Positive thinking vs dispassion and non-attachment

Positive thinking might be able to make the mind feels a little bit better momentarily, but it’s not the end of practice, as it doesn’t really help the mind to transcend ignorance and be free from suffering, as the mind is still being determined by the qualities of names and forms, where there’s craving/clinging/grasping towards the quality of names and forms that is likable, agreeable, pleasing and desirable for the mind, and there’s aversion towards the quality of names and forms that is dislikable, disagreeable, unpleasing and undesirable for the mind. There’s intentional egoistic tendency of changing something that the mind doesn’t like into something else that is less dislikable for the mind, as the mind is being affected/determined/disturbed/influenced by the quality of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses. This mind is not free, even though by thinking positively might give momentary relief to the mind from continuously drowning in negative thinking.

While dispassion and non-attachment would allow the mind to transcend ignorance and be free from suffering, being aware of the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms regardless of what the worldly minded perceived or recognized as good/bad/positive/negative quality of names and forms, but without being affected/determined/disturbed/influenced by any quality of names and forms, going beyond all the pleasant/unpleasant and desirable/undesirable or good/bad and positive/negative qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses of a worldly life existence.

By telling worldly egoistic passionate people to think positive in the midst of pandemic, lockdown, political tension, economy downturn, discrimination, fear, hatred, violence, unjust, corruption, worry and uncertainty, would most probably inflict further disappointment and frustration in the passionate egoistic minds that are being affected/determined/disturbed/influenced very much by the quality of names and forms or the unpleasant/undesirable condition and situation in the world. Such as “Things will get better for sure.” or “Everything will be fine in the end. Don’t worry.” or “We are good people. God will take care of us. Nothing bad is going to happen to good people like us.”

In yoga or Buddhism, it’s okay even if everything is not going to be fine in the end, and regardless of whether one thinks and believes oneself is a good person or not, whether one believes or disbelieves in God, it still doesn’t change the truth of impermanence and selflessness.

While the practice of dispassion and non-attachment is about seeing the truth of things as it is, even if it’s something really bad and terrible for the worldly egoistic passionate minds, without intentionally denying, or pushing away, or trying to change the unpleasant/undesirable condition or situation of the world, although one can perform kind and beneficial compassionate actions for oneself and/or others in the world selflessly at anytime and anywhere, but without expecting everything will be good and nothing bad, or expecting more good and less bad, knowing clearly that all is impermanent and selfless, without attaching onto the impermanent and selfless function of the body and mind or the perception of a worldly life existence of all kinds relationships and experiences that is being conditioned by actions and the consequences of actions, and hence, the mind is not being affected/determined/disturbed/influenced by it, remain equanimous and at peace as it is, even when disaster and death is approaching. This mind is free as it is, it doesn’t need to think positive at all, to be hopeful, wishing everything will be positive and good the way that the mind would like it to be.

It’s okay and there’s nothing wrong to react and feel negative, depressed, sad, angry, dissatisfied or disappointed towards the worldly condition and situation that the mind perceives and recognizes as unpleasant/undesirable/bad/negative, allowing the mind to react and feel as it is, but the mind knows clearly that even this feeling is impermanent and selfless, it’s not ‘I’. Need not be influenced or over-powered by this feeling to perform more actions that would most probably bring further unpleasant/undesirable consequences of actions.

Positive thinking is like leadership or having a leader, regardless of good or bad leader, who is being given the responsibility or power by a group of people (or the majority of the people under the system of democracy) to lead them, where these people need a leader to decide for them what to think and what to do, and be responsible for all the actions and the consequences of actions, as they are unable to think and act independently and incapable to take responsibility for performing action and the consequences of their action fearlessly. But, that is not a solution to all the problems in the world. Or else, the world would already be free from all kinds of problems since long time ago when leaders started to be existing in the world to lead a community or nation, if by having leader to lead a community is the way to a better world.

A really efficient community of the world doesn’t need any leader at all, not even a good leader, as everyone can think and act independently, wisely and responsibly, being free from ignorance, petite mindedness, separateness, discrimination and fear.

The teaching and practice of yoga doesn’t propagate leadership, or to create and train good/magnificent leaders that lead a group of followers who are dependent on the leader to give them a set of rules and regulations on what or how to think and act, or to live life and behave. It emphasizes on training/practice that would allow each and everyone to be able to be thinking and acting independently, wisely and responsibly, where none needs any leader or a set of rules and regulations to tell them what to think and act, or how to live life and behave, being free from ignorance, petite mindedness, separateness, discrimination and fear, by realizing selflessness, oneness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness.

Somehow, most of the worldly education/cultural/social/political system emphasized on producing great leaders to lead a bunch of followers to create a world that they think how it should be. While a very rare good and wise leader might bring some goodness to its community, but for how long this good leader can serve the community? What happen when this good leader is gone? Unless this good leader abandons leadership and transforms into a great teacher that would teach and train all and everyone to be independent, wise and responsible.

A truly great teacher never try to be a leader who leads a group of followers of a community and receives the power to hoard/guard/guide/protect that particular community. He or she will teach and allow all and everyone to become independent and wise, and be responsible for their own action and the consequences of action, to be free from ignorance and egoism, to be free from suffering and the cause of suffering.

Some would argue that there are too many people who are under the influence of ignorance, and hence, there is an inevitable need to have wise leaders to lead the huge amount of ignorant people. Just like many people emphasize on the importance of cultural/religious/community dependence and support, where many people believe that people would be lost and can’t live without depending on a particular culture/religion/community support. There’s nothing wrong with that, but even the enlightened Siddhartha Gautama Buddha never intended to be a wise leader leading a group of ignorant followers (as that would be so exhausting, going everywhere to help to solve everyone’s never ending problems due to ignorance.) He taught all and everyone about how to be free from ignorance and be independent, even though not all and everyone would attain success. Just like an ignorant leader can’t do anything to influence a group of wise people, a wise leader also can’t do anything to influence or change a group of ignorant people, not to say to take away or remove other’s ignorance. It has to come from each and everyone to be aware of ignorance and be self-initiated to be free from ignorance.

When someone fell and got hurt, a Buddha, or a great teacher, doesn’t go and comfort this person, “Oh no! Poor you. Such a bad thing happened to you. You don’t deserve this. But hey, I’m here for you. I will heal you and make you feel better.” Instead, they suggest, “If you want, you can see the truth from this experience. Falling and wounded is neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative. Look into the action and the consequence of action. You fell, and there’s a wound, and there’s painful sensation. And look at the impermanence and selflessness of it, regardless of whether you like it, or not.” and “Whether you think and feel it’s okay or it’s not okay, of how you react towards this experience, it’s your own responsibility. It’s nothing to do with what you think and believe as right or wrong, or who’s responsible for the fall and the wound.” And this is true compassion, but most people would prefer the first version than the later one.

One can be living closely with a wise man for many many years, obeying and following the guidance/discipline of the wise man about how to think and act, live life and behave, but oneself never investigate the truth and is being comfortable with somebody else being there to tell oneself what to think and act, or not, but still one is not free from ignorance, where one doesn’t know what to think and act, how to live life and behave independently once there’s no more guidance/discipline from the wise man, unless one realizes ignorance in oneself, investigates the truth of everything, realizing the truth of things and eliminating ignorance through one’s own effort, and becomes independent.

Be free from craving and aversion towards identification with good or bad quality

None need to be ‘good’ or ‘good enough’ to have peace, not to say to be ‘perfect’.

Free this mind from egoism of craving towards certain quality of names and forms that the mind would like to possess or be identifying with as ‘I’.

Free this mind from egoism of aversion towards certain quality of names and forms that the mind wouldn’t like to possess or be identifying with as ‘I’.

Accepting the imperfection of all kinds of names and forms as it is.

All the ‘perfect’ and ‘imperfect’ qualities of names and forms are impermanent and they are not ‘I’. There’s needless of the egoistic identification with any quality of names and forms as ‘I’, or ‘I am this/I am not that’.

Be free from aversion towards the acknowledgement of ‘being stupid’ or ‘not smart enough’ in learning or doing something in this world. One doesn’t need to try very hard to ‘not being stupid’ or try to ‘be smart’.

It’s okay sometimes the egoistic mind realizes and acknowledges itself is being stupid or not as smart as one would like oneself to be, and would make certain mistake unwittingly or doesn’t understand about something and doesn’t know how to do certain things. Whether it’s something that the mind perceives or acknowledges as ‘perfection’ or ‘imperfection’, ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it’s impermanent and it’s not ‘I’. The mind that is free from the idea of ‘I’ or the ego, has no such ‘problem’ or ‘reaction’ towards the quality of names and forms that is impermanent and selfless.

Then even though one is aware of oneself is not as smart as one would like oneself to be or is less smart than many other people, but the understanding of non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison and non-expectation, is already being wiser than many people who are under the influence of ignorance and egoism, who try very hard to ‘be smart’ or try to ‘outsmart’ other people in order not to be acknowledged by oneself and others as ‘I am stupid’ or ‘I am not smart enough’, or to be acknowledged by oneself and others as ‘I am not stupid’ or ‘I am smart enough’, and would be very disappointed, frustrated and unhappy with oneself for being acknowledged as ‘being stupid’ or ‘being not smart enough’.

Be free.

Love?

The minds that haven’t realize unconditional desireless dispassionate love or compassion of selflessness/oneness/non-separateness, would keep hurting oneself and others, whether wittingly or unwittingly, even when everyone thinks and believes that one loves oneself/others and others love oneself, or everyone desires/hopes for a loving community where everyone would be loving and kind to one another.

The ‘problems’ that people relate to ‘insufficient of love/touch/hug’, or ‘loveless’, or ‘unloved’, or ‘loneliness’ has nothing to do with the absence/non-existence/insufficiency of ‘I love you’, ‘You love me’, ‘We love each other’, ‘Developing a loving community’, or ‘I love myself’.

It’s whether the mind realizing unconditional desireless dispassionate love or compassion, beyond quality of names and forms, of selflessness/oneness/non-separateness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness, free from desire and passion, free from ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering, or not.

‘I love you’, ‘You love me’, ‘We love each other’, ‘Developing a loving community’, or ‘I love myself’ present/exist only in duality or separateness under the veil of ignorance. They don’t mean anything and don’t exist in selflessness/oneness/non-separateness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness.

The presence/existence/acknowledgement of ‘I love you’, ‘You love me’, ‘We love each other’, ‘Developing a loving community’, or ‘I love myself’ without realizing unconditional love or compassion of selflessness/oneness/non-separateness doesn’t guarantee that one doesn’t hurt oneself or others out of ungratified desires/expectations, dissatisfaction, disappointment, defensiveness, offensiveness, pride, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, hurt, guilt, regret, grief, sorrow, fear and worry deriving from ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, expectation, judgment/action/reaction based on certain worldly social/cultural/religious/spiritual thinking/belief/values/practice.

Even without the presence/existence/acknowledgement of ‘I love you’, ‘You love me’, ‘We love each other’, ‘Developing a loving community’, or ‘I love myself’, but one doesn’t hurt oneself and others if the mind realizes selfless/nameless/formless/attributeless/desireless unconditional love or compassion, being free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance – Egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering.

