All members of the esteemed Yogi Family. Today is the 7th March; exactly 65 years ago on this day we were left with the mortal remains of Yogananda while his soul trapped inside the body came out to become the faith of ages.
Today on this very occasion I also bow to Shri Shri Mataji as I have been told that she is now present in a similar programme at Los Angeles.
As Swamiji said, 95 percent people in the world can read Yogiji’s autobiography in their mother tongue. But, one thing that strikes me is that why a person who knows nothing of this country, its languages and its costumes is tempted to read Yogiji. What could be the reason that one translates his thoughts into another language to reach out to others. This is because of a feeling of spiritual awareness that every person thinks that he should also distribute some of the blessings like we do when we go to a temple. We carry the Prasad home to further distribute that there in small quantities to as many people as possible. The Prasad is not mine, neither have I prepared it, but it is something holy and by distributing it I get a sense of satisfaction.
We are experiencing a feeling of spiritual pleasure by disseminating the words of Yogiji after receiving the same as Prasad . While discussions on the path of salvation are going on here, there are people who think that who knows the future. But the journey of Yogiji is not just a show of the path of salvation, but it speaks of the journey within. How deep you can go and get fused within? To err is human. Spirituality is an eternal blessed journey and our sages, saints, scholars, teachers as well as preachers have contributed to ensure the timely and successful passage on that journey. With variations this tradition is still ongoing.
Yogiji had a short life span, may be it had some spiritual significance. Yogiji was an ardent exponent of the positive aspects of Hatha Yoga despite the fact that people sticking to a point are more often taken otherwise. He motivated everyone towards Kriya Yoga. Now I accept that among all the forms of yoga, Kriya Yoga has a special place. It powers our journey within self. Some Yoga need bodily strength but Kriya Yoga requires self strength for some life time objectives. Very few individuals had such objectives. Yogiji used to say that he didn’t want to breathe last on a hospital bed. Rather I want to bid adieu remembering motherland any moment, means he bade farewell to India with a vision of enlightening the western world. But he never got detached even for a fraction of a second from mother India.
I was in Kashi yesterday, came from Benaras at night and went through the autobiography of Yogi. He took birth in Gorakhpur, spent his childhood in Benaras where he got acquainted with the traditions of that holy city and tender touch of mother Ganga. This assimilation enriched and shaped his early years, engulfed within his heart as the sacred current of Ganga. This current is now running within our hearts too. He was spiritually active until his passing away. It was the felicitation event for the Ambassador of India where he was delivering a lecture. He collapsed all of a sudden with mesmerising last words of patriotism and humanity. His amazing explanation of the last destination of spiritual journey were his last words in an official programme. Yogiji used to talk about this place as one where Ganga, forests, Himalayas, caves and man dream of God. Just imagine the vastness of vision there itself.
I feel blessed of having born in that mother land. These were the words that came out last from his body. The soul then left for infinity. Adi Shankaracharya preached the doctrine of Advaita (Non-dualism) that postulates the identity of the Self (Atman) and the Whole (Brahman[). According to Adi Shankara, the one unchanging entity (Brahman) alone is real, while changing entities do not have absolute existence. Where there is no “I” or “You” is Advaita, the thought that God and I are different is not there. He was of the view that God (Brahm) is within me and I am within God (Brahm) is Advaita (Non-Dualism). Yogiji also had written this meticulously in one of his poems. Though I cannot explain it the way it has been mentioned exactly, but while reading these verses and later during its interpretations I found this very close to the doctrine of Advaita.
And when Yogiji says: The Brahm entered within me, I entered within Brahm, is it self a simplified version of Advaita doctrine. “Knowledge, the exponent and the seeker, all becoming one. Likewise we say that the moment “performer”” and the “Act” becomes one, there results easy achieving. The “doer” need no “Action” thereafter and the Karma (Act) doesn’t wait for the “doer”. Performer and Karma get united with attainment as the unique resultant.
