Yoga and Your Soul

[Recorded on Nov 18, 2014.]

A student asked Guruji about Kriya yoga. Guruji replied, “I will give you the definition in one sentence: You will be able to make your conscious mind unconscious, and your subconscious mind conscious. When that happens a new world will open up!

“This is the climax, or the biggest achievement of Hatha yoga. No other system in the world comes even close. This practice will always remain a mystery, and open only for very sincere seekers.

“Who cares for their own soul! They are ready to give it up.  Both God and the devil are after your soul, and nobody is telling you to keep it. As a yogi, I say it is the only immortal substance you have; don’t give away your soul. Make it your friend. It can tell you so many things from the other side! No religion in the world, not a single one, actually tells you or teaches you who created your soul.

“In Gorakhbodh, in the conversation between the two great gurus of yoga, Matsyendranath and Gorakhnath, Guru Matsyendranath made a fantastic statement: A state will come when the soul becomes the guru and mind becomes the disciple. Then the real journey will begin. So, I can guide you to that level and after that your soul will take it further.

“No religion talks about the origin of the soul. Only our line of yoga teaches you to how make your soul your friend. And it may start liking you and tell you its secrets. Why? Because only friends share secrets. The world says you are my disciples but I consider you my friends. Why? Because only friends share secrets. A friend is a friend.”

Guru Gorakhnath, Shrinath-ji, and Datta Guru

Q: “Guruji, I’ve read that old yogis always lived or roamed around in solitude.”

Guruji: “They used to, and to accumulate energy also followed celibacy for a particular duration. But nobody knows what happened to them afterwards. For instance, Matsyendranath was trapped in the Triya kingdom because of Hanuman-ji’s instructions, and then Gorakhnath freed him. But happened afterwards? There’s no story of them after that; there’s total silence. Then suddenly Shankar-ji’s stories start, that he’s doing penance in the Himalayas and is a very accomplished yogi, then Daksha Prajapati gave him his daughter, then Himalaya later. Why did all these start at Lord Rama’s time, and not before that? Could it be that it was a continuation of guru Gorakhnath’s story? Shankar-ji also has Nath get-up, and in ‘Skanda Purana’ and ‘Shiva Purana’, Shankar-ji is saying he is Gorakhnath himself.”

Q: “But Guruji, Shiva-ji is also Adinath, the first Nath?”

Guruji: “Yes, is it also said that Adinath first came in the form of Gorakhnath. It’s very complicated. and And only he is always doing meditation.”

Q: “Who is he meditating upon?”

Guruji: “Well, the simple answer is that since his devotees are meditating upon him, he is meditating upon his devotees. But the actual thing could be entirely different. To understand it the mind has to reach that level. An immortal being, who is all-powerful, and the entire creation and all the spirits are his parts in a way, how to understand what is he meditating upon?? In a religious sense people say he is meditating upon Krishna or someone else but I don’t believe that. When we meet with him we’ll ask him, no other way to find out (laughs).”

Q: “I found that Agrawals history also has references to Guru Gorakhnath.”

Guruji: “The impact of Gorakhnath on Agrawals is clear. They hail from Agroha/Rajasthan where everybody believes in Gorakhnath. 22 states in Rajasthan recognize Guru Gorakhnath and other Naths as their official gurus. Who is Punjab doesn’t bow to them? The honorific “guru” is associated with only these two – Dattatreya (Datta Guru) and Gorakhnath (Guru Gorakhnath). And ‘Guru Purnima’ is his birthday. He was born on that day, and later Vyas-ji was born on that day as well. Mysteries are increasing. ”

Q: “Am not sure if the solutions will come.”

Guruji: “We are only equipping ourselves better over time. In the beginning I had no idea but these things have revealed themselves over time. At least I’m sharing all this with you guys. When I was your age, I didn’t have any idea about these things. Only after finding their natural marks (Shivalinga and Devi’s breasts and vagina) that my attention was drawn towards Shiva and Shakti. Finding these symbols also means that they have a direct blessing on me.