Neither there is the idea/identification/acknowledgement/presence/existence/attribute of ‘I am compassionate’, or ‘I love you unconditionally’, or ‘I love all compassionately’, or ‘Developing a compassionate community’, or ‘I am being kind and compassionate towards myself’ in oneness/non-separateness/selflessness.

‘Building/developing a loving community’ is unnecessary when the minds are free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance, realizing compassion of selflessness/oneness/non-separateness, where none would hurt oneself or others, where there’s absence of the desire to give love and receive love, to attain/feel love, goodness, righteousness, positiveness and meaningfulness, to avoid lovelessness, badness, wrongfulness, negativeness and meaninglessness.

Just like drugs/medicines are useless/needless if there’s absence of sickness/injury. But still, some people hang onto drugs/medicines using them as a pleasurable enjoyment.

Desireless and dispassion leads to the realization of selfless compassion is LIBERATION in yoga/Buddhism, but it would be perceived by most passionate minds that are under the influence of ignorance and egoism as ‘lovelessness’, or ‘meaninglessness’, or ‘joylessness’, or ‘selfishness’, or ‘inhuman’, or ‘wrong and negative’. And hence, the idea of “Everyone needs love/Everyone needs to love one another/Everyone needs to give love and receive love/Without love, life is meaningless” is widely propagated in the world and empowering the passionate desire for love in everyone that directly/indirectly bring along the consequences of all kinds of suffering/’problems of humanity’ deriving from ungratified desires (lack of love, loveless, not enough love, unloved, not the love the way that it should be). That’s their freedom of thinking, belief, action and reaction. Out of love towards what they love, people would hurt anyone/anything that would hurt what they love. Out of desire/aspiration/intention/expectation for achieving/building/developing a world that they desire, that complies to their certain ideal of a world of ‘all good/positive/happiness and nothing bad/negative/unhappiness’, people would strive to achieve what they want to achieve and eliminate any obstructions/obstacles in their way to achieve their ‘desire’, at all costs.

The sun doesn’t think and feel ‘I love you’ or ‘I am compassionate’ and hence it gives light and heat and energy to the world ceaselessly.

The immune system in the body doesn’t think and feel ‘I love you’ or ‘I am compassionate’ and hence it protects the physical body from potential health risks until it breaks down.

The heart and the lungs don’t think and feel ‘I love you’ or ‘I am compassionate’ and hence they keep working all day all night giving life to and maintaining life of this physical body until they ceased functioning.

The plants don’t think and feel ‘I love you’ or ‘I am compassionate’ and hence they turn into food or nutrients or energy for the physical body to consume to be surviving.

‘Bondage of desire and passionate love’ is being perceived as something ‘meaningful, right, good and positive’ while ‘Liberation of desireless and dispassion’ is being perceived as something ‘meaningless, wrong, bad and negative’ for the worldly minded society, including many ‘yoga enthusiasts’.

Opening the mind by freeing the mind from being conditioned by certain worldly social/cultural/religious/spiritual thinking/belief/values/practice to allow the mind to inquire the truth of everything, to see the root cause of all kinds of suffering or ‘problems of humanity’ – Ignorance and the consequences of ignorance, is what yoga and meditation practice is about.

There’s nothing wrong with the idea of ‘I love you’, ‘You love me’, ‘We love each other’, ‘Developing a loving community’, or ‘I love myself’ existing in the world, and there’s nothing wrong either without any of these ideas present/existing under the manifestation of compassion, or selfless unconditional love.

If the mind insists on thinking and believing that “Without the idea/presence/existence/acknowledgement/propagation of ‘I love you’, ‘You love me’, ‘We love each other’, ‘Developing a loving community’, or ‘I love myself’ in the world in life, it would be so bad, wrong, negative, terrible, sad, piteous, meaningless and joyless,” then this mind is being ignorant towards itself is being conditioned by worldly social/cultural/religious/spiritual thinking/belief/values/practice, even if one has been ‘learning’/’studying’/’practicing’/’teaching’ yoga for some time or a long time.

“We need to give and show love to people and tell people ‘I love you’ so that they’ll know they are loved (by others/by so many people), so that they will feel love and have love, so that we can build/develop a loving community that love one another.” That’s widely propagated in the world, for the sake of love.

In yoga or Buddhism, that’s not freedom at all.

In yoga, the greatest gift is giving dhamma/wisdom that allow people to reflect/inquire the truth of everything and realize selflessness and compassion, be free from ignorance and egoism, be free from the suffering from endless passionate desire for love, or craving/longing for love and clinging onto love.

Do not blind-believing, blind-following, blind-practicing, blind-propagating, or blind-agreeing/disagreeing.

Be opened. Inquire. Reflect. Contemplate. Realize.

Realize unconditional selfless intentionless desireless dispassionate compassion.

Practitioner / Adhikari vs follower / disciple / worshiper / admirer / supporter

Those who truly want to practice yoga to free the mind from ignorance to know thyself, they need to know how to free the mind from the egoistic tendency of unwittingly becoming a passionate follower/disciple/worshiper/admirer/supporter.

Be a dispassionate ‘practitioner’ or ‘Adhikari‘ of the teachings of yoga, inquiring the truth of everything, including whatever the teachers/gurus/scriptures teach, attaining self-realization via self-effort and self-inquiry, and not to be a passionate ‘follower’, ‘disciple’, ‘worshiper’, ‘admirer’, or ‘supporter’ towards the teacher/guru/yogi/saint/sage, or the scriptures/teachings of yoga, or the stories of many great minds/teachers/gurus/yogis/saints/sages.

By following, or becoming a disciple of, or worshiping, or admiring, or supporting the teacher/guru/yogi/saint/sage, or the scriptures/teachings of yoga, or the stories of many great minds/teachers/gurus/yogis/saints/sages, and awaiting/requesting/expecting ‘answers’, or ‘blessings’, or ‘miracles’, or ‘transcendental experiences’ from the teacher/guru/yogi/saint/sage or from ‘God’, doesn’t free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance. There’s attachment that gives rise to the sense of separateness/duality between ‘I’ and ‘the teacher’, or ‘the guru’, or ‘the teachings’, or ‘the practice’, or ‘the experience’, or ‘the fruit of practice’.

Practically practicing the teachings of yoga in NOW, this very existence of the mind functioning perceiving a life existence of names and forms of cause and effect/impermanence/selflessness, of disciplining the mind, quieting the mind, purifying the mind, freeing the mind from egoistic worldly/spiritual attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, refraining the mind from going out through the sense organs chasing after the objects of the senses, renouncing worldly egoistic passions/desires/objects/activities/social interactions and connections, silencing the modification of the mind, and upon the annihilation of the veil of ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness completely, and knowing thyself – Selflessness/egolessness/’I’lessness, or YOGA of oneness, non-separateness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness, birthlessness, deathlessness, beginninglessness, endlessness, there’s no separateness of ‘practitioner/action of practice/fruit of the practice’ or between ‘I’ and what is not ‘I’ or ‘the perceiver and the perceived’ to be found in the selfless, nameless, formless, attributeless, birthless, deathless, beginningless, endless universal consciousness (Atman).

This is nothing to do with the worldly attachment/passionate love and ‘heroic’ ambition/aspiration of the egoistic thinking minds desire to be ‘saving the world’ by making/changing/influencing the world to be ‘a better place than what it is’, but just do one’s best focusing on freeing one’s mind from ignorance to attain self-realization, is the greatest and most efficient way to contribute to ‘a world free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance’, selflessly, desirelessly and intentionlessly, being free from disturbs, disappointment, dissatisfaction, hurts, offensiveness, anger, hatred, aggressiveness or violence to fight against what the mind dislikes and disagrees with, that the mind thinks and believes as ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘hurtful’, ‘negative’, ‘unjust’, ‘disappointing’ or ‘meaningless’.

Real teacher or guru doesn’t attract/recruit/accumulate ‘followers’, ‘disciples’, ‘worshipers’, ‘admirers’, or ‘supporters’. They are just being what they are, just like the sun, the air, the water, the earth and the space. They don’t even have any intention/aspiration/desire to be ‘teaching’/’sharing’/’helping’/’uplifting’ anyone, not to say to be ‘saving the world’ to make/change/influence the world to be ‘a place different from what it is’.

“He is extremely humble. He appears to be quite an ordinary man. He never advertises that he is a Sat-Guru or a knower of Brahman. He never says, “I am an illumined sage. I am an Avatara. I will give Mukti for many persons. I possess many Siddhis.” He is perfectly desireless. He has no craving for money or name and fame. He has no desire to establish cult or Ashram. He simply works for solidarity of the world and elevates people. He says, “I have neither followers nor disciples, neither possession nor Mutts of my own.” He has no attachment to any person or any object. He never tries to establish cult or Ashram. He is absolutely free from ‘I-ness’ or ‘mine-ness’. He never allows those around him to tell people that he got Siddhis, that he is a great Mahatma. He does not like to come in the lime-light of publicity. He always hides himself. If he becomes famous in a place, he leaves the place at once. If a man says, “I am a Mahatma, I am a realised soul, I am a Sat-Guru,” if his disciples advertise that their teacher is a Sat-Guru with many Siddhis, that he has exhibited many Siddhis, know that this man is an empty vessel that makes much noise. The Sruti emphatically declares “He who says ‘I know Brahman‘ does not know Brahman, he who says ‘I do not know Brahman‘ knows Brahman.” This world abounds with psuedo-Gurus. Beware of such persons. They exploit the innocent and credulous and throw them in the dark abyss. They will mislead people. It is like a blind man leading the blind. Siddhis keep a man far from God and God-realisation. Do not be carried away by the Siddhis of a man.” – Swami Sivananda

 

Jnana is the greatest purifier. There is no salvation without knowledge. Knowledge of Atman destroys ignorance, pain, sorrow and stops the wheel of births and deaths.

Attain this knowledge through Satsanga, service of the Guru, study of Vedantic books, hearing of Srutis, reflection and constant meditation.

Sorrow is for one who has the notion of self in the body, not for the sage who identifies himself with the all-blissful Atman.” – Swami Sivananda

 

“Neither charity, nor sacrifice, nor fame, nor fasting, nor begetting a good son, nor control of breath, nor victory over the enemy, nor the society of friends, nor Siddhis like Anima can stand in comparison with realisation of the Self.

You may cross the sea by walking or float in the air or support on hands the great mountain Maha Meru or drink poison like milk or eat fire like fried grains or fly in the sky or stand on fire or break iron or get wealth by the power of magic ointment. Yet can all these give you liberation?

You can become a king or Indra or a Sannyasin. You can stun others by Mantra-sakti or aim accurately or know the past, present and the future.

You can reduce anger by destroying lust or eradicating greed. Yet can all these help you in the attainment of liberation?

You might have conquered pride, delusion and envy. You might have dwelt in Brahma-loka or Vaikuntha-loka or Kailasa. Yet can all these stand in comparison with liberation? He is fit for liberation who regards all these as nothing.

You took bath in the Ganga, you did all the sixteen kinds of charity. You did crores of Japa. What is the use of all these things if you do not attain Self-realisation?

