The mirror and the mind

The mirror is just what it is, having the function of reflecting all kinds of image of the objects of different names and forms in front of it.

The mirror is not being contaminated/influenced/changed by the presence of the reflection of all the different objects of names and forms being reflected on it. Neither is the mirror being contaminated/influenced/changed by the absence of the reflection of any particular object of names and forms that is not present.

The mirror doesn’t analyze/judge/compare the different objects of names and forms.

The mirror has no likes or dislikes, agreements or disagreements and desires of want and doesn’t want towards the objects of names and forms.

The mirror has no intention or expectation to be reflecting/not reflecting any particular object of names and forms.

The mirror doesn’t have desire/intention/aspiration/expectation to be good or bad, or to influence/change/control all the names and forms to be the way that ‘I’ want them to be, or the way that ‘I’ think and believe how they should be.

The mirror doesn’t interfere with/influence/change the objects of names and forms being what they are, as they are.

The mirror doesn’t ‘hold on’, or ‘cling onto’, or ‘possess’, or ‘identifying with’ any particular reflection/image of the different objects of names and forms being reflected on it.

The mirror doesn’t enjoy or suffer and doesn’t become good or bad, positive or negative, happy or unhappy, meaningful or meaningless, useful or useless, regardless of the presence or absence of any kind of objects of names and forms being reflected/not being reflected on it.

As the mirror is selfless/egoless/’I’less/intentionless/desireless. It doesn’t has a self-identity, or self-image, or intentional duty/action of “I am a ‘beautiful’ and ‘useful’ mirror being here to ‘reflect’ the image of names and forms.”

Although the reflections/images of the objects of names and forms might be distorted/contorted/corrupted/blurred by some cracks/dirt/dust/stains/movements of the cracked/dirty/dusty/stained/non-stilled mirror, but the mirror is neither enjoying nor suffering, neither it’s being pleased or displeased by the crack/dirt/dust/stain/movements on it or the distorted/contorted/corrupted/blurred reflections/images being reflected on it. Neither will the selfless/egoless/’I’less objects of names and forms are being changed/influenced/contaminated by their distorted/contorted/corrupted/blurred reflections/images being reflected on the cracked/dirty/dusty/stained/non-stilled mirror.

The mind that is void of ignorance and egoism, is not different from the mirror, reflecting all kinds of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, selflessly/intentionlessly/desirelessly, being undetermined/uncontaminated/uninfluenced/unchanged/undisturbed by the presence or absence of all kinds of names and forms, of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, feelings, emotions, thoughts/thinking/belief/knowledge, all kinds of action/reaction, behavior, relationship, way of life, condition and situation, and all the impermanent changes of all and everything.

The selfless/egoless/’I’less mind is not being determined/contaminated/influenced/changed/disturbed/enjoyed or suffered/pleased or displeased by the presence or absence of any impurity.

Neither is the selfless/egoless/’I’less mind and the selfless objects of different names and forms being determined/contaminated/influenced/changed/disturbed/enjoyed or suffered/pleased or displeased by the distorted/contorted/corrupted/blurred/incorrect/false thinking or understanding towards the names and forms being perceived under the presence of impurities, or the truth of things as it is when the names and forms are being perceived under the absence of impurities, or the impermanent changes of all the names and forms.

The perception of the ‘existence’/’presence’/’experience’ of all kinds of goodness and badness, rightfulness and wrongfulness, positiveness and negativeness, fullness and emptiness, happiness and unhappiness, meaningfulness and meaninglessness, loved and unloved, deserving and undeserving, enjoyments and suffering is merely the mind is being ignorant towards ignorance, being limited by the particular passionate worldly egoistic thinking and belief to analyze, judge, compare, expect, desire, feel, aspire, inspire, act and react, enjoy and suffer, ceaselessly.

The ignorant egoistic minds argue – “We are living beings with a soul, thinking, passion, feelings and emotions. We are not a thing like the mirror that has no soul, thinking, passion, feelings and emotions.” If so, it shows that it’s the existence of a soul, thinking, passion, feelings and emotions are the ‘culprit’ of all kinds of disturbs, evilness, wrongfulness, hurtfulness, dramas, discrimination, anger, hatred, violence, conflicts, afflictions, miseries, or suffering.

After all, the mirror is not ‘the mirror’ and the mind is not ‘the mind’. They are just what they are.

Be free.

Oneness, non-separateness, selflessness, compassion

Oneness, non-separateness, selflessness and compassion are one.

Without the realization of oneness/non-separateness/selflessness, compassion is absent or unavailable in the egoistic thinking mind, even though the egoistic mind wants to practice ‘compassion’ or be ‘compassionate’.

Due to ignorance, the thinking or the idea of ‘I’ that ‘exists’ as a distinctive individual being, generates the sense of ‘separateness’ between ‘I’ and all and everything that are not ‘I’.

There’s an ‘I’ existing and identifying as the performer of actions and the receiver of the fruit of actions.

There also arise many different forms of ‘relationship’, ‘friendship’, or ‘connection’ between ‘I’ and ‘all and everything that are separated/distinct from I’, or between ‘God’ and ‘I’.

And hence, there is the notion of ‘I love you’, or ‘I give you love’, or ‘I receive love from you’, or ‘God loves me’, or ‘I am grateful for god’s blessing towards me’, or ‘I am a kind and compassionate being’, or ‘I am being kind and compassionate to other beings’, or ‘I am sharing peace and loving kindness with all other beings’, or ‘I am connected with all and everything’, or ‘Have love and faith in God and receive blessings/heaven/good karma/merits’, or even ‘Be fearful towards god/punishment/hell/bad karma/sin’.

The mind is not free, even though there’s nothing wrong or bad with all these thinking/belief/ideas/perception in the mind generating the ‘self-existence’ that built on the identification with all these ‘thinking’, ‘belief’, ‘ideas’, ‘qualities’, or ‘actions and the fruit of actions’ as ‘I’.

Upon the realization of oneness, non-separateness, or selflessness/egolessness/’I’lessness, all the separateness vanished.

‘I’ doesn’t exist. There’s no ‘I’ being there to be identifying with any ideas or qualities.

All kinds of mind perception of ‘living beings and non-living beings’, ‘purity and impurity’, ‘superiority and inferiority’, ‘good and bad’, ‘right and wrong’, ‘positive and negative’, ‘meaningfulness and meaninglessness’, ‘happiness and unhappiness’, ‘friends and not friends’, ‘family and not family’, ‘praise and condemn’, ‘gain and loss’, ‘deserving and non-deserving’, and so on, vanished.

Regardless of all the different qualities of names and forms, all and everything are one/non-distinctive, ceaselessly forming and deforming, coming and going, arising and passing away, under the influence of one same nature of impermanence and selflessness.

Just like ‘the space’. Intentionlessly allowing all and everything to be there as they are. It never increase nor decrease and it never change into good or bad, no matter how many knowable and unknowable objects of names and forms forming and deforming, coming and going, arising and passing away endlessly in ‘the space’. ‘The space’ is uncontaminated or undetermined by all the different qualities of names and forms that are impermanent and selfless.

Time doesn’t exist in ‘the space’. ‘The space’ is unconditioned/unlimited by causation, or cause and effect. ‘The space’ is beyond existence and non-existence. There’s no beginning or ending. Timeless. Limitless. Attributelessness. Ageless. Changeless.

All the objects of names and forms that are momentarily existing in this present moment in ‘the space’, whether gross or subtle, regardless of knowable or unknowable, all are conditioned and limited by existence and non-existence, beginning and ending, forming and deforming, arising and passing away.

It’s the impermanent changes of names and forms that generate the notion/false impression of time. There is no past nor future in timelessness. Time, past and future exist in the thinking mind deriving from perceiving/experiencing all the impermanent changes. It’s a false impression existing in the thinking mind due to ignorance, and its by-product of egoism that generates attachment towards the impermanent and selfless physical body and modification of the mind, also gives rise to the idea of an existence of ‘I’ which lead to the sense of separateness of ‘I’ and ‘all the others that are not I’.

All kinds of fear, affliction, suffering, misery, hurts, sorrow, grief, disturbs, unrest, loneliness, meaninglessness, incompleteness, clinging, longing, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, ill-will, ill-thinking, protectiveness, self-esteem, pride, animosity, hostility, and so on, arise/exist due to the sense of separateness, the by-product of ignorance and egoism as part of the modification of the mind. And thus, all the different kinds of yoga and meditation practice are mainly to annihilate the modification of the mind – Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha. All the other physical and mental health and fitness benefits deriving from performing regular yoga practice are just some side-effects.

Though there’s nothing wrong if the yoga practitioners are not working on annihilating the modification of an egoistic thinking mind, and merely focusing on the attainment of physical and mental health and fitness benefits of the yoga and meditation practice, but there’s no freedom, being bound by the false impression of an existence of ‘I’ and ‘all that I experience’, even though the body and mind might be receiving and enjoying all the momentary physical and mental health and fitness benefits from the regular yoga and meditation practice for a prolonged period of time, that are also subject to impermanence.

If the mind doesn’t realize this, then even when everything is good now, and the mind is happy and contented with all the goodness that is present in this moment, but yet, this happy feeling and contentment will also pass away, if there’s attachment onto all the goodness to feel good, happy, blessed, assured, confident and meaningful, as all the goodness will also pass away.

No matter how strong the mind believes in positive thinking and optimism, all ‘beloved parents’ will pass away. ‘Relatives and friends’ will pass away. ‘Family, siblings, cousins, spouse, children’ will pass away. ‘Good people and bad people’ will pass away. ‘Happy and unhappy feelings’ will pass away. ‘Wise and ignorant beings’ will pass away. ‘Living beings and non-living beings’ will pass away. ‘Saints and sages and all kinds of hero’ will pass away. ‘Great minds and mad minds’ will pass away. All and everything will pass away, except ‘the space’, is still what it is.

‘The space’, or nameless/formless/attributeless/timeless/ageless/changeless/birthless/deathless infinity, is ‘the silent witness’ of all the impermanent changes, without ‘egoism’ of performing actions/receiving the fruit of actions, interference, judgment, comparison, discrimination, or expectation. Intentionless. Selfless. Egoless. ‘I’less.

“You are left alone now.” – Swami Sivananda

Freedom?

Freedom is not ‘something’ to be found in the past or to be attaining in the future, or being determined by whether one has been ‘good’ by performing many ‘good actions’ and has not been ‘bad’ by not performing any ‘bad actions’, or not.

Freedom is nothing to do with ‘attaining extraordinary physical or mental ability/achievement’, or ‘exemption from undesirable impermanent changes, hunger, thirst, discomfort, unhappiness, disability, imperfection, decay, old age, pain, illness and death/decomposition’, or ‘freedom of all desires are being gratified’, or ‘unrestricted freedom of movements/actions/speech/thinking/belief’, or ‘free from boundary, natural disasters, discrimination, bad happenings, unjust, violence or wars’, or ‘free from the law of cause and effect’, or ‘free from bad, wrongful, hurtful or harsh experiences’.

Freedom is the moment when the mind/life existence is undetermined by any qualities of names and forms that are impermanent and selfless.

Freedom is always here, in this present moment, when the mind is being free and peaceful as it is, regardless of all kinds of good or bad condition and situation that is subject to impermanent changes and selflessness.

Being free from ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness.

Being free from attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation.

Being undetermined/undisturbed/uninfluenced by all the impermanent changes of the selfless existence and function of the physical body and modification of the mind, of all the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses.

Being unattached towards and unidentified with all kinds of worldly social/cultural/racial/religious/spiritual/philosophical thinking and belief, identification, accumulated knowledge, practice, values, conduct and way of life.

Going beyond all the abilities and disabilities, possibilities and impossibilities, availability and non-availability, pleasantness and unpleasantness, deserving and undeserving treatment/result, achievement and non-achievement, good or bad/happy or unhappy/desirable or undesirable experiences/relationships/contacts.

Transcending the perception of duality/separateness, time, space and causation, of births and deaths, goodness and badness, rightfulness and wrongfulness, auspiciousness and inauspiciousness, positiveness and negativeness, meaningfulness and meaninglessness, joyfulness and joylessness, pleasurable enjoyment and suffering, praise and condemn, belief and disbelief, trust and distrust, togetherness and separateness, presence and absence, existence and non-existence.

Being free from clinging, missing, craving, longing towards something that is not here, that is unavailable or absent in this present moment.

Being free from self-image, self-esteem, loneliness, incompleteness, meaninglessness, fear, worry, lust, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, discrimination, jealousy, envy, pride, animosity, hostility, offensiveness, defensiveness, hurts, regret, guilt, painful sorrow, grief, misery, bitterness, violence and ill-will.

Being in the present.

Desireless.

Mind and life existence with all kinds of experience/relationship, are one.

Absence of ignorance and egoism, the mind is free, as it is. So as life existence with all kinds of experience/relationship.

Life existence with all kinds of experience/relationship are just what they are. Neither good nor bad. Neither joyful nor joyless. Neither meaningful nor meaningless. Neither positive nor negative. Neither rightful nor wrongful. Neither deserving nor non-deserving. Neither enjoyable nor miserable.

The physical body is limited by the law of nature, of impermanence and selflessness. The physical body of all the saints and sages was/is not exempted from the law of impermanence and selflessness.

The mind perception of a life existence is although under the influence of the law of nature, but yet, it doesn’t have to be determined by impermanence and selflessness, if the mind is free from ignorance.

Life existence appears to be limited/not free, as it is being perceived or reflected ‘in a particular way’ by the ignorant/egoistic/impure thinking pattern or modification of the mind that is under the influence of ignorance that gives rise to egoism and impurities of ceaseless desire/clinging/longing/craving/duality/separateness/dissatisfaction/disappointment/unhappiness/meaninglessness/loneliness/misery/fear and so on.

The ignorant/egoistic/impure mind projects goodness/badness, joyfulness/joylessness, meaningfulness/meaninglessness, positiveness/negativeness, rightfulness/wrongfulness and enjoyment/misery onto all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the sense.

Life existence with all the different qualities of names and forms are being limited merely by the ignorant/egoistic/impure thinking pattern or modification of the mind under the influence of particular worldly social/cultural/racial/religious/spiritual/philosophical thinking and belief, identification, accumulated knowledge, practice, values, conduct and way of life.

The mind is free, or not free, in this moment, is beyond the law of cause and effect, or ‘the accumulated good or bad karma’, or whether someone ‘believes or disbelieves in God’, or is practicing some kind of ‘religious/non-religious’, or ‘spiritual/non-spiritual’, or ‘cultural/non-cultural’ belief and practice, or not.

As long as the mind is under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, the mind is not free.

As soon as there’s attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, clinging, longing, judgment and expectation, there’s bondage or absence of freedom.

Be free from the egoistic intention to be interfering with/controlling/wishing/expecting everything to be the way that ‘I’ want/desire/like/agree with, or the way that the mind thinks and believes how it should be.

Respecting all lives and deaths as they are.

Respecting all kinds of belief and disbelief and way of life as they are.

Respecting all the thoughts, feelings and sensations coming and going as they are.

Respecting all the impermanent changes in all kinds of relationship with all and everything as they are.

Contemplate on this, and realize freedom.

If this is not ‘the freedom’ that the mind thinks and believes what it is, that’s everyone’s freedom of desire, thinking and belief.

Go beyond the mind perception of an impermanent and selfless worldly life existence

The life existence of the mind perception of a worldly life of names and forms is only existing in this present moment, where the past and the future doesn’t exist in this present moment, and it is impermanent and selfless.

‘The past’ is just some scattered fading memories of pleasant and unpleasant, desirable and undesirable, agreeable and disagreeable past experiences. It exists only as a form of memory.

‘The future’ is just some wild imagination, anticipation, speculation, projection and expectation. It only exists as a form of thought activity.

