123. Yogi Amrit Desai

Yogi Amrit DesaiYogi Amrit Desai is internationally recognized for carrying the deeper meaning and experience of yoga to people around the globe. He has been teaching since 1960 and is the author of many writings on the profound depth and transformational power of yoga as it relates to health, personal growth and interpersonal relationships. He is the originator of Kripalu Yoga and the Integrative Amrit Methods® (IAM) of Yoga, Yoga Nidra, and Quantum Breath Meditation, practiced and taught by thousands worldwide. His teachings are universal, experiential and easily adaptable by anyone, regardless of religious or cultural tradition.

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Yogi Desai’s website: http://www.amrityoga.org

Interview recorded 5/20/2012

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

38 thoughts on “123. Yogi Amrit Desai

  1. Peter – that story of Nisargadatta is priceless…really made me laugh..from all accounts he was a character – and I would agree with your friend about the invisibility factor.. It’s true that in general there is a bypassing of the energy by those not attuned..For those attuned however – they see and hear and feel you more acutely..

    Arjen – you nailed the whole point of satsang – all rising together as community…That’s why I fell in love with Pamela – never presented herself as more than a friend and always gave everyone their due as fellow Buddhas…saw everyone as Divine Light..which is the true alchemy that effects transformation…
    And I agree that the classic guru/disciple relationship is becoming a thing of the past, but we can still learn from those who are lighting the way..and have marinated in this awhile..
    For sure, we are all involved in a mass experiment in how to live and integrate this awakening in everyday life – not in a monastery – and it’s true – many mistakes are made – so we forgive others and hope they forgive us..
    For me, the scriptures gave a vision of Truth early on but they did not come alive until the Self became known and then they served as profound confirmations of the experience..

    Orrissacube –
    I agree that love and devotion is the bridge to a unified consciousness but do not feel that only the love between man and woman can bridge the gap and make the two one……Relationship can be a portal – anything can -but whether love and devotion is experienced in relationship or with an outside teacher or with the satguru within, is very much to do with the nature and destiny of the soul…
    What’s important is the unconditional nature of the Love..its strength and sincerity and openness and depth…I saw my 26 year marriage and devotion to family as a primer for ultimately realizing that kind of Love..It set the stage so to speak..
    All profound experiences of love and devotion – whether to a practice, or to a guru, or to a partner, or in service to an ideal, cultures the heart and makes one ripe for receiving the Grace of God and coming to know the sweetness of union..

  2. In regards to the sexual issues.

    Old lovers never die,they just fade away,lol.

  3. I love this – hope you do too.

    Emptiness is Everything
    nothing is missing
    and that wholeness
    is emptiness
    to the brim
    © 2011 Benjamin Dean

  4. Inspired by the above – this came:

    In the fullness of emptiness
    Love sings.

    Ising 2012

  5. One comment about the bit where Rick and Amrit are discussing his sexual affairs and sexual energy.
    Amrit was saying hey, you think normal folk have sexual desire, yogis like me have far more to contend with – and then it was like he and Rick had a chuckle, so no wonder that I had to cheat on my devout wife several times over – it was the energy, not me.
    I say, that’s a total copout – and a very patriarchal Indian way to explain things. That has to go.

    Also, not surprised that he avoided the subject as he undertook an extensive chronolgy of his many achievements, in a sales-pitch type fashion, and only dealt with it later on, in the manner described above, when Rick brought it up.

  6. Ok…….question. A “this is everyday life” question.
    I have ants in my kitchen and I feel guilty about killing them. I try to ignore them and then I get annoyed and zap them. If I were enlightened would I still kill them?
    Hard to determine what to make peace with, eh?

  7. My mother studied with Desai in the eighties. I never met him, but got a good sense of him from her stories and materials. This interview sort of confirmed my suspicion that there is a bit of the “halfway up the mountain” going on.

    I’m not wanting to judge him, for I love him very much and deeply respect his profound work in developing a more dynamic hatha yoga practice…really amazing and revolutionary for the time…but I have not felt much of that divine spark from him here or then. Maybe it’s just my resonance.

    The only problem I had with his indiscretion was that he professed celibacy. It seems that lying is a tough nut to swallow (to mix cliches). Not that I know for sure that he lied, but all that I heard pointed to that. His confession and reconciliation were very beautiful and maturely handled. I’m glad he is still working in uplifting people.

    I dunno, I guess I just didn’t hear the common descriptions of awakening and liberation that are so familiar in these interviews. Anyone else feel this way? Maybe it’s just the language/cultural differences that cause the message to get lost in the translation. Having studied with an Indian guru for several decades, I have seen how concepts expressed from within one culture can be easily misconstrued in another cultural context.

    Thanks for the interview, Rick.

    Peace to you all.

  8. “Don’t do as I do; do as I say”… is the invitation of the self-elevated.

    “Never mind what I say; do as I do”, on the other hand… is the invite of the self-disintegrated.

  9. Ant question too prosaic? Much more interesting to engage in abstract, intellectualizing, arm chair non-duality awakening.