Can you acquire eternal bliss and supreme peace from the attainment of vast erudition or from possession of immense wealth or from the enjoyment of beautiful young ladies? No. The supreme undying bliss can be obtained only by realisation of the Self.

Who is wife? Who is son? Who are you? Wherefrom did you come? How wonderful is this Samsara? How are you related to one another? Think deeply on these matters.

Who are you? Who am I? Wherefrom have we come? Who is mother? Who is father? Think deeply on all these. Leave off this world which is a dream and seek the eternal.

Vairagya is the rein by which the uncontrollable mind is restrained. Ripe Vairagya is intense attachment to Atman bliss and strong dispassion for anything other than Atman.

If one considers even the position and happiness of Brahma as the dung of a cow, then only he has developed a real lasting Vairagya. Temporary fleeting dispassion is not Vairagya. It will not help the aspirant in the attainment of Self-realisation.

It is common to have dispassion for some particular objects by some cause or other. But by having dispassion for all objects at all times, one will get knowledge of the Self. You may get Atma-Jnana soon by the grace of the Guru, by devotion to him, and by practice of what he instructs.” – Swami Sivananda

 

“Life is short and fleeting like that drop of water on the lotus leaf. This mundane life is filled with egoism, delusion and diseases. When will you be free from all these? The deer falls a prey to the sense of sound; the elephant to that of touch; the moth to that of form; the fish to that of taste; and the bee to that of smell. But man falls a prey to all these five senses. Therefore how difficult it is for man to free itself from the clutches of these five senses and obtain liberation? When wells and ponds are full in rainy season, the water is muddy and not fit for drinking. In summer the water gets decreased and is sweet. So also when the mind is filled with Vasanas, it is clouded with Tamoguna. When it is free from sensual desires by the practice of dispassion it is filled with pure Sattva.” – Swami Sivananda

Admirable leader?

It’s common for most minds being unwittingly attracted to and generate admiration towards others with certain qualities of names and forms that one desires, likes and agrees with, that inspires oneself in certain ways, that appears to be admirable and inspirational for oneself. Most minds also want to equip oneself with certain qualities of names and forms to be able to inspire others, that would attract admiration from others.

For the minds that are free from ignorance and egoism, there’s neither admiration towards any qualities of names and forms that appear to be higher quality, superior, admirable or attractive, nor there’s longing to be attracting admiration from others by possessing certain qualities of names and forms that appear to be higher quality, superior, admirable or attractive. Though without any intention, or expectation, or longing to make oneself being admirable or inspirational to attract any admiration from others, or to inspire anyone, one allows others to perceive and react towards oneself the way that they perceive and react.

Many people would think and believe and promote that if someone wants to be doing something in this world to make the world ‘a better place’, one should do one’s best to be a highly admirable/inspirational person who can inspire and be admired by as many people as possible, in order to become ‘an admirable leader’ to be propagating one’s vision to ‘attract’/’recruit’/’leading’ many people to also ‘follow’/’adopt’/’practice’/’perform action according to’ one’s vision to make the world ‘a better place’. As most people would be ‘blindly’ listening to and following those whom they admired or attracted to very much, regardless of whether it’s something true, or not true.

In the path of yoga and Buddhism, it’s not like that at all. In any circumstances, none should be encouraged to ‘admire’ anyone, to ‘follow’/’adopt’/’practice’/’perform action according to’ any teachings or visions from anyone who portrays certain qualities of names and forms that the mind desires, likes, and agrees with, that the mind admires or falls in love with, but everyone must investigate and inquire the truth of everything, including all the teachings of yoga and Buddhism, to attain self-realization, to free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance.

If the minds are free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance through self-inquiry and self-realization by disciplining/purifying/silencing one’s mind, then there’s no need of anybody to be setting an intention/aspiration to be ‘an admirable leader’ to be attracting/recruiting/leading many others to ‘follow’/’adopt’/’practice’/’perform action according to’ a particular vision of making the world to be in a particular way that one desires, that one thinks and believes is ‘the way to a better world’, but without the need to be following any leaders, everyone who is free from ignorance will naturally stop generating unnecessary ‘problems’ or ‘unrest’ into the world, to be performing action, to live life, act and react selflessly in this world out of wisdom and compassion, without any intention, or aspiration, or desire, or ambition to make the world to be in any particular way, but allowing the world to be what it is, while accommodating and respecting everyone being what they are, having their own different ways of life/thinking/belief/practice/action/reaction.

It’s never about training or being ‘a leader with admirable charisma/quality’ that would be ‘attracting’/’recruiting’/’leading’ many other people to be ‘following’/’adopting’/’practicing’/’performing action according to’ certain egoistic thinking and beliefs or visions about ‘how the world should be like’ and leading other people to be making the world to be ‘the way that the mind thinks and believes how it should be’, where there are many different egoistic thinking and beliefs or visions existing in the world that desire ‘a world’ that are very different from one another, where all kinds of corruptions, conflicts, clashes, discrimination, hatred, oppression, intrusion, violence and unrest exist due to different leaders desire/aspire to make the world to be the way that they think and believe how it should be, to be ‘a world’ that they desire.

“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.” – Swami Sivananda

“Do not hoard disciples. Do not build ashrams.” – Swami Sivananda

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was never a ‘leader’ ‘leading’ a group of ‘followers’ who ‘followed’ his path, teachings, or disciplines. He taught, “Inquire the truth of everything. Discipline one’s mind. Purify one’s mind. Silent one’s mind. Liberate one’s mind from attachment. When there’s attachment towards ‘this worldly life existence’, one is not a ‘practitioner’. Do not blind-believing, blind-following, blind-preaching, blind-practicing, blind-agreeing/disagreeing.”

Without ‘leader’, what is ‘follower’ or ‘disciple’, and vice versa?

Approaching a teacher asking to be accepted as student of yoga

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You are left alone now.” – Swami Sivananda

The yoga class

Teaching yoga or practicing yoga is nothing to do with money, ‘fees’, or ‘donation’. No one can sell or buy yoga, or peace, or compassion, or wisdom, or liberation from suffering with any amount of money, or ‘fees’, or ‘donation’.

Meanwhile, running ‘yoga classes’ or ‘yoga courses’ that involve a lot of expenses/maintenance/labour/management/coordination requires money in the form of ‘fees’ or ‘donation’ for it to be happening. It doesn’t necessarily mean that if the money received is in the form of ‘donation’, it means ‘non-commercialized yoga’ or ‘authentic yoga’, or if the money received is in the form of ‘fees’, it means ‘commercialized yoga’ or ‘inauthentic yoga’. Such a simple understanding, but due to ignorance, many minds/people do not understand this.

Yoga classes/courses based on ‘donation’ without requesting a specific fees are not necessarily pure and authentic, or it’s being free from any form of ‘corruptions’. While yoga classes/courses required specific amount of fees are not necessarily impure, inauthentic, or corrupted.

People would perceive ‘yoga classes’ based on ‘donation’ or ‘small amount of fees’ that they think is ‘appropriate’ or ‘acceptable’ as ‘authentic yoga’ conducted by ‘compassionate’ yoga teachers, while ‘yoga classes’ required ‘certain amount of fees’ that they think is ‘inappropriate’ or ‘unacceptable’ as ‘inauthentic yoga’ conducted by ‘money minded’ yoga teachers.

Yoga students come to the yoga teacher to study yoga and seek guidance from the teacher and they give some fees/money to the teacher to support the teacher’s living is nothing to do with ‘commercial’ or ‘inauthenticity’. It’s like grown up working children give their parents some money regularly to support their parents’ living, there’s nothing wrong and nothing commercial. It’s a form of love, kindness, generosity, sharing, gratitude and gratefulness, even though the parents bring up the children out of love, without expecting anything in return. If the children grown up and are working, but only want to keep all that they earn for themselves, for they own living enjoyments and social expenses, and they refuse to support their own parents’ living, or those who are grown up but are lazy to work or spent all their earned money on non-essential things and enjoyments, couldn’t support their own living and need to depend on other people’s charity for living, not to say to support their parents’ living, then that is something ‘absurd’.

Many people who only want to pay very little ‘fees’ to attend ‘yoga classes’ or who prefer to attend ‘free yoga classes based on donation’ would think and expect that ‘yoga teachers’ should all be beggars to beg for donation, food, clothing and shelter on the street while giving ‘yoga classes’ for free or on donation basis. This type of ‘yoga classes’ is most probably unwittingly empowering ‘ignorance’ and supporting ‘corruption’, supporting people who would spend money generously on their personal worldly indulgence/enjoyment/social life activities, but would think and believe that it’s ‘wrong’ or ‘inappropriate’ to pay certain amount of fees to attend ‘yoga classes’ or ‘yoga courses’.

There are some people who already have a good financial support for their living, where they don’t need to depend on receiving any ‘fees’ or ‘donation’ from teaching or running ‘yoga classes’ as a form of charity coming from them to other people. That’s very good, but not many people are having such financial-free living condition. Many people need to somehow ‘make a living’ to support themselves and also maybe some other people under their care. If the basic living necessity is not available, people need to be spending time and energy to ‘make a living’ in order to ‘survive’, not to say to have the spare money, time and energy to ‘organize’ charity yoga classes for people who want to enjoy cheap or free yoga classes.

Meanwhile, there are those who think and believe that they are ‘highly spiritual beings’, would perceive receiving ‘money’ in the form of ‘fees’ for conducting ‘yoga classes’ or ‘yoga courses’ as a form of ‘evilness’, ‘wrongfulness’, ‘impurity’, ‘corruption’, ‘greed’, ‘down fall’, or ‘non-spiritual’, that ‘yoga classes’ or ‘spiritual activities’ shouldn’t be ‘tainted’ by ‘money’ or ‘fees’. They don’t mind receiving ‘donations’ from anyone, but they don’t want to get involved in ‘money matters’ personally. They don’t want to be physically touching any money or keeping any money under their names, or keeping any money close to their body or their ‘spiritual practice space’, but they need some other people who look after them to handle the money in the form of ‘donation’ that support their living and all kind of expenses.

Many good people who try to be good and do good and work very hard to make an honest living in this world are not exempted from the suffering of poverty or hunger/thirst and exploitation by others. People want to enjoy cheap goods, enjoyments, conveniences and services, and that’s how all kinds of exploitation started in this world of commercialism.

People who are busy in life need the existence of the convenience and service of shops/eateries, which rely on the people who devote their time, effort, attention and money into running shops/eateries to provide the convenience and service to the people while taking the risk of running business. The existence of shops/eateries also need to depend on other people who work or run business that provide everything from farming and harvesting to transportation and providing all kinds of shop, kitchen and dining equipment, that allow the shops to put goods on their shelves for people to buy and allow the eateries to put meals on the table for the people to consume. Even though it’s a business or work involved with money transactions, but still it’s a form of ‘convenience and service’ that benefits many people. If nobody interested in taking the risk of running a business and devoting their time, energy and money into starting a shop/eatery, or if nobody is involving in farming/harvesting/transportation/providing shop, kitchen and dining equipment, or food production is not available due to any natural/technical cause, people won’t be able to enjoy such convenience and service. It doesn’t mean that any form of ‘business’ involved with money transaction is ‘non-giving to the society’ or ‘non-compassionate’.

