Yoga Sadhan — Some Questions and Answers
- What is Yoga?
Ans : Various misconceptions have been prevailing in our country with regard to yoga. The cause behind this is that the word yoga has been used in various connotations. I do not use this word for all those meanings. By yoga I understand the union of jeevatma (soul) with Paramatma (Supersoul). This union does not mean becoming one, the human soul does not lose its existence in its union with Brahman. It has no connection with what is called annihilation in English. The soul remains completely as the second thing and will possibly remain so for ever. But the three properties of the jeevatma i.e, wisdom, love and desire will unify with the three corresponding components of the complete infinite nature of Paramatma and become one in nature or in properties. My limited wisdom will be linked to His complete and unlimited wisdom, the feelings of my heart will follow His infinite love and my free will shall follow His complete and pure wishes. All the scriptures of yoga including Shreemad Bhagavadgita contain writing on those three features of yoga.
- What is the objective of Yoga ?
Ans : To achieve the Supreme Lord. This means to be able to see His formless Satchidananda (existence—knowledge—bliss) appearance by the wisdom eye, to hear His message by the wisdom ears, to taste Him by the wisdom tongue, to smell Him by the wisdom nose, to touch Him clearly with the wisdom skin. Thus achieving Him is to enjoy Him fully by all our spiritual faculties. This has been the object of enjoyment by human souls since eternity. His progress through eternity depends on this. It is impossible for human beings to make real progress in dharma without association with God. Real and direct faith is established only by the enjoyment of Brahman; otherwise faith is just an indirect knowledge. The denser the enjoyment, the brighter and firmer the faith, and man gets more firmly established in the kingdom of dharma. We therefore find that it is impossible to achieve real and permanent dharma without yoga.
- What is the process of this yoga sadhan?
Ans : There is no particular process or route to achieve the Supreme Brahman; He is self-revealing, the only route to achieve Him is His grace. The only sadhan required is to pray to Him ceaselessly with a simple heart.
- What is the use of sadhan when we have no capacity to achieve Him?
Ans : I do not think that anybody can achieve the Almighty, the limitless Self by one’s own power of sadhan. But the nature of human beings is their dharma. That is why one cannot but pray to Him with extreme yearning when one feels this great want in oneself. Thus God fulfils his desire at an auspicious moment when the unfavourable states of his mind disappear due to the continuous prayers for achieving dharma. It is therefore noticed that the purpose of sadhan is only to remain prepared so that we may be able to recognize Him when He appears. Else, He is not achievable by any amount of dharma, karma, discourses or knowledge of prayers. Because He is self revealing. Nothing can manifest Him by any means if He does not manifest Himself.
- What is real prayer?
Ans : Prayer is not an artistic arrangement of words, nor is it a state of mind, nor a particular process. Prayer is a characteristic of the soul. If a man feels intensely for one or more wants and later develops an acute yearning to fulfil those wants and after repeated attempts realises that he does not even have an iota of strength to fulfil his wants and finds that none other than the Omnipotent gracious Self has that strength,—the condition that his soul lands in then, is called the state of prayer. In this state of mind, irrespective of whether he talks or cries, rolls on the ground restlessly or heaves a sigh or slowly remembers Him within his self, he is but praying.
- What are the obstacles in achieving the state of dharma mentioned above?
Ans : All types of sins are the first and main obstacles in achieving dharma. Next is ego and attachment to samsar. Real yearning does not come unless these things go. There are profuse explanations of this concept in the scriptures of yoga. But what has been said now is adequate in the present context.
- What you have said is the view of Brahmo dharma. Why did you then adopt a different sadhan in the name of the process of yoga?
Ans : I have not gone beyond even a single hair breadth of Brahmodharma. The human soul can never abandon Brahmodharma. There is no single community, not even a single man who does not possess dharma of truth in small or large degrees. If an atheist, inspite of his honest efforts does not have faith in God, but yet various good qualities are seen in his life, then taking all these as Brahmodharma, I am ready to learn from him. Therefore one is a follower of Brahmodharma in proportion to one’s pursuit of the path of truth. But Brahmosamaj and Brahmodharma are not the same thing. The group of people who have joined together to build their lives according to the ideals of Brahmodharma is called Brahmosamaj. Else we would have to say that three Brahmodharmas have come into circulation already. One Brahmodharma exists in all of the three samaj. But Brahmosamaj has been split into three divisions owing to different individual tastes and preferences.
My Brahmodharma exists among all races and religious communities ; that is why I have connection with each one of them, and it is not true that I have adopted the practice of sadhan different from Brahmodharma. My sadhan is totally in conformity with Brahmodharma.
