Resources of the Himalayan Yoga Tradition

Taste The Rasa

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 Would you like to experience greater pleasure in life? There is a way known to the Himalayan Yogis for thousands of years. In this excerpt from a talk, Swami Veda Bharati tells how to do it.


When I first started teaching here in the United States, I spent an enormous amount of time giving emotional counseling, and all of the problems arose out of loneliness. Every individual that’s walking the streets is lonely and has no one to lean on, because their lives are filled with fear of others.

I see this in the way people sit in the hall. I've mentioned this many times before, haven't I? Afraid to come closer.  Afraid to touch somebody with an elbow.  Afraid to look each other in the eye.

How many people are sit­ting here, how many people have you looked in the eye when you entered?  Tell Me. How many people smiled just like that. You are afraid to do so.

That's individualism and a lot of times when we talk of self realization, freedom, and independence, people think of other things that are completely the opposite.

I also have an­other question: What is wrong with pleasures of the sen­ses?  I see the senses as something good that we are meant to enjoy. Certainly not to excess, as this can be destructive.  For sense pleasures such as music, beautiful odors, colors, taste, and sexual pleasures, true enjoyment can make us richer and fuller human beings. Enjoy them.  I have no quarrel with that. The unfortunate thing is that you don't even enjoy them.

How many times have you really looked at a flower? How many times? That when you're looking at that flower you are looking at a particular petal, looking at nothing else but that petal. When you are looking at one speck of pol­len, you are looking at nothing else but that speck of pollen. Without meditation you cannot even learn to use your senses.

Often I've said that you don't look, that sights happen to fall on your eyes; you don't listen, but happen to hear. There is no direction to your senses.

Secondly when you do begin to con­centrate, you suddenly realize that there is something you have missed in this game. We have become strange beings, taking oranges, crushing them, and getting all the juice out. Then we throw the juice away, lick the husk and say how tasty, how delicious it is. Never having tasted the juice, we don't realize that the little bit of taste that is left in the husk was actually from the juice that we threw away.

In the texts known as the Upanishads one of the words for the joy of God is rasa.  Rasa means juice. He is the juice, the taste, the flavor, and the source of our flavor.

If you enjoy sex only as sex you enjoy nothing. You are licking the husk and you don't know how beautiful the juice is. If the husk is so tasty how, how more beautiful the real juice is.

Don't you see I'm not denying the senses, I'm telling you to find out the source of that pleasure, and go to that pleasure. See there are people in the Roman Catholic Church , for example, that have to take vowels of celibacy. Poor people. Ask them, sometimes I ask them, why did you have to take the vowels of celibacy? They say we don't know. No explanation was given.

Now we have our Swamis who are also celibate. Swamis are celibates. Swamis are monks. But they enjoy their celibacy. Because through meditation they have been taught that what was flowing out and down, can begin to flow in and up and be absorbed into higher centers of consciousness. And the pleasure and joy of that can not be compared with the pleasure of ordinary sex.

But you have to go through some disciplines. You can't eat all the candy and have good teeth. There are two ways: The first is to enjoy all your candy, and keep some money to pay the dentist bill and work hard to save that. That's one way of life.  Another way is to maintain good teeth and taste your candy within limits. Then you will taste it more. Don't you agree? Less frequent indulgence leads to more frequent and intense enjoyment.

I beg your pardon. Maybe you don't want to hear this.

If you take the concentrations from meditation into looking into a flower, smelling incense, hearing music, or touching your wife or husband, you have now the pleasures of both worlds.

From where does the pleasure of senses come from?   The other day I spoke of pleasure interwoven with pain, but there's one pleasure in which there is no pain. The word that we use in the yoga philosophy for the joy of the Divine One is ananda, bliss. There is no antonym for that. There are antonyms for pleasure and pain, but for bliss there is none. It is incomparable, cannot be denied, cannot be changed.

All the pleasure that you have in your senses is coming from some other life source. A dead man cannot hear music, so the power to hear music is coming to you from somewhere else. Find that one; find that self that gives you the power to hear and then you'll enjoy the music, and then you’ll be surprised at how much more there is to enjoy even beyond the ordinarily audible music.

In the practice of nada yoga, the yoga of sound, people are taught to concentrate on inner sounds, at a time when there is no other sound in the atmosphere. That music is much finer than any music even by great com­posers like Bach, or even sitar music which was an attempt to reproduce the inner sounds that the great yogis heard. So if you think that the control over senses that yoga proposes and tries to teach, is an ordinary puritanical attitude, it is not so. The sensual control is meant to find the essence of the senses, to find that rasa, that juice.

