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Season 1 - Episode 7

Day 5: How a Yogi Lives

60 min - Talk


We begin by tuning into our breath in meditation and examine how different thoughts impact the quality of our breath. In today's talk, Ravi shares the different ways that Krishna describes a yogi or yoga in the Bhagavad Gita. We are reminded that what lives beneath all of the definitions is whether or not a transformation takes place. We conclude with a reflection question: Am I breathing or am I being breathed?
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Aug 18, 2019
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As a general preparation, we find our relaxation and the right alignment, emotionally, intellectually, physically and to find our breath. Again a simple reminder that I did not create the breathing apparatus that is being breathed. What is more significant, and we will pay more attention to this in a few moments, is the suggestion from all serious spiritual teachings that the breath or chi or prana is the connecting link between all levels of reality. It is not confined only to the ordinary air that we breathe and that there is a very deep and a sort of a spiral connection between the quality of our breathing which influences our whole organism and our feeling and thinking and also the other way around. Our feeling, whether it is quiet or agitated, influences the quality of our breathing which therefore has a different effect on the organism. So what I think or what I feel, depending on the intensity of it, has an effect on the organism. So to actually see this in direct observation, each one of us internally but sufficiently audibly to yourself, say, I am here and watch as carefully as you can which part of the body resonates to this.

More importantly, does that create any kind of emotion and does it have any effect on the quality of your breathing? So before actually using these words, just take a few moments to watch your breathing and watch generally what sorts of emotions are now taking place in you. Then to say, I am here. Two or three times and simply watching does it have any effect on my breathing and where does it resonate in me? Now intentionally we try to use exactly the same words but with an underlying different attitude. Now I try to say, I am here but with the implication as if everybody out of my way.

And watch how it affects your breathing, quality of your breathing. And also watch if somewhere certain parts of the body become tense or relaxed. Not to accept anything that I am saying, I have to use some words, but your own actual experience. Now just one or two breaths. Again finding a relaxation and using the same expression.

I am here but the emotional attitude, I am here, how can be of help? And watch how it affects my breathing. Is there any part of my body that responds by getting more relaxed or more tense? Then now to let go, two or three breaths just I am here, simply sitting here, trying nothing, doing nothing. Now we use another expression.

First of all just two or three times just simply to use that expression and to watch if I can notice anything in my body, feelings, breath corresponding to it. I wish to be. Now I let go for a couple of breaths. Then we will use exactly the same expression but with a very different attitude. And I don't express the attitude in words but just the feeling and to watch how it affects my breathing.

I wish to be important. Does it create any particular emotion, particular tension or relaxation? Any change in the quality of my breathing? Now I let go of this, just a couple of breaths. And we will use exactly the same words.

Namely I wish to be but with the inner feeling I wish to be of service without adding the additional words but just the feeling behind my expression. Watching how my body responds in tension, relaxation, feeling more alive or less alive. And if there is any change in the quality of my breathing, again I now let go and I am simply sitting here not trying anything that I know. We take a couple of more breaths then we will start now. Thank you.


So continuing with the idea that Krishna then begins to teach yoga and he teaches many kinds of yogas and also describes yoga in varieties of ways. I already mentioned yesterday there are standard expressions like karma yoga, jnani yoga, jnani yoga, bhakti yoga, namely yoga of action, of knowledge, etc. But then some ways which are not specifically categorized and he essentially is describing in a way how a yogi behaves or how he changes what is the transformation that takes place that becomes another way of describing yoga. And today I will take a few examples of that rather than specific kind of yoga such as karma yoga, etc. Although yesterday already while speaking about karma yoga I had mentioned Krishna defining yoga is skillfulness in action.

Now here is one definition or description of yoga. Another one that yoga means equanimity whether I succeed or fail in whatever I am doing I just need to do what I need to do rather than being occupied with the fruits of my action or success and failure. So there are already I mentioned two or three examples of this but today I want to take a few others. Let me begin first of all by quoting to you this is in the sixth chapter of 23rd Shloka in the Bhagavad Gita Yoga is breaking the bond with suffering. This yoga is to be practiced with determination and with a mind that is not discouraged.