When the mind is under the influence of ignorance and egoism, it attached onto the past memories of pleasant/unpleasant, desirable/undesirable, agreeable/disagreeable experiences and the anticipation/projection into the future, and be affected, disturbed and determined by ‘the past’ and ‘the future’ that doesn’t exist in this present moment, which is unnecessary if the mind is free from ignorance and egoism.

The past and the future doesn’t exist in this present moment, but there is a connection between the past actions/reactions and the present moment now, and between the actions/reactions in this present moment now and the ceaseless impermanent changes, which is the consequences of actions (cause and effect.)

The entire life existence of this impermanent and selfless existence and function of a physical body with the restless egoistic thinking mind is being what it is due to the law of cause and effect. This ‘life’ doesn’t exist if the parents didn’t plant the ‘seed’. The present moment is nothing but the consequences of the past actions, which is the only element that relates the past actions with the present moment, and yet, the past doesn’t exist in this present moment. All the consequences are just what they are, in the present moment, as they are.

The only existence is this present moment now, as it is, not necessarily the way that the egoistic thinking minds would like it to be, as the result of the ripened consequences of actions plus all the egoistic actions and reactions in this present moment that give rise to further consequences of actions, ceaselessly and restlessly, and even so, the consequences of actions are not necessarily exactly the way that the minds think and believe what it should be. The consequences of actions are just what they are, as they are, and not being the way according to any wishful thinking and belief, that anyone would like it to be.

For example, whether intentionally or unintentionally, we planted an apple tree (the past actions) that gives the fruit of apples (the consequences of actions.) Even though after some time we realize that we don’t really like apples, we cannot change the apple tree to be orange tree or banana tree. We have to accept that this is an apple tree that gives the fruit of apples. Even though we don’t like apples, but the apple tree will still give the fruit of apples. We might prefer the fruit of oranges or bananas, and we can try to plant orange and banana trees, but we can’t make the apple tree to give the fruit of oranges or bananas. Sometimes the apples from this apple tree are more sweet, and sometimes are less sweet, while some other times are sour and bitter. Although we might not like the taste of apple as it is especially when they are sour and bitter, but since these are what available to us, we can make use of the sour/bitter apples to cook them into something that is more palatable, or give them to other people who would enjoy the apples as they are, or feed them to the animals. More importantly, we don’t turn the apples into a weapon to hurt other people. Sometimes, for some reasons, the trees don’t give any fruit at all, or the trees die before giving any fruit.

If the future exists, we can bring the future into this present moment and we would be able to control the future to be exactly the way that we would like it to be. There won’t be any uncertainty/anxiety/fear/worry/dissatisfaction/disappointment/regret/guilt/unhappiness/suffering, everything will turn out to be exactly the way that we desire it to be. We want forever youth, pleasant sensations, happy feelings, good health, good relationships, good and easy life condition free from difficulties and hardships, desirable life span with only pleasurable enjoyments and happy experiences, without any painful sickness/injury, suffering or unhappy experiences, without coming in contact with happenings, objects or beings that we don’t like and don’t agree with, without separation from the beings and things that we like and love. But we can’t, as the future doesn’t exist. Without intention to be controlling ‘the future’ to be the way that we like it to be, the consequences of actions derived from the actions and reactions in this present moment now, will be what they are, as they are.

If the past exists in this present moment, then we can bring the past into this present moment and undo any past actions/experiences that we don’t like and don’t want, to alter the consequences of actions to be something different. But, we can’t undo any past actions/experiences that we don’t like and don’t want. Without intention to be changing the consequences of past actions that channeling life in this present moment being what it is, but the realization of selflessness allows the mind to be undetermined by life being what it is, transcending all the pleasant and unpleasant, desirable and undesirable consequences of actions.

Those (the minds) who are not aware of this, they always hope or try to control life in this present moment and in the future to be in certain ways that they desire and not to be in certain ways that they don’t desire.

Those (the minds) who are aware of this, they deal with the consequences of actions of all kinds of pleasant or unpleasant, desirable or undesirable experiences, or what we identify as ‘life’, as it is, without craving or aversion, allowing life to be what it is, and make use of the present moment to silent the modification of the mind to transcend the mind perception of an impermanent and selfless life existence carved by cause and effect.

Life might not always being the way that we would like it to be, but we can accept life as it is, without clinging/craving/aversion towards something that is here (pleasantness and unpleasantness), without craving for something that the mind likes and desires but is not here, without aversion towards something that the mind dislikes and doesn’t desire that is here or not here. In the meantime we can make use of life as it is (regardless of easy or difficult condition/situation that exists in this present moment) to be doing something beneficial to ourselves and others in certain ways depending on how we look at it. Such as growing up without proper emotional, educational and financial support. Some people would see it as a harsh condition and use it as an excuse to do things that hurt themselves and others. While some others would turn it into great strength to overcome any difficulty or challenging condition and situation to be doing something great for themselves and others.

In the end when the mind realizes selflessness, life is undetermined by the separateness of ‘I’ and ‘my life’, or the quality of good and bad/meaningful and meaningless/positive and negative, and it doesn’t belong to ‘I’ or ‘God’. It’s just life as it is, as a product of cause and effect. There’s no ‘I’ and ‘my life’. There’s no ‘good, meaningful and positive life’ and ‘bad, meaningless and negative life’, or “I or ‘God’ want my life to be or not to be in certain ways.”

Unconditional peace

By being peaceful, realizing the unconditional peace untainted by ignorance and its by-products of egoism, impurities and restlessness, is the greatest form of contributing peace into the world.

This unconditional peace is there as it is, unlimited by time, space and causation, unconditioned by impermanence and selflessness, when the mind is being undisturbed/undetermined by all the mind perceptions of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, selflessly, ceaselessly, where all kinds of impurities and restlessness subsided, and all desires of craving and aversion vanished.

It’s like the mirror reflecting all kinds of names and forms, without any intention to be reflecting or not reflecting anything, but the mirror itself is being undisturbed/undetermined/unchanged by the objects of different names and forms or their reflections being reflected onto the mirror.

The mirror is neither good nor bad. It is just what it is. Whatever objects of different names and forms being reflected onto the mirror do not change the mirror to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Neither will the mirror projects qualities of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ onto the objects of names and forms, or their reflections being reflected on it.

Contemplate on this, and be free.

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.

The basic teachings and practice of yoga vedanta

  • Let go the worldly/personal identification with the body and mind as ‘I’. The body and mind is not me, I am not the body or the mind.
  • Free the mind from pride and arrogance, superiority or inferiority towards any quality of names and forms that the mind identifying with as ‘I’ and ‘mine’. One’s thinking, belief, culture, education, religion, spirituality, gender, nationality, profession, knowledge, talents, skills, ideas, ability, achievement, family, relationship, friendship, marital status, social status, contribution, experiences, and etc. All these names and forms are not me, I am not all these names and forms.
  • Allow the mind to be opened towards what it knows and doesn’t know, do not blind-believe or blind-disbelieve. Undetermined or undisturbed by what the mind disagrees with, dislikes or doesn’t want.
  • Unattached towards any ideas, thinking and belief, including the existing ideas, information, thinking and belief in the mind coming from somewhere and everywhere.
  • Inquire the truth of everything, including all the teachings of yoga coming from different teachers or Gurus and reading books as well as all the existing worldly/social/cultural/religious thinking and belief in the mind that influence how the mind thinks, judges, acts and reacts.
  • Inquire what is this ‘I’, what is the ego and egoism.
  • Inquire what is suffering and the cause of suffering.
  • Unattached towards the physical body, the appearance, the physical health and fitness condition, the pleasantness and unpleasantness, the limitation, the ability and disability, the achievement and the impermanent changes.
  • Unattached towards the function of the mind, the state of the mind, the thinking, the belief, the thought activities, the mind perception of names and forms through the senses, the feelings and emotions, the known and unknown, the likes and dislikes, the agreements and disagreements, the desirable and undesirable.
  • Free the mind from the past memories and future imaginations. Train the mind to stay in the present as much as possible, effortlessly, gently, patiently, via persist practice without force.
  • Free the mind from craving and aversion.
  • Free the mind from judgment, comparison and expectation towards oneself and others.
  • Inquire what is the mind and what is going on in the mind.
  • Inquire the truth of ‘hurts’, ‘unhappiness’, ‘grief’, ‘painful sorrow’, ‘dissatisfaction’, ‘frustration’, ‘irritation’, ‘disappointment’, ‘anger’, ‘hatred’, ‘low self-esteem/low confidence’, ‘guilt’, ‘regret’, and all kind of impurities, including what the mind perceives as ‘happy’ and ‘positive’ feelings and emotions.
  • Be kind to the body and the mind, take care of the well-being of the body and mind, accepting the body and the mind as it is even though they are not perfect.
  • Purifying and rendering the mind pure, focus, balance, calm and quiet via the observation of Yama and Niyama and different types of Kriya, Yoga Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana practice, without attachment towards the practice or expectation towards the fruit of the practice, allow Samadhi to happen naturally when the practice is matured, intentionlessly, spontaneously and effortlessly.
  • Filtering inputs and outputs of the mind. Quiet and silent the mind.
  • Reduce or refrain from unnecessary worldly affairs, social networking, relationship building, mingling, interactions and activities, that give rise to ceaseless desires, restlessness and impurities.
  • Adopt a simple and quiet lifestyle, looking after the basic needs of the life maintenance of the body and mind, and divert maximum attention, importance, effort, time and energy into maintaining internal and external purity/cleanliness, quieting the thought current, developing one-pointedness and sharpening the intellect for the quest of the truth, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities.
  • Abandon or let go self-harm, superstitious thinking and belief, blind-believing, blind-following, politics, arguments, debates, discussions, conflicts, envy/jealousy, discrimination, bias, all kind of corruptions, gossips, vain talks, boasting, story telling, lying, plotting, scheming, manipulating, exploiting, worrying, anticipating, day dreaming, worldly/spiritual ambitions of gaining attention/support/fame/respect/title/power/acknowledgment/authorization, petite-mindedness, mischievousness, evilness, violence, worldly indulgence of the senses, physical/mental addictions, drugs abuse, intoxication, sexual misconducts, hypocrisy/untruthfulness in daily conducts and relationships with others, the desire to control/expect relationships/things/life/the world to be the way that ‘I’ like it to be, and all kind of conducts/desires driven by passion and lust.
  • Develop self-independence, self-control, self-discipline, self-inquiry, self-introspection, awareness, dispassion, right discrimination, correct understanding, right livelihood, straightforwardness, truthfulness, simplicity, patience, perseverance, determination, acceptance, tolerance, forbearance, forgiveness, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation.
  • Unattached towards all actions (action and inaction) and the fruit of actions. There’s no ‘I’ am performing actions or ‘I’ am the receiver of the fruit of actions. There’s no “I am good person doing good actions and will be receiving goodness in return.”
  • There is neither ‘I’ am selfish nor ‘I’ am unselfish. There’s no ‘I’ am selfless or ‘I’ perform selfless actions, or ‘I’ receive the fruit of selfless actions.
  • Inquire the truth of all and everything – Impermanence and Selflessness.
  • Inquire the many names but all are ONE – ‘silence’, ‘liberation’, ‘compassion’, ‘unconditional love’, ‘unconditional peace’, ‘inaction in actions’, ‘selflessness’, ‘egolessness’, ‘I-lessness’, ‘non-duality’, ‘oneness’, ‘non-separateness’, ‘fearlessness’, ‘intentionlessness’, ‘neither good nor bad’, ‘neither positive nor negative’, ‘attributelessness’, ‘namelessness’, ‘formlessness’, ‘birthlessness and deathlessness’, ‘beginninglessness and endlessless’, ‘beyond the thinking mind’, ‘beyond the worldly/social/cultural/religious thinking and belief’, ‘beyond the mind perception of names and forms’, ‘beyond pleasantness and unpleasantness’, ‘beyond happiness and unhappiness’, ‘beyond positive and negative’, ‘beyond meaningfulness and meaninglessness’, ‘beyond suffering and end of suffering’, ‘beyond good and bad karma’.
  • Unconditional love and peace, compassion and the ability to forgive and let go what the mind perceives as ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘negative’, ‘undeserving’, ‘hurtful’, ‘sorrowful’, ‘painful’ and so on, are nothing to do with the impermanent and selfless physical conditions, appearance, strength, flexibility, stamina, limitations, ability and disability, the impermanent and selfless states of the mind, the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms, the intelligence, pleasant/unpleasant life experiences, or the condition and situation of the world. Identifying ourselves with any quality of names and forms that the mind perceives as ‘good’, ‘positive’, ‘meaningful’, ‘rightful’, ‘healthy’ and so on, doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free.
  • Identifying as ‘good people’ being ‘good’ and doing ‘good’, also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free from ignorance, egoism, impurities, disturbance, unhappiness, loneliness, meaninglessness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, hatred, jealousy, hurts, fear and worry, and all kinds of suffering.
  • Do our best making use of this life existence of the body and mind for bringing peace to oneself or the world without attachment, identification, judgment, comparison, or expectation. Serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realize, and let it go.
  • Peace is in this present moment when the mind is free from ignorance, egoism and impurities. It’s not being left behind in the past or to be found in the future. It’s not in the next life or in another life form.
  • Inquire the truth of all the teachings and practice mentioned here.

It’s everyone’s freedom whether they want to take up this practice or the teachings, or not.

Be free.

Conflict between the practice of influencing the state of the mind and observing the mind perception as it is?

Some people get confused by the yoga asana, pranayama and concentration practice that is about influencing the state of the mind (intentionally changing the state of the mind to be something different by purifying and rendering the impure restless wandering mind to be pure and calm and focus) and the practice of observing the mind perception of names and forms/thought activities and allowing the mind perception of names and forms/thought activities to be there as it is, without attachment, identification, judgment, expectation, craving or aversion towards the function/modification/thought activities of the mind, and allowing all the impermanent changes of all the names and forms to be there, as they are.

It seems like a contradiction of practice, but it’s not really.

The mind is like the lake and the state of the mind is like the surface of the lake. The reflections are being reflected as they are when the surface of the lake is still, and the reflections are contorted when the surface of the lake is moving. By rendering the state of the mind calm and still will allow the mind to see things as they are or allowing the perception of names and forms to be reflected as it is, but it doesn’t change the truth of the names and forms being what they are.

The modification/thoughts activities/perception of an individual reality of the mind is like the image/reflection of the sky or the sun or the moon being reflected on the surface of the lake, and no matter the images reflected on the lake is as they are or are contorted, (and if the lake has an egoistic thinking mind of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, craving and aversion towards the reflection of the sky, the sun or the moon on itself, and desires to change the sky, the sun or the moon to be the way that it likes it to be,) the lake doesn’t change the sky or the sun or the moon. And if the lake doesn’t exist, there’s no reflection of the sky, the sun or the moon, it still doesn’t affect the sky, the sun or the moon being there as they are.

The reflection on the surface of the lake doesn’t belong to the lake. The modification of the mind or the mind perception of pleasant/unpleasant/agreeable/disagreeable names and forms doesn’t belong to the mind.

Just like all the contents of good and bad qualities of names and forms existing in this space cannot affect the space and they don’t belong to the space. Neither will the space has desire to interfere with all the contents in it.

The space and the mind is still what it is, whether the mind perceives something as good or not good existing in the space. The space and the mind is still what it is, whether the mind perceives pleasant smells or unpleasant smells in the air. The space and the mind is still what it is, whether the mind perceives beautiful happening or disgusting/horrible happening in this space.

Different minds perceive its personal/individual reality differently under the same condition and situation. Such like, different minds feel differently while being in a place full of ‘good’ happenings or being in a place full of ‘bad’ happenings. Death is neither good nor bad. Some people are sad and mourn for the death of the leader of the country/party/ideal/vision that they supported, while some other people are glad and celebrating it. Positive minds perceive names and forms positively, while negative minds perceive names and forms negatively, but it’s not the truth, as all the names and forms are just what they are, they are neither positive nor negative. The reality is just what it is, but qualities are being projected onto the perceived reality of the mind perception of names and forms out of the different states of the mind.

