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.”

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

Nature guiding our paths

Q: “Guruji, some people don’t shave during Navaratri, some don’t shave on Thursdays. Are there any such rules?”

Guruji: “The first rule only applies to people who fast all nine days and/or are indulged in special rituals during that time of the year. As far as weekdays go, some people don’t shave on Mondays or Tuesdays, some on Thursdays. There are no set rules about it. In fact, I’ve seen some south Indian Brahmins who especially get a clean shave, wash their hair, and get all tidy and cleaned up on Thursdays. Different regions have different traditions.”

Q: “I’ve realized that around 11pm in the night, I feel a sudden peace inside myself and in the surroundings.”

Guruji: “It shows that your body and mind have started getting ready for practice at that time. Your body is beginning to get tuned for it, so now it has become your physical need. This is why regular practice is so important. A set time develops a craving in your body for the kriya practice, and your heart and mind feel an immediate sense of peace. You will be in the mood to practice.”

Q: “I thought that peace descends due to the calm of the night.”

Guruji: “No, that’s not true; the real reason is regular practice. If the night time was the real reason, the entire world would be meditating at that time. Whatever time you choose for practice, stick to it and slowly your biological clock will begin to get activated at that time automatically. It’ll be like an alarm clock.

“After prolonged practice, that mood will stay throughout the day – each and every second. The practices we are doing right now form a continuous cycle of effects. For example, the lunch we eat in the afternoon has its effect till dinner, which in turn has its effect till breakfast. Similarly, the morning practice supports the evening practice and vice versa. And once that cycle forms, the person starts to feel an entirely different level of awareness and consciousness.”

Q: “Yes, I do have a high feeling throughout the day. Is that what you are talking about?”

Guruji: “Not just that, it must also be helping you perform better. That is essentially the development of consciousness. For example, any problem you face now, you’ll be able to think of it from different angles and the possible solutions. You’ll be able to see things and situations in their totality. I feel only people who reach this level of performance and consciousness are capable of doing extraordinary planning in life. Such people reach closer to the forth dimension we call Kaal or Time, and so naturally whatever they do will have a very long term effect on them and their coming generations.

“Why do you think self knowledge is important? It is important, so at least we can understand the purpose of our birth, and the purpose of spending time on earth. Why are we here, where have we come from, and what is our total potential aimed for? To answer these questions Nature will itself guide you towards your destiny. What we call as luck and chance is actually nothing but Nature prompting you on. Nothing happens by chance. It is actually Nature that guides all things around.”

Q: “So what is our role in this play of Nature? Is it just to keep moving ahead wherever it is guiding us?”

Guruji: ‘Our role is to keep getting more and more tuned with Nature. We talk about yoga, which literally means union, connection. Through yoga we are aiming for this connectivity with God, with the consciousness of Earth. We are all living on earth and along on our paths, we should realize it someday that whatever we are doing is somewhere guided by Mother Earth herself. In that case, if we are able to form a connectivity with Earth, her will will start getting executed through us, and this may even lead to the ultimate evolution – final transformation in the womb of Mother Earth! (read this discussion). I sometimes feel that this ultimate evolution is the driving force behind everything.”

Q: “You had mentioned that it takes ages to bring a man who is able to reach such levels.”

Guruji: “Yes, that’s absolutely true. And if we flip through the pages of history, such men have mostly been either yogis or avatars (incarnation of gods). Avatars are fully evolved souls who came back to earth to take birth.

“We can easily explain this through the process of union of sperm and ova. Initially, there are millions of sperms fighting for a union with ovum. But ultimately only one sperm which shows some signs of evolution gets that chance, with the support of Nature. It’s Nature only which not helps the sperm with the union, but also transforms it then after. Similarly, through yoga we are aiming for a union with the super-ovum of Mother Earth, and once that union takes place, the reins completely fall into the hands of Nature. After that, whatever transformation takes place will be mind-boggling and beyond all imagination!

Terms like self-realization and god-realization have been repeated way too often in the world. I am very tired of hearing their different interpretations as they do not convey the actual meaning of evolution properly. And think of the confusion these terms have caused in the world. Their vague explanations have led to the formation of thousands of cults and sects. Even though according to Earth time these cults don’t last even for the blink of an eye, but being sperms we have to bear all the confusion around (laughs).

“My suggestion is always to Think BIG and then Think BIGGER. Why be a miser in building castles in the air? They are just a flight of imagination, so make them as big as you can. The bigger you’ll think, the more you’ll progress. This is just an exercise for the mind. Make plans taking the entire life into consideration; think of life in its totality.”

