Conference held by Jaya Yogācārya on April 10th, 2020 after meditation class (videoconference in confinement)
A few days ago, I was chatting online–this seldom happens–with a student about the conferences on the website, and I told her–and this is not usual for me–that I was concerned about the next one. After having said in the last one that the human world will have to base itself on a spiritual paradigm in the future to ensure its survival, I should not lose the eye of the objective observer and resist the temptation to criticize the world’s situation once more, like the media.
This student kindly suggested that after having "put dots on the i’s" (French expression meaning "getting things straight") in my last conference, it may be good now to "put accents" helping to lift everyone up.
I thought this was a fine and delicate way of saying things, and far from being offended by the fact that someone suggests what I ought to write, I asked: "Don’t the conferences of the website and the ones I have been holding for many years already lift you from the ground?"
I am going to do this again tonight.
Did not Rabīndranāth Tagore say
that when God patiently creates a man, he is still trying and still believes in his creation!
Being neither Tagore nor God, I am going, at my humble level, to feed your spirits, hearts and souls again in order to help you maintain this level of consciousness that transforms your lives into a path of elevation to the beautiful and the subtle.
And I will start with the following categorical observation, as we have to start from the ground to rise:
To date, not much can protect us from human stupidity as long as humanity will lack humility, entangled in its selfishness.
Historically, there has always been a lot of national, religious, and cultural tension.
This has always existed and is not going to disappear any time soon.
The reason is that many people have the grandiose feeling that what is Mine prevails. My Nation, My religion, My culture are the most important in the world and my interests should come before those of anyone else, of humankind even.
In this period of crisis, we observe that governments are like the variants of human personality and behave like them. Let us mention, as an example, the fraudulent business or the alternative behavioral zeal of some governments in terms of health politics (United States, Sweden, etc.).
So, the drawbacks or qualities of an individual and those of a country or a government have always been comparable.
Last time, I told you that men have not understood yet how the reality of manifestation works.
The same applies on a larger scale.
The historian Y. N. Harari tells us that nations, religions, and cultures, and the individual himself, are not realistic and modest about their true place in the world.
Most people on Earth tend to believe their own culture is the linchpin of human history.
The Hindus argue that nuclear energy was already known by the ṛṣi ऋषि long before A. Einstein. The Chinese believe history began with the Shang dynasties, the Greeks with Homer and Plato. Muslims regard all history prior to the Prophet Muhammad as largely irrelevant and some Jews practicing yoga are convinced that yoga was invented by Abraham and taught to the Indians. The Aztecs sacrificed humans to make the sun rise, and we, Westerners, burnt witches. We, Westerners, are extremely proud of our history, our cathedrals, and our inventions which, we believe, have drawn barbarous men out of ignorance.
However spectacular these various and huge human achievements may be, the fact is that human history has built itself upon self-importance and racism.
None of these claims existed when humans appeared on Earth, colonized the world, domesticated plants and animals, built cities, invented writing.
Creativity, Art, Spirituality, Ethics, Morality have emerged from this evolution and are part of human nature, since the primitive age of man.
Man has these wonderful aspects, these treasures within him.
But men invented money and selfishness came with civilizations.
We can ask ourselves if, at the peak of our civilization, these selfishness and self-centeredness have not reached their own peaks.
By the way, the image of our civilization of selfies is going to be seriously damaged by selfies with masks!
Today, in this period of pandemic, we praise the dedication of those who work on the front line at the service of others and we see generous human initiatives. They are not new!
Caregivers have always worked in the shadows like many other professions. It is, above all, to forget what we do not see, such as the negotiation on the tarmac between a corrupting country and a corruptible country. What happens on a large scale also happens on the small, let us mention for example the garage or warehouse thieves during confinement.
If we want to remain hopeful about human nature, we should only look at its bright side, while accepting its dark side and not looking at it.
If we look at it with compassion, it is like a parent looking at his child knowing he is not perfect.
It is said in one of the Upaniṣad उपनिषद्: "It is not that thou lovest thy son because thou desirest him, but thou lovest thy son because thou desirest thine own soul."
What does that mean?
The meaning of this is, that whomsoever we love, in him we find our own soul in the highest sense.
"The joys and sorrows of our loved ones are joys and sorrows to us–nay they are more. Because in them we have grown larger, in them we have touched that great truth which comprehends the whole universe. The supreme soul, the Paramātman परमात्मन् of Hindus, is in me, as well as in my son, my friend, my love, and my joy in them is the realization of this truth", says R. Tagore.
It often happens that our love for the other debars us from the further realization of our soul. It enlarges our scope of consciousness, no doubt, yet it sets a limit to its freest expansion.
Nevertheless, it is the first step, and all the wonder lies in this first step itself. It shows to us the true nature of our soul, says the poet.
From it we know, for certain, that our highest joy is in the losing of our egoistic self and in the uniting with others and the service to others.
This love gives us a new power and insight and beauty of mind.