“Earlier I only bothered about yoga – used to sit in practice day and night, till 3am. Got tremendous results from that. Powers, or should rather say, abilities also developed. Wrote the commentaries in Gita, Yoga Darshan, etc, and only after all that and after starting to live in Smashan (cremation grounds) these signs came. That means Nature has tuned with me. Another remarkable thing is we never found any other gods’ marks, except Shiva and Shakti.”

* * * * * *

[About Shrinath-ji, who is the presiding deity at Nathdwara. There’s confusion about who he really is, since Shrinath is also a name of Lord Krishna, Guru Gorakhnath, as well as Shri Matsyendranath]

Guruji: “People say that Lord Krishna is Shrinath-ji, since he’s the swami of Shri-ji, -Radha-ji. But that’s not really true. Somehow there’s a mystery behind how these cults started. Badrinath temple deity looks exactly like Babaji sitting in padmasana. It seems like they went into backdrop over time and something else came forward. The city itself became Nathdwara – ‘Home of Naths’ – when he went there. There are some obvious facts that are getting ignored due to sectarian fanaticism.”

Q: “Guruji, what’s the relationship between Datta Guru and Guru Gorakhnath?”

Guruji: “It is said that Datta Guru started the Nath cult. He is the giver of magical powers and immortality as well. There’s a Siddha cult who can do miracles with the help of Mercury and Sulphur. That too was started by Dattatreya Maharaj. He always guides from the backdrop. He is the one who gave Kapalika get-up to Lord Shiva, and also established the Aghora path. Aghora means ‘pure beauty’, not ‘terrible’ as is generally understood. It is completely opposite of that. If one is immortal, there will be no fear for him. and For fearless, there’s only beauty and nothing’s horrible. A strange point of view will develop.”

[20110324-3] Recorded: Jan 2002

Yoga Texts

Q: “Guruji, I was reading Hatha Yoga Pradipika. The technique to float on water, is that Plavini pranayam?”

Guruji: “Yes, it’s a simple technique. You basically ‘eat air’, so that your intestines are filled with air and then you’d float. This is one technical way. Now, kriya yoga practice also creates buoyancy that even without being filled with air the yogis can float. Their weight won’t reduce but there will be lightness in their body. It won’t be dense. Even with weight they don’t feel heavy and can easily float on water. This is due to changes in the body due to pranayam. It also means that their grossness is reduced.

“You can even observe difference in shadows of a yogi compared with a gross man who eats meat and does not practice yoga. The shadow of a yogi will be much lighter. These are subtle changes that take time to absorb. Body is just an expression of the mind. Whatever happens with the mind will reflect on the body. Something tremendous changes somewhere.

“[About a pranayam] these are locks that cannot be opened without the help of a guru. The eight kumbhakas are different stages of the same pranayam. ….the location goes down from throat, then bronchial track, etc, then upto anahata chakra…. It’s an art that takes a lot of practice to understand it’s beauty.

“No book compares to Hatha Yoga Pradipika! It’s the most mystical work, in addition to Shiva Samhita. Everything about yoga is comprised in these two books, including the most profound secrets of Nath yogis. You can read all four vedas and eighteen puranas and still won’t learn these secrets. Take Khechari mudra, for instance. Despite all controls of the tongue – don’t speak evil, don’t talk too much, don’t eat a lot, etc, you’ll never learn the actual mudra!

“It’s our good fortune that we got to learn about this art. If we didn’t have this information, we wouldn’t know what we are missing. That is the real tragedy! People don’t know what they are missing. Nothing we can do about it, only one in a million gets this knowledge.”

Q: “Guruji, is Swatmaram Yogi (author of Hatha Yoga Pradipika) from recent times or old times?”

Guruji: “Very old; he is directly connected with Gorakh Nath and Matsyendra Nath. He was a direct disciple of Gorakh Nath. Some scholars say Gorakh himself might have written this book, but let’s take Swatmaram’s word for it. “Amaraugh Prabodh”, “Vivek Martand” and other works prescribe only Mahamudra, Mahabandha, Mahavedha, and Khechari for attaining immortality. These practices are said to make the body diamond-like (vajra kaya) which will naturally make it immortal.

“We also found in Sanskrit dictionary that what Nath yogis say ‘aadesh’ literally means ‘yoga’! The call ‘alakh niranjan, aadesh guru ka’, implies that the truth is alakh niranjan – beyond carbon – and not visible. To take up to there is guru’s yoga, practice it!

