Sri M 2nd Interview Transcript
>>Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done about 410 of them now, and if you haven’t seen any before and would like to see others go to the past interviews menu on batgap.com and you’ll find all the previous ones organized in various ways. This show is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers and so if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it, there’s a donate button on every page of the website and we appreciate those who have been supporting it and those who haven’t (laughter), it’s good to be able to provide it to people. So my guest today is Sri M, and Sri M is a spiritual guide, social reformer, and educationist. I interviewed him last October and really enjoyed the conversation as did thousands of viewers, and he has just written the new book which I just finished reading and enjoyed very much and we decided to do a second interview. So welcome Sri M. Thank you for coming back.
>>Sri M: Thank you.
>>Rick: I’ll read an abbreviated version of his bio. You can read the full thing on the website, batgap.com, and probably many of you are already familiar with him, but here’s a synopsis. At the age of nine, Sri M’s spiritual transformation was initiated by his future Master Maheshwarnath Babaji who miraculously appeared under a jackfruit tree in the compound of his home. This meeting set the stage for their future reunion in Himalayas when Sri M was 19. For three and a half years, he lived and travelled extensively through the Himalayas with his Master who guided him through his initiation, his Kundalini awakening and the eventual meeting with Sri Mahavatar Babaji who is the one discussed in Yogananda’s book, Autobiography of a Yogi. A few years after his Master passed away, he received the spiritual go-ahead to commence his mission. I just want to ask you on that one point. I don’t remember reading this in your book, but did your Master who had passed over come to you in some kind of subtle form and say start teaching or what was the nature of that go-ahead that you got.
>>Sri M: No. He didn’t do anything of that kind, but I rarely have vivid dreams especially of the Master.
>>Rick: You rarely do?
>>Sri M: I rarely do.
>>Sri M: So I had this dream in which – oh! I must go back a little – a minute. You know, I had a friend in Bangalore who was part of the Theosophical Society, so he came to know that. I used to wear jeans and t-shirt, so it’s difficult to figure out. So this guy came to know through an old friend of mine that I had gone to the Himalayas. So he came to me and said can you talk at the Theosophical Society in Bangalore. That was the first, I said give me two weeks, I need to think about it, because I still thought I haven’t got the green signal to talk, to be in public. So I came back to Madanapalle where I live which is about three hours from Bangalore, in Andhra Pradesh, and then that night while I was seriously thinking what to do I had this very vivid dream, it was a little bit funny dream, because I was on a railway station and there was a train standing there with a big banner saying “Satsang” in English and I got into this train, and I’m sitting there awaiting and then the guard comes out from the gate holding a green light in his hand, you know even now In India we have the guy waving green lights.
>>Rick: I guess the signalman or something.
>>Sri M: Yeah, yeah, when it is red means don’t go, when it’s green it means move, it’s like the green signal. So I saw this guard and I burst out laughing, because he was Babaji wearing a white uniform of railway guard and he had no footwear and his hair was still matted and top of that there was this P-Cap. You know, I burst out laughing and the train started off. So I woke up in the morning and when this man called me, I said, Mohan, I think I’ll do it.
>>Rick: (Laughter) That’s very funny. That’s how it started and then I went to Theosophical Society on a Sunday. I was expecting 20-25 people. There were about 100 people sitting there and this was my first exposure and I didn’t know what to do. So I again closed my eyes and said, this is what Babaji wants, okay, and I started talking to the man sitting in front of me, just like I am talking to you in a personal manner, I forgot the rest. And then at the end of it they said, oh! that was very good talk, so can we repeat it, this is how the circus – I am sorry, the whole thing started, you know what I mean.
>>Rick: That’s great. That’s actually a technique that people who train others in public speaking advocate, they say talk to just one person, you know, and then another person perhaps, but don’t just put off your mind that you might be talking to several hundred people and that makes it very personal and the audience appreciates that.
>>Sri M: It happened to me automatically.
>>Sri M: I’m not a guy who read how to talk.
>>Rick: Yeah, you just picked up on it.
>>Sri M: Yeah.
>>Rick: Okay, so one final bit of your bio that I didn’t read yet that your message seeks to transcend the outer shell of all religions by exploring their mystical core to nurture the innate goodness in every human being. I just wanted to add that. You know how we heard that the Buddha got enlightened under the Bodhi Tree, and there are other stories of saints and sages who had some kind of profound sudden illumination at a certain point and that was their Enlightenment. Do you feel that that is the way it tends to be for everyone. In other words is there some – there’s a word in English like a watershed moment which is like a clear demarcation between this side and this side, the way the top of a mountain peak would be. Do you feel that there’s a sort of a profound significant clearly perceivable watershed moment of Enlightenment for everybody on the spiritual path or like there was for the Buddha and was there for you for instance or do you feel like for most people it’s a sudden gradual incremental subtle thing that you might not notice so dramatically.
>>Sri M: Well, for this I would like to say that I did have a kind of explosive experience once, but it subsided, and then it was as if it was firing up in different contexts in different ways in small measure, not this huge thing, but the turning point you could say was this kind of energy surging inside me which I had in Badrinath when I was with Maheshwarnath Babaji, if you read the autobiography. So that day there was definitely a remarkable change in my system, but then I sometimes suspect Babaji wanted to keep it down and not allow me to go into it fully, because there was some work to be done, because I felt that this is meaningless, now there is nothing to do, sit in the Himalayas – that changed after a while and then so I did get it back, but it took a lot of what you just mentioned, you didn’t use the word but little firings here and there, you know like tuk-tuk-tuk, it’s not like one thing after that, and then one day, several years later I got that thing back, but then it was not an explosion like, it was like a wave, it was like flowing, so these are two central points which have an interval of maybe 10 years from each other, 10 years, so that’s it, that’s how it happened, but in this interval of 10 years there was a process of growing. Like how do I put it, it’s like somebody start as an experiment, it was successful and then they continued to do it till it reached the culmination, it’s similar, something like that.
>>Rick: So the thing after 10 years that second significant suddenly, did you feel like there was some finality to that like, now you’ve really arrived or has there still been growing even after that?
>>Sri M: Yes, you are right. I felt that now I have the capacity to take off and I could book into any of those flights, but since then I have been flying. I’m not talking about my astral body, but I’ve been flying here and there, and it is growing. I don’t personally think that there is an end to it right now. It’s still going on.
>>Rick: Yeah that is a topic that often comes up in these interviews, you know , because most people say what you just said they don’t feel like any end to it, a few people whom I’ve interviewed say they feel like they have reached an end and I say, well, nothing more? You know, 10 years from now don’t you think there’ll be some greater maturation or unfoldment or something, and they can’t relate to that notion. And this relates to something that there’s a kind of an age-old debate in spiritual circles between the so-called direct path and the progressive path, have you heard of that debate.
>>Sri M: I think all are direct paths, but in some individuals it might have to be watered down and made progressive. Let’s put it this way.
>>Rick: Okay, and on a similar note, you know some of the great Masters like your Master Maheshwaranath Babaji and Mahavatar Babaji himself and other perhaps great ascended beings, ascended Masters Jesus or whoever – do you feel that even for them there is somehow continued evolution or does one eventually reach a point at which there’s no possibility of any further development.
>>Sri M: As far as Mahavatar Babaji, we call him Sri Guru Babaji, some people call him Mahamuni Babaji, doesn’t matter, so as far as that being is concerned I cannot make any comment, because I don’t know how it is.
>>Sri M: As far as Maheshwarnath Babaji is concerned, I felt, personally – he didn’t say anything – but I felt that he had reached the height of spiritual evolution possible with this human body.
>>Sri M: Which means maybe there is something else. As far as the human body is concerned, I think he had done it, because he said he doesn’t have to come back.
>>Sri M: If there’s still something left you come back and work it out.
>>Rick: Yeah, well in the Vedic literature obviously there are references to all sorts of beings who are not in human bodies and somehow they got to that stage and so perhaps that’s where we go once the human body has reached its…
>>Sri M: I guess so, I guess so, and I might have some hints.
>>Sri M: I think you’re right.
>>Rick: One time I was sitting with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and he sort of paused and sat back and he had been talking about immortality and he said, you know if we want immortality there must be much better bodies than these in which to do it. (Laughter)
>>Sri M: On the lighter side, somebody told me the other day – a Sadhu – All good souls are not coming back to India, now they’re being born in the United States. I said but why? He said, well, I’ve been there twice, somebody took me there, and they are more kind of sensitive to these things which we are saying. He can’t talk a word in English, he can only talk Hindi, but he said somebody was translating for me. So you never know where people are and in what kind of system or body they are, there might be spiritually evolved beings everywhere.
>>Rick: Yeah, I mean, and everywhere should go far beyond the Earth. I mean the recent discoveries by the Kepler telescope indicates that there are planets around most stars and it’s estimated that there may be more earth-like planets in the universe than there are grains of sand in all the beaches of the world. So you know imagine how many forms of life there are and how many possibilities there are.
>>Sri M: Right. And also if there is a planet or a heavenly body which doesn’t have the same conditions as the Earth, we can’t say that there is no life there because the life there may be surviving under different conditions. You know this is a kind of a barrier we have. We think that this Earth is the only place where there can be life and human beings can live, I think it’s really very childish to think so. There are much more evolved beings on other planes, they may not be like Earth, they may be different.
>>Rick: Go ahead, continue.
>>Sri M: And if they are like Earth, it’s possible that there are some earth-like beings there who have evolved, we can’t say this. This is called narrowing down, I call this, what we call a scientific prejudice. There are unscientific and scientific prejudices. So people say no it’s not fashionable, it’s not science to think that there are.. but then everyday there are new discoveries.
>>Rick: Yeah, there are some notes from your book later on. Let’s see if I can find it quickly – here it is – your Guru said to you “one who denies a statement without inquiry builds a mental obstruction that blocks all knowledge. How can one seek something which one has denied offhand. So it seems to me that anything that we can imagine or that any religion has ever said or anything else can be taken as a working hypothesis that could be investigated.
>>Sri M: Absolutely, I believe that. What you said just now, what you read just now is probably being planted so deep in my consciousness – my whole thought process has been this. You can’t say, no, unless you investigate, and investigation is not only the process of putting something in a test tube and keeping in the laboratory, there are many other ways of investigation.
>>Rick: Yeah. I think we might have talked about this in the last interview, but I think that you would agree that the most sophisticated scientific instrument for investigation is the human nervous system, you know what an intricate marvelous instrument it is if we know how to use it properly.
