28th October, 2012: After the preliminary Dusshera Kriya Yoga Retreat, about sixty aspirants participated in the Advanced Kriya Yoga camp (for the initiated). This is a highly anticipated opportunity that all serious aspirants look forward to. This time it involved three sittings of about twelve hours each, as follows:
26th October: 6:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m. – Session I; followed by Agni Kriya Yoga
27-28th October: 6:00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. – Session II; Agni Kriya Yoga; 9:00 p.m.-6:00 a.m – Session III
The prospect of sitting this long continuously may look daunting, but anyone reading this should take heart from the fact that in this camp there were many elderly practitioners too. They couldn’t sit long hours on ground so they divided their time between sitting on a chair and the floor – but they made it and were happy about it. Many who participated didn’t sit for more than 30 minutes at their homes, but everyone managed it all quite easily, and what more, took with them the courage and habit of sitting long hours – which is quite important in itself.
Why the long hours sitting? Well, would one enjoy a movie that lasts just five minutes! To delve within a persistent knocking on the door is required, and this is the time, in the company of dedicated aspirants to do just precisely that. The best thing is this: the practitioners get to practice all the time along with Maharaj Ji (Mahayogi Swami Buddh Puri Ji), who leads all the sessions. A session consists of long meditation sessions, long breathing sessions, keertan among other kriya yogic techniques that are practiced under Maharaj Ji’s directions. Besides, the guru-mantra is the continuous sound that engrosses the mind all the while, and no surprise, it goes on even after the camp comes to a conclusion.
In a session of 12 hours, a glass of buttermilk, one apple or a banana, and a special energy-drink was given, which comes to seat of the practitioner. A glass of milk was given at the end of the session after agni kriya. So with the diet thus regulated, one gets a chance to really push the force of prana within, which is otherwise necessarily drawn out, to digest and eliminate what one eats.
The concluding day of this camp coincided with the last Sunday of the Month, when a gathering is held at the ashram. This time, the questions were really quite fundamental and were stimulated by the just concluded advanced camp. And the answers received just knocked one off his feet!
It was asked, “When we practice, the mind keeps on roaming here and there. Why? And what to do about it?” Other question were asked too, in a similar vein.
Incidentally before Maharaj Ji’s turn, Devotee Darshaa from Village Mallke had sung a qwaali, “Is mann te nishaana lagdaa nahin, bahut nishanchi haar gayee” i.e. so many archers have tried, but failed; they could not pin down this mind with their shots. And Maharaj Ji said while answering the questions that all the questions asked, were contained in the qwaali sung by Darsha. The archers are the saints who come from time to time, or their words that they have left behind, but none of them are really able to pierce our minds. Why is that? The problem lies in the ego. All our practice, meditations, service, charity etc. etc. cannot pierce the curtain of ego. And it is this thin curtain on whose one side is this world, and on the other side is the grand expanse of Bliss, God. But whatever we do, we do out of ego, rather than to pierce it.
At this point Maharaj Ji narrated a wonderful story of a man who one day coming to a sabha, sat with his back towards the speaker. Everyone was curious at his behavior and later people inquired why he was sitting with his back towards the speaker. The man laughed and said, “I will tell you the reason, but tell me how long you have been coming here to listen to these discourses”. Some said they had been coming for a year, some said five years and some even ten years. The man said, “Nine years ago, I had come for the first time and what I heard really pierced my heart. My entire world changed. The boundaries dropped. All world became my home, and love of God welled up within. Since then, I have just been moving around this beautiful creation, and today I chanced to come to this same place. Again I was drawn to this discourse. But I couldn’t sit facing it. My heart is too tender now to bear this pain. The words that fall from the podium are like hammers for me. So I turned and sat with my back, in the hope that that little hardness that might have remained there, may also get destroyed today.”
Sitting there, listening to Maharaj Ji narrate this story, tears must have welled up in many eyes. Maharaj Ji later told how subtle the ego is. He who says, “I will practice”, and he who says, “I cannot practice” both are doing it under the influence of the ego. When we judge others, when we talk ill of others, and even when we usually praise others, it is all a means to satisfy our own ego.
The way to rise above and strike at the ego, the curtain that veils that Divine, is through abhyasa and vairagya – practicing in the guru-prescribed way and detachment! These receive great help when one lives and loves the company of those who are walking towards the same Divine, to whom we wish to reach. It is important that satsangis, do not allow ego to wreck their relations – which sadly often happens, when instead of walking together, we begin to find faults in others. In this way, one can really rise above the ego and in this way, one day, the mind and the heart will really be pierced.