The modification/thought activities/perception of an individual pleasant or unpleasant reality, is like the reflections on the surface of the lake. The state of the mind (pure or impure, peaceful or peaceless, with good/bad attributes or attributeless) influences how the mind understands/reacts towards the perception of names and forms perceived through the senses, or life experiences, but all the perception of names and forms, or life experiences, or the understanding/reactions/modifications/activities cannot affect/hurt/disturb/change the mind, except due to ignorance and egoism, there’s a false identity in the mind (the ego) is being disturbed and determined by all the perception of names and forms, and has the desire/idea of changing the perceived reality to be the way that it likes it to be.

The practice of yoga asana, pranayama, concentration and self-inquiry serves as the tool to maintain and render the mind pure and calm to be fit for higher realization of freedom from ignorance and suffering. The yoga asana and pranayama practice is to prepare the mind to be fit/ready for self-inquiry and meditation by balancing the restless/agitated/dulled state of the mind via body positions/movements (yoga asana practice) and control of the breath (pranayama practice), to render the mind calm and quiet.

The concentration practice/exercises/training is to restraint the mind to focus at one point for a prolonged period of time, and to keep the mind in the present refraining the mind from wandering into the past or the future, or getting lost in random ceaseless thinking and imaginations. Meanwhile the practice of renunciation/solitude/seclusion is to free the mind from getting entangled in the mind perception of a worldly life existence.

These practice/training are developing the awareness to be aware of or to observe the modifications of the mind, rendering the mind to be calm and quiet, to be free from restlessness and to be open to inquire the truth/nature of everything, preparing the mind for meditation – seeing the truth as it is.

The inquiry into the truth/nature of names and forms will help to strengthen dispassion, right discrimination, non-attachment, non-identification, free from craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, and this will lead the mind to be less disturbed or completely undisturbed by all the perception of names and forms of a worldly life existence, and generate less impurities or completely be free from impurities, which eventually lead to the annihilation of ignorance and suffering of the mind perception of a worldly life existence of impermanence and selflessness.

The pure egoless mind stands as a witness witnessing/observing the mind perception of a reality as it is, or observing the mind perception of names and forms/the states of the mind/the activities in the mind/the thoughts/the feelings/the physical sensations, condition, ability and limitation/all the selfless impermanent changes, as they are, without interfering with all these modifications of the mind.

Whatever the mind perceives through the senses or comes in contact with, all the perceptions of names and forms/thoughts activities/images/individual reality, and all states of the mind are just what they are. They are impermanent and selfless. They don’t belong to the mind. The worldly life existence perceived by the mind is impermanent and selfless. It doesn’t belong to the mind. It’s neither ‘I’ nor ‘mine’. Suffering and all kind of corrupted thinking and behavior arise when there is ignorance, egoism and impurities in the mind that generate attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, thinking and believing that there’s ‘I’ and ‘mine’.

Without a calm and quiet mind, when the mind is in a state of impurity and restlessness due to egoism and impurities, it’s impossible for the mind to inquire the truth of things to be free from ignorance, as whatever is being perceived/understood through the senses are under the influence of or being contaminated by the impurities and restlessness. Just like a dirty, dusty and moving mirror cannot reflect the image of an object placed in front of it as it is. The mirror also cannot/doesn’t see itself without the help of another ‘mirror’ or ‘reflector’. And all the dirt, dust and movements don’t belong to the mirror. All the yoga, pranayama and concentration practice act as the tool to render the mind to be free from impurities and restlessness (cleaning up and stilling the ‘mirror’ to reflect the images as they are), and meditation is the ‘mirror’/’reflector’ to allow the pure and calm mind to see itself, as it is, beyond all the modifications of the mind.

That’s why it is very important to render the state of the mind pure and calm, in order to allow the mind to inquire the truth of names and forms, to be free from ignorance, and thus, allowing all the names and forms to be what they are. Or else, the ignorant egoistic minds desire to interfere with the names and forms that it doesn’t like to change/control it to be the way that it likes it to be, and there arise all sorts of suffering of discrimination, intolerance, interference, offensiveness, defensiveness, hostility, hatred, fear, violence, wars and etc.

It’s up to everyone to work on their own liberation through their own effort and pace.

Sadhana advice from Swami Sivananda (3)

Excerpt from Essence of Vedanta

Fitness for Wisdom

One who is fit for receiving Wisdom of the Self shall receive it ‘in due time.’ Self-effort and passage of time work simultaneously and one cannot be distinguished from the other, for Providence and Personal exertion cannot be separated as they both work simultaneously and are interdependent. Rather, these are only two names for one and the same force of action.

Sri Sankaracharya had already exhorted that one has to undergo the disciplinary stages of Viveka, Vairagya, Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha, Samadhana, and Mumukshutva before getting initiate into the mystery of Existence. One should not be initiated into the Truth of the Absolute unless he is found well developed in all these qualities.

Nowadays generally we find that aspirants do not have a strong desire for liberation. They may have a ray of Viveka and Vairagya of a mild variety. But it is very difficult to find an aspirant who cares for nothing but final Emancipation, who treats the whole world and its contents as mere straw, who meditates incessantly upon how to attain Salvation from embodied existence.

It is not easy to understand the meaning of Liberation.

How can it be possible for raw men of the world to realise the nullity of earthly existence and of worldly activities? Even advanced aspirants sometimes have got strong desire for doing something wonderful in this world, something which none has done before. Such people cannot have a real desire for Liberation. And such people are unfit for receiving Brahma Vidya.

It is only the Uttama-Adhikari, the best qualifier, who cares for nothing, who is totally indifferent to the ways of the world, who is ever silent and serene due to the dawn of proper knowledge, who is ever the same among the diverse men of the world, who is undisturbed by the distracted activity of the world, who is calm and peaceful, who has withdrawn himself from the bustle of life, who cares not for either death or life, who is unmindful of what is happening in the world, who is careless towards either this or that, that is really fit to receive the Ultimate wisdom of the Absolute!

Even if there is the slightest desire lurking inside other than the Realisation of the Absolute, the man will not be able to comprehend the true import of the Vedantic instructions by the Spiritual Teacher (Preceptor). He will have thousands of doubts and distractions in the mind which will entirely pull him down from the Vedantic Meditation.

A person should be desire for nothing else, than the realisation of Brahman. There should be no other thought throughout the day than of the way of attaining Self-realisation.

Every thought, every speech, every action, nay, every breath of the person should illustrate the method of realising the Absolute. Such a person is fit to receive Vedantic Wisdom.

Withdrawal From Multiplicity

Self-restraint is the opposite of self-expression. The latter tends towards Pravritti or life in the variegated Samsara, and the former leads to the Highest Integration through Nivritti of stepping back to Truth.

The creative diversifying power is turned in and sublimated into the spiritual splendour.

The withdrawal from multiplicity and centring oneself in Unity is effected through self-restraint which is the austere transformation of the creative objective force into the conscious Power that causes the blossoming of the sense of individual finitude into the expanse of objectless consciousness.

Variety is the meaning of manifestation. Every individual force is a copy of the limitless creative force and the natural tendency of this energy is to move towards the creation of multiplicity. This is the reason why the control of the action of creativity is found to be difficult in the case of those who are tied to individual physicality. An individual finds it hard to properly direct the cosmic habit unless he takes recourse to process of Spiritual Realisation. A spiritual Sadhaka goes to the source of this objectified energy and compel the force to diffuse itself in the serene Ground-Noumenon.

A person who has let loose the flow of the creative force gets entangled in the process of multiple-creation and ever remains away from the knowledge of the Non-Dual Truth of his Eternal Self. This is the root-background of the universal ethics that self-control is imperative to a seeker after the Absolute Reality.

Those who have discriminatively grasped the spiritual character of human life refrain from the instinctive practice of self-multiplication and devote themselves to the glorious task of directing the potential energy to conscious contemplation on the Spiritual Ideal through the triple transformation of the active emotional and intellectual aspects of the general human nature.

Such integrated persons possess a mighty power of understanding, analysis and meditation.

The Chhandogya Upanishad says that when purity and Sattva are increased, there is a generation of immense memory which paves the way to the shattering open of the knot of self.

The most intricate technic of the art of Self-realisation is mastered by the genius of an austere who has learnt to expand his formative lower into the plenitude of limitless life. Such austere spiritual beings flow with the lustrous spiritual strength which handles with ease even the most formidable of the diversifying forces of nature.

Fear is unknown to them and their divinised energy is centred in the Self to be utilised in transcending the realm of the ego-sense. They establish themselves in the unbroken vow of leaping over phenomenon into the heart of Existence. Such is the glory of self-restraint!

The control of the objective instincts is the preparation for world-renunciation in the quest of the Ultimate Essence. An abandonment of earthly nature effected by a distaste for particularities is what marks the character of a true austere Sadhaka. He should not enter the household, for, his path leads to Unity and not the creative social activity.

Alone and unfriended should he carry on the duty of Self-integration through unceasing selflessness and remembrance of the Divine Ideal. Selfless service polishes the self and rubs the ego and thus renders the person fit for the higher life of Dhyana and Brahma-Chintana.

A cutting off from acquaintance with relatives is necessary, for, Nivritti-Marga does not allow of any transient connections.

Sadhana advice from Swami Sivananda (2)

Excerpt from Essence of Vedanta by Swami Sivananda

In one sense from the highest viewpoint, all the leaders of the world are wasting their time, life and energy. Had they directed their energy and mind towards Yoga and transcendental Atma Svarajya, they would have become great divinities on this earth and done more spiritual good to the world. These great men would have taken to Nivritti already, had they really understood the glory and necessity of Nivritti Marga, had they come in contact with great sages, had they a real grasp of the purpose of life, goal and the nature of the Svarupa of the Atman, mind and the world.

A little comfortable living, a little bread with butter and jam cannot relieve the sufferings of the people, cannot give salvation or Absolute Independence and Freedom to them, cannot remove ignorance, the root cause of all human miseries and of births and deaths. Wise men, with great talents, should attempt to give spiritual food to the people and make their lives lofty, worthy, sublime and grand and make them immortal.

Even if all the leaders are taken out of the world now, the world will run on smoothly, probably more smoothly. Even if all the people retire into the forest, the world will go on.

Poor worldlings! One would think that they have taken a contract with Brahma that they will procreate children in this world and take care of it!

The world is unreal. All are born to die only. All are illusory in this world.

Egoism deludes people. Though the world is nothing, it deceives the worldly man into thinking that it is everything. It is associated with ‘mineness’. This egoism is born of Avidya (ignorance). It springs from conceit. Vanity fosters it. It is the greatest enemy ever known. The secret of renunciation is the renunciation of egoism. Ahamkara or ego is the direst of diseases. He who is free from egoism is ever happy and peaceful. Desires multiply and expand on account of egoism. This inveterate enemy has spread about man the enchantments of wives, friends, children, relatives, whose spells are hard to break.

This world is a manifestation of this mind only. All pains are generated through the mind only. If this mind is annihilated through discrimination and Atmic enquiry, all pains, along with this world will vanish.

Desire is the cause of rebirths and all sorts of pains, miseries and sorrows of this earth.

The body has a tendency to rot. Egoism lives in this body as the master with avarice as the mistress. The body is in reality a pot of filth. The shining skin is subject to wrinkles in old age. Fie and shame on them who have mistaken this body for the immortal Pure Soul and rely on it for their happiness and peace!

This body appears only in the present. A thing, that has neither past nor future must be considered as non-existent in the present also. If you think over this matter more deeply with Suddha-Buddhi or pure intellect, you will find Atyanta-Abhava or complete non-existent of the world.

“Nothing on this earth belongs to me! This body even is not mine.” This is true wisdom. “He is my son. She is my daughter. She is my wife. That bungalow is mine. I am rich. I am a Kshatriya. I am a Brahmin. I am lean. I am fat.” This is foolishness of a superior order. This body is the rightful property of fishes, jackals and vultures. How can you call this as yours?

In this scientific era – the age of the so-called modern civilisation – greed, passion, selfishness are increasing day by day, nay, hour by hour. One nation wants to devour another nation. Man has lost his manliness. The son drags his father to the courts for the division of property. The wife divorces her husband and marries another, if he happens to be more rich, more beautiful and younger. The younger brother poisons his elder brother to take possession of the estate. You see cruelty, dishonesty, injustice and atrocity everywhere. No one keeps his promise. The father has no faith in the son. The wife has no faith in the husband and vice versa.

There is no end of craving (Trishna) in the life of a worldly man. That is the reason why a worldly man is ever restless despite his wealth and comforts. There is always dissatisfaction with his lot. He is ever discontented. Before one craving is satisfied another craving is ready to occupy his mind, and this craving agitates the mind and makes a constant demand for gratification. He forgets his real divine nature and plunges himself in the ocean of Samsara (worldliness).

If you place the worldly-minded persons in the company of saints, Yogins and Sannyasins, in solitary places with charming sceneries, they can never live in peace. They will feel as if they are fish taken out of water.

Sages compare a worldly-mined man to a street-dog, or a pig that eats filth, or a worm that revels in rubbish. The comparison is very very apt, indeed!

O worldly-minded persons! Wake up from the deep of dark ignorance! Open your eyes now. Stand up and acquire the knowledge of the Self. Approach the Brahmanishtha Guru. Attain Absolute Independence of Kaivalya. Merge yourself in the State of Satchidananda.

A worldly man kills himself by clinging to things unreal. That man who does not struggle to attain Self-realisation, although he possesses knowledge of the scriptures, human body, youth, energy and other conveniences, commits suicide. His lot is very miserable. What greater fool is there than this man who neglects the goal of life? That man who does not care to make enquiry of ‘who am I?’ ‘what is the goal?’ ‘how to attain the goal?’ is really a great fool, although he may be endowed with high secular knowledge.

Imagine for a moment that your skin and flesh are inverted and exposed. Then some one will have to stand always with a long hill-stick to drive off cows and jackals. Why do you have Moha (infatuated love) for this dirty body? Why do you apply perfumes? Are you not a big fool? Get Jnana. You are the Atman, ever pure and Effulgent.

Birth is suffering; disease is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow, grief, pain, lamentations are suffering; union with unpleasant objects is suffering; separation from the beloved objects is suffering; unsatisfied desires are suffering. O man! Is there any real pleasure or happiness in this world?

Why do you cling onto all these mundane objects? Why do you stroll about here and there like a street-dog in search for happiness in this earth-plane? Search within. Look within and introspect and rest in the Supreme Abode of Peace and Immortality now. Realise now and be free.

Lust invariably leads to extreme suffering on the impediment of senses in old age.

Nobody has been benefited in this world by this Maya. People invariably weep in the end.

The worldly man never comes to the senses although he gets severe knocks, kicks and blows from different corners. The strolling street-dog never stop visiting the houses even though pelted with stones every time.

The whole world is a ball of fire though there are the so-called charming sceneries of Mayaic illusion. The whole world is a huge furnace wherein all living creatures are being roasted.

Lord Buddha says: “On the whole, life is a sorrow.” Patanjali Maharshi in his Yoga Sutras says: “Sarvam Duhkham Vivekinah” – “All indeed is pain to a person of discrimination.” Just as a fish in its desire to eat flesh does not see the hook that lies beneath, so as man in his passionate desire to get sensual pleasure does not see the noose of death.

Pleasure is not in the objects; it is in the imagination or inclination of the mind. Mango is not sweet but imagination makes it sweet. Woman is not beautiful, but imagination renders her so. An ugly woman appears very beautiful to her husband because his imagination is beautiful. There is a grain of pleasure in objects, but the pain that is mixed with it is of the size of a big mountain.

