Anandaswami Tradition Yoga School
|Place of lecture delivering||Cultural Center “Enlightenment”.|
|Date||May 24, 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||Yoga wouldn’t have gone to our days if this principle “to pay sacred debt” hasn’t been observed in Yogins and Yoginis’ groups. What to do? Don’t lose any second. Turn yoga into your life. Knowing something practice what you know. Don’t wait until the heavens open wide and the Absolute begins to show something to you by itself. Practice what you already can practice and don’t waste your time in vain. Time of life is an irreplaceable resource and if you are waiting for something you will get nothing at last. That’s why ancient Yogins and Yoginis didn’t lose their time in vain. They used every moment for practice: whether it was an intense work or reckless rest, whether it was having sex or earning their everyday bread, whether it was creative searches in art sphere or any absolute fixed routine or something absolutely uninteresting.|
The sacred debt (to pay sacred debt) in the way of living of Yogins and Yoginis handed us down the highest yoga knowledge (continuation)
At our previous lecture we examined the next point determining lifestyle of people in many generations handed us down yoga knowledge. They didn’t flaunt their way of living and we know only a little about it. They were very modest people. Thus there are many arguments and morbid speculations around them: and how did they live indeed? So we undertook this series of lectures to contribute a certain mite in explanation of this question for our part.
At previous lecture we examined very serious statement. It is called “to pay sacred debt”. We found out that the point of family continuation isn’t something alienated from yoga teaching or contradictory to it. But this question is an integral part of yoga teaching. In any case all knowledge reached us were remained in the environment of yogins and yoginis which followed this principle with awe. As a matter of fact it is even logical that all the other currents which depreciated the role of family continuation have just died out. How have they died out? someone may practiced any philosophies but there were no circumstances for the next generation to be born and so there were no people being ready to learn these philosophical ideas and to carry them further. That’s why many misanthropic religions and cultures degenerated and disappeared by quite natural reason – they opposed the laws of nature. Being against the laws of nature means to play against the game rules which you thought up for you by yourself. As a result all such philosophical currents disappeared. That’s why “to pay sacred debt” isn’t a far-fetched point. This point is an integral part of yoga. We considered this theme at rather great length but I will devote a part of today’s lecture to this question – to pay sacred debt. And after it we will pass to the next points.
Decrease of a birth rate in developed societies
In the beginning of series of our lectures we considered that a soul lives a train of lives in animal bodies before to get a human body. It lives in animal bodies from primitive to more complicate until it is born in human body. Moment of getting human body is a turning point. It is a qualitative leap. Before it evolution dragged us by the ears in form of famine, fear and jungle laws but starting from human body the laws changed greatly.
This is really so. The individual which is notable for its aggression, fury and resolution dominates among animals. But these laws change starting from human body. A qualitative leap, a turning point happens and a carrot comes to replace a stick. This carrot implies that receiving human bodies we can direct our evolution whereever we like and hasten it by ourselves. And we can create such conditions when there will be no idea of stick in our evolution at all.
This is not applicable for an animal. Without a stick or any tough necessity in its environment an animal would stop in its spiritual development. A hare escapes a wolf. If it rightly does it then it opens its spiritual potential willy-nilly and thus goes to a higher development stage. In due course hare’s soul is born in more ideal bodies and so forth till human body. Starting from human body there is no such tough necessity in “cannibalistic” game rules. But unfortunately we have a thing called “karmic imprints” and use them from force of habit (because we lived for a very long time in animal bodies). And these karmic imprints are undoubtedly passed on to human bodies.
Let’s consider bodies of any primitive peoples somewhere in jungle. These may be cannibals’ people or people of headhunters. We used to romantically displaying towards different kinds of Indians, natives. God forbid us from getting into their hands. They may scalp us or roast us alive and then eat. I.e. all these myths fit when we only read book about these ancient peoples. As soon as civilized person is faced with them nothing good comes out of it. This always ended by war and extermination of primitive forms. That’s because there was no any other way out.
So we can look differently at this. Somebody considers extermination of all savage people living cannibal’s life to be a great crime. But this question is purely philosophical when you stay in Moscow. But when you live side by side with them every day and they may steal your children and simply eat it here philosophy goes to a background and you stretch your hand for a bludgeon to drive off an enemy. So things are not so easy.
And well, why these people have bodies similar to our in general? They really have human bodies. I don’t want to go into all these evolutionary details because there is rather serious secret of nature. But the conclusion is the next: they have human bodies but their souls didn’t go very far from animal level of living. That’s why they retained motivations and instincts from their lives in animal bodies. Conformably they look like animals in everything concerning paying sacred debt: procreate and propagate.
And really people from primitive community were never faced with the question of demography. They aren’t and they won’t ever be faced with it. All primitive communities don’t accept means of contraceptions and so they let fertility matters take their course. That’s because their living conditions is quite severe and they have to succeed by dint of population size: the more children you will bring into the world the higher is probability that at least one of them will survive.
Nature reacted to it very adroitly. It combines two abilities in one: ability to take pleasure in sexual energy and ability of family continuation. They were inextricably intertwined in a single reason. There was no demographical problem because sex demanded of its own very severely and every having sex is a probability that the next human will be born in the world. But very interesting moments begin further. Contemporary humanity looks open-mouthed at them. And these problems have been worked out many thousands years ago. I mean now that more cultured is a person more fertility falls down.
And really looking at the countries of Europe where life is quite wonderful: they may procreate and propagate, they have social benefits, this, that and the other – but their birth rate falls down. And in the same time somewhere in Africa where they live their dog's life, where diseases are tyrannical, where is famine their birth rate continues only growing. This cause apprehension about during n-th years passing wild people will breed and supplant more civilized people as rather dull-witted people affirm. It smells a little of fascism but such apprehension exists about primitive people beginning to supplant more civilized ones. Once again: this idea is conceived many thousands years ago.
The funniest thing is that this moment has already been observed several thousands years ago in yoga history. And quite concrete recommendations are given for it in yoga. If one is to judge by the highest standards without considering abrupt surges there will happen nothing terrible because of the next very serious law: as a soul acquires more and more internal experience, it becomes more and more subtle and it discovers its internal potential more and more a person becomes more and more educated and intelligent. Such person is less and less inclined to uncontrollable propagation. This is just an explication of stabilization and even slowdown (to a certain extent) of population size growth with spiritual development.
