Yoga is a junction, a meeting with the Lord, with the Universal Consciousness, with the Supreme Self or one’s own highest self. Any effort or method that brings about this union, this inner harmony, knowledge, love or understanding is yoga.
Sri Ramakrishna had said over and over again that one should always meditate alone, stressing that the less other people know about one’s prayers, the better it is for one.
The musicologist Professor Fox Strongways writes in his well-known book on Indian music that the euphonious Bengali language is so appropriate for music that it could well claim kinship with the Italian language in Europe
“I do maintain that asceticism is the greatest of all arts. For what is art but beauty in simplicity, and what is asceticism but the loftiest manifestation of simple beauty in daily life?” – Mahatma Gandhi
…. A famous yogavashista couplet which said:
Rely on thine own strength and, grinding thy teeth,
Defy with heroic deeds the Tyrant, Fate.
As to permanence, you cannot expect permanence of the initial spiritual experiences from the beginning – only a few have that and even for them the high intensity is not always there; for most the experience comes and then draws back behind the veil waiting for the human part to be prepared and made ready to bear and hold fast to it's increase and then it's permanence …………… This weak limited normality finds it difficult at first even to get any touch of that greater and intenser supernormal experience or it gets it diluted into it's own duller stuff of mental or vital experience, and when the spiritual experience does come in it's own overwhelming power, our normal consciousness very often cannot bear it or, if it bears, cannot hold and keep it. Still once a decisive breach has been made in the walls built by the mind against the Infinite, the breach widens sometimes slowly, sometimes swiftly, until there is no wall any longer, and there is the permanence. ………. If the consciousness is always busy with small mental movements – especially accompanied, as they usually are, by a host of vital movements, desires, prepossessions and all else that vitiates human thinking – even apart from the native insufficiency of reason – what room can there be for a new order of knowledge, for fundamental experiences or for those deep and tremendous upsurgings or descents of the Spirit? It is, indeed, possible for the mind in the midst of it's activities to be suddenly taken by surprise, overwhelmed, swept aside, while all is flooded with the sudden inrush of spiritual experience. But if afterwards it begins questioning, doubting, theorizing, surmising what this might be and whether it is true or not, what else can the spiritual Power do but retire and wait for the bubbles of the Mind to cease?
- Sri Aurobindo
True to our great Indian tradition, the [Ramana] Maharshi did not relish answering merely intellectual questions, or the queries of the curious who were content with mere wordy answers. Again and again he would stress that information was not knowledge and that all true knowledge stemmed first and last from self-knowledge. So sometimes, when he was asked about the worlds beyond of the life hereafter, he would simply evade the question. “Why this itch to know about the other worlds? Do you know even the crucial and basic things about this one? If not, why not wait till you do before you start delving into the next? Why do you want to know what happens after death? Do you really know what is happening before your very nose? ………. Do you know – truly know – what you are today – this moment?”
“ ……. It is the ineradicable ego, the I-ness in each of us, which is responsible for the perpetuation of this maya with all it's attendant sufferings and disenchantments.”
“What, then, is the remedy?” I asked.
“Just be,” he [Ramana Maharshi] answered. “Delve down into That which only is, for then you will find – you are That – there is and can be nothing else but That. When you see this, all the trappings of maya and make-believe fall off, even as the worn-out slough of the snake. So all that you have to do is to get to this I, the real I behind your seeming I, for then only are you rid forever of the illusive I-ness and all is attained, since you stay thenceforward at one with That which is the immutable you. That’s all.”
“We shall have to do nothing then?”
“Why? You shall have done the greatest thing – the only thing that is worth doing – after which you may rest assured that all that has to be done will be done through you. The thing is,” he added, “not to bother your head about doing things: just be and you will have done all that is expected of you.”
“ ……….. the I-ness, which is the root of all evil. Rend this illusion and you land pat into the lap of the One Eternal Reality ……….”
“But why, then, don’t you come out to preach this great message?” I asked. “For most people, you will agree, do not even know that there is this I-ness to be got rid of.”
He gave me again that cryptic smile tinctured with this characteristic irony and asked: “Have you heard of the saying of Vivekananda, that if one but thinks a noble, selfless thought even in a cave, it sets up vibrations throughout the world and does what has to be done – what can be done?”
Indira ……… she saw that pain was necessary, because it purified and one could never know oneself unless one went through the fire of suffering. She would never have been conscious of her attachment if she had not suffered so much.
Meditation is a contact with the Beloved, your real self. It is the completeness of being alone with oneself, a state of Grace in which one spontaneously opens one’s heart to the Light. See how the sunflower opens it's petals to the sun – effortlessly, yet so definitely.
One should think of the Lord as often as one can. In this way the mind eventually becomes accustomed to the heights and meditation is made possible. Indira always advises new people, regardless of the work they are engaged in, to think of Him for one minute every half-hour. Even this much will keep up the contact.
What is necessary for each of us is to give what we can. Don’t calculate, don’t plan. Whatever little you have to give to the Lord – give it today.
Just as insects, lying still in a dark corner, suddenly come to life under a torchlight, so the hidden imperfection lying latent in human beings become restive when dazzled by the light of Grace. The pressure of this light is very difficult for the disciple to bear, and those who are unwilling to change sooner or later pack up and leave.
“ …… The guru can but stimulate this but the flame of your aspiration has to be fanned sleeplessly by your own effort and vigilance. But the paradox is that however you may try you cannot make much headway if you believe you will attain by your own effort. That effort leads duly to helplessness – the zero hour – when His help comes. But nonetheless the effort has to be made in order to realize the futility of effort unblessed by His Grace. And this is a very valuable realization in that it leads you straight into the heart of humility and submission without which one can never go far.” – Swami Ramdas
…… in his [Swami Ramdas’s] book, At the Feet of God, ………..
Answer: When the human will is given up for the Divine will, all responsibility of the instrument, the devotee, ceases and the consciousness of the individual ego is merged in the Divine Consciousness. Then all his actions, thoughts and words emanate from the Divine Source, leaving him free from all doubt, desire and bondage.
Abnormal, otherwise supra-physical experiences, and powers, occult or yogic, have always seemed to me something perfectly natural and credible. Consciousness in it's very nature could not be limited by the ordinary physical human-animal consciousness; it must have other ranges. Yogis or occult powers are no more supernatural or incredible than is supernatural or incredible the power to write a great poem or compose great music; few people can do it ………… to write or to compose true and great things one has to have the passage clear between the outer mind and something in the inner being.
– Sri Aurobindo