[20090802] Conversation recorded on April 3, 2003

Shambhavi Mudra

[Continuing from an discussion during Vasant Navratri 2003]

Guruji: “It’s an altogether different feeling today. Partly due to the navratri puja celebrations which already gives a high feeling but also because of something else. Today I mastered Shambhavi Mudra.

“It happened this morning. It is the final outcome of Rudragranthi Bheda1 – the last stage. And just imagine, I had mastered Khechari Mudra almost 18yrs back – even more than that, and it took this long to master Shambhavi Mudra. In the meantime, so many things happened – different experiences, stages to realize..”


Q: “So was it the final frontier, guruji?”

Guruji: “It looked like the final frontier before I mastered it, but today it looks like the beginning of a totally new thing. But yogically, it is supposed to be pretty big. As the texts2 say, ‘While Veda, Sastra, and purana are like common prostitutes, Shambhavi Mudra is impervious like a daughter-in-law”. And now I have realized that it is not a technique, but actually a result of your practice. Yoga has very profound secrets.

“Today feels like a new beginning. The beginning of Rahu maha-dasha (astrological time period associated with each planet, 18yrs for Rahu) has been good it seems. Since the maha-dasha started, people have been saying that my practice will increase and will touch new heights. Now I feel that the next 18years will pass smoothly in practice.
This must be the first time you have heard somebody saying that they achieved Shambhavi Mudra.”

Q: “Yeah, absolutely! I have never heard it before. I have just read its description in Purana Purusha and realized that it is not a very common knowledge among people.”

Guruji: “Everybody who has read hatha yoga texts knows about it, but experiencing the state is something else. After achieving this mudra, you develop a complete command over the rise and fall of prana (life force).”


Q: “So does this mean you have completed your kriya practice now?”

Guruji: “Completed? I feel it has begun now. There’s no longer a final destination. It’s as if there’s a long road ahead; you walk some and you see some more. Thinking from an normally ambitious point of view, it is a pretty big achievement though. All the books have gone completely silent after talking about Shambhavi Mudra. But those are just the books that have gone silent; I feel the practice continues to go on and builds up new challenges and milestones.
Now I am excited to see what happens next.

Q: “This is the greatest news so far. Congratulations, Guruji!”

Guruji: “Thank you. Yes it’s a great news, with perfect timing with navdurga celebrations. I think it was building up for quite some time, say the last two years. The built up finally lead to its climax today. As soon as I sat for practice after the puja, it happened. Just like that. And I also have a full control of it now.”

Recorded on : Apr 4th, 2003, 11AM IST.

[Later conversation]
Q: “Guruji , I read the description of Shambhavi Mudra in Gheranda Samhita.”

Guruji: “What does it say?”

“It says that the yogi who masters Shambhavi Mudra is a living Adinath and Brahma himself! And that description has been given only for Shambhavi Mudra”

Guruji: “Yes, that is the description of the result of Shambhavi Mudra. I think I remember the slokas as well ‘नेत्रांजन समालोक्य आत्मारामं निरीक्षयेत ..’.

“It is also true that this mudra forms itself. It is not a technique, but rather a result of the practice. It builds up with regular practice, reaches its climax, and then finally displays itself. The constant high/intoxicated feeling from before has now increased tenfold. It increased since that day only.

“One thing I’m observing is that we practice many techniques to raise the life force up, but after Shambhavi Mudra, the prana stays up on its own. Its an amazing thing.”

Q: “Guruji, what you have written about Rudragranthi Bhedha is that the life force is offered and burnt in itself.”

Guruji: “Yes, and it can be said that this is the result of that, offering prana in the sacrificial fire of itself.”

“Have you heard of anybody else who has achieved this level in recent history?”

Guruji: “I have only heard of Lahiri Mahasaya who achieved Shambhavi Mudra in the recent history. Nobody has talked or discussed about it after that. Only Lahiri Mahasaya had written some comments about it in his diaries. Yogananda Paramhansa reproduced those comments in his ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’. No other guru has claimed experiencing it. It’s a rare occurrence. But I am sure there are other people as well.

“I believe that now, slowly, my disciples will also achieve Shambhavi Mudra. It’s a breakthrough.”

“So the sadhana (practice) will continue after after achieving Shambhavi Mudra?”

Sadhana is a never ending process. Okay, tell me, does a person stop experiencing new things after he becomes a president? Or after the completion of education, does a person stop learning new things? Something new always keeps on coming up. There is no dearth of levels to achieve.”

