Travels and Conversations with Daaji, 12 to 20 November 2018
Short notes on a long journey
12 and 13 November
A world beyond stars!
The big Brighter Minds event at Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad on 11 November ended with a teaser note by Daaji: “Sitaaron ke aage jahaan aur bhi hai,” meaning, there is a world beyond the stars.
The next day was the beginning of a Heartfulness journey through the Konkan belt – the coastal area on the shores of the Arabian Sea.
On 12 November, in the late evening, Daaji landed by flight at Goa to attend the concluding part of the conference organized by the Indian Government’s AYUSH Ministry. The next morning there were several meetings with AYUSH officials, who are relentlessly working towards promoting Yoga worldwide. Later in the afternoon, Daaji joined the Governor of Goa and the Minister of AYUSH on stage at the conference, ‘Yoga for Public Health’, to deliver the valedictory address, sharing his experience and insights on Yoga and the philosophy of Heartfulness meditation.
AYUSH – Yoga is all about lifestyle
Daaji started his address as follows:
“All dignitaries and my dear sisters and brothers,
“Pranams to you with all my heart. During the last two days, you must have collected a lot of information about systems of Yoga. The most famous one, that you are all familiar with, was codified by Rishi Patanjali and is known worldwide as Ashtanga Yoga. But Ashtanga Yoga is not like a buffet where you can pick and choose your dishes: “Oh I like only ice-cream so I will eat only ice-cream.” “I like only Asanas,” or “l like only Pranayama.” No, you cannot pick and choose what you like. Each limb is an integral part of the entire complex eightfold path of Yoga, which has to be accomplished. Eliminating one limb is like eliminating one out of seven essential vitamins – what will happen? Remove one adenine from a DNA strand, and what will happen? The sequence will change, and if you change the sequence in a strand of DNA, its genetic expression will be different. Remove one strand from a gene, change the number and you have a disease.
“Yoga is all about lifestyle, trying to achieve superconsciousness. Swami Vivekananda once mentioned that we all have some level of consciousness, but it is a very thin layer of consciousness. The purpose of the spiritual practices of Yoga is to fly into the sky of superconsciousness and dive deeper into the subconscious realms. Fantastic! It is very nice to hear about superconsciousness and subconsciousness, but how to do that? How to arrive at a superconscious state? What style of life must we lead in order to sustain such a level of consciousness?
“The first step of Yoga is Yama, and I don’t think most of us understand the meaning of Yama. You must have heard of Lord Yama in Indian mythology, the God of Death. Why would Patanjali codify one of the steps of Yoga with a name denoting the God of Death? He is only trying to convey that we need to kill all these vices. You be Yama and destroy all the vices that are destroying your inner harmony.
“How many of us do understand the ultimate goal of human life? One in millions perhaps. And of those ones in millions, Lord Krishna says that if you gather hundreds of thousands of them, maybe one or two will achieve this goal. But we need to change this. We have to promise our Lord that we are not such weaklings. We will achieve it. The ways are there.”
Daaji then spoke about Heartfulness Meditation, Transmission and his personal journey and experiences. While talking about health and Yoga, he said,
“We are not only looking into problems associated with physical health, as today the major problem is mental health issues arising out of moral crises. How to tackle these moral crises at the root level? Generally we only talk of physical health while we are alive, but Yoga is all about going beyond life itself. It is all about Existence. It is not just about this life; it is about Existence. It is not only about mine, but everyone else’s Existence also. That’s why we have the Vishwashanti prayer in our Shastras, a prayer not for myself alone but for everything that exists in this universe. That is the purpose of Yoga. Thank you or listening.”
Around 6 p.m., Daaji conducted group meditation for abhyasis in the small Heartfulness Centre in the heart of Goa.
14 and 15 November
to Udupi via Karwar and Gokarna
Daaji started a long road journey on 14 November to visit centres in the South Canara area. He left Goa around 11:30 a.m. and reached Karwar by 2:30 p.m. for a short rest at the Premier Residency. The hotel team welcomed him warmly and served Daaji and the travel team with simple food. The Director of the hotel and the main operations person both started meditation. They were impressed with their first experience and willing to continue the practice and spread the word about Heartfulness. A new centre in the making!
At 4:45 p.m., the road journey continued south until it was dark. Daaji stopped at Gokarna to rest overnight. The next day, 15 November, the journey continued towards Udupi. Daaji was keenly observing and learning about the towns, the culture and the greenery around. By 2 p.m., he stopped at Bhatkal for a short break. Here too, the owners of the place experienced their first meditation session. Finally, by 6 p.m. he reached Udupi, covering approximately 400 kilometres of coastal journey.
Friday, 16 November
Udupi and Mangalore
Who is an intense abhyasi?
Around 7:30 a.m., Daaji conducted satsangh in the Udupi Meditation Center. He met the Manipal Print Media leadership team and they all experienced their first meditation session with Daaji. On the same day, Daaji travelled to Mangalore and reached Pai’s residence by noon.
In an informal session, Daaji asked the question, “Who is an intense abhyasi?” He also asked, “What is the difference between trying and attempting?” He also talked about the idea of a sense of belongingness, and how it manifests in our thoughts and actions. Later, Daaji read out a letter written by Babuji in 1949 and highlighted several ideas.
