Commentaries, Immortality, Babaji
Guruji: “Sometimes I feel that if I hadn’t been working out with Mudgars (heavy Indian clubs) or Bullworker, I would have had nervous breakdown in Gwalior itself – commentary on Gita, Yoga Dardhan, Shiva Sutra took such a tremendous effort! I’m glad that I had been doing body-building which is why I was able to tolerate the experience. See for yourself – anybody who has done commentary on Gita didn’t live much longer after that. Except for Sri Krishna, he lived for 36yrs after saying Gita.
“It has been 12 years now. I don’t feel like looking at my books again – may be the mental fatigue of the work is still there in the mind. I answer when someone asks a question about my commentary, otherwise I don’t talk about them. Repetition of what I said 12 years ago get a little bit irksome. A yogi’s mind continues to develop. These books clarify the fundamental understanding. In the last 12 years, a lot of intricate details and peculiarities have become clearer now. Mr X came the other day to discuss my commentary on Gita. It was my good fortune that he developed fever the next day and I was spared (laugh). If you can live with Mr. X for 2 months, you’ll definitely becomeparamhansa. See, I’m telling you a short-cut to achieve paramhansa state. And if you don’t become paramhansa, will have to put you in a mental asylum and bring you flowers (laugh). God really listens in difficult times. I was getting very concerned about the impending doom (laugh).”
“You must have noticed that your face looks younger after practice. Sometimes I feel that the secret of Babaji’s immortality is hidden in these yoga practices. Otherwise the change in skin tone or the younger look on the face would not have been possible.”
Q: “Guruji, why the old gurus, Lahiri Mahasaya and others, did not maintain a young look or live a long life?”
Guruji: “Lahiri Mahasaya’s case was different. Babaji had given him specific objective, which he was able to successfully accomplish with single-minded and concentrated work. His body also didn’t have the qualities required for preservation for longevity. Your body needs to be qualified to be immortal. These yoga practices that I teach have been introduced after a long time. I do feel there’s something about it, somewhere there’s the secret of immortality hidden in it. The body gets stronger with age and the looks remain the same. Of course, the brain also develops, which is the key objective. I have observed one more difference. My aura has turned bright white now. It used to look golden but now it is crystalline white. This change came about in the past few months. Outer edges are golden but inner area is crystalline white, and it is as bright as before. It’s a sign of progress.”
Q: “In Oscar Wilde’s novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, the picture grows old but Dorian Gray doesn’t. What do you think about this story?”
Guruji: “I’ve read it. It’s a psychological novel like Dr Jekyll and Hyde, that every person has an other side. I really like his work. His story ‘The Canterville Ghost’ is quite hilarious! Have you read it? It’s very funny. Actually it’s a satire on a typical American family.”
Q: “I’ve also observed that sometimes the expression or the mood in a photograph appears to change. Is it psychological or does it really happen?”
Guruji: “It actually happens. What is a photograph? It’s a likeness. That means, if there’s a strong connection between you and the person in the photograph, like with your parents or Guru, or if the person is mentally very powerful, you may see their expressions change on special occassions. It’s a communication link. For example, Babaji’smurti (idol, effigy) has sometimes totally different expressions on his face! Many people have seen that, way too many. Day before yesterday, some people observed smile on the face of our Hanumanji’s murti. They got very scared.
“I’ve observed that with my photograph taken at the cottage (in Gwalior). My looks and expressions keep changing in that photograph. Some days it looks very powerful, some days very weak. Some days the face is very bright, sometimes irritated. This means that whatever is my mood that day gets reflected in that picture. ”
Q: “You had mentioned the look in Babaji’s eyes.”
Guruji: “Yeah, his eyes have a verrry ancient look in them. When you look at his physical appearance, he looks like a young man – you can probably place him in 35-40 years. But when you look into his eyes, they have a very ancient look. The impressions appear very ancient. This is sort of expected. What you experience is registered in your mind, and eyes reflect your mind. An immortal being’s eyes reflect all his experiences! He has a very penetrating gaze. It feels like he can see through you. You also feel very nervous in front of him. which is but natural. My last meeting with him was 9 years ago (Dec 1995). There hasn’t been any meeting in person since then. Even the second meeting was 7 years after the first one (April 1st, 1988). Let’s see what happens next.”
Mysterious Gwalior: Amara Mountain
Guruji: “.. If that place appears so desolated today, can you imagine how would it have been a hundred years ago! In fact, there are a lot of such deserted places around Gwalior, discovered and inhabited by people who were seeking solitude. This reminds of an interesting experience I had at Amara mountain in Gwalior.