[20090802] Conversation recorded on : Apr 4th, 2003 and ” “

Notes:

  1. Rudragranthi Bheda, also known as Mooladhar Granthi Bheda – opening the Mooladhar knot. See the 4th step for more details.
  2. Gheranda Samhita, 3rd chapter, 65 verse.

Karma, Purging of Sins, and Yoga

Q: “Guruji, so many books say doing pranayam cleanses one of all the sins. How does it work?”

Guruji: “On the surface level, sins and merits/virtues don’t change. But the sins get cleansed in a different manner. As I’ve said earlier, our body is made of menstrual blood. This has already been established. And a female menstruates 432 times in 36 years. The more pranayam we do (of an advanced kriya), the more we overcome the limits of menstrual blood, and that is called bhuta shuddhi (purification of elements), and that is called cleansing of sins. Using the word sin doesn’t really convey the correct meaning here. It narrowly means an adverse social behavior. But think of sin as our limitations, such as bodily impurities or the dormant talent or infinite possibilities hidden inside of us. When we understand all that and limitations completely go away, that is actual cleansing of sins, and that will start with that advance kriya. That will come after all granthis (psychic knots) are opened1. Everything is a preparation for that.

“Nobody recognizes the truth that everybody is made of raja – menstrual blood. And when a female is menstruating, she is considered impure by religion. That’s why Christians also say you are born in sin. We are not! We just have to touch the limit of internal refinement of the body. Refined body leads to refined mind resulting in tremendous expansion of consciousness. That is essentially cleansing. Otherwise mostly all sins and merits are no more than social behavior in some sense. Society developed, and to keep it disciplined, laws were created. But as we’ve already established, dharma (religious law, righteousness) means career2. For yogis, dharma will always mean something else.

“You know the clean and peaceful feeling after yoga practice; we are already getting cleansed. We are fighting our own limitations, not any sins or merits. See, until we overcome our limitations, our point of view will remain limited. That’s the important thing. That’s the real motivation for doing yoga, and people start running after it instinctively, because it is in our genetic record somewhere, and our soul has a impression of it. When we make progress, we understand why are we actually doing it. The old song of Gita Dutt describes the situation exactly:
वक़्त ने किया क्या हसीं सितम / तुम रहे न तुम, हम रहे न हम
जायेंगे कहाँ, सूझता नहीं / चल पड़े मगर, रास्ता नहीं
तुम भी खो गए, हम भी खो गए / एक राह पर, चलके दो कदम
वक़्त ने किया, क्या हसीं सितम ..

(What sweet destruction, time has done / you are no longer you, I, no longer me
Don’t know where to go from here / we’ve started but, there’s no path forward
You were lost, I was also lost / walking couple of steps, on the same path
What sweet destruction, time has wrought..)

“It was a film by Guru Datt, all of its songs were great – “Kagaz Ke Phool”. You must listen to all its songs; you’ll develop vairagya (detachment) and will get lost in time as well (laughs). [Guru Datt] was a dreamer too. This song describes a yogi’s state of mind exactly.”

Q: “Guruji, it’s said that karma dictates the situation in life, whether you are going to lead a comfortable or a painful life, etc. Does it apply to animals as well?”

Guruji: “Of course! Animals have a destiny too. One stray animal gets beaten on the streets, while the other sits comfortably in air conditioning! Everything depends on the situation at birth, the planetary position at birth. We have cast horoscopes for the all the calves and puppies born here [in the academy], and their lives are closely following the pattern dictated by their planetary position at birth. Astrological principles apply to everybody, whether human or animal. Animals also have good or bad spirits. You’ll have to widen your perspective to understand all this. This is the mystery we are all trying to solve, that’s why it is so fascinating.” 

[20090801] Conversation recorded on: June 26th, 2004

Notes:

  1. See this article for more details on the three knots
  2. Guruji explained it as follow: In Gita, lord Krishna says ‘dharma is what sustains us’ (धार्येत, स धर्मः). Our career is what sustains us, hence our career is our real dharma.

Lift his students above, both spiritually and physically!

Q: Sometimes I don’t feel like doing any exercise. Is it because of lack of energy on those days?

A: “Not necessarily, but sometimes over-exertion and over-training also tires the body. You should take rest. Doing this work-out 3 to 4 times a week should be enough for you. Our aim is to stay in shape. We are not body-builders.

