peace, compassion and wisdom… Let go of stinginess and be generous…

Yoga and its practice are not meant to be some kind of pleasurable sensual enjoyment such like paying some money for getting some service like spa treatments. It is a practice to develop dispassion or disinterest in pleasurable sensual enjoyment to let go of craving and aversion.

Yoga and meditation practice is a process to change the old habits of the mind that have been there deep rooted for a long time influencing the mind for as long as we live. It is stop giving what the mind likes and wants. It is calming the mind and stop stimulating the mind. It is quite unpleasant for the mind in the beginning of the yoga and meditation practice as it takes some time for the mind and the body to adjust, to adapt, or to get use to something that it wasn’t familiar with, or to develop interest in something that it never interested before. As well as it is unpleasant for the mind to be not having something that it was addicted to, or used to familiar with. It is about letting go of desires of wants and don’t wants. It is not about fulfilling the desires of wants and don’t wants. The mind will resist. The mind will want to runaway.

If our will-power is weak, we will give in to the desires of the mind, and give ourselves many reasons or excuses why we should not continue the yoga and meditation practice temporary or permanently, and instead we look for some other activities that the mind enjoys, likes and craves for, to make the mind feels pleasant, stimulated, or excited.

We often hear many ‘yoga’ enthusiasts say, “I love yoga. I want to practice yoga. Yoga makes me feel so good.” But then when they experience some discomforts or unpleasantness physically, mentally and emotionally, they want to runaway. They complain this is not the yoga that they were expecting, that the yoga and meditation practice is not the way that they think it should be. They say they only want yoga that will give them pleasant sensations and which is enjoyable. They don’t want yoga that doesn’t give them what they want and like. Be happy. In the end it is our own freedom for what we want for our life, and what we want to do with our body and mind. We take full responsibility for the consequences of our actions derived from our desires of wants and don’t wants.

In order to allow the physical body to be able to perform the yoga asana poses comfortably, our body and mind will have to go through some unpleasant purification process while developing the skills, stamina, strength, flexibility, patience, perseverance, determination, forbearance, tolerance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, concentration, non-attachment, non-identification, non-expectation, non-judgment, non-comparison, faith and courage to be able to perform and hold the yoga asana poses comfortably for a period of time effortlessly without struggling. And this will allow us to realize selflessness and compassion. It is not at all about how good we look and feel during and after the yoga asana practice, nor what type of benefits we are going to get from performing all these yoga asana poses.

Money cannot buy love, peace, compassion and wisdom. It takes some efforts, self-control, self-discipline, patience, perseverance, determination, will-power, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, for us to eliminate egoism, attachment, desires, greed, craving and aversion from the mind to be free from ignorance and impurities, and to realize unconditional love, peace, compassion and wisdom.

Greed is also associated with stinginess. It’s like, “If I can just pay as little money as possible and get as many things in return as possible, that would be very nice…”

Even highly intelligent or educated people might be influenced by stinginess and greed, and are not free.

Before we start practicing yoga, we need to learn to let go of stinginess and start to be generous.

If we cannot understand why we should let go of stinginess and be generous before we start to perform any yoga practice, we can never realize what is selflessness and compassion, even though we can be attending many yoga classes or yoga courses to learn and perform some forms of yoga practice, or if we have been practicing yoga asana for many years and our body has developed the skill, strength and flexibility to perform many yoga asana exercises beautifully in perfect alignment. All these qualities of names and forms have very little to do with what yoga really is.

Om shanti.

Why do we practice yoga?

Yoga practice is for all types of people or beings with different characteristics, personalities, believes, motives and expectations or desires…

Whatever we think yoga is, whatever we want yoga to be, or however we want to be benefited from yoga practice, whether for selfish intention or for selfless intention, it is fine. Yoga is there for us for anything that we desire (what we want) or do not desire (what we don’t want)…

Some people do the yoga asana exercises as a fitness exercise to look good and feel good; for sustaining and improving physical and mental health and fitness; for slimming or to put on weight; for countering illnesses; for easier breathing; for detoxification remove toxic substances from our system; for countering stress; for better quality of sleep; for rehabilitation from physical and emotional injuries; for having better body alignments and posture; for over-all beauty and sense of well-being; for personal satisfaction and achievements; for passing time; for removing boredom or loneliness; for building self-esteem or confidence; for coming out from certain addictions; for healing purposes; for exploring and unfolding “things” beyond what our mind can perceive; for playing with the energy fields in our body; for attaining calmness and peacefulness; for relaxation; for creativity; for self-image; for socializing; for finding the better half; for pleasing somebody; for humanity; for ourselves; for the world; for being able to stand on our hands and our head, or to be able to bring our feet towards our head from behind; or mainly out of curiosity to try it out, since it is quite a popular “thing to do” and “topic to gossip about”; for fun; or just to do “something”, and etc…

Some people do yoga asana for the purpose of balancing, purifying and calming the energy fields; stimulating and energizing the energy centres; unblocked any energy blockage; channeling the energy for higher spiritual realization; generate and conserving energy; changing the habits of the mind; changing how the mind feels and thinks; developing concentration, awareness and mindfulness; developing non-identification with the body and mind, letting go of the ego; letting go of judgment, comparison and expectation; letting go of pride and arrogance; letting go of discontentment and greed; letting go of craving and aversion; letting go of frustration, anger and hatred; developing patience, forbearance, non-attachment, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, cheerfulness, vitality, acceptance, and etc; being in the present moment now, accepting the present moment now as it is, accepting ourselves as we are in the present moment now as it is; letting go of physical, mental and emotional tensions; letting go of jealousy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anxiety, agitation, depression, negative thinking, low self-esteem, fear and worry; removing restlessness; purifying the mind remove impurities, and etc…, as part of the yoga practice, to prepare the body and mind for meditation to contemplate on the Truth of who we really are, to realize selflessness or compassion, and be free from ignorance and suffering that derived from ignorance, and realize eternal and unconditional peace, transcending birth and death, worldly existence, names and forms, qualities and dualities…