“In our college days, me and a friend of mine used to leave home in the morning with lunch pack and a water bottle, and roam all day on the mountains to return home in the evening. The friend’s name was Padam Upaddhyaya. One of those days, we went climbing up the Amara mountain above the Gupteswara temple. We climbed for more than 3-4 hours straight. When it got too hot in the afternoon, we decided to climb down to go back home. There was a groove made by dried water stream climbing down the mountain to Tigara road so we decided to walk alongside that. By the way, we saw white crabs and small turtles in that area. Climbing down, we saw a small cave. It had Aum painted on the wall and a trident stuck in the ground outside. There was also a dhuni(sacred fire place) nearby which seemed to indicate there must have been a sadhu living in that cave, but we didn’t see anybody around.
“Climbing further down, almost half-way down from where the road was also visible, we came across a small room – about 6×8 feet and made of stone blocks. Since we were very tired and were not in good spirits because of the heat, we decided to stop by and check it out. Looking inside the stone room, we saw a old man sitting cross-legged in one corner. He had a long white moustache and white beard, and his hair were twisted in a knot at the top. His hair and his beard were normal but his moustache was exceptionally long! And hee had really large eyes with which he was glaring at us. We were a little taken aback because of his appearance when we peered inside the room. But anyway, we sat down at the doorsteps and asked him: ‘Baba, can we have some water?’. There was a earthen pot in the room and a copper lota (tumbler) next to it.What he did next was interesting. You remember how beggars with their legs amputated move? He didn’t break his cross-legged position, but moved with the support of his hands to the water pot and fetched us water, all the while constantly glaring at us. After drinking water, we asked his leave but he gave absolutely no response except constantly glaring at us. We left and reached home at around 4pm in the evening.
“Around 5 or 6 days later, the strangeness of the encounter struck us. I said, let’s go find him again. Starting that day, for almost about a month we kept trying to find that stone-room but were never able to. We found the groove on the mountain along which we had climbed down, the cave withaum and the trident, but the room made of stone blocks had simply disappeared! On the spot where the room was supposed to be, there was plain mountain and nothing else. We had taken bearing climbing down from the top and the path we had taken earlier was very clear as well, and we tried many times even going back and forth but there was no sign of the room.
“We never figured out whether it was a spirit or a siddha who was practicing his austerities on Amara mountain and perchance we got to meet him. At that time we were college students so we had no knowledge about these things. Now it feels it must have been a spirit. Amara mountain is a very strange place in some ways.”
Mysterious Gwalior: The Fort
Q: “I was reading a book about the history of Gwalior. It mentioned that the Gwalior fort was built by Raja Mansingh at the request of a siddha named Gwalipa.”
Guruji: “I’ve heard that as well. Mansingh built only a few portions of the fort though, what are now known as “Man Mandir” and “Gujari Mahal”. The rest of the fort is quite old. In fact, it is one of the oldest forts in India. By the way, the temple in the fort known as ‘Saas Bahu Mandir’ was originally “Sahastrabahu Mandir”. [Sahastrabahu, “the-thousand-armed” is a legendary figure in Hindu mythology. He is also known as Kartyavirya Arjuna]. Over time, the name Sahastrabahu got corrupted into Saas Bahu (Saas = mother-in-law, Bahu = daughter-in-law).
“This history is not generally well known, but there are clues to prove that it might be true. There’s a village called Jamdwara near Gwalior, where it is believed that Jamdagni Rishi lived and built his ashram. That is the place where Lord Parashuram was born, and where he decapitated his mother Renuka Devi, and that’s where he fought and defeated Sahastrabahu Arjuna. Keeping these legends in mind, it is conceivable that there could be a temple of Sahastrabahu in Gwalior. There’s no deity in that temple which is really strange, but the place is very beautiful.”
“I’ve heard that there’s a maze in the fort where a lot of people have gotten lost over the years.”
“Not exactly a maze, but there’s a yantra like pattern in the garden of Gujari Mahal which sometimes people refer to as maze. There are a lot of hidden passages in the fort though. Some legends say that the fort was built overnight by djinns (genies) ! This is a legend from that area. Some sweet-makers in Old Gwalior (where the fort is) claim that djinns used to come in the night to buy sweets from them! By the way of payment, the djinns would give them round ‘coins’ made of leather, with 1 gram of Gold nail hammered in the middle of it. I have seen such a ‘coin’ in the possession of a shop-keeper. The shop-keepers used to keep the shops open all night long in the hope that the djinns would come buy from them, since the price djinns would pay with this special coin was much higher than the value of the sweets (laugh). That area is quite mysterious in some ways.”
“This book also claims that the current Gwalior is actually the old Goverdhan”.
“That’s very interesting to know! People say that in Krishna’s times, Gwalior was a part of Vraj. The cow herders (Gwaley) used to own all this land, including Gwalior and nearby places like Gohad. These places used to belong to the cow herders of Vraj mandal. Even the mountains of Gwalior are known as Gopanchal mountains. ‘Gopanchal’ literally means a place where gop or cow herder lives. It is definitely possible.