“Only with years of practice you become aware of these things. Naths’ program was amazing! Even with as much asana practice, a modern yoga enthusiast will remain away from the secrets of Hatha Yoga Pradipika. That’s the beauty of it! It is an original text of kriya yoga. Upto 4th kriya is to master the Jalandhar Bandha. There are 10 mudras and there are also 10 kriyas. We are practicing pure Hatha yoga. Bengalis have destroyed its beauty, those so called gurus who went to America to earn dollars and establish missions.”

[20110108-2] Recorded: Dec 2003

Nath Sampradaya

Q: “Guruji, I wonder what goes on in the mind of a self-realized man? What do they think about? Are they in some other time-zone altogether?”

Guruji: “(laughs) nothing goes on in their mind. See, when alone, the mind is totally quiet. And during discussion, what comes out is more as a reaction to whom I’m speaking to.”

Q: “We’ve learned so many things in these discussions.”

Guruji: “A disciple should have at least this much information. Otherwise, what’s the point of being a guru?

“Till now, our discussions have mainly focused on matter – earthly matters. Slowly they reach Void. That could be an interesting discussion. Then we’ll talk about Time!

“What we’ve said is that Earth is like a queen in this whole creation. But the creation itself is so vast! What is its extent, what are its attributes? We are still to talk about that. But as they say, charity begins at home. Until we are Earth-conscious, we’ll not be creation-conscious. And until we are creation-conscious, what is beyond this creation we’ll not be able to grasp.

“Still, we’ve discussed a lot of things. Even Vimalananda wasn’t able to discuss all these (laughs)”

Q: “A lot of what I’ve read in his books I had already known from you. That’s why I thought he was authentic.

Guruji: “Yeah, even though he wasn’t ultimately a yogi, he did a few tantra practices, and even those require practice of concentration. Concentration is required everywhere. Without that, how can you achieve anything in life? He must have had an interesting personality.”

Q: “Guruji, whose personality do you find most fascinating in our tradition?”
Guruji: “Matsyendra Nath. In my opinion, he is the greatest Guru of all time.

“There’s a complete chapter on Matsyendra Nath in Narada Purana, second chapter. He is called Siddha Nath in Narada Purana; that’s also one of his names. Shiva-ji is saying “Siddha Nath is my son”, which is then followed by his full description.”

Q: “Guruji, how is Matsyendra Nath-ji related to our tradition, kriya yoga?”

Guruji: “He was the first yogi guru after Shiva, in human form. Remember that verse from Hatha Yoga Pradipika: ‘Matsyendra and Goraksha knew this art. With their blessing, Swatmaram knows it now’.

Whatever you are practicing was first taught by Matsyendra Nath, remember!

Q: “In the current lineage, who have you found fascinating?”

Guruji: “In the current tradition no one has fascinated me so far, except Babaji. I’m not impressed with anybody’s personality. Babaji’s personality I’m a big fan of. Since we are in his lineage, in a way we are his disciples.

“All these traditions are somehow related to the Nath tradition. After all, they were the original yogis! The problems have arisen out of recent attempts to create groups or organizations around yoga teachings. That is not acceptable. It has compromised the gravity and beauty of this art.”

Q: “Guruji, in the olden times, was it not like a sect? It was still called Nath samapradaya?”
[‘samapradaya’ commonly means a group]

Guruji: “See, samapradaya means ‘to give equally’ –sama means ‘equal’, pradaya means ‘to give’. Basically to teach what we have learned ourselves. Now if you are teaching equally, you’d have to follow the strict discipline, along with all the pledges. These days it has nothing to do with teaching equally. Now it means a cult or a group.

“Now yoga traditions were the only true samapradaya, because if you don’t teach what you’ve practiced, how would anybody learn? It was never about creating followers, or have disciples lie at the feet of the guru, getting kicked around, in the hope that one day guru maharaja would wake up and with one blessing turn their life around.

“And the guru would know that if he told the disciple whatever little he knew himself – some mantra or something else – then the disciple wouldn’t give a damn about him anymore. So they’d continue to keep it a secret. This is exactly what has happened in most tantric traditions.