Some of you may know some of these words especially the word for suffering is dukkha so yoga is breaking the bond with suffering. Now that's rather an amazing definition of yoga. So we need to take a few minutes to actually to understand this. First of all a remark just to remind you this is the remark of actually Gurdjieff reported by one of his disciples Ospensky. Gurdjieff said a human being will give up anything but will not give up suffering.

I can personally assure you that occasionally after some talk or the other somebody comes oh that was wonderful so I'm happy to hear this but half an hour later I have no idea who the person was or what but if somebody comes and says which occasionally also happens oh that was the dumbest thing I ever heard. Now that stays a little longer in me. Then I don't want to sit for lunch with this guy. Why? So I invite you to because really any of the teachings ultimately until we apply them to ourselves they are just nice ideas.

One needs to understand there is a very strong idea for example in the yoga sutras when Patanjali speaks about the clashers or the hindrances that stand in the way of our coming to freedom. Remember the aim is freedom from myself. Among those in hindrances or what resists he says is rag doish. Usually it gets translated as like dislike. Nothing wrong with that translation specially but then if we follow what Patanjali actually says and Krishna in fact elaborates this more in the Bhagavad Gita rag like he says we wish to repeat what we have found agreeable, pleasant.

So that is the attachment. Attachment to something that was agreeable or pleasant. Many married couples find themselves saying well maybe we should go for another honeymoon somewhere. So they can repeat something which they had found agreeable at some stage. But what is actually more important in this context is the remark of Patanjali much more elaborated by Krishna that we are actually more attached to suffering than we are attached to pleasure or to happiness which seems very perverse but very human.

And here let me first of all remind you that after all the whole profession of psychiatry or psychotherapy exists simply because we are attached to suffering. One could suffer something even at a very early age 6, 7, 8 years old but that gets lodged deeply in our psyche and in our body. We should not make such a radical distinction between body and psyche that has become a habit specially since Descartes but they are much more related with each other what our mind or feelings are saying. In fact through breath you can see the connection between the body and the emotions very directly. In any case even if we use two separate words so an occasion of assault can be so deeply lodged in the body and the psyche that maybe even 30-40 years later it still stays there.

The person is unable to have if you like usual or normal relationship with the opposite gender or unable to have a job then ends up seeing a psychiatrist and occasionally one finds somebody a psychiatrist who actually knows something that is very unusual but it is possible. And so then here is the other aspect which I mentioned in passing yesterday also. If they can by making you feel easy enough maybe through chemicals or through making you feel at rest comfort that you allow things that have been lodged deeply actually to emerge. You try to forget them because amnesia is a survival mechanism. We don't want to remember certain things so we tend to forget them.

But then if one can become aware of what actually took place it is possible then to be a little free of it but that is more to do with the awareness the mechanism of transformation but what I am more here trying to emphasize how deeply the suffering or any incident of disrespect or being harangued, being insulted, being defeated can enter into one's psyche and body. Actually whole nations can get attached to this. If they lost a war somewhere or there was a famine somewhere or they were colonized it becomes very deeply seated in the whole psyche. So here is therefore if you like one definition of yoga yoga is breaking the bond with suffering because whenever we say that yoga is or any serious teaching is really interested in freedom from myself that myself is much more influenced by suffering than by pleasure. That is what keeps me more connected with my past than any occasions of happiness which is completely ironic, it sounds rather perverse but it is unfortunately the truth, maybe ironic.

So therefore freedom from myself is actually not possible until I am free from my attachment to occasions or events of suffering in my life. So then this becomes a definition of yoga. Yoga is breaking the bond with suffering. Let me just take a few other examples. This is in the same chapter, 29th Shloka, 6th chapter.

