Anandaswami Tradition Yoga School
|Place of lecture delivering||Cultural Center “Enlightenment”.|
|Date||June 7, 2008|
|Licence||Creative Commons. You may copy, duplicate and spread this lecture. It’s desirable to give a reference to our site www.openyoga.ru.|
|Typed and edited by||Elena Zvereva|
|Translated by||Anna Polyakova|
|Overview||Extremes are bad not only in yoga practice but in common life as well. If you are far too poor then this is your serious obstacle in yoga. If you are too rich then this is the same obstacle in yoga. If you have too much spare time then this is your obstacle in yoga. But if you have it too little then this is obstacle in yoga as well. Stages in life: 1) firstly you have to learn knowledge stored over thousands of years; 2) then pay sacred debt; 3) after it you may do everything you want. Many Yogins and Yoginis really did dangerous practices where it was very difficult to survive. Higher, other-worldly and superlogical knowledge never contradicts our ordinary daily knowledge.|
«What to do?» (continuation)
Question: “What description yoga gives to “happiness” and “pleasure”?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Let’s begin with yoga axiomatic intricacies. As yoga teaches us our natural state is a state of higher happiness, higher pleasure and higher amorousness. Interpreting from Amorousness Yoga this is natural state of our I, i.e. this is our I’s nature.
I ask you to pay your attention that these aren’t any reactions on outward irritants but our natural state. It means that it isn’t in need of supporting. It is the basis by itself. It supports all the other states and feelings that we go through. It supports even such states as pain, even such displays of negative as pessimism and so on. Natural canvas of happiness is that basis on which we draw a picture of our fate. And we can draw very different patterns and very different pictures. But if we dig to the very bottom then we will find happiness there. Yoga teaches us in this way.
But! We must have experienced feelings that were very far from happiness and pleasure. The question is: how do they come into being? They arise from another axiomatic principle of the Universe organization – it is maya and associations’ law. In any skilful way we manage to take our natural happiness, divide it in two and then set these halves at loggerheads. Thus a thing displaying as misfortune, suffering and etc. springs up. In addition we do some actions that bring in consequences and thus result in our karma. As a result everything gets entangled and this tangle we call “life” as a rule. It seems to us that streak of luck changes into streak of bad luck. But these are not stripes indeed. This is just echo. On the one hand this is echo from our actions that returned to us. And on the other hand this is an effect of maya when we wrongly make one thing conditional on another and do the next mistakes.
The goal of yoga is just to give you back to this initial state – to the state of happiness. If one is to judge by the highest standards all yoga methods, different exercises and practices lead us just to happiness (interpreting yoga from the stand of that is called happiness).
They ask me sometimes: “What is yoga goal? What does yoga lead us to? What a task is given to yoga? Why do people practice yoga?” One may say in this case: “For being happy”. And it means here to be really happy and this happiness should be always. It means here that happiness should be natural that can be destroyed in no ways. To attain such happiness that can’t be destroyed by anything we should revert to our natural state. And we remember that our natural state is just this happiness. To do it we have to take away maya (ignorance).
Maya is a very good thing. And associations’ law is an excellent law. But until we don’t know how to use these laws our happiness will be ephemeral and transient. And when we overcome ignorance, when we overcome maya and when we know how to use all this then we come to our nature, to what our higher I is. And the natural state of our higher I is happiness.
Question: “Is there any difference between happiness and delight (pleasure)?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Let’s accept that delight and pleasure are the same things. There are no terms in our languages that would sufficiently tell nuances and undertints of different states. That’s why we have to use English (as they generally do it now especially in newfangled sciences) or to add a little bit of Sanskrit to make any emphasis. One of word “yoga” sense is translated as “union”. It would be possible to translate “Soviet Union” as “Soviet Yoga”.
Feeling of delight or pleasure doesn’t guarantee that this state will always remain with you. It is meant here such delight or pleasure that comes from the sense organs. For example I eat any sweet and tasty candy and thus I get both delight and pleasure. If I eat something bitter and tasteless then it is unpleasant for me. Getting delight and pleasure we can feel happiness or we can not feel it. But again if I have problems in my business and one of my sense organs makes me enjoy then this pleasure holds no joy for me. This is a kind of the happiness mechanism continuation being put into effect through action of our rough sense organs. I happen sometimes to hear such a statement about yoga: “Reject pleasure and then happiness will come to you”. This statement was born from different myths and misunderstandings. Yes, sometimes to attain something firm we have to reject something transient. But if one is to judge by the highest standards firm and eternal things don’t depend on anything transient. That’s why it’s better to answer this question from the stand of practice than from the theory stand”.