Daaji conducted satsangh at 6 p.m. and afterwards he invited abhyasis to ask questions. They sat in complete silence, so Daaji ended the short session with a big smile and two words, “Thank you.”
Saturday, 17 November
Daaji conducted three satsanghs during the day. After the second satsangh, at 11 a.m., he gave the longest talk of the tour.
Here are some excerpts from the talk:
In love one cannot impose conditions
“Our meditation process is very simple, extremely simple. Just relax and have a focused attention towards the heart, thinking that “The divine presence is already there in my heart,” and remain receptive. That’s all. Most of the work is done by the Master who shares Pranahuti with us. Because of this Prana, we are able to dive deeper in meditation. It is as simple as that. Now, how does this Prana work in creating the path from our present awareness and allow us to fly into a super conscious state? It is by the removal of obstacles between my present state and the higher state, which is yet to arrive.
“Samskaras helps us go through this life, but at the same time samskaras are also the problem. Good samskaras give us such a beautiful life – you are tied up with a golden chain – and bad samskaras give us a terrible life with a lot of misery and pain – you are tied up by an iron chain. It doesn’t matter whether you are tied by the golden chain or the iron chain. Bandhan to bandhan hi hai! We cannot live with such entrapment because the soul is seeking freedom. So while being here, while going through the samskaras, we can develop the art of recognising that we would like to free ourselves. Free ourselves from what? Attachments.
“I will give you one simple example to show that attachment is nothing but conditioning of ourselves at an emotional level. When you tie an elephant with a steel pole or iron pole, he cannot move from there, his legs are tied. After some time he becomes conditioned to this. If you now tie him to a plastic chair, he won’t move though he can bring an entire circus tent down and make people run everywhere. Because of his conditioning, he has become a weakling. That is how we are. We have been conditioned throughout the ages. We have been fed information: this is paapam and this is punyam [sin and virtue]; this is attachment and this is detachment; this is worth doing and this is not worth doing; we are conditioned.
“Conditioning is always from the past, and desires to fulfill certain things keep us busy with the future: ‘Oh, if I have this I can achieve that in the future.’ But who thinks about what they must be doing in the present? We are always pushed by the past and pulled by future desires. And desires are nothing but the seeds of samskaras, yet to be created.
“Let me give you one more example, for those of you who are not very clear about the example of the elephant. Maybe we human beings are even more conditioned, severely conditioned, worse than cats and dogs and elephants.
“The state of sthit pragya is that in which we are like a lotus, unaffected by likes and dislikes. Dislikes also affect us; aversion affects us. ‘This person is not behaving well,’ and you feel tremendous aversion towards that person. That is also wrong. Why do you want to lose peace of mind because of another person’s behaviour?
“In love one cannot impose conditions, and for divinity never.
“There are only two things that can be offered at the feet of your Guru: one is gratitude, being thankful for what the Guru does for us; and the second is to make sure that others also benefit the way we benefit.”
After dinner, Daaji met many local abhyasis. Two children came with their parents to see Daaji. Daaji asked their names. The little one said, “I am Diksha.” He asked, “Do you know the meaning of diksha?” Diksha just kept staring without saying a word. Daaji said, “It means initiation into a lot of good things in life.” He continued, “The first initiator is the mother, the second initiator is the father, the third initiators are Elders around us, the fourth initiator is the Guru and the fifth initiator is God.”
Late in the evening, Daaji mentioned that the satsanghs here were out of this world. He was also happy with the spiritual potential and environment in these centres.
18 and 19 November
Mangalore and Vittal
Daaji conducted the morning satsangh and then left Mangalore by 11:15 a.m. for Vittal. The greenery of this area captured his heart completely. Daaji conducted satsangh around 6 p.m. in Vittal and answered questions from the audience. The session ended with an invitation by Daaji to all the abhyasis gathered:
“I am very happy to be here. It is a very nice place and I don’t know how we missed this place for many years. I hope the centre grows and grows, and soon you will all have a beautiful ashram. Thank you and I hope you will all come soon to Kanha.”
He was very happy with the Vittal centre, and sat out with abhyasi till late into the night before going to rest.
The next morning, Daaji conducted satsangh and welcomed visitors. At around 11:40 a.m. he reached Kabaka Puttur railway station and was given a formal warm welcome by the railway staff. While he was waiting for the train, he met a few people who wanted to start meditation. The train arrived on time, and Daaji was in the Chair Car coach along with 15 abhyasis who were travelling with him. The train passed through the scenic western Ghats and many tunnels before reaching Sakleshpur, our destination. He appreciated the scenic beauty of thick and lush green forests, filled with many varieties of tall, established trees. Most of the journey he was looking out the window, asking the Media Team to take photos of rare trees and flowers, which he wants to plant in Kanha. It was a different kind of joy for the abhyasis around him to see how he appreciates the beauty of nature. Daaji felt that every forest officer should make a point to visit the Western Ghats.
Daaji had a light lunch in the train with abhyasis, and a few other passengers on board the train also interacted with him and some requested photos with him.
After a 3-hour slow journey through the Western Ghats, Daaji reached another small station at Sakleshpur. He wants to bring the Western Ghats greenery to Kanha! He reached the Hassan Centre by 5 p.m. and conducted satsangh at a retreat. Around 200 abhyasis were gathered from nearby centres. His travel along the Konkan Coast ended here.
To be continued.