- Where and how did you learn yoga? Why did you adopt this additional path of sadhan beyond the generally followed process of worship?
Ans : I had come to the Brahmosamaj with the purpose of gratifying my life by achieving the sacred nature of the Supreme Lord. By the grace of the gracious Almighty I learned many things and was blessed with huge benefits. He also made me toil with the little capacity that I had. My life was blessed in His service and that of His children. Gradually, I was able to achieve truth in abundance after passing through many dangers and problems. I learnt to worship, pray, meditate and conceptualise. To put it in one sentence I was emancipated by getting a new life in the shelter of the Brahmosamaj. But inspite of this the thirst of my soul remained unsatiated, because I was unable to install the dearest God of my soul, in my heart and worship Him all the time. True, I used to be gratified by perceiving His awakened living presence during worship and I used to draw unprecedented joy, hope and peace, but I do not know why, these states did not last long. Often I had to stay separated from Him and such periods used to be very distressful.
Before the movement associated with the marriage of the daughter of the honourable Keshab Chandra Sen, I used to stay at Baganchra village. Owing to my living there alone my introspection became sharper and I realized that the actual state of dharma in my life was very poor. All types of sins could be committed by me if the situations were conducive and people having no way of knowing about it, meaning the root of the affinity to sins was still alive within me and it could engage me into grave sins if there was a scope for it. I developed a great fear on finding such a poor state as this. Alas! my condition was so poor and deplorable even after participating in thoughts, discussions, discourses, worships, meditation and conceptions on dharma for all these days here and in other places. What is then the foundation of dharma? What is the way to attain the safe state? Is there no way to become totally safe? Such questions arose in the mind spontaneously. I realised that there was no alternative to achieving Brahman and being with Him all the time throughout day and night. There is no remedy to this incurable disease but to have total link of my entire soul with Him. In search of this remedy I then started roaming about various places. I learnt pranayam in the company of some respected friends following the spiritual discipline of the ‘Kartabhaja’* sect and benefited immensely by listening to many spiritual talks, but even this could not satisfy the yearning of my heart. I could not find the substance of my heart there too. I roamed around various places then. I went to the Aghoris. But though they were ascetics I did not like their gruesome methods like the eating of human flesh. The methods of the Kapaliks were even more terrible. I went to all including the Ramayats, Shaktas, Vaishnavas, Bauls, Darvesh, Mussalman fakirs, Buddhist Yogis but the thirst of my soul could not be satiated anywhere. At last by the grace of God, a mahatma of the Nanak sect kindly initiated me in this Yogadharma on the Akashganga hills of the holy city of Gaya. A unique state of my life has unfolded since then. But I cannot claim to have turned into God. However it will be ingratitude and a lie if I do not acknowledge that my want is fulfilled and I have arrived at the door of a limitless kingdom. I cannot express in words as to what I am seeing before me.
- What is your method of Sadhan?
Ans : It does not involve any external support. It is also not a process. It is just a continuous, powerful silent living prayer. Many call it ajapa sadhan, as this calls for ceaseless sadhan.
- Whether pranayam is sadhan?
Ans : Pranayam is not called sadhan. This is called ‘bhootshuddhi’ (purification of the elements). The body becomes purified by this and the mind also develops concentration to some extent. It is only an external support. Pranayam too helps sadhan the way external supports like khol (drums), cymbals, songs and hymns help sadhan to a certain extent. Pranayam is not needed in the cases where the body of the sadhak is healthy and sinless.
- What is the benefit in a particular naam sadhan (repetition of a naam)?
Ans : Naamsadhan is a different matter, considerable benefit is not reaped by repeating one single name of God. That naam which is felt to be sweet and powerful due to a particular feeling of that time, should be repeated for benefit. The Supreme Lord has no particular name. There is no harm in calling the complete, eternal, unparallel God by the names such as Brahman, Ishwar, Hari, Durga, Kali, Krishna, Allah or God. Fault lies in imagining His inanimate form. Our sadhan is not naamsadhan. Naam is an external matter. Our sadhan is a thing of our soul. This can be called a living prayer or Brahmasadhan in a nutshell. Its link with naam also is just external like pranayam. And it is also not as if everybody has to follow one particular naam.
- What is the result of taking one single naam by one individual though there are various names in existence?
Ans : It has already been mentioned that our sadhan is not naamsadhan. It is direct Brahmasadhan. The core element of this sadhan is totally spiritual; this cannot be explained by any external language or by any other means. If in due time by the grace of Brahman, that state is revealed to someone fortunately, he alone will understand what this sadhan is. Else, it is just pranayam and naamsadhan. But the benefit of this naam is that owing to a special association of ideas, the state acquired earlier reappears in the mind in the course of remembering this naam.