>>Sri M: True. I was reading a beautiful book last time I came here called “Buddha’s Brain” That was quite a nicely researched book on neurology and it’s by a neurologist, I forget the name. It’s beautiful, and I think every human being is kind of equipped with Buddha’s Brain in some way, but it’s not been activated.
>>Sri M: It’s latent.
>>Rick: Yeah. Quite a few questions have already come in, largely from Indians, and I’m sure there will be more during the interview. There’s about 240 people watching right now on the live feed, but I’ll ask them. I have like four pages of notes of other things I want to ask you as we go along. So I’ll take a few of these. This is from a fella named KP in Mumbai. He has like several questions that I condensed down a little bit. First part is – does everyone need a Guru, how do we recognize our Guru?
>>Sri M: All right. Yes. I think every human being who wants to step into the spiritual path, journey, needs a guide, but the need may not be evident probably when you start off with. That’s why there are lots of people who are interested but don’t have a teacher, but it may not be evident, the need may not be evident, but after a while you begin to understand that you are on an unexplored territory basically, so if someone has passed through, it will be a good idea to have a guide. Please don’t – we shouldn’t bring in people like Ramana Maharshi who did not have a teacher. Everybody is not Ramana Maharshi.
>>Rick: He was exceptional.
>>Sri M: Exceptional, and I don’t believe he didn’t have a Guru. I personally think he must have had at some point in his life. I am a person who feels that there are many lives.
>>Rick: Oh, sure, yeah.
>>Sri M: So I personally think – yes, we need a teacher, we need a Guru, but I’m not saying that the Guru should become more important than what he’s teaching. These are two things.
>>Sri M: It’s not an idol worship, kind of, oh this is..but it’s like a Guide, because we are largely walking on unexplored landscapes, you might fall into pits and then may not be able to come out, I think so.
>>Rick: What you think about that saying that “when the disciple is ready the Master will appear”.
>>Sri M: This is one thing I like to have this interview with you, because you have a graphic understanding of this thing, you know when you ask it’s not just question, it has many things behind it. You’re right. The Guru comes, but then it’s only when one is really searching, not searching for a fashion, because my friends have a Guru, so I should have a Guru, it’s not that. Now-a-days in parties when people meet, once upon a time it was, “oh, I have a heart problem, what about you.” Now it’s like “I have a Guru, what about you – do you have a Guru?”
>>Rick: Yeah, chit-chat.
>>Sri M: Yeah. Not that way. But when one is so serious, one has tried once best and is kind of beating one’s head against the wall and then I wish there was somebody to guide me in this, and I’m very serious then I’m 100% sure that somebody appears and the person who appears may not also turn out to be finally your Guru – this is also possible, the person might have come to help you along and then you find somebody.
>>Rick: Yeah, so could you say that there could be transitional Gurus that you know just like in education we go through various grades and each grade is important, you know you can’t skip it necessarily unless you’re really smart, but they all have their value.
>>Sri M: I believe that, but so there is an expression in literature, the Sanskrit literature regarding Sadhana and spiritual practice, what you call the Marga, the path, which is that there are Gurus and there are Upa Gurus. When you say, Upa Guru, it means somebody who supports you.
>>Sri M: Need not necessarily mean, The Guru. In any case, ultimately the Supreme Being is the Guru.
>>Sri M: You know the sloka, Brahmanandam parama sukhadam kevalam jnanamurtim, so that is the Guru, but it manifests in different people when one needs help.
>>Rick: Good. Yeah and I think that one underlying point here is that the universe isn’t dumb, there’s some kind of Divine Orchestration, some kind of Divine Guidance and you know it’s not a cold mechanistic meaningless universe, and it’s intelligent and when the time comes – as you said earlier when the need is really acute and sincere then it will be fulfilled.
>>Sri M: It unfolds, let’s put it that way it unfolds.
>>Rick: Okay. Speaking of Gurus then. There was a story in your book where you were in a particular ashram, and I forget the name of the Master, you’ll remember this in a minute, and you were chanting a particular mantra that was the main sort of spiritual practice for that Ashram, had Ram’s name in it, and then you desired to take initiation in this mantra formally, and so you went to the Master in that ashram and he agreed to initiate you and he brought out a tape recorder of his Master chanting that mantra and that was your initiation. So you went and after that initiation you were chanting the same mantra that you had been chanting, but there was some kind of formal initiation that took place that was very significant to you and your experience was really profound after that. So what is the significance of initiation. This is actually one of KP’s questions and can a person be initiated without even knowing it.
>>Sri M: It may be possible, but in my life I have no such experience. I was initiated with full knowledge of this, like the instance that you have talked about was a great teacher called Papa Ramdas who used to live in Anandashram in Kerala, northern side of Kerala, so his disciple Swami Satchitananda. I haven’t met this Papa Ramadas, because he passed away, so I went to Swami Satchitananda. I mentioned this because of his humility, because he always said that he is the Guru, not me, and so when I asked him can I get the mantra, I know the mantra of course. It is Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram. So he said, well, Papa will initiate you, so he had taped him – his Guru chanting the mantra. So he played it to me, and he said now that’s your initiation. Believe me, it had a profound effect on me. It may not have been possible if even a human being had said it. This was a tape recorder, the old tape recorder. So which means that when a person has touched the meaning of the mantra and experienced it himself or herself, doesn’t matter, then when it is passed on to another through any media – could be TV – it has a certain effect. The best thing of course would be to personally be with the person and take it, failing that there are alternatives, but the person who gives the mantra should have got the siddhi of the mantra, which means he should have used it and reached the ultimate aim of chanting of the mantra, so then when it comes from that source immediately there is a change in the consciousness and also in the energy levels inside that’s what I meant.
>>Rick: Okay. So in other words if it’s imparted properly by someone who’s qualified to impart it then it’s imbued with some sort of Shakti or potency that it wouldn’t have if you just read it in a book or something like that.
>>Sri M: Yes, I believe this.
>>Rick: Right. Okay, now in your second book in particular you tell a lot of stories that are related to past lives, your own past lives, and some of them are extremely detailed and I’m wondering how did you come upon such detailed recollections of all these past lives. Was it intentional, was it spontaneous, did you do some technique to remember them or what?
>>Sri M: It’s like this. Many years ago when I was with Maheshwarnath Babaji, he taught me a way of retracting back to your past, but I was told not to do it immediately except in one case, so it was with me and I hadn’t tried it and it was almost rusted, the way of doing it.
>>Sri M: Rusted.
>>Rick: Rusted like a rusty wheel or something like. Because you were out of practice, you hadn’t done it for so long.
>>Sri M: Right. I was not really interested, doesn’t matter what you were and so on. Then one day the thought occurred to me that people might benefit if you really figure out this, because usually they’re considered cock-and-bull stories. So I went into this. I started, it was about 10 years ago. I started practicing how to go back and believe me one doesn’t have only six or seven lives, one has hundreds of lives, but I have put down on paper only those which I have a clear recollection and which I had to work hard on this recollection – case to case – each case separately, it’s not as if one day everything is known. So this is what has happened, and I have put it down and I have not put down anything of which I have no detailed recollection, you can’t maintain a diary of your past life, you know so only where I felt satisfied and said ok this is right and also I have in some cases personally gone and checked up the localities which are mentioned to see if they match with what I’m thinking, what’s in my mind, what’s getting into my mind and the actual process takes about three-four days of complete darkness, rest, where you’re not going out and where you’re at least for six to eight hours in a kind of trance-like state where the memories come down, but immediately after that in about an hour or two you should note it down, either on a tape recorder or write it down, because they tend to disappear in about two hours roughly from your head, yeah, so after having written that suddenly if somebody asks me detail I don’t know, because it’s come and it’s written and it’s washed out.
>>Rick: I’ve had conversations bordering on debates with some people in these interviews who don’t believe in reincarnation. These are spiritual people, you know, seems to, like a lot of them tend to be Buddhist sometimes and personally the reason I feel like it’s worth discussing and hashing out is that I think if we’re spiritual seekers it behooves us to want to understand how the universe works and I mean we don’t get to choose, if there is reincarnation we don’t get to choose whether there is or not, it would be a universal principle, and if we really want to be knowers of reality then we ought to sort it out in our understanding because it changes your whole perspective on, you know, the significance of this life and morality and all kinds of issues.
>>Sri M: I think we should keep clear of this tendency to not believe in it before we look into it. Yeah, well, if you say Buddhist, the Buddha himself is said to have remembered a hundred lives.
>>Rick: Right. I don’t know why Buddhists tend to say this when that was the case in Buddhism but..
>>Sri M: Yes, see the Jataka tales and various other stories. They are about the past lives of the Buddha
>>Rick: Yeah. One thing that this fellow KP found puzzling is that, you know not all of your lives were very good and not necessarily in the progressive order. For instance in very early lives you recounted having actually met Krishna way back and then later the Buddha and yet in subsequent lives you were a prostitute, in a couple of them, so I guess the question is did you backslide or why would you go from, you know, meeting with Krishna and the Buddha to being a prostitute.
>>Sri M: I think there were some beings who were kind of charting out my course. It’s not just me. So if you have to come for instance and work with people who are like – I don’t like the word prostitute – you know it’s kind of..
>>Rick: Courtesan or …
>>Sri M: Whatever..Yeah, there are some people who are like that. You can’t put them on any low level.
>>Sri M: So if you have to work even there then you need to see what they go through. So I personally feel that I was put through this, not put in kind of pushed into it, but I was told now you do this, so that you can figure out what it’s like. Do you understand?
>>Rick: It is a very good point. I’m going to be interviewing someone next month who was basically a drug addict, really badly involved in drugs and then had this kind of when she hit rock bottom had this profound awakening and is now able to relate to people who are going through things like that and in a way that she probably wouldn’t have, you know if she hadn’t gone through it herself.
>>Sri M: Yes, absolutely, so I think that was part of the story in my case.
>>Rick: Okay. Well, just quickly while we are around this subject of past lives there is a question from Justin in Bangalore wondering if you remember any past lives as a Christian.
>>Sri M: The thing is I haven’t put down all the hints that I have about many lives, people wonder why only in India. Why not? How can a soul be only coming back again and again in India, you know. So the thing is as I said I have only put down what I can clearly remember which doesn’t mean that there are no other lives.
>>Sri M: And I am kind of 50 percent sure that if I look carefully – I am going to, I’m not going to stop there – I might find a beautiful Christian life. I have some hints where I was a hermit somewhere in the desert, in the early Christians, not the organized Church, the early Christian, even probably before the Bible was set up
>>Rick: Maybe one of the gnostic guys. Yeah. Yeah.