Love is this accent leading to remote frontiers which gives us wings.
Whether it is personal, or altruistic toward the other, toward a foreigner, love is great at changing us and making us better.
That is why, in periods of crisis, in the face of gravity, this feeling can emerge and make people move out of their usual emotional comfort zone by transcending their actions through generosity.
When peace comes back, people forget to give again.
The organization Médecins sans frontières (Doctors Without Borders) knows quite a bit about that.
Indeed, there is always a "but". So many aspects of everyday life are obstacles to the spirit of love and cut its wings.
When someone loses this elasticity of spirit and heart, he sets rigid limits to the spirit of love in him and for the other.
Then our friendships become exclusive, our families selfish and inhospitable, our nations aggressively inimical to other races.
This existed long before this period of crisis.
Can we hope that this pandemic will reduce this phenomenon or is it highly likely to increase it?
The first aspect of the spiritual paradigm needed by the human race I previously mentioned is unconditional love, beyond powerful tools such as the tools of knowledge and understanding of reality.
Love for the divine and love for the other. The work of love already starts within oneself.
In advanced yoga practices for example, when, by awakening energy and consciousness, the practitioner activates Ānāhata cakra आनाह चक्र and goes above his diaphragm, he establishes himself in the heart center (the element of which is the air), and can finally see, consider the lower planes subject to fiery passion and unimportant desires located in the first three cakra, and particularly in the fire of the stomach.
Man is no longer subjected to visceral and instinctive planes but reaches a high level of personal and spiritual development.
He has conquered the ego, at least the visceral ego.
He discovers in him the emotions carried by thought and ideals.
By discovering the love for the divine in him, he discovers another conception of love, which has nothing to do with possessive and egocentric love anymore.
Man then reaches a state of nobility of soul.
This is what is missing in a lot of humans, this state more noble than themselves.
They find it the altruism brought by filial love, familial love, lovers’ love, they find it in creativity, or in the sublimation of nature.
But for many people, existence often goes along with wrong thinking, misconceptions about love, life, death, the world, and these loves often lead to disillusionment as time goes by, because they are not fed by spiritual knowledge and the understanding of the spiritual laws that govern us.
Spiritual discourse seems very naive to today’s decision makers.
We are in a world where disruption is really present, technological disruption, psychological disruption.
The historian Harari says that humanity now lives at the pace of disruption.
Disruption is an innovation that gives its inventor a virtually absolute monopoly over the market he has just created–allowing him to reap all of the benefits, without fear of competition. Just take a look at the place of big data companies today: Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.
Disruption is a rupture, a radical innovation that shuffles the cards of an established market.
This little Covid-19 acts as a disruptor.
From a psychological point of view, disruption is the acceleration of society that generates a loss of bearings in the individual.
This has already started a few decades ago.
A majority of people suffer from the nagging feeling that "THIS IS TOO MUCH". Everything is too much: what we see around the world, what we hear, what we feel, what we sense.
On top of that, everyone feels powerless to stop this process.
It seems that rational and liberal thought has taken over and feeds the behavior of individuals in our society, but we should not forget that most human decisions are based on emotional reactions and intuitive approaches.
For a large number of people, these millennial and ancestral tools are not adapted to this digital era, put in place by the "scientific/engineering intelligentsia".
A hunter-gatherer knew more things to ensure his survival than contemporary man.
Just look at how the group is quickly overwhelmed if it does not have its compliant mask. Some people have started relying on their individual creativity, but political leaders did not validate this in good time (and finally encouraged this at a later stage).
Men have become fragile conformists. They depend on the political, economic, media systems, which they feed themselves by participating in them and passively accepting them.
We do not have the choice, they will say!
Yes, indeed, we do not have the choice anymore!
Today’s men think they know a lot, but individually, they know very little, as if the knowledge of others was their own.
At a time when knowledge is managed by digital addressing in real time, few people fully use their cognition, memory, and analysis abilities.
In yoga practice, in Kriyā yoga क्रिया योग, we really make sure we maintain and stimulate them.
The world is becoming ever more complex and a lot of people fail to realize just how ignorant they are of what is going on.
This can be clearly seen in the speeches of political leaders who strategically manage complex fields without knowing anything about them. The scientists of the medical world have a lot of clarification work to do in front of the multiple, ignorant views of technocrats.
This takes us back, once more, to the pretentiousness of contemporary man, but also to the very incomplete knowledge he has of himself.
Few people today have taken the path of self-knowledge.
One just has to look at the fact that ordinary man is bored in confinement, whereas he has so much work to do for his own salvation.
For example, to stop, sit down, be silent, see, understand, and make immediate, behavioral resolutions.
cf. conference "Stop, Sit down..."
Mozart, Schönberg, Supervielle, Nerval, de La Tour, Braque, Tagore or Zweig and so many other wonderful authors, creators, inventors are waiting to be discovered or rediscovered, but people prefer to become stupid in front of crime series on Netflix.