Question: “There was embodied Buddha among the mere mortals. At one time he ran away from his family, from his kingdom, from pleasure. In searches of happiness he found something greater than happiness. He practiced all kinds of yoga and asceticism for a long time and thus brought himself to a state when he couldn’t even cross a small river. Then he understood that he was occupied with needless things, spent his energy for nothing and all that he had were just illusions. And when he woke up next morning he felt bliss and enlightenment. How did he manage to do it?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “I have very good excuse now – ask Buddha about it. I can’t still sort yoga out but you ask me to interpret Buddhism. Formally I can touch theme of Buddhism not at all. There are two hundred millions of different teachings in India besides Buddhism. Every teaching has its own accent and it does not seem possible to sort them out. But I understood the underlying reason of this question though there are several arguable points here.
In times of Buddha they don’t practiced yoga as strenuously as it may seem to you. Yoga wasn’t practiced there at all. More over there was some spiritual decline in Buddha times. And once again my friends – yoga and religion are two different things. Buddhists have analog of yoga. It well remained in Tibet and it is called Six Yogas of Nāropa. When Buddha has come nobody properly understood anything. They did numerous sacrificial offerings, libation of oil on the flames and singing sacred hymns. But this was only form and substance was lost long ago. Then Buddha has come and instead of struggling against “form” he has begun to speak about the Higher but in different words, in different notions and other language. That’s why later on they began to blame him for being atheist and non-recognition of the Absolute to be the highest essence created the Universe. Buddha simply didn’t tell anything about it.
We believe that there were this, that and the other in times of Buddha. But we have to understand that we know nothing about things in those times. At first this was many times ago. Secondly as regards to methodology Buddha was the son of one rajah indeed. Rajah is such a feudal prince. He had his kingdom but we don’t know whether it was big or small. It might be big and it might be small, history passes it over in silence. Buddha rejected the secular world indeed. He did some ascetic practices and thus brought himself to the point of extreme exhaustion. Then something interesting happened to him: they say that the next day Buddha attained any higher state. They advanced this theory but there are so many stories as schools of Buddhism… How did he attain the enlightenment? There is for example Bernardo Bertolucci’s movie “Little Buddha”. It is very beautiful movie. See it. Bertolucci made his own accents there.
Once again without this question I won’t say a word about Buddha because Buddhists call themselves religion organization. But yoga has nothing to do with religion organizations. Yoga is a system of self-cognition and not religion organization because point of faith is assisted at yoga only in certain size. For example when we study mathematics textbook like little children we believe that it is written truthfully. That’s all, in yoga your faith should end here. And further yoga calls us upon to rediscover. I.e. yoga says that everything that you can’t rediscover you should reject as needless things. So it doesn't matter who wrote something. Religion approach is rather original. I won’t touch these topics now because they are very subtle. Yoga and religion may be intersected but they are different. You may profess any religion and in so doing practice yoga or you may profess no religion and practice yoga.
Buddha found so called Middle Way during his practice. In a large measure it was reflected in teachings of Buddha followers – in so called Nagarjuna Buddhism. Nagarjuna said that in times when Buddha taught his pupils they didn’t distinguish themselves by their intellect and quick wits to adopt this knowledge. They alleged that Buddha taught Nāgas (Nāgas are mythological creatures) because people didn’t adopt his teaching. At a moment of death Buddha said: “That’s all, I have passed on all my knowledge and now I go away with every reason and take nothing with me”. They say that Nāgas passed on this knowledge to some people including Nagarjuna. This knowledge was an incitement to Tantric Buddhism and appearance of what is called Six Yogas of Nāropa.
The sense there is the next: extremes are pointless. We are going to have the next Hatha Yoga seminar (in Cultural Center “Enlightenment” www.yogacenter.ru) where the main theme also will be “extremes are pointless”. Buddha has understood that extreme of unwarranted asceticism is the same as extreme of unconscious and unbridled delight. At night when Buddha understood that real spiritual way lied somewhere in the middle he attained enlightenment.
But this is more interpretation of Nagarjuna Buddhism than that good old Buddhism that already has been in days of yore and remained only in certain places. They say this Buddhism that has been before Nagarjuna has remained in Sri-Lanka, in Southeastern Asia and may be somewhere else. Why this situation is good? It is good because in Nagarjuna Buddhism as well as in our school of Anandasvami tradition they call us upon to reject extremes.
We have good movie “Hatha Yoga. Manual for self-tuition”. We shoot this film by ourselves on the basis of yoga treatise “Narration on Hatha Yoga”. There one yoga teacher taught her beloved yoga. But this youth was a little bit booby to put it mildly. And this teacher just being a good judge of yoga taught him some good sense little by little. There is such a phrase in the end of this treatise: “Reject extremes. There is no result in them”.
I.e. speaking about yoga there are two approaches in particular Hatha Yoga. The same is in higher truth cognition. One approach is method of consciousness when we have to force ourselves a lot. Another approach is method of energy when we have to set situation free and retire into our feelings, when we have to rejoice at life.
