Conference held by Jaya Yogācārya on May 3rd, 2019 during meditation class
Hamsa (2nd part)
In my last conference, I talked about how difficult it is, for a yoga aspirant, to acquire discernment (Vivēka विवेक), even after many years of practice. I talked straight even if some may not like it, and clarified, to your eyes and to your hearts, the purpose of my action as a spiritual guide for so many years.
After my speech, some students had various reactions, from which there is a lot to learn.
Some of them–fortunately they were few–wrongly interpreted this as anger on my part and felt slightly fearful.
There was no anger whatsoever deep inside me, only a surface readjustment.
Do you think anger can feed the altruistic teachings you receive?
What is the fear in them really made of?
To overcome one’s fear one must face it to identify it. Aren’t those who are fearful of a demanding guide scared to face themselves. The human mind will always find justifications for not seeing its own inconsistency, the gap between high goals and the actual means used.
And it remains to be proved that someone’s goals are high!
In any case, it takes a lot of love and patience from the guide to observe these unjustified fearful behaviors.
Among the other reactions to this conference, I observed one student becoming aware of her consumerist attitude, as I refused to give her a private lesson. I make sure to slow down these behaviors among certain students, but I also regret the lack of efforts by others to fix their shortcomings even though everything is right here at their disposal.
Despite all this, I had a lot of positive feedback to this conference.
Those who are truly on the quest for Self-knowledge know how to take advantage of the lessons and how to learn and apply them.
Understanding what the guide is working on for you and being trustful enables to move forward on the path to spiritual maturity, and thus on the path of life.
So, I thank all those who understand, analyze, ponder, receive the teachings, apply them and directly experiment with them, with courage.
Thanks to this responsive student who sends me a serious link or article related to what I talked about during a conference, in order to confirm the logic of my speech and its truthfulness in today’s world.
Thanks to this intelligently sensitive student who gave me some essays as a literary testimony echoing my teachings.
Thanks to these already committed beginners who react spontaneously and enthusiastically to the conferences.
Thanks to the advanced students who thank me, sometimes reticently sometimes with great panache.
As one of you said, I patiently unlock your hinges to enable you to open your doors.
Think about all the doors still left to open or that you couldn’t open when advised to do so!
Patience, patience, trust.
You may ask yourself what feeds the altruism of a guide caring about the individual development of his aspirants.
A very beautiful poem by Ravidas (1414-1526), a mystical poet of Medieval India, says the following:
"-You are sandalwood. I am water.
You are a black cloud. I am a peacock.
You are my father and mother, and I am the child.
You are my friend. I am your companion.
You are the river and I am the small tributary.
You are the tree, and I am the fruit and flower.
You are my everything, in reality nothing belongs to me.
I have no value, but in union with you I gain my purpose.
We are held together in divine friendship."
This poem describes the relationship between God and his devotee. The human soul, like the divine, is like the wave and the water that produces it.
We are all one in the quest for the divine.
If the guide doesn’t elevate himself in this quest for the absolute and feel veneration for the subtle, the divine, how can he take you there?
The purpose of the guide is not to put himself in the divine’s place and wait for the aspirants to venerate him as such.
His purpose is to share the subtlety of the spiritual experience with you so that you can work with him on changing the world through a noble and constructive interaction.
The purpose is to open your hearts so that light can enter them and dispel your selfish justifications. The purpose is to activate the luminous buddhi बुद्धि, a quick mind, in your brain so that your life can build upon an intelligent, realistic, altruistic foundation, on the quest for elevation, discernment and vigilance.
The world needs this, needs you, needs us!
The world of man is sick!
Beginners need a yoga teacher, advanced students need a spiritual guide, true searchers need a yogi as a friend.
"He or she who is my true friend, will see the yogini in me. "
To be a yogini, I don’t need a special outfit, a white hat or big earrings, white dreadlocks or a shaved head, I don’t need to grow a longer tuft of hair at bindu, change my name, wear mālā माला on my ankles…
One day maybe, if you still can’t see...
Yoga comes from prehistoric Shivaism and its practices are an unrivaled science to this day.
All the planes of a human being are being worked on and the awakened latent powers enable to understand the scale that goes from gross to supranatural planes.
