4656For Guru’s Sake! Please ! I Am Not Sleeping!
- Aug 28, 2013
For Guru’s Sake! Please ! I Am Not Sleeping!
When you step foot on the Yoga path, be prepared to be totally misunderstood ! Never say I did not warn you!
I shall now pull out from my bag of memories some classical examples from my own experience. A case in point. There are a large number of people residing in my immediate vicinity(Re: maids ,office assistants, cooks, gardeners, watchmen, and I am very sorry to say, Yoga students who should know better) who think I am sleeping most of the time. This misconception rises because I often practice various Yoga Pranayama and Yoga Kriyas in Shava Asana, that is, lying flat on my back. I suppose most people assume there is only one thing you can do while lying in the supine position – and that thing is – “to sleep”!
Here is an example from my vast repetoire of experiences in this regard. You may find it hard to believe, but it is utterly totally true! I swear on the Bhagavad Gita!
Once upon a time we had a student. He was English, a bit dull. So dull in fact that he considered himself brilliant. He studied as a batch mate with me in the first Yoga sessions offered by Swamiji in 1968 in downtown Pondicherry. I remember him mostly for his famous declaration one night in Satsangha, when he stood up after a wonderful exposition of Ashtanga Yoga by Swamiji and almost shouted: “Samadhi is not enough!” After his three –month Course with Swamiji he disappeared without a trace into the maw of time. Decades passed. We had shifted our head quarters to our little fishing village Chinnamudaliarchavady six kilometers north of Pondy. It was about 1995, I think. We had not yet got a telephone , let alone e-mails or computers or television or any modern communication. I liked it like that. I like living in caves.
Somehow, some way, this fellow( I shall call him Robert to protect his identity in case you happen to cross his path in your wanderings in consciousness)was able to trace us. He apparently had returned to India to enjoy a sentimental spiritual journey into the past and in a burst of nostalgia, felt that we were a link in his train of consciousness. I was relaxing one afternoon after lunch in my hut on the roof, lying in Shava Asana and practicing the Polarity Kriyas. I could hear a lot of shouting at the office on ground floor and called down to investigate the matter. My trusted personal assistant Shanti ran up and said, “ There is a mad white man who demands to see you. I told him you were sleeping, but he will not go away. He said, “Don’t tell me she is sleeping ! She can’t be sleeping all the time! Tell her Robert from England wants to see her.” I had no idea who this Robert was. I must know at least 25 Roberts. But since I am a lover of peace, I stopped my practice and went to the reception area to “see him” I was tempted to tell him the same thing that Ram Karoli Baba, Guru of Ram Das ,(the American drug Guru) used to tell devotees who wanted his Darsha. “O.K! You have seen me. Now you can go” Robert was pacing up and down, a huge gaunt figure, highly agitated. He didn’t even bother to greet me, despite the fact we were meeting for the first in time in 20 years. He glared at me . “Meenakshi, you should be ashamed of yourself! You are supposed to be a Yogi! But you spend your whole day sleeping!”
I was totally dumbfounded! I stood there with my mouth hanging open! He continued his rampage. “ I have come here four times to see you.Tthe first time I came at 10 am . Your staff told me you were sleeping and could not be disturbed. I came a second time at 2 pm. Again, they said, “Amma is sleeping. You cannot see her!” I came at 5 pm next day. The same thing! Amma is sleeping! Today I have come at 3 pm, and they tried to tell me you are sleeping! Please tell me! When are you awake!”
It was a bit of an “ Aha” moment for me! A good question! When was I awake! I was “sleeping” no doubt, in conscious awareness most of the time! But physically sleeping? I only slept about 4 to 5 hrs per night. I then experienced a minor Satori! Aha! Whenever I lie down, the staff immediately assumes I am asleep. They can never imagine in their wildest dreams that I am “practicing Yoga Kriyas and very much awake”. So, to them, I am asleep! Trying to salvage what was left of my reputation, I explained the situation to Robert. Fortunately, being a Yoga practitioner himself, he could understand. He also had evolved a bit in consciousness over the decades, So We both had a good laugh indeed!
This rather lengthy story may be humorous , but it is a modern parable which illustrates the advice given to Arjuna by Krishna more than 5000 years ago.” What is night to the man of the world (Bhogi) is day to the Yogi. What is day to the Bhogi, is night to the Yogi.” Yoga Drishti (Viewpoint) is totally opposite to Bhogi(worldly minded) Drishti! A bitter truth indeed, since Yogis are a small minority in the world of today. Yogis could never win an election in a democratic set up!
Again let us turn to Lord Krishna for the proper attitude towards this rather
unpleasant truth: “Face to face with what must be, what need is there for sorrow! The Upanishadic Rishis call the spiritual journey, “ The flight of the alone to the Alone!” Indeed it is! This is not a cause for sorrow, but rather for joy!
Shava Asana may not be the most misunderstood of all Asanas, however. Just the fact that Yogis “sit still” quite often and for long periods of time raises quite a few suspicions in the minds of worldly folk! The phrase “contemplating their navel” was a phrase often heard by me even during my childhood days growing up in the 1940’s – 50’s in a small town in the mid -western USA. It meant “wasting time, accomplishing nothing,” But contemplating the naval is actually one of the basic Yoga Dharana (concentration) practices called Nabi Drishti. It activates the Manipura Chakra!
I will close this whimsical meandering in consciousness with one last story. After my marriage with Swami in 1968, I returned to my home town in South Dakota to wind up my affairs and prepare my family for the shocking idea that I would settle permanently in India.
It was at 4 am ,Bhrama Muhurta. My practice was to rise early , sit on the couch in the living room in Padma Asana, and practice meditation and pranayama techniques. On the way to the bathroom from his bedroom, my father would have to pass through the 1iving room where I sat. I had been home about two weeks. One early morning about 4:30 am I was sitting as usual in Padma Asana on the couch when my father walked through to the bath room. Though my eyes were closed and my mind was inturned, I could feel his agitated presence. He stood a few minutes looking at me, then burst out, releasing all his pent –up frustration and anger: “Why are you just sitting there! Why don’t you get up and do something”! he shouted. He lived in another universe, light years away! I am reminded of another Zen statement “Without stirring out of of one’s room, one can comprehend the universe,” Without doing anything, one can achieve all good! Paradox is the thin line between doing and non-doing. All these thoughts are accessible only to the Yogi.
Now! What is the point of all this? Simply : do not expect others, especially those blindly immersed in Maya, to understand you if you have chosen the Yogic path . When two thieves meet on the road , they recognize each other without question.
Only an awakened soul will recognize another awakened soul! As for the others: let sleeping dogs lie!--
Yogacharya Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani
Chairman: ICYER and Yoganjali Natyalayam
25, II Cross, Iyyanar Nagar, Pondicherry, India
www.icyer.com and www.rishiculture.org
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