Both these roads brought to excess lead to a deadlock. If you excessively wear out yourself with asceticism then you won’t succeed in yoga. If you lead a dissipated life and life of idleness then you also won’t succeed in yoga. Sometimes Yoga is described as Union of when we may allow ourselves and when we have to compel ourselves.
To become proficient in any yoga (even in Hatha Yoga) we have to find this way for ourselves where we have to compel ourselves and where we may allow ourselves. Manoeuvring between both extremes “on the razor's edge” you will succeed in yoga including physical Hatha Yoga. Now we have two extremes. One extreme is acrobatics, i.e. they turned yoga into a circus – who is more flexible, who can stoop in three, four or five turns. What does it have to do with yoga? Every circus artiste knows how to do these tricks for many hundreds years. But here isn't a trace of yoga though they stoop more striking than Indian yogins”.
Question: “What may yoga give to a man if he is self-sufficient?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “If a person is self-sufficient yoga can give nothing to him / her because he / she has everything already. But we are still very far from self-sufficiency. That’s why we haven’t still reached this “layer of natural happiness state”. The smallest hassle in life and we get carried away. The smallest displeasure and we get carried away. That’s why there is no question of self-sufficiency. Self-sufficiency means freedom. It sets in after long and serious way in yoga.
Some people believe that they are already self-sufficient, that they are already happy and this happiness will remain with them forever. What yoga may give them? Yoga may tell them: “You did well! Continue in the same spirit”. But you must admit that we don’t meet such people every day. So in this sense yoga is science that leads us to this state though it happens long, little by little, meticulously and step by step.
We stopped at the last point in Yogins and Yoginis’ way of living – “What to do?” This is the most difficult point for explication because there are many nuances here. Karmic features and restrictions applied by epoch play an important role here. Living conditions changed even during that historical time being able to trace when yoga got to us. Once again there were one living conditions in times of Buddha but in X century there were other living conditions and so on. It is quite natural that living conditions underwent certain changes but some things remained common.
We have touched purely practical moments. If the purpose is communication with the Higher then we have to know how to communicate with it through everything that our life brings us. And at the same time we have to spend any time in solitude.
Average yogin’s life
Wealth, poverty and the golden mean
The next thing remained to our days is general average yogin’s life structure. The main thing that yoga teaches us is extremes are bad not only in yoga practice but in our life as well. If you are too rich then this is your obstacle in yoga. If you have too much spare time then this is the same obstacle in yoga for you. But if you have it too little then this is obstacle in yoga as well.
So there is the golden mean or middle class as it is called today. Wise men say on TV that there should be as many people of middle class in our country as it is possible. I want to tell you that yoga always was for that there would be as many people of middle class as it is possible. Belonging to this layer you may live happily ever after with minimal losses on the one hand and on the other hand here there is a minimum of restrictions that impede our spiritual development.
It is clearly that if you have too little money then you will be busy with other things than yoga. On the other hand if you have too much money then you will face other problems. This is like in a proverb “go through fire and water, go through thick and thin”. It is much easier to go through fire and water than through “thick and thin”. We are so intricately made: to stand the wealth test is the hardest thing that only can be in our life. The most amusing fact is the next: yoga teaches us that it is much easier to become reach than reject this wealth.
Question: “What is wealth?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Wealth consists of two parts. They are karma and your inner energy, your inner potential, inner power with which you was born. A person may be quite poor but he may self-make himself during his life. Or a person may be initially born reach but if they take away his wealth then he will never do himself reach again. But in any case you have that you have merited. This is karma law. Everything that we have now we did by ourselves. That’s why it is more preferably to have at least any cushion when you are born. I.e. it’s better not to live in poverty in childhood, it’s better to have parents taking care about us. But on the other hand we should know how to start everything from zero and attain the highest peaks.
Sometimes this rush becomes an end in itself and a person steps over certain limit. He keeps earning money even understanding that he won’t have time enough to spend them. More over even his children won’t be able to spend them. If children begin to spend this money then they won’t form necessary qualities of character in them to know how to earn money. I.e. this situation is very varied.
If we are born in lower classes then it will be very difficult for us to struggle through to the top level. Imagine a child is born. Only down-and-outs and alcoholics are around him. And he begins to think as they do. Though he may be very gifted child it will be very difficult for him to get up the next stage. In the same way it is very difficult to reject the top level. They say that get up from the lowest level is much easier than reject wealth. Both these two things are serious obstacles on our road.
Wealth is an analog of Shakti. Money is an energy equivalent in certain sense. For example you have to dig a hole by yourself but you may hire somebody to do this job instead of you. This is a certain equivalent. I don’t consider now some moments of swindle and etc. The golden mean is the most optimal for being born.