I.e. what does it tell about? It tells that in several generations more spiritually developed souls than those souls which are born there now out of control will be born in Africa and in other places also. I hope it at any rate. And then demographical problem will be solved by itself. There will be no situation when one fine morning every second person will become a Hindu. By the way India goes in advance of the entire planet in this respect. It is related with the law: with spiritual development mankind begins to realize that uncontrolled fertility is not good.
But this tendency comes to an extreme as well as each tendency. This extreme consists in a fact that living civilized life people refuse to continue their families at all. And this is a scourge of developed countries. It is another disbalance. Nature knows how to overcome these disbalances rather gracefully and naturally indeed. It is so until ideology and teachings (religious, philosophical or some else) join in the game. When wrong ideas are added therewith then a breakup may happen indeed. As a matter of fact this breakup happened several times during human’s history. And it happened in India as well.
Uneducated people have many children but educated and highly-developed in spiritual sense people have less and less children. But people practicing spiritual practices have very few children because they approach to the family continuation with all responsibility. But sometimes disbalances happen all the same. Sometimes such philosophical currents saying that we have to totally refuse child-bearing appear. The most pity thing is that these ideas are carried on not with ordinary people. They are carried on with highly-spiritual people and ordinary people don't hear them. Highly-spiritual people consider these reasons: “You allegedly have to leave off everything, stop doing your real work and go away to a cloister or any ashram. If you have your business then leave it. This is all vanity. Meditate. Wanting to have children there is no need to have them. Think about your own soul salvation”. Such half-truth is the most terrible poison; it has already destroyed India time and again. And now the time of western people by all appearances has come.
Philosophical systems calling upon for this folly degenerate and disappear by themselves. Really if a teacher taught his pupils such philosophical system then they didn’t prepare their next birth and in their next birth they would been born among the lower representative of mankind. There they will be busy with other things not with philosophy and thus they won’t be able to create their teaching succession. This was understandable perfectly well in Yogins and Yoginis’ environment. If you don’t take care about continuation of fertility line then you will have no place to be born and conformably you will be born in that circumstances where you will have no possibility to do something. This concerns keeping up yoga knowledge as well. As a result yoga will degenerate.
By this reason “Paying sacred debt” is not just a whim. It’s road technology. I specially concentrate your attention on mechanistic aspect. That’s because western person considers reasons. Western person doesn’t consider how wonderful children are and they bring happiness to our life are. He doesn’t consider it. Western person more considers how it’s possible to awaken Kundalini and see through everyone by the third eye. If tomorrow you will decide to propagandize these ideas you will have many followers: from this place up to the Red Square. It doesn’t mean that we may not raise Kundalini energy and using the third eye. That’s OK but these are the games during only one life. And in your next life you will be born in such god-forsaken place where nobody will even know the word “yoga”. So if emotional reasons don’t have an effect on you then let the reasons of mind effect on you. My favorite phrase is: “Where will we born? Among Papuans?”
Let’s think about ancestors presenting us with possibility to be born in human bodies
This topic is so sacred by another reason as well. There are two factors: you may seize the opportunity by yourselves or you may give this opportunity to your ancestors. You have mother and father. It’s good if they practice yoga and if they don’t? So they will die and be born again for a very long time. Take care about your family and friends at least. Give them a chance.
I often meet bold and conceited people. I like their approach: “I will attain enlightenment while living this life”. That’s ok. Go to the enlightenment but take care about people who made your enlightenment possible. I.e. at first you have to take care about your parents: there would be no question of yoga without them. So all philosophical ideas are secondary no matter how wonderful they would sound. You simply wouldn’t be able to use all philosophical treatises without human body. You would have nothing to think with without developed mind. Once again this danger is not so “slobbery” as it may seem. I assure you as soon as you get in religious or semi-religious yogic community with very strict hierarchy and very strict system of values you will turn into a cog in the machine and you will get carried away where you won’t need to. That’s why yoga always calls you to be able to think for yourselves.
A great number of undeveloped souls (without awareness of themselves) in a country leads to horrible wars as a rule. As a result people begin to grow wiser. This acts as the lash on them.
Today scientists study that population growth increases nearly exponentially. And for this it dramatically attain certain plateau, i.e. it stabilizes (as we in Europe now). What for to give birth to ten children and then don’t take care about them as it happens now in Africa? Who will survive is decided on jungle laws. Of course giving life to somebody we have to think about all the conditions for good living, for education and development and so on including yoga practices. Well there is no higher happiness than to be born in Yogin and Yoginis’ family. There is just no higher happiness, everything pales beside it.
And what happens if this principle is not observed: if there is an uncontrollable high population growth (i.e. there are many undeveloped souls in human bodies) without awareness of themselves? As a rule it leads to horrible wars. And as a result people begin to grow wiser. This acts as the lash on them. It’s terrible to speak about it but even in Russia there were one war after another, they killed many people. The same thing touches Europe as well: they started the First World War being not able to keep still, they started the Second World War and they would start the Third World War now… But pay your attention that average European became more peace-loving after all these wars. And the French became peace-loving just after the First World War. They didn’t even take part in the Second World War, they simply yield to Germans and that’s all. This happens because as spiritual awareness of person growths his mind also develops. So such person becomes more and more peace-loving. And not peace-loving peoples (or peaceable but without responsibility for a life) are set themselves at loggerheads. I’m afraid that the next war can begin in Africa and this war will make people to grow a little bit wiser. These are very terrible words. God forbid us from this war. It may be like the Third World War will happen but somewhere there. Nature is fierce in this response. It gave us human bodies and stick has appeared besides carrot. People not using a carrot neglect their spiritual growth. They neglect becoming more conscious and more responsible for their lives. Immediately mechanisms working for big animal groups go on. Sometimes biologists are faced with some kinds of animals beginning to strongly propagate. They propagate and propagate but then any cataclysm happens and everything becomes stable. We have to take this fact into account as well.
But our problem is another. It consists in falling down of inclination for family continuation with spiritual development. Sometimes it comes to its monstrous extreme when a civilization may come abruptly to an end. And everything would be ok without several philosophical currents acting like instigators. They intensify these phenomena so greatly that people simply stop to be born. That’s because everybody go away to cloisters, they leave their business: “Why do I need business? Why have I aspire for power? I will save myself and that’s all”. This is an escape.