- Why do you practice your sadhan in secrecy? Can it not be expected that dharma and all those that deliver well being to people should be displayed publicly and people should be taught about them?
Ans : By a little contemplation following the description of this sadhan as given, it will be clear that it is impossible to preach this sadhan unlike the preaching of the other truths of the Brahmodharma. Discontinuation of the regular preachings conducted by the Brahmosamaj causes harm to the people, but is it possible to explain publicly about the state of prayer attained by a mind? That is why our sadhan goes on ceaselessly in the midst of people or in seclusion, yet no one is able to know or understand. But one great harm is caused if we sit together and practice external sadhan like pranayam in open public view, is that the viewers who are unable to comprehend the internal state of mind of the participants, might ridicule them. We hesitate owing to this fear and it also creates obstacles to our sadhan. Second, the souls of the viewers may be greatly harmed by this, because the viewers will form a wrong opinion without understanding the real truth of the sadhan. The inevitable result of this is an insult to our dearest truth.
- Whether this sadhan is possible without human help?
Ans : It is not impossible, when the Almighty Supreme Lord is our object of sadhan, the centre, the accomplishment and the path and if He so wishes, He Himself can manifest the yogashakti (yogic power) of a naam. What is there to be surprised about it?
But such favourable condition is very rare. That is why men who have attained their object by self effort are very rare. Yogashakti is present in every man. Conscious prayer cannot take place until that power is awakened. And to awaken that latent power or to make it bloom, the help of another powerful human soul is necessary whose power is awakened or manifested. The original Guru, the Supreme Being gives us lessons on dharma, through the medium of water, fire, air, mountains, rivers and oceans. Similarly He also teaches us dharma through human beings. Thus help is needed from all the elements of the universe including human beings. However, the help of the mahatmas whose power has awakened is particularly needed. This is called deeksha (initiaion). By the grace of God, in some cases, where the state of spirituality is particularly favourable, attainment of power is noticed even without deeksha. Even after six years of hard spiritual austerities following his initiation into the process of sadhan from the brahmin gurus at first, mahatma Shakya Singha’s spiritual power did not manifest. At last, as a result of intense yearning, when he sat under the Bodhi tree taking a firm vow, then by the grace of God and His direct contact, the yoga shakti of Buddha manifested and he became the Buddha. Mohammed too got this power from God directly because of his intense yearning. But mahatma Jesus had to take deeksha from John the Baptist, and Shree Chaitanya was initiated by Ishwarpuri at Gayadham.
- How do you give such a sadhan to another person when it is impossible to express its inner truth?
Ans : The external rules and processes of sadhan are explained by words, it is impossible to teach the internal truth, the awakened state of prayer, through sermons. As there are natural relations and sympathy between bodies and between minds, so it can also be seen between souls. Such instances have been noticed often in Brahmo Samaj. If on some day the worship conducted by the acharya (preceptor) is done in a true manner, then it touches the heart of the devotees. Else, on other days they go away after hearing only the dry and lifeless talks. What is the reason behind this? The root of this is spiritual sympathy. The way true prayer of the acharya touches the heart of the devotees and arouses conscious prayer in their hearts, in the same way, if true prayer is awakened in the heart of all the devotees, then also such things do happen. Possibly, the acharya was just uttering some words in a dry and lifeless manner, nobody’s heart was getting drenched by it. Suddenly the essence of the living prayer of that fortunate worshipper gets transmitted to the acharya’s heart and to that of the many worshippers by virtue of the spiritual sympathy and overwhelms them. Such incidents are noticed in celebrations every year according to this rule.
It will now be clear that if someone intensely wants that state of prayer to descend on his heart, then some awakened powerful soul can infuse that state of internal prayer into his heart by his will and according to the law of God’s grace. This is what happens in reality; I wholeheartedly pray in the presence of the seeker with intense yearning and during this time my revered guru Shreejukta Paramhansa Babaji renders his help. Subject to God’s grace such prayer wakes up in the heart of that person in no time and his internal yogashakti is manifested. None other than he himself understands that. Yogis call this the state of “sanchar” (infusion). Since then depending on his degree of earnestness and sincerity in sadhan, he experiences deeper and deeper truths and becomes astonished. Gradually newer kingdoms are revealed to his internal faculties. Those states cannot be revealed to anybody. Finally all hopes are materialised, all aspirations are fulfilled, endless source opens up and yoga starts in the higher state of sadhan by the grace of Brahman and this continues eternally.