Compassionate actions are not necessarily have to be free from any involvement with ‘money’. Even when there are some good and kind people want to help other unfortunate people in this world, they also need to gather money in the form of donation/contribution/funding from somewhere in order to help other people. Selfless actions are also not necessarily have to be free from the involvement of ‘money’, it’s about non-attachment and non-identification towards one’s actions and the fruit of the actions. It doesn’t mean that when people are working and getting some monthly salary for living, or people who run business and getting some yearly profits for living, that their action of contributing their time, energy, attention, knowledge, skill or talent into their work or business is nothing to do with ‘selfless service’. If everyone doesn’t work or run any business, this society that builds on social economy that provides all kind of conveniences and services will collapse.

Any kinds of work, or duty and responsibility towards oneself and others, or business, can turn into a form of selfless service even when there are involvement of ‘money’, if people know what is performing actions without egoism. Volunteering work doesn’t necessarily means ‘selfless service’ when it’s done with attachment and identification. Non-expectation also doesn’t mean that ‘not receiving anything in return’. As all actions will bring the fruit of actions as it is, whether people have expectation, or not. Those who are free from expectation, they allow the fruit of actions to be what it is, it’s not about ‘I don’t want any fruit of actions after I performed actions’. That is ignorant understanding influenced by egoism of ‘I want to give without getting anything in return as it’s not selfless service anymore if I am getting something in return’.

People don’t really need to attend any ‘yoga classes’, or ‘yoga courses’, or ‘yoga retreats’ to be learning and practicing yoga, or to be peaceful, compassionate, wise, forgiving and be able to let go what the world categorize as ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, or ‘hurtful’. People can be attending many yoga classes and yoga courses regularly for many years, or teaching yoga for a long time, but still, the mind is not free from ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness, still being determined by worldly idea, thinking, belief and practice, and are under the influence of the desire of craving and aversion towards dualities and qualities of names and forms very much, as the mind still couldn’t go beyond the mind perception of the duality of ‘good and bad’, ‘right and wrong’, ‘positive and negative’ and ‘happiness and unhappiness, and hence, unwittingly chasing after what the mind categorizes as ‘goodness’, ‘rightfulness’, ‘positiveness’ and ‘happiness’, while rejecting what the mind categorizes as ‘badness’, ‘wrongfulness’, negativeness’ and ‘unhappiness’. The mind couldn’t see things as they are, or allow everything to be what they are, as they are. That’s nothing wrong, as the mind misunderstood the teaching of yoga about ‘positive thinking’. Many yoga enthusiasts, including ‘yoga teachers’, think and believe that it’s about influencing/making/changing everything to become ‘positive’ or ‘good’. But actually it’s merely about when the mind is over-powered by ‘negative thinking’, then the mind can cultivate positive thinking to counter negative thinking, and when the mind is free from negative thinking, there’s no need of positive thinking, as everything is just what they are, neither positive nor negative, neither good nor bad.

Although there’s nothing wrong with sincerely looking for a teacher to learn and practice yoga, to seek guidance of how to free the mind from ignorance and its by-products of egoism, impurities and restlessness – the root cause of suffering.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to think, believe, behave, act and react.

Contemplate on this, and be free.

Help oneself, love oneself, take care oneself

There are those who would lie and steal, and keep telling untrue pitiful stories to themselves and others to justify their own ignorance and ignorant life decision making and behavior and the consequences of their ignorance.

People don’t like to take responsibility for their ignorance and the consequences of their ignorance, but they like to tell themselves and other people about their pitiful life stories of how pitiful/helpless is their tragic and sympathy deserving difficult and challenging life conditions and situations in order to get other people’s sympathy, moral and financial support, but actually in truth, most of the difficulties and challenging life conditions and situations are deriving from their ignorant thinking/belief/behavior/decision making and their passionate lustful desires and greedy ambitions of living a passionate enjoyable comfortable lifestyle with big money spending high living expenses as well as having children and grandchildren that they couldn’t manage to support emotionally/financially, or to bring up properly with patience and the correct guidance, but the ignorance of themselves has become the children’s ‘role model’ of what they are becoming, of getting into financial debts, messy troubles and broken relationships with children at young age, where they don’t have the emotional/financial support, patience and correct guidance that their children need from the parents, and ‘out of desperation’, they would lie and steal and telling themselves and other people about untrue pitiful stories of themselves that they deserve to get sympathy, help, love, care and support from other people.

The grandchildren are unwittingly becoming exactly like their parents and grandparents, if this ignorance doesn’t stop, if these grandchildren don’t know how to think; if they don’t help themselves as they expect the deserving help from others; if they don’t love themselves as they expect the deserving love from others; if they don’t take care themselves as they expect the deserving care and support from others; but just being there in their most sympathy deserving look expecting sympathy, love, affection, care and support from other people, by ceaselessly telling and reminding themselves and others untrue pitiful stories about how much they deserve sympathy, love, affection, care and support from other people, they will become the same as their parents and their grandparents.

People who really want to ‘help’ others who are living with difficult and challenging life condition and situation, must be aware of this ignorant thinking, belief and behavior in most people.

Most of the time, people might think and believe that themselves are very sympathetic and compassionate people who are generously helping ‘those poor pitiful suffering people’, by showing people sympathy, help, love, affection, care and support that they think and believe that these people deserved to be getting from other people, but they are actually empowering the ignorance in people as well as in themselves.

Out of this ignorant sympathetic reaction, people keep telling the young children from broken family with financial difficulty that they are so pitiful, that they deserve sympathy, help, love, affection, care and support from other people, without knowing that many of these children would become the victims of people with selfish intention and get caught in young age childbearing, child marriage or sexual exploitation/abuse, because they are longing to receive ‘help’, ‘love’, ‘affection’, ‘care’ and ‘support’ emotionally and financially from other people.

If people truly want to help others (young children or adults) who are living with hard and challenging life conditions and situations to come out from that kind of difficult challenging life condition and situation, it’s to teach and guide these people towards liberation from ignorance, the root cause of suffering, that how they should learn to help themselves, to love themselves and to take care themselves by freeing themselves from ignorant thinking and behavior and the consequences of ignorance, without the ignorant idea or thinking of ‘these poor pitiful suffering people’ deserve to be receiving sympathy, or help, or love, or care, or support from other people.

While those who receive sympathy, help, love, care or support from other people need to learn how to be free from the ignorance of the thinking and belief of they should expect or they deserve sympathy, help, love, care and support from other people, and other people are ‘obliged’ to show them sympathy, help, love, care and support just because they think and believe that their life conditions and situations are somehow more difficult and challenging than many other people.

Many people would justify to themselves that “Out of desperation derived from having to live under difficult and challenging life conditions and situations, they think and believe that it’s okay to tell lies and steal and tell ‘as pitiful as possible’ untrue stories to get moral and financial help and support from other people that they think and believe that they deserve to be getting. And if they don’t get what they think they deserve to be getting, they’ll get disappointed, unhappy and angry, and when they are disappointed, unhappy and angry, they would do destructive things/actions that would hurt themselves and others, and they blame life and the world for their actions and reactions or behavior, as they think and believe that their destructive hurtful behavior is due to life and the world is being cruel and harsh on them.”

While other ignorant minds/people also empower that ignorant idea/thinking/belief about it’s because life and the world is being cruel and harsh on people, that’s why people would behave like that. “Oh, such pitiful people. They behave like that because life is so hard and cruel on them.”

That’s the huge ignorance that most minds/people who think themselves are ‘good and compassionate human beings’ don’t see in themselves.

One doesn’t need to tell lies and steal, or involve in activities that hurt oneself and others, and doesn’t need to behave in a destructive way towards oneself and/or others, no matter how hard and difficult life is, or how cruel and harsh the world is. It’s mere ignorance when people justify their self-destructive hurtful behavior as the result of a hard and difficult life that they have. Those who understand, they won’t empower this ignorance. Those who don’t understand, they would get offended by this teaching. And that’s their freedom of thinking, actions and reactions.

Untrained mind is being conditioned by remembrance of past experiences

The untrained minds are being conditioned and determined by the remembrance of the past desirable and undesirable, pleasant and unpleasant, happy and unhappy, or good and bad experiences to think, behave, desire, act and react in the present moment now, constantly missing and longing towards the past experiences that were desirable, pleasant, happy or good, while continuously being disturbed by the past experiences that were undesirable, unpleasant, unhappy or bad, influencing the relationships and interactions with the others in the present, as well as projecting/anticipating into the future longing for experiencing the similar desirable, pleasant, happy and good experiences, while rejecting towards experiencing the similar undesirable, unpleasant, unhappy and bad experiences, full of tension and anxiety derived from aversion and defensiveness or self-protection.

It’s not about trying to erase or forget all the past memories of all kinds of pleasant/unpleasant experiences, but it’s about the ability of being unattached towards all the past desirable/undesirable experiences and live in the present without being conditioned or determined by the past happy/unhappy experiences influencing one’s relationships and interactions with other beings in the present, being free from missing and craving towards something ‘nice’ that doesn’t exist in the present, being free from fear and aversion towards something ‘not nice’ whether it’s existing or non-existing in the present.

Many people who have been through broken relationships in the past, and are continuously being affected and disturbed by the past undesirable/unpleasant/unhappy/bad experiences of the broken relationships, will more or less be determined by the past experiences to influence how one thinks, behaves, desires, acts and reacts in the new relationship with somebody else in the present, full of tension and anxiety being over-powered by defensiveness/self-protection being in the new relationship. Oneself is not peaceful while generating unnecessary tension into the new relationship, for being unable to be relaxed and immersed into the new relationship with some other people in the present even when other people are being genuine and loving towards oneself. There’s no peace in this kind of relationship where one or both party is being conditioned or determined by the past undesirable relationship with some other people.

There’s this thinking in the mind, “Oh, I am a victim of other people’s selfish unloving and wrongful behavior. I was so nice and loving to the person in the relationship with me, but this is what I got in return. I am ill-treated. I am hurt. I am broken. I am vulnerable. That’s why I feel like this and behave like this. I deserved sympathy and empathy and loving kindness from other people. I need to learn how to protect myself from being hurt again.” This mind is not free, even though there might be many people think and believe that by showing sympathy and empathy and loving kindness towards this ‘suffering’ mind will relieve the pain in this mind, and this mind might feel ‘better’ and ‘loved by others’ via receiving sympathy and empathy and loving kindness from others, but it doesn’t take away the ignorance in this mind, unless the mind starts to see the truth of what is going on in the mind.

Some minds also try to redeem what they think they deserved in return for all their love and sacrifices that they had put out in their past broken relationship while being in the new relationship with somebody else. Some minds even redirect their frustration and anger that they had been accumulated from their past broken relationship towards the person in the present relationship with them.

Be free.

Wise vs intelligent

The minds that are intelligent, upon coming in contact with something, will analyze it based on the accumulated knowledge under the influence of a particular thinking and belief to apply judgment of right or wrong/true or untrue/good or bad/positive or negative, and followed by asserting agreement (towards what is corroborating with the thinking and belief) and disagreement (towards what is contradicting with the thinking and belief), and generating liking, admiration and support towards the agreeable, while generating disliking, disgust and oppose towards the disagreeable. Being attached onto and identifying with the accumulated knowledge or what the mind thinks it knows (even though there are many things are unknown to the mind), the mind doesn’t bother to inquire the truth of something agreeable or disagreeable, that either corroborates or contradicts with the accumulated knowledge under the influence of a particular thinking and belief in the mind.