Well he ran away to a cloister. He well practiced during all his life but karma didn’t allow him to attain the highest condition all the same. It means he has to be born one again – and where? Well, you will be born in those circumstances that you created. And as you left nothing then you will be born in the first family that is found.
If a principle “to pay sacred debt” wasn’t observed in ancient Yogins and Yoginis’ groups then yoga wouldn’t reached us
And some more notices. Without strict observance of this principle in ancient currents disseminated among Yogins and Yoginis handed us down this teaching we wouldn’t speak about yoga now. All yoga reached us was practiced exactly in yogic groups that followed this principle. They carried these yogas inside them as a nuclear. Then from time to time some philosophical currents branched off from them, these currents might be called “yoga” but they weren’t yoga in its pure sense. That’s why there were many rumors about closed yoga schools until recently.
What do “closed yoga schools” mean?
Closed yoga schools are such schools where you would never get. They carried knowledge. But as yoga knowledge disappeared they were very solicitous and zealous with respect to each continuer of their tradition carried this knowledge. Numerous myths “being whispered in people’s ear” about closed orders and secret yoga schools were born just from here. They tell that each of those yogins has superabilities but it’s impossible to find them and to teach with them. Yes, it’s quite truth. But this was made rather for keeping these grains of knowledge at least than for secrecy.
Our yoga school of Anandasvami tradition originates undoubtedly from such yoga schools. But as distinct from closed yoga schools we have open yogas. That’s why everything that we have we spread freely, we place everything into the Internet – “Here we go! Take it as much as you can”. These myths partly aroused sacred trembling and respect but they have a thing called succession inside them. I mean succession including succession from one generation to another when ancient knowledge came down from father to son and from mother to daughter. This wasn’t made by genetic sign. They didn’t allege that these people differed from the other. No, from genetic stand they all were typical people unless they really perfected their bodies and minds at the expense of long yoga practices and living without bad habits. Being born in such family was considered to be the highest happiness.
Every person may enter this community because this wasn’t national or sectarian formation. It was created only for knowledge preservation. Sometimes a misunderstanding happens: “Well, at that time just in this India and other countries of the East ways of living were quite different…” Yes, it was so indeed because this nucleus of people knew yoga, knew this ancient knowledge was very small – less than one percent.
But strange as it may seem these groups as if with force magnet stabilized and guided development including development of philosophic thoughts whether this was evident or not. They didn’t allow absolutely inhuman disbalances to untwist; they guided them in time in right direction. And you will see the next step if you seriously study history of all religious and philosophical views that were in India during its history. Every philosophical current in yoga develops – then any slant begins – then it becomes straight in any quite subtle way – then a slant to another side begins – and then it also becomes straight – and so on. This could be observed as far back as Vedic times were. I.e. there always were people felt that system went in a wrong direction…
«What to do?” in the way of living of Yogins and Yoginis handed us down the highest yoga knowledge.
We pass on to the next point of our scheme. As you remember it is called “What to do?”
What was an occupation of ancient Yogins and Yoginis?
Understanding their way of living we understand their teaching. And if we understand their teaching we can learn it. It doesn’t mean we have to blindly copy ancient Yogins and Yoginis lifestyle. No. But we should look into all their powerful abilities to take advantage of them by ourselves.
This is logic. Without understanding those cultural environment and key factors we won’t ever look into certain practices. For example explication of any yoga practice takes up two or three sentences. It becomes clear if you know how those people lived. It is understandable from the context. But if we try to translate it from Sanskrit by an exhaustive method we can write fifty different texts because there may be fifty different meanings of one and the same word. The very different translations turn out there and it comes to anecdotes sometimes.
I (Vadim Zaporozhtsev) gathered variants of one text translations. I have them more than ten. Different translators translate the same yoga text in differently. Somebody translates from English into Russian, somebody translates from Sanskrit into English, and somebody does it in any other ways. And then I’ve got a specimen after which I stopped to gather variants of translation. It was a machine translation on computer where they messed up everything that only could be messed. So I understood that it was absolutely unpromising affair. It’s impossible to try to carry down to people ancient practices being unaware of their environment and way of living. Thy simply don’t understand them. They carry these practices to the point of absurdity trying to translate their description by machine way of translation.
Turn your life into yoga and turn yoga into your life. Don’t lose a second, practice what you can
And well – “What to do?” This point “What to do?” completely falls under the second item of our scheme “don’t waste your life on trifles”. We all have been born, we live somehow, and we know something and something we don’t know. Of course if we study any yogic philosophical currents during ten years we will get to know yoga better. But now we know exactly what we know: neither more nor less. That’s why this constant feeling of verge that something we know and something we don’t know will haunt us up to the right moment of enlightenment. Only after enlightenment we will realize that we know the knowledge being aware of which we can perceive all the other knowledge. They ask me sometimes to give a wise definition of the term “enlightenment state”. Well, Enlightenment is possessing of the knowledge by means of which all the other knowledge is perceived.
But this state waits us only when we will attain enlightenment. And before it we won’t always know everything. We will be always not able to do anything, anything will always not be enough for us: may be some material things or spiritual moments or may be some knowledge or may be anything else. I.e. this state of permanent imperfection will haunt you until the right moment of enlightenment. And we are always waiting for something as all the common people do. We are looking for: “When I grow wiser I will begin doing something” or “When I become reach I will…” Some people say: “Now I will finish my studies in university and then I will begin practicing yoga”. And there may be such pretexts as much as they want.
What did Yogins and Yoginis way of living call upon to?
It called for “Don’t lose a second. If you know something then practice what you know. Don’t wait when the heavens open wide and the Absolute begins to show you something by itself. Practice as much as you already can. Don’t lose your time in vain. Time of your life is irreplaceable resource. And being looking for something you won’t get anything at last. That’s why ancient Yogins and Yoginis didn’t waste their time in vain. They used every moment of life for practice: whether it was intense work or reckless rest; whether it was having sex or earning their everyday bread, whether it was creative searches in art sphere or any absolute fixed routine or something absolutely uninteresting”.