“Body-building is totally different these days. Earlier, there were no anabolic drugs. People used to work out for health and strength. Over-muscularity wasn’t much sought after. Look at some old body-builders – Steve Reeves for example. He was one of the most handsome body-builder in this history of build-building. He played the role of Hercules; you should watch the movie series (Hercules) if you get a chance – there are about 5-6 of them. Now compare him to the body-builders today sticking their frog-like muscles out! The beauty of body-building is lost in the monstrosity that it is today. I haven’t seen a more shapely body-builder than Steve Reeves. Although in muscularity he doesn’t compare to the body-builders today, but his shape was extraordinary. And I think was much better looking than, for example, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He looked like a real hero, like a Greek god, and in comparison, the modern body-builders look like monster! Same with the other first few body-builders. Jon Gremek, who progressed a lot in Bob Hoffman’s training, was as strong as he was good looking. And he never took any drugs in his life. He used to be able to squat with 400 pounds, even in his 60s! I’m not sure if he’s still alive or not. Joe Weider has totally destroyed body-building by creating an industry around it.

“In the old days, there used to be 2 title – “Mr America” and “The Most Muscular Man”. Most Muscular is now Mr America, and the original Mr. America is now gone. Health, strength, and shape used to be the measures before. I just saw the photographs of Ronnie Coleman, Mr. Olympia. If he stood next to you, you’d be petrified! Looks like a monster. I don’t know what Weider has done to this sport. Earlier, there was no money involved. Now, without chemicals it is not even possible to compete with these kind of muscles. You should do the comparison with old body-builders – Steve Reeves, Jon Grimek, Bill Pearl. Bill Pearl was the first red indian to win a world championship. These are legendary names in body building. Look for some old photographs of Jon Grimek. I have read his life as well. He used to do a pose called “flag post” – holding his body horizontal like a flag with both his hands. Imagine how much strength it’d take to do that. I’ve never seen anyone else ever been able to do it.

“There were some good body-building magazines in early days. They’ve stopped now that Joe Weider has taken over everything. There was an Amateur Athletic Union, AAU, founded by Bob Hoffman. Bob Hoffman was known as the father of American weight lifting, he also coached the Olympics team I think. He was a very strong man himself. He started the magazine “Health and Strength”, and Jon Grimek ran “Muscular Development”. If you can get old of some issues, definitely read them. Today’s body-building is not possible for an average man. Also, the workouts published in the magazines today are misleading. They are work-outs for professional, and are being popularized in general public so beginners have a lot of difficulty in deciding what to do. I have tried Bob Hoffman’s workouts and have seen tremendous benefits, especially that 3 times a week one. It is one of the finest workouts I’ve found so far. ”

“[…] I did this work-out in college days and I can still feel it’s effects. It developed a permanent V shape and tremendous strength. I was able to do full squats with 400 pounds, bench-press with 300 pounds, and shoulder presses 180 pounds! I used to arm-wrestle with everybody in college and beat them. All machines fail in front of this work-out. The only equipment that comes any close is BullWorker X5. Two legendary body-builders used to do this workout – Casie Jaffer(?) and Mike Manger(?) – they introduced the heavy-duty principle. Other workouts are only for conditioning but this one is for strength. And strength really gives a high feeling – it’s an intoxication in itself. Then you also learn you body’s limits. You will only know that by exerting yourself.

“Today the body-building is all about chemicals. A body-builder came from Gwalior and brought me some protein powder – these Weider-style products are available even here these days!. The product claimed you’d gain muscle mass and also develop cuts. I tried for 3 days, understood the principle and stopped using it. It had some chemicals which would make you very thirsty. You’ll drink water and feel like urinating all the time. It’d drain all the water out of the body so it’d feel like you are getting thinner and the cuts are showing up. Work out, drink water, and urinate all day – that’s the way you’d get cuts. It has bad long-term effects on health.”

“[..] Muscle tissues break during exercise that’s why you feel pain. When you rest, they rebuild and grow in size. They grow to cope with the exertion. That’s why it is called progressive resistance training. Progressively increasing resistance – 10 pounds, 20 pounds, etc, and the muscles will respond to the increase in exertion and grow.

“Check out old archives for Bob Hoffman, Jon Grimek, Steve Reeves, etc. Watch Hercules series as well. Victor Mature had not a single cut on his body but his looks were amazing and had great strength too. I got so inspired by his movie (Samson and Delilah) that I don’t remember how many of my students I lifted up overhead with one hand!

“He did not have a body-builder look but a manly look.. used to throw man like it was nothing! The film was a classic. The movie was copied in India as well. Premnath played the role of Victor Mature (in movie ‘Aurat’). There was some Indian touch but it was the same movie, scene by scene. But the original is something else.