Sensual pleasure is tantalising. There is enchantment so long as man does not possess the desired object. The moment he is in possession of the object, the charm vanishes. He finds that he is in an entanglement. The rich but childless man thinks he will be more happy by getting a son; he worries himself day and night to get a son, goes on pilgrimage to Ramesvaram and Kasi and performs various religious ceremonies. But when he gets a child, he feels miserable. The child suffers from epileptic fits, and his money is given away to doctors. Even then there is no cure. This is Mayaic jugglery. The whole world is fraught with temptation.

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!

The body is the first Mayaic knot or tie. Wife is the second knot round the neck. Son is the third knot round the waist. Daughter is the fourth knot round the knee. Grandson is the fifth knot round the ankle. He who has cut asunder these knots or ties and who has no Moha is really a strong and powerful man (Dhira).

All hope of happiness in this world terminate in pain, despair and sorrow. Pleasure is mixed with pain. Beauty is mixed with ugliness. Kindness is mixed with anger and harsh words. There is no real prop in this world to lean upon. Sensual indulgence brings diseases, exhaustion, weakness, and loss of vigor. The sensual objects destroy the whole man, and he has no help from any quarter of this earth. Fair sex infatuates. Money and power fill the mind with hollowness and vanity! There is often war between nations. There is no peace anywhere. Trust not this illusory world.

Go wherever you may, to Gulmarg or Pahalgaon in Kashmir, to Darjeeling or Simla, to Vienna or the Alps. It is all the same. You will not find any real rest. The charming scenery may soothe the retina for a second. Raga, Dvesha, jealousy, passion and greed are everywhere. You will finds the same earth, the same sky, the same air and the same water. And you carry with you the same mind. Imagination and change of places have deceived not a few.

Friends! Is there not a higher mission in life than eating, sleeping, drinking and talking?

An ignorant worldly man says, “I have to do my duties. I have to educate my four sons and three daughters. I have to please my boss. I have got heavy duties in the office. I have to remit money to my widowed sister. I have a large family. I have six brothers and five sisters. Where is the time for me to do Sandhya Vandana and Japa and study religious books? There is no time for breathing even. I have no leisure. Even on holidays I have to work. Even on Sundays I have to worry myself with work. I bring office-papers to my house and work at night till the small hours of the morning. I do not want Yoga. This office-work and the maintenance of my family is itself a great duty or Yoga.”

Do you call this duty? It is mere slavery. It is a work of a coolie. It is mere bondage. The man is in fear every moment. Even in dreams he meets his office-mates and his boss and posts figures in the ledger. This is not a right sense of duty. He takes tea, eats food, and sits at the table for writing, sleeps and procreates. His whole life passes away like this. This is not duty. This is gross delusion. This is foolishness. This is selfishness. This is work for gain and satisfaction of lower appetites. Anything done under compulsion and expectation of rewards is not duty. You must not take as duty works done from attachment, greed or passion.

You have travelled in many countries, fed your dear relatives, and amassed immense wealth. Yet, of what avail are these, O friend? You have not realised the Blissful Brahman.

Desire for name and fame, infatuated love for the body, desire for vast erudition, are stumbling blocks in the attainment of the Self-knowledge. He who wants to free himself from Samsara should annihilate the desire for these mundane things.

Who are you? Who am I? Where from have we come? Who is mother? Who is father? Think deeply in these. Leave off this world, which is a dream, and seek the One, Eternal, Undivided Essence of Brahman.

Friends! Is there any limit to the number of fathers, mothers, wives, sons, daughters, uncles and aunts you have had in the countless incarnations in the past? And yet the clinging to these false relationships has not gone. Discrimination has not yet dawned. What a great pity it is!

The attraction for external objects ceases; but there yet remains the internal craving or sense of hankering or thirsting, which is called Trishna.

You have spent eight hours in sleep, and the rest of the day in idle gossiping, telling lies, deceiving others, in selfish activities, in amassing wealth. How can you expect spiritual good, how can you expect immortality and peace, if you do not spend even half an hour in the service of the Lord, in singing his names and in divine contemplation?

Will your son or daughter or friend or relative help you, when you are about to die? Will they accompany you to share your miseries? Have you got one sincere, unselfish friend in all this world? All are selfish! There is no pure love. But that Lord, your real Friend of friends, Father of fathers, who dwells in your heart, will never forsake you, though you may forget Him. Adore Him in silence, that God of gods, that Divinity of divinities, the Highest of the high. May He bless you with His love, Wisdom, Power and Peace!

The Rishis and the Seers tapped the source through living the Truth. They had deep penetration into the Truth through the eye of wisdom or intuition in Nirvikalpa Samadhi. They did rigorous Tapas and intense meditation. They disciplined the outgoing senses and led a virtuous life. They were absolutely moral and righteous. They developed all the qualities of the heart. They practised dispassion and renunciation. They had no attachment for mundane things. They kicked off ruthlessly all wealth, relatives, wife, family, children, position and status. They embraced poverty, purity and austerity. They lived in forests. They ate fruits and roots. They breathed pure air. They lived on the banks of the Ganga amidst Himalayan scenery, which had, and has, high spiritual vibrations. They did not live in Mount Road or the Mall.

All the things of this world pertaining to men are attended with fear; renunciation alone stands for fearlessness. Shun honour, respect, degrees, name, fame, power, position and titles. They are absolutely worthless. They will not give you eternal satisfaction. They will only intensify your vanity. They are all intoxicants of the mind. They bring misery and mental disturbance.

In the Vishnupurana it is said: “If the deluded fool loves the body, a mere collection of flesh, blood, pus, faeces, urine, muscles, fats and bones, he will verily love hell itself! To him who is not disgusted with the nasty smell from his body, what other argument need to be abduced for detachment?” It is needless and useless to say more.

Knowledge of the Self or Brahma Jnana is more precious and important than the kingdom of all the worlds.

If you do not possess Viveka, if you do not try your extreme level best for the attainment of Salvation, if you spend your whole lifetime in eating, drinking, sleeping, marrying, divorcing and propagating the race, how are you better than an animal? As a matter of fact, they are better than you! You will have to sit at the feet of the animals and learn a few several lessons from them. Even animals possess self-restraint to an astounding degree. O man! where has your self-restraint gone?

O man! Never say; “My body, my son, my wife, my house, my property, my garden, etc.” Attachment is the root cause of the innumerable miseries and troubles of this world. Discipline your mind well, realise the illusory nature of all that appears here in this world.

Renunciation comes only to those who were once kings in their previous births, who developed discrimination between the real and the unreal in their previous births, who have done meritorious actions in their previous births, who led the life of a Sannyasin in several births. Only those who have tremendous will-power, spiritual strength, dispassion, discrimination, and who thirst for salvation can renounce the world. Renunciation demands superhuman strength. Renunciation or Sannyasa is stern stuff.

After all, what is this world? It is like a footprint of a calf when compared to the Infinite Brahman or the Absolute. It is a small bubble in the ocean of Existence. It is less than an atom. The worthless nature of the joys of this world is already known to a Viveki or a man of discrimination or an aspirant or an ordinary worldly man even in whom there is not even an iota of spiritual awakening or a little opening of the eye of wisdom.

The Upanishads emphatically declare: “Yo Vai Bhuma Tat Sukham – Naalpe Sukhamasti!” You cannot have real happiness in this world. The real ‘Santi’, is Peace which the mind is hankering after is only to be found in the ‘Bhuma’. Bhuma is unconditioned, beyond time, beyond space and causation. Bhuma, the Great, is freedom, – freedom from the trammels of flesh, freedom from the tricks of the mind, freedom from the plays of delusion. Bhuma is perfection, beyond all limitations. Bhuma is Brahman, the eternal Absolute! You will have to remember all this constantly. You will have to write this and read this, talk of this and preach this, meditate on this and live in this, ‘Yo Vai Bhuma Tat Sukham.’

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 sky is just what it is

The sky is just what it is

It’s neither blue nor grey

It’s neither day nor night

It’s neither bright nor dark

It’s neither high nor low

It’s neither big nor small

It’s neither calm nor turbulent

The eyes can only see what they see

The eyes can’t see beyond what they can see

What the eyes see are not necessarily the truth of what they are

The mind can only knows what it knows

The mind can’t know beyond what it knows

What the mind knows are not necessarily the truth of what they are

And above all

The sky is not even ‘the sky’

‘I’ is not even I

Be free

Asteya and Aparigraha – Non-stealing and non-covetousness

From the surface meaning of the word Asteya or non-stealing, it’s about not stealing or not taking anything that doesn’t belong to us, whether those things has an owner or not, or belonged to somebody or not.

And, from the surface meaning of the word Aparigraha or non-covetousness, it’s about not coveting, or not possessing, or not grasping, or not greedy towards worldly objects or material and sensual enjoyments. As well as not accepting bribe or supporting bribery.

Both of them are related to greed. Greed is one of the characteristics of egoism.

Practicing Asteya and Aparigraha, abstaining from stealing and coveting, can help to eliminate greed from one’s mind and helps eliminate egoism on the path of self-inquiry.

There are some teachings beyond these literal meanings.

Before we know what is the ego and the truth of names and forms, when we are still influenced by greed, then the practice of non-stealing and non-covetousness has its importance and merits.

When one is observing the practice of Asteya and Aparigraha, one doesn’t need to acknowledge others or to glorify oneself for observing Asteya and Aparigraha, one just is. There’s no attachment or identification of “I am observing Asteya and Aparigraha.”

When we know what is the ego and the truth of names and forms, and we are free from the influence of greed, then all these practice don’t mean anything, or are useless. One who is free from egoism and ignorance doesn’t need to practice Asteya or Aparigraha as one doesn’t need to remind oneself or to restrain oneself not to steal or not to be greedy, as there is no greed or the desire to steal existing in this mind.

Greed exists in many places that we might not be aware of. There are many ‘spiritual’ aspirants fall into the trap of greed without being aware of it. Greed doesn’t just apply to attachment, craving, longing and grasping towards worldly material objects and achievements.

Longing for merits and virtues is a form of greed. Longing for accumulating good karma by performing good actions is a form of greed. Longing for spiritual achievements, entitlements and acknowledgement is a form of greed. Longing for agreement, supports and association is a form of greed. Longing for good conditions, good relationships and happiness is also a form of greed. Longing for something that we like and want may it be something good and right which doesn’t exist in the present moment now is a form of greed. Longing for assistance or blessing from any external source is a form a of greed. Longing for good health and longer life span is also a form of greed. Longing for changing the world to be the way that we think it should be is also a form of greed. Longing to have bigger and more yoga centres is also a form of greed. Longing to be a great yoga teacher to teach yoga is also a form of greed.

One is free from greed when one is completely free from attachment, identification, clinging, longing, craving and aversion, whether towards spiritual or worldly objects and achievements.

One will enter into silence when all forms of gross and subtle greed, desire, attachment, clinging, longing, grasping, craving and aversion subsided.

The realization of unconditional love and peace has nothing to do with the quantity or amount of Karma yoga or selfless service that we can perform through this life existence. Performing lots of charity work or volunteering service might generate some satisfactory happy and joyful feelings, and sense of meaningfulness in the mind, but it doesn’t guarantee us liberation from ignorance and suffering, if we don’t know what is performing actions without the influence of egoism, without intention, without attachment, identification, craving and aversion.

When we know the truth of names and forms, we will realize there is nothing in this life existence that the mind perceives through the senses that really belongs to ‘us’, or who we think is ‘I’, including the existence of the body and the mind, and their functions.

We can be in a relationship with someone. But, this relationship and the person in the relationship with us don’t belong to us. We will generate ‘problems and unhappiness’ for ourselves and the person in the relationship with us, if we think we own this relationship and the person in the relationship with us, or we think they belong to ‘I’.

If there is nothing belongs to anyone in this worldly existence of names and forms, there’s no such accusation of somebody ‘steals’ or ‘takes’ something that ‘belongs’ to somebody else. It’s the same as the teachings of yoga about oneness or non-separateness, and selflessness or I-lessness. The idea of something being stolen from someone by someone (objects and subjects) doesn’t exist when we realize oneness or non-separateness.

This doesn’t mean that one can take advantage of this teaching to ‘take’ or ‘steal’ anything that we like and want, thinking that “I am not stealing anything from anyone, as everything doesn’t belong to anyone anyway.” This is corrupted thinking influenced by ignorance.

Just like someone might take advantage of the teachings of yoga about “everything is just what it is, it is neither good nor bad” to be doing bad actions, while thinking that “I didn’t do anything bad as there is no bad.” It is the desires, intention, attachment and identification that makes the difference. While being ‘aware’ of such actions are ‘bad’ and still intentionally doing ‘bad’, while thinking and believing that there is no ‘bad’, doesn’t free one from the consequences of actions, or the bondage of cause and effect.

It also doesn’t mean that one can ‘take’ or ‘steal’ other people’s spouse or children freely, or one can ‘take’ or ‘steal’ other people’s ‘belongings’ or ‘properties’ influenced by some egoistic selfish desires and greed, and thinking ‘I’ am not committing any violation or intrusion towards anyone’s existing life and property. Taking anything that doesn’t ‘belong’ to us is ‘stealing’, even when there are no owners for anything. Everything and anything is not just doesn’t belong to anyone, but also doesn’t belong to ‘I’.

When one is free from ignorance, egoism, attachment, identification, craving, aversion, and all sorts of impurities, when one is beyond all the perceptions of name and form, one won’t be ‘taking’ or ‘stealing’ anything or anyone from anybody or anywhere.

When we are living on the earth, being in this space, and consuming the sunlight, the water and the air to be existing, did we ever ask permission from them, or did they give us any permission? The elements of fire, water, wind, earth and ether pervade the entire body and mind, did they ask the permission of this body and mind, or did the body and mind give permission to them?

The elements of fire, water, wind, earth and ether don’t exist if the universe doesn’t exist. And vice versa.

The universe exists because of the elements, and the elements exist because of the universe.

But out of compassion, everyone and everything co-existing and depending on one another to be existing. The sun, the water, the air, the earth and the space have no intention to be involved in actions of ‘giving’ and ‘taking’. They have no intention to allow or disallow anything to be existing or not. They have no identification of ‘I’ am ‘giving’ something from ‘I’ to someone or something for everything to be existing, or ‘I’ am ‘taking’ something from someone or something for everything to cease existing, it doesn’t matter who they are, what they are, how they are, where they are.

And above all, there’s no ‘I’ involved in all these ‘gives and takes’ that is happening from moment to moment.

Before the realization of selflessness or I-lessness, all actions are bound by the idea of give and take, and are not free from the bondage of cause and effect.

Upon the realization of selflessness or I-lessness, all actions are neither give nor take, or are beyond giving and taking, and are free from the bondage of cause and effect.

Om shanti.

Pratyahara – Withraw the senses from the sense objects

When we observe the practice of Silence or Mauna, we are restraining the mind from going out through the senses to chase after the objects of the senses, of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts, and thus reducing comparisons, judgments, expectations, imaginations, anticipations, projections, scheming, plotting, arguments, justification, and etc.

This is part of the yoga practice of Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses from the objects of the senses.

When one limits or reduces the activities of the sense organs and the senses, the mind has less objects to perceive, to compare, to judge, to comment, to argue, to generate likes and dislikes, to generate agreements and disagreements, to generate desires of wants and don’t wants, to expect, to be disturbed, to be restless, and thus it helps to allow the mind to quiet down to the maximum.

It is being care ‘less’ about the world and the surrounding beings and things. Most important it is being care ‘less’ towards what the mind thinks and feels. Some might think and judge that this is a ‘selfish’ behavior or practice for being ‘uncaring’ for what is going on in our surrounding environment, about other beings and happenings. But it is not so at all.

This is a great noble action to take care the well-being of oneself, so that when one is liberated from ignorance and realize unconditional love and peace, one can contribute to the society by being at peace, without generating disharmony and violence in oneself or into the surrounding atmosphere. And hence, one is able to care for the world efficiently.