>>Sri M: I think even before it was organized into gnostic thing. So I have hints, but I can’t write it down until I am perfectly sure what I do, so I’m working on it. You may find many other wild stories in future.
>>Rick: Funnier material for future books ..(Laughter) Here’s a question from Geeta in London. She wonders if you had ever met Nisargadatta Maharaj of Mumbai.
>>Sri M: I have. I met Nisargadatta Maharaj. I can’t remember the year. It was about two years before he passed away. I had a very interesting meeting, because by the time I don’t think he was running that shop, he was staying in a small room in the backstreets of Pune. So I went to meet him and I was talking to him. He was still smoking.
>>Sri M: And he was very kind and he said, so what’s your plan – kya karoge? First he spoke in Marathi. I said I speak in Hindi. I don’t know..Okay, he said. And we had a very nice..He ordered for a cup of tea, had a cup of tea. I was surprised because I thought there will be huge crowd. There was nobody at that time. I mean there were a few people. Then I said that somebody has written a book which says, it’s your teachings and the title of the book is “I am that” So he said, ah somebody told me he said that there is a book called “I am that” but then he thought, but I am this he said..(Laughter) that’s my most touching experience I had with him, because I had only 10-15 minutes with him, and the most touching thing was suddenly he turned it around and he put it upside down and he said, because the book says I am that -Main Woh Hu – and he said but Main to Yeh Hu, I am this. So this is the only – it must have been 10 or 15 minutes, but I can say that I was very profoundly influenced by this 10-15 minutes, because here I saw a person who was very transparent. He used to smoke, so he smoked, I mean he didn’t say, Oh! what will people think.
>>Sri M: And he was completely direct and very kind like. I was young then. He was like an old uncle talking to you, you know, because of that I forgot all the questions I had about him, whether he was from the Nath Sampraday. I had many questions. When I saw him I was completely disarmed. He was wearing a sleeveless cotton waist and the dhoti and sitting there. So that’s my only experience with Nisargadatta Maharaj.
>>Rick: Nice. On that point of I am that – I am this – in your own experience and understanding would you say that both are true, you know, and that we want to sort of have an integration of both.
>>Sri M: Yeah, I personally feel that it’s only when I discover “I am this” then I know “I am that”…because when I say I’m that, it again separates like I and that.
>>Rick: Right. I think people understand what we mean by “that” in this context. All those Upanishadic sayings – Tat Tvam Asi and so on. Here’s a question from Punetta in Mexico. She wonders the experience of being in the presence of a Guru is so profound and overwhelming and transforming, how does one come to terms of being physically distant and knowing that one will not be able to relive that moment for another whole year. Is there a way to establish an inner connection so there is no feeling of the distance and pain.
>>Sri M: I know this person. She’s very emotional in ways. I think there’s no technique like that except that if you keep thinking about the teacher you might feel the presence in your mind beyond that there is no technique; however, if you take some time, maybe two months, three months after the physical presence is gone for the mind to settle down, you know it’s like you suddenly feel that you are taken away from the magnet which was giving you some energy. So it’s like painful of course. I have also felt pain when I for some reason stayed away from the Master for some time. So it’s quite natural. But we have to come to terms with that. Because it’s not the physical presence that is very important. It’s the inner presence that is very important. So I have to say to this lady – this Puneet – that she should learn to come to terms with it. Otherwise it might become another dependency, you know.
>>Rick: I would add and I presume you would concur that it’s very important to have some sort of spiritual practice that really enables you to absorb that presence or be in that presence so that there’s a kind of a self-sufficiency, you know regardless of whether or not you’re in the Master’s physical presence.
>>Sri M: Exactly. Yeah. And in the ultimate sense it’s like you become the Master after some time. You don’t have to have another, two.
>>Sri M: I’m not talking about any physical union, I am talking about inner.
>>Rick: Of course. Okay good. I’m just clearing through some discussions that came in and I’ll have more of my own. But this is a fellow named Atul Roy from Varanasi. He’s wondering in our day-to-day life which in the modern world is full of lies and deceit how do we keep our spiritual integrity intact.
>>Sri M: It’s a hard work. There’s no shortcut. Especially I think living in a place like Banaras if he has to say this you can imagine the situation…
>>Sri M: ….in the rest of the world. So it is difficult, but we’ll have to draw a line and say, I’m trying to improve myself, I will not fall into this, it’s tough, but there is no shortcut to this; however, if you have a guide and if you have a practice which has been given to you that is a great solace, because with that you can fend off, because you can’t expect everybody to be interested in the spiritual line, in the journey, even in Banaras.
>>Sri M: Because 50 percent of the Sadhus you see there are bhang addicts. It’s not really like Sadhu. So it’s not possible to do that, you can’t expect everybody to behave like you do and walk on the path, so there is always a contradiction in these matters, but you have to work hard, I don’t think there is any other way out in this.
>>Rick: When I asked that question, read his question, I was reminded of that image that’s used often in India of the lotus growing out of the mud, you know it’s planted in the mud and yet it somehow manages to retain its beauty and purity.
>>Sri M: Yeah. So you have to stay there, I mean, and come out, bloom. There’s another beautiful example by Jal?l ad-D?n R?m?, the Sufi mystic who wrote the Masnavi. He says, the sugarcane grows in this mud. But it changes everything into sweet sugarcane juice, you know so it’s not easy, I agree, because we tend to do what others are doing around us, so we need to have a corner where we are able to isolate ourselves at least till we expand and grow.
>>Rick: There was a story of a saint that I read one time who was known for always seeing the positive in any situation, you know picking up something positive in any situation and some guy decided to test him and trick him, so he took him down the street where he knew that there was a dead dog lying in the gutter and as they went past the dog the man said, oh, look at that disgusting site, rotting and maggots and all and the saint took a glance and he said yes but did you notice the pearly white teeth, how they shown. (Laughter).
>>Sri M: You need to learn this actually how to live in the midst of all this. In Banaras, you can take refuge in Kashi Vishwanath, things can go whatever they happen outside, you can ignore the priest, but look at the shining in there, you know.
>>Rick: Here’s a final question from this initial batch. This is from a student in Delhi, named Pramod. He says, I’m a student, I want to ask Sri M what a person like me who has other priorities and aspirations can do to progress on the spiritual path.
>>Sri M: Well, he must stick to his priorities, but he should keep the flame still burning in his heart, so that at some point when he can kind of come out of it a bit he can go back to this, you know at the moment he can only keep this flame of attention in his heart and say okay I am interested, but now I’m caught up with these matters, so let me.. but he shouldn’t allow the flame to be blown off.
>>Rick: Yeah, wouldn’t you say that there isn’t any reason why a student couldn’t be meditating every day even though he’s in college or something, no conflict. It will help him.
>>Sri M: That’s okay.. He probably is worried because you know the set up in colleges these days, there are drugs, there is..you know this whole..Yeah. So he might be wondering that people might think he is a misfit, but I have a solution for this when you are with them, pretend to be like them, don’t be like them but pretend to be like them, so that you don’t come in for criticism, but deep down in your heart you do what you want to do. Even I do this sometime now at this stage.
>>Sri M: Sometimes I get into company because I don’t wear robes, there are people who say, oh come have a drink with us in the bar. So what do you do, run away? I go and sit there.
>>Rick: Have a ginger ale.
>>Sri M: Yeah, and I feel slowly these guys would wonder. What is this guy now. We thought a man who is spiritual is sitting in a cave and here he is sitting with us, there must be something. See.
>>Rick: Yes. And of course Jesus was known for hanging out with, you know..
>>Sri M: Beautiful I love that part. So-called lowlifes. I love that part of his life, you know. Yeah. I think if you come to the essence of everything you don’t see this difference. Ramakrishna Paramahansa – I don’t know if you have heard the story. There was a woman of ill repute, living close by Dakshineshwari and many rich people used to go there on Sundays and so on, but they won’t acknowledge in public. So one day when she was walking near the Dakshineshwar Temple these some of the people who frequent her place were there, but as soon as she walked they turned away from her and looked at the other direction. So Ramakrishna ran out of the room and fell at her feet and said, Oh! Mother what kind of forms do you come in sometimes.
>>Sri M: And then he came back which was a great lesson to these guys who were sitting there. So we should not get caught up in it of course. We should be ready to descend to any level, makes no difference, if we can protect ourselves.
>>Rick: Nice. Okay. So here’s we’re switching to a different topic now. There are quite a few examples in your book of siddhis and as you know Patanjali devoted one chapter of a four chapter book to siddhis, yet most teachers dismissed them as a distraction or an obstacle. Here’s a quote from your teacher Maheshwaranath Babaji. He said, “there are no miracles, many laws of nature are still unknown to most of humanity, when someone who knows these laws operates them and does something then those who don’t know think they are witnessing a miracle”. So let’s talk about siddhis a little bit, not that a lot of people are you know finding themselves able to practice them but there is certain fascination with them because there’s so many examples of them in the spiritual literature and then people like Sai Baba and others who were supposedly performing siddhis and so you know people have an interest in it.
>>Sri M: You’re right. There is a complete chapter on Yoga Sutras called Vibhuti Yoga. This yoga of powers. Vibhuti is power. Now as Babaji said to me, there are many laws which we don’t know which operate. The danger in the siddhis lies in this that once you start doing it – I fully acknowledge that there are – I mean you have to separate the conjurer’s and the sleight-of-hand experts from the realities, that’s there of course. So once you’ve done that and there is something genuine going on out there. The problem is that if you start demonstrating it, people, you know it is a consumer culture, so people would be interested more in the siddhis in these things than the deeper aspects of spiritual life. So Masters, Teachers usually control, they don’t do it as far as possible, but there may be less spectacular siddhis, but more effective like if a person is suddenly in the spiritual spot where he can’t rise above, the Master can quietly help him to come up, now that kind of siddhi is more important than producing a few trinkets which even P. C. Sorkar can do on stage at least. So I don’t give much importance to that, but I do give importance that a person can be influenced and transformed which is also a siddhi. I think that’s the most important siddhi. When you say the philosopher’s stone, when the Sufi said somebody has the Philosopher’s Stone is trying to change copper into gold, it’s not a physical phenomenon, nobody can do that, but to get material which means a disciple whose mind is like copper at the moment and to change and transform it into gold, now that is a very powerful siddhi, it’s not easy. You can produce rings and rudrakshas but..so I think they are important, they’re important from the point of view of spiritual growth. The moment they become obstacles to it I think we should discard it, get out of it.
