Resources of the Himalayan Yoga Tradition

Guru Purnima Message July 13, 2000

Our moments of serenity should not be limited only to one or two days in the year. The purpose of the lineage within us is to make us aware that what we call the Guru Lineage always dwells with us and within us. In one way our Gurudev, Swami Rama of the Himalayas, is unique that he insists that we not worship and honor the Guru's physical person. Many, many years ago he even forbade us from having a picture of his hanging in this hall. And with a stone in my heart, I accepted that command obediently. His teaching is that the Guru is a Presence, that it is not a form. It may take a form to fulfill a certain purpose because we are all used to having forms, and something formless simply just doesn't have quite the reality. So no matter even how much we talk even of a formless God we always give It some form. So then the Divinity says, "All right, you people are so stuck to the idea of form. Okay, I will take a form for your sake for the time being just to tell you the form is nothing, and I'll make the form vanish as well." And that is how Swami Rama of the Himalayas has taught us: to seek the Presence within. And any homage is of a surrender and an offering of the lesser in us to the higher in us and to realize slowly, gradually in this life, in the next life the Divinity that is our true being.
In humanity the Divine and the demonic are mixed up, and the two are always battling. And the Divine in us is often compromising with the demonic. But when the pure Divinity revealed as our own Self is unveiled as our own Self then the demonic withers away and drops off and only the Divine remains, and we cease to be human beings. The ultimate would be extinction of the human race. May that happen so other creatures can breathe. But I do not wish extinction upon you and us until we have reached the goal for which we have been given the human body. I keep talking of the Ancient, Ancient, Ancient. "Ancient" is not the word. "Perennial" is the word – as it was, as it is, as it shall always be. As it was, as it is, as it shall always be. In it the historical perspective becomes a limiting factor. We use the historical perspective only for the sake of inspiration and guidance so that we may lend a little tip of the small finger of our left hand to help support the great edifice and pride ourselves at having helped.

My Master said to me, "The day you say to yourself 'I am nothing,' that day you will be everything." And I keep praying for that time, that moment when I fully know I am nothing. When you people stand up for me or some one country like India, every person who walks in puts their head on your feet, and I'm ashamed of myself, but I have found an internal devise. Every time someone pays me respect, I pass it on to where it belongs. So it gives me the opportunity, one more opportunity, of passing on that respect. Anyone who brings me flowers, I pass on the flowers. [It] gives me another opportunity to pass on the flowers of my immense gratitude and love, and that is how the tradition has remained.

Yesterday – was it yesterday or the day before? – I told you the story of a disciple who went and won a scholarly debate, and thereafter he was ordered to shut up and not speak a word again. Because he was a great scholar and he keeps winning these debates, he might be trapped by his ego, and our Masters in the process of purification lead us through these difficult alleys. I am a disappointment to my Master, I am, because I don't burn the dross from my students. I fail to do that. I don't play a hard teacher that I'm supposed to play and I'm ashamed of that. Since he left his body, a little bit of that I've felt, [a] little bit coming in but not satisfying in his eyes.

In the thirteenth century among a long line of sages and saints of India, there was a great man named Janeshwara. He was born in 1275. He left his body in 1296. Twenty one years. This is quite common in that country. Child saints, child Gurus, because our reality, belief in the reality – reality not theory – reality of reincarnation makes us look for the Divine that the child may have brought from the previous life, so that Divine is encouraged. So the child who has the Divine potential blooms and comes out as a teacher. So he completed his work in twenty-one years of his life. There were three brothers and a sister. The eldest had received the Guru initiation which is a long story. I have told you that story before. You can dig up the old tapes. The Guru, the elder brother was now the Guru of the other brother and sister. The Guru was born in 1273 – two years older than the eldest, Janeshwara – just two years older. And [he] initiated all of them, and each one of them became a master. Janeshwara wrote the most beautiful commentary on the Bhavagad Gita. Every step of the way he pays homage to his Guru. [He] never, never refers to him as his brother – never
refers to him as his brother. I'll read to you:

