My Guru Sri M of Madanapalle India was recently in the US. He gave a talk to the mindfulness group at Yahoo corporate headquarters. M loves to tell stories and the story he delivered was from the Bhagavad Gita, one of the holiest books of Hinduism. The Gita story takes place on a battlefield with Lord Krishna talking with the warrior Arjuna. Krishna asks Arjuna who is the greatest yogi? Now we here in the west think mostly of yoga as the pretzel variety or asanas (postures). While asanas are a part of yoga, it is a very very small part.
The answer may surprise you.
- A yogi is one who has his senses under control. Life is pleasure, life is pain. One feels a whole range of emotions, happiness, anger, fear, lust but we do not have to let these feelings get the better of us. In the bigger picture, they are all part of earthly existence. We can choose to control these feelings.
- A yogi remains tranquil under all circumstances. OK so there are few Hillary Clinton supporters who are yogis. But is it possible? It’s not easy is it? Someone cuts us off in traffic and we get angry. Someone calls you an idiot and you’re angry. Someone says you’re very intelligent and beautiful and you might feel full of yourself. We ascribe so much meaning to words. We are so conditioned to believe the actions of others affect us. Our state of well being or lack thereof is under constant attack. You can control your reactions, but do you want to try? You can control your reactions, but you don’t want to try. You can control your reactions!
- A yogi has the welfare of all beings in his heart. Not just human beings but all of life.
So a great yogi is one who possesses these 3 qualities. One can also say that such a person is also a great bhaktar. Bhakti yoga is the yoga of devotion. So a great yogi is also a great devotee of the Lord.
M spent several years of his young adult life with his Master in the Himalayas. One day when M was meditating, his master asked him on what was he meditating? Clearly his master was able to see deeper than outward appearance. M explained that there was a person in his youth who tormented him. His hatred for him was still present. One who has hatred can not be a meditator. It’s just not possible. So M was told to conjure up an image of his tormentor. He was to bow down before this imaginary image each day for 30 days. Those who torment us can be our greatest teachers and M was instructed to thank his tormentor for coming into his life to teach him. Finally an imaginary flower was to be placed at his feet each day. The first few days were very difficult. M was so angry. But after a week, the hatred and torment vanished.
I first learned of this great yoga from another great master, Satuguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami of Kaua’i. He says to place a picture of your tormentor on your altar or another special place and place a real flower in front of it for 30 days.
You too can be a great yogi. Or as M adds you can become more Christ like. Can you do this with Donald Trump?