“There have been so many cults around Bhakti (devotion). Why do you think that the only display of power was done by people who started these cults, and not by their subsequent followers? That is because they used to practice something else and taught their followers something else.

“Only in yoga one teaches what one practices, and that is true samapradayikta, whatever be its definition today. Otherwise, the standards could not be maintained. This approach is nowhere else. Even Yogananda didn’t teach what he himself learned.

“The teachings should never be trifled with! Nobody is born such a genius that they could better the results arrived at by the old masters. After so many austerities and hard work they extracted the essence of these techniques and passed down that essence to their future generations. Why be a wise-ass and corrupt that knowledge? Only if you follow the instructions exactly as given you’ll get the results, not otherwise.

“That’s why there aren’t so many yoga traditions, only a couple. There are many meditation groups, but they are not becoming yogis. Only when you follow the yogic way of life with all its discipline, and then someone tells you the mysteries of these teachings, the awareness will develop.

“At least now you’ll never practice [the commonly misunderstood form of] Mahavedha from Hatha Yoga Pradipika (laughs). Still, I’m very proud that my disciples are making good progress.”

Q: “Guruji, do you think we’ll get to see these original founders of Yoga”?

Guruji: “Of course! If I’ve had their blessings, my disciples shall too.

But the blessing came only because of perseverance in the practice, otherwise why would it have come? Never accept the ordinary. Always try to do better than your capacity. That’s what matters.”

[20090802-2] Recorded: July 10, 2003

Kali Worship, Vimalananda, Ethereal Beings

Guruji: “I just finished reading “Kali’s Odiyya” yesterday. Most of it was good but some things were beyond comprehension. It appears to have a mix of fantasy as well, for example, when he cuts Sandhya’s body into pieces. I mean, people who are able to contact such super beings, and can go outside their body at will, have the shafe-shifting ability and can turn into a dog, why would they bother about trivial matters? And there’s the physical relationship of cousins – Sandhya and Shambhu, and their aunt Prema encouraging them, and despite having such powers she simply died of malaria! On one hand you are talking about supernatural powers and on the other hand you die such a trivial death. And eating her corpse as the last rites! That is quite strange.”

Q: “Is it only fantasy then?

Guruji: “It appears to have a blend of reality as well, especially the rituals about Kali’s worship and the description of ‘Odiyyas’ which are very similar to nature spirits. In this book, apparently his personal fantasies have gotten mixed as well, especially that part about his sexual relationship with his cousin. Even though you sometimes get to hear such cases, but they have gone too far in it. But it has been never heard of that the mother herself is encouraging them on and keeping it secret from the entire household! If you have left all inhibitions and not accepting social norms, why are you living in society at all? The point is, if we are not accepting the social structure, and have broken all social taboos, then after breaking all social taboos you should be away from society. You are breaking all the social rules and yet completely thriving on society, this is a hypocritical thing.

“Couple of things he has said in the book are really good. For example what he said about non-violence, it was a very good statement. Until there’s love in the heart, violence will never end. That is exactly the fact. Book is amusing though. It mostly talks about the black magic rituals in the villages of South India, which they have tried to connect to cosmic consciousness, etc.

“Another interesting thing is the reference to the book named Aghora Rahasya. I have heard about it from some South Indians. The author is some Nambudiri brahmin. The community of Nambudiri brahmins is known as masters of black magic in South India. In villages there, no one would dare bother any Nambudiri living in their village, because they know if he’s pissed, he could wreak havoc on their homes and the entire village. Adi Shankaracharya was also a Nambudiri brahmin. These people have a deep knowledge of tantra, through tradition only.

“I have discussed about aghoris with many people, and Aghora Rahasya is not about real aghoris, but it has a lot of information about going to smashan (cremation grounds) and catching ghosts, or to do black-magic rituals. The simplest method in that book is to find the skull of a freshly cremated corpse, one which is half-burned, and on the new moon night cook rice and lentils in it and eat! If you did this, the ghost or the spirit of that body will come in your control, and will start telling you things and get your work done. This is the first initiation – cooking and eating rice and dals in the skull of a corpse, flavored with its brain (laughs). There are many such methods described in that book, to contact ghosts and earthly spirits.