  10. Well, Brenda, that’s one of those questions that you can think alot about but then just do what your gut tells you is right.

    I live in an ancient farmhouse and there is no way to keep the little critters out of the house. We coexist as much as possible, but we have sanitary limits that require action. I find that keeping the place as clean as possible and trying to find how they are getting in are the best first steps.

    The yogic dictum of ahimsa or non-violence is a natural outgrowth of non-dual living. We naturally don’t want to harm anything since it is part of what we are. Nonethless, there are times when the good of the greater whole is served by discontinuing a part.

    The aversion that can arise with vermin is something that can get in the way of clear judgement regarding course of action. In general just try to do the least harm while maintaining safe and pleasant conditions in your home.

    Traps can be an option. I move about a dozen mice from my place per year using havahart traps. I hate to upset and uproot the little creatures, but they can’t live in my house in the unrestricted manner they think they might enjoy. It’s amazing the different characters of each one. Some totally freak out in the trap. Some are just enjoying an interesting day.

    I hit a chipmunk on the highway a couple days ago. I drive very consciously and I have only killed one other animal knowingly on the road – a bullfrog that made me cry. That was many years ago. This chipmunk was sitting in the middle of the road and ran beneath my wheels. Now, if you know chipmunks, you know that they always dart in a straight line across the road and don’t switchback like squirrels. So this chipmunk chose my car to end it’s life.

    I could not feel guilt for this death – the critter wanted liberation and achieved it in a direct way. It also delivered a message to me.

    Read the Bhagavad Gita. Arjuna asks Krishna to show him His real form. Krishna opens his mouth and the galaxies are swirling in there and all of his family and friends gathered on the battlefield are falling into and being consumed by the cosmic jaws of death. But death is not the end, and for these souls that experience is the most evolutionary thing for them at that time.

    For Krishna to show Arjuna His form in His mouth is significant. We are all eating ourselves every day. We crush entire microcosms with our teeth with every bite. This is how life continues to feed itself. If we were only our bodies, then this sort of selfish action would be unconscionable. But we are more than our bodies…we are the entire universe, and more. When we eat a chicken we are eating ourselves in the form of that chicken. And our body does not end at our skin – it goes on and on across the universe, a great shared being.

    So, getting back to the ant issue, if you kill an ant that has strayed into hostile territory, then you are liberating it from that body; you are liberating that part of yourself to move to another field of action. If you have loving intent while doing so, then the spirit will be uplifted. If you are inspired to relocate the ant, then do that.

    Or you can do what I do – let your spouse kill it. ;-)

  11. I can’t address what an “enlightened” person might or might not do, but I can surmise what an awakened one might or might not.

    Reading your description of the scenario carefully, it appears that the sequence of conditions that you describe consists of the following: annoyance -> termination of an ant’s life -> guilt.

    Annoyance being the prompter of the terminating act.

    The awakened ones that I have met showed little evidence of being annoyed at anything or anyone.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean that they wouldn’t kill an ant. It just suggests that the reason for doing so would unlikely be annoyance.

    Absent annoyance, I suspect that we would cease to do many things that we are prompted to do from being annoyed.

    Don’t you think?

  12. Brenda –
    Harmlessness or the intention to not do harm, is a characteristic of the spiritually attuned..just your stopping to consider such a thing as killing or not killing an ant is beautiful…most people wouldn’t even think about it..so no guilt please – it’s a wasted emotion – we do the best we can…There’s no ideal of human perfection that we must live up to…so it’s wise to cut yourself some slack..

    As far as the the enlightened one’s life – it is beyond right and wrong – The sage knows full well that he is being ‘done’, or ‘lived’, so to speak – there’s no forethought involved in action as the egoic mind has dissolved into the heart -no authorship of action – no free will – so whatever the situation calls for – even the possible destruction of a life – paradoxically – would be carried out spontaneously..and even with great joy..knowing the Divine purpose was being served..

  13. Brenda – This brings to mind an interview with the Dalai Lama, in which he was asked if he would ever kill a mosquito if it was stinging him. He replied in his jovial manner – “The first time he lands on my arm I let him take some blood. The second time I still let him alone. The third time I go -” and he vehemently slapped his hand to his arm, then laughed uproariously.

    Don’t know if this helps…

  14. Great Dalai Lama anecdote Laurence – It says it all as to how the sage might respond…no one way…different in every moment..and in every situation..

  15. Eric, Peter, Jill, and Laurence:
    Thank you all so much for your responses concerning the ants. I will reread all of them as each one gave me comfort and a different way of viewing. Sorry if I was caddy yesterday in my question. (had a bad day). But all of you are quite sweet and I am grateful for this forum. And oh……..what is interesting is that a large black spider showed up and I don’t mind them and decided he or she might eat them!

  16. I’m not so sure that this is all from his direct experience.I teach yoga and many yogis use theory and philosophical
    jargon that they have read in books or from their “guru” this will never have the power to transform students or themselves.Good salesman though- good on him.

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