“Also see, there’s a place near Gwalior called “Jaurasi ka Daank” which is actually the place of spiritual austerities of the 84 Siddhas! 84 in Hindi is pronounced Churasi, from which the name Jaurasi came. Datia (a place near Gwalior) is associated with Lord Dattatreya. Its old name is Datteya. The temple of Lord Shiva there, Van Khandeswara Maharaj, is a very ancient temple. There’s a legend that Ashwatthama used to come and worship there. The place was later developed by Datia Swami. But it was already a siddha place.
“Send me a copy of the book you are reading, it sounds very interesting. [“Gwalior” by Arthur Hugh, Vidya Mandir Publications].
“There’s another legend about how the fort of Gwalior came about. There was a king named Surajsen who suffered from leprosy. He did worship of the sun to get healed from his sickness and he did. After that, he built the fort of Gwalior. There’s a kund (reservoir) named after him in the fort, called Suraj kund. In fact, there’s plenty of water at the top of the fort. There are many water tanks which never dry-up and they are always filled with water even though there’s no apparent source of water to them. The fort is quite big – it is about 2km x 1 km. There are also a lot of snakes and pythons in the fort.”
“In the book, there’s also a reference about a police constable who turned into a sadhu and now tells stories to everyone.”
“Yeah, it is a very old story. He was called Baba Lochandas. He used to be a police constable and a very sincere devotee of Lord Hanuman. One day, in his worship of Hanumanji he completely lost track of time and missed his duty at work. Later, he found out that some one else had come and carried out his duties in place of him. That instant itself he resigned from his job and turned into a sadhu. First he used to live near the fort but then he moved to Sanichara (a place in Gwalior). I’ve seen that place where he moved. It is quite remote. For miles, you don’t see any houses or people and at the end of the road there’s a temple on top of a mountain where sadhus have a place to stay. ”
About Hope, Mind, and Experiences
Guruji: “The feeling of hopelessness has two very different meanings. One is, a person had some setbacks and he lost hope. This is called getting hopeless on the way of pursuing something. The other one is, the person didn’t carry any hope in his endeavor right from the beginning. This is beginning hopelessly, but there was faith that propelled him to move forward. The latter can take a person to great heights, because whatever will happen with him will be unexpected and thus will bring more joy in his life!
“An old Hindi poem describes this feeling of hopelessness most beautifully! It goes like this:
????? ???? ?? ???? ???? ???? ?? ???? ???? ??
???? ????? ????? ????? ?? ??? ?? ??????? ???? ??
(Why worry if the earth breaks, there is unending sky for my flight
Don’t know why but to meet you I have very little hope but a lot of faith)”
Q: “So that means faith is more important than hope.”
Guruji: “Undoubtedly! Hope is only our imagination. Though I agree that hope helps a person ride through the gravest of the situations, but ultimately it also causes a lot of pain. A person should have faith in himself, and should not let hope control his life. We should all have a general plan of our lives in our mind.”
Q: “Is that what the sloka in Gita ‘Karmanye vadhikaraste ma faleshu kadachana’ refers to?”
Guruji: “I think it is described somewhere in the second or third chapter in Gita, about hopelessness. Read it in detail, it’s simply amazing.”
Q: “Yes it’s written here, chapter 3, sloka 30:
???????? ????? ?? ????? ???? ????? ?????? ?? ????? ?? ?????? ???? ????? ???? ??? ????? ?? ?
(With a spiritual resolve of mind, offering all karmas unto me, with hopelessness and detachment (nirmam), without being infuriated, go fight the war).”
Guruji: “Nirmam means a state of mind when the feeling of I, me, myself, or mine is not there. It doesn’t mean being cruel. Try to break down the word and then read its meaning. Mam means ‘mine’, and so nirmam means something that’s ‘not mine’. This word has no correlation with cruelty, but in general Hindi it is used for cruelty and barbarism. But the truth is, to be cruel is one thing, and to be nirmam is another. I feel that by just dissecting the words in a language carefully, we can understand a lot of things on our own.”
Q: “Guruji, I wonder what should we do about our mann (mind or heart). It just keeps controlling our lives forever.”
G: “Mind is itself a form of the divine (bhagvatswaroop). Its task is to control our lives. And the reason behind it is that its destination, the plan of its destiny, is already fixed. That’s why the mind should be observed along with our habits. There are two kinds of minds – the outer mind and the inner mind. One should always listen to the voice inside. This will always guide you according to your true capabilities and the plan of your destiny, and will bloom the flowers of dreams and desires in you to propel you towards your destiny.