There is the next answer on the question “What to do?”: Turn your life into yoga and turn yoga into your life. I.e. every occupation, every second of human’s life may be turned into yoga. This is just an illusion that yoga boils down only to physical exercises. Of course no. Yoga implies mental exercises as well. And yoga implies any other moments. These may be for example making certain qualities of character, development of certain abilities and so on. Yoga also implies having rest. We don’t have to work all the time because rest is the same part of work as actually work by itself. And we should have rest “as yogins / yoginis”. I.e. to have rest so that it makes devils in the hell sick to see our merriment. I mean it as a joke of course. But if you have rest then have it and if you work then work. I.e. using every second for your spiritual development. This is interesting at first glance but hackneyed thought. And on the other hand: a) it’s very difficult to carry it out; b) sometimes we don’t know how to use our pastime for spiritual self-development.
But once again: the moment when we know everything will come only when we attain enlightenment. And now we have to do everything that we are able to do and don’t wait until favorable circumstances will be. We will never have fully favorable circumstances. I.e. things that we have now will remain with us until attaining of the enlightenment. If we can not use it right now there is no guarantee that we will be able to use it tomorrow or the day after tomorrow or in a year. On the other hand there is a reverse of the coin: somewhere reasonable care is needed. We shouldn’t beat the gun. The certain golden mean is needed.
But usually people for the most part are at a loss because they don’t do anything and only wait for something. This was considered unreasonable in Yogins and Yoginis’ environment. Why to lead a dissipated life? Who needs it? Different processes including ageing processes go. If you are young and strong then Tantra Yoga may be interesting for you. But when you will turn much eighty then you will hardly wait for former boldness from yourself. I.e. everything is good in proper place and in proper time. But on the other hand having sex with nobody knows whom you infringe upon the second principle – brahmachari, i.e. you waste yourself on trifles.
They say sometimes about politics that politics is a science of that is possible. The same thing happens in yoga. Yoga is a science of that is possible and not any ephemeral and idealistic moments that are “somewhere not here”. Do you know they usually say “Oh, somewhere high in the mountains there is an ashram with all the things needed for practice. But here we don’t have these circumstances, not at all. That’s why I will wait”? But as the saying goes “a person is waiting so the Universe is also waiting”.
That’s why the first answer on the question “What to do?” consists in the next thing: don’t wait a second. And what should we wait for? Wait until we die and are buried? But then we will be born again in a new body and will wait again… and then we will die the next time and will be born again and so on. This is called “running in a circle”. We have nothing to wait for. Absolutely nothing. That’s why Yogins and Yoginis said that people shouldn’t have had to lose a second of their life from practice. They had to practice everything that is possible for them to practice.
Once again: we will never get better circumstances. A man is an “ephemeral creature”, he never lives with the present. A man always lives with the past or with the future. He usually makes plans how he will buy a three-storeyed palace for meditation in Rublyovka street, how he will contemplate all the amenities from above and then enlightenment will come to him. So he says: “No-no, I won’t meditate now. I will create my business to earn money and to build a palace higher than now”. Well he built this palace, seats and tries to meditate. But he can’t meditate because he has many other problems. And it will be forever. That’s why we have to do today what we can do today.
I’m very often faced with the next know-all comes to me and says with an air of guru or any expert: “No-no, it’s impossible to practice pranayama here. The place here is not right. The air here is not right also. What the pranayama can be in Moscow?” I totally agree with him: this place is much polluting. But why do you think that you can count on the better state of affairs according to your karma? If you spoiled the nature in your previous life then smell Moscow air in this life. On the other hand I know a lot of examples when people practice in the most unfavorable circumstances.
I had a pupil living in the most polluting Moscow district where you even can’t go out without a gas mask. But he did a thing which we call “turn defeats into victories”. He found any overgrown waste plot of land somewhere there and began to practice pranayama there. Though you don’t have of course to intensify your practice because the side effect will come to you then. The same things I hear about food: “Oh, how bad food we have here. How we become yogins / yoginis eating such food?” Yes of course we have bad food but they say that food in America is much worse. I.e. I mean that we always can compare our circumstances with other. On the other hand practicing yoga you put your efforts on another scale pan. Bad food, polluting air and etc. take a part of your energy but you continue waiting for a situation without these. Such favorable circumstances will never come: you wait and the Universe waits; you go ahead and the Universe runs to meet you and spreads you out a runner. It never happens in a different way.
It is not just a beautiful tale. It comes from yogic axiomatic propositions about free will: nobody will ever impose on you those living conditions and game rules that you won’t create by yourself. If you create something then everything will adapt to you. But if you don’t do anything then nothing will be done. As an extreme state of all the above the next idea comes: wanting enlightenment then create it!
What should we actually practice?
We come further. We have examined the point “What to do?” – don’t lose a second but practice, practice and practice. And here another question appears: and what to practice actually?
This question is much more complicated. Those practices that formerly were naturally learnt earlier today become more and more difficult for comprehension and learning. That’s because at first yoga is disappearing. Let those who will tell you the opposite spit in my face. I hear sometimes that on the contrary yoga develops and becomes spread wider and wider. My friends, this that is develops and becomes wider spread isn’t yoga at all, this is any other thing. Yoga disappears that’s why much knowledge hasn’t simply reached us, some practices have disappeared by its karma and some practices were allowed to be lost because they took the lead over their time.
Current situation is as if two thousands years ago there was a plant produced Kalashnikov automatic machines. Then this plant was destroyed and only one its part has remained. But this part also producing Kalashnikov automatic machines is now destroyed as well. This happens because if very powerful techniques get into hands of not enough responsible people they turn into a grenade in monkey’s paws. Only the karma knows where monkey will through it or how it will use it.
Numerous practices disappear and have disappeared. Some practices reached us in misrepresented form that is almost impossible to be understood. Some practices reached us more or less good form. But another difficulty appears – our way of living has changed.
Let us suppose that their lifestyle presupposed that you lived and slept under your banyan tree, ate fruits gathered in jungles and the entire atmosphere was favorable for your practice. And now we live somewhere in “multistoried closet”. Living conditions have greatly changed in general. But every practice has different nuances and requirements that are very unobvious sometimes. So practices begin to malfunction. And I always recommend: “My friends never start learning pranayama at home. Do it only out of doors rain or shine. Otherwise you won’t get any result. More precisely put you will receive breathlessness and a lot of different disorders. The only exception is practice somewhere in a gym under the guidance of a teacher”. That’s why learn pranayama at a balcony, out of doors, in some waste plot of land – anywhere you like but not at home. Living conditions have changed and this leaves its imprint on yoga practices.