The one whose self is disciplined by yoga sees the self in all beings and all beings in the self seeing all with an equal vision. Now here I need to make it slightly like a footnote. The word self, especially in Sanskrit we don't have the privilege of having a lower case and an upper case but in Latin script which is what we use for English there is an upper case and a lower case. So capital S self is understood to be a little different from the lower S self. So here what Krishna is saying, of course in Sanskrit it has to be understood in the context that a yogi sees everyone in the self with a capital S which just to remind you again something I already said in the very first lecture in the context of the whole of the Indian tradition whether it is Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, it doesn't matter, in all of those traditions the capital S self is identically the same as the highest reality, Brahma.

So in a way putting it slightly more English version it will be probably good to say that a yogi sees God in everyone and everyone in God. Seeing all with an equal vision. Now you see, not so easy. Yeah, one has to periodically remind oneself that the whole discipline of yoga or practice of yoga is in fact really for a radical transformation of oneself as is any other serious spiritual teaching because of the constant reminder from the sages that I need to be free of myself to be able to relate with God. In fact very nice old Hasidic saying there is no room in him for God who is full of himself.

So it's as simple as that. It's a Hasidic saying in the Jewish tradition. And you will actually come across this kind of idea almost everywhere. Maybe I'll take a moment just to remind you. I think I already mentioned, for example, Gospel of Matthew.

Christ says unless you leave yourself behind you cannot be a follower of mine. Shraddhpat Brahmana which is a very old text in India it basically says the following. When a searcher comes to the sun door which is to say at the entrance to enlightenment he will hear who is it. If the answer is anything other than nobody he may not enter. So it's really an amazing undertaking.

The practice of any serious spiritual teaching is to become a nobody. Which is literally by the way the word tathagat means which is a reference to the Buddha all the time. It simply means thus come and thus gone. Leaving no trace. Becoming a nobody.

But nobody does not mean that one is against the ego or against the body or against the mind. The question more is, is it serving something or is it serving itself? So returning to this again and again that Ayogi sees the self in everyone and everyone in the self. Seeing all with an equal vision. Let me continue with some other definitions of yoga.

This is still from the same chapter, sixth chapter, thirty-one to thirty-two, two shlokas. O Arjuna, one who has taken a stand on oneness, ekattvam is the Sanskrit word, and loves me, this is Krishna speaking, who is present in all beings, in all ways, and acting in whatever manner dwells in me, whether in pain or in happiness, is held to be a supreme yogi. So what is a supreme yogi? Who it doesn't matter whether he is suffering or is in happiness, that he is actually in love with the highest reality. In this case, manifested by Krishna, but not to be occupied with that.

Whatever other word speaks to you, can I still be in the presence of and be related with or in love with the Holy Spirit? Whatever my life situation now happens to be, that is the call, that will be a real yogi. Because Krishna, as he says, I am present in all beings, that was more or less implied earlier, when a yogi sees the self in everyone, he could have said he sees Krishna in everyone, and everyone in Krishna. So that becomes another, I don't think one should call these as definitions of yoga, but this is a kind of a description of yoga or a yogi. Now, I have another one here, this is from the 14th chapter, 19th shloka.

The one who sees that the gunas and nothing else is the doer, and knows what is above the gunas, attains my state of being. First of all, a reminder, what is the aim of yoga? To come to the same level as Krishna. This is very high level, which is why we don't feel one needs to feel rushed about it. It will take many lifetimes.

Even the Buddha took many lifetimes just to remind people. And then the word gunas may not be so familiar to people here, so let me take a moment to say that. Guna, the idea is that the whole of the nature is being driven by basically three fundamental forces. Those are called the gunas. The Sanskrit words are, but not to get stuck on them, rajasguna, sattva guna, tamasguna, usually to do with active, passive, and freedom from both.

So they sometimes get described as white is sattva guna, and laziness, darkness is tamas, and activity is rajas. So these are another way of saying it. But these are three different gunas. First of all, to remind you, this kind of description is not to be taken so literally. In a way, it is a little bit like saying that everything that exists in the material universe is made up of electrons, protons, and neutrons, three components.