- What is the requisite for taking this sadhan?
Ans : This does not call for learning, education or intelligence. Anybody, dissatisfied with his/her present condition, wanting intensely to have yogasadhan irrespective of being rich or poor, learned or illiterate, woman or man, hindu, muslim, christian, brahmo, idolater or superstitious, committing to abide by the disciplines of sadhan, if these are not against his/her conscience, can take this sadhan.
- Dharma is not attained without knowledge of truth. How is it then possible to perform yoga sadhana while having idolatry and superstition?
Ans : It is never possible. It is also true that dharma comes first, not later. This means, it is not that dharma can come only after giving up superstition, on the contrary the external signs of dharma manifests when real dharma of truth appears in the heart. Errors like supertitions, idolatry will go with the appearance of the knowledge of truth. I even hold that one cannot get rid of weakness like sin etc. by one’s own effort and become religious. All one’s ignorance, dryness, uncleanliness go away, when, through steady prayer, the unlimited receptacle of knowledge, love, purity, the Almighty gracefully manifests before the soul of the sadhak by His own virtue and whose soul is nothing but a manifestation of His Self. These things, that is, sin etc have no positive existence. These are just negative words. The way the darkness of a house does not go inspite of a thousand efforts before the arrival of light and the house becomes lighted corresponding to the rays of light entering it, in the same way the condition of a human soul grows according to the manifestation of the real truth in one’s heart. One does not achieve deliverance just by adopting any dharma sadhana. The mature state of sadhana is called salvation. Is not bringing in those people, who were immersed in errors and sins as travellers of this path and opening up the door of their better future an act of welfare? It is definite that any type of illusion or any hurdle can not exist in the path of sadhana if the aim of sadhan is firm. Not even a straw has any place between the sadhak and God. The spiritual friends will try to bring back those to the right path as far as possible, who forget their aim, the Supreme Lord, and try to adopt something else. They are helpless if they fail. Till then those people will be counted as deviated from sadhan. No one should forget that the aim of Brahmodharma is acieving Brahman and Brahmasadhan is the hospital for a good treatment of sinners, sufferers and the strayed ones.
Vyadhi tasyoushadham pathyam neerujasya kimoushadhaih
Means : Disease has a prescribable medicine, what medicine can there be for one who is free from ailment.
- Sages of the ancient times had performed religious austerities over prolonged periods of time. Why then did they make mistakes?
Ans : Man is incomplete. He is incomplete now and was incomplete even in the ancient times. Can the remainder after subtracting the wisdom of the past many centuries be compared with Brahmadarshan and accomplishment in yoga attained by the great sages of the ancient times, which were like an emblica in their palms (Karatalanyasta amlakabat)? Man is progressive. He was so then, now and shall remain so forever. Therefore what is recognised as truth today may be rejected as superstition tomorrow. What is there to be surprised about it? With quiet consideration it will be appreciated that the views of the sages of many centuries ago which we consider as polluted now, were established as pure and true in those days. The founder of Brahmodharma Raja Rammohan Ray did not abandon his sacred thread. Following this, it is as much improper to brand relinquishment of sacred thread as against rule, as it is a thousand times more audacious to call him ignorant, misguided and superstitious. It is impossible for the sadhaks of the present times who will receive the grace of Brahman to have such misconceptions and superstitions. The sadhaks of the present times believe certain things to be true by their incomplete knowledge, may be after a thousand years yogis with their inner eyes will find many such things to be erroneous and new things will be revealed before their eyes. Human souls will thus progress eternally.
- How is it decided if a seeker is having acute yearning? Is it that the mahatmas have the power to see through the soul of others?
Ans : Man is incomplete, so is his power. The more we shall progress towards God the more will our internal power manifest gradually towards completeness. Everyman has the power to observe the soul of another man like he can see another body. This power is lesser and lesser in persons with corresponding degrees of insensateness of knowledge, and correspondingly greater in degrees in persons whose internal eyes of enlightenment have opened up and are capable of realising the truth of all the things in the universe. Mahatmas thus come to know of all the truths much more brightly than ordinary people and can notice the state of human souls even from afar. But it cannot be said that they are correct in every matter.
- What are the rules of sadhan?
Ans : The rules of sadhan are of two types—special and common.
Special rule is that:
- Community is not a factor in it. All the communities of the world like, Hindu, Mussalman, Christian, Buddhist, Vaishnava, Shakta, Shaiva, Nanakpanthi have dharma of truth in them. Wherever something is available, that truth has to be taken from all and respect and reverence has to be shown by bowing down in obeisance to all. Unstinted respect has to be shown to all the sadhus and mahatmas of the world, treating them as preachers of truth. However one will not shrink from adhering to what one understands as true because of the request or fear of any person or group, or the followers of this sadhan will not form a separate sect.