So famous yoga principle comes into force: “You can’t be taught yoga but you can learn it”. And our goal is to rediscover yoga. I.e. even if you see detailed description of any yoga exercise in the cleverest book then it doesn’t mean anything. You have to rediscover one or another yoga practice by yourself on your own back. In ancient times they do only in this way. Then when the teaching began to die out very quickly there was no lifetime to rediscover practices once again. They began to tell these practices “both I’ve heard and told”. As a result many mistakes accumulated. Sometimes these mistakes were critical and a practice stopped working. So this is serious problem as well. But as luck would have it some fragments of knowledge remained. There are very few of them. But even those fragments that reached us now are perverted. But we have something nevertheless.
Strictly speaking why Cultural Center “Enlightenment” (www.yogacenter.ru) exists? Why we created Open Yoga University in Moscow (www.openyoga.ru) now? This is by only one reason as it is called “we freeloaded this knowledge by ourselves and now distribute it to everybody for free as well”. Otherwise even these fragments of knowledge will disappear. And we would be glad to practice every day but we don’t know how to do it. But indeed very serious internal intention “I will rediscover yoga” partially compensate an absence of knowledge. This happens so because a person begins to consider himself: because you know this knowledge were open, because sages formerly rediscovered them just considered themselves. Who prevents us from repeat their experience? Nobody prevents. More over even these sages call us upon acting in this way and not blindly coping. But as you understand it takes a lot of time. Much easier is to learn it with somebody, much easier is to use groundworks than to think it up from nothing.
Just imagine you found yourself at a desert island and they said you: “Well let invent the higher mathematics”. And you start from “twice two makes four”, “five times five makes twenty five” and thus little by little you rediscover integral and differential calculus and other branches of mathematics until the highest ones. This will take not a single life from you (even to simply come close to them) as you understand. That’s why ancient knowledge is so important for us.
So answering the question “What to do?” we should observe the next principle: always occupy yourself with self-education, don’t stop for a second, i.e. learn and learn all the time. By the way this principle is prescribed in “Yoga Sutras” of Patañjali as one of the most essential point in the way of living. I’m sitting in front of you and showing off my intelligence but you know I always learn by myself. Sometimes my pupils stopping to learn surprise me a lot. Somebody of them teaches yoga now and I wonder: “My friends why so? Just I know yoga for three out of five, my teachers know it for four out of five, and only Shiva knows yoga excellently. But what mark do you know yoga at? And you stopped to learn?” That’s why process of self-education should be permanent. We always have to open our mind using remaining knowledge and always apply them.
I want to add some words about “What to do?” They ask sometimes: how many kinds of yoga exist in the world? We know Hatha Yoga, Krija Yoga, Pranayama Yoga, and Mantra Yoga. Some people know more exotic yogas: Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, and Rajah Yoga. Some people know more subtle yogas: Sexual Yoga, Tantra Yoga, Amorousness Yoga, Njasa Yoga and so on. But strictly speaking there are as many kinds of yoga as human’s displays. I.e. strange as it may seem there was special yoga for every our ability, for every our sense organ, for every our organs of operation, for every integral part of human life. There is no doubt that not all of them have reached us. But from formal point of view there are as many kinds of yoga as human’s displays. Well we have problems with our bodies in the first place that’s why Hatha Yoga was remained best of all and more subtle yogas required more developed mind and etc. In any case they always mean Hatha Yoga (when a person stands on his head) under the word “yoga” in the West. They often ask me: “What is your occupation?” – “I teach yoga” – “A-a… standing on the head… oh right! (and it is good that not on nails)”. And they keep asking me: “Where is your turban?” – “But I’m such up-to-date…” – “All right, but mind that you don’t look well without turban”.
There are so many yogas as human’s displays. That’s why if any yoga isn't going well with you then you may compensate it with another one. If this another yoga also isn’t going well then you may compensate it with the third one and so on. But if you are on the threshold of death even then you can’t escape from field of yoga activity. Even in case when there are only three seconds before your death there are special yogas. There are Dying Yogas, there are Yogas of conscious dying, there are so called Yogas of transfer of consciousness and so on. In this sense yoga is very practical teaching: nothing will slip through the net. But as you understand it this is just top class. And these yogas have badly remained or haven’t even remained at all.
An attitude towards sex: no extremes
Those yoga parts that deal with sex are very popular in the West. West just lives a period of youth: it is very curious and interested in sexual moments. Well everything related with forbidden fruit is especially sweet and tempting. Such morbid interest is directed towards some parts of Tantra Yoga and etc. As a result many disbalances exist in these yogas.
Generally speaking an attitude towards sex is a touchstone of every philosophical system. By its attitude towards sex we can understand what this philosophical system is worth. That’s because questions of sex are important questions and we can’t not to answer them. An attempt to ignore them leads to skipping of these philosophical systems rather than to skipping of sex. All philosophical systems lived till today learnt to coexist with sexual questions somehow or other. Those philosophical systems that tried to put a ban on sex, taboo it or just regulate it very strictly have simply died out. That’s why sexual questions are very important.
On the other hand pay your attention that all philosophical systems (with the rare exception) think very watchfully about sex and rather negatively than positively. And again there are many angry petitions in the West: “Allegedly these were medieval obscurantists who used to suppress us and keep us in awe. They control sex. They control all our life”. Such charges resemble me a lot a teenager rebellion against his parents. But these philosophical currents, teachings and religions weren’t born yesterday. So if they avoid sexual questions then they had very serious arguments for it.
The questions of sex are examined in a point “What to do?” in the most thorough way. Yoga calls us to turn this part of our life into yoga practice in every possible way. But yoga as opposed to numerous philosophical currents is devoid of both up-to-date extremes: direct taboo or prohibition of sex as well as permissiveness (Just look at hippie epoch: “Children of flowers”, “It’s better to make love than war”, “Hurray! Everything will be ok now”…).