Even the dead husk of the senses can feel some pleasure, and because that is the only

pleasure you have known you are afraid to try the juice. Here I am giving you a glass of juice and you are saying why should I throw away my husk? The yogis try to go from the world of senses to trans-sensualism in order to drink that juice. The plea­sure of that is undefinable, indescribable.

You see, in the Yoga Tradition we do not think of man or woman, of a person in that phy­sical sense. When you see the face of a person you see nothing. When you see the skin of a person you see nothing but the outer wall of a house. You pass in your car by so many houses. What do you know of the inside of them just by passing the outside? Tell me.

That is all that we have of our communication with each other. You see the walls of these houses called the body, but do you see anything more?  You look at the paint outside and say that's a beautiful house. You don't know how many chambers there are inside there, a house you never enter. Neither your own house nor somebody else’s.

In the Yoga Philosophy we have a word, Kundalini. We think of a man, not in terms of his physical presence. If you understand the whole anatomy of man, you can take a skeleton apart and put it together blindfolded, still you know nothing of man. We think of a man in terms of an energy field.

I am a field of energy.  I don't mean energy in terms of somebody being able to box or jump about. Not kinetic energy.  But spiritual energy.  Energy as a force in the same sense as which light, heat, and electricity are forms of energy. 

If you take a magnet, and you place a piece of paper on top of it, and sprinkle some iron filings on the paper, what happens?  Magic, right?  For a tribes­man from the Amazon, it's magic. But for you the iron filings move without touching and they arrange themselves according to the magnetic field. Similarly, this body is arranged according to the lines of a magnetic, no, magnetic is a wrong word, field of life energy.

Everything that happens in your physical body is a manifestation of that force. The yoga theory of sickness and healing, for example, is that sickness is a warp of that life energy. The warping of the life energy.

You think of life as a process. You think of consciousness as a state. I think of life as an energy the same as I think of light, heat, electricity, and magnetism. I think of consciousness as a force, life-force, consciousness-force energy, and I am that.

So your face, my face, the lines on my face, the lines of hand and the lines on my foot, everything, are nothing but my body arranging itself according to the lines of that field.

If you take an ordinary piece of iron and you place it near that magnet, and what happens after a while? That piece of iron also becomes a magnet. It's magnetized. This is what we call Guru/Disciple relationship. Through the practice of yoga this energy field is strengthened, heightened.

All the life energy of the divine principle, all the life energy is at the disposal of the Master. When Christ was walking someone touched his robe, he turned back and felt the energy passing. He said, who is taking, who is doing this? I have seen my Master initiate someone by just taking his shawl and throwing it on him, and for four hours the person didn't come out of the super-conscious state.

See, the masters we talk about are walking super-magnets. That life force, that consciousness force in them is heightened through concentration, it's invoked, it's brought forward, it's tapped and when they touch a disciple s/he is magnet­ized. A special link is established.

Very few people understand what a Guru is, what a disciple is. A Guru is someone who induces a state of consciousness from his own power.

So, this Kundalini force is what we concentrate on.  And it is from this that all the senses derive their energy. It is from here that the eyes have borrowed this light.

There is this light within you. You say, what light within me? You say, I see no light within me, I close my eyes I only see darkness. Huh?  But tell me, when you go to bed at night, what happens? You sleep at night and you dream. In what light do you see your dreams?

Do you wake up your husband or your wife and say, "darling do you mind switching on the light so I could see my dream more clearly it is somewhat hazy"?  What light is it in which you see those dreams? There is something of your life energy that becomes the light, in which you think, in which you dream. Which remains awake while you are asleep. There is a part of your mind that watches you while you are sleeping.

One of the prayers we have before going to sleep at night is to say, Oh Fiery One stay awake while I sleep, watch over me, guard, oh guard me and wake me up in the morning again. This Fiery One is a part of your own mind, that watches you sleeping. The same way there's a part of your mind that watches your breath even when you are not watching your breath consciously. Other-wise who is it that shifts your nostril every two hours? Who switches it on and who switches it off? You go to bed at night and every two hours you turn, do you know that?  Do you know who turns you? The same one.

A husband and wife may be very close to each other, and sleep very very close, but each one's sleep is his own, her own, private affair. She can't sleep his sleep, he can't sleep her sleep. But meditation is not like that. In meditation you can share a field of awareness. Six people can set up a time, the same time to meditate in their own home, and meditate, at the same time for a year, two years, you will see what will happen to their friendship. They'll communicate with each other without words. There is one meditation you have when you have it alone, and then you have meditation with people together. That's a different field.