- Support for this is neither man nor anything else. God Himself is its Guru and all the matters and men are generally its guru or advisors. Just as we need the support of men when our God gifted eyesight is obstructed for some reason, here too it is similar. Brahman alone is its sole target and destination and truth is the only path.
- The body and the mind should dutifully be kept pure by all means. This means sadhan cannot be done if the body is not kept healthy by various means and the sadhan is particularly harmed by any sinful act, evil thoughts or imaginations when they appear in the mind.
- Prayer should essentially continue relentlessly day and night. After fixing the time for performing duties of life, the entire balance of time should be utilised by engaging in sadhan. These rules should essentially be followed by all.
This apart there are some general rules.
- Meat eating is forbidden. But one can take it during illness under medical advice only in case of absolute necessity. Meat is adverse to the control of mind because of it agitative properties. That is why yoga sadhaks always forbid meat eating. Fish is not forbidden as it does not have such demerit. Those who consider it unjust to kill animals, can give up both.
- It is forbidden to take ‘uchchhishta’* of others, as various diseases can be transmitted by this. However there is no harm in taking food given by parents or respectable elders or food given by some friends with love or left overs of some sadhus or mahatams if taken with respect. These will, on the contrary be beneficial. In these cases the strong natural force of love prevents diseases. Such rules have been made mandatory, since deciding on where to take food and where to avoid is difficult. What is the use of forcibly breaking the rules of the sadhan tried and tested over centuries since the time of Rigveda as these cause no harm to the conscience?
- Those with an impure body should resort to pranayam twice a day initially to purify their body, meaning it is needed to purify the elements (‘bhoot shuddhi’). Otherwise it is not needed for those who have healthy bodies.
- Women and men should do this sadhan in separate rooms. But they should be very careful that they do not touch one another in places where such facilities are absent. This is the much cherished wealth of the sages and Paramhamsas. Not a grain of unholiness should penetrate it. Unless he is able to bring all his desires under complete control by leading a life of purity, the sadhak should not live in the slightest possibility of losing character.
- How can we expect to have those wealth leading a domestic life which the sages had obtained after years of spiritual austerities?
Ans : It is doubtful if a householder could reach the stage of realisation in aeons if he had to move forward by his own effort. But fortunately, on seeing the present degeneration of dharma, some accomplished mahatmas have kindly resolved to remove them. It is they who are going from country to country and are initiating suitable seekers of dharma and by virtue of their broad vision achieved over a long period of time, are helping the sinners to attain the eternally sought goal of achieving God. For example, it is doubtful if someone putting his own effort and doing research can discover the theories of mahatma Euclid’s geometry in a thousand years. However, even such a complex subject is being learnt by students under the guidance of proper teachers within a short time. Similarly inspite of various obstacles and troubles of the world some householders have already been successful by getting spiritual help and I have no doubt about the success of many more.
- What is meant by doctrine of incarnation (avatarvad)? Is there a possibility of yourself being considered an avatar?
Ans : Worship of any created matter, living being or man as omnipotent, controller of the world, the Almighty is called avatarvad. That goes against the truth and so has no link with Brahmodharma. Avatarvad cannot come in this sadhan, unless the rules of the sadhan mentioned above become extinct someday.
- What is Guruvad? Is there a fear of guruvad in this?
Ans : Guruvad means considering an incomplete man, his sermons or the scriptures written by him as flawless and blocking one’s own conscience before him as lowly. This dreadful view is totally opposite to our rules. Conscience is the real path for achieving God. That is why man should follow his own conscience above all. Guruvad comes where I accept and follow things inspite of these being against my conscience. This sadhan cannot mature as long as there exists a distance of even a blade of grass between God and the soul, that is, as long as any element, person or process is considered a means other than Him. Guruvad, therefore is the destroyer of yoga.
- Those who are taking sadhan from you are showing undue bhakti to you. Is it not a fault?