On the one hand yoga agrees that when we hold down the sex we indirectly engender maniacs. I.e. if suppressing creative abilities (and sex is one of the most powerful creative abilities) then they display by bypass or in perverted forms. And yoga is far from slogan: “Dear friends. Let’s procreate and propagate as rabbits. Have sex at every corner no matter with whom”. That’s because ancient religions and philosophical teachings were right in certain sense. If you begin to waste your sexual potential without a moment's hesitation no matter with whom then very quickly you will feel yourself being spiritually drained and there will be no internal pivot, stimulus and energy helping you in your spiritual development inside of you. That’s why both extremes completely fall away in yoga: so sanctimonious attitude towards sex – “not for the life of one” as well as permissiveness overwhelming the West at one time.
My friends, if you start to have uncontrolled sex no matter where, no matter with whom, no matter how then very soon you will feel spiritual exhaust inside of you. That’s why there is some truth in all sexual prohibitions and taboos of these orthodox religions and teachings however hard you fight against them. And we don’t know how to use this energy. I can give you one comparison: a man starved for a long time and then he went to work, earned money but spent them on drink at once. And now he suffers and starves again. The same thing happens in sex: nature gives us some sexual potential but - one, two, three and it's done! - we waste it and then feel ourselves bad again.
Why do I dwell just on this method among numerous ones? Though there are other yogas. There is even Nada Yoga for composers or a kind of it… Well this is because this question is closely related to practice and lifestyle of Yogins and Yoginis. That is why I dwelled on this issue. Yoga doesn’t support views of sanctimonious moral saying that sex is closed theme and trying not to touch it at all, not to speak about it and to keep away from it - and not to have sex in ideal. No, you won’t find anything like this in yoga.
Quite on the contrary yoga calls us to know how to use our sexual potential as we have it. You should know how to control yourself in this issue. Here you should be a cultured person (in a good sense of this word) – not a primitive porcupine – and understand all potential putting in sex. On the other hand you have to understand very clearly that if you begin to spend this potential uncontrollably (no matter where and no matter with whom) then very soon you will feel spiritual exhaust. Yoga (especially Tantra Yoga) is very far from these two extremes. So when they try the next time to communicate some marginal teachings in form of yoga I realize immediately that these things have nothing to do with yoga (especially Tantra Yoga), these are quite different things.
Sex is an opportunity to pay sacred debt.
And now we return to our main issue touching way of living of Yogins and Yoginis handed us down this knowledge. You should remember that sex is an opportunity to pay sacred debt and to continue family. This all is called Sexual Yoga (or Yoga of Alliance). We don’t like to use the word “sex” because as soon as this word appear somewhere in internet or advertising throngs of any lamebrains come the next day and I don’t know how to scare them away. That’s why we name this yoga “Yoga of Alliance” and mean here “sexual alliance”.
Well one of its statements is the next: until we live in animal bodies or in bodies of people very primitive from the stand of their spiritual development notion “family continuation” and notion “delight from sex” join in a comprehensive whole. Owing to this fact we didn’t die out. But these are two different energies indeed. These are two different things though they are very similar because of one and the same impulse engendering them. Practicing Yoga of Alliance we have to know how to distinguish between delight energy and energy of family continuation.
Sex is an opportunity for spiritual development
The most scandalous and charming moment for western followers of pseudo-tantra is the “four and five law”. It says that a man may have so many partners in sex as he wants. The same thing touches a woman also. This means practicing Yoga of Alliance and Tantra Yoga. But I want to make a very strict accent: yoga followers rather won’t mell at all then will have sex with needless people.
On the one hand for family continuation they have husband or wife. Before we considered that living with your wife or husband is equal to asceticism. And if you have some sensual outbreak then you may work them out using yoga with a partner who is not your husband or wife. So you understand that this scheme was absolutely unacceptable for the West 150 – 200 years ago. At that time in the United Kingdom was the Victorian era for example. And this was right. This knowledge is destined only for enough responsible souls and spiritually highly developed people. God forbid us from getting these practices into the hands of semi-humans semi-animals. These practices will harm them. They will waste themselves in sex and then they will feel exhaust, spiritual degradation and so on. That is what always happens.
That’s why an attitude towards sex among Yogins and Yoginis was very reverent and on the other hand sex considered to be the great opportunity for spiritual self-development. And thirdly they understood very clearly that wrong using of sexual energy leads to spiritual degradation and feeling of exhaust inside.
There was one more important point running through all ideology. In Yogins and Yoginis’ environment it was considered that there was no more pure, more inspiring and more powerful energy (display) than sexual energy (display). If you have even the slightest doubt that sex is divinely pure thing, that this is the channel allowing souls to enter our world, if you have an idea about sex as something dirty then they won’t simply give you any Tantra Yoga practices. That’s because you will force your negative with such your attitude and as a result you will receive much more exhaust if you waste something uncontrollably.
We know from history that in ancient times some Turkish sultan might have so many wives and concubines as he wanted. And this was naturally taken. The situation was a little bit different in Yogins and Yoginis’ environment. Your husband or wife is the most closed person for you, it is your partner in asceticism but you might practice methods of Tantra with any person you liked. It meant that this partner was suitable, i.e. he had to know these practices and didn’t waste himself on trifles. We should remember this to avoid myths about ancient Yogins and Yoginis. They allege such myths that ancient Yogins and Yoginis didn’t have sex and were stony idols and all normal things were stranger for them. No, all this isn’t truth. They flared up, fell in love just like we. They had an entire gamma of feelings inherent in us. But on the other hand they weren’t inclined to waste all this on trifles.
So as soon as they begin to responsibly translate ancient texts and spread you will meet many practices. Some of them will really amaze you. For example I read in one text that the duty of wife was to find partners for her husband and the duty of husband was to find partners for his wife. And we don’t understand what this ancient text tells us about: may be about any group sex or something like this. But this is just one of yoga currents. And there are many such currents in yoga. We, western people, not always understand what they meant. And we take it either as something dirty or as any calling upon new sexual revolution and permissiveness. But both these things have nothing to do with yoga.
And finally is the most important thing. This issue is very important and powerful. From the point of view of human’s development sex factor is dominative because as soon as the nature realizes that we encroach on sex it begins to take vengeance on us very cruelly. The reaction of nature is very unpredictable when person encroaches on sex to please one or another religion, one or another philosophical current. And this is karmic reaction; so intricately everything is done. Why?
This is a horrible thing at first sight. But on the other hand it is very beautiful thing because we would have died without it. Any dolt with his crazy sectarian ideas would has come and said: “That is all, no sex. Everybody has to go to cloister for meditation” – and would have died. But the nature is very severe in this sense, it won’t stand that and it will destroy such system. But we can’t be hostages of these deep mechanisms going on from our living in animal bodies as well.