The untrained mind is always chasing after the objects of names and forms to be stimulated, to enjoy, to be existing, to express, to be acknowledged, to take pleasure in the sense objects of names and forms.

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, the mind wants to see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think, unceasingly chasing one after another one. It is always busy with seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking. And thus the mind is ever restless. Restless state of mind doesn’t allow the mind to see the truth as it is.

And hence, in the beginning, we need to limit and reduce the inputs of names and forms to quiet the mind, by withdrawing or retreating the senses from the sense objects, to allow the mind to have a break from seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking, to have moments of stillness to see the truth. When the mind starts to see the truth as it is, then there is no need to limit any kinds of inputs, as the mind won’t be chasing after the objects of names and forms anymore.

The mind is aware of all the sense objects of names and forms perceived through the senses, but without generate attachment, identification, clinging, craving or aversion. It doesn’t take pleasure in the sense objects anymore, it doesn’t need to be acknowledged, to be stimulated, to be existing, but it is resting in peace, in silence.

Om shanti.

Action and inaction? To act or not to act?

Everything is an action.

Actionlessness is also an action.

Sitting quietly, not moving the body to be doing some physical movements, and not making any speech, is an action of restricting the physical action and speech.

Quieting the mind, bringing the mind to rest in the inner chamber of the heart, restricting it from running out to chase after objects of names and forms or desires, is an action of restricting the thought waves.

Everyone has to be performing some sorts of actions all the time consciously with certain amount of free will and self-effort, whether it is sleeping, dreaming, awaking, sitting, standing, walking, talking, thinking, worrying, speculating, planning, imagining, remembering, eating, playing, looking, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling, reflecting, meditating, introspecting, and etc. On top of that there are lots of ceaseless autonomous actions are going on all the time in the physical body that are not in our will control (whether we are aware of it or not), like breathing, heartbeats, blood circulation, immunity, hormones secretion, regeneration, and etc.

There is not a single moment that the body and mind is not performing some sorts of actions, or there’s isn’t any actions at all, unless this body and mind ceased functioning or existing.

If we know about non-attachment or non-identification with the body and mind, if we are free from egoism, then all these actions is not different from inaction, which doesn’t generate karma, or cause and effect, or birth and death, even though there is some pleasant and unpleasant, or agreeable and disagreeable consequences derived from all these actions.

If we don’t know what is non-attachment or non-identification with the body and mind, if we are influenced by egoism to be performing all these actions, then all these actions will generate good and bad karma, or cause and effect, or birth and death, even if we choose not to act, it is still an action that will generate some consequences.

The difference in all actions (to act and not to act) is depending on the purity of the mind.

If the mind is influenced by egoism, attachment, ignorance and impurities, then all actions being performed through the body and mind (whether they are good or bad actions, to act and not to act) are influenced by egoism, attachment, ignorance and impurities, and will be bound by good and bad karma, and generate birth and death.

If the mind is free from egoism, attachment, ignorance and impurities, and is identical with the attributeless, nameless and formless Self, then all actions being performed through the body and mind (whether they are good or bad actions, to act and not to act) will not be bound by good and bad karma, and be free from birth and death.

Whether all these actions that we think and believe is good or bad, the consequences of these actions (to act or not to act) are not necessarily the way that we think it should be.

For example, if we think we have performed some ‘good’ and ‘right’ actions, and we should be receiving something ‘good’ in return, and we refer ‘good’ as something that is pleasant and happy, but then the consequences of our ‘good’ actions are not necessarily will be something pleasant and happy, as it can be something very unpleasant and unhappy.

If we think we didn’t do any ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ actions, and we shouldn’t be receiving something ‘bad’ in return, and we refer ‘bad’ as something that is unpleasant and unhappy, but then the consequences of not generating any ‘bad’ actions is not necessarily will be something free from unpleasantness and unhappiness, as we still can be experiencing something unpleasant and unhappy, even when we think we didn’t do anything ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ as what we think and believe.

This doesn’t mean that there is no good and bad karma at all, nor there is anything wrong with the law of karma, cause and effect.

It is about whether we are free from egoism and ignorance, or not. As what we think and believe what things are, is not necessarily the truth of what things really are. Our thinking and beliefs are being conditioned and limited by ignorance and incorrect information. By knowing a lot of things doesn’t guarantee that we are free from being ignorant about the truth of things.

The conditioned thinking and beliefs in our mind about what things are, whether ‘this is something good and right’, or ‘that is something bad and wrong’, is not necessary the truth of what things really are. As all these thinking and beliefs are based on relativity and subjectivity, unless the mind is completely be free from egoism, dualism, attachment, ignorance and impurities.

When the mind is free from egoism, dualism, attachment, ignorance and impurities, the mind will perceive the truth of names and forms as they are, free from qualities, differences or separateness that are generated by the mind, being conditioned by what the mind believes what things are. Everything is just being what it is. They are not something good or bad, positive or negative, happiness or suffering.

That’s why even if we think we have done something ‘good and right’, but it’s not necessarily the truth of what things are, and we expect some ‘good’, ‘pleasant’ and ‘happy’ consequences in return, but we will be so disappointed, when reality, or the result of our action of doing something ‘good and right’ doesn’t turn out the way that we think it should be.

If we think we haven’t done something ‘bad and wrong’, but it’s not necessarily the truth of what things are, and we expect there won’t be any ‘bad’, ‘unpleasant’ and ‘unhappy’ consequences in return, but we will be so disappointed, when reality, or the result of our action of not doing anything ‘bad and wrong’ doesn’t turn out the way that we think it should be.

In the end, it is about non-identification as the doer of the action nor the enjoyer of the fruit of the action. It is about non-attachment towards all actions being performed through this body and mind (to act and not to act) and renounce the fruit of action, without expectation of anything in return.

If we want or expect something good in return, or we don’t want any bad in return, and that desire motivates us to perform good actions, or demotivates us to perform bad actions (to act and not to act), even if there is something good and nothing bad in return, but we are not free from the bondage of karma, birth and death.

There’s nothing wrong with to act and not to act.

But we accept all the consequences of all actions (to act and not to act), as they are.

It is for sure that there will be consequences derived from any actions, but all these consequences is not about good or bad. They are not something good or bad. The consequences are just being what they are.

There are many other elements that will affect the outcome or result of any actions. It is not just about if we believe it is something good, then it will bring something good in return according to what we believe what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

Even if we have planted the same batch of seeds on a piece of land at one time, but still not all the seeds will grow at the same speed and in the same size and shape, nor will all plants bear fruits at the same time, nor the fruits from each plant will be ripen at the same time, nor all the fruits will look and taste the same. When we planted the same type of trees as our neighbours, we cannot expect the qualities of the trees that we planted on our piece of land will be exactly the same as our neighbour’s trees planted on their piece of land, even though we got the seeds from the same source, and the trees are getting the same amount of sunshine, and same amount of water from the same source.

Just like in the same religion, or spiritual practice, or cultural background, there are still many people having different types of thinking and understanding, personality and behavior, actions and reactions, and different degrees of ignorance and attachment. We cannot judge anyone or anything based on a specific names and forms, or based on certain action and reaction.

Om shanti.

My life stories – Part 11

My life Stories – Part 11
Stories from my past memories – childhood, family, friends, growing up, poverty, integrity, dreams come true, finding peace and happiness, Buddhism, Yoga, and now…

I wasn’t interested in getting into any love relationships or thought of getting married to someone, before I met my husband in 2005. I was nearly 35 years old and had never been in any relationship before, not even went out for a romantic outing with anyone. I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend or a husband.

I wasn’t and am not perfect. I didn’t and don’t intend to be one. I don’t have a nice personality or attractive appearance, and don’t know how to behave appropriately when being in a relationship. My personality and behavior were far away from ladylike and gentleness. For many people, being direct and straightforward are being seen as bad attitude or weakness for socializing and interacting in the society. For countless times, I watched people always being friendly, polite and nice in front of some other people, but they can’t hold their tongues to complain and criticize about other people behind their backs. Of course that’s their freedom of thoughts, actions and speech. But, I’ll stay away from this type of social interactions of hypocrisy and back-biting as much as possible.

In yoga practice, we purify our minds until there’s no ill-will or ill-thinking about anyone. There’s nothing to complain about or criticize anyone whether in front or behind their backs. When we criticize about others, it’s not because others are bad and wrong, or when we compliment others, it’s not because others are good and right, but it’s our mind being impure and project impurities of good and bad qualities onto everyone and everything that our minds perceive through the senses, under the influence of personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements based on what our egoistic minds believe what things are.

I never interested to make myself or my appearance to be attractive to attract anyone’s attention and liking. If anyone doesn’t like me or disagree with my way of thinking and behavior, and if people feel intimidated or offended by my presence, I’ll let them be and I’ll stay away so that they will have peace. Those who suffer from low self-esteem will easily feel intimidated or offended by anyone and anything, even though nobody is intentionally being intimidating or offensive towards anyone. It has to come from their own effort to be free from low self-esteem, which is part of the egoism. If anyone wants to create unnecessary problems, I’ll leave immediately, and let them take the responsibility for the consequences of their actions. If anyone doesn’t appreciate me or doesn’t want to be in my life anymore, I’ll let them go. I don’t expect anyone to be nice to me and love me. I never try to please anyone so that they will love me or be nice to me. People will be nice to me and love me if they want, as they like, out of their free will. And I will be grateful and thankful for their love and kindness for me.

Compassion is not about trying to please everyone to make them feel good, happy and comfortable, by giving them whatever they like and want, to gratify their desires of craving and aversion. But it’s to allow everyone to be aware of what is going on in their minds, and realize the truth to be free from ignorance and egoism, and transcend suffering and realize unconditional love and peace that is not coming from anyone or anything outside this body and mind, but it’s beyond the impermanent life existence, beyond the body and mind, beyond all our actions and inactions, beyond all the good and bad qualities of name and form, and beyond all our relationships with everyone and everything. It’s from within oneself unconditionally when one is free from ignorance and egoism.

My husband said that I am a strange person and beyond confident. I rarely look into the mirror as I don’t mind at all how I look. I also don’t mind about how other people look at me and what they think of me. I am neither highly confident nor over confident, as I don’t need to feel confident at all. I don’t feel bad about myself, and I don’t think I am better than any others. It’s okay if others want to look down on me, that’s their freedom, but I don’t look down on anyone. What others want to think, act and say about other people is their freedom of thinking, action and speech, but what others think, act and say about me cannot determine what I am and am not. I don’t look up to anyone either. I respect all my teachers and appreciate those who inspire me, but I don’t try to become like them. I don’t need to agree or disagree with everyone with many different types of thinking and behavior. I respect everyone as they are, even if my mind thinks that they are not good and not right based on what my mind believes what is good and bad, right and wrong. And I admire nobody, even when my mind thinks that they are great and wonderful, based on what my mind believes what is great and wonderful. Most of the time, I don’t comment about anything and anyone.

There’s nothing wrong to give praise and compliments to others to encourage people to do good and continue to improve, but the one who needs encouragement of praise and compliments from others to motivate it to do good and continue to improve is the ego, and by giving the ego what it likes and wants won’t help to eliminate the ego, but it’s feeding and strengthening the ego instead. That’s why in traditional yoga classes, the teacher rarely gives praise and compliments, it isn’t that the teacher is arrogant or doesn’t appreciate the students’ good performances, but it’s not to feed and strengthen the ego of the yoga students. Those who are really practicing yoga don’t need any praise and compliments from anyone to motivate them to do good and continue to improve.

In many families in the modern society, when the parents want to ask the children to be doing something for themselves or for other people, the parents will try to encourage or motivate the children by giving them something that they like and want as rewards after they have done what they were asked to do. It’s about performing actions in exchange for something in return. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, this is completely the opposite of the teachings of yoga. The children will grow up with the idea that they will only be motivated to do something only if they can get something that they like and want in return. Or else they won’t be motivated to do anything, even if it’s something beneficial for themselves. In yoga, we perform actions for ourselves and for others out of our free-will and loving kindness, without expecting something that we like and want in return.

And so, it’s not easy to be friend with me, not to say for anyone to be in a relationship with me and shares life with me. I do my best to be kind to others, but not in the way that what other people expect kindness to be like. Instead, people might think that I am being unkind to them. But that’s their freedom of thinking and reaction.

Once, I went through a serious purification process where lots of rash and pimples appeared on my face and my whole body for more than one and a half years, I didn’t feel bad or worry, and didn’t try to do something to get rid of them. My husband saw me in such condition for many months, and he wanted to give me some money to go to a beauty salon to get some treatments, but I said to him, “No need. They will go away one day.” And they went away months later.

I only use hair shampoo once or twice a month and everyday I take shower with water only. I use soap only for washing my hands. My travelling wash bag contains only a toothbrush and toothpaste.

I don’t need to celebrate birthdays or anniversaries. I don’t have a wedding ring or wedding photos. My husband once made a ring out of straw that he picked up from the ground while we were travelling in Varanasi and he gave it to me and told me that we were ‘officially’ married. On another time he secretly put three Bodhi leaves in my diary because I told him it was my first time saw a Bodhi tree when we were travelling in Rishikesh. I only realized the Bodhi leaves were there when I opened my diary a few days later. He also gave me three river stones that he found at the riverbank of the Ganges in Rishikesh. My husband doesn’t need to give me material things as presents as I am not interested in material things or presents. He doesn’t need to give me anything to show that he loves me, or for me to feel loved by him, or for me to love him. I love him as he is. I only appreciate life every moment, from day to day. I live everyday as it is and step by step. I don’t have future plans. I don’t need to own properties or things. I don’t need to have enjoyments. People like to say that we should do things that will make us happy, but I don’t need to do anything special that can make me happy, as I don’t need to feel happy. I am happy as I am.

I’ll share the stories from the past if it would help others to find a way to peace and freedom. But, I leave the past at where they belonged, I don’t keep them in the present. There will always be changes and unexpected happenings in life, some pleasant and unpleasant experiences, and people coming and going. I do my best to have peace in myself and stay away from meaningless and energy wasting human-made troubles as much as possible, and channel my life existence and energy to practice and teach yoga, and cultivate thoughts of may all be free from ignorance and have peace.

My husband is very different from me. He was gentle and romantic. My husband once tried to be romantic and sang a love song to me, but I thought he was just humming a song for himself, and I didn’t pay any attention to him and his singing. When he told me about it later, I said to him that I would try to learn to be more sensitive towards his love and affection for me.

I had been living on my own for many years, but I never felt lonely. And I fully enjoyed those peaceful and quiet moments being with myself. I have some good friends, and occasionally, I would visit them at their homes, or go out with them to have a coffee or lunch gathering. In the past, I didn’t have to tell or inform anyone about how I feel, what I am doing, where I am going, or when I will be coming back home, until my husband came to Malaysia to be with me in 2007. My parents never questioned me about all these things. It wasn’t that they didn’t care, but they didn’t need to worry for me at all.

I wasn’t and aren’t skillful in social interaction, or to engage in any social conversations. Most probably it’s because I was never interested in socializing, mingling, or accumulating personal friendships. Socializing, mingling and chit-chatting are good for worldly social interaction and public relation, but it is detrimental for yoga and meditation practice. It stimulates the thought waves and strengthens the worldly attachments, identifications and ideas, and empowering the desires of craving and aversion. Just list out what people usually talk about in a social conversation, and see how much our minds are being influenced and affected by all those daily conversations about worldly matters. And we might realize what is the cause for our minds being over stimulated and suffer from restlessness, and from where we have been accumulating lots of physical, emotional and mental tension that we need to de-stress or unwind ourselves from time to time. I never need to do something special to unwind myself, as I seldom accumulate unnecessary tension.