“And the other aghora tradition, of Dattatreya and Gorakhnath, that is of course a very high form of aghora. They have nothing to do with ghosts. Their objective is to live in smashan and gain contact with Shiva, who is known to live in smashan.”

Q: “Guruji, what do you think about about Vimalananda’s (Robert Svoboda’s) Aghora books?

Guruji: “They are very much near to the facts. Although there are some incidents that Vimalananda suggestively narrated, which Robert Svoboda has credited to Vimalananda himself, but those are stories of Aghori Kinaram. But otherwise that book is very good. It definitely adds to the general knowledge. These discussions are common among aghoris or yogis. It could have been me talking! About Dattatreya, Shiva-ji, Kundalini, yantras – these are some of the fundamental subjects. Vimalananda is real. I have read all the 3 parts. What he has said about Dattatreya, about Krishna, Shiva-ji, aghoris, Girnar, about Dhuni, etc, these things are possible and they do happen.”

Q: “It is mentioned in those books that Vimalananda had met Lord Dattatreya and Guru Gorakhnath.”

Guruji; “Some of it is exaggeration as well, for example, about Babaji. Gorakhnath was mentioned in the context of what he called avishkara – inviting a deity to enter somebody’s body. There’s no mention of a direct meeting.

“You’ll find a lot of people like Vimalananda in Maharashtra. “Navnath Charitra” (stories of the nine Naths) can be found in every home. Saint Gyaneshwara himself was a Nath yogi. I think it’s a fairly common knowledge there about Guru Dattatreya – he is called Datta Guru there – and about immortal Naths. In Gwalior, we used to think that Dattatreya was only a god of Maharashtrian folks, since only they used to go to Dattatreya’s temple. People in central area are not very familiar with Nath tradition. But that book is very factual. Of course, there’s always some elaboration, some dramatization. But even then, it is 95% fact.”

Q: “Guruji, the aghora mentioned in that book, is that practiced for power or for self-realization?

Guruji: “See, the system of Vimalananda was tantric system, which has ritualistic practices for a direct experience of the Goddess and to gain powers from Her, practices like Shava (corpse) Sadhana. It is fairly commonly known in central India that people do these things (Shava Sadhana), even though in reality it is very rare to find people who actually know such practices and have actually done them. Yet, there are people who do these practices and surely gain contact with a super spirit.

“What he has mentioned that the goddess first came in the form a white jackal, that is also a fact. White jackal has come here (academy campus) as well! Our watchman saw it – there were flames coming out of its mouth. It happened in 2000 winter, and after that, there was a complete change in scenario over here! It was in 1999 december of 2000 January. People call it ‘Siawoli’, and fire emanates from its mouth. It is considered a form of the goddess. In addition, the devotees of the goddess who are practicing the tantric system offer meat to the jackal as an offering to the goddess. If the jackal cries out after eating the sacrificial meat then it is considered that the goddess is appeased. In Bengal, women-folks produce ‘hulu’ sounds on certain occasions – weddings for example. That is also an imitation of jackal. It’s exactly the same sound, you should check that out. Since the goddess worshiping is an integral part of Bengali culture, they know this connection. And ‘shiva’, the name of the goddess, is an exact Sanskrit word for she-jackal. There are some really amazing tantras in India.

“This kind of knowledge is spread all over the place. Some of it is documented in texts, some are transmitted through traditions.”

Q: “It’s hard to distinguish what is true and what is bogus.”

Guruji: “Yes, only with experience you can tell what is possible and what is not. It’s a research work.

“There was a pundit in Mathura who had gained control over a yakshini (a powerful ethereal being). There are lots of ways described in tantras to gain control over different kinds of yakshinis.

“He could do miracles with the help of that Yakshini, like being able to tell anything about anybody, causing hail-storms, raining of stones, etc. But when he was about to die, he realized the terrible consequences he was going to suffer. So he called his sons and told them this ‘I’m sending her to a far-off place. Before she returns, tie my body to a heavy stone and drown me in Yamuna river, otherwise she’ll take me with her’. See that’s the point. If you enslave an astral being for material gains, you won’t be able to get away from it after death. They are powerful in that domain! You force them to be a slave against their will. If she had served him out of her own will, it would have been perfectly fine.