Our country is very good. For example we don’t have estates discrimination but in many even very civilized countries this discrimination exists. There are counts and princes up to now and they are very proud of their titles of nobility. But it becomes some “suitcase without handle”. A person might want to live his life in any different way but load of traditions forces him to live exactly so. And not everybody have forces to resist this load of traditions. As regards to our country everything has mixed here. Worse situation is in India: their caste system is in people’s subconsciousness and even at superstitions level. Many people believe in omens, for example it is a bad omen when black cat run across the road just before you. But we have some “antidotes” (to spit for example) and we easier think about such things. But Indians don’t have them. If you are faithful Brahman meeting any untouchable person then it would be better for you not to meet him at all. And there is no question of marriages between people from different castes up to now. So we are lucky with certain respects but some people aren’t as lucky as we are”.
Stages of life
Stages of life have become transformed into religion teachings. They are represented there in form of certain rules. Read for example The Laws of Manu. When we read these laws now our hair stands on end. But for those times when they written and for those people these laws were even very just and necessary. Their sense consists in division of human life into certain periods.
1. The first stage is a stage when person has to keep brahmachari in all senses of this word. I.e. it was a time when they didn’t have to spend their energy and forces on any displays including sex. During the time these requirements underwent changes. The most ancient sources reaching us tell that a man had to keep brahmachari till twenty – twenty four years. Before this age he could even look at girls.
It was advisable to spend this lifetime on education regardless of whether it was a boy or a girl. That’s because this lifetime is the most suitable time to make up for things unfinished in previous lives. Very important thing here is not to spend sexual energy in vain. A person should have accumulated this energy until appearance of a girlfriend, a wife or a partner (that’s depended on yoga school and current situation). This was needed for not to dissipate his energies until spiritual practices (including sexual practices) beginning.
There are such moments: if you don’t do them from the first time then you won’t do them at all. I remember some time we walked up a mountain and it was earthen. It was very big mountain and there were steps dug in this mountain to make walking up on clay more comfortable. It has been rain and these steps got sodden. If you climb from the first time – then you will climb. But as soon as you loiter this step turns into a skating-rink under your feet. And that’s all – be sure you won’t be able to go further. As regards to sex there are similar moments.
In some yoga schools they believed it was better not to have sex at all then to spend this potential on nothing (on Sanskrit this is called “Bhava” that means “attitude”). It was considered that for men this age should have been twenty years. In different texts, in different yoga schools they name different ages but twenty years is a minimum. You realize that in contemporary world including even India too little people live till twenty years never touching with a woman. But in yoga schools they thank that pupils had to learn tradition. What is the use of waste yourself on momentary pleasure? It’s better to keep your potential until you will be able to spend it consciously.
For girls this age was less than for men. But undoubtedly it was an age when a girl was able to have sex. So it was considerable age rather all the same.
A person had to live the first part of life just in this way. As you understand modern civilization doesn’t contribute youths and girls to keep brahmachari strenuously. On the contrary in modern world virginity is considered to be nearly a defect. This contradicts yoga principle “Accumulating sexual energy would be better for you. Why do you waste yourself nobody knows where and on whom?” But on the other hand yoga doesn’t pry into these affaires. Both it happened and thanks God! It means that we have respective karma and society where we live is also respective. But in ancient times this age was rather big. So it was the first life stage.
2. The second stage of life fell under definition “to pay sacred debt”: a person had to born children. In certain traditions this stage was called “houseowner stage”. Right in that time a person might do all different practices including sexual ones with his girlfriends. It allowed to him at that time to do it because he already knew what to do, how to do it and his inner structures and channels have already formed. And this period lasted for rather a long time. This was strictly regulated in different philosophical systems.
3. When your children didn’t need you any more, when they stood on their own feet and were able to take care about them by themselves – you are free. You might go away to a cloister if you wanted. You might do the most extreme kinds of practices – even to hammer a nail into your head – if you believed that it could help you to open the third eye or to attain enlightenment. I.e. at that time they considered that you have already been worthy of it. Pay your attention to the logic: 1) firstly learn the knowledge accumulated over thousands years; 2) then pay sacred debt; 3) and then do everything you want. And really in the last period many Yogins and Yoginis did dangerous practices when it was very difficult to survive.
As this way of living also penetrated into ordinary people environment the same situation began to emerge there as well. From the formal point of view Buddha left his wife and child (I remind you that Buddha had beautiful wife and son). He left them and dashed over sacred places in search of enlightenment. It was good that he left them his reign, i.e. they were in need of nothing (in no material things). But if Buddha’s family were in need of something then he would never get his hand near enlightenment. Of course you leave your people who rely on you in the name of yourself personally and selfishly go in search of happiness only for yourself – this was considered to be improperly in Yogins and Yoginis’ environment. That’s why everything went ok with Buddha because his wife and child didn’t need anything.