But the variety is absolutely endless. So we see that these three come together in an enormously varied manner. But purely from a scientific point of view, in fact, even really closer to natural philosophy point of view, that one would say everything comes from these three elements. Similarly, when we speak about these three gunas or these three forces running the whole of nature, the Sanskrit word is prakrati. Running the whole of nature, that doesn't mean that everything has exactly the same amount of rajas, tamas, or sattva guna, different components, different intensity, different degrees of forces, etc.

So now, coming back to what Krishna says using that word guna, basically saying that a yogi sees that forces of nature are working on forces of nature, that I'm not doing anything. But at the same time, knows what is above the gunas. Many of these words have to be a little bit understood. We use phrases like above the gunas, which usually means more consciousness, more awareness than the level of the gunas. The whole idea, there are two Sanskrit words, let me use them here, purusha and prakrati.

Prakti is almost always translated as nature, but a useful reminder, actually, this is from St. Augustine several centuries ago. What we know of nature is not all there is to nature. Partly I say that because there is always a very strong tendency. Now we know. But I remind all my fellow searchers, everything that we now teach in physics was unknown 120 years ago.

So give some credit to our intelligent scientists. In the next 120 years, they will find something. If not 120 years, maybe 1200 years, they will find something. Now the reason for saying that, because we always have this tendency, the earlier people were just primitive, they did not know. Now we know.

And maybe in this context, I will even tell you a story quickly. Some of you would know this already. Lord Kelvin, highly regarded scientist, I'm sure we measure absolute temperature, so many Kelvins. He was the president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. And he retired, I believe, in 1896 or 95.

Doesn't matter, very close to that. And on his presidential retirement address, he spent a fair amount of time trying to point out quite enormously, really quite remarkable discoveries that had been made in physics in the 19th century. The whole field of electromagnetism, that light is actually an electromagnetic wave, not something completely different. This was all discovered in the 19th century. So quite rightly, he gives a very elaborate description of this.

Then he ends his presidential address by saying, I have only one regret, that the future generation of physicists have nothing left to discover. This is 1896. Mary Curie had published Radiation 1895. Max Planck published the first paper on quantum mechanics in 1900. Einstein published the Special Theory of Relativity in 1905. Niels Bohr published the model of the atom in 1911.

Einstein published the General Theory of Relativity in 1915. I can go on and on and on, give you the whole history of it. Everything we now teach in physics is since then. And here he's saying, and he's not a fool, he's a very highly regarded scientist, that he has only one regret, that future physicists have nothing left to discover. So I therefore remind you, this is a good reminder from St Augustine, what we know of nature is not all there is to nature.

There are many, many things we don't know. So Prakriti is a very large field. At the same time, Purusha, which is much closer to consciousness or awareness, is, if you like, at right angles to this. Again, there is a tendency, even in India very strongly, to pin it down to one particular point, as if this is Purusha here. No, think of this as a perpendicular.

I can be at this level, so that is my level of Purusha. From there I see something below. But if I am at a higher level, I would have a different vision. So Purusha itself is, it's almost like saying, don't pin God down to something. Think of this as a vector pointing to something.

In fact, one of my favorite Christian mystics, Maestro Eckhart, had this very interesting remark. If there were a God of whom I had any idea, it will not be worth having Him as God. Because we have this double-edged problem, we project something from our mind, and can in certain states even manage to see something. There are more and more data now gathered about so-called after-life experiences or after-death experiences. Some people who have died often suddenly heart attack or accident, some of them come back alive.

And at that time they have some consciousness still there, even though their brain is dead. But if they come from a Christian background, they often see Christian-oriented figures, maybe even Christ. If they come from a Buddhist background, they will see Buddhist-oriented figures. Now that already shows how strongly all our past life, past conditioning even projects what reality we are going to be able to see. So therefore this remark of Maestro Eckhart is something very remarkable.