"That which the eye cannot see, he will be able to see without the eye. One who has received the grace of the Guru. That which the [eye] (?) cannot see. He will be able to see without the eye if only he gets super-consciousness. That which the alchemists vainly seek after may be found even in iron provided the touch stone" – what do you call it, [the] Philosophers' Stone? – "comes to hand. Similarly where there is the grace of the Guru, what can not be obtained? He is rich with the infinite grace of his Guru. It is not possible for me adequately (?) to praise the greatness of my Guru. Is it possible to add luster to the sun? Is it possible to crown the Divine Tree, Celestial Tree with flowers? Is it possible to add a scent to camphor? How can the sandalwood tree be made more fragrant? How can nectar be redressed for meals? How can one add a hue to the pearl or what is the propriety of giving a silver polish to gold? It is better that one should remain silent and silently bow to the feet of his master." He writes: "How is it possible when the grace of the Guru comes down and floods [so] that the scorching heat of samsara may [not] continue to burn one with grief? The grace of the Guru, like a true mother rears up the spiritual aspirant on the lap of the adhara shakti – the shakti, the power that supports our very being – and swings him to and fro in the cradle of the heart like a true mother." Again: "The grace of the Guru waves lights of spiritual illumination before the aspirant and puts on him the ornaments of spiritual gold. As when the sun shines upon the
horizon the moon fades away in the background, similarly when the Guru shines within you, all the sciences fade away. Let me make my heart the seat for the Guru, and let me place upon it my Guru's feet. Let all my senses sing with a chorus of unity and throw upon the feet of the Guru a handful of flowers of praise. Let me apply to the feet of the Guru a finger full of sandal ointment made pure by the consideration of identity. Let me put upon his feet ornaments of spiritual gold. Let me place upon them the eight-petaled flower of pure joy. Let me burn the essence of ego and wave the lights of self-annihilation, and cling to the feet of the Guru with the feeling of absorption. A child plays in all manner of ways with its mother, but the mother takes into account only the spirit in which the child is playing. If a small brook carries water to a river, does the river throw it out simply because it comes from a brook? It is thus that I approach thee with words of praise oh my master. And if they are inadequate it behooves Thee only to forgive their purile simplicity."

So he pays homage to his master.

There is a text called Guru Gita. A few of you have come across it. It is a text actually that all the yoga traditions memorize and sing. I wish there were people here who could do that. I would not have to speak. I would only listen. It is the verses that we recite: "Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu . . . ." They are verses from the Guru Gita, (Song of the Guru). You know this passages, [the] few I have read to you, they are addressed to his brother who is only two years older in physical body, you know. In this tradition, then once your relationship is in the Spirit there are no other relationships.

I know the story in the life of the Buddha who had a disciple. I've told you that story many times before, but you may have forgotten. He was the most charitable disciple who built the first monastery for the Buddha. His name you would not be able to recite: Anatha Bindaka. And his daughter died. When the daughter died, before dying she was in her full senses – brilliant – and she addressed her father by the word that is used for one's younger brother. The father performed the Last Rights but was puzzled. She seemed in full senses – at the height of her spiritual intensity – not even as though she was dying. "Why did she address me like a younger brother?" He went to the Buddha: "Master, I take your teaching and not let my heart be over come by grief, but I have a puzzle: Why did my daughter address me as 'younger brother'? And he said, "Quite correctly so." In the Buddhist tradition there are, as in any tradition of spirituality, there are levels of initiation. The first initiation is called sotapanna, which means "the stream-entered one." Take somebody, put him into the stream of spirituality. Let him start flowing and finding his way in the stream. Then after a series of initiations comes the status of sakadagami, [which] means "one for whom this is the last-but-one body" – one more incarnation and then you are free. That is called sakadagami, he who will return once more, only once more. And then the final [initiation] is like the Buddha himself: anagami. [He] has no reason to come back. [He] may come back, but that's in his hands, but not out of the karmic cycle. The Buddha said "Anatha Bindaka, every one receives initiation according to his adhikara, his result. You I have given the initiation only of sotapanna, a stream-entered one, first initiation, but she had done so much purification in past lives that she was ready, and I have given her the initiation of sakadagami. You have many births yet before you. She has only one more birth, and it was time for her now to finish this current cycle [and] leave you. Thank you for providing her the body. So you both are my children. She is your elder sister. You are her younger brother." So in this tradition in the Guru Lineage the meaning of relationships changes. That is why we speak of Guru family and loving that Guru family and serving the Guru family, because the physical family you have is only a result of karmic cycles. Your karma will be fulfilled in this life. Next life you will have a different son. He will have a different mother in some other country speaking some gibberish you won't understand. It is possible that last life you were speaking Chinese, and next life he will be speaking Chinese and you will be speaking Samoan.