But usually for such ascetic feats people choose the time when their children have already grown up. If you incorrectly do any practice and Kundalini goes in wrong direction then you will be torn to thousands little pieces and you will physically die. But even in this case you take nearly no chances if you took care about your family. Well, you have died and you will be born the next time to start from the point where you stopped. This is possible when you prepare any bridgehead for yourself. First part of your life you studied, then you paid sacred debt and practiced in society – thus you have prepared this society for your return. And only after it you may take a risk. And if you attain the highest state then it will be remarkable as a matter of fact.
So we observe the next periods in human’s life.
1. It is really very good for a young person to study yoga when passions and forces boil in him, when he hasn’t yet wasted this impulse. The worst situation is when young people but with lacklustre eyes come to study yoga because they won’t realize the main thing: the Higher won’t open for you without bhava, without this other-worldly and awesome attitude to it. They may study different treatises as long as they want, they may even know them by heart but yoga is on the cut of feelings, on the cut of unidirectional attitude when everything is staked its all. And it is quite natural that the first part of your life (when you haven’t already mature physically and mentally) you will spend all your time on preparation practice.
2. As soon as you attain something more or less considerable you enter into a mature age. This is the most favorable time for all yoga practices. And at the same time you have to pay your debts. But when you advance in years pungency of feelings (including sexual feelings) becomes dull if you don’t do certain practices of Yogas (Yoga of Alliance for example). I.e. a young person and an old one undoubtedly have different sexual pungencies because their bodies have different states.
3. And when a person paid all his debts then he may practice all the methods he likes at full scale. And the nicest thing is that you can take the risk of yourself. But if we begin to risk our life earlier then we only engender bad karma for ourselves.
So there are these three stages of life. People practiced yoga in ancient times had another metabolism. It was considered that maturity set in by thirty five – forty years and before this time a person is still dare-devil youngster. They lived longer life and that’s why all the stages accordingly moved. On the contrary for ordinary people life becomes shorter and all stages of life go on quickly.
Do you remember that we are all at different development stages and self-consciousness though we look similar? There are people who are interesting in absolutely no spiritual practices. They comply with nothing, they early get married and etc. In yoga it was considered to be unreasonable but it was justified because generations have to quickly change each other. Otherwise civilization wouldn’t have survived yet. Hidden yoga tradition followers had their own lifestyle but they influenced the general people mass all the same. The bulk of the population thought of their own game rules trying to copy Yogins and Yoginis’ lifestyle. These rules were partly looking like Yogins and Yoginis’ way of living but with their own amendments.
Everything fell into decay from time to time. One predominating teaching or religion changed another from time to time. But thin thread of yoga knowledge immutably passed through centuries. In certain texts of “Sanatana Dharma” the word “dharma” may be translated as “way” or “thread” or “road” though this word has two tens of meanings. This is eternal thread, eternal stream of knowledge passing through all the epochs, centuries and religions. This stream is nearly invariable though forms of methods may change. That’s why Yogins and Yoginis called us upon to learn and not to waste ourselves in vain while we are young and full of forces. When you have matured you may practice at full scale but without marginal things. And as soon as you have paid your sacred debts you may practice everything you like.
Question: “What does it mean “to pay sacred debt”?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “I advise you to acquaint yourself with previous lectures at our site because we have already discussed this theme. Briefly speaking it means to have children by yourself or to support other people (friends, acquaintances and who ever you like) having children. Otherwise it may happen so that there won’t be any suitable body for you to be born in good conditions”.
Question: “What do you mean by “marginal things”?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “In the first place by marginal things I mean today’s spreading of different practices which call people upon thoughtless using of energies putting into them. We are all done as motor, as engine. And if we wrongly use some practices then we may easily injure ourselves. This point became commercial in the West. For example any instructor has to invite a group of people to visit your seminar. You want them to come again and you want more people to come. So you have to give them some practices leaving powerful feelings in these people. So such instructors begin to take some exercises out of context, make some mixture of them and give it to people. They do it and they become off their rocker, they fall out somewhere and “fall back” again. In general it’s ok but what if somebody has an epileptic attack or something like this or what if somebody “kicks the bucket” right at your seminar? This person would never think up such combination of practices or such combination of poses, breath and etc. to get this effect. Yoga is powerful science and sometimes to remove formidable dirty spots you have to concentrate your efforts at any channel in certain place. But what if everything goes wrong? Unfortunately this commercial orientation led to that many instructors begin to give the most powerful practices. This I call marginal things and it is dangerous”.
Question: “Do people need medical advice before beginning yoga practice for example to avoid epileptic attack?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Here we speak about different yogas. Yoga which is usually taught is knowingly made of absolutely safety exercises. When I spoke about marginal practices I meant those practices which you will never meet in Moscow. But before doing even common practices you have to visit doctor as well because you may have dislocation of vertebra or any old fracture. You can receive only a little harm from it – something may hurt or you may strain something. But I spoke about more serious practices”.