Beside the yoga asana as part of yoga practice, yoga practice consists of but not limiting to – observing ethical moral conducts (Yama & Niyama); restraining wants and desires; renunciation from worldly activities; renounce from the fruit of actions; restricting senses inputs; controlling the thoughts, actions and speech; performing Japas, Bhajans, Kirtans, chantings and prayers; performing Kriyas; study and contemplating on the Yoga Scriptures or the teachings of yoga; practice loving kindness, forgiveness, tolerance, honesty, truthfulness, simplicity, compassion, wisdom, dispassion, detachment, solitude, silence, austerity, celibacy, selfless service, faith and devotion towards the Truth and the universal consciousness, breath control – Pranayama, withdrawal of the senses from the objects of the senses – Pratyahara, concentration – Dharana, meditation – Dhyana, and annihilation of the mind – Samadhi…

There are also many other unlimited intentions, motives and expectations in people who practice yoga or just the yoga asana exercises, such as :-

To teach yoga exercises as livelihood, or to start yoga school(s) or yoga centre(s) as a money making business, to attain wealth, name and fame, or mainly to share the greatness of yoga with many other beings…

To train the body and mind to be able to do some artistic or acrobatic moves for show performances, or as personal achievement and satisfaction, or for entertainment, or for competition, or for taking photos or making videos to share with others or to make some profits, or for any other reasons…

To enhance memories, brains activities, mind’s clarity, productivity and creativity…

To improve relationship, quality of life and quality of work…

To be able to sleep better, to balance up imbalanced hormones, to deal with everyday stress and frustration…

To tap the power of thoughts to make our wishes come true…

To let go of physical, mental or emotional pain, hurts and suffering…

To be a better person or human being…

To be able to say “no” without feeling guilty…

To be open-minded…

To be able to receive and give…

To be able to love and receive love…

To accept ourselves…

To be ourselves…

To love ourselves…

To be kind and compassionate towards ourselves and other beings…

To be what we want to be even if we think we are not “good” at it…

To be happy…

To be truly confident…

To know the truth of suffering…

To know the truth of existence…

To know who we really are…

To connect with the source in us…

To be pure…

To be free, to be liberated…

For humanity and world peace…

Or just be…

Om shanti.

Want to learn and practice yoga? Put down the ego first…

In the old times when a person approached a yoga Guru or yoga teacher with the intention to learn about yoga and wanted to practice yoga, he would be very humble and patient to serve this Guru or teacher for many years.

It was actually a great process of purification for the mind, as well as eradicating the ego.

The Guru or the teacher didn’t teach him any so called yoga and meditation practices, not until his ego was eradicated and his mind was free from impurities. He would only be asked to observe some code of conducts (morality) and to do any works in the house or in the ashram as selfless service or Karma yoga (unattached to the action and the result of the action), to purify the mind and to eradicate the ego – This is also the practice of non-attachment.

By this stage, he had actually finished most of his yoga practice (attaining the state of selflessness), which was through purifying the mind, and be free from the ego and impurities. Naturally he would already have the wisdom and a clear mind to digest and absorb whatever the Guru or the teacher wanted to teach him.

And with a desire-less, pure and calm mind that didn’t wavering here and there, he could easily meditate in a firm and steady asana seat, his breath was naturally rendering calm, he could observe the mind and go beyond the mind effortlessly, not being disturbed by all the names and forms (sights, sounds, smells, taste, touch and thoughts), and attain the highest state of pure consciousness, pure existence, pure knowledge and pure bliss.

That’s why Sat Guru Swami Sivananda taught us to mind our own fundamental practice of purifying the mind and eradicating the ego, and everything will fall into place for us naturally when the mind is free from impurities and when the ego is eradicated.

When the mind is free from impurities and the ego is eradicated, we are our own Guru, our very own teacher… Here is where the path of Self-realization begins.

If we still need a Guru or a teacher to tell us and guide us what do we need to do or to answer the doubts in our mind due to ignorance, then we are still on the outside of the path of Self-realization.

Yoga = Selflessness = Ego-less = Unconditional and unlimited compassion and wisdom = Eternal peace = Yoga

If our “yoga and meditation practice” did not bring us towards ego-less or selflessness, compassion and wisdom, then that is because we haven’t go through the initial process of purification of the mind and eradication of the ego yet. It’s like a container without a closing bottom underneath, no matter how much water we pour into the container, the container can never hold any water in it.

If we put some very tasty food into a bowl that is full of dirts and impurities, then the food will be contaminated and doesn’t taste good anymore. Clean the bowl first, then we can put any food into it, and the food will be free from contamination of dirts and impurities, and will taste as good as it is.

Purify the mind, and all our doubts about everything will be disappearing by itself. The Truth will reveal itself to us naturally when the mind is calm and free from impurities. We will perceive everything as it is, not necessary the way that we want it to be perceived, or the way that we want it to be…

When the mind is pure, there is nothing can affect, or disturb, or influence, or determine us. We are what we are, as we are. We are not “this”, we are not “that”. We are not “happy” nor “suffering”. We are not “good” nor “bad”.