In most conversations, many people like to ask or want to know about the past and the future. Most people want to be friendly by starting a social interactive conversation, where they want to talk about themselves and also to hear other people talk about their stuffs, they want to give their opinions and also to hear other people’s opinions, they want to know about other people and want to be known by other people as well. There’s nothing wrong with the worldly social interactions between human beings. But in yoga practice, it’s about knowing oneself. It’s not about knowing other people or want to be known by other people. Minds that are conditioned by worldly thinking and ideas might think that it is a form of selfishness when some people don’t show interest to know about others. But in yoga, one practices disinterest in worldly affairs as well as other people’s affairs. It isn’t that yoga practitioners don’t care for what is happening to the world and other people, but one must take care of one’s mind first before one can care for the world and others efficiently.

When one’s mind is free from ignorance, egoism, attachment, identification, desires, craving, aversion and all sorts of impurities, and realizes unconditional love and peace in oneself, being firmly resting in peace undisturbed by all the qualities of names and forms, then naturally, without any intention or expectation, one will be contributing peace into the world by stop generating unrest and disharmony into the world. By taking care of oneself, to have peace in oneself, is actually loving and caring for the world and the society.

One must learn about oneself and know about oneself by quieting and purifying the mind through self-introspection and self-discipline, and then one will know how to love and care for oneself, before one can actually know about others, and love and care for others. The entire society will become more peaceful and harmony when everyone learns about oneself, knows oneself, and loves and cares for oneself.

Instead of wasting energy in socializing or talking about worldly ideas and affairs, I conserve energy for practicing and teaching yoga. Talking about worldly ideas and affairs won’t help anyone to be free from worldly identifications and attachments towards worldly names and forms, and it won’t make the world to be a better place. In fact, talking about this and that will stimulate the mind, and it doesn’t help to quiet the mind. Yoga and meditation practice is mainly to quiet the mind. The states of the world will change towards peace and harmony only if each and everyone who are existing and living in the world has self-awareness and self-control, to make an effort to change themselves to purify and quiet their minds, to be free from ignorance and egoism. The world is just what it is. It is neither good nor bad. It’s the occupants of the world that are projecting good and bad qualities into the world and contributing peace or unrest into the world. The one who is pure, being free from good and bad qualities, perceives the world as it is.

Though I am not interested in accumulating personal social friendships, I do my best to be friendly to all. I don’t discriminate people into friends or not friends. There’s no special treatment towards certain people. Those who think they deserve to be treated in certain ways that they think they should be treated, they will only be disappointed by their own expectation. But it’s people’s freedom if they want to discriminate everyone into friends and not friends, and have expectation towards how other people should act and react, behave and response according to their own practices, beliefs and values, and they feel annoyed or offended by other people who have different actions and reactions, different behaviors and responses being influenced by different practices, beliefs and values.

In the teachings of yoga, friendliness is being kind and compassionate towards all and everyone without ill-will, prejudice or bias towards anyone and without discrimination of friends and not friends, likes and dislikes, good or bad behavior people. We have self-control over our actions and speech to stop generate actions and speech that will cause unrest and disharmony in others or in the society. We constantly be aware of the impurities in our minds, and unceasingly purify our minds to be free from all sorts of impurities, so that we won’t hurt ourselves and others out of the influence of impurities like anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, pride, arrogance, desires, lust, feelings of hurts, doubt, fear and worry.

There’s no possessiveness or attachment towards anyone to be ‘my friend’. There’s no expectation towards friendships for getting something that we want, like attention, acknowledgement, companionship, interaction, trust, care and support, or getting rid of something that we don’t want, like loneliness and boredom. There’s no expectation towards others that people have to be friendly and nice to us. We allow everyone to be friendly and nice to us, or not. We don’t feel offended when we don’t get the appropriate reactions that what most people expect to be getting from other people. We don’t expect people should react and behave in certain ways according to our own thinking, social ethics, cultural values, belief and practice. We respect all and everyone to be different from us for having different personalities, characteristics, behaviors, opinions, values, policies, thinking and beliefs. We don’t try to interfere with, or to control, or to change other people to be the way that we think they should be, but allowing everyone to be the way as they are.

If people feel hurt or disturbed by other people’s actions and reactions, that is their own responsibility coming from how their minds react towards all the perceptions of names and forms, influenced by their egoism, attachment, identification, craving, aversion and expectation based on their own particular conditioned thinking and beliefs. Those who are free from egoism, attachment, identification, craving, aversion and expectation based on certain conditioned thinking and beliefs, will not be hurt or disturbed by anything or anyone.

Being in a relationship and to share living space with another person was a great challenge for me in the beginning. There were lots of things I needed to learn, to adjust, to adapt, to accommodate, to tolerate, to accept, to let go of selfishness and the ego. But all these are parts of our yoga practice. And I am still learning.

My husband is a good man and a good husband. He is very friendly, kind-hearted and generous. It is very good karma to have him in my life. He loves me very much, and I appreciate his love for me and I love him as he is.

Before my husband came to Malaysia to be with me, I was teaching aerobics dance classes in and around Kuala Lumpur for living, while he was working in a refuge in the Pyrenees in France.

We met each other for the first time in the Sivananda Dhanwantari Yoga Vedanta Ashram in South India, where we did the International Yoga Teachers Training Course in January 2005.

Without any intentions, we talked about yoga and Buddhism for a few times during the one month course. I never asked him where he came from, where he lived, what he did in the past, what he was doing then, or who he was in general. I didn’t even know what nationality he has. I never interested in knowing about the past, or try to know anyone from where they come from, or what they do, or who they are.

He stayed back in the Ashram for another few months after the course ended, while I came back to Malaysia, continued to teach aerobics dance classes and yoga classes. I wrote him a letter sent to the Ashram after I came back, as I felt that he needed Dhamma at that time. The letter was all about Dhamma, there’s nothing romantic at all. He told me later that the letter meant a lot to him, and he had kept the letter with him all the time wherever he went, until now.

Without any intentions, we both attended the Advance Teachers Training Course in February 2006. My initial plan was to stay back in the Ashram to perform selfless service for three months after the course ended. I would stay longer if I had more money. But the savings that I had was only just enough for the course and for staying in the Ashram for three more months. I didn’t know that my plan would change, and my life too. A few days later after we met again for the second time, he asked me if I wanted to travel with him in India learning more yoga and meditation under different schools and teachers. I didn’t answer him at that time because I wanted to stay in the Ashram after the course, and I couldn’t afford to go travelling somewhere else. We kept a distance with each other in the Ashram as we respect the Ashram’s rule of male and female students’ segregation, and we didn’t say anything about it anymore.

Just a few days before the course finished, a spontaneous thought arose in my mind during one of the evening Satsang meditation sessions, that if he came to me right after the meditation finished and asked me to travel with him in India, then I would go with him. But if he didn’t come to me that night and didn’t ask me that question at that time, then I wouldn’t go with him, but stay in the Ashram for the next three months. And miraculously, as everyone was leaving the meditation hall, he was waiting for me at the exit and he grabbed my hand and pulled me to the side and asked me in the dark, “Do you want to travel with me in India?” And I said yes. So, we went travelling together in India after the course ended. We spent two and a half months together, where we came to know each other deeper. We both got really sick from food poisoning for a month from the first day we arrived in Delhi. During that time, we took turn to take care of each other at our worst condition.

Then he went back to France, while I came back to Malaysia without any expectation that we would see each other again. I mentioned to him before, that he could come to Malaysia to teach yoga with me if he wanted. We didn’t really have any contacts since then.

He went back to India for the third time in the end of 2006, while I was in Malaysia. I didn’t go to India. Nine months later after the last time we saw each other, he called me from India one afternoon, telling me that he had booked a flight to come to Malaysia. He came in February 2007 and never left. We got married in the end of 2008.

All relationships and life experiences will have ups and downs. It’s subject to impermanence or changes. When two people who come from different cultural backgrounds with different personalities come together, there will be some conflicts arise from time to time. It depends on the depth of our understanding, acceptance, adaptation, adjustment, accommodation, tolerance, forgiveness and letting go, for us to be able to stay cheerful and happy in life, disregard all the agreements and disagreements, likes and dislikes, ups and downs in life and in the relationship. But most important is we need to know what we really want in life for ourselves.

My mother tongue is Cantonese, and my second languages are Mandarin and Malay. Before my husband came to Malaysia living with me, I seldom spoke English in daily conversations except when I taught classes I used very simple and minimal English. My husband and I had many misunderstanding especially in the beginning because my English comprehension was really limited and I also have bad hearing due to constant shouting to teach aerobics classes under the loud music. My husband speaks very softly. I had to ask him to repeat his sentences again and again. It was frustrating for him. I used to talk very loud and fast, which was really difficult for my husband because he has sensitive hearing and suffers from tinnitus. He suffered a lot from my loud speaking. As years past by, I started to speak more softly and slowly. And my husband had to keep correcting my English pronunciations and the usage of tenses. It took me few years to learn to pronounce words like egg, eight, three, world, girl, file, wild, duck, abdomen, buttocks, wrists, necessarily, vocabulary, probably, and etc. Even now after many years speaking in English, I am still having trouble pronouncing words like thought, thigh, they and there. When I speak in English, I am actually translating directly from Chinese. And there are no tenses in Chinese language. My husband said that he couldn’t understand me and constantly misunderstood what I wanted to say because I didn’t know how to use the correct pronunciation and tenses to tell my stories or when I wanted to say something. But we understood that very well, and we learned to be patient and accommodate each other when we talked to communicate.

It didn’t and doesn’t matter to me about how other people perceive me, as I am what I am. I accept and love myself as I am. I don’t live my life according to the worldly thinking, beliefs, and current trends, to meet up other people’s expectation, neither will I try to please anyone by pretending to be somebody whom I am not. If people don’t like something or everything about me, it’s their freedom. Everyone is responsible for their own happiness and unhappiness. Nobody can make another person happy or unhappy. If people want to be happy, no one can make them unhappy. If people want to be unhappy, no one can make them happy. When people feel happy is because they are getting something that they like and want, and are not getting what they don’t like and don’t want. When people feel unhappy is because they are getting something that they don’t like and don’t want, and are not getting what they like and want. It’s not because things or people are being good or bad, nice or not nice. Even my husband’s likes and dislikes, and his mind perception about me also cannot determine me, or change me, for what I am and how I think, act and feel. And I can’t make my husband happy. Neither can he make me happy. We are happy as we are.

Most of the time, the truth is not something agreeable or pleasant to the minds that are not free from attachment and identification towards certain conditioned thinking and beliefs influenced by ignorance and egoism. Most people perceive their own reality under the influence of conditional thinking and beliefs, they don’t see the truth as it is. Those who are not free from ignorance and egoism might have heard about the truth from others, but they might not like the truth, or don’t agree with the truth realized by others. Because they haven’t realized the truth through their own realization. They perceive everything based on their own thinking and beliefs and they live in their own personal reality. And people shouldn’t believe in the truth realized by others, even if it’s coming from Buddha or any saints and sages. Everyone has to realize the truth by themselves.

People want and expect the truth to be something that they like and want, that is agreeable to their own personal worldly thinking and beliefs. Everyone who attached to different thinking and beliefs would perceive their own personal reality differently from one another. Everyone has their own perception of reality that is being different from one another and there’s nothing wrong with that. But the universal truth is still the one same truth whether people like and agree with it, or not, whether people think and believe it’s the truth, or not. As the truth is not a belief, or intellectual analysis. It’s the way of how things are, as they are. But most people don’t want things to be what they are, but they want things to be the way that how they like and want it to be, or the way that they think it should be.

This also shows that how kind and loving is my husband for him to love me and accept me as I am. It’s a great challenge for him to be in a relationship with me and to share life with me.

That’s also why I am never interested in joining any ‘groups’. I am free to be who I am, as I am. And I am free from getting involve in gossips, vain talks, conflicts, condemn, criticism, and so on. When we have bad things to say about others, it’s not because others are being bad and wrong, but it’s because our minds are not pure. If our minds are pure, there’s no bad thing to say about others, even if we are aware of something that isn’t good and right about someone based on what our minds believe as good and bad, right and wrong. Worldly minded people might think that being silence towards things that are bad and wrong is supporting all those bad and wrong things. But, what people think and believe as good and bad, right and wrong, is very subjective, it’s not necessarily the truth of what things are. By being vocally and physically violent towards something that is bad and wrong won’t change the reality of those things being bad and wrong. But everyone must develop self-awareness and self-introspection in themselves to be aware of their own minds, to be initiative and make an effort to purify their own minds, and have self-control over their own thinking, actions and speech.

By telling people that they are ignorant or wrong and bad, won’t make people stop being ignorant or wrong and bad. It has to come from their own self-awareness and self-control.

I do things in my own ways and at my own pace. There’s no stress or tension. I’m not greedy to run a bigger retreat centre with higher capacity and income. We do everything by ourselves (my husband and I) within our own capacity. We don’t need to rely on any ’employees’ to run the yoga retreats. As it won’t be the same. It will become a business, with higher expenses and costs. We do all the teachings, cooking, driving, accommodation arrangement, emails response, website updates, cleaning, washing, maintenance, and shopping all by ourselves.

If some people don’t understand about what we do, we don’t expect that they should understand. If people aren’t really interested in the traditional yoga practice about quieting the mind through the annihilation of ignorance and egoism, and they don’t have the humility to learn and practice yoga, but they are only interested in joining some fitness yoga exercise classes, and they are not interested in our yoga retreats or what we teach, that’s their freedom. We will suggest to them to go to some other yoga fitness centres that might provide cheap and cheerful yoga exercise classes. As these people are not really interested in learning and practicing yoga. There are many yoga asana instructors in the world that will provide fitness yoga exercise classes to these people who only interested in doing some stretching, strength and flexibility fitness workout, to be able to do many yoga asana poses that they want to be able to do, and to look good and feel good about themselves. There’s nothing wrong with that and it’s their freedom. We would appreciate very much to have the free time to focus on our own personal practice.

Many people said that they are interested in yoga and they want to learn yoga, but when they hear the teachings of yoga about letting go of egoism, attachment, identification, desires, craving and aversion, either their minds will start to be opened towards what they didn’t know before, and be able to see what is going on in their minds, or their minds will be rejecting what they don’t know, or what is contradicted to their existing thinking and beliefs, and they want to runaway from what they minds don’t like and don’t agree with. The stronger the ego is, the stronger the rejection towards the teachings of yoga about the annihilation of the ego will be.

I am responsible for my own thoughts, actions and speech within my own efforts, with self-awareness, self-discipline and conscience. I am always truthful to myself and others. I accept myself as I am, and I love myself as I am. I don’t need to be hypocrite or tell lies to justify myself to anyone. I respect other people who have their own different thinking, beliefs and behaviors. I don’t apply my own way of thinking, belief and behavior onto other people. I allow everyone to be different from me, and from one another. If other people don’t like the way that I am, or disagree with the teachings of yoga, that’s their freedom.

I just do my best within my ability and limitation. Some people being optimistic and they think and believe that they can change the world, that’s their freedom. But even Buddha never claimed that being enlightened and be free from ignorance and suffering could change the world. Buddha didn’t have intention to change the world or have expectation that the world will be changed by his enlightenment, his presence, or by the teachings of Buddhism. He just shared the path towards liberation. Naturally, one will be contributing peace and harmony into the world and stop contributing unrest and disharmony into the world, when one attains unconditional love and peace being free from ignorance and suffering.

Although I don’t belong to any groups, but I respect everyone has their own groups, where they think they belong to, or if people feel the need to attach onto certain identifications and to obtain certain recognition to be who they are. Some people think that they need to mix into certain groups and be accepted by those groups, to feel that those are the places where they belong, to interact and share something in common among the people in those groups.

Some people join certain groups for getting some personal gains, or business exchange and benefits. But then they will complain that they are not free to be who they are, and are being ‘pressured’ or ‘forced’ to do things the way that the groups believe how things should be done. As by joining certain groups, there are some standards and qualities, or rules and regulations in the groups that the members have to comply to and be recognized as being part of them, or else they will be criticized, or condemned, or expelled. You’ll have to be like them or behave like them, and you are not free to be yourself anymore. You and your life are being observed by others all the time, and are bound to play by the rules of the games or activities once you joined any groups.