Yogiji further comments- Calm, unsegmented, ever exciting, Calm, unsegmented, ever exciting, Calm, unsegmented, ever exciting active alive for ever, ever vernal calm, ever innovative calm. Means calm of bygone days may not be worth today. Today I seek ever, new, innovative calm so Swamiji pronounced “ Om Shanti Shanti” in the end. It’s not a protocol but a state attained after persistent penance. Only after that comes the verse “ Om Shanti Shanti”. It is attainment of supreme bliss that is beyond the imagination and aspirations of anyone. Yogiji has described this reposition marvellously in his works. And how easily Yogi ji have moulded life just like air. We can not survive in the absence of air. Air is every where every time. While moving our hands air doesn’t hinder. Never say stop and don’t ask space for its passage. In the same way Yogiji have established his presence around us to get a feel of his unhindered existence like air. He thinks, Ok, today this guy was unable to achieve his target, no matter be it next day. This kind of coolness and patience exists in very few orders and traditions. Yogiji gave bountiful flexibility to his order, established an institution and then departed. Now almost after one century this order emerged as a movement of eternal spiritual awakening and probably it will be the fourth generation there engaged persistently.
However, no delusion or diversion has been noticed there. Had there been institutional prejudice or system centric order, one had seen the impressions of personality, thinking and timings upon it. But these are the movements spread beyond time frames where spiritual activities go on simultaneously amid the passage of generations without confrontation and segmentation.
Setting up of unhindered order is one of the prominent contribution of Yogi ji. It is just like a family having unwritten set of rules for its routine working. So is the theme laid down by Yogi ji that his institution is still dynamic and thrashing even after his exit from the centre stage. And being carried away by his spiritual bliss we are also running this institution. In my opinion this is his biggest contribution. The world of today is charmed by economics and technology so every one weighs the world as per his perceptions. I will have your image as per my perception. This depends upon the understanding, perception, nature and timings. The world had compared and weighed India on the same terms for its population, GDP and employability on its specific global parameters. However, the world is yet to know about one specific parameter of India which is in real terms is the strength and power is its spirituality. This is the bad luck of this country that there are some one who are of the view that spirituality and religion are similar entities. Caste, creed and religion are distinctly different from spirituality. Our former President APJ Abdul Kalam repeatedly said that spiritualism is the strength of India and this must continue. Our sages and saints have continuously furthered this spirituality globally. For me Yoga is a very simple entry point. Teaching the world “ Atmvat Sarvabhuteshu” will be ridiculous. More so, the saying- “Ten Tyakten Bhunjitah” will have no buyer amid the talks of “ Eat Drink and be Marry.
But asking anyone to sit in a particular posture holding their nostrils for getting relaxed will have its impact and he will follow you. So this is Yoga, the entry point for our spiritual journey. It should not be taken as the final frontier. However money has its own power of growing further. So there comes commercialisation also. Even -enlightenment in so much Dollars and for some ones Yoga is the final achievement.
Yoga is not the final thing but is the entry point of the way for final passage. Moving uphill sometimes witnesses breakdowns. However continuous pushing makes the vehicle accelerates ahead with momentum. Similarly in Yoga one has to get the entry point correctly and if achieved, there will be no hindrance later on. Then it is the process that makes you move ahead and that is Kriya Yoga.
In our country it is but natural of the remembrance of Kashi . How saints like Kabir Das ji have given narrations of examples in a very simple manner. One of his saying is fully applicable on Yogi ji. He says: “ Avadhoota yugan yugan hum Yogi …Aawe na jaay, mitay na kabahoon, sabad anaahat Bhogi” . Kabir Das ji says- A yogi remains for ages…neither comes or departs…neither gets destroyed. I think today while having a feel of travelling together with the spiritual form of yogi gives us the correctness of the words of Kabir Das Ji that: Yogis never go or come, rather they are with us for ever.
So bowing to that yogi has blessed me of a chance to spend quality times in the air of spiritual fragrance. So once again my reverence to the great legacy of Yogi ji I bow to the saints and after extending well wishes for the persons engaged in furthering this spiritual travel ahead I stop here .