Ans : The eternal custom of our country is to prostrate humbly and gratefully to our parents, elders, teachers and spiritual preceptors and take the dust of their feet on our head to show bhakti to them. It is a matter of distress that owing to western education and rise of a suitable western religion, this decent native convention is becoming extinct like many other harmless and well meaning customs and are being replaced by ‘good morning’ or ‘shake hand’. Far from rejecting the native manners and customs as superstition, Brahmodharma will adopt them as far as possible. All that are untrue in them will be modified and altered prior to adoption. It will respectfully accept whatever is true and pure. Else, Brahmodharma cannot be our national dharma. I consider that state to be very decent and beneficial in which one soul bows down to another to take the dust of the latter’s feet. That is why irrespective of the person being younger or older, I bow down at everybody’s feet and I do not prevent some, who, I feel will benefit by taking the dust of my feet. But considering all those pranams (salutations) are due to the Guru of the universe, I offer a pranam in return and utter ‘jai guru’. It is therefore seen that I do not consider pranams by touching the feet to be against the rules. I had made a strong protest when some Brahmos were taking the dust of honourable Keshabchandra’s feet at Munger. I had asked some of them. “How are you taking the dust of Keshabbabu’s feet?” They said, “Considering Keshabbabu to be an avatar”. Like this or in any other way whenever I find anybody showing undue bhakti to me or to any other person, I shall make a strong objection to counter such a serious irreligious act.
- Difficult sanskrit names (naam) are repeated by minor boys and girls and illiterate men and women. Whether this is blind faith?
Ans : It has been said already that the prescription of naam is not the same for all. Further, the meaning of every naam is explained clearly. But there is no harm even if this is not done. Because God does not have a particular name. Any word that you apply to Him is indicative of His name even if it might not have any meaning. We find that the sages have hidden the total form of God in that symbolic seed or word known as the name of God. The word ‘ma’ (mother) has no meaning and yet the child recognises the one as mother who responds when he calls with the word ‘ma’. Similarly God also has no name, and all names are His. You may call Him with any name as Hari, Kali, Krishna and you will get response in time. You can see Him directly even if you call Him by the names of any material object. You shall no longer need any name then. Irrespective of my understanding of the grammatical interpretation of that word, it is enough if the word is meant for the god I worship. Else God may mean a big king, Hari may mean a lion, monkey or many animals. Matter does not follow name. On the contrary matter comes first, name is secondary. That is why I have said already that our sadhan is not a naamsadhan, it is the sadhan of the original thing, Brahmasadhan.
- It is heard that you sing hymns of Radha, Krishna, Durga, Kali etc. Whether it is proper?
Ans : There is no rule to sing such songs. These have no connection with sadhan. But I consider the spiritual content of Radha Krishna to be of a very great and high order and helpful for yoga and the path of dharma. Radha is the worshipper and Krishna is the worshipped god, the Supreme Lord. As such the state of feelings is very beneficial, I myself do my sadhan in this manner while contemplating about RadhaKrishna and join them who benefit by their contemplation and sadhan in this manner, to sing songs of RadhaKrishna together, that is, the love song of the worshipper and the worshipped. But while preaching Brahmodharma during lectures and prayers in open places where people are incapable of appreciating the spiritual aspect of this context, I have never used the name of RadhaKrishna. I do not consider it proper to do so, until the historic shameful essence about the relation of Radha and Krishna is erased and its beautiful underlying spiritual idea is circulated among people. Much has been said already about the names of Kali, Durga etc. It will now be enough to say, one should repeat only that name which gives satisfaction to oneself. But that should not be done in places of religious preaching. Preaching of truth may be affected as long as the common man understands any limited matter, person or idol other than God by a particular name. However difference of names does not matter as long as those denote the Supreme Lord. Particular benefit is attained by explaining the real truths of goddess Durga, Kali while preaching dharma among the Hindus. Sadhaks like Ramprasad etc. have done sadhan of the Supreme Brahman in the name of Kali, Durga etc. Proof of this is obtained in their songs. But idolatry should not be encouraged by praising the beauty of the images of these gods and goddesses in any manner. No one should forget that naam and idol are different. And it should also be clearly explained to everybody that God can be achieved by calling Him by any name. It is impossible to find Him in an idol. This is because the idol is untrue. Name alone is true.
- Whether the authority to give this sadhan is confined to any particular person?
Ans : Such a thing is never possible. One develops the power to do good to others corresponding to the dharma of truth one has achieved from God. But the one who has not received the power that is required to open up the eyes of dharma, to manifest the yogic power of another person, does not have the authority to initiate another person in this sadhan. Four stages are described in the path of yoga.