>>Rick: One interesting thing about the principle of siddhis is that if someone can perform them, let’s say if someone could levitate and people could really see him levitate and prove that it was happening. It says some very interesting things about what consciousness is and what the relation of consciousness is to the laws of nature such as gravity and it would kind of force physicists I think to re-examine it. There’s this debate in the Western science whether consciousness is an epiphenomenon of brain functioning just a chemical process that the brain somehow creates or whether consciousness is fundamental and gives rise to the brain and everything else. And if a person could actually perform a siddhi in a verifiable way I think it would really settle, either settle that question or really bring it into focus as something that can seriously consider.
>>Sri M: I think that the average scientist is too closed even if he sees something like a siddhi performed to accept it. Let us be clear about this. Also many of the claimants to super human powers have been tested by the society for psychical research and so on and unfortunately most of the results that have come out have been in support of scientists who think that it is not possible and in fact there is a beautiful book, it’s not beautiful, but it’s a nice and critical book by Martin Gardner, you know Martin Gardner who was a mathematician and I forget what he was doing but he has written a book called Science Good, Bad and Bogus. It’s a beautiful book. I mean in the sense that he’s not trying to refute anything. He’s saying that you have to be careful with these experiments because when the scientists especially when scientists say this is correct, because when a scientist in a lab thinks that the test tube that is labeled A and the test tube that is labeled B and if you’re pouring something from B into A you are actually doing it. This is what the scientist think. But there are people who pretend to pour A into B but are actually pouring C into A . The scientist cannot handle this. It’s not possible for him to think that way, because they’re accustomed to sincere truthful thinking. They may be biased that’s a different matter. So I think the first kind of siddhi may not be this physical phenomenon but rather some way to change their mind, so that they are able to examine the physical phenomena without prejudice. I am trying this in some way, you know. I meet scientists and I sit with them and talk to them. It’s only when that mindset is changed that you can actually do something and say now look at this and examine this.
>>Rick: Yes, any kind of experimentation would have to be done in a rigorous way and not you know not some kind of trickery going on.
>>Sri M: Because then you fail if you disprove.
>>Rick: Yeah, and you hurt the whole endeavor because it’s easy to dismiss it all as fraudulent. There’s a fellow whom I’ll be interviewing in September named, Dean Radin who’s with the Institute of Noetic Sciences and he’s done a lot of serious research actually on sort of not mind over matter but the influence that attention and mind and so on can have on various physical phenomenon. Anyway, that’s just an aside.
>>Sri M: When are you going to do that?
>>Rick: Sometime in September, I mean you could look it up. I don’t know if we want to belabor this point. If you want to move on we can, but here’s a couple of just examples of particular siddhis and some explanation in your book as how they might work. One is for instance the invisibility siddhi. I think your teacher might have explained this to you. So the powerful mind tuned to the stillness of the supreme self, the core of our consciousness can control the light rays, absorb them and not let them reflect.
>>Sri M: Right.
>>Rick: So that’s an example of a kind of an influence of mind over physical phenomenon which is ordinarily not thought to be able to be influenced.
>>Sri M: Right.
>>Rick: If someone could actually demonstrate that it would really blow some minds.
>>Sri M: True. I think we should try something out like that. (Laughter) Because I think it’s possible. Yeah. From my understanding it’s possible to do that. At some point I would like to do this for the scientist.
>>Rick: Can you do it?
>>Sri M: I think so. Why not?
>>Rick: Have you ever tried?
>>Sri M: Well, I’ve tried in private, but not in public because of this danger. You know then there will be people always seeking only this. Right.
>>Rick: Then it would become a circus show kind of thing.
>>Sri M: Big…Big…All I have to do is distribute Vibhuti and finished, you’ll have lines of people coming. (Laughter)
>>Sri M: In fact, I did do it once or twice. There’s something called Souljourns. I don’t know if you have..
>>Rick: Oh! yeah it’s like a..conference or something. Yeah I have heard of it.
>>Sri M: So I did do something for Souljourns just to demonstrate and I found that most people were responding to that and then it was growing. I said look this was just something to do with the particular thing I was talking to him, this is not my main profession. I wish you could see that sometime on YouTube.
>>Rick: I’ll check it out. I think that you know what you would really want or what would be more ideal is if there were quite a few people who could do such things, because otherwise it’s easy to say well this guy’s a good magician or there’s something really special about him and we’re not like him, but if a bunch of people could do it then it would kind of make people realize that it was an innate human capacity.
>>Sri M: These things have to be worked out at some point certainly. I personally believe that it is required but not in the way, it shouldn’t have any mumbo-jumbo about it. It should be clean and clear. Like an experiment.
>>Rick: Yeah. Okay, a question just came in from Sheshu from Munich, but I think we’ve pretty much covered this. He was asking about how you’re able to see your past lives but you kind of explained it already, so sheshu you’ll hear that earlier in the interview. Okay, so enough about siddhis. There’s a few more examples we could talk about, but I think we’ve covered it. Some interesting points from your book. Well, this is actually sort of an example of a siddhi. You went to see Nityananda of Ganeshpuri and I presume that was the same Nityananda, who was Muktananda’s Guru. Yes. And you had this experience where he slapped you so hard that it knocked you over and made you cry. you’re just a young boy. Elaborate on that story.
>>Sri M: Well, I think it’s quite elaborate, but I was about eight years old, eight or eight-and-a-half year old, and I had an uncle who was quite different from the rest of the people in the family, because he was a bachelor which is impossible in our setup, almost, and he was interested in – first time I heard the word Kundalini from him. He was my father’s cousin, elder cousin, oldest, he was a retired headmaster of a school and he was a teacher. So one day he came to me and oh! his favourite reading was Erle Stanley Gardner and Sherlock Holmes apart from his interest in yoga. So he came to me one day and said I want to take you somewhere but don’t tell your parents where you’re going, they may not allow, but because you’re coming with me there won’t be a problem. I will say that I am taking you to our native place which is about 40 kilometers away to train you in martial arts. He was also an expert in jujitsu and things like that. So he took me I remember that two three days we traveled by bus and everything and I was very tired. We reached a remote place, Ganeshpuri. Those days it was really remote. We had to take two buses from Bombay. Then I remember that we entered, I actually wanted to eat a meal and go to sleep, but he said let’s go, let’s go, so we went. There was an entrance which said Kailash. And they said you can’t see him now, come back at four o’clock. I was relieved actually. So we went to a hotel and we had some food. I took some rest. At four o’clock, there was a queue of people going, not a very long queue, so first my uncle went and then I followed behind but as soon as I entered I looked at him and I was really frightened, I was shocked, because this man looked huge and he was dark and he looked completely crazy because he was not talking to anybody in particular, just sitting there on a chair armchair and wearing just a small piece of cloth and he was talking to himself and doing this and so I thought where have I landed now. Why has this man brought.. when we would say a saint you think of something else. So we passed, and when my uncle passed he said okay go, something like that, I don’t know exactly what he said – something, so he went off then I came. When I went in front of him, he suddenly leaned forward on his chair and gave me a tight slap and it was so strong, the whole body shivered and I fell down, and I started weeping loudly, you know actually yelling so I had to be taken away, we went off. Next day, my uncle wanted to go again. I said I am not coming. So then we went back to our native place and spent some time there with him because he wanted to prove that I had come there, then we came back home. This was forgotten after a while and I had kind of resolved at that age that next time if my uncle wants me to go I’m not going, so I had completely forgotten this. Years later when I was with Maheshwarnath Babaji he told me that you have to practice this particular breathing exercise to clear your Ida Nadi which is the left channel, so I did it for six seven days and then he tested me out and he said okay you’re on, it’s okay, so like an intelligent young man I had a question I said what about the Pingala. You said Ida, Pingala? He said many years ago Nityananda cleared your Pingala with one slap. So there are two things here. One is that somebody could do that at a certain age, and the other is that this man to whom I had not said anything about this incident, in fact I myself had almost forgotten could connect and say this is what happened to you. So I think this is a great demonstration of extraordinary capacities which people have.
>>Rick: Yeah. Maybe if you had gone back the next day he would have slapped your other cheek and then Ida would have been cleared too.
>>Sri M: Quite possible, I don’t know. Or maybe he had to preserve for this to happen. You never know with this people, it’s quite possible. And I have some good friends who have known me for many years who come back to me and say that you know something happened which we cannot explain in relationship to you. I kind of pooh-pooh it, so that they don’t attach too much importance to it and keep walking. Journey has to continue. Don’t get stuck there.
>>Rick: Also just on that point doesn’t the Guru sort of function in a way as a kind of a conduit and things may happen as a result of him or association with him which he himself isn’t even conscious of or doesn’t actually consciously intend but which happen. The Divine sort of does something by virtue of his ability to embody the Divine.
>>Sri M: Possible. Very much possible. I completely agree with this.
>>Rick: Ya, the reason I thought of that Maharishi told the story one time of how people would experience these great changes in their lives when they prayed to his Guru, Maharishi’s Guru, and he asked him about it one time, he said how does this happen, are you even aware of it. And he just said it’s the Department of the Absolute, and he takes care of it.
>>Sri M: (Laughter) It’s also a good way to slip out of this problem of people saying oh you’re doing this. So it’s all part of the routine, you know you’re free.
>>Rick: Right. Here’s a question that came in from Vidya in Texas asking you mentioned in your second book that an enlightened personality that you met in one of your previous births predicted your mistake in your birth as Madhu and that you will be reborn as Sri M. In our previous interview, we talked about that mistake, in your first book you talked about it. Question, are all of our actions are responses to circumstances including our mistakes already predestined? Obviously if this guy predicted it that you were going to do it, it seems like it’s predestined. If yes, if we are trying to follow the spiritual path is that also predestined? Is there anything at all in our hands?
>>Sri M: The problem is if you start thinking everything is predestined if you don’t know about it then you are likely to end up not doing anything at all and then you’ll say that is also predestined. So it’s a very fatalistic way of looking at your spiritual journey, at least with your spiritual journey. See when you are hungry for food you don’t ask whether I am predestined to eat or I am not, I eat.
>>Rick: And you make efforts to eat.
>>Sri M: Yeah. So I personally feel that it’s my experience that while there is a blueprint you are given freedom to experiment with it, you have a blueprint what you need to do, otherwise it is meaningless, the sadhana is meaningless, all life is meaningless, it can’t be. I mean it’s not. There are blueprints, you can’t go beyond a certain limit, yes, but in this blueprint you have full freedom to work. So it’s not like.. in my case because I was being prepared for a particular work at different points different people came in and said do this, do that, you’ll become..but it doesn’t apply to most people. We need to first look after our spiritual progress and for that we should let this predestination kind of idea rest for a while and try to see how urgent it is to change, you know, otherwise it becomes an excuse for laziness. We need to change. We need to take it urgently if we are serious. So therefore I try to keep this out usually when people ask everything is predestined. I said look if everything is predestined why are you living, why are you working? That’s also predestined. I mean it’s very easy to say, oh everything is predestined including we are sitting here and talking to. It’s not like that. There are certain blueprints, but within that you can always change, because the human mind has been given the capacity to do that, otherwise why would we have such a developed brain. It’s a waste? it’s not a vestige organ.