The minds that are wise, upon coming in contact with something, will be aware of or seeing the thing as it is, without generating liking, admiration and support or disliking, disgust and oppose, being free from agreement and disagreement based on judgment deriving from analysis that is limited by the accumulated knowledge under the influence of a particular thinking and belief. Via insight that is free from attachment or identification towards the accumulated knowledge under the influence of any thinking and belief, the mind is opened to inquire the truth of everything, including what it knows and doesn’t know, whether it is something corroborating or contradicting with the accumulated knowledge under the influence of a particular thinking and belief in the mind.

Being intelligent doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, or is free from disturb, restlessness and suffering.

Being wise allows the mind to be free from disturb, restlessness and suffering.

What the mind agrees with or disagrees with, is not necessary the truth or not the truth.

Yoga and meditation practice serves the purpose to transform the egoistic intellectual thinking into selfless intuitive insight, provided if yoga and meditation practice is being performed with the correct understanding and attitude. Otherwise, even after many years of yoga and meditation practice also doesn’t lead the mind into silence or towards liberation from ignorance and suffering, but instead empowering restlessness, egoism and ignorance.

The path of renunciation

This teaching is for those who wish to attain liberation from suffering deriving from ignorance, egoism and impurities. Those who want to spend their entire life time into attaining a good and comfortable life and be contented with the attainment of a good and comfortable life don’t need this teaching.

For those who are not free yet, ‘friends’ or ‘association with worldly minded people’ can be one of the great obstacles on the path of yoga and meditation, as the impure minds will easily be influenced or determined by someone or something, unwittingly. For those who are free, they can mix freely into the society without being influenced or determined by anyone or anything.

One should not be overly confident with oneself being uninfluenced or undetermined by others, thinking that one is capable to juggle between worldly busy social life activities and one’s yoga practice, as the very advanced practitioners also would not guarantee that their minds can be completely free to mix into the society without being influenced at all by anything.

Living in the society with all the modern higher technologies, communications, conveniences, comforts and pleasurable enjoyments of the senses, there will be ‘friends’ who will advice you not to take yoga and meditation practice seriously and encourage you to develop all sorts of passionate desires and worldly ambitions, and taking your time and energy away from yoga and meditation practice of silencing the mind to be actively getting involve with social mingles, interactions and activities, pursuing worldly ambitions and the gratification of passionate desires.

There are also many other ‘spirituality/yoga enthusiasts’ nowadays might also give you many ‘other alternative’ suggestions other than the traditional practice of self-discipline or self-control, of renunciation and restraining the mind activities/modification.

Many people, including those who think they love yoga and meditation practice, aren’t aware of the downfall effect of egoistic attachment and identification towards a worldly life existence of putting importance and values into nurturing a ‘good and meaningful’ worldly life of worldly ambitions, passionate desires, social mingles, interactions and activities. To them, all these worldly passions, ideas, objects, values and activities are the normal, the right, the positive and meaningful way of life. That’s their freedom of thinking and belief.

For people who realize/know the root cause of all the worldly problems and suffering of mankind is nothing but the mind is functioning under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, and so, they renounce such ‘normal’, ‘good’ and ‘meaningful’ worldly life of names and forms by retracting from nurturing worldly ambitions, passionate desires, social mingles, interactions and activities, and divert the time, effort, energy and focus into silencing/annihilating the mind to attain liberation from the mind perception of such a fleeting embodied life existence. But, such a ‘noble’ way of life is being perceived by the worldly minded people as ‘abnormal’, ‘weird’, ‘wrong’, ‘negative’, or ‘meaningless’.

And hence, the worldly minded people, including many yoga and meditation enthusiasts would strongly disagree with and discourage about the practice of renunciation from the worldly life of family, friends, relatives, relationships and society/community, of social mingles, interactions and activities, or the practice of seclusion and solitude and silencing/annihilating the mind.

For the worldly minded people who attached onto and identified with the worldly life of mind perception of names and forms as ‘who they are’, it’s so wrong or crazy not to interact with or talk to other human beings. They can’t live for a day, or a few hours of not coming in contact with, not interacting with, or not talking to another human being. They will become crazy. They suffer from endless boredom and loneliness. They try to get involve in many physical or mental or verbal activities and interactions with other(s) to escape boredom and loneliness. They say this is ‘love’, and so, they have to be actively connected or interacting with ‘someone’ or ‘something’. Or else they will feel lack of love or absence of love in themselves, or in their life, or in the society/the world. If they go to attend ‘silent meditation retreat’, they would be so confused and disturbed by how come everyone keeps their head down, not looking at each other, not touching each other, not responding to other people’s ‘friendliness’, and not talking, working, playing, interacting or communicating with one another.

While some people also say, “Yoga is love.” and thus they share ‘love’ with many people ‘unlimitedly’, by getting into uncommitted lustful ‘love/intimate’ relationship with many people at the same time. “We love, comfort and support each other. We don’t get into committed couple relationship. We don’t want to possess each other. We don’t want to be selfish. Love is for all. We should be free to love/be intimate with as many people as we like.” so they said. That is not Yoga. It’s mere passion and lust. You will see married/unmarried ‘yoga teachers’ getting into love/intimate relationship with the yoga student or many different yoga students. There’s no self-restraint or self-control at all. And they justify that it’s yoga of love and sharing.

That’s why in the serious spiritual constitutions, people are not allowed to be touching/hugging one another, because most minds are not pure and are not free from lustful desire, craving and clinging. There will be many ‘corrupted misconducts’ arising here and there. But, the worldly minded people can’t understand this at all.

This observation of ‘non-touching’ or ‘non-hugging’ is strongly disagreed by the worldly minded ‘good and loving’ people, including some ‘yoga enthusiasts’ who believe in all human beings should somehow physically contacting with some other human beings or animals, constantly touching and hugging one another, to be giving and receiving ‘love’, or else people ‘could be sick’ or ‘even die’ from the absence of ‘love’ due to lack of touching or hugging from other human beings, so they think and believe, and so they become, being conditioned by that thinking. They might feel much better or even be ‘cured’ from certain sickness after being touched or hugged by some others. That’s their freedom of thinking and belief. But, it’s not the truth. Why? Those who are not conditioned by this thinking, won’t be sick or die from the absence of touching or hugging from some other beings. And no matter ‘touching’ or ‘hugging’, or not, everyone will have to face death eventually, alone, by oneself.

Buddha and many saints and sages renounced worldly life and relationships for many years, they didn’t die of isolation and solitude, but they attained enlightenment, or certain degrees of freedom from suffering. They walked the middle path, neither too tight nor too loose. It meant to be neither torturing the body nor pampering the body while performing practice or Sadhana of purifying and restraining the mind activities/thought-current/modification. One must know how to eat well and eat enough, and not taking extreme fasting or fussy about food variety or overly eating. One must know how to rest or sleep well, not too much or too little. One must know how to perform the Sadhana in balance, not too much or too little. One must know how to balance between resting and training the body and the mind. One must know how to conserve energy for performing Sadhana. One must know how to turn the outgoing mind inward by refraining from over-stimulation and restlessness of chasing after the objects of the senses. And thus the path of renunciation from worldly ambitions, passionate desires, social mingles, interactions and activities is very crucial to free the mind from over-stimulation and restlessness and to conserve energy for Sadhana.

Whether people want to be conditioned by particular thinking and belief, or not, it’s their freedom of choice. While yoga and meditation practice is to free the mind from being conditioned by any thinking or belief. As the truth is not a thinking or belief, it’s just what things are, or seeing things as they are.

Upon the realization of unconditional love, all beings are love itself. This is pure love or unconditional love, not the conditional passionate lustful loving affection under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities. One will never be lack of love. One doesn’t need to be receiving or sharing ‘love’ from someone, or something, or somewhere, to feel ‘love’, to have ‘love’, to accumulate ‘love’.

If the ‘love’ can be lacking, absent, increasing or decreasing, appearing or disappearing, that is conditional passionate ‘love’.

Many people, including yoga enthusiasts, say, “I have abundance of love. If you don’t have love or you are unloved, I’ll give or share with you some of my love, and you will have love and be loved.”
Real yoga practitioners or yoga teachers say, “You are love itself. You just need to realize this. You don’t need love from me or anyone or God, to make you feel loved or have love.”

The greatest effort and true contribution one can give to the world for the sake of humanity, is working diligently to attain self-realization through transcending the mind and its modification of a worldly life existence by limiting or restraining the mind from association with worldly objects, ideas, thinking, belief, values and activities, or human beings who attached strongly onto all these worldly names and forms.

Be very patient, without any expectation to realize anything. After some time being isolated from all these worldly names and forms, the mind starts to realize the ‘unrealistic’ of the worldly life existence of all those names and forms, thinking, belief and behavior. Though be vigilant. There might be some practitioners who haven’t realize anything even though they practice renunciation for some time, they would become more passionate and lustful than they were before, after a few years being ‘refrained’ from worldly ideas, objects, activities, interactions and beings. This is because they are lack of the foundation of Yama, Niyama, Viveka, Vairagya, Shatsampat and Mumukshutva.

Before the mind attains final dissolution/disintegration, it’s utmost important to reduce or minimize or refrain from coming in contact with worldly minded passionate people or ‘good friends’ who would pull you away from the path of silencing the mind, but encourage you to put importance into stimulating your mind into endless restlessness, passion, anger, lust, desires, dissatisfaction, disappointment, pride and heroism, by nurturing endless worldly ambitions and passionate desires, and engaging in social mingles, interactions and activities.

A good and comfortable life condition also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance, egoism and impurities, and all kinds of painful sorrow, fear, or suffering. Advanced or developed countries endowed with higher education opportunity and higher technologies also doesn’t guarantee the people’s mind or thinking are free from selfishness, fear, discrimination, racism, anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, bias, violence, crime, corruption, exploitation, or be free from conflicts or wars. Even among the so called spiritual or morality emphasized constitutions also are not free from such impurities due to the great influence of ignorance and egoism.

Contemplate on this, if one really wants more peace and harmony in the world –

Those who are able to ‘let go’ the world, can do more work for the world efficiently, out of compassion, in peace, without attachment, identification, craving/aversion, judgment or expectation. Those who passionately ‘love’ the world very much and couldn’t let go the world, as they think and believe that it is selfish and wrong to ‘not care’ for the world that is not the way that they like it to be, and out of frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurt, fear, anger and hatred towards what is happening in the world that they don’t like, don’t want and don’t agree with, that they think is bad or wrong, they can’t really help the world to be better or more peaceful, as they generate so much tension/impurities in themselves and into the environment, even though they try to perform ‘good and righteous’ actions that they think and strongly believe that are ‘benefiting’ or ‘helping’ the world.

