After Namaste Artwork
Season 5 - Episode 5

Qualities of a Yogi

10 min - Special


Ravi shares a conversation with Alana on what the Bhagavad Gita says about the qualities of a yogi.
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
Dec 29, 2019
(Style N/A)
(Log In to track)
(No Desires)


Read Full Transcript

Could you speak to some of the qualities of a yogi, how a yogi walks and talks and sings? Krishna actually describes this in many different ways. For example, that a yogi does what needs to be done but is not so attached to whether it will succeed or fail. He does the action that is required to be done. So that becomes one of the things he actually emphasizes quite often.

The other one that whether something succeeds or fails or whether people like me or don't like me, can I remain impartial to them or equanimous? And then very strongly, can I actually remain free of my own will and become more and more the instrument of Krishna's will? This is where he says that a yogi sees that I do nothing at all, is really Krishna acting through me or by me, in me, there are varieties of ways of putting this in English. Then for example, this is more a definition of yoga in a way but also therefore of a yogi, breaking the bond with suffering. It's a very interesting remark and that partly comes because actually every teaching, certainly explicitly in the Bhagavad Gita, the suggestion that I need to be free of my self-will, therefore freedom from myself really, but that myself is the end product of my entire past and we are more connected with our past through events of suffering than ideas or occasions of happiness.

This seems rather perverse but this is actually true. And therefore, unless I can see how my past conditioning has, because of any kind of attachment to suffering, somebody insulted me, I have to take resentment. You see this in the Mahabharata story itself, many people who are gathered to fight, some of them are taking revenge, somebody had done something to them. Even in a previous life, in India that's easier to say than that somebody was insulted in a previous life, they're going to take revenge in this life. So freedom from attachment to suffering becomes another way of defining yoga.

There's a call as if I am doing nothing, actionlessness, but not inaction. Then of course the remark that I earlier mentioned about my father had quoted that a wise person, which for Krishna means the same thing as a yogi, sees that all there is is Krishna. That's very high. So there are many different ways Krishna speaks about yoga. Can you recall a person that you've known that embodies truth?

Oh my goodness. That is very hard for me to say because I don't have the ability to actually discern who embodies the, if you like, the ultimate truth. But I have certainly met, I've been very fortunate in my life to meet easily five or six people who from certainly my perspective are very wise. In fact, two of them I would say, especially at my age now, is highly, highly unlikely that I will meet a person closer to whatever I imagine the Buddha's being was or Christ's being was, close to them, than Krishna Murti or Mairam Rasa's man. That is not to say that necessarily they are at that level.

I don't know that, but it is highly unlikely that I will meet anybody closer to that. So I have been very fortunate. I have met four or five people. I just mentioned two, Roshi Kaburi, who was head of Rinzai Zen. I worked very closely with him.

In fact, it's not only that I have just happened to see them. These are the people with whom I have worked fairly closely, who have taken the trouble of spending a fair amount of time or attention to me or energy on me, trying to, in a way to teach me, they are not necessarily shutting themselves up as my teachers. But I regard them as my teacher, and Roshi Kaburi was another. And many people don't know Shulung Sunim. He was a Zen master in Korea.

Most people don't know his name, but he was very, he was the most exalted Zen master in Korea. Even the president of Korea was his disciple. I did not know who he was, meeting him quite accidentally. But I can't tell you though, it'll take a long time to tell you the whole story. In fact, we happened to meet him absolutely accidentally just going up the mountain.

And he was sitting there, and he offered coffee to us, much to our surprise. And then as we are leaving, he asks his sidekick to go and get an envelope, which he hands me. He has seven, 100 US dollar notes in it. And I was completely surprised by this. And I said, I can't take money from the monastery here.

And he said, this is to pay for your next visit. And the idea was that if there was more foreign exchange, he would give me money. I was completely surprised by all this. Later on, a year later, I actually went there because I just couldn't believe all this. I can't go into the great details, but in any case, he gives me a lovely image of the Buddha, which would easily cost 25,000 dollars if I were to buy it.

And again, I was refusing. He said, you had done something for me in a previous life. It is important for me to give this to you. Now, do you think I'm running my life? I run into this character completely from my point of view, accidentally.

But what forces are bringing us together? I have no idea. He needed to pay. What he said was his debt. I had no idea.

So these forces are arranging for us to walk up the mountain. Nobody would even believe this story, except that Priscilla was also with us. I know it sounds completely curious. Somebody should give me money. Seven US, 100 US dollar notes for my next visit.

Do you think I'm running my life? I keep telling people, nobody believes me. Many many forces are at play. There are probably also, although I don't often maybe recognize them or I don't seem to be often struck by them. But I wouldn't be surprised if there are also negative forces, opposing forces.

We may call them demons or whatever other labels we want to put. But those forces are also there. The universe is not only just the positive forces, there are also negative forces. In fact, in Indian philosophy, one would say that the manifested universe cannot exist without having both negative and positive forces.


Jenny S
2 people like this.
So profound yet simply put, this gives me hope not only for myself but for this world (much needed right now) 🌎
Alana Mitnick
So true, Jenny.  "A yogi does what needs to be done, but is not so attached to whether it succeeds or fails..." easier said than done, so that's why it becomes a whole life practice.  
Kate M
2 people like this.
What an extraordinary story! The meeting on the mountaintop...!
Christel B
1 person likes this.
How I love those kinds of stories.  So life affirming for me.
Alana Mitnick
Christel, So glad you're enjoying this conversion with Raviji. Life affirming is right! xoA

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Yoga Anytime Logo

Just Show Up

Over 2,900 yoga and meditation practices to bring you Home.

15-Day Free Trial