Question: “Is reiki a marginal practice?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “I don’t know what the reiki is. More precisely put we have such a rule: “No comments”. I know nothing about reiki. This is not my tradition and I am responsible only for yoga school of Anandasvami tradition. May be reiki is very good or on the contrary may be it is very bad. To realize it I have to try in by myself but I simply have no time for it. But as far as I know marginal practices are rarely found.
And why did I attract your attention to them? Just because very often I hear purely theoretical statement: “My friends, to attain any super-super Samadhi I have to wake up my Kundalini energy in any special way, may be to take it out through my third eye and then put it back”. I.e. one can feel really powerful practices behind these details. I don’t really speak about different psychotropic substances. I don’t even imagine that there are so many people flirting with them. They say that this helps them to better concentrate and attain something. But it is a direct route to a grave. They say they need them for the last dash, for discovering of something. But this can’t be solved like this. And such people begin to bang their heads against a brick wall. The same thing happens in Hatha Yoga: some person practiced a little bit comes to me and says: “It’s too little for me. I want more”. But the yoga issue is not in to do as much as possible but in how we do that we need to do. I.e. it is useless to swing seesaw if you don’t keep time – you will simply hurt your hands. So as regards to reiki I hope that everything goes well with it”.
Question: “I notice that generally more women practice yoga than men. How could you explain it?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “At first I don’t observe it at my classes. I don’t know how to explain it: may be they have such karma or other moments also may be. Let us suppose they write in any fashion magazine that yoga is cool and some well-known singer or actress practices yoga. This is just PR and people come and begin to practice. The first waves when yoga became popular were very long ago – in Hollywood in 1930s (1929th year perhaps). There was one lady taught yoga there. One day I speak to her, she was russian by the way. May be somebody knows her. Her name was Indra Devi. When I met her she was in hers late nineties. She had difficult life; she was being carried along the word. And she told that the stars had an interest to yoga and so she began to teach because it yoga was fashionable. This is one disbalance. But there is another disbalance when only men practice yoga”.
“What to do?” – Develop our mind, round it out to make a springboard for other-worldly
It will be the last lecture from the theme “Yogins and Yoginis’ way of living”. We study their way of living not for blindly coping it but for understanding practices reached us from ancient times in the first place. That’s because being unknowing of the context we aren’t able to understand. And different myths, disbalances and illusions come into being because of a lack of understanding. Then people carry on these disbalances and illusions and bear them further. Such misinterpretation kills yoga. That’s why it is very useful to know how this knowledge was passed on.
I want to emphasize once again that ancient yoga knowledge is beyond expression. And even with the best will in the world it’s impossible to share this knowledge in oral form. This knowledge is higher than the notions of words. It is higher than the notion “thought”. Yoga by itself begins when our super mind and intuition switch on. Only with them we catch that is called “yoga”.
But at the same at a level of our ordinary logic, of our ordinary mind a thing called “super” turns into certain views system. And this certain views system is very logical. It is as logical as mathematics and other sciences where there is cause and effect with all the ensuing consequences.
That’s why our attitude towards cognition of yoga should be the next: yoga will never jeer at your common sense even if it tries to share the super teaching. Yoga gives even the super teaching the shape of utmost logic. In this sense we can really study yoga as mathematics where every statement is drawn from other more basic propositions. Sometimes in yoga it is called yoga axiomatics. And each practice, each yoga pose, each breathing exercise are strictly drawn from axiomatics.
Today people begin to ignore logic in yoga from time to time. It plays very bad role for yoga. Very different means, explications and elucidation how to do one or another exercise come into being. If we dig deeper then we realize that these are only poorly understood words at best which a pupil borrows from his teacher and tries to pass on this garbled version further. But it goes further though in such way and thanks God!
Strictly speaking every statement in yoga is logically drawn though I lay stress once again: notion of yoga and notion of yoga purpose are higher than logic. Yoga nucleus, nucleus of this higher knowledge is beyond expression. But at the same time when it penetrates into logic it takes form of utmost logic.
It is said in ancient yoga texts that they divided all knowledge that mankind possessed in two parts: one kind of knowledge was spiritual and other knowledge was mundane. Spiritual knowledge leads us up to the higher. Mundane knowledge means our ordinary everyday knowledge. For example knowledge how to become successful businessman is good knowledge but it is mundane knowledge. That fact that you will become reach doesn’t presuppose that you will become spiritual. But pay your attention that higher spiritual knowledge never contradicts to mundane knowledge.