What’s the point of provoking other people’s anger and hatred through social media and some other platforms so that all those mentally and emotionally disturbed, angry and hating people can support our cause of “Trying to bring ‘goodness, peace and harmony’ into the world?” Or, perhaps, bringing ‘goodness, peace and harmony’ into the world is not our intention/goal at all, but merely to get enough supporters to gratify our desire of achieving a ‘perfect’ world that we prefer, the way that we like it to be, even if it’s achieved by creating more disturbs, anger and hatred in the society towards the things that we don’t like and don’t want, in order to get the supports that we need to make the world to be the way that we like it to be and not to be the way that we don’t want it to be.

Just like being disagreeable and angry with the parents who discipline/punish their children out of disagreement and anger, and we want to discipline/punish these parents for disciplining/punishing their children out of being disagreeable and angry with their children?

The sun, the moon, all the planets, the water, the earth, the air/wind, the space don’t interfere with one another, although unintentionally/unwittingly, they are influencing or inter-related to one another. If there is individual-will of egoism in them to ‘interfere’ or ‘control’ or ‘over-power’ each other, the universe can’t be here at all. “I want the universe to be like this.” “No. I want the universe to be like that.” “NO. I want the universe to be the way that I think it should be!”

It’s everyone’s freedom whether to practice yoga and meditation, or not, and what they want to do with their life existence of the body and mind.

We’ll keep hurting everyone if we still don’t understand

When we were young, we behaved in the way that hurt our parents, because we didn’t understand.

When we started a relationship, we behaved in the way that hurt the person in the relationship with us, because we didn’t understand.

When we started a family with children, we behaved in the way that hurt our children, because we didn’t understand.

When we live among the society and move around in the world, we behave in the way that hurt others in the society in the world, because we didn’t understand.

Above all, we constantly behaved in the way that hurt ourselves, because we didn’t understand.

Wittingly or unwittingly, we constantly hurt ourselves and others, regardless those whom we thought we love or hate, out of pride, self-identity, self-image, worldly ambitions, spiritual ambitions, desires of craving and aversion, likes and dislikes, disagreement, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, frustration, agitation, depression, grief, passionate love, lust, hurt, animosity, insecurity, doubt, discrimination, expectation, impatience, intolerance, humiliation, non-accommodating, ill-will, fear and worry, and etc.

If we still don’t understand, we will continue to hurt ourselves and everyone whom directly or indirectly coming in contact with us and the consequences of our ignorant selfish behavior, until the last breath of this life existence.

Accumulating all kinds of worldly knowledge in the world that allows us to be knowledgeable and skillful to be doing something in life and enhancing the quality of life, or creating/inventing something with higher technologies that is ecological or environmental friendly, also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free from all these ignorance, egoism and impurities.

One naturally stops hurting oneself and other(s) upon the realization of purity (free from impurities), wisdom (free from ignorance), selflessness (free from egoism) and compassion (dispassionate unconditional love), regardless how much and what type of worldly knowledge one has been accumulating, good and bad condition of the world, pleasant and unpleasant life experiences, easy or difficult life condition, good and bad condition of the physical body, all kinds of mind perception of names and forms, achievements and non-achievements, and so on.

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.

Love all beings and things as they are

If one wants to know yoga, or wants to practice yoga, or wants to be free from all sorts of suffering of unhappiness and restlessness of dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, anger, hatred, hurts, guilt, fear, worry, grief, painful sorrow, and etc, one can contemplate on this teaching, if one wants.

Minds that are free from suffering, are being free from ignorance and egoism. These minds don’t fall in love with beings or things in this world no matter how good, pleasant, charming and attractive they appear to be, but merely being in peace and harmony while sharing this space of impermanent existence of names and forms with all beings and things out of wisdom and compassion, with correct understanding of the impermanent and selfless nature of all the names and forms in this world under the influence of ignorance and egoism, without expecting/wishing all beings or things have to be the way that the worldly minds would like them to be, but allowing all and everything to be what they are, as they are, even if they are not perfect, or not as good as how the worldly minds would like them to be.

These liberated egoless minds might or might not perform actions out of selflessness and compassion that would benefit the world, without any attachment, identification, craving/aversion, possessiveness, discrimination, judgment and expectation. There’s no fear, worry, sorrow, grief, dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, anger, hatred, hurt, violence, ill-will, and etc, towards beings, things and happenings that are not necessarily the way that the worldly minds would like them to be. There’s no expectation that all other beings must also be like them to be selfless and compassionate to perform actions that would benefit the world. There’s no expectation that all other beings would not perform actions that would harm the world. There’s no expectation that the world has to be all good and nothing bad after they have performed actions that would benefit the world. They are peaceful as they are, while living, moving and performing actions in the world, being undetermined by their actions and the fruit of their actions, or the impermanent good and bad condition of the world.

Contemplate on these, and be free –

Do one’s best to perform actions that one thinks and believes are good and beneficial to the world out of compassion, but let it go instantly. Do not expect the world has to be all good and nothing bad, or there should be more good and less bad. Without the ‘I’ and possessiveness and desire, “Love the world, as it is, whether in good condition or in bad condition.” instead of “I love the world and I want the world to be like this and not like that.”

Do one’s best to maintain the good health of this physical body out of compassion, without expectation that the body has to be all good and nothing bad. Without the ‘I’ and possessiveness and desire, “Love this body, as it is, whether in good health or in sickness.” instead of “I love my body and I want my body to be like this and not like that.”

Do one’s best to maintain the good relationship with everyone whom we love, and appreciate things that we love, without expectation that all the relationships with everyone whom we love and things that we love have to be all good and nothing bad. Without the ‘I’ and possessiveness and desire, “Love all and everything as they are, whether they are the way that the mind would like them to be, or not.” instead of “I love everyone and everything, and I want everyone and everything to be like this and not like that.”

Those who don’t know or don’t understand this, would generate more unnecessary disturbs or disharmony in themselves and into the world, out of their ‘love’ towards the world, beings or things that they ‘love’ very much, under good or bad intention, whether aware or unaware.

Be free.

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.’

How to renounce worldly life?

It depends on what does ‘worldly life’ means to different people. Different people give different meanings towards life existence and have different ways of life. If a particular ‘worldly life’ having a particular meaning with a particular way of life under the influence of a particular thinking and belief and values would lead the mind away from peace and harmony, or would lead the mind towards restlessness and unnecessary affliction, then one can take consideration to renounce the existing way of life under the influence of a particular thinking and belief and practice or behavior, to adopt a different way of life or changing the habitual mind behavior pattern, that would lead the mind towards unconditional peace and harmony, and have less or absence of restlessness and unnecessary affliction.

For some, one’s way of life is fine but there are too many unnecessary disturbance or distraction or difficulties that are energy, time and space consuming coming from the surrounding environment of people, activities and happenings, that generate great obstacle on the path of purifying and quieting the restless mind, then one can also take consideration of stepping back from coming in contact with all these worldly affairs and objects of names and forms, to allow the mind has the energy, time and space to focus on the practice.

Renouncing worldly life doesn’t mean that one is living outside the worldly minded society, to be alone in the wild. As even being alone in the wild, living in a simple and basic condition, it doesn’t guarantee that the mind will be or is peaceful, or be free from disturbance, restlessness and suffering due to ignorance, egoism and impurities.

It doesn’t mean that one needs to be in a space or place that is free from ‘worldly’ or ‘non-spiritual’ people and lives among a ‘non-worldly’ but ‘spiritual’ community, to be engaging in ‘non-worldly’ but ‘spiritual’ activities, like monks and nuns.

It also doesn’t mean that one abandons one’s worldly duties and responsibilities, not working to make a living to support one’s life and those under one’s care, but to live on the charity of others. Unless one’s worldly duties and responsibilities have come to an end, such as being free from looking after old parents or young children.

It’s about living in the world among the society as we are, no matter where and how we are and how is the environment, performing all our duties and responsibilities towards oneself and others under one’s care out of compassion, making an honest living that supports oneself and those under one’s care, but without attachment or identification towards any worldly social and cultural thinking and belief and practice or behavior, being free from egoism of passionate clinging onto worldly objects of names and forms, personal and community attachment and identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation that based on particular worldly thinking, belief and values, while minimizing, reducing and restricting worldly social networking, interactions and activities and the accumulation of social connections and relationships, observing maximum seclusion and solitude while living and moving in the society among the worldly minded, without being affected or disturbed or determined by all the pleasant and unpleasant events or happenings in the world, without being affected or influenced by the worldly social and cultural thinking and belief and practice or behavior.

It’s renouncing or abandoning egoism and impurities.

It’s renouncing the passionate desires of craving and aversion, the attachment and identification with worldly social and cultural thinking, belief, values and habitual behavior pattern of judgment and expectation based on those thinking, belief and values. At the same time, respecting others to be what they are, to have their own different thinking, belief and values, and to behave, act and react as they are.

It’s going beyond all the impermanent qualities of names and forms of good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, pleasure and displeasure, pleasantness and unpleasantness, gain and loss, success and failure, praise and condemn, superiority and inferiority, achievement and non-achievement, auspiciousness and inauspiciousness, meaningfulness and meaninglessness, and so on.

It’s non-attachment and non-identification towards all actions and the fruit of actions. Performing all actions, duties and responsibilities out of wisdom and compassion, and allowing the fruit of actions to be what it is, being undetermined or uninfluenced by the actions and the fruit of actions.

If one can only find peace outside the worldly minded society, void of duties and responsibilities, being isolated from the worldly minded society that is functioning under ignorance, egoism and impurities, but then, while being in the world, living or moving among the worldly minded society and perceiving all the impermanent names and forms through the senses, one couldn’t remain equanimous, being disturbed or determined or influenced by the unpleasant, undesirable and disagreeable events or happenings or disturbance deriving from attachment towards the mind perception of names and forms, of the worldly social and cultural thinking, belief and practice or behavior that are under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, and the consequences of that, then one hasn’t realize the truth yet, or one hasn’t realize yoga.

Live in the world but not let the world live in you.

It’s the mental renunciation from worldly thinking and belief and habitual action and reaction under the influence of egoism. One can live and move in the world, but not let the world influence or determine the state of the mind. It’s the state of the mind of how the mind reacts towards all the perception of names and forms, being undisturbed and remain equanimous, while performing necessary actions, duties and responsibilities towards oneself and/or others under one’s care. The well-trained mind is disinterested in worldly objects and affairs, while living and moving in the world. It is free from passionate clinging and desire towards worldly objects and affairs. It doesn’t chase after the object of names and forms of the senses to gratify desire, as it is desireless.

Those who are peaceful and remain equanimous under any difficult, unpleasant, undesirable and disagreeable worldly conditions or circumstances, are true yogis.

Have peace by taming the outgoing restless mind and annihilating ignorance and egoism and impurities, not by controlling or changing the mind perception of an impermanent world of names and forms to be the way that the ego expects or likes it to be.

If the mind is super sensitive and easily be disturbed or distracted by the mind perception of names and forms of worldly objects and affairs, as there’s no strong foundation of non-attachment towards the mind perception of names and forms, then it would be better for this mind to move away from the society for a prolonged period of time, to minimize as much as possible the coming in contact with worldly affairs and objects of names and forms, to allow the mind to be free from unnecessary disturbance and distraction to conserve energy and to turn the mind inward for self-introspection or self-inquiry. Until the mind develops a strong foundation of dispassion and non-attachment (which will be ‘tested’ while living in the world), then this mind can live and move among the worldly minded society and coming in contact with ceaseless inputs or impressions of impermanent names and forms, but the mind is undisturbed or uninfluenced by all these names and forms.