Once again: having nothing to do with questions of sex we can’t be seriously developed people. Everything becomes intertwined very tight there. Sexual questions are very varied. This is one of the most difficult themes. Now there are books where everything is very simple: “Guys, take your girlfriends and drag them into your beds. There the third eye will open in you and you begin to fly in the air”. Well if everything is so easy then half-population of Moscow would begin to fly in the air long ago because a lot of people have sex.
Question: “Why I may not practice Yoga of Alliance with my wife?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Oh, you may. Your wife is just that person with whom you should start. And it is your main partner in general. But you know your wife in this life and do you know your wife in previous life? Even if you meet her in the street you won’t recognize her. But in your previous life you swore to love her right until the enlightenment. That’s why you may have different lifestyles. You may have no wife at all. I.e. yoga doesn’t call you “to do as I do”. Yoga means that your wife is your partner in asceticism in the first place. This is your most intimate person. This is the person that sees you from all sides: when you have ups and downs, when you are on the peak and when you absolutely fall down. That’s why practices with your wife are much deeper and they rather fall under asceticism.
At the same time you are indebted to your four previous wives of your four previous lives. You swore them eternal love and if you meet them in this life you have to pay them your debt because no one forced you to talk. These practices are founded on another moment. This is an ecstatic moment. I.e. all the practices there are built in a way when you hide all you shortcomings and show your positive traits as much as possible. Just by this reason people get lovers as a rule.
Try to live with one person for a long time. Follow a person around in one apartment. It’s difficult. But here people meet, pick flowers of delight from each other, they see each other when they want and when they don’t want they don’t meet. And everyone thinks that it should be just like this all the life. But everything is quite different.
So if Yogin or Yogini had a wife or a husband then they practiced with this wife (or husband) of course. But it means there were such practices which implied unwonted relationships between a man and a woman. Their relationships were specified very strictly. But it also took place and I can’t pass it over in silence. Sometimes they try to interpret ancient texts as if there wasn’t anything like this. But it was”.
Question: “Did Yogins and Yoginis choose one person for the entire life to be a wife or a husband?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Of course no. They did like we do. Our karma may be very different. Why does yoga teaching come home to us so hardly? That’s because formerly it was passed on in natural environment and such questions have never appeared. I.e. nobody knows how this world is arranged. Our world is a game. It is a game of our karma, of maya. Everything becomes intertwined here and very different scenarios may be.
Who are Yogins and Yoginis? They were people just like we but very honest, very consistent and – pay your attention – these were people who never lied to themselves. If yogin felt necessity in practicing with another woman then he practiced with her. He didn’t lie to himself that he didn’t want and he didn’t keep down this feeling. Of course we should keep ourselves in check. Of course we shouldn’t allow each feeling to display. In general sex issue is very complicated. Very different displays may be, they may be very difficult from the karmic stand. And very different situations may be.”
Question: “And how to deal if I don’t like another woman and my wife absolutely suits me?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “I’ll tell you more: if you don’t like women at all and you don’t have sexual needs then yoga says: “It’s wonderful! It means that your potential doesn’t disturb you. Go meditating”. My friends, you shouldn’t understand my words as “You must have this if you didn’t have it before” or as “Tomorrow everyone gets five mistresses and four lovers in the form of an order. Let’s propagate and procreate rapidly. Let’s continue our families, stop sleep and eat…” My friends, one again: why I deliver these lectures? Not to make you blindly coping ancient lifestyle. I do it by another reason: to teach you to understand ancient texts and practices. You have to understand their way of living for this and not for coping it starting from tomorrow. Well think up your own lifestyle, live as you like. The only one thing that yoga calls us upon is: not to injure any live being and not to waste your life on trifles. And everything else… you may use it or not”.
Question: “It is considered that Europe is more developed than some other countries. If for example there is populations outbreak in India or China then they are less developed. But just removal of sexual taboos led to demographic recession there because people stopped living according biological program built into them. Here I mean homosexual marriages and so on.”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Here we examine Europe, India, Africa and other countries and we see certain contrast. Let’s don’t be absolutely morons telling that all people are equal. Nobody is equal. Our bodies are equal indeed but our souls inside bodies are quite different: this may be a soul of great saint, a soul of maniac or anybody else. In this sense our equality consists in our potential: we all can attain a common objective even the worst kind of a scoundrel. As the saying goes: “Each saint has the past and each sinner has the future”.
Yogins have tracked these demographical fluctuations many thousands years ago. The same things happened five thousands years ago: they lived in Europe in one way, they lived differently in India, there were different kingdoms and principalities, and somewhere people had better living conditions and somewhere – worse. As a matter of fact nothing has changed. I.e. the game hasn’t changed and our world is like a huge conveyor. I saw on television how they bake bread: they put a loaf of dough on a conveyor, it goes through it and then it becomes bread at the output. This is one and the same bread but it looks quite differently. The same thing goes with nations: they pass through the same phases, same leaps in their development. At first many souls energetic but without self-consciousness were born. Then these souls began to open their potential. These states became the lamps of spiritual knowledge, lamps of science, arts and etc. They attained their peaks and then disappeared. They say that they flied away somewhere to cosmos – I don’t know, it must be tales. But other states came up to take place of these developed states. And this conveyor is the same: it is conveyor right now and it was such conveyor five thousands years ago. So emancipation in sex issues and sexual deviations were also five thousands years ago. This is a question of growth. When they more developed their intellect then more subtle necessities began to appear. Naturally all the other displays were more subtle than displays of people with less developed intellect.
As concerns certain template or taboo: we should understand that the nature of ancient undeveloped person is good because there are taboos but instincts play much greater role indeed. Taboos right said “Not in the very least” but on the other hand they followed such a proverb: “being afraid of sin you won’t have children”. Something more subtle is here. And this subtle thing displays when more developed souls came up to take place of less developed souls. And these souls have other interests. That’s why I don’t know why something taking place in Europe doesn’t take place in Africa. Pay your attention that Germany was literally in ruins after the Second World War, they raze Germany to the ground. And at the same time aboriginals lived in Africa at any level. Sixty years have passed, Germany rose from the ashes and became nearly superpower but African aboriginals live as they lived many years ago. There was nothing to prevent them from doing the same breakthrough. Are they defective genetically? - No. Their skin color is different but these are trifles. Are they defective by their intellectual level? – Well nothing of the kind. So many times black-skinned people attained high peaks in different spheres. There is something imperceptible here. And yoga says that point here is in souls being born and bodies are neither here not there.