>>Rick: (Laughter)Patanjali said, “Heyam Duhkham Anagatam” “Avert the danger which has not yet come” which implies that there could be some danger coming along, but you can take certain measures to avert it, to ameliorate it.
>>Sri M: You should. All great yogis have done that in their life.
>>Rick: Like that story at the beginning of the Srimad Bhagavatam where the guy was cursed to be bitten by a snake in a week, Parikshit, and he said okay well if i’m going to be bitten by a snake then I might as well focus on God for the next week, you know and hopefully get liberated.
>>Sri M: That is not destined. The snake biting was destined.
>>Rick: That was. But then he chose to make good use of that week and that’s the whole Bhagwat.
>>Sri M: Right. That’s how the story came up. If Parikshit had not thought that way we won’t have the Bhagwat with us.
>>Rick: Yeah I mean if he just sat around and cried all week then..
>>Sri M: I am going to die, I am destined..(Laughter).
>>Rick: Okay, this question from sheshu in Munich which I kind of brushed off, it may be significant and be worth elaborating on a little bit. I think he was asking..you know you’re talking about this process where you go very deep within in a dark room and he’s wondering, you know, what is the beginning point where you could start to analyze one’s past life, is it a place, like you tune in on an individual or something similar which trigger these memories. I think maybe even a more fundamental question is, is this something anybody should even try or is it something that was appropriate for you at a more mature state of realization.
>>Sri M: I would say that if you are on the spiritual path and if you are moving when the stage comes when your mind is very sensitive and kind of clear then you get some hints, you don’t necessarily have to work on them and try to discover your past life. Well, I did it for a purpose. There’s a purpose behind it, because most people say, oh there’s no past life. So I had to say yes, but it doesn’t mean that all spiritual practitioners should deliberately attempt to find their past life, no; however, as you go along it’s quite possible that you might get hints about your past, you may choose to find out more about it or you may just let it go and move forward, both options are open and if you say there is any beginner’s technique I think we should leave it alone but if at all there is one which is it’s not deliberate but as you go deeper and deeper into your consciousness suddenly you come across some hints which seem to be not connected with anything in this life then you begin to think what’s going on or a place as you asked like a place or a person then it’s a good idea to go to that place and sit for some time and reflect and you will see that some link is being established. There is no practical technique for it that’s what I’m trying to say.
>>Rick: But would you perhaps agree that for many people if not most it might be a distraction or waste of time or better things you could do with your time?
>>Sri M: Absolutely, it could be a very big distraction and then you go off on a tangent.
>>Sri M: Looking for something else.
>>Rick: Yeah how about this life, you know stop worrying..
>>Sri M: Lot of problems here to solve. (Laughter) Scapegoats like me have gone through it, you don’t have to go through it.
>>Rick: Okay, here’s a statement that I excerpted from your book that I liked very much. I think this is also your Guru saying this. Appreciate everyone’s point of view for the truth is multi-dimensional.
>>Sri M: Absolutely. So what shall I elaborate, it’s there, clear.
>>Rick: Yeah, that’s it, in a nutshell.
>>Sri M: It’s clear, because the moment you learn you begin to say that I’m always right and the guy is wrong there, there’s something wrong out there, it can’t be, you know, because truth is a completely multi-dimensional, you can’t say you can see only from this angle, there may be other angles to see it. If you don’t think so if one doesn’t think so then the truth ceases to be infinite. It becomes finite and the truth is not a conglomeration of finites, it’s infinite, not made by us.
>>Rick: At one point in your book you were talking about death and you quoted, I don’t remember whether you writing this or your Guru quoting. For the yogi who has overcome his desires, the subtle body fades away and disintegrates when the physical body dies and the Atman is henceforth clothed in a pure vehicle called the causal body, for others the subtle body carries all its vaasanas or desires in seed form to occupy the new body to indulge and enjoy the latent desires. So my question is does the yogi still function in the causal body after death and is that how we have ascended Masters such as Ramana and Jesus and people like appearing to people.
>>Sri M: True.
>>Rick: Functioning in their causal body.
>>Sri M: Ya, in the Karana sharira, but it’s not like functioning in the physical body, it’s quite different, because there is no central ego out there which identifies itself at the physical body, so it’s a totally..yeah, there is an ID which means I am there but I know that this is a temporary phase and I’m doing something and I don’t have the agency of doing it. It’s difficult to put it in better ways. It’s like there is the awareness that I exist but not as this or that and the work that is done is usually through inspiration more than words. When I say inspiration at a different level, not in the verbal level. So there is an ID and that ID can be dissolved at anytime, it’s left to the yogi to say okay done but yogis maintain sometimes this little bit of a shadow of an ID so that because they feel pain at what’s happening in the world and they want to do something about it and bring more people into where they have reached, otherwise there is no intention of keeping this little shadow. In the Buddhist Vajrayana teachings it could be the teachings of the Bodhisattva. Bodhisattva doesn’t have an identity of his own in any case, but there is a shadow of an ID which is there to bring other people back to where they stand. I don’t want to use that word compassion because it’s a big word, I would rather say kindness, you know.
>>Rick: And I think it’s in Vedanta there’s a term Leshavidya, faint remains of ignorance which is said even when you’re in the body to be necessary in order to function as a human being.
>>Sri M: Absolutely, even Adi Shankara.
>>Sri M: I think he had touched, but he had a kind of shadow of an ego which is why he could do all the work that happened.
>>Rick: Yeah, I mean if there were no shadow of an ego whatsoever would one even be able to eat or function, you just be a corpse.
>>Sri M: No. Absolutely, not even corpse.
>>Rick: Comatose or something. So these people who say they’ve lost all sense of personal self, there must be some remnant of a personal self for them to function.
>>Sri M: Yep that is the shadow which is the Karana Sharira, the causal body. And please we can’t compare people who are functioning otherwise in the physical body with them. It’s a completely different cup of tea.
>>Rick: Yeah, so here you’re contrasting someone who is let’s say is enlightened but in a physical body with someone who has dropped the physical body but is still functioning by virtue of the causal body.
>>Sri M: Yeah, right, there are such beings.
>>Rick: And not only the great ones, you know such as you know Jesus or Raman or whoever like that, but I mean some people perceive all kinds of guardian angels or spirit guides or whatever they are functioning in the world and attending to people in various ways, it seems like there’s a whole host of non-physical beings that are concerned with our welfare.
>>Sri M: Yeah, at least for me, for myself, it’ll be very stupid for me to think that we are having this interview and there are only two. (Laughter). Do you understand?
>>Rick: We’ve got a celestial peanut gallery. (Laughter)
>>Sri M: We have a gallery here, you see it or not. And it’s possible that when this is over and I go to meditate or sleep in the night I might be knocked and said hey where did you go wrong out there.
>>Rick: (Laughter) Yeah call Archer and tell to edit that part out. (Laughter). Well, if I may ask you a personal question do you perceive these subtle beings yourself sometimes either in the waking state or in the dream state or whatever?
>>Sri M: Now this is why I’m so careful. I don’t know how I said this to you right now. Generally I just keep quiet, because then people would think I’m some kind of freak, you know.
>>Rick: There’s so many far-out stories in your book and that if they can read that then they can hear this.
>>Sri M: Yeah, actually I don’t see them all the time, but if I feel, not see but feel the presence then if I want probably I can focus and see something.
>>Rick: Can be visual as well.
>>Sri M: Yeah but I can see the influence. Even now I go to some places and there are some, if there are negative influences, they try to assault you, I mean they don’t want positive things going on. So usually I finish them off. Yeah.
>>Rick: That relate to that question that Atul Roy asked earlier about the world being full of lies and deceit – how do we keep our spiritual energy intact. I know there’s that word in Sanskrit there’s Kavach, right? Just like an armor and there’s the idea of sort of spiritual armor in which, you know, the Sattva is strong enough that it just kind of protects one against such things.
>>Sri M: Actually every human being has a Kavach. Every human being has a Kavach. Because of activities which are not conducive to your mental and physical health like drugs and alcohol and too much – excess of anything it kind of develops cracks here and there.
>>Rick: Right. Sir M: The armor, the Kavach. So the moment it develops cracks then it’s easy for negative energies to come in and influence you, it’s not like possession or anything of that kind, but to influence you. So one of the reasons this is why when somebody sits down to meditate for instance a kind of Kavach is created around oneself.
>>Sri M: At that point you are free. And one of the best Kavachas is the constant realization and understanding that deep down in the essence of your consciousness there is the Divine. There is no more powerful Kavacha than this. If that is always in mind nothing can effect you. No negative influence. Even if there is by chance a break, cannot enter.
>>Rick: Yeah and I think you’re saying not just the belief in that but the actual experience of that, you know in a real grounded way. That you don’t even have to think about it.
>>Sri M: No, people may not experience it as if somebody’s coming in or anything, but it’s evident from the way their life change.
>>Rick: Right. But also I meant in terms of that Divine essence that you just referred to, I think what you’re saying is one should really be established in that experientially and not just as a matter of faith and then the Kavach will be strong.
>>Sri M: Yes, of course, it may start with faith of course. When I say faith, I think the definition of Faith is to know that something is there even though you can’t see it with your sense organs.
>>Sri M: You know which is a wider way of thinking than saying, oh I would believe something I guess only if I can see it with my sense organs which are very limited. So this is the beginning of Faith and when I say when I have this understanding that deep down in the core of my consciousness there is a Divine Energy which is all goodness and partly ecstasy also but more than that kind of all-embracing goodness and compassion in my heart. If it is in the essence of my being it must also be in the essence of your being, it can’t be that I am an isolated individual.
>>Sri M: Ya, whether somebody knows it or he doesn’t know at the moment, it’s still there. So when we affirm on this understanding nothing can affect us till then there is a danger.
>>Rick: Yeah. Good. A question came in from a fellow named, Raymond in Olympia, Washington, and I know Raymond and this is a very relevant question. We talked about it a little bit in the first interview and Raymond speaking from his own experience here he said, awakened Kundalini can be a catastrophic experience, is there any way to turn the Kundalini process off.