Some people don’t like and don’t agree with the way we are, as they can’t understand why we want to keep very low profile, that we are not eager to promote our yoga retreats, and they would try to give us many advices about how we should run our yoga retreats and how to live our lives, even though we never interested to ask anyone for any advice. We let them be free to express their minds to give their opinions. But then when they realize that we are happy with the way as we are and have no interest to follow any of their advices, they would feel offended and disrespected. In yoga practice, we refrain ourselves from this type of egoistic action and reaction with attachment and expectation influenced by worldly thinking, concepts and ideas.

I have no greed to get any ‘helps’ or ‘benefits’ from any ‘personal’ or ‘groups’ to ‘enhance’ or ‘improve’ our social life, or life condition, or income. If I need to do something or to attain something, I depend solely on my own effort to get things done. Or else, I don’t. It doesn’t matter if I didn’t get what I wanted. I don’t let other people to determine or control my life and my freedom about how I should live life and how I should feel and express myself. I also don’t need any encouragement, acknowledgement, support, or companionship from some other people or friends to motivate me to do something that I want to do.

No doubt that the existence of everything and everyone is inter-dependent on many others. But, everyone has to work independently towards liberation. When serious Sadhaka advance in their practice, they will renounce the world and go into seclusion for at least five or six years cutting off all kinds of communications with family and friends. Nowadays, many people who identify themselves as ‘yoga practitioners’ or ‘yogis’, who say that they love yoga and like doing a particular style of yoga asana practice, they are not really interested in dispassion and renunciation. And that is their freedom of what they want to do with their life existence.

I believe in the one same nature in everything, which is the truth of impermanence and selflessness. I see the same nature in everything, despite all the different qualities of name and form that exist in everyone, that generate separateness, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements. From separateness, there arise craving and aversion, conflicts, discrimination, fear, anger, hatred and jealousy in us. Though I do things in my own way, I don’t feel myself as an individual being separated from any other beings even though I don’t join any groups or attach onto certain identifications to be who I am. I don’t need to obtain any recognition or support from any social groups to be somebody.

What I do and don’t do is just actions and inactions, it’s not who I am. Whatever I experienced in the past and am experiencing now, it’s not who I am. Whatever qualities I had or didn’t have in the past, and whatever qualities I have or don’t have in the present, it’s not who I am.

I have no expectation towards life, or towards myself and other people, or in my relationships with anyone. Neither will I be disappointed with myself or other people, as I don’t expect anything. By having expectation won’t change the reality that I don’t like into something that I prefer, and I am not interested at all to change other people to be the way that I think they should be.

I live in the present moment. I don’t have much desires, almost none. I am contented as I am. I allow the universe to bring me whatever and wherever. I have no fear and worry towards ‘what’s next’ or ‘what if’. I let the universe to take care of everything. I just need to do my best, perform all my duties and responsibilities. I do my best to help people around me within my ability, like my family and friends and people who come to learn about yoga, but I can’t help anyone if people don’t help themselves. If people don’t help themselves, I’ll let them be. It’s their freedom of what they want to do with themselves and their lives.

I am not determined by the result or the fruit of actions. There’s no success nor failure, no praise nor condemn, that can motivate or demotivate me to perform actions, or not. I don’t need any acknowledgment, recognition, approval, appreciation, gratefulness and thankfulness from anyone to motivate me to perform actions, to feel happy and meaningful, or not.

And so, it’s really not easy to deal with or to live with a person like me. As I can be very ‘stubborn’ or ‘hard’ in my own way. Or some might say this is self-centred. I let people think what they want to think, and say what they want to say, and I am still what I am. I never try to please anyone and I don’t need anyone to please me. It’s not that I don’t care for others. But I don’t try to interfere with others’ freedom to be what and how they are. I allow people to be happy or unhappy, and to take full responsibility for themselves. I have no intention to make anyone unhappy or to hurt anyone deliberately. I wish everyone peace and happiness. I wish everyone be free from unhappiness and suffering. But I can’t and don’t make people become peaceful and happy. People are peaceful and happy is because they are free from ignorance and they allow themselves to be peaceful and happy. I let everyone to be what they are. I can’t control or dictate their thinking and feelings, what they like and dislike, what they want and don’t want. If they want to be ignorant or unhappy, and attach to qualities of name and form to be who they are, I’ll let them be.

I am happy as I am. This is why I am always cheerful and lighthearted even if there’s some challenging situations arise in my life, as I am not disturbed or determined by my pleasant and unpleasant life experiences, and undetermined by other people’s judgments, opinions, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements. If my mind is ever being disturbed by certain names and forms, I could let it go very fast.

I take full responsibility for the consequences of my decisions and actions. There are no regrets. If the consequences of my decisions or actions are unpleasant, I take them as they are. Most of the time, good and right decisions and actions are not necessarily bringing pleasant consequences. Life experiences can be very unpleasant and difficult, but it doesn’t mean that we did something wrong or bad.

Yoga and meditation and Buddhism practice is practical in every moment in life while we experience happiness and unhappiness, pleasant and unpleasant experiences in life and in relationships with anyone (including the relationship with ourselves, our body and mind). The practice is in the present moment now, being aware of the reality as it is and accepting the reality as it is, without generate attachment or identification, without craving or aversion towards the qualities of name and form that our mind perceives through the senses. There’s no such thing as “I did a lot of yoga and meditation practice in the past”, or “I do lots of yoga or meditation”, or “I am going to practice yoga and meditation in the future”.

I share what I am with the guests who come for our yoga retreats. I don’t teach yoga to other people according to what we learned from the yoga teachers training course curriculum or the teaching manual, or from reading yoga books, or from hearing from somebody else about what is yoga and how they teach yoga.

Whatever I am and am not, whatever I do and don’t do, it’s not who I am. It’s all nothing but impermanent changes of qualities of names and forms.

May all be free, be peaceful.

Om shanti.

For more stories about our relationship, you can read on this link Love Came Slowly

Empowerment for women?

Someone suggested that I write something about empowerment for women.

First thing that came into my mind was, why do we condition and limit ourselves as “women” or “men”? Why do we limit ourselves as “women” or “men”, and condition ourselves that we should behave, think and express ourselves as “women” or “men”, and can only be empowered in certain ways just for “women”, or just for “men”?

If we practice Yoga Vedanta teachings about namelessness and formlessness, or non-dualism, or non-separateness, or “all is one”, in our everyday life, there will be none or less problems than we think we have now in the world that derives from the perception of separateness due to attachment and wrong identification with the qualities of names and forms.

We can just be “who we are” unconditioned by the different sexual characteristics or physical appearances. We can think or act or express ourselves freely without conditioning ourselves that we can only think or act or express ourselves in certain ways restricted by the different sexual characteristics.

This is not about denying our sexuality as women or men.

We are aware of our physical body having female or male sexual characteristics and it is conditioned to have certain particular functions according to respective genital organs that our body has. But, the capability of our mind to think or to believe, can be free without being restricted by the differences of the sexual aspects and appearances.

We can also be aware of, and be able to accept the fact that there are certain things that the female or male physical body can and cannot perform. Different genital organs have their own duties to be performed or to be carried out.

Other than these restrictions due to having specific genital organs in our physical body influencing the hormonal system as well as our emotions and feelings, we can be free to be “who we are” without being restricted by the different genital organs and physical appearance that generate the qualities of names and forms that categorize us into “women” or “men”.

We acknowledge and respect our body as it is, but we do not identify ourselves with the physical body and condition ourselves as “women” or “men”, as our true nature is without qualities of names and forms. We are who we are. we are not “women” nor “men”. We might recognize or identify ourselves as a species called “human beings”, and even this name and form about “being human beings” is not the truth of who we really are.

Once we are free from being conditioned by the differences of qualities of names and forms, we are who we are or what we are. We are not “human beings” nor “non-human beings”. We are not “women” nor “men”. We are not determined by all these qualities of names and forms. We are not being conditioned by how worldly minds believe how “human beings” should behave, nor how “women” or “men” should behave.

Once we let go of attachment towards the identification of “I am a woman or a man, and I should think, act or behave like what a woman or a man should think, or act, or behave, then naturally we are just who we are”. We are free.

Only when we are totally free to be who we are and not being restricted as “women” or “men” or “human beings”. The sense of separateness disappears. We do not isolate ourselves from what we think or believe that is different from us, that are not the same species or category like us.

We accept ourselves as we are, without the need of having competition or comparison between “women” and “women”, or between “women” and “men”.

We start to accept everyone as they are , not because they are “women” and they behave like “women” or “good women”, or they are “men” and they behave like “men” or “good men”.

We let go of expectation that we, or other people, as “women” or “men”, should think, act or behave in certain particular ways according to the type of sexual organs our physical body has.

This allows us to be free to be who we are, not because we are being “human beings”, or being “women”, or being “men”.

And so, there is no difference in terms of how to be truly confident or be truly happy in life between “women” and “men”.

If we are ignorant about the truth of who we really are, and condition ourselves or limit ourselves as “this” or “that”, then there is no difference between “women” and “men” when the mind is in a state of unhappiness or restlessness due to ignorance. When we are angry, we are the same. When we feel hurt and disappointed, we are the same. When we have fear and worry, we are the same.

We will be conditioned by thinking that we should think, act and express the way that we think or believe what a “good woman” or a “good man” should think, act and express, or else, we are “bad” or “not good” as “women” or “men”…

It doesn’t matter whether we are human beings or non-human beings, women or men, young or old, healthy or unhealthy, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, having religion or not, or having different religions and beliefs, or having different cultural backgrounds or languages that we can understand and speak, or having different points of view and different ways of doing things, or having different nationalities, colours of skin, or body shapes, or sexual appearances, or having different lifestyles, personalities or characteristics, when come to being ignorant, we all are the same. When it comes to realizing the truth of things, it is the same. When we are in a state of happiness, or in a state of painful sorrow, it is the same.

By practicing Yoga Vedanta in life, we let go of what our mind is educated or informed about what worldly “success” or “happiness” or “meaningful life” means. We let go of what our mind is conditioned to believe or think what is “good and bad”, “positive and negative”, “happiness and suffering” etc, as the truth of things is that everything is just what it is. It is not something “good or bad”, “positive or negative”, “happy or suffering”…

When we realize the truth of things and are able to accept the reality of things as they are, without judging or categorizing them as “good or bad”, “positive or negative”, “happy or suffering”, then we will not be affected, nor influenced, nor determined by the forever changing qualities of names and forms that our mind perceives and experiences from moment to moment, through the senses of what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think. We will not generate attachment towards the qualities of names and forms. There is no craving or clinging to what our mind used to believe or perceive as something “good”, “positive” or “happy”. There is no aversion towards what our mind used to believe or perceive as something “bad”, “negative” and “suffering”.

This is the state of non-duality, or namelessness and formlessness.

This is because real peace and happiness, or confidence is unconditional or unlimited. It doesn’t come from the qualities of names and forms that are conditioned by impermanence, nor determined by the different appearances or conditions of the physical body or the things that we come in contact with.

Real peace and happiness or confidence is not attained from what we think or what we want to believe “success” or “achievement” means. We think that “success” or “achievement” has a similar meaning to peace, happiness and confidence, that if we attain the “achievement” or “success” that we want, we will be peaceful, happy and confident. We are conditioned that when we are able to do what we want to do, go where we want to go, be what we want to be, only then we will be peaceful, happy and confident. Or else, when our wishes or what we want to attain is not gratified, we will be not peaceful, not happy and not confident.

We also have different points of view about what is categorized as “achievement” and what is not. Some people take being successful in relationships as “achievement” in life. Some take being successful in career as “achievement” in life. Some take doing volunteer works as “achievement” in life. Some take accumulating wealth as “achievement” in life. Some take having a happy marriage or happy family as “achievement” in life. Some take having a “beautiful”, “healthy”, “strong and flexible” body or “fit” body as “achievement” in life… And so on.

There is nothing wrong with setting all these “objects” or “qualities” as goals that we want to achieve in life… But then we will be conditioned and limited by all these names and forms to be happy or not.

If we can let go of the conditioned way of thinking about what we are and how we should think and behave, then our confidence about ourselves will not be determined by nor come from whether we are “women” or “men”, whether we are “good” or “not good” according to the standard that we categorize things into “good” and “not good”, whether we are “successful” in life or not, or how we look, or what is our worldly image, or how many “achievements” we had attained, or how other people think of us or judge us as “this” or “that”…

We are limited by what our mind wants to believe things are. If we identify with the mind and associate with what our ego likes and doesn’t like, then we will be determined by all these conditions that come from our own mind, to be happy or not, to be confident or not.

For example, we are educated, or told, or informed that having fair and smooth skin is “beautiful” in Asia, and if our skin is dark in colour and not smooth, then we are not “beautiful”. If we are attached to what “beautiful” means in this commercial world of beauty products, then very naturally we will be attached to the term “beautiful”, and want to look and feel “beautiful”, then we will be determined by our skin colour and texture to determine whether we are “beautiful” or not. We will have very low self-esteem, be dissatisfied and unhappy if our physical body image and appearance does not fall into the category of being “fit and beautiful”.

If we are free from this ignorance about what is “beautiful” and let go of the desire of looking forward to be “beautiful” whether it is to feel good about ourselves, or to get other people’s attention, or for other people to like us, or love us, or to get support and acknowledgment from certain people or groups, and to feel confident and meaningful about ourselves, then we will be happy and confident as we are. We accept ourselves as we are, no matter whether we fall into the category of “beautiful” or not according to the worldly standard about qualities for being “beautiful”. We don’t need to be “beautiful”. We are not “beautiful” nor “not beautiful”. We are what we are, and we accept and love ourselves as we are.

True confidence is unconditional. When we know this true confidence, we can perform all our duties and responsibilities without fear and worry. We are not determined by “success” or “failure” to be happy or not. We can do our best in whatever we want to do, but without being affected nor determined by the result, or the fruit of our actions.

Real peace, happiness and confidence are not determined by whether we are “successful” in life or not, whether we achieve what we want to achieve or not, whether we can do what we want to do or not, whether we get what we want to get or not, whether we live in “good” conditions or not, whether our relationship with somebody is “good” or not… And so on.

Real peace, happiness and confidence are unconditional and unlimited. By knowing the truth of things and about ourselves we accept and love ourselves and other people as we are, as they are, without expecting ourselves to be what we want us to be, nor expect other people to be what we want them to be.

Be happy.

Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodhah

YOGA CHITTA VRITTI NIRODHAH… (Yoga Sutras by Patanjali)

The path of yoga is about mind conquest. Dispassion, discrimination, renunciation, meditation are the means to destroy the mind. Eradicate all desires, thoughts, likes and dislikes, craving and aversion. Mind is the dividing wall between the individual soul and the Supreme soul. If the mind is destroyed, the individual soul becomes identical with the Supreme soul.

Conquest of Mind – Swami Sivananda

*This is nothing to do with whether our body is flexible and strong enough to be able to perform some “acrobatic” asana poses or not…

Craving and aversion – The source of restlessness, unhappiness and suffering…

Suffering, unhappiness, anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, hurts, dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, pride, arrogance, fear and worry are all derived from craving and aversion.

Without craving and aversion, there is no unhappiness and suffering.

When there’s an identification with the egoistic mind as who we think we are, or “I”, and the mind is being over-powered by craving and aversion, we’ll crave for the things that we agree with, that we like and want, and we’ll reject the things that we don’t agree with, that we don’t like and don’t want.

Before we come in contact with anything that we don’t like and don’t want, but we are already full of aversion, tension, negativity, fear and worries that we might come in contact with the things that we don’t like and don’t want. So restless and have no peace.