- Yunjan siddha
- Yukta siddha
In the stage of Prabartak some primary signs of dharma only are unfolded, like humbleness, dispassion, love, purity. Subsequently in the stage of sadhak, God’s appearance is felt little by little and at the end of this, clear Brahmadarshan takes place. Next comes the stage of yunjan yogi. They stay in the company of God often and are blessed by attaining various truths. But they too suffer separation at times. They remain in acute distress during such periods. Sin may penetrate even them during these periods of separation and cause utter ruin. Finally, by the grace of God those who stay in the state of uninterrupted yoga and are always in the company of that complete Supreme Lord, are called yukta yogi. This is the state of being siddha or attaining divine grace. To learn yoga, deeksha should be taken from such a siddha yogi. However the same result can be obtained if a yogi is in direct contact with any siddha mahatma and if that mahatma transmits the power to him and directs him to infuse power and initiate others. Otherwise it is absolutely undesirable to take deeksha from just anybody. How can a blind person show the path to another? How can a man owning one hundred rupees open a charitable institution? He alone has achieved the unlimited fountain of power whose power is linked with the unlimited powerful Supreme Lord. No one else has the right to give yoga deeksha. Taking deeksha from people of such poor levels has led to the spread of the dreadful atrocities and beastly customs of guruvad in our country.
- Is not there any path other than this for salvation?
Ans : I can not say such a terrible thing. This itself is the cause for groupism. It has already been said earlier that God alone is the sadhan and means for achieving Him. Anyone who holds on to the truth incarnate Lord and prays to Him with extreme yearning and simple mind for liberation, will be liberated. He Himself will bring forth before His subject the path that is beneficial for his attainment of dharma. It is necessary to rely on Him totally. I do even believe that all the sinners, sufferers, men and women of the world are entitled to salvation. If not in this world, throughout eternity the human soul will certainly be progressing towards completeness. Even the sins of this world lead to nothing but ultimate well being for the soul.
- The followers of the path of yoga are often emotional and apathetic to work. Is it true?
Ans : There cannot be a greater mistake than this. Yogis do not have newspapers of their own. News of their activities are not publicized by any of their external signs. Often they live in hiding in secluded woods or in the mountain caves. Even when they come to a locality, they normally exchange a few words with the people and go back. I consider this to be a grave offence if someone, on basis of this thinks them to be lazy, meditative, apathetic to the world and just beggars. If even a week is spent in the company of a real yogi, it will be clear as to how benevolent they are and how much they think about the the well being of the samsar, what severe sacrifices they make in trying to remove the suffering of the people and improve their well being, and how by following some strange law with God’s grace and their own strength succeed definitely. How can they understand the mystry of the strange character of the yogis, when they have not been blessed with the meeting of any mahatma in their lives but conclude to have got the wisdom of yogi darshan just by seeing some hypocrite, lazy, trader-sannyasis? They have no right to talk on this topic. What can be more surprising and regrettable than the concept that yoga, spiritual austerities and laziness are synonymous in the country where sages were poets, sages were philosophers, literati, discoverers of science, astronomy, discoverers of mathematics, of anatomy and ayurveda, were the formulators and overseers of political administration and it is the sages who themselves had the final say in the entire matters suited to the functioning of domestic life, the beginning, the current stage and the end? This is the country where great yogis like Janak, Yajnavalkya, Vashishtha were born and have shown with examples the great truth clearly that samsar and dharma are one and the same. This is the country where the foremost ascetics Buddhadev, Shankaracharya, Nanak, Kabir and Shree Chaitanya had sacrificed their respective pleasure and happiness, peace and samadhi and their whole lives for the well being of the common people. Even now so many accomplished mahatmas are travelling to far off places giving up their sadhan in the lonely caves of the hills, ignoring hunger, lack of sleep and thousands of sufferings,—to remove the spiritual degeneration, to eliminate the immoral animal behaviour in the country, to bring the glow of love, purity and real dharma in the dark skies of the lives of people who are thirsty for it. They are removing the hardship of people suffering from water scarcity, that of people dying for want of food by collecting lacs and lacs of rupees and spending them, by giving medicines to the sick, consolation to the one afflicated with grief, imparting knowledge to the ignorant, hope to the hopeless and are doing hard work ceaselessly everyday to bring back good luck to this ill fated country. Alas! being people of this country and having been blessed with eyes we are crying like blind persons—yoga brings laziness and apathy to work! It is a matter of shame, of distress, a matter of ignorance! On receiving the slightest hint of the six yogic wealth, the greatness, the spiritual valour of the mahatmas, Europe and America are speechless in stunned amazement, on hearing the echo of a few of their words from the western yogis Emerson and Carlyle, the nineteenth century is worshipping them. The younger brothers of these mahatmas, Jesus Christ and Mohammed are leading the majority of the world’s population for two thousand years. And today, being their children, we are misguided on seeing the youthful restlessness of the English and are thinking of yoga as laziness. What can be more shameful than this?