Be free.

Sympathetic minds without wisdom

Many years ago in India, there are many pitiful beggars everywhere. Most of them are ‘working’ under the control of many different syndicates.

Many of them are small boys and girls from toddlers to pre-teens, and also some young girls or young women carrying baby in their arms. Sometimes there are old women as well. These small children and small babies, young girls, young women and old women ‘look’ extremely pitiful in their dirty worn-out clothing with new and old scars and wounds on their bodies or even partially ‘handicapped’ that most probably are being inflicted intentionally by the syndicates. The young girls or young women with the small babies and the old women look hungry, under nourished, tired and so sad.

A few of them will come to you with their piteous sad tearful eyes and hungry face, with their heads wobbling side to side, and they gently tapping your arms or pulling your sleeves, and cry out ‘Paisa, paisa, paisa…’

Out of sympathy and righteousness, you think you should give them what you think you can afford to give to them. And the moment you hand out something, either food or money or objects, to them, immediately there will be another ten or twenty or thirty of them running towards you, surrounding you making a thick human wall separating you and the onlookers, and also wobbling their heads, tapping your arms and pulling your sleeves and shirt, while pushing their bodies squeezing your body until you feel that you can’t breathe.

If you still have no idea of what is going on, and out of helpless sympathy, you tell them with your great sadness that you couldn’t help all of them, they’ll keep begging you until you give in and give everything that you have on your body. They won’t let you go easily. Unless there are police alert and came to your rescue. Or worst, even some of your valuables would be stolen in those chaos moments without your awareness.

If you start to feel intimidated and ask them to go away to leave you alone and try to run away from them, they will run after you, and attack you verbally by cursing at you, and even attack you physically by pinching you or spitting on you or throwing stones towards you.

This is the consequences of ignorant sympathy without wisdom. It’s nothing to do with compassion out of wisdom.

Those who are compassionate are free from this kind of ignorant sympathy without wisdom. They would ignore these syndicates controlled beggars. As they know if they give something to these beggars out of sympathy, it’s definitely not going to help them to be free from the syndicates, but it will be supporting and empowering the existence of such syndicates. It encourages the syndicates to exploit and abuse more toddlers, young children, young girls, young women and old women. Most of them are being drugged, or being threatened, or even being abducted from their family and home to put them on the streets as beggars and they have no freewill but to give all the begged money to the syndicates to avoid being beaten or punished in exchange for shelter and food, and lots of them are being intentionally partially blinded or amputated to get the effect of ‘piteous’ and ‘sympathy deserving’ look. It’s a ridiculous terrible thing that might still happening somewhere.

Some of them are not begging under the control of syndicates, but they are being abused and forced by their own parents or relatives to go out begging on the streets. And some of them, are out of their own freewill.

Sometimes there are old men who look so hungry, sad and pitiful come to beg you for money. You feel so sympathy and give them some money. They took the money and go straight to the liquor shop to get their fix, and they got drunk, either they become unconsciousness for many hours, or they would fight with each other, or they go back home and behave violently towards their wives and children under the influence of alcohol.

Those who truly practice yoga, or have the basic wisdom of humanity, they will not support or encourage such activities out of such ignorant sympathy. A lot of time, out of wisdom and compassion, you have to say no. And that’s not cruel at all. It’s ignorance that make the mind thinks and believes that it’s cruel and wrong to not show sympathy towards such ‘pitiful’ beings, regardless human or animals.

You will see signs in India everywhere, telling people do not encourage begging and do not give anything to the beggars.

It’s the same as there are many people have great love and affection towards particular animals, especially those animals that are ‘cute’ looking, that enjoy being pet and fed by people, and out of ‘love’, people want to possess them to keep them as pet, to show affection to them and look after them. Some even treat the animals or their pets more loving and caring than towards their own family members or their parents or their children. When they think other people don’t show any particular interest or ‘respect’ or ‘proper treatment’ towards the animals that they love very much, they would feel greatly disturbed or offended. In order to protect the animals that they love very much from other animals’ or human’s threats or intimidation, they would hurt other animals or human that they think are threatening or intimidating the animals that they love very much. Out of love and affection towards animals, people keep them, feed them, pet them, pamper them, and keep them away from any threats. It’s like well-pampered and protected children growing up without knowing how to be independent or to survive by themselves. This is ignorance. This is not yoga or yoga practice.

Another example, children who like to eat sweets and drink sweetened soft-drinks everyday. If the children don’t get their sugar fix on time, the way that they like it to be, they will be very unhappy and cry and shout and do things that would hurt themselves. If out of sympathetic love and affection towards the children, you will want to give them what they want, so that they will be happy and stop crying or hurting themselves, but in fact, you are responsible for supporting and empowering their ignorance, and they will suffer for their consequences of their ignorance very much. If out of compassion, you do not give them what they want, and let them be unhappy and throw tantrum, but at the same time, allowing them to learn and understand the damaging effects of consuming sweets and sweetened soft-drinks regularly. And this will help them to avoid unnecessary painful suffering later, or maybe, to suffer less.

Be kind towards other beings and appreciate all beings and objects out of compassion with wisdom, not out of ignorant passionate love and sympathy.

Yoga teachers who are wise and compassionate do not try to please the yoga students by giving them what they like and want, or telling them what they like and love to hear. But out of compassion, to guide them to be free from ignorance, by giving them the teachings and practice that are not necessarily what they expect it to be, that is not necessarily what they like or can agree with. Out of ignorance, they might be dissatisfied and unhappy about it, but it gives them the precious opportunity to come in contact with the truth of what is going on in their minds, and allows them to learn to see the ignorance and egoism in their minds, and if they realize the ignorance and egoism in themselves, out of their own freewill, they may or may not want to work diligently to free their minds from ignorance and egoism, and that is their freedom. The teachers cannot be there for them all the time, watching their practice, to discipline them, to tell them do this or don’t do that. But the teachers allow the students to learn to become their own teachers and develop correct understanding and self-independence, out of their own freewill, self-awareness, self-discipline and self-control, they perform their own practice to purify and quiet their minds, and through self-inquiry and silencing the mind to attain self-realization of the truth, and be free.

Contemplate on this and be free.

Missing someone or something or somewhere that we like and love?

The mind that is practicing yoga is free from attachment, clinging or craving, it doesn’t miss anyone or anything or anywhere.

Yoga practitioners who still always or occasionally feel missing someone or something or somewhere that they like and love very much, that is not here or unavailable or absent in the present, know that it’s a by-product of egoistic passionate desire of attachment, clinging or craving.

Miss seeing or being with someone. Miss doing something. Miss having something. Miss being somewhere. Miss seeing something. Miss hearing something. Miss smelling something. Miss tasting something. Miss feeling something. Miss thinking something.

Many people, including yoga practitioners, would think that yoga is about love, and believe that if we like and love someone or something or somewhere, if we appreciate someone or something or somewhere, we should feel that we miss them when they are in a distance, or out of sight, or unavailable, or absent, that we should think about them a lot, and we would worry about people and things and places that we like and love very much. We would wish to see or be with those whom we miss, or have the thing that we miss, or do the thing that we miss, or be at the place that we miss. That is what most minds that are full of passion, enthusiasm and love, do naturally. There’s nothing wrong with that, just that it’s not what yoga and yoga practice is about.

The love that is mentioned in the teaching of yoga, is unconditional love, or compassionate love, or love without attachment, that is free from attachment, clinging or craving and ‘missingness’.

Missing someone or something or somewhere is the manifestation of attachment, clinging or craving towards what the egoistic mind likes and wants, it’s nothing to do with being kind and compassionate towards all living beings and non-living objects that are impermanent.

So, next time if we feel missing someone or something or somewhere that we like and love, then know that it’s just a manifestation of egoistic desire of attachment, clinging and craving. If we don’t get this or don’t understand this, then we are not practicing yoga even though we might be doing or teaching yoga everyday for many years. If we got this or understood this, then without judgment, we start practice letting go of attachment or practice detachment.

Doesn’t miss anyone or anything or anywhere, doesn’t mean that we don’t like or don’t love or don’t appreciate anyone, or anything, or anywhere. Just that our liking and love and appreciation towards everyone, everything and everywhere is without attachment, clinging or craving.

Contemplate on this and be free.

Teach the children to accept and love themselves as they are

If we want to help to build a more peaceful and compassionate society, it’s very important to have young generations that are selfless, peaceful, wise and compassionate, and hence, how the parents or caretakers and the influence of the surrounding environment for the children growing up to be adults/leaders that are endowed with awareness, self-discipline, self-control, independence, truthfulness, honesty, peace, wisdom and compassion is very crucial.

We need to teach the children how to accept and love themselves as they are, to develop awareness, independence, self-discipline and self-control, to inquire the truth of everything, to realize the truth of impermanence and selflessness, to be free from craving and aversion, to have unconditional peace and compassion, so that they don’t need to depend on the qualities of names and forms that are impermanent to be who they are. They don’t need to depend on receiving other people’s love, kindness, acknowledgement, compliments, supports, friendships, relationships and companionship, or depending on a wishful desirable perfect world, to be who they are, to be proud, to be confident, to feel meaningful, to be happy, and to perform actions that are wholesome to themselves and others, out of free-will, out of compassion towards oneself and others, without attachment or identification towards the actions and the result of the actions to be who they are.

They know what are their ability and limitation. They are not defined by their ability and limitation to be who they are. They do their best to achieve what they want to achieve, but they have no attachment or identification towards the ability or limitation, the achievement or non-achievement. They allow other people to think, to judge, to compare, to expect, to like and dislike, to agree and disagree with towards their ability and limitation, but they are not affected or defined by other people’s thinking, judgment, comparison, expectation, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements.

Being free from pride and arrogance, they know how to take consideration towards other people’s advice, but without taking other people’s advice blindly, and they know how to make use of the opportunity that is available to make decision and perform actions that they think are the best, without attachment or expectation towards the outcome of the decision made and the actions performed.

They can work in a group, cooperating with all levels and respecting all levels as equally important, without the sense of superiority or inferiority, knowing that the entire system requires every levels to work together for it to be functioning, but at the same time, they can work independently as well, when cooperation from others is not available.

The society will naturally have more peace and harmony by having less personal, family, relationship, social, political and religious problems if the children grow up to be adults/leaders in the society who are endowed with peace, wisdom and compassion, being free from ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Unfortunately, most people who became parents are not free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, and are being conditioned and influenced by worldly, cultural, social and religious thinking and belief to live their life and how they bring up their children. Many children grow up to be adults/leaders living in the society with some sorts of psychological issues and behavior problems, full of discrimination, pride, arrogance, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, selfishness, aggression, violence, corruption, untruthfulness, dishonesty, offensiveness, defensiveness, animosity, depression, low self-esteem, hurts, regret, guilt, fear and worry. And then, when they try to runaway from or cover up what they think is not good or bad or negative or imperfect about themselves, that they don’t like about themselves, that they don’t want any others to know about it, they might create further and deeper problems for themselves and others, in their life and relationships, and in the society.