For some, it is time to rediscover what it is to read a good paper book, to write with a pen, or to dig their hands into the earth.
The media systems even offer multiple and interactive activities to relieve boredom and increase their viewing ratings at the same time.
The human race has lost the sense of ridicule for a long time.
Spiritual practice guarantees a strict minimum of beauty and delicacy by developing the art of listening and acquiring a subtle and aesthetic eye.
Step away from mediocrity and being a sheep.
The search for inner and outer silence encourages the opening of a contemplative space in you.
When contemplating a setting sun, a smile, an altruistic gesture, grateful love takes its place.
It receives, thanks, and rises, it grows, it fills.
It is time to hear the steps of ants and the flowing of sap again, "the sheep is in the pen".
May all those for whom these words resonate stop thinking we are powerless to act to change the world of tomorrow. Now is the time that these words should soar.
Of course, your personal and transcendental "take-off" remains, in absolute terms, the goal of your quest,
because beyond your temporary life story here on earth, your absolute and cosmic nature is what we take care of each day. Our true quest is individual transcendence.
I am not asking you to go and try to be a guru as some are tempted to do, unfortunately, as you first have to be forged by a long spiritual practice which destroys the ego and brings a high power of discernment.
I am not asking you to have a frozen smile on your face and to be naively always happy, as if you were a visionary far from daily realities and as if you had understood everything.
If our true quest is individual transcendence, today we should also
hope that the human group will transcend itself in the face of its new challenges.
Beyond your own personal development, it is time to turn your insights and your spiritual ethics into a real combat in each of your actions, words, thoughts in order to help the human group.
This pacifist but highly reactive combat should make you irreproachable examples of coherence, service to the others, unconditional and detached love, but also of discernment, of what it is to be a noble warrior, a responsible person, an enlightened participant in this world, a responsible consumer, an educator.
Our teachers have a huge and difficult task at this level, and I congratulate them for their tough work.
They are also on the front line to eradicate the virus of ignorance.
– feed your inner nobility by removing criticism toward oneself and the others, rejection of difference and by developing a state of self-confidence,
– give without expecting anything in return, because everything that is not given is lost forever,
– love, serve, realize,
– develop the humility of your task by holding it high in your heart.
Here are, among others, some spiritual actions needed for the good of this suffering world.
People, whether they are religious or not, do not generally lack values.
The problem is implementing these values in this world where the group prevails on the individual, where causal relationships are very intricate.
Who made the carpet on which we meditate? Children in Pakistan!
How is the money of our life insurance used? To make bombs in Libya!
Should we be blamed for that?
We are unfortunately all part of an interdependent system, the cause-to-effect relationships of which we do not know.
Not trying to know is what most people do so that they do not feel guilty about their consumption.
As for those who try to know, it is useless trying to find out the truth because of its complexity and all these interdependent links.
We hear a lot about resilience these days, this psychological phenomenon which consists in accepting the traumatic event in order not to live in unhappiness anymore and to rebuild oneself in a socially acceptable manner.
The world is going to be confronted with this.
But hasn’t this been the work of yoga and meditation for thousands of years?
But who has been practicing and who practices?
Not a large number of people, otherwise the face of the world would be different.
More people are interested in yoga and meditation today, but this is because they sense there is a lifeline there.
What do these spiritual sciences work on?
On changing bad habits to develop physical and mental health, to bring the being to his level of clear-sightedness, of objective witness, in the preoccupation of union with the universe.
Integration through love is the path of yoga, the path of meditation. It is the path of the heart.
I am not teaching anything new to you, spiritual seekers, who share my path.
"I am deeply convinced, and I have always been, that this path is the right one. This conviction is the basis of my commitment and my practice.
The Upaniṣad say:
"Man becomes true if in this life he can apprehend God; if not, it is the greatest calamity for him."
The man who has met his cosmic vibratory signature, who knows how to align with his soul, does not look for anything more.
He realizes that everything that is in the universe is this manifestation and that it is made of the consciousness of the absolute. Everything that is manifested is filled by this consciousness and its energy, and whatever we have is a gift of this absolute.
"Then you realize the infinite in the finite, and the giver in the gifts", says the wise man.
When you know that you are permanently enveloped by the consciousness of this absolute, the Hindu Brahman ब्रह्मन्, nameless, formless, attribute-less, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, then you are enveloped by the infinite and made of it.
"None could live or move if the energy of the all-pervading joy did not fill the sky", says the mystic.
In all our actions to put the world back up, let us feel now that impetus of infinite energy.
This is where your Sādhanā साधना should act today.
Let us be happy to engage in this spiritual combat in order to survive and be reborn.
Hari om tat sat
– "21 Lessons for the 21st Century" by Yuval Noah Harari, Albin Michel Editions
– "Sādhanā" by Rabindranâth Tagore, Albin Michel Editions
– Adaptation and comments by Jaya Yogācārya
Translated by Stéphanie Bosco
©Centre Jaya de Yoga Vedanta Ile de la Réunion