Sometimes I hear such appeals that we have to reject everything (to reject earning money, career, studying and so on) to let the Higher open for us. Strictly speaking even if you reject everything then it won’t be necessary and sufficient condition for Higher to open for us. Higher doesn’t depend on such things.
It’s another matter that sometimes it will do you good to reject one or other delusions. We have to enclose anyhow ourselves from the things diverting us. But this is just another point. This is some kind of technology of your way. Higher, other-worldly, superlogical knowledge never contradicts to our ordinary everyday knowledge. And meeting such contradiction in our life we have to think about this higher knowledge. For example we may wrongly interpret or wrongly understand it or translation may be bad or anything else may be.
Here there is very interesting thing from our subject stand. Mundane knowledge is a touchstone for higher knowledge to some extent. It hurts me very much when one or other secret yoga sciences adepts speak and talk outright nonsense which contradicts both science and medicine at their up-to-date level. They do myth-making, they think up some absolutely unreal things and they refer to the unknown facts. Nobody have ever seen or heard these facts. But today it works. Today people eat everything because they know nothing. But just in few time people will know these things and this myth-making will come to light.
So when we study yoga we face some lack of logic as we understand it. This should be serious challenge for us because: a) we may not understand anything basic and fundamental; b) there may be some misprints in a book when they wrote one word instead of another; c) this teaching that is brought for us as yoga may not be yoga at all and its name “yoga” and its contents have accidentally mixed; d) or there may some other factors indicating that we have to round out our mind.
Once again: the Higher never contradicts to mundane knowledge. The reverse side is that mundane knowledge is like water that helps to heal the wounds: it defeats everything nonviable. It treats all the diseases. Remember Ivan Tsarevich (or John the Prince) – when something terrible happened to him his friends poured him on with water that helps to heal the wounds and then with the elixir of life. And pay your attention here that strictly in this sequence and not the other way. We have nearly the same situation. Before cognition the nucleus of higher yoga knowledge which is other-worldly and inexpressible we have to be cured of our wounds. And only when your body is ready, when it is health but lifeless we can pour the elixir of life.
The same situation is in yoga: the Higher prefer to open as a rule when there is a vessel for the Higher, when a person is able to apprehend it, when he has rounded his mind out enough, when he works on himself, when he stands firmly on his own feet. Only then first rays of the Higher appear.
Unfortunately today we see an opposite situation when people of diminished responsibility (sometimes simply silly and sometimes they really look like patients of mental hospitals) come into yoga. But they have already read these or those esoteric and mystical books and they are carried away. They believe that everything they have read is yoga. This is very grievous situation. But the most dangerous thing is when these mystical – cosmic – schizophrenic people feel real rays of the Higher among all their rubbish. Sometimes they see spiritual horizons where there isn't a trace of the Higher’s rays because they have read many mystical books but haven’t yet rounded out their mind. But on the other hand sometimes they may have real rays of the Higher. This breaks their spiritual development a lot because they have an illusion that there is no need to round out their mind; they think that everything will open for them by itself.
Great mass of healers, sorcerers and magicians completely fall under this category. Of course there are worthy people as well as downright villains among them. But as they say: if there is something in this world then it means that it is necessary for something. For example there is mould eating away everything. But it is necessary because it eats away everything needless. And wolves in forest are also necessary because they are aid-men of the forest and they help to prevent epidemics among hears.
I.e. everything in this world is interconnected. My favorite saying is: “If somebody went deaf somewhere it means that somewhere somebody became hoarse”. But it doesn’t mean at all that we have to become similar to it. That’s why in this point “What to do?” yoga calls us upon developing our mind, rounding it out to prepare a springboard for other-worldly.
Listener: “You are contradicting to yourself because practice presupposes changing of consciousness”.
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Stop-stop-stop. Let’s speak slower and calmly. You are using some notions “changing of consciousness” and “practice” that are not clear enough”.
Listener: “Here I apply to you personally without an excess theatricalism because there is always theater in place with scene”.
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Of course I am a clown and here is a theater of one actor and this actor is me. This lectures I deliver you not for answering the questions though I answer on them. I have another purpose. I want to select from the mass of people those people who will carry yoga knowledge further (www.openyoga.ru). I don’t earn money with it, I don’t make a name for myself, there is no PR. It is really a theater of one actor and I am a clown here. I do it to let necessary people come to me. And I do it only for necessary people and not for everybody”.
Listener: “It seems to me that you know what I mean speaking “changing of consciousness” and you simply feign. For example a person drinks an alcohol and his consciousness changes. A person may practice yoga, do breathing exercises (you know what pranayma is, don’t you?) and his consciousness also changes”.
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Yes, I am in the know what pranayma is. But what do you mean by consciousness?”
Listener: “I mean ordinary perception”.
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “So perception and consciousness is one thing or they are different?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Well. What engenders consciousness?”