When we come in contact with the things that we don’t agree with, that we don’t like and don’t want, we’ll get so irritated, unhappy, frustrated, angry, dissatisfied and disappointed. Even after we get rid of the things that we don’t like and don’t want, we are still not peaceful, because we attach onto the past unhappy and unpleasant experience that generates a strong aversion that we don’t want to come in contact with the same experiences or objects again. Full of tension of fear and worry that come from strong aversion.

Before we get the things that we like and want, we are restless and have no peace. We are full of dissatisfaction, greed and craving for the things that we don’t have which we like and want to have.

When we don’t get the things that we like and want, we’ll get so unhappy, frustrated, angry, dissatisfied, disappointed, and jealous towards others who have the things that we like and want.

When we finally get the things that we like and want, we’ll attach to these impermanent objects of names and forms, generate craving and clinging onto them. We have no peace even though we get the things that we like and want, because we’ll be over-powered by pride and arrogance that derived from the achievement of the things that we like and want, but at the same time, we also have fear and worry that these things that we like and want will change and disappear, and this will cause us losing the fantastic sensation of being proud and arrogant that derived from achieving the things that we like and want. We have strong rejection or aversion that we don’t want these things to change and disappear. We don’t allow them to change and refuse to let them go when impermanence strikes. This is impossible under the law of nature – the Truth of things – Impermanence. We’ll be so disappointed and dissatisfied when the pleasant sensations disappeared upon losing the things that we like and want because of impermanence.

And so, no matter we get the things that we like and want, or not, and whether we don’t get the things that we don’t like and don’t want, we will always be dissatisfied, not peaceful, restless, anxious, and have fear and worry.

If we can let go craving and aversion, we can fully enjoy what we have in the present moment now, without fear and worry of losing it or it will change. We can appreciate and enjoy everything as it is, not necessarily the way that we want it to be, but we are able to accept everything to be the way as it is, from moment to moment. Without craving for the things that we don’t have in the present moment now, and without clinging onto the things that we have in the present moment now. We also won’t have rejection or aversion towards the things that we don’t like and don’t want. We allow everything to be here existing temporary in this same space of the universe of where we are, whether it is something that we like or don’t like, want or don’t want, agree or disagree with. We allow impermanence to be happening from moment to moment. We accept the changes of the conditions and qualities of names and forms of everything as it is.

This is true freedom. Real liberation. Being free from anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, hurts, dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, anxiety, pride, arrogance, fear and worry.

We can have likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements. We don’t have to like the things that we don’t like, and we don’t have to agree with the things that we don’t agree with. But, without the attachment towards the things that we like and don’t like, agree and disagree with. Without craving and aversion towards all the names and forms that we like and don’t like, agree and disagree with. And thus, we will be free from all the impurities that arise due to craving and aversion.

When we don’t have the things that we like and want, but we are free from greed, disappointment, dissatisfaction or craving for these things that we like and want. We are fine, and still peaceful and happy.

If we are not coming in contact with the things that we don’t like and don’t want, there’s no fear and worry that we will come in contact with these things that we don’t like and don’t want. We are fine, and still peaceful and happy.

When we come in contact with the things that we don’t like and don’t agree with, we don’t have disappointment, anger and hatred towards these things that we don’t like and don’t agree with. We are fine, and still peaceful and happy.

When we get the things that we like and want, we don’t have fear and worry that these things will change and disappear. We will appreciate and enjoy all these things that we like and want while it is here, but we allow impermanence to be happening and able to let them go in peace when they change and disappear.

When we know the Truth of things as it is, that everything is impermanent, we won’t have strong attachment towards all these names and forms. When we know what is non-duality, namelessness, formlessness and attributeless, there is no attachment towards all the qualities of names and forms, whether we think they are good or bad. When there is no attachment, there is no need of “letting go”. There is no craving for something “good” and there is no aversion towards something “bad”. There is neither “good” nor “bad”.

Changes, impermanence, being with the things that we don’t like, separation from the things that we like and love, old age, sickness, discomfort, pain, injuries, weakness, decay, death or decomposition of this physical body are not something “bad” or “horrible”. When we stopped judging or labeling all these things as something “bad” and “horrible”, there won’t be craving for something “good”, and there’s no aversion towards something “bad” and “horrible”. And thus there is no fear, no worry. There’s no anxiety or restlessness that come from craving for the things that are being labelled as “good” and aversion towards the things that are being labelled as “not good”.

Without craving and aversion, there’s no fear and worry. Absence of fear and worry is peace.

We accept ourselves and other beings in this present moment now as we are, as they are. We are contented and peaceful. At the same time, we can perform actions for the well-beings of ourselves and other beings out of selflessness and compassion, and allow the result of our actions to be what it is and allow improvement or changes to happen naturally. Without attachment towards our actions and the result of the actions. Without selfish desires or intentions, judgment, comparison and expectation. Without the influence of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements that come from the impure egoistic mind.

We don’t need to depend or rely on doing something “good” or not doing something “not good”, to have peace. We don’t need to be in specific “good” place or “nice” environment, to have peace. Peace is here, when there’s no craving and aversion, fear and worry. Wherever we are, whatever we do and don’t do, peace is always here in us.

When we realize the real peace in our true nature free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, we don’t need to do something or go somewhere to attain peace, or to be in peace. We don’t need to depend on doing the things that we like to do to have peace. Whatever we do or don’t do, wherever we go or don’t go, we are always peaceful as we are.

This real peace never increase or decrease, never change or disappear. This real peace is unconditional and unlimited by the impermanent condition and ability of this physical body, the state of the mind, the energy fields and elements, the actions and inactions of this body and mind. Neither does it be conditioned or limited by the qualities of names and forms that we come in contact with, or by the condition of the environment. It is beyond all the perception of names and forms and the qualities of good and bad, positive and negative.

Nothing can make us happy. Nothing can make us suffer. Nothing can give us peace. Nothing can take away the peace in us.

Letting go of attachments, craving and aversion in our everyday life whenever the mind comes in contact with the objects of the senses, is our yoga and meditation practice to realize eternal unconditional peace. This is nothing to do with whether our body is strong and flexible, or not, or in good health, or not, or whether we can perform the yoga asana poses perfectly, or not, or we can chant the Sanskrit prayers in perfect pronunciation, or not, or we know all the asana poses and their names, or not, or know about all the bones and muscle tissues in the physical body or not, or whether we can speak, read and write perfectly, or not, or whether there are people like us and agree with us, or not, or whether we have been through many courses, retreats and workshops, or not, or whether we have one or many “International yoga affiliation” recognized certification, or not.

There is no need a piece of paper to qualified and certified us to realize the peace in us and to share this peace and wisdom with all other beings. There is no need one or many pieces of papers to show anyone that we are peaceful and we want to show loving kindness to other beings, when we realized selflessness and compassion.

There are people who have never come in contact with yoga asana practice, meditation practice, or yoga philosophy, but it doesn’t stop them from realizing the peace in them and be selfless and compassionate, if they know what is non-attachment and be free from the ego, craving and aversion. Peace, love and compassion doesn’t belong to particular religion, or practice, or belief. Peace, compassion and wisdom exists in everyone, disregards what are the differences of conditions, qualities, names and forms. A very weak and sick or paralyzed person can also have peace and be free from “suffering”.

Even if we practice yoga asana and meditation everyday, and name ourselves as “yogis”, it’s not necessarily that we will be peaceful and be free from anger, hatred, jealousy, hurts, fear and worry, if we do not know what is non-attachment and be free from the ego, craving and aversion.

Realize this real peace and be free. Be truly content and happy, unconditionally.

The Dharma of Vedanta – Basic understanding of yoga practice

Sit in any comfortable sitting position or lie on the floor in Savasana. Bring the mind focus at the present moment now, on the natural breath. Be aware of the air coming in and going out from the nostrils.

Let go of any tensions – physical, mental and emotional tensions. All these tensions are inter-related. By releasing one of these tensions will also help to release the other tensions. That’s why yoga exercises or yoga practice is a great purification process for the body and the mind.

We don’t just learn how to let go of tensions, but more important is, we learn how to not generate tensions at the first place by practicing non-attachment. When there is no attachment, there is no need letting go. When there is no tensions, there is no need relaxation. When there is no ignorance, there is no need wisdom. When there is no impurities, there is no need purification. When there is no suffering, there is no need liberation…

Observe the natural breath as it is. Not comparing each breath, not judging the breath as slow or fast. In fact, the breath itself, it is not slow nor fast. The breath has no quality or intention to be slow or fast. It is just being what it is. The idea of “slow” or “fast” is a condition or quality that comes from the mind, when the mind is having comparison and will judge such speed is slow and such speed is fast. But the breath itself, it’s not slow nor fast.

For example, in the same speed of walking, it might be slow for some people, but it might be fast for some other people. Slow or fast is very subjective to the speed that we are familiar with, not because it is a certain quality. When the speed is slightly slower than what we are familiar with, we will judge it as “slow”. When the speed is slightly faster than what we are familiar with, we will judge it as “fast”. This is a common reaction of judgment coming from the mind, especially when we perform the sun salutation at different speed or when we hold the asana for different length of time.

As well as the differences of “easy” and “difficult” level in the exercises in a yoga asana class. The exercise itself is not easy nor difficult. The poses or exercises have no quality or intention to make us feel easy or difficult. It is when our body can perform the exercise easily and feels comfortable in performing the pose or the exercise, our mind will judge that pose or exercise as “easy”. But when our body cannot perform the pose or the exercise, or when it feels discomfort while performing the pose or the exercise, then our mind will judge that pose or exercise as “difficult”. But the exercise itself has no quality or intention to be “easy” or “difficult”. The same exercise can be very “easy” for certain people but it can be very “difficult” for some other people.

By observing and accepting the natural breath as it is, we are learning to observe and accept the reality as it is. When we can accept the reality as it is, the mind will be at peace, no disturbance. There is no judgment, comparison, expectation, or any craving nor aversion. Everything is just being what it is. There is no duality when we can observe everything as it is.

Not expecting what benefits that we are going to get from performing this action of observing the breath. Let the benefits or the result come naturally. We don’t expect nor crave for anything to happen. When we know how to let go of all these mind’s activities and speculations, the mind will quiet down. when the mind is quiet, the Truth will reveals itself to us, even though we didn’t expect to know the Truth…

Apply this truth onto all the other things (all the names and forms) that we perceive in the mind through the senses of what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think. We will stop judging about “this is good” or “that is bad”, and “this is easy” or “that is difficult”. This non-judgmental attitude will be a very effective practice for us to be able to let go of craving and aversion towards all the names and forms that are being labelled as “good” or “bad” by our own mind. All the things with different names and forms have no quality nor intention to be “good” or “bad”, to be “pleasant” or “unpleasant”. They have no quality or intention to make us happy or to make us suffer.

We will stop prejudge things as “this” and “that”, and have no expectation about things that they have to be like “this” or like “that”.

Once we let go of judgment, comparison and expectation, then everything is just being what it is, they are not something good nor bad. All these names and forms cannot affect us nor disturb us, nor to determine us for how we are or who we really are.

We are being conditioned by our own mind with the functions of the intellect (recognition and judgment of names and forms that creates duality) and the ego (the one who asserts likes and dislikes that creates craving and aversion).

When we come in contact with what the intellect recognized as “good”, “pleasant”, “happy” and “positive”, then the ego will feel good and happy. But when we come in contact with what the intellect recognized as “bad”, “unpleasant”, “unhappy” and “negative”, then the ego will feel bad and unhappy.

If we hear some words in the language that our intellect cannot recognize what does it means, then we won’t react towards what we heard. If somebody said something nasty to us in a language that we don’t recognize, we won’t get disturbed or upset about it. But when someone translates the meaning of those nasty words to us in a language that we can recognize, then we will be so disturbed and furious.

It is all come from our own mind, not from the things out there. It is not the things out there that make us happy or upset. It is us, being attached to the mind, identify with the mind, associate with the mind, and react towards the mind’s activities and impurities, that create the momentary pleasant or unpleasant feelings and emotions. We think we are happy or we are not happy according to how the mind recognizes and feels. But the things have no intention or quality to make us happy or unhappy.

Truly we are being conditioned and limited by our own mind. So many things that the ego likes and dislikes, they are meaninglessly determining how we should feel. Whether we get the things that we like or the things that we don’t like, we are also not satisfied, full of tensions, fear and worry. Even before we get the things that we like or don’t like, we are also full of tensions, discontentment, fear and worry. Either we are being disturbed by the craving for the things that we like, or the aversion towards the things that we don’t like. We are constantly getting frustrated if we don’t get the things that we like, or afraid of losing the things that we like, or we are missing the things that we had lost and which we like. And we are getting frustrated when we get the things that we don’t like, or are afraid of getting the things that we don’t like, and when we couldn’t get rid of the things that we don’t like…

Go beyond this mind. Be the witness of this mind and not identify with the mind, the intellect, the ego and its activities or impurities (anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, fear, worry, frustration, irritation, agitation, excitement, depression…), the likes and dislikes, the craving and aversion, and be free…

Go beyond this body. Be the witness of this body and not identify with the body, and not being affected nor determined by the condition of this body, and be free…

This is our yoga practice. From moment to moment, we are practicing non-attachment towards the body and the mind. Not generate reaction of craving and aversion towards what the mind perceives through the senses. Remain unaffected nor disturbed by all the names and forms that we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think. Become selfless and know who we really are, and realize our true nature (compassion and wisdom) – Selflessness.

When we practice yoga and meditation from moment to moment (not just during a yoga class of asana, pranayama, concentration, meditation, selfless service, chanting, prayers, study of the scriptures…), actually we are maintaining this awareness as the witness of all the experiences that the body and the mind is experiencing from moment to moment, whether when we are awake or asleep, whether we are in action or in actionless.

We are not affected nor disturbed by our own mind. This mind will always be disturbed by “this” and “that”. But it is not us being disturbed. It is just the mind being disturbed by what it perceives through the senses. We will not be disturbed by all these names and forms.

The body and the mind will go through impermanence or changes, and are affected and determined by elements, energy and karma. But our true Self is not affected nor disturbed nor determined by all these things. It is uncontaminated by good or bad karma that comes from the body and the mind.

This body and this mind is depending on the elements and energy to be exist. Without elements and energy, nothing can exist. But the true Self is not depending on elements and energy, nor affected or determined by them. The true Self is beyond existence and non-existence. Anything that exist is subject to impermanence and will cease existing (form and deforming). It has a beginning and an end. But the true Self is without beginning, without ending, infinite, absolute. It is not affected by impermanence. The true Self is nameless and formless, without quality, without birth and death, without the thinking mind, the selfish ego, the limited intellect, the impermanent body and senses that are determined by elements and energy and are subject to form and deforming, “birth” and “death”, the law of impermanence…

The body and the mind will go through birth and death. But not our true Self. It is beyond birth and death, beyond existence and non-existence. In fact, there is no “birth” or “death”. Everything is just forming and deforming. Transition from one form to another form. That’s all.

Be grateful and thankful, and appreciate this life existence, this body and mind, for us to be here to experience, to learn, to share, to evolve, and to go back to our true nature of who we really are.

When there is no mind, there is no perception of names and forms. There is no perception of good and bad, happiness and unhappiness. There is no world.

What is good? What is bad? What is “auspiciousness”? What is “inauspiciousness”? What is “happy”? What is “sad”?

Know who we really are and be free…

* * * * * * * * * *

*Practice this concentration of observing the natural breath, being at the present moment now, for as long as we are comfortable at, for as many times as we want. Keep observing the breath naturally without any effort, strain or struggle. It doesn’t matter for how many times the mind might wanders away, we bring it back onto observing the breath patiently and persistently. Until we forget the environment, forget the body, forget the action of observing the breath, and the mind is calm and still. No past, no future, no judgment, no expectation, no intention, no duality, no meditator who meditate, no action of meditating, no object of meditation… Insight or wisdom will arise naturally.