This is due to many parenting are influenced by the worldly, cultural, social and religious thinking and belief that emphasizing on empowering the ego of the children to boost their self-esteem or self-confidence or self-image by giving them praise and compliment and rewards to motivate and encourage them to be what the parents expect them to be and by giving them criticism and threat and punishment to discourage them to be what the parents don’t want them to be, telling them that they need to do well and be good but also always be better and better, so that they can please other people, to attain praise and compliment, love, support, approval, agreement, acknowledgement and friendship or relationship from others to be who they are.

Whether they are aware of unaware of it, many parents bring up their children by emphasizing on the empowerment of the worldly egoistic nature with great attachment and identification towards the qualities of names and forms, to be somebody that the children and their parents and other people would be proud of. This empowerment of egoism generates separateness and discrimination, that give rise to many personal, family, relationship and social problems in one’s life and in the society.

If children start early to develop correct understanding towards the thinking and behavior pattern, actions and reactions, craving and aversion, feelings and emotions, all sorts of mind activities and impurities, the ego and egoism, and train to eradicate egoistic thinking and behavior that give rise to restlessness and the impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, corruption, untruthfulness, dishonesty, violence, animosity, offensiveness, defensiveness, hurts, regret, guilt, fear and worry, they can be kind and compassionate towards other beings, but without expecting or craving for love and kindness and appreciation from other people in return, without clinging onto other people’s love and kindness and appreciation to be who they are.

Children growing up suffering from low self-esteem is because of the parents make them think and believe that they have to be in certain ways and achieve certain qualities, in order to be accepted and be loved by their parents and other people. They were told that they don’t deserve love and they shouldn’t love themselves if they are not good enough, that they shouldn’t accept themselves as they are, as they need to be better and better, and never stop being better. There will never a point that they are good enough so that they can accept and love themselves, as they are. Because the parents are so afraid that their children will stop improving themselves if they think they are good enough. And so, the parents make sure that their children never think that they are good enough.

When these children couldn’t be in certain ways or achieve certain qualities, their parents will show dissatisfaction, disappointment and aggressiveness towards them, and this make them think and believe that they are not good enough, that they don’t deserve acceptance and love from their parents and other people, or even from themselves. They don’t know how to love themselves and they also don’t know how to accept or love other people as they are, as they will also be like their parents, that they will also have expectation towards other people to meet up with their expectation towards other people, that they have to be in certain ways and achieve certain qualities, to be good enough, but they will never be good enough, as they need to be better and better.

If the children grow up knowing how to accept and love themselves as they are, unconditionally, they will always accept and love themselves as they are, regardless they are being in the way that their parents or other people expect them to be, or not, and whether they achieve the qualities that their parents and other people expect them to achieve, or not. And they will also know how to accept and love other people as they are, without expecting other people have to be the way that they think they should be, or to achieve certain qualities that they like and agree with.

It’s not easy to guide children. Parents or caretakers who devote their time, effort, patience, love and acceptance towards the children unconditionally, is a great yoga practice. They don’t need to be regularly doing some forms of yoga exercise, or breathing exercise, or chanting and prayer, or ritual, or to call themselves yoga practitioners or yogis, but by nurturing young children to grow up becoming responsible, peaceful and compassionate members of the family and the society, without egoism of attachment, identification and expectation, just do their best, and let go of the outcome, allowing the children to learn and evolve as they are, and love them as they are, unconditionally, is a great yoga practice and great contribution to humanity.

Be free.

Expectation from the yoga students towards the yoga teachers

“How come the teacher didn’t say anything about whether my execution is good or not, or whether I’m doing the postures and movements right, or not?”

In most of the “yoga classes” (yoga asana exercise classes), the teacher or the instructor will go around and adjusting the body of the students, correcting their poses and movements, and telling them whether they are good and whether they are doing it right, and constantly give encouragement to them to try harder, to do something that they don’t want to do, or are not comfortable doing, or what they think they can’t do. And of course, there’s nothing wrong with that.

In the yoga class of learning and practicing yoga to eliminate ignorance and egoism to free the mind from suffering, the teacher seldom or does not go around adjusting or correcting their physical positions or movements, or give them appraisement whether they are good, or not, whether they are doing it right, or not. Because how they look in the positions or how well they execute the movements are irrelevant towards the elimination of ignorance and egoism to free the mind from suffering.

Wisdom and compassion and the ability to let go and forgive, is nothing to do with making the body more strong and flexible to be able to perform many yoga asana poses beautifully or to mastering the skill to perform the yoga poses. It’s about putting the body in certain positions within the ability and comfort of the physical body and holding the positions comfortably as long as the body can stay in those positions comfortably without struggling, in order to bring the mind to be in the present to calm down and quieting the restless mind, to prepare the mind for meditation. And this is nothing to do with whether the yoga practitioner is performing the yoga poses in perfect alignment or not in the yoga asana practice.

Even when a person can perform all the yoga poses nicely in perfect alignment and executing all the movements correctly and gracefully also doesn’t guarantee that this person is or will be free from ignorance and egoism and impurities of anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, arrogance, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, agitation, depression, hurts, regret, guilt, craving, aversion, ill-will, ill-thinking, fear and worry, and so on, if this person doesn’t work on eliminating the egoism that feeds ignorance that gives rise to suffering and all sorts of disturbs and unhappiness.

The teacher who teaches yoga delivers the teachings and the guidelines for the practice to the students to perform their practice, and the teacher might or might not be observing their practice from time to time, but at the same time, without interference, judgement or expectation, allowing the students to experience the teachings while practice what they learn from the teacher about the teachings and the practice, disregards whether their understanding towards the teachings and the practice is perfect or imperfect, and whether they are following the guidelines accordingly, or not, but to inquire the truth of the teachings and the practice through their own direct experience, to develop understanding and awareness towards their own body and mind, to become the observer or the teacher towards their own mind, without attachment, identification, judgement, comparison and expectation.

The students learn to develop self-independence and self-discipline. They don’t need to depend on a ‘teacher’ to tell them whether they are doing their practice correctly, or not, as they should be able to have the basic awareness of whether they are practicing correctly, or not, by being aware of the consequences of the action of doing the poses and movements. For example, the teacher teaches the students who have never seen fire, “Fire can burn your skin and flesh and it might cause painful sensation and damages. And hence do not touch the fire.” and if the students still want to touch the fire, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and got burnt by the fire, that is not the teacher’s responsibility. The teacher cannot be there every seconds watching the students to make sure they don’t touch the fire so that they won’t hurt themselves. The students will have to learn from their own direct experience and be responsible for looking after their own well-being. Just like parents can give advice as much as they can to their children, but they cannot be there all the time to control their children how they should act or react or behave, making sure that they only do good and the right thing, and don’t do bad or the wrong thing.

Only the students themselves will know whether they are practicing yoga, or not. People can be doing yoga poses everyday for years, but they might not be practicing yoga at all, including yoga teachers. It’s not about looking at the teacher and trying to imitate the teacher or other people. The yoga practitioners learn how to perform all their actions, practice, duties, and responsibilities out of compassion, without egoism, being free from attachment, identification, judgement, comparison and expectation towards the actions, the practice, the duties and responsibilities, as well as the result or fruit of the actions, the practice, the duties and responsibilities.

If the students don’t feel comfortable while putting their body in a particular position or executing particular movements, they shouldn’t proceed further or force their body to continue to perform the position or movements that the body feels discomfortable or painful, whether it’s due the limitation of their body, or there’s mind blockage of fear and worry, or it’s due to incorrect understanding towards the practice. If it’s due to their incorrect understanding towards the practice, the teacher will redeliver the guidelines of the practice to them, without expecting them to be fully understanding the practice right away.

The students learn to be aware that all their experiences, whether it’s okay or not okay, are all impermanent. Through their own awareness and understanding, they learn how to make appropriate adjustment to put their body into the positions comfortably, or execute the movements in the way that suits their body most, without expecting a teacher constantly be there to make adjustments for them. Everyone has a different body with different condition and limitation. What is comfortable for some people might be very painful for other people. There’s no best way to execute the movements or the best perfect look of the positions or poses, it’s just what the body can do comfortably, in this present moment. And no body is aware of what is going on in one’s body and mind but oneself, not even the yoga teacher.

For those who have been doing yoga poses for many years, how they look and how they feel in the poses or movements could be different in every practice. It is the truth of impermanence and selflessness. One can’t even look and feel the same in one’s different sessions of practice, then why should one look and feel the same as any others or the teacher in particular in their respective practice?

So what if some people’s body are really inflexible and weak, and they don’t look like everyone else while performing the yoga poses or while executing certain movements? It doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to realize unconditional peace and love or to let go and forgive something that is hurtful. It’s really unimportant and irrelevant about the physical ability and limitation in the realization of selflessness, unconditional peace and love, and the ability to let go and forgive something that the mind perceives as bad, wrong, undeserving, hurtful, painful or disturbing.

A yoga teacher allows the yoga students to take their time to find their own way of putting their body comfortably in the poses without pushing or forcing their body beyond its limitation or disability in the present moment, or adjusting their body and mind by themselves to adapt and accommodate the practice, the poses or the movements with care and responsibility from themselves towards themselves.

What the students can do or cannot do, what the students want or don’t want to do, and how the students interpret and execute the teachings and practice or how they look in the positions or movements are the students’ freedom and responsibility. The yoga teacher is not here to control and judge every action of the yoga students. After learning the teachings and practice by coming in contact with the teachings from a teacher, it’s up to the yoga students to interpret and perform the teachings and practice in their own pace, in their own way, by experiencing and inquiring the truth of these teachings and practice.

The students should be learning how to be aware of their practice and understand the practice via direct experience, without attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgement, comparison and expectation, and don’t depend on the teacher to look at their practice and constantly telling them about how good or bad is their practice. It’s not about how perfect do they look in the positions and how good they execute the movements, but it’s about via the positions and movements, they learn about what is going on in their minds, about the ignorance and egoism and the consequences of ignorance and egoism, about the suffering and the cause of suffering, about the impermanence and selflessness of the physical body and the activities of the mind of all the ceaseless thoughts, feelings, emotions, actions, reactions and impurities.

In order to perform the exercise safely so that the yoga practitioners won’t generate stress or injury onto the physical body has nothing to do with executing the yoga poses or movements in perfect alignment. It’s by understanding and listening to their own body, just do what their body can do comfortably in this present moment, in a relaxed manner, without forcing or pushing their body beyond its limitation, without trying to follow the standard of the perfect alignment, there’s no stress or risk of injury. In contrast, while trying to perform the positions or movements according to the perfect alignment that is beyond their physical limitation, to look exactly like other people or the teacher, building up tension from attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgement, comparison and expectation, could generate unnecessary stress and injury to the body and mind while trying to perform the yoga poses perfectly according to the standard of perfect alignment. Putting the body in the perfect alignment also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is or will be free from ignorance, egoism and suffering. People who are physically fit, strong and flexible, and can perform many yoga poses skillfully in perfect alignment, are not necessarily be free from ignorance, egoism and suffering.

Be free.