“There’s no answer to Victor Mature. He was not overly muscular but was very strong. Remember how he lifted that fat man in the movie? Even Arnold could not give those scenes. I was so inpsired by that scene, that Upendra Vyas, my disciple who had a similar body like that fat man weighing 107 Kg, even him I lifted overhead with one hand! That has been my heaviest lift so far. Single-handed! This happened in Gwalior cottage days. Have lifted Kashyap more than 100-150 times. He is only 55 Kgs so it was easy. Last year I lifted Ganja but not anyone after that. My mood has changed somehow, don’t feel like doing that anymore.

“The strength has supported Yoga practice as well, you can’t ignore that. Like the point that you caught – 200 in Yoni Mudra on the first day itself! If I didn’t have the physical back-up, it was next to impossible. Bullworker will also increase the capacity to hold breath, especially its advanced workouts. It is one of the qualities of Bullworker, that’s why I like it so much. I used to keep two of those, so that if one broke, I could replace it with the othe one and there wouldn’t be a break in the routine. You should aways be ready. I have broken Bullworker X5 at least 6 or 7 times. Some time ago the only shop which used to sell those closed down. After that, I’ve been repairing it myself. It is the finest workout to do with Yoga practice. It’ll drastically increase the breath retention, especially the isotonic one.

“I took Bullworker with me even when I had gone to Puri [Yukteshwar Giri’s ashram, when GurujI hadn’t found his Guru yet]. It was one of the old models. I was the only one there who was practicing Yoga and working out as well. Everyone else was very komal-anga (‘delicate limbs’). They were a bit scared of me as well. Some of them used to lecture me: “Shailendra baba, don’t exercise so much otherwise your bhava (divine emotion) will get destroyed”, or “if you exercise, you’ll remain stuck in body level only, will never reach the soul”. I stopped working out for 5-6 weeks, and started feeling down – losing confidence and energy. Then I told them all to go to hell, I’ll never quit exercising. Later when I met Guruji [Shri Satya Charan Lahiri Mahasaya], he told me “Make exercise a part of your life. You must keep doing that.” He told me exactly what appealed to my heart. He also shared the secret that only with physical fitness, the spiritual practice will reach its zenith! This is especially true with Yoga practice. And I have experienced that exactly. Everybody can. My swimming work-out had also made a lot of difference. I used to do a lot of underwater swimming and that has significantly increased
my breath retention.

“You should always physically exert yourself. Never over but within a limit.”

[About diet]

“I never maintained a special diet, whatever used to get cooked in our home. Have always been vegetarian, drank no more than 1 glass of milk everyday. The real secret is in tikkar (Indian roti) – there’s no better diet than daal and roti. “Tikkar se hi body tikti hai” (only roti sustains the body). Sometimes vitamin deficiency happens with heavy workouts, you catch cold easily when you are tired. So some vitamin B and C supplements are more than enough. ”

Q: I read in a book review that according to medical science, rib-case can’t really expand and it’s a myth that body-building expands the rib-cage?

A: “That is all dung. We exercise to go beyond the ordinary. This work-out will definitely expand the ribcage. It’ll also increase the weight, size, and strength.”

“We discussed a lot about body building today (laugh). See, we get only one body in our life, we should keep it nice. It’ll never be replaced.”

[About eve-teasing, if you see someone doing that, should you interfere, etc.]

“Only if you can beat the eve-teaser. If you can get beaten, it’s better to keep quiet (laugh). It’s only teasing in the worst case, there’s no physical assault. You should be aware of your position – there’s no point in unnecessarily acting like a hero. If you see a physical assault, make a lot of noise and start shouting for police – that’ll be enough to scare them away. The situation is not all that bad [in Indian trains]. You should learn to ignore comments like that, or tackle them with humor. Otherwise you’ll be dealing with felony all the time! (laugh)”

[About Lalu Prasad Yadav]

“Lalu is doing a good job as Railway Minister. He has put a stop to cold drinks in trains, instead they are serving lass and pede (laugh). He is also replacing plastic cups with clay cups for tea. He has also claimed he won’t increase railways fares. Instead, he has increased the penalty five times for not carrying a ticket. He has a vernacular guise but he is highly educated and is extraordinarily intelligent.

On the other hand, Atal Behari Vajpayee is frying pakodas! (laugh). He said that in an interview on TV yesterday, that “I’m spending time in kitchen”. This is funny, lost the prime minister chair and now frying pakodas. Felt like he had lost his mind in the interview. When they asked him what he does these days after finishing his PM term, he said “I make tea and pakode“. (laugh)

[20090801] Recorded: June 20th, 2004