In fact yoga does not cause laziness, on the contrary it is just the opposite. The fruit of yoga is the harmonious progress of the three things—Knowledge (jnan), Love and Karma simultaneously. The Supreme Lord is the essence incarnate. The way, juice infuses life force equally in the tree after penetrating it and travelling through its roots, trunk, branches, similarly when the Supersoul arrives in human souls, all the qualities of the human soul grow together equally. Partial progress is against this. He is complete. Incompleteness and narrowness find no place when that ideal of completeness arrives in the life. Work has to be done essentially on attaining real progress. However the work can never be the same for all. Only the ignorant hold the view that all have to be engaged in publicity or lecture or printing newspapers or publishing books; else, they are not to be called active.All have to be spiritual yogis and at the same time should be allocated with various duties of samsar. The duty for some is to lecture, that for someone else is writing books, some will be engaged in agriculture, someone will be a judge, some other will have to look after zamindary, some will have to fight for the defence of the country and some people will have to perform sadhan in solitude and will teach the priceless truth obtained in their spiritual lives to others in seclusion. It is therefore seen that yoga is the general foundation for all. One will contribute to the well being of the humanity while maintaining one’s livelihood according to one’s suitability.
- What is your view on the current agitation in Sadharan Brahmo Samaj regarding yoga sadhana?
Ans : I consider it to be very good. I know it for sure that there is a very high objective at the core of this agitation and the Brahmo Samaj and the common people of the country will benefit by this. The way the Brahmo Samaj has advanced step by step since its inception and has achieved many priceless truths, similarly this sadhan is also a precious truth, a jewel, a new ornament of the Brahmodharma, a common property of the Brahmo Samaj and all the people. In spite of this I would have considered it to be a drop in the life force of the Brahmosamaj, had there been no such intense agitation, which had also taken place earlier, before the Brahmosamaj was ready to accept newer truths. Process of growth is a natural law but stability also is natural and beneficial. The samaj which does not make a terrible uproar before accepting any new truth, where all the people follow it without scrutiny, like static old people who follow it without thoroughly analysing all the relevant factors of the new one while showing enough affection for the existing truths. In such a case decay of the health and life force of the samaj becomes evident. That is why I am thanking God on seeing the degree of caution among all towards the sadhan being sent by the gracious friend of the lowly, the Supreme Lord for the well being of the Brahmosamaj and all the people of the country at this auspicious time. But it is also necessary to say that the ideal of man becomes narrow whenever he strongly favours the existing state. I am afraid lest the Brahmosamaj also comes to this state. Those among the Hindus who want to exile dharma from samsar, are the very ones who propagate that samsar and dharma are two different things and that it is not possible to follow dharma while remaining in samsar. In case, the ideal of Brahmodharma does not become narrow, then they will not say that Brahmodharma and yoga are different. As far as I understand, I can say after examining, in as many ways as possible, that there is not a grain of idea or view or work against the Brahmodharma in the new yogic sadhana. Yet everybody has the right to examine all of these independently. That is why I have expressed everything before all. I shall humbly amend my mistakes if somebody finds any shortcoming in it even after this. And if Brahmosamaj shrinks from accepting this inspite of finding it to be consistent with the good wishes of God, then I shall conclude that they too have become narrow minded like static old men and have lost the limitless ideal of the Brahmodharma. But I do believe that Brahmodharma is ordained by God and therefore I foresee no such possibility. May the wish of the Gracious be fulfilled. May truth win. I am an insect of the lowest level. I am His servant. I know nothing else.
- Whether the intricate talks of yoga disclosed by you can harm people?
Ans : Dharma is the common property of human beings. I do not think that it can contain anything that has to be concealed. However, such things should not be spoken at those places where the possibility of causing harm exists. That is why the topic of yoga has always been concealed. No one will find any internal details of yoga in my booklet. I have just explained the external concept and expressed those internal features to the extent that will not cause much harm, on the contrary various existing misconceptions and fears are likely to be dispelled. Yoga sadhan is a matter of direct experience and hence no views or processes can be prescribed for it. Therefore nothing in it can be pondered, expressed and taught. He alone understands what this sadhan is when his sadhan blooms in him by the grace of Sadguru. Else, I humbly caution those, who try to practice pranayam by themselves, that this is dangerous. Hundreds of people in their attempts to do such things have been attacked with difficult to cure diseases like leprosy, hernia etc. and have suffered immensely. Those who are extremely eager to achieve dharma should not be in an extra hurry.
Rely on God, pray to Him and try to look for the right path as far as possible and He Himself will make all the arrangements at the right moment.
- Swami Amalananda Saraswati