>>Sri M: It’s usually doesn’t happen that way, but if it has happened then there are ways and means to bring it down. And one of the ways is to live a completely worldly life for a short while.
>>Rick: Worldly, okay, in what respect. I mean no meditation or anything?
>>Sri M: Stop everything for a while and come down and then from there gradually go up when you’re ready for it.
>>Rick: Yeah, I’ve even heard people say – well eat meat, smoke cigars, you know do tamasik stuff and it will ground you.
>>Sri M: Yeah, tamasik stuff..but tamasik stuff need not include meat eating. I mean there are many people who are complete vegetarians, who are very tamasik. It’s a character more than what you eat or drink. Hitler himself was a vegetarian.
>>Rick: That’s true.
>>Sri M: He was a complete vegetarian. I don’t think he even ate eggs, but you see what happened.
>>Sri M: What a terrible person he was. So that I mean by worldly meaning come back to your work, do things which attract you, indulge a little bit in your life till that vibration comes down, but please tell Raymond that when it comes down you will regret for it. You will think, oh my God I need to go back. So when that thought occurs then you slowly start working. It would help if you have somebody who can guide you on this matter personally.
>>Rick: When you say worldly how about like physical exercise, massage, swimming, you know grounding things like that, walking in the woods.
>>Sri M: Physical, yes, yeah, walking in the woods, cycling, strenuous exercise, good exercise, eat food which you like to eat which you have discarded for various reasons..
>>Rick: Something more rich.
>>Sri M: Ya, things like that, so that you are grounded. When you’re grounded to this world that becomes less automatically. There is no technique. There is no yogic technique to bring it down, because yogic techniques are all to bring it up. So when that happens then I have seen cases of people who can’t bear it, because it’s too much. The body is not prepared for it, body and mind, then they let go of everything and then they descend to such depths of, you know, almost not even human, animal life, but when this goes then they are really terrified because they want to go back there because it was so wonderful, so that’s a good starting point after that.
>>Rick: Would you say that..I’ve heard from a number of people who have had this kind of experience like Raymond to varying degrees, some of them pretty catastrophic that they can’t even function and in some cases like there was this one guy who said, hey, you know I just like to watch football and have a beer and now I’m having this huge Kundalini thing, I didn’t even know what it was, and I can’t work. It seems to me that the more one is able to purify the system and clear the nadis and you know make sure the pathways are not obstructed the less unpleasant this will be and the more it will actually be a source of bliss would you agree with that.
>>Sri M: I agree with that. Yes, so what has happened here is before the nadis were cleared up for some reason a little bit of thing has been triggered off. And this guy doesn’t know what to do with it. Can’t come to terms with it. So well the best thing would be to live with the teacher for sometime.
>>Rick: If possible.
>>Sri M: That would help, possible – who knows about these matters.
>>Rick: Yeah, okay, hopefully Raymond that answered your question. If you have a followup question, feel free to send it in, but it is something that concerns me because I hear from people who are going through this and I would like to be able to help them, but I don’t always know what to say. There are a couple people whom I’ve interviewed who kind of specialize in Kundalini situations but there needs to be more help available I think.
>>Sri M: Yeah, because this is rare, so people haven’t worked on it much.
>>Rick: Yeah, it’s getting less rare. I think there’s some kind of awakening happening in the world where it’s getting more common. There was a whole section in your book where you talked about astral projection, and we don’t want this to be like the reincarnation topic where people jump on it and want to start doing this necessarily, but I think we could fairly say from what you wrote that for certain people at a certain stage this may become appropriate – it did for you, at a certain stage and under proper guidance you learned how to do it and you weren’t just experimenting blindly…
>>Sri M: No, no..
>>Rick: You had proper guidance. And so you went to various places and dimensions and some of this is very interesting and kind of far out. You want to make a general comment on this before I refer to some specific things you wrote.
>>Sri M: Yeah, you said right, under certain circumstances with proper guidance it’s possible for I think 70-80 percent of human beings to come out.
>>Rick: To do it.
>>Sri M: Yeah. One thing that stops people from doing is they don’t believe it can be done which is a good thing, you see if everybody is bugging their astral bodies about it, so it’s a safety catch that nature has built in that you don’t believe in it. Good, I always say that’s nice, don’t, but if you do and if you is out of your body it’s possible to move around. In the beginning, you can’t go very far, but as you practice slowly it’s like a child learning to stand up in this world, you fall, you get up, you know it’s completely new dimension. And in the beginning you can only see things in this dimension, you can’t go anywhere outside this world, but as you train yourself you might be able to go to what is beyond this Earth and see things and feel things. One thing you should note is that you can see properly in the astral body – subtle body, you can hear, you can smell, but you cannot touch, it’s not possible, so if one is thinking that I’ll go in my astral body to bank vault and bring all the money. This doesn’t work because you can’t catch anything.
>>Sri M: Even a glass of water your hand will just go through it, it doesn’t, you can’t do that, but you can see that it’s there. So the perfect test for this if it’s really working or you’re imagining is to go to a place, note down everything, keep it in your mind, note it down the next day and go after a couple of days to the same place and check, if it is the same, you see, it’s a very practical way of seeing if it is really working but then there is the fear that you won’t be able to come back. I always tell people there is no such fear, even if you want you cannot stay out for long. You will have to come back.
>>Rick: I think you mentioned that almost everybody astral travels in their sleep, you know.
>>Sri M: Yeah, yeah
>>Rick: But I guess the question would be why would this be a useful thing for a spiritual aspirant, why would it be something that one would want to do intentionally.
>>Sri M: For me it was taught to me to do intentionally for a particular purpose, I don’t do it every day. Since that I’ve not done actually except in some cases where I thought somebody might need help, not beyond that. And for me it was taught for a particular purpose and also because for me to really feel that I’m not this body, you know. These are the two reasons why I had to practice. I don’t think a spiritual aspirant need to project his subtle body out and so on. As I said earlier, I was put through all these things, so that when I come face to face with something like that I know what’s going on, it’s not required, in fact I think it’s a waste of time, personally.
>>Rick: Yeah. So you would probably agree that it’s something that one could go through the whole spiritual path, attain enlightenment never having shown any interest.
>>Sri M: No, no, but it might happen sometimes spontaneously. It can happen, but you don’t have to deliberately think that you have to deliberately go through this before you move forward. There’s nothing, no such thing. I’m making it very clear.
>>Rick: Sure. Okay just to dip into something really esoteric for a minute, just for fun..when you were in that part of your book talking about the astral traveling you mentioned that you went to I believe it was Mount Kailash..
>>Sri M: Near Mount Kailash.
>>Rick: And you met your Master there who was conversing with some Tibetan yogi and when you showed up he saw you and the two of you, he left his body and astral travelled with you and you went to some cave up there and where you encountered the remains of some extraterrestrial visitors who came to Earth many thousands of years ago, they came from a planet in a constellation many light-years away, they were deputed by still further advanced extraterrestrial beings to teach earthlings certain yogic and scientific secrets. Let me read just a little bit more from your book. In a fairly big container were flat discs made of a white shiny material, something like Egyptian hieroglyphics were engraved on them. Babaji explained that these were codes which when decoded with the help of special devices not yet perfected by mankind will reveal information about outer space realms and civilizations and the story of many previous visits by extraterrestrials. They would also describe those rare instances when specially developed humans were taken to these far space realms and brought back after awakening special centers in their brains which distinguish them from ordinary human beings in many ways. So anyway I thought that was interesting and in the spirit of not being closed-minded I took it seriously, I think you’re sincere man and I just feel like there’s all kinds of mysteries and interesting things that we as a species will yet discover.
>>Sri M: Yeah I believe so. Because we’re not yet ready for it.
>>Sri M: The greatest fear is that the present day science if it becomes interested in it and if a couple of people like the Chinese for instance can get their hands on this kind of technology..
>>Rick: Turn it into weapons?
>>Sri M: It can become very dangerous in this world. So we might have to wait for some time before this is revealed. But the caves which I have mentioned are not caves in any ethereal realm. They are actual.
>>Rick: Actual, yeah, right. Physical things.
>>Sri M: Physical things. And they are on the border of Nepal actually on the way to Kailash.
>>Rick: I’m surprised that no one has found them after all this time. So many explorations have taken place.
>>Sri M: Some people have found part of the caves. They may not have gone to the interior, I’m sure some explorers have found some places, but it takes a lot of trekking and things to get out there. The caves are kind of hewn out in the natural rock on the side and it has many entrances to get in, you need to pull yourself up like a mountain climber if you’re physically going up.
>>Rick: To even get in there.
>>Sri M: Yeah. So it’s there, so I am sure also that after some time explorers may go and find these things out, but even if they find out it will take quite some time to decipher what’s been put in the discs for instance.
>>Rick: That’s true. Because this is not a technology that we even have to be able to read such discs.
>>Sri M: I don’t think we have any such technology. My feeling is that it could be some kind of a record like a LP or something or a disc which needs a proper technology to read it. I was not told anything more than this that it is so. I don’t know anything more than that.
>>Rick: Even with the pyramids in Egypt, you know I mean we’ve been exploring those for a long time now and I’m sure that we don’t really understand everything that even how they are made, much less whatever knowledge they’re supposed to contain.
>>Sri M: Yeah, the mummified bodies of the Pharaohs were put there in imitation of extraterrestrials who were confined to the insides of pyramids.
>>Rick: An imitation of them?
>>Sri M: Yeah, like what I told you in the cave.
>>Rick: I see, so you mean the Egyptians got the inspiration for mummification from extraterrestrial
>>Sri M: Yes, yes. Okay. Shouldn’t use the world extraterrestrial because now-a-days all kinds of people are talking..
>>Rick: Little Greenman… (Laughter)
>>Sri M: So I would say.. well in India we would say the Devas, for somebody who came from there in their flying vehicles or whatever, but there have been such interactions with humanity for thousands of years. I would not even say that they have completely stopped now. There must be.. there are some interactions still on, but they’re much less than what happened before. Yeah.
>>Rick: For those listening to this interview, you should listen to Sri M’s first interview and read his first book also. In that book, he talked about a Naga Being, a Snake Being, whom he met in a cave. It was quite a frightening experience I guess, but very profound for you, so just one of those amazing things that you know are not generally known but it could be experienced.
>>Sri M: Yeah.
>>Rick: Jumping back to the question about Kundalini and exercise and stuff. A fellow named Ganesh Kumar from Chennai is asking is cycling and other extensive physical exercise detrimental for spiritual progress. This question is based on your comment that strenuous physical exercise reduces the rise of Kundalini.