So the relationships are here to be fulfilled. I have written a little
piece on this family relationships in a little booklet we've just published on "Polity, Economy and Family." Then read. And with all sincerity, with all devotion we need to fulfill our karma in the family, no doubt. But there is another family, and that is the family in the Spirit, and in that family all those who have received a tiny seed of grace become as brothers and sisters and need to serve each other. That grace can come in many forms, in many ways. It does not have to come always in a physical form.

There is a story of a great yogi. There are thousands of these stories, thousands. I wish I could translate them into English. It needs one lifetime only to do that job. [There are] thousands that don't come to you because those great masters, teachers who have passed [on the teachings] they don't have English-speaking disciples, okay, so nobody has written about them. So you read in English what's available in English or in French or German. At the end of the eighteenth century there was a great yogi - one of the great ones - his name was Bholanand Giri. The story about him [is that] a disciple who was a great mathematician came to him. After this [the] disciples wife had already died. It had been his wish that somehow they would find the Guru together. It had been her wish that somehow they would find a Guru together, but before they could find the Guru the wife had died, and now he found the Guru. It was time to be initiated. Here we do these initiations very informally in the tradition. There are many, many formalities. We don't do those here. So he was blessed with the promise that he would be given initiation: "But Master, my one wish remains unfulfilled. My one wish to be initiated by a true master is being fulfilled, but my one wish remains unfulfilled: I, we had hoped that I and my wife would be initiated by the same master at the same time together." He said, "No problem." And when the time for initiation came, there were three seats prepared by the master, his own seat and the seat for two. The disciple sat, and along side him he saw his wife sitting. He was not allowed to speak to her. Both of them were initiated, and then the wife vanished, went her way. These are not fibs I am telling you. It's a different reality. You have not yet entered into the subtle world, into the subtle world whose time-streams and space-streams are different from your time-streams and space-streams. That's why these stories come as surprises to you, but I'll tell you, to me they are no surprise.

I know of one couple . . . . Parent. But to be that kind of parent you have to have done something, you know. And these parents were told that a one particular great soul who left the body, twenty years, thirty years, forty years, fifty years back will be born from him. Swami Rama was a . . . . I don't know, I was telling you yesterday of souls waiting to be born, and some of these Masters they seem to carry these souls somewhere in their pockets: "You want a son? Okay, here." One day Swami Rama was playing tennis. His tennis was famous. People who could not see him in the day time they knew they could see him there playing the tennis – and playing with three players, against three players all at once and never lost a game - "Swamiji you are unfair. You have advantages we don't have. You should grant us a handicap" – and suddenly in the middle of a stroke he looks up into the sky and he says, "Swami Muktananda has taken birth," and the stroke goes on playing. Everybody is standing there: "Swamiji, where, what?" No answer. So this one particular couple I know he told them to undergo certain purification's. And he said such and such and such yogi will be born from you. After the purifications were completed, the wife got pregnant. And one day she was resting, lying, and a cloud of light, and a cloud of light swirls, swirls and comes [through] the window and enters her home. An initiation in the womb, but only the soul who was a great yogi in the past would receive such an initiation. You have no idea what the lineage, this lineage does. I'm not telling you fairy tales. This is reality. It's a different reality from yours, as different as the realities of quantum physics are different from Euclid. But the realities they are.

In South India we have traditions very different from the traditions of North India. The people of North India are very unfortunate. The people of South India know the traditions of North India, but the people of North India are very unfortunate. They do not know the traditions of South India. Very, very unfortunate and they don't even know how unfortunate they are. And there is a great galaxy of saints in the South Indian tradition - great galaxy. One of these was – again you will not be able to recite the name – Tiru-jnana-sambandhar. Born in the seventh century – just as I told you the story of Janeshwara who lived twenty one years and wrote commentaries on the Gita all in verse. In India there is a tradition, in all of Asia there is a tradition: if you are a saint, you are a poet because prose is insufficient language for mystic expression. Every saint is a poet. So all the texts were written by the saints. All commentaries are all in verse. Even the texts of mathematics in Sanskrit are in verse. Even texts of medical science are all in verse. Even texts in the science of polity and economy are all in verse. So Tiru-jnana-sambandhar is one of the greatest names in the traditions of South India. His songs are still sung thirteen, fourteen centuries later, are still sung in all the temples of that part, the Tamil country. Shiva and Paravati have a dream. A child was born. One of the sixteen sacraments in India is [the] Naming Ceremony. No Naming Ceremony was done for him because the name was received in a dream from Lord Shiva.
Because the mother was initiated, the womb-brother was initiated while she was pregnant. As I just told you, someone else.