He was not an ordinary mystic, but of course that's why he was excommunicated by the Church. That's to be expected, but that's a different matter. In a way we need images or descriptions to focus our attention, but they can also become obstructions if we get too attached to them. It's the same kind of remark I tried to make the other day, that internal, subtle realities need to be externalized to communicate or to even have the transmission of culture from one generation to the next. But one does not need to get attached to the externalizations because the actual practice is in the reverse direction, going from the outside inward.

So same thing here. Not to be therefore against the images or actually verbal images that have more influence than external physical images. And it always slightly surprises me. On the one hand we have one of the Ten Commandments, thou must not make images of your God, right in the heart of Christianity, in the Vatican, in the Sistine Chapel, you have the image of God drawn by Michelangelo. There you are, in the heart of the tradition.

So in a way we need these images to assist pointing to something, but not to get stuck on them. A classical way of saying this in India is that any of these great metaphors or images can be like a lamp post. If you're walking towards it, it throws light on your path. The moment you have gone past it, it throws your own shadow on your path. This is the classical image used in India.

So Krishna's remark that the forces of nature are working on forces of nature partly indicates the enormous strength of the forces of nature, the gunas, but that the person who knows what is above the gunas attains my state of being. Here is another remark, sort of describing yoga or describing a yogi. This is in Chapter 5, Shloka 8. Steadfast in yoga, the knower of truth realizes, truly I do nothing at all. Now, this is a very interesting remark.

In passing, I had already mentioned this in one of my previous talks. First of all, it has very much to do with what is it that I identify myself with. What am I? Am I this body, including the mind? Or am I that spiritual element or the breath of God that has taken on this body for its purposes?

This really becomes the fundamental question, who am I or what am I? So this itself is a little tricky. What is it that I am identifying myself with? So when I say truly I do nothing at all, as usually most of us, even our language, we are using the word I to refer to this body and the mind. So to realize that I, that is not really the doer, and that it has become truly an instrument of divine will, or in this particular context in the Bhagavad Gita, one would say instrument of Krishna's will.

And in that context, I think I had already actually shown this, but I will read that again. These are the remarks of Christ in the Gospel of John. When you lift up the Son of Man, you will come to realize I am. Let me stop here for a moment. This word I am, Greek version of this, remember every book in the New Testament is written in Greek.

So to make some remark about what is the Greek version is not merely pedantic, it sometimes helps clarify something. All of the major enunciations of Christ begin with the phrase ego, Amy, I am. And that is, okay, maybe I'll take a bit of a footnote here. Moses, this is an Exodus, by the way, if you're interested, third chapter, 14th verse that I am now speaking about for a moment. Moses, who is running away from the law, as you know, he has killed an Egyptian soldier, so he's running away so that he doesn't get arrested.

Of course, he meets a farmer, falls in love with his daughter, so then he undertakes farming there. And then he sees a burning bush. We have actually visited that place. St. Catherine's Monastery in Egypt begins from there, from where you can go in the morning, starting at 3 a.m., to go up where he had received the commandments from the Mount Sinai. So Moses hears this voice.

Go tell the Pharaoh to let my people go. Now imagine if you're running away from the law and the Pharaoh is powerful, mighty, Moses is going to go tell him to let my people go. He says, who should I say has sent me? This is the first time the word Yahweh is used in the Bible. And Yahweh literally means I am.

But to say I am has sent me, in most European languages, this construction doesn't work out properly. So they add one or two other phrases. I am who I am, or I am who I was. Sometimes even that is added. But usually I am who I am.

But Yahweh is regarded in the Jewish tradition as the most sacred, sometimes even most secret name of God. And really Orthodox Jews will not use this word. Just in case by default they may end up using it in vain, which will be against one of the commandments. So even academic writers of Jewish background, when they write the word Yahweh, they leave out the vowels so that it doesn't sound like that they're actually using the name. So that is what the word I am coming from.

And literally the word Jesus comes from the Hebrew, ultimately Joshua, Yohoshua, meaning Yahweh saves. That's the literal meaning of the word Jesus. It may be useful for you folks to know this. So that's what Christ says here. Now let me read this.