>>Sri M: No, this was specifically meant to divert the attention of people who have had some premature awakenings. Physical exercise does not in any way act as an obstacle when you are trying to work on it. It doesn’t. In fact, it is good to have exercise.
>>Sri M: More than physical exercise if you can strenuously practice asanas, yoga asanas because they affect your endocrine system more than ordinary exercise like cycling and so on. So there is no antiawakening to do with any kind of exercise.
>>Rick: Okay, good. And yoga of course is very popular in the US these days.
>>Sri M: Absolutely.
>>Rick: And lot of people doing all kinds of different yoga. Okay, good. In fact, I would just add that not getting enough physical exercise can be detrimental to your spiritual progress. You know, I know people who just sit and meditate too much without enough physical exercise and they don’t look healthy and they’re not healthy. In fact, a friend of mine just died a couple days ago who I think could have taken better care of his body. He was a long-term meditator.
>>Sri M: This is why the whole system of yoga is so systematized with yama, niyama and asanas and pranayama. You have to keep the body fit. A yogi is not an Avadhoota. In the sense that he is not a one who has abandoned everything. A yogi is one who leads a healthy life, but not only physically healthy life, but the mind also becomes healthy. And a healthy mind has more clarity than an unhealthy mind, it’s obvious. So it’s not opposite each other. Not doing exercise. In fact, you’re right, you should do exercise. You should move, must walk, you must go out and then come back and meditate. Not sit all the time, it’s not possible first of all. If one is doing that then one is bringing about something very artificial, it’s not natural.
>>Rick: Yeah, there’s a saying these days that sitting is the new smoking. In other words, people sit too much in front of the computers, they need to get up and move.
>>Sri M: Absolutely.
>>Rick: Okay thank you for that. And here is an interesting question. Getting a lot of questions from Indians. This was from Rajan in Portland, Oregon. And he’s asking about the importance of prayer as part of one’s spiritual practice and maybe in commenting on this you could sort of compare prayer with meditation and someone else earlier I didn’t ask this question but he was asking about chanting the Lalita Sahasranama as a spiritual practice. So how would you distinguish the merits and importance of various things, various types of practices including the ones I just mentioned.
>>Sri M: You know two kinds of prayer – one is prayer for worldly things, I want this, I want that, God give me this that’s one kind of prayer, but I think Rajan is asking about the spiritual kind of prayer which is you pray that you want to move forward on your spiritual path, so bring me a proper guide, help me to meditate. This is one kind of prayer. Prayer helps to make your mind steady. Whether this prayer is being answered by somebody up there or somebody who’s in here, it doesn’t matter, but it does bring about a certain effect especially if we are on the spiritual path, because prayer also means that now you have reduced yourself to a helpless person who is asking for help, now that gets rid of the ego for some time. Otherwise we’re saying I’ll do this, I’ll do that including meditation. So in the mood of prayer you have surrendered. You say I can do only this much, please give me help that opens the mind to receive. So prayer is indeed an important part of this, but more than prayer like Lalita Sahasranama or Vishnu Sahasranama which people chant the thing is in these verses there’s one meaning of course but apart from the meaning the words and the sound it has been worked out in such a way that it affects certain subtle parts of your system, of your human system, so that again is conducive to going deep within spiritually. I think the simplest and the best thing is the chanting of Aum. Now one shouldn’t think that Aum belongs to a religion or a philosophy, you know it’s a sound, more than anything else it’s a sound. It’s a primeval sound, so when you tune yourself to the chanting of Aum it helps you more than any other prayer can help you in the spiritual field, just chant Aum. Prayer, well I want to reach the ultimate Reality, is already there in your heart. You don’t have to register it everyday, but when you chant Aum the whole mind, body everything including this little cells in your body they get tuned to that sound and that takes us into the inner realms faster than any other kind of prayer.
>>Rick: Have you heard the notion that using Aum – chanting Aum, using it as a mantra produces an influence which tends to turn you into a recluse and that it shouldn’t be used by householders?
>>Sri M: No.
>>Rick: Haven’t heard that or you don’t believe it?
>>Sri M: I have heard, but we don’t believe in it. Even in my tradition, we don’t believe it, everybody is given Aum to chant. Aum is an universal sound. It’s not confined to just recluses.
>>Rick: And you haven’t seen an effect that it makes people more recluse, causes them to lose their belonging or something?
>>Sri M: No, no, no. I don’t believe this. You see some people may lose belongings, it may not be because of Aum…. (Laughter) maybe something else.
>>Rick: Yeah, okay.
>>Sri M: Aum is energy, sense of energy, you can’t lose.
>>Rick: Okay, good.
>>Sri M: You may lose what is not essential for you.
>>Rick: Right, good point. Some types of meditation as you know involve concentration and some are effortless and so on and one of the principles of effortless meditation it is argued that the mind has the natural tendency to seek a field of greater happiness, pure consciousness is a state of bliss and if we can take the correct angle and just let go effortlessly the mind will gravitate toward pure consciousness and that concentration would actually impede that process but others seem to be successful using some form of concentration. In your book you say concentration is not tension. On the contrary, it is possible only when the mind is relaxed but attentive, so restful alertness. So relaxed but attentive implies if it’s concentration, it implies a very gentle kind of thing rather than any kind of force.
>>Sri M: Absolutely, I fully agree with this. You can’t. When you say concentration, it’s not using force.
>>Sri M: From the yogic point of view, concentration comes when the mind is completely at rest. In fact, the word concentration is used to project to translate the word Dharana which is the word used in the Yoga Sutras. Now Dharana doesn’t have the same connotation as in concentrate, but when you say concentrate it’s as if you kind of doing something with great effort, forcefully. Dharana means to be able to keep your mind moving in a particular stream without conditioning it in any way. It could be an object but it could also be a sound, it could be an idea, effortlessly kind of when the mind goes that is Dharana. Then it automatically gets converted, changed into Dhyana which means long-term attention and the culmination is Samadhi – when one is not even aware of a meditator out there, there is only the meditation that is the complete effortlessness we are talking about, you know, but in the beginning one needs to put in a little bit of effort to keep the mind steady going in one line and to allow it to go unimpeded along that path, so that’s where it starts, but as you progress it should more be a letting go than a grabbing.
>>Rick: Yeah, so let’s say you’re sitting and meditating and let’s say you have a mantra and you find yourself thinking I wonder what I’ll have for dinner. Now I guess the difference here would be let me work this out, let’s say I’ll cook some rice and I will make veg and going indulging in that as opposed to say think about that later, back to the mantra.
>>Sri M: Exactly, so I was just going to tell you the example of music for instance. Suppose I love music and I’m completely involved in either playing an instrument or listening to beautiful music, could be Indian, it could be like Western. I love Beethoven for instance.
>>Rick: Beethoven, wonderful, yeah.
>>Sri M: So when you listen to these what happens is your mind is effortlessly absorbed in it. It’s not thinking of anything else. So the interest that you have also is part of this game. People usually sit down to meditate, but really they’re not seriously interested in it. Yeah, other things are there you can add this also to your life but when it becomes so interesting and arresting then what we call concentration becomes an effortless absorption that’s what we mean sometimes when we say it’s not so much the grabbing as the letting go.
>>Rick: Yeah, I guess you could say there’s two ways of keeping a dog at your door, one is to chain it and it might be pulling against the chain. Another is to put its favorite food there and then dog will just be there. So I mean the mind loves inner bliss and if it can be given an opportunity to move that way it won’t take a lot of strain or anything.
>>Sri M: Roughly yes.
>>Rick: Any more comments on that whole topic or have we covered it.
>>Sri M: By and large I think yes.
>>Rick: Okay, good, you mentioned the word Avadhoota a few minutes ago and there’s a chapter in your book about Avadhoota Sadshiva Brahmendra and maybe you should just explain a little bit what an Avadhoota is for us perhaps.
>>Sri M: You know Avadhoota is not a yogi who is practicing to get there. There’s a difference. An Avadhoota is one who has got there wherever, whatever the connotations, got there and leads a plentiful clear life with no conditions attached to it, like he doesn’t have to wear clothes because he doesn’t see the need for it, not because he’s putting on post, he doesn’t see the need for it. So an Avadhoota is one who has broken all social norms, you can’t imitate an Avadhoota because you are not an Avadhoota.
>>Rick: Do such people still exist in India and they don’t get arrested, you couldn’t do that in the United States, you know. (Laughter)
>>Sri M: I know…I won’t put it past in United States that there are Avadhootas here, you can’t say, they may be more careful because they don’t want to get arrested or caught, but it’s possible that there are many kinds of Avadhootas. They need not necessarily be the same picture of Sadasiva Brahmendra for instance. But what I’m saying is look at Sadasiva Brahmendra, he walked naked, he had no rules regulations, nothing, but what he did was very creative. In fact, many people are not aware that Sadashiva Brahmendra is one of the major contributors to classical music – Carnatic music. Some of his lyrics are – people don’t associate with him – it is, some of his lyrics are among the best in Carnatic music, South Indian classical music. One of them is Pibare Rama Rasam, oh! drink the blissful nectar of Rama. So even though he behaved like a madman at times there were other times when he was a very creative genius. And one of his very important works which he wrote is called the Yoga Sudhakara which is one of the earliest attempts to bring Vedanta and Yoga together because at some time these two break off. The Vedantin saying that there is no need of Yoga, why are you standing on your head, the world is an illusion, you know that. And Sadasiva Brahmendra is very important in this matter because he was a Vedantin. He was also a Yogi. So an Avadhoota does not necessarily mean somebody like a drug addict who is doing nothing. Avadhoota is a spiritually evolved person who has broken all rules, because he sees that these rules don’t apply to him.
>>Rick: Yeah I remember in Yogananda’s book there was a story of a female Avadhoota and she was running around naked and people were really shocked you know and trying to criticize her and everything and she said what’s the problem, I don’t see any men here. (Laughter)
>>Sri M: So it is that state where you don’t see anybody else. (Laughter)
>>Sri M: (Laughter) But to imitate it is dangerous. Like Ramana Maharshi was one of a kind.
>>Sri M: You go to Tiruvannamalai, you might find people wearing kaupinam, you know the small little thing and sitting down and pretending to be like him. You can’t be Ramana Maharshi.
>>Rick: This is an important point and it also relates to what you just said about what Sadasiva Brahmendra was trying to do which was integrate Yoga and Vedanta, because even today not only in India I suppose but the West there are Vedantins who say you don’t need practice, you’re just enlightened, everything is Brahaman, just realize that and you’re done you know and yet it’s just a concept.