The great Shankaracharya in his work of Saundari-lahari refers to Dravida Shishu, baby. Supposing, just supposing, say from the Western traditions, Catholic traditions, you had a baby and Mother Mary herself came and gave the baby her breast to suckle; what do you think that baby would grow up to be like? This child at the age of three insisted on being accompanied by his father, a saintly man, to take the sacred bath. The father gives in to the great big tantrum. [He] takes the child along to the holy tank, lets him sit there because he has to take his own sacred dip. [He] takes a dip, comes out, sees that the child is sitting. Well. [He] has a strange urge, has a strange urge to go down into the water again and stays there. Does not know how long. Something happens. [He] comes out, sees the child sitting there smiling, happy with a little bit of milk on his lips. When the child was sitting, he was hungry, and he was crying, and Divine Mother, Mother Parvati she was sitting there, wherever they sit. She says, "Hey look, the child is crying." And she comes down and gives him her breast. Some say it was Mother Saraswati the Goddess of Wisdom. So when the father asked, "Who gave you milk?" [the] three-year-old child bursts out in song – song of praise to Divine Mother. And from that moment on, on his father's shoulder, he started off on a teaching journey that took him through two-hundred-and-nineteen shrines where he taught all in verse up to the age of sixteen. Some, those who heard his verses, sang. He was sitting in a king's court, and all the courtiers are reciting, singing, doing the chant of his verses. And he is also keeping [time], rhythm with his hand, and looked on. And his hands were swollen. So Lord Shiva himself came down and handed him these cymbals, and he carried on.

Pass through a village near a city called Tiru-chenapalli, and [there] was a woman whose whole body had become pock-marked with small pox. [She] came to ask for initiation and his grace. She wants to be loved by her husband. She is initiated, given the grace. [The] pox marks vanish. [The] husband had been away. [He] comes home. Looks at his beautiful fair skinned woman. [He remembered her as] not [being a] clear-skinned woman. "Who are you?" "I am your wife." "No, no, can't be. You must be sister of my wife. Where is my wife?" "I am your wife." She takes him to the master, and the master says, "Aval-ival, that woman is this woman." So there is a village where they live. That village is still called Aval-ival. "That woman is this woman." From the age of three to the age of sixteen, he composed four-thousand-two-hundred-and-thirty stanzas which are still sung in the temples of South India on a daily or weekly basis as part of worship.

The story goes that at the age of sixteen . . . . In those days they used to have very early marriages in India – arranged. [The] marriage is arranged and [they are] brought to the ceremony. The bride and the bride groom are sitting by the sacred fire, priests, parents of both sides, family, everyone. And a blanket of light fell over the entire party, and after that no one was ever seen again. That is the story of Dherujana Subundar, [a] saint.

So initiations can take many forms – at a grand scale, you know. The very inception of life on this Earth is an initiation. Of that we'll talk some other time. With these stories and with these cosmologies what I want to do is to make you break out of your squares, your frames of reality within which you operate. Let your thinking become grand. What we call in the Bhavagad Gita, "Virat," Grand, Vast – aware of the Grand, aware of the Vast. Even in your minutest endeavor, when you are aware of the Grand, that is called surrender – when you are part of the Grand. People are afraid of surrender: "Am I going to loose my being?" You're not going to lose your being. Your being is going to become Grand, you know. And that is called grace. And one who has reached that awareness of the Grand confers that awareness to you. Then he is called a Guru, okay? I pay homage to my Guru and to his entire lineage which has given us these moments of serenity. Resolve in your mind to serve your family.

[Take a] moment of silence. Resolve to serve the Guru family. Resolve to ever renew your daily meditation connection, not for the benefit that you might receive, but for the love that you would give. Simply be aware of the Supreme Presence that breathes through you, and let each breath be a gratitude. And each in-breath be an inspiration. And gently open your eyes.

God Bless.