When you lift up the son of man, you will come to realize I am. And that I do nothing by myself. I say only what the father has taught me. I'm not myself the source of the words I speak. It is the father who dwells in me doing his own work.

That is the perfect yogi, according to Krishna's definition of a yogi. So one has to realize that of course these kinds of examples are not easily to be found. But several times you come across, if you're interested, you read some of the dialogues or conversations with, for example, Raman Maharishi. People would refer to him as if it's his body sitting there. For example, somebody actually asked him, how should we behave towards others?

And Raman Maharishi said, but there are no others. Now, can you and I say that? We could use these words. That's cheap. But you see where it comes from. To see that God is in everyone, which is Krishna's definition of a yogi, or the self is in everyone, and everyone in the self.

For Raman Maharishi, this is obvious. So when he's asked, how should we behave towards others, his simple response is, but there are no others. So this kind of realization is really what expresses the truth, not the words. I keep repeatedly saying, same words expressed by Christ carry truth. But some drunk person on the street, some evangelist is saying that, that doesn't carry truth. Same words.

So one needs to be very careful about not getting stuck with the expressions. But let me continue here with many other ways that Krishna actually describes yoga. Each of these, we need to sort of focus on them and to not, we don't need to agree or disagree or argue or this or that. But what is it that he's trying to convey? Now, this one particular one is from the 19th shloka in the seventh chapter, especially important for me personally.

So because of that, I will actually say that in Sanskrit, first of all. Bhunam janmanam anthe kyanavan mamaprapadhyate vasudeva sarvameti samahatama sadrulaba. Here the word for Krishna is vasudeva, meaning son of Vasudeva, who was his foster father. So in English, at the end of many births, a wise person comes to me. Anyway, this is another way he sometimes talks about a yogi.

To say a wise person is another way of saying a yogi. So at the end of many births, a wise person comes to me, realizing that all there is is Krishna. Such a person is a great soul and very rare. And I don't want to go into too much detail here, but just quickly to mention, for me personally, this has been a very important, almost a life-changing verse. The background of that is my father, who was a very distinguished lawyer and very busy all the time, but whenever he could have any free time, especially in the winter, it's very nice to sit in the sun in a kind of a semi-closed courtyard, he would just sit on a charpoi and he knew many languages and his fondness was her poetry.

So he would read poems in Sanskrit or Persian or Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, English. He knew several languages and was very interested in poetry. And if anybody happened to be around, he would read it aloud. Otherwise, this was his idea of holiday, more than anything else. Then some urchins like me, I was, I think, 12 years old, just wandering around, and suddenly he saw me coming, so he said, oh, look, Ravi, there is this very interesting verse from the Bhagavad Gita.

So he reads it aloud in Sanskrit. Now I can even tell you where it is from, etc. I had no interest, I knew no Sanskrit, and I was really not interested in the Bhagavad Gita. I was a member of the Communist Party trying to get rid of the priests. That was our program.

Just like people here feel the same. But then, just the way he spoke, because he was so highly regarded, from our point of view, he was really like a god. He said, you know, Ravi, I can tell you what these words are, but I don't really understand what Krishna is actually saying, that all there is is Krishna. I wish for you that you will find a teaching and a teacher who will assist you to actually understand what Krishna is saying. Not so much the words he used, but the feeling with which he conveyed for him to say to a young boy that he doesn't really understand.

Everybody else thought he was absolutely divine, practically. My father was very highly regarded. And for him to say that he doesn't understand what this actually means, but that he wished for me, it was like a blessing. So for me, this verse has since then, whenever I got interested in the Bhagavad Gita, which was much later, my spiritual mother insisted that I should study. This is in USA, believe it or not, in New York.

My book is dedicated to her, to my spiritual mother. She was the one who insisted that I should study the Bhagavad Gita. I had no interest in this at all. But gradually I began to really feel more and more what my father was touched by, but not understanding it at the same time. So there are many things which actually touch our feeling, but we can't explain this to anybody or really even convince ourselves that I really understand it.