>>Sri M: I have to say this. Now Sadashiva Brahmendra, since we started from that subject I want to mention this, wrote the Yoga Sudhakara which is a commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali where he integrates the experiences of Vedanta with the practice of yoga. You see the Bhagvad Gita is supposed to be essence of the Upanishad, self-proclaimed.. Upanishads, iti ?r?mad bhagavadg?t?s?pani?atsu brahmavidy?y??, so the Upanishad teaches Brahmavidya, knowledge of the Supreme Being, but at the same time Gita also says yoga shastre, which means yoga is important to understand this fact. You can theoretically say I am the Brahman, the whole world is an illusion, but you can’t find out, you need to make your mind subtle enough to understand this and that’s where yoga comes in. Right. And even a great Vedantin who is the founder of the Advaita philosophy, not founder the foremost commentator on Advaita like Adi Shankaracharya, some of his works like Vivekachudamani, for instance, the Crest-Jewel of Wisdom, in the first chapter he says that all that is fine that this world is an illusion and where the witness is the only true reality and so on but most people cannot touch it, can’t find it, so he says because the nadis are very impure, so he says practice Pranayam, so that you get nadi shuddhi, cleaning of your nadis because you can grasp it only when the nadis are pure, you can theoretically say it and imagine that you are Brahman but you can’t be unless you know, so yoga plays a very important part in preparing the person to understand the truths of Upanishad. So it’s a very ancient science.
>>Rick: Okay, well I’m glad we touched on that point because it’s something I run into quite a lot that I don’t feel that people always appreciate the distinction between knowledge and experience and they often mistake an understanding for the actual experience that understanding represents and it’s like the difference between standing on the sidewalk reading a restaurant menu and actually going in the restaurant and eating, you know there’s a big difference in terms of your nourishment.
>>Sri M: Absolutely. So this is where the Nath Sampradaya. I’m not saying this because I belong to the Nath Sampradaya. Because Maheshwarnath Babaji was a Nath, starting with Adinath, Matsyendranath, and the most famous being Gorakhnath.
>>Rick: “Nath” for those who don’t know the word.
>>Sri M: So Gorakhnath and so on.. The most important text books on yoga which have survived today in spite of the pure vedantin saying it is not required are the Nath Sampradaya textbook, except Yoga Sutras of Patanjali which is much ancient, very ancient of course. And these are Gorakhnath’s works, most of them. You know Gorakhnath was one of those wandering saint. You can find him, anywhere you go you say Gorakh came here. One is the Goraksha Shataka thousand verses of Gorakhnath, the other is the Goraksha Samhita. Then there is the magnum opus of Gorakhnath called the Siddha Siddhanta Paddhiti which is used by Yogis all over the world if they know about this yogic sciences as a reference book. It’s big, little complicated. Then we have the Gherand Samhita, Yoga Samhita, and then of course the famous Hatha Yoga Pradipika of Svatmarama. Svatmarama was himself a Nath man from the Nath Sampradaya. So I think the Naths did a lot of work, contribution in saving yoga from being totally eclipsed by theoretical knowledge, because Yoga is the practical aspect of purifying the mind and the body and bringing the energy in tune, so that you can understand this idea that the Brahman is the reality.
>>Rick: Yeah, I think in Western science we have the similar balance between theory and experimentation. You know, for instance when Einstein came up with his general theory of relativity he predicted that gravity bends light and he said if someone could go to where there’s an eclipse and where the sunlight is blocked out and see that star light is bent by the gravity of the Sun that will prove my theory. Of course, he also said when someone asked him if the theory was proven wrong what would you have done. He said I would have been sorry for the dear Lord, theory is correct. But in any case there’s this sort of – you form a theory and then you test it, so you have to have knowledge and experience.
>>Sri M: Yeah, you need to and so yoga is where the practice comes in and you see that all the even the highest Vedantin have been Yogis in some way or the other.
>>Sri M: You see.
>>Rick: Okay, here’s a question – I think this will be our final one, nice practical question, it’s from Saat in Oregon and it’s related to being a householder in a spiritual life. He asks – you were asked by Sri Babaji to live in the world to experience the problems of ordinary householders firsthand before you guided them spiritually. I am interested in the wisdom you have to share about the life of a householder. What are the most important challenges for a householder and what are their solutions, choosing a profession, choosing a mate, bringing up children, keeping healthy, dealing with aging, pretty much covered..
>>Sri M: Who’s this person?
>>Rick: Saat from Oregon.
>>Sri M: Saat, now Saat, the most important element in leading a married life – if you are wanting to lead a married life – I never said that you can spiritually advance only if you live as a householder, never, there are people who aren’t, so that’s okay, but for me it was a purpose, because most people are like daily life, they are married, they have children, they have kids, they have work, their jobs, so they ask oh can we spiritually progress? you are okay, you’re away in the Himalayas, so I am here, I have a family, I have lived with my children. So mainly for me it’s a proof that this is possible, yes, with this I am not denying that you need periods of solitude. I’m not denying that, you need, but you don’t have to be there always, you can come. In fact, when you come back you may perform better in this world, so that’s there, but to his question what is the most important ingredient of being a spiritual person and also leading a householders life. One thing is watch your ego, it is the most important thing. The moment you say I am always right you cannot lead a householder life, because…
>>Rick: You are not going to get along with your wife very well.
>>Sri M: No, it’s not going to work. Plus before you pitch in to live with somebody make proper research and figure out if the person at least is non-interfering in your spiritual path, if not interested, this you have to do from the beginning. If you are not – if you are landed already somewhere then you have to work it out in your own way, but the most important thing is understanding, and I think if you practice, if you move in the spiritual path your understanding becomes better rather than bad. So you understand that people can have different views because even truth is multidimensional so ordinary things are, you know. And you’re staying with somebody you should have some understanding of what they want also, and you shouldn’t have an ego which say oh I have read the Vedas, oh I know she doesn’t know, it doesn’t work. You might have read the Vedas, but she may know something else better than you. Right. So we need to understand this first. Then it’s not such a difficult thing to lead a householders life and if you have to survive in this world you have to work but then again, as I said before about marriage, you have to think carefully before you choose what you want to do. If your intention and working is only to make lot of money then it’s difficult to also be spiritual. You should say that I will try and do some work which does not affect me too much in my spiritual practice, not about the time, more about my intentions, like I cannot be a smuggler or a drug dealer and be a yogi, so I have to choose what I have to do and once I have done that I think personally that if you give enough attention to what you are doing to your work, your family life without recoiling from it and reacting then that gathers enough energy for you when you sit down to meditate, but having said that please have your own private time to meditate, let there be no compromise on that. I am saying from my own experience. Of course I had an advantage that before I got into the so-called worldly life – everything is worldly anyway, even the cave is in this world – I had a training and an experience which kind of made me understand things better. I had that advantage. So now everybody doesn’t have that. So I’m saying you can learn from my experience. If there is a fire and you see somebody putting the finger into the fire and burning it, you don’t have to yourself try it, you can see from what other persons are doing, so look at me and try to figure out if there is a balanced way of life. Yes, there are ups and downs, no denying this, there are, but then if you are on the spiritual path, you should learn how to balance.
>>Rick: Yeah and you know, we’ve never had kids or anything, so our life is fairly peaceful compared to what some people’s lives might be and I understand a lot of people have challenges with so many things going on, but I mean if there’s time to watch a little TV or do some other kind of recreation in the busy life there must be time to allocate for meditation.
>>Sri M: Absolutely.
>>Rick: Some 20 minutes, half an hour.
>>Sri M: Sure. Why not and I’m sure that there’s no problem with anybody. The problem begins when – I am meditating so I will not come out with you to shop – that is the problem.
>>Sri M: Okay, I’m meditating now, so can we go out shopping little later….
>>Rick: Just time it properly.
>>Sri M: Over. Yeah. And to keep saying you’re wrong, you’re wrong, I am right, it doesn’t work. Say this is how I think, this is how you think. You may be right, I may be wrong, it’s okay, let’s try to find out.
>>Rick: Yeah, sense of humility and compromise and so on.
>>Sri M: Very important and if one doesn’t have humility how is one walking on the spiritual path.
>>Rick: I think in that sense, you know, householders life can be very conducive to spiritual development because you have a mirror and you are not able to just be sort of totally fixated in your own opinion and preferences, you know you have to be flexible.
>>Sri M: Absolutely. True. And the wife is the best mirror.
>>Rick: I’ve been in monastic programs at certain times in my life and people could become very obsessed you know and very idiosyncratic you know just totally hung up in some particular thing.
>>Sri M: I know what you mean, I have seen such people. Yeah.
>>Rick: They didn’t have the balance. Okay, good. Well, I don’t know if that’s the best of all possible notes to end on but it’s a good one I guess. And you know, we’ve covered a lot of ground. Is there any kind of final comments or anything you’d like to make.
>>Sri M: I just want to say that while the one we did before and what we did now with you while it’s a wonderful thing that we did, has lot of food for thought and therefore the persons who listen to it need not take what we are saying as gospel truth, but can think about it. I think we have planted enough seeds to think about it and figure out for themselves how it suits them because people are in different situations.
>>Sri M: So that’s important. The other is I wish maybe this kind of interview with Rick sitting in front of me will continue.
>>Rick: Yeah, good. Some other time. Would like that.
>>Sri M: When I come back to the US next time. Sure. Thank you very much. I enjoyed it myself.
>>Rick: Me too.
>>Sri M: That’s a great deal of difference when someone is kind of aware of what one is asking.
>>Rick: Well, like you I started in on this stuff when I was in my late teens and I didn’t live in the Himalayas or anything but it’s been the central focus of my life all this time.
>>Sri M: I can see it. So thank you very much.
>>Rick: Thank you Sri M. And let me just make a couple of general concluding remarks. I’ve been speaking with Sri M as you know and this interview is part of an ongoing series, I’ve been doing it for about seven years now and will continue to do it and if you’d like to check out other ones go to batgap.com and you’ll see a number of things there just explore the menus, you can sign up to be notified by email of new ones, you can also do that on YouTube, you can subscribe to the YouTube channel that you’re watching and YouTube will notify you of new ones and there’s also an audio podcast and variety of other things, just explore the menus and you will see what’s there. So thank you for listening or watching and once more thank you very much Sri M, it’s really been a delight talking to you.
>>Sri M: Pleasure. Thank you.
>>Rick: Have a nice tour in the United States and lots of success.
>>Sri M: Thank you.
>>Rick: And we’ll see you again someday.
>>Sri M: Thank you.
>>Rick: All right, and thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching. See you next week.
>>Sri M: Namaste.