Though some people are commercialising Yoga today, it is not the end, but the entry point of spiritualism, says PM
Today is March 7. Exactly 65 years ago, a great soul left behind its physical abode, the body, and became an article of faith for all
ages to come.
This day, we have gathered here for a very special occasion. I am grateful to Shri Shri Mataji and pay my obeisance to her, because I am told that she is attending just such a programme in Los Angeles.
As Swamiji says, today, 95 per cent of the people of this world have been enabled to read Yogiji’s autobiography in their own languages. The question that arises in mind, though, is why is it that people across the world, who do not know us, do not understand our language, nor are familiar with the dress, which for them is a mere costume, why are such people attracted towards reading his works? Not just that, they translate these into their own mother tongues and reach his words to others. These are the sacraments of spiritualism which they feel like sharing.
When we visit temples, we are given Prasad, minuscule amounts of it. Still we bring that home and share it in tiny portions with the rest of the family. Sharing anything divine is a great pleasure.
We are sharing as Prasad whatever we have got from people and this gives us tremendous spiritual pleasure. And that is what we talk of the pathway to liberation. There are many who believe, this is but one life, who knows what lies ahead? Then there are people who feel they must walk the path of liberation. But Yogiji had a holistic vision of this journey and so he did not talk about liberation, but walked the path withing us.
He speaks of how deeper you can travel within yourself, who much you can merge inside yourself. Spiritualism is a blessed journey. And our saints, seers, spiritual preachers have given the right direction to walk that path and reach the desired goal. And from time to time, this has become our heritage. Yogiji’s life was marked by the short period he lived, which could itself be a spiritual indicator. Often, Hath Yogis are berated, but he discussed in a sharp manner the positive aspects of Hath Yoga. He guided everyone’s Kriya towards the path of Yoga. I believe that of all the forms of Yoga, Kriya Yoga has established a firm place for itself, which gives us the strength needed to reach within ourselves.
There are many forms of Yoga that need physical strength. But Kriya Yoga needs our internal strength.
Yogiji used to say, brothers, I do not want to die lying on a hospital bed. I want to wear my shoes, walk the path to recount my Mahabharati and bid my final adieu. Thus it is that he bid adieu to our Bharat and went west to preach his wisdom. But there was never a moment that Bharat was not in his thoughts.
Yesterday I was in Kashi. And while returning from Benaras, I was emersed in Yogiji’s recollections of Benaras in his autobiography. He did take birth in Gorakhpur, but spent his entire childhood in Benaras. And the entire spiritualism of that town, and the blessings of Holy Ma Ganga, deeply influenced, shaped and informed his boyhood and it flowed just like Ma Ganga’s holy flow. That is the same spiritual flow that persists in all of us even now.
Even on the last day of his life, he had been active in his work field. That day there was a function at the place of the Indian ambassador to the US. Yogiji was speaking of the essence of Bharat, and even as he spoke, may be during a short time to change his clothes, he left us, leaving behind his profound last few words, packed with patriotism. He was speaking of the land where the Ganga, the jungles, the caves, the Himalaya, all dream of uniting with God.
Now just see the breadth of his vision. He says that it is not only humans, but the Himalaya, Ganga, caves and even jungles desire union with God! I am grateful that my body has also touched that holy land. Those were the last words from the soul that resided in that body. Then that soul departed and permeated into all of us.
Adi Shankarachraya had preached Monism. Where there is no Dualism, there is Monism. Where there is no ‘me’ and no ‘you’, that is the essence of Monism. The person who does not belive in himself and God as separate entities, and feels, God is in me and I am in God, that person practices Monism. In one of his poems, Yogiji said just this. May be not in such precise terms, but when I got through the interpretation of this, I reached very close to this non-dualism, or Advaita. Yogiji used to say, I have become one with Brahma and Brahm has merged with me. This is the essence of Advaita. Knowledge, the pursuer of knowledge and the One to be known have all become one. Like we say, Siddhi is attained when Karma and Karta, or the doer, becomes one. The doer does not have to act, and action does not await the doer. That is when the unique state of Siddhi is reached.
Which means that may be the peace I had yesterday is of no use today, and today I need a new form of peace. And that is why he says in the end, “Aum Shanti, Shanti.” This is not a protocol, but an attainment after years of penance. It is about the Parmanand, or Unending Bliss, eternal Samadhi that is beyond all our desires and hopes.
This wisdom Yogiji had expressed in one of his poems. Like the air, which we need all the time and which is always present. But if we even want to move a hand, the air says, “Nay, wait, let me pass.” And we want to place the hand in a different direction and the air says, “Nay, wait, for I wish to blow thither.” Yogiji has done just that, teaching us to to feel the essence but without any distraction. This philosophy says, well, he is not able to do this today, but may be he will do it tomorrow. This patience is seen in very few traditions of world views. Yogiji’s flexibility is imbued with this philosophy. He established this institution, but it turned into a revolution, and became a permamnent state of spiritualism, and this may be the fourth generation practicing this.
But there did not set in any delusion, nor was there any distraction. This would not happen had this institution been an establishment-oriented process. So in a movement that is not bound by time and is timeless, in that movement, generations come and go without any altercation with the institution. It makes small things about adjustment and moves on its holy path. One of the seminal contributions of Yogiji is that he has given us a set-up in which he is not bound by laws. Just like a family does not have a formal constitution but still keeps running, Yogiji has similarly created a set-up in which the processes proceed in an easy-flowing manner. And today, having tasted its spiritual bliss, we are running the system.
The world today is driven by economics, by technology. And that is why, everyone tries to weigh the world on the scales he is accustomed to. I will try to understand you from my way of thinking. If that thinking changes tomorrow, I will come to a different estimation of you. These are the results of our conditioning, our perspectives and environments. This is precisely why when the world speaks about India, it speaks in terms of our huge population, our GDP, employment and unemployment statistics. These are the world’s own scales of measuring countries. But there is another way India can be weighed, another scale, and that is our spiritualism. It is unfortunate that people confuse spiritualism with religion. These are two distinctly different things. Our former president Dr Abdul Kalamji used to say that the true worth of India is its spiritualism. And this process of spiritualisation has to be unending.
To that end, Yoga is a simple and easy entry point. If you try to make people explain the meaning of ‘Atmavat Sarvabhuteshu’, they won’t understand. In a world where people believe in ‘eat, drink and be merry’, if I tell me ‘Tain tyaktain bhunjitah’, they won’t be able to make anything out of it.
But if I tell someone, please hold your nose like this for a while, you will feel good, he might just say, “Well, why not start this?” That is why Yoga is the easy entry point of spiritualism. No one should take this as the final point. But well, today wealth has power. And so, the commercialization of Yoga is taking place today, like you pay so many dollars and attain this or that level of Samadhi, and some people have made Yoga the end-all of spiritualism.
Yoga is not the end, it is the path to reach that final essence. Like when our car is travelling on hills and gets stuck, then we have to spend a lot of energy to push-start it. But once it starts off, the track becomes smooth. Yoga is that process. Then one does not have to make much of an effort, the process itself takes you along.
This is why it is natural to remember Kashi. Our saints have very succinctly made things easy, and I recall a couplet of Sant Kabir Das and to my mind that is perfectly apt for Yogiji. He says, Yogis live for ever, across ages. Neither do they arrive, nor depart.
Today, as we celebrate the life of Yogjiji, this rings out perfectly true. While prostrating before that great Yogiji, I express my heartfelt gratitude for giving me the opportunity to spend some time in this holy environment. Let me end here by expressing my pranam to Yogiji’s great tradition, to all the saints, and to all the citizens of this country who are proceeding on the path of spiritualism.
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