But something is touched very deeply in us. So not to dismiss that kind of feeling, because they are not all that common, as we might imagine. Let me see if I don't have... There are a few other ways Krishna actually describes what a yogi is. But in this very context, nevertheless, also a reminder, he says, such a person is a great soul.

The sense is, what is Mahatma? Which is why, for example, Mahatma Gandhi, some of you have come across this word. Mahatma literally means a person who is a great soul, but very rare. I was just really simply translating this, that Krishna himself says that such a person who realizes that all there is is Krishna is a great soul, Mahatma, but very rare. So one should not imagine that these kinds of examples can be easily found, which is why when I was trying to find an example that I could give, I more or less instinctively turned to Christ.

From my point of view, it's not that he's just using these words, his life demonstrated something. This is always the important thing to keep in mind. Anybody can use the words. But does one's life correspond to this or demonstrate something? And that is really what speaks to people much more than the words.

Now, I was just basically trying to say that there are many different ways yoga or a yogi is described. But what is behind all of that is that there is a transformation of the person undertaking yoga. So really, in a way, whatever now we understand by yoga, whatever practice one undertakes, unless it actually has an effect on the person who is practicing something. An effect meaning really not to take it so easily. Essentially, a movement from myself to be the doer, to be the person in charge, and therefore getting the appropriate credit and getting ahead towards becoming an instrument of the divine will.

Now, that would be the general direction. But when we speak about being freedom from myself, it is very important to emphasize that that does not mean to be against myself. In fact, let me make a very general remark. Whatever I am against, I can never be free of it. Because then psychologically I come down exactly to the same level.

Occasionally one can even beat it down and in that sense conquer it, but one is not free internally. To be free of anything, first of all, even if it is something I don't like especially about myself or about anybody else, to try to understand this with real affection. What role is it playing in me? Supposing I find myself that I am jealous or greedy. What role is it playing in me?

Why is this required in my psyche? Then the more I actually understand it, the freer I can be of this. Otherwise if I just struggle, now I am going to be generous. I am just not going to... Sure, occasionally I might even be generous, give some money, but that greediness remains.

So it is very important to actually understand this. To be free of something does not mean to be against something, but to find its appropriate place. I will come back to this idea maybe in the next lecture a little bit more in detail. But here, just to suggest, if you are interested,


this is like an exercise or some people call it a homework. I already mentioned that actually in one of our meditations, but partly because repeated emphasis on that I am not the creator of this breathing, apparatus, etc., from a yogi's point of view to try to understand.

Do I breathe or am I being breathed? Not to get stuck on the words, but what is the implication of this kind of understanding? For example, for myself, if I am the one who started my whole breathing process, then it can be my personal project. But would I know how to start the breathing apparatus? I don't even know how to stop the growth of my nails.

So to imagine that I am actually running the whole show about my life seems to me to be quite amazing. It is a fix we have. I do what I like to do. We keep encouraging people. But to try to see that there are many, many forces at play and that I myself have been created by subtle forces possibly for some purpose.

That is very much implied by this question. So please try to see this yourself. Do I breathe or am I being breathed? So then we'll stop. Thank you so much.


Kate M
8 people like this.
I was struck, among other things, by Ravi's observation that if a person's words do not come from a deep experiential understanding of those words, they are hollow and carry no weight. Which brings me to think that I should probably talk much less than I do!!!
Hoda G
3 people like this.
The emphasis of « Finding out for myself  » brings  Krishna’s song into my heart. It is the power of the song. Awareness...
Geetanjali D
Man is attached to suffering, such a profound and deep thought. Kept me thinking through the day
Felicia K
Thank you Ravi and his wonderful and holistic insight towards the ancient wisdom. Particularly appreciate his sharing of Christ teachings too. He definitely elevate the understanding of the Gita. 
Caroline S
1 person likes this.
do I breathe or am I being breathed? Do I know the powers that are my body?  And do I give them the reverential respect / the love and attention they deserve, for keeping me alive?  Is that God in me one could say? A profound question, thank you Ravi !

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