To begin with, it will be appropriate to dwell a little upon what are the connotations of the word “Mahayogi” i.e what is meant by Mahayogi and what is Mahayoga.
The Sanskrit word MAHA is the approximate equivalent of the English word GRAND. Only approximate! As all of us know the word GRAND is normally used to show the grandeur, stature, or expanse of a person, place, system, event, etc. As mentioned earlier this is only an approximate equivalent.
Having said that, we should not hurry to construe that a Mahayogi is a Yogi bigger than other Yogis; although it seems so if you go on the word-meaning from the surface. However, a little deeper discussion will be beneficial here. If we search the word Mahayogi in Google we will find many references to Yoga or Yoga masters whose followers call them Mahayogis, as a matter of respect or as a matter of expressing the greatness of their masters. The question that crops up here is, whether the word Mahayogi is used in this context only? That needs further elaboration; hence some more discussion.
We can begin with, what is meant by Yoga.
All the Sadhakas know that ‘Yoga’ means union or state of complete oneness of the individual spirit (Aatma) with the universal spirit or Parmaatma. Having consummated Yoga, the Yogi having achieved oneness with Parmaatma, having merged with Parmaatma, in essence transforms into Parmaatma. In such a state, all Yogis will be equal. Then there is no question of a bigger or a smaller Yogi. All Yogis are equally exalted.
Then what does the word Mahayogi convey?
To comprehend this aspect it will be appropriate to see what actually accomplishment of Yoga means. The state of Yoga is not confined merely to the body. It relates to the evolution and pervasion of consciousness through different levels. The pervasiveness and evolution of consciousness take place at many different levels. Broadly speaking, we can say that it relates to pervasiveness at the individual levels and universal levels.
Now if we want to know the extent of pervasiveness of our consciousness, we have to necessarily be aware of two aspects- firstly, where are we at present and secondly, where do we have to go; where do we have to permeate up to. What is our aim in this respect?
Talking of our present status, who decides as to where we are at present? What is our present level? What is the measuring scale? Within the limit of our awareness, we can try to find out our level, based upon the knowledge imparted by the Guru through writings and discourses, etc. Indeed, such intense knowledge is not easy to be comprehended and assimilate. Yet, we have to start from some point and we take that starting point based upon our assessment of ourselves. Now the second question is, till where do we have to extend and permeate our consciousness? It is a difficult question indeed. No one other than an accomplished Guru can know – what are the actual levels in the path of evolution of consciousness. However, we all can say without any doubt that our consciousness is presently restricted to our Gross body only. We perceive ourselves as being Gross body only, and we also feel attached to other Gross elements, places, or objects because we are ourselves Gross in our consciousness. But all of us also know that being attached to the Gross is a very low level of consciousness.
Talking of the human body, Maharaj Ji has very clearly stated that “the human body is the most distinguished, most distinctive masterpiece of this creation. When we talk about bodies we are not talking about the millions of genera through which the consciousness passes in the course of its evolution, but we are talking also of those bodies which are normally considered to be superior beings like the divine bodies, more appropriately referred to as ‘Deva Shareers’ etc.”
Maharaj Ji has also been stating on various occasions that “the body is special and distinguished as compared even to the ‘Deva Shareers’ also because human bodies have all the five basic elements of creation in them while the ‘Deva Shareers’ do not have all these five elements in adequate proportions, as the earth element is conspicuously lacking in those bodies due to which one aspect of evolution is completely impossible for them to achieve. While they can permeate the subtle most realms of consciousness, they cannot permeate and evolve their consciousness at the Gross levels. ‘Deva Shareers’ do not have Mooladhaar and Swadhishthaan Chakras as they lack the Water and Earth elements. How can the consciousness be awakened without an appropriate base and how can it propagate without an appropriate vehicle!”
“Sadhana of transforming the individual Mana-Prana to Cosmic Mana-Prana can be performed only in the so-called mortal physical body. Even Deva Shareers, which have much lesser mortality (having little Prithvi Tatva), are not capable of extending the manifestation of Mana-Prana, down up to the grosser realms. This is also true that when the unified Mana and Prana manifest themselves in the universe and even beyond, while still in the physical body, then the stream of supreme blissful power, will descend from the divine realms back to the human body, making it free from disease, aging, and death.”
Coming back to Yoga as a generic term, generally, those who accomplish oneness with the universal spirit, dissociate their consciousness from the gross body, which in common language means that they leave this body and proceed on their journey towards the subtle. However, in his various writings and discourses, Gurudev has indicated several times that it is possible to manifest the consciousness in universally subtle levels, without dissociating the consciousness from the gross body. Mahayoga is the exalted union that makes it possible to achieve such manifestation at the gross as well as subtle realms, and the Yogi who accomplishes such union is a Mahayogi. Gurudev has further clarified that “To attain ultimate fulfillment of the human body, a Sadhaka, instead of rising above grossness and mortality, will have to accomplish the Sadhana of pervading the grossness and mortality with Chaitanyamaya Ananda Rasa (the blissful nectar of supreme consciousness) to such an extent that they become unified, un-differentiable.”
Indeed, this abstruse Sadhana of Mahayoga is not easy; however, it is also true that nothing is impossible if a Sadhaka treads on the path guided by the Guru with devotion, faith, and persistence, complying completely with the guidance of the Guru.
“The secrets of this Sadhana are easy to comprehend. It is not difficult for a purified intellect, freed of all prejudices, to conceptualize these. However this Sadhana path is very long and complex.”
By an assiduous exploration of more than thirty years, Gurudev has formulated and propagated various Sadhanas for Sadhakas at all levels to tread and progress on this exalted path. Sadhakas are already well aware of various Sadhanas like Swas-Swas Japa, Siddhamrit Surya Kriya Yoga, Agni Kriya Yoga, Sanjeevani Kriya, Swara Sadhana, etc. Further, it is also imperative to perform some specific Mudras, Pranayamas, etc. depending upon the level of individual Sadhakas. Gurudev has always been inspiring and guiding the Sadhakas to tread on this grand path.