“Don’t ever believe anybody who claims that he has controlled his mind and let go of his desires. And I can say so because it’s mentioned in Gita itself that mind is Time only! How can anybody control or kill Time? If we proceed according to the plan Time has for us, it will guide us to our destiny and mount us to the peak of success. It’s not possible to kill your mind. If you kill your mind, your existence will cease. And then again, as our nature is built in such a way that the existence of even the tiniest molecule remains forever. To cease existence of mind is not possible at all. No annihilation!”
Q: “In that case, if a person’s heart is stuck in something, say mountaineering, can they never become a yogi?”
Guruji: “Mountaineering is not something a person will do all his life. It’s just a temporary frame of mind, an ambition for when you are young and healthy, like Edmund Hillary climbed Mount Everest once and then he was done with it. He didn’t climb it everyday. Ultimately it was a training and experience for his mind. He wished to climb mountains and so he conquered the highest mountain in the world. But what next? Now he is sitting idle. But, he’s also accompanied by a huge amount of satisfaction. And his achievement needed him to be extraordinarily skilled, with a fine tuning between body and mind, a strong body and quick reflexes. It is because of these attributes he was able to become a mountaineer. That he was a mountaineer is just a small reflection of his personality. But try to imagine the depth his entire personality must have achieved after going through these experiences. What he must have felt when he set foot on the peak of Mount Everest is something that only belongs to him. We hear his tales but we can’t feel what he felt at that moment. For most of the people, it was just an act of climbing up and down. But I totally believe that Edmund Hillary before he climbed up and Edmund Hillary when he climbed down were two completely different personalities.
“The root cause of all problems is looking at life in various different pieces. Why, are mountains not a part of our existence? So why not climb them?”
Q: “Guruji, how can a person distinguish between the voice inside and superficial desires?”
Guruji: “Think of it this way: A kid loves to play with his toys. He can play with his toys for hours but that is his superficial desire. When his inner desire takes over, he forgets about the toys and remembers his mother. And with increasing maturity, i.e., with the development of his mind, his reflections, likes, dislikes, and reactions will go on evolving or changing. A kid keeps running to his mother for milk, and after growing up, just the feeling of sitting near her keeps him warm and happy. The inner desire means the dormant feelings that have grown so much that they start showing up on the surface very clearly.
“Always think of and about life in totality. Whether you do scuba diving or mountaineering or anything else, ultimately it’ll just add something to your mind and persona.”
Q: “You mean any activity?”
Guruji: “These activities are also experiences. And once you’ll do them, the excitement will die and you won’t feel like having the same experience again because you’ll have its flavor inside you.”
Q: “But sometimes Guruji, when we don’t feel like doing anything, we just stay seated for hours. Is that also an experience?”
Guruji: “Those are contemplative times. There is something going inside your heart. The mind in such situations withdraws itself from the normal day to day life and reflects on something – whether consciously or subconsciously. That’s why the outside activities appear still or slowed down. You should feel these times as well, remaining seated and letting the mind have its silent time. Once all the inner batteries are charged, you’ll be out of this phase and feel more rejuvenated than ever. So once in a while it’s okay to experience this kind of a state.”
Q: “I keep evaluating myself and sometimes i have a strong desire to perform, and sometimes I feel laid back.”
Guruji: “Let this be an important lesson. Over-evaluating also leads to a lot of tension and complications. You can’t always remain in one particular mood. If you are experiencing some mood, enjoy it, and after a few days when you come out of it, look back and reflect on it. It’s very difficult to understand a mood in its beginning phase. Only after it ends can you fully understand it.
“Sometimes it’s not about any mood but it feels good to sit idle, because the mind also gets tired and needs some rest. Your work doesn’t involve any physical stress, it’s all mental as you have to concentrate for long hours at a stretch.”
Q: “The evening exercise routine that you’ve told me is wonderful! It takes away all the mental stress and also relieves my eye strain.”
Guruji: “Oh! About that, even our avatars (divine incarnations) have said ‘if you are mentally tired, exercise’. And if you are physically tired, then indulge in some mental exercises. Both are very much connected. If you physically exert your body through exercising, your mind will automatically become happy and active. There are many references available on the various harmones that get released with exercising, that reduce stress, rejuvenate your mind and body, and also help you sleep better. Exercising also adds to an overall feeling of well being due to which our reflections gets better and clarity of mind sharpens. Ultimately it has a major effect on the performance of a person. And what else is there in life except performance? Life itself is a performance. After death even Yamraaj (lord of death) judges you by your performance in life.
“A man should always be practical in life. By being practical I mean he should always be down to earth. Have you ever laid down in mud? No? Is there some facility of mud-bath in America?”
Q: “Yes, there are a lot of mud-bath spas around here.”
Guruji: ” Then you should try it. You’ll really enjoy it. Mud is a direct connection with earth. There you’ll have to pay for it, otherwise here you can just lie down on the ground anywhere during rains. It’s a natural mud-bath. But you’ll definitely feel something immediately. After all, mud is mud.”
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! (readthis 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.”