Listener: “This issue hasn’t been completely studied yet”.
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “But what are we speaking about if this question hasn’t been completely studied?”
Listener: “As regards to logic…”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “If we speak about logic then firstly you have to learn yoga axiomatics. And it is said in axiomatics that there are two things…”
Listener: “And what is yoga axiomatics?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Yoga axiomatics is that basic logical knowledge making fundament for all the conclusions in yoga”.
Listener: “I think that there is contradiction between rationalism established in ordinary world and another “altered” experience”.
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “I am responsible for yoga and to be honest I don't give a damn about another experience. Let me answering your question for all that since it has sounded. Well, according to yoga axiomatics all the objects and phenomena in the Universe have been done by means of two forces (tattvas in Sanskrit) cooperation. I.e. everything begins from these two things. One of these forces is energy (Shakti) and the other is consciousness (Chit). They are self existent and independent of each other.
So when you tell me about transformed consciousness I want to find out what do you mean by it. Yoga axiomatics implies that consciousness never changes in principle. The matter is that we simply don’t understand each other. You take notions from psychology, medicine and I don’t know from where else but I use notions from yoga. All our incomprehension comes from here. Looking deeper I can’t answer your question at all. For example let’s consider a state of a person drinking a glass of vodka. He was sober and then he - bang! – fell down. But his consciousness is the same regardless of whether he is sober or drunken. The difference is that when he is sober his consciousness highlights and shines through his sober mind and when he is drunken his mind changes. This changed mind is responsible for all our reactions and psychomotor functions and so we say that this person is drunken. And his consciousness is identical whether he is sober or drunken if we speak about one and the same person.
Listener: “What is the yoga outcome? I mean good health, etc”.
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “The outcome of yoga is the next: people inclined to alcoholism stop drinking”.
Listener: “And what else? What are other results?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Is this not enough for you? What else do you want?”
Listener: “Well, for example that is called mental equilibrium?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Yes, you will be imperturbable like boa. But before you reach it you have to stand some so called tests”.
Listener: “Shall I always be imperturbable or just from time to time?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Well, guy. Please, if I answer your questions than first is your question then is my answer, and then is your question and so on. Otherwise there would be real mess. If you want to become imperturbable like boa then you really will be able to attain it. But this won’t be soon (I mean people in general but not particularly you) because first of all your reactions to external irritants become more acute and then come to their limits. Then so called “unimpaired island” will appear inside of you and it remains with you regardless of what you do: whether you smash dishes or whether you cry and shout. And in case of need you will be able to quickly pull yourself together and stop. But a person who doesn’t practice yoga doesn’t have this unimpaired island and that’s why he is an easy prey or toy for feelings and emotions”.
Listener: “Oh, this is close to me”.
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Well, go ahead. Practice Hatha Yoga, Krija Yoga, Pranayma Yoga”.
Listener: “Somewhere I heard that breathing exercises are bad for heart. They call forth arrhythmia, don’t they?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Yes, it is said even more severely in yoga: “Practicing breathing exercises you have to be as accurate and attentive as trainer taming wild animals: tigers, lions”. If you hasten just a little bit then these tigers will tear you. It is clear that there are full up people (on the issue of marginal persons) reading yoga treatise where it said: “Practicing pranayma yoga you will fly in the air”. So they don’t need to buy a car, they don’t need to jostle in metro anymore. And they begin to do breathing exercise more strongly than their organisms allow them. As a result they receive all those deplorable results which we told about. They may receive everything. But here I speak not about twenty – thirty minutes of ordinary exercises daily but about a situation when people begin to speed up events. I.e. they practice two hours every day or better they will practice four times a day as it is prescribed: in the morning, in the daytime, in the evening and at midnight. Here marginal things begin when people aren’t still ready but they begin to work out themselves with practices more strongly. The result will be negative. You want anything else, don’t you? ”
Listener: “No for the time being?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Please, don’t be offended. The game rules here are very severe”.
Question: “Is wealth compatible with yoga?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Yes. Once again: higher knowledge never contradicts to mundane knowledge. Yoga is compatible with wealth as well as it is compatible with poverty. Yoga is compatible with everything”.
Question: “How can it be? Is yoga compatible with murders?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “We have to observe the first yoga principle: non-injuring any life being without emergency. But if you defend native land with submachine gun in hands and it is your duty then nothing doing here – your duty is above everything. So this is your negative karma if you have to kill people or it may be your very good karma on the other hand. As a rule real professional military men are yogins of the highest category because peoples’ life and death depend on them. We can’t give a submachine gun to every Tom, Dick and Harry. They won’t observe this principle: non-injuring any life being. Do you understand that nobody know what the world is? The world is very mysterious. It appears in one way before one people and before other people it appears differently. But there is certain Higher behind all that. We weave our University by ourselves: we create what we want to have.