And it happens so that highly developed souls prefer to be born in one country and less developed souls – in another. For example why they would build an industry if everything is good as it is: there are many bananas and the sun is shining? And this is very difficult question. The problem is that young souls recently being in human bodies really have a template from times they lived in animal bodies. And more highly developed souls already set aside these templates and nothing holds them back either in good or bad sense of the word. We are free and if someone wants to display himself in this way or that then – why not? This is the reverse side of freedom. Where is ban or where is permission? There is no ban or permission. That’s why everything depends on us. The only thing yoga calls us upon is non-injuring anybody.
Question: “If I don’t continue my family then the soul won’t have place to be born. And why the soul has to move into my family?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “No, I didn’t speak about the family. Let’s start from one classic’s statement: “We all descended from one monkey”. I.e. we all are relatives in certain sense if trace the history. There is one very interesting research of Russian scientist. He counted up that the population size was about few millions just two thousands years ago. And now the population size is several billions. Yoga teaches us that we live like a certain tangle. Now we live in the world where every man for himself. But karmically and genetically we offer one community and this is madness trying to detach yourself, your nation from the entire world. These obvious genetic relationships are more complicated than they seem to be.
For example Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin has a grandfather who was a “blackamoor of Peter the Great”. And there less obvious karmic relationships exists sometimes: a person grew up in Russia, he spent here all his life and then he went to America and stayed there for living. And what the hell (I’m sorry) did he find himself there? Karmically it is very simple: his soul came from here and it was dragged away there. And there is an opposite situation: I know many Americans feeling in Moscow completely at home. Though this is very trivial explication and everything may be not so simple. But we are a certain tangle and so if one is to judge by the highest standards people in general should remain: Blacks, Papuans or even man-eaters. Human body needs to be preserved. The deepest falling would be in case of any nuclear war when only rats and cockroaches would remain. This is a situation when everything is really bad. We are a certain tangle and if we can’t be born where it’s necessary then we are born one stage lower where there is such possibility.
Question: “Why do we have to be born in a place where there is an opportunity? Why aren’t we able to wait until better opportunity as there is no time there?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “You ask me very difficult question. This is one of the most secret themes in yoga. Dying Yoga and Yoga of Passing from one life to another deal with this issue. There is the work of literature "Tibetan Book of the Dead" (“Bardo Thodol”) narrating about states of Bardo. These are the states between death and birth. According to this book a soul can spend no more then seven times seven days between death and birth. I.e. in forty nine days you will be born in a place where there will be an opportunity – even in a body of suslik. Why? These are some deep cause and effect connections. We don’t understand them but they are very strictly postulated, otherwise the entire Universe will go to pieces.
Read “Bardo Thodol” written by founder of Tibetan Buddhism guru Padmasambhava (better known as Guru Rinpoche that means "Precious Guru"). There is a certain scheme there: having good karma you are born just after your death, i.e. you immediately find a body for yourself. If you have a little bit worse karma then you are born later. And on the forty ninth day you have absolutely rotten birth. For these cases they have appropriate practices mystical and very gloomy.
I see sometimes on TV people passing through clinical death. They say: “Wow, I feel so well there, something opened to me. There was wonderful and I didn’t want to come back”. I don’t want to doubt in their words but evil tongues say that only that person died who hasn’t come back and those who come back they didn’t really die, i.e. clinical death isn’t a death by itself.
Process of the death from axiomatics stand is the process of compulsory desidentification. It happens like they would tear out of your hand the rattle that you catch at. This is very painful and unpleasant. Remember all you fairs, all your disappointments in life and multiply them by ten millions – approximately in such state you will be between death and rebirth. And then you will be glad to be born even in suslik’s body or in body of cockroach if it only helps you to go out of this interstitial state.
I.e. nothing is so simple there. But on the other hand there are yogas that really help to endure all the horrors happening in Bardo state. They help “to turn defeats into victories” as it is called. They offer us methods of right meditation and right attitude towards unfolding terrible pictures. And the pictures of Bardo are really horrible according to their descriptions. But rightly meditating you can “close” needless rebirths and find need ones.
There is the top class in yoga. It’s so called Transfer Yoga. If you have very good karma you will be faced with Transfer Yoga some time or other. As far as I know this Yoga is still alive and people sharing and practicing it are also alive. And more over this yoga is quite available for all of us. And again this is a gift from above. In this yoga there is a variant when you may jump to the higher stage. These places have different names but in certain aspects they are analog of our physical world with their own laws. Common person never practicing this yoga (which was gifted to us) doesn’t have such positive karma and we are happy to be born no matter where instead of waiting birth as single son of millionaire.
Question: “Do giving alms and charity concern Karma Yoga?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Of course. But look for whom you give alms”.
Question: “What happens with people earning money in a sinister manner?”
Vadim Zaporozhtsev: “Notion of karma isn’t so simple as it seems to us. If someone has something in this world then it means that he earned it. It’s another matter how he came to it, this is also karmic chain. Imagine any safebreaker unsealing locks with master keys. He spent all his previous life to acquire this habit and plundered. In this life his karma unfolded unsuccessfully and was put into prison and for a thing he would have never assumed. But on the other hand he has his positive karma: he perfected his skill for a long time and became the greatest carpenter in this life. I.e. if someone has something then he is entitled to it but we should consider this situation not in one life but throughout chain of lives.
And even if in this life you grabbed something for free (for example privatized something fortunately) then this is not a guarantee that in your next life you will be able to do the same. Well this is very tricky subject. The only thing yoga tells us is the karma law. Nobody can abolish it and “one must reap as one has sown”. Sowing good deals you will receive good things, sowing bad deals you will receive bad things and sowing whether good things or bad then you will receive mixed things as a result. You may be wealthy but unhealthy and why do you need your wealth if you have three days till your dying day? I.e. karma may be very different but in any case we receive only the things that we earned and this is the tragedy. That’s why never envy anybody because you don’t know all his karmic chain”.