“So he sent her away and before she could come back, he drowned himself in the river. What happened afterward is just unimaginable! It rained blood in their house, his dead body when recovered was found filled with human feces in the mouth! It was unmentionable what all happened to them. That’s why the wise men have said ‘Beware! All such businesses have a terrible end.’ You get some publish adulation but ultimately suffer the consequences yourself.

Q: “Guruji, what do these ethereal being generally do?

Guruji: ‘Well, these ethereal beings have a totally different sense of time from us. What a lifetime is for us could be just a day or two for them. And they have very long lifespans – thousands and even millions of years long. They live very long!

Q: “If people know about these terrible consequences, why do they do these things – force ghosts, yakshinis, etc, to do their bidding?

Guruji: “For greed, for fame, public adulation, for earning money, doing business, impressing people, what else! Feeling of power is very intoxicating. Everybody wants credit for doing favors, everybody wants people to sit at their feet and worship them as gods. All these things lead people on these paths.”

Q: “Guruji, are there any tantric practices in our yoga tradition as well?

Guruji: “No, we don’t have a system to force anybody against their will. They can contact us on their own, and they do. That is a better option, if there’s friendship on an equal footing. Remember, friendship lasts only among equals. When you are able to raise your standards to their level, they’ll automatically contact you. Before that, it’ll be forced.

“Even this name you must have heard, X. He went mad in the end! He also developed rectum cancer. He was trying to gain control over a yakshini. That ritual failed and he went mad and died as if he was suffering in hell! He had a really terrible death.

“Think of it this way – you are blackmailing a very powerful person to do your bidding. The day you loose your hold, he’ll destroy you. And when you deal on equal terms and you yourself have become powerful, there might be a friendship. That has always been the difference and will always remain so. And self-progress can only happen through Yoga; there’s no other way. Self power can only increase through yoga. And the purpose of Yoga is always perfectly clear! Instead of catching some other spirit to gain knowledge about the spiritual world, why not control your own spirit and gain that knowledge – didn’t it also come from the spiritual domain? And you don’t blackmail yourself.

Q: “This is a very fascination subject. How can I develop a general understanding of the subject?

Guruji: “You’ll pick things up along the way. Buy a set of books – “Mantra Mahodadhi”. You’ll gain a lot of knowledge about mantras and tantras. It’s not of any practical use though. There are a lot of tantric rituals and mantras described in that book, only for the fulfillment of material desires. And I’ve found that many mantras given in that book are incorrect. But it’ll help with the general knowledge of the subject.

Q: “Guruji, did you specifically study this subject to understand all this or did you gain the knowledge automatically?

Guruji: “You can say I understood it automatically (laughs). See, I’ve never studies mantras but when I hear one, I can tell if there’s a mistake in it and what that mistake is. It comes from inside whether this is wrong or right. Somebody gifted me Mantra Mahodadhi few years back. When I looked at the rituals prescribed in the book, I was surprised. Based on that, miracles should have been an everyday occurrence, since there’s no dearth of people in India engaged in such tantric rituals. But when my attention went to the mantras, I realized that most of them were either incomplete or had incorrect pronunciation. There are many technical mistakes in the book, which either have been deliberately introduced or have somehow gotten in there. That’s why they don’t give any results.

“I’ve never studies any mantras. But with yoga practice, you acquire the ability to analyze everything, even including the ritualistic worship of any god. And ultimately these rituals are kamya karma, for fulfillment of material desires. No more than that. I have observed that if a person practices yoga – sincerely, consistently, regularly, their desires get fulfilled automatically. That is more preferable. The best thing is if Nature Itself starts taking care of you. And after reaching a certain state, whatever the man utters becomes a mantra!

“That’s why you’ve never seen me reading a mantra, in puja or otherwise. We play Damaru, which is more than enough. Memorizing the mantra and then showing-off in front of people by repeating them doesn’t make any sense to me. Simplicity is the biggest deal. And the simplicity of a person develops only when all his desires are near the state of fulfillment. He won’t care for anything! Why does a man crave money or power? To fulfill some desires. If your desires are already fulfilled, then why would you go after them? If the Nature starts favoring you then you won’t have to worry about anything.”

[20090802-2] Recorded: July 10, 2003