Only Sādhana साधन, practical experience, enables knowledge and ascension of these planes.
We can only know how hard it is to climb a staircase if we climb it.
We can only deeply understand a state if we are this state.
We can only worship the divine if we become the divine.
Can we understand and write on yoga, if we don’t practice it and become yogis ourselves?
"But to be a yogi, one must first be able to balance understanding, reflection, meditative sitting, qualitative and therapeutic practice", says Pierre Alais.
But above all, mastering this or that technique does not make a yogi.
There is an abundance of techniques in yoga. With its self-importance, today’s world, without having explored the numerous millenary techniques, creates new techniques which I call "orphan practices” because they are incoherent and even harmful to my eyes (metal yoga...).
No technique can claim to be yoga if it is not related to Ātman आत्मन् (the Self) and Brahman ब्रह्मन् (the absolute).
Practice should unite and not scatter.
Many people today consider yoga as an activity among so many others helping to manage stress and anxiety, whereas it is in fact a path to transformation whose first action is to remove illusions. But yoga teachings today are sometimes themselves illusory!
There is however a lot of hope in the fact that many people find their way to yoga, thanks to the diversity of forms of yoga. Let’s stay positive!
The yogi’s path consists in continually working on inward awareness in order to reach the ultimate Self.
But not everybody can spend most of his time in yogic practice. Not everybody has the material means or the qualifications required to do so.
It is possible to lead an active life and give a large place to self-awareness at the same time.
The path to self-awareness, and eventually to Self-awareness, is vigilance.
Vigilance precedes discernment.
There is no vigilance if there is no self-awareness.
As you spend most of your time interacting with the outside world, you often dedicate a derisory amount of time to this spiritual work.
Yes, you practice. But how?
Your half hour of daily meditation may be sterile because you are too agitated. Or, you may lack instructions in terms of meditative exercises. Or, your associations of ideas may prevent you from going deep down inside yourself to meet the unchanging Self in you.
It is essential to find the means to stay aware of yourself while being active and aware of what is going on outside of you.
Vigilance must be persevering.
All masters insist on this vigilance.
This constant self-remembering is essential.
Who among you can say they don’t get permanently distracted by the outside world and don’t lose inner sight of their soul?
Presence to oneself goes hand in hand with presence to the divine. What is beyond the ego, deep inside of man, is the ultimate Self, the impersonal absolute.
"If you remember Me, I will remember You."
This important Sufi aphorism can be understood at the exoteric level (fraternal relationship) but also at the esoteric level (inside ourselves).
"If I remember the divine in myself, the divine will remember me".
The yogi is the one who looks for the purest awareness inside himself.
You will find this approach in all great spiritual practices, from Hinduism and Buddhism to Christianity, not forgetting Sufism.
Vigilance enables to see instead of living blindly.
This "I" who sees is not the ego anymore. If we are vigilant, we cannot "think" anymore, in the pejorative meaning of this verb. We end the ego’s game which separates us from reality.
This reality then comes to us and we become aware of it objectively and silently, with our sensation, feeling and intellect.
If vigilance is active, the mind is replaced by Buddhi, that is true intelligence which sees what needs to be done, which decision needs to be made.
"Awareness of the self is the path to awareness of the Self", says Arnaud Desjardins.
It is the presence to the self which enables you to be both aware of the outside world and of yourself.
This is called constant self-remembering.
Vigilance is a function enabling to avoid tension build-up within us. If there is vigilance, there is a sense of relief, because you are not in tension toward or against something anymore, unconsciously. You won’t need to kick a door anymore, break a glass, drink more than you should, explode more than you need to release your buried tension.
In true vigilance, there is no more value judgment distinguishing between important and insignificant moments.
Each instant of life becomes full and perfect, because awareness is here, in its non-duality.
There is perception of what IS.
Then yes, we will be able to become friends!
Hari om tat sat
"La rencontre des Yogis" by Pierre Alais, L’Originel Editions
"A la recherche du Soi" by Arnaud Desjardins, La table ronde Editions
"Itinéraire d’un yogi" by Paramahaṃsa Prajñānananda, Dauphin Editions
Adaptation and comments by Jaya Yogacharya
Translated by Stéphanie BOSCO
Copyright Centre Jaya de Yoga Vedanta, Réunion Island