Kriya Yoga plus Devotion
by Brother Anandamoy
Excerpts from a talk at 2003 Convocation
I want to tell you some little stories which taught me big lessons.
The first Convocation in 1950 was held at Mother Center on the tennis court. At the closing of it Master was seated in a chair and all the devotees came to greet him and say good-bye. Brother was standing nearby and he was watching very closely, totally fascinated by the interaction between the devotees and the guru. A young man came to Master – he looked like he was on drugs or something – like a zombie – both hands in his pockets as he stood there in front of Master. Then he took one lifeless hand out of his pocket and gave Master a “limp -fish” handshake. Brother was astonished to see Master’s response - he completely withdrew and offered a limp, lifeless hand in return. Just behind this man was a woman and when she got to Master she was all devotion – and Master - he came alive! How he responded to her, pouring out his love and blessings. The young man saw this, and he turned around and stood in line again! But when his turn came again, it was the same scenario all over again - the same lifeless handshake and Master’s withdrawn response in return.
What a lesson Master taught me? As we approach the guru in meditation, so he responds.
One Sunday Service at Hollywood Temple , I stood in line to greet Master. I was shocked to hear the man in front of me asked Master for money. Now Master didn’t always carry money with him, but he must have known, because he took out his wallet and gave him some. The lesson: Our devotion should not be mercenary. Ask yourself if you are doing just that in meditation. You may not be asking for money, but you may be asking for this experience or that experience… with an attitude of “gimmee, gimmee.” That’s not true devotion.
One time Master was in back of the chapel after a service and a woman, a member came. “Oh, it’s so nice to see you!” she said, and then she talked and talked and talked about all that had happened to her since she had last seen him. No questions, no devotion. Then after a lot of words she said, “Well it’s been so nice to be with you again”, and she said good-bye and left. I looked at Master, and Master looked at me - there were no words between us, but Master made a face as if to say, “Should I laugh or cry?” That woman didn’t know what he is or who he is.
Master is omniscient. She didn’t need to say a word - he already knew all that she was telling him. If she had used that time just sitting there in his vibration and love, how much more she would have received. What a lesson again – it is so easy to do exactly that in meditation. Guru is right there in the heart - right there in the Christ Center - but we think and think and think about all our problems instead of being in the inner stillness, in the presence of God. “Be still and know that I am God.” When you go to meditate, remember - Guru is there - God is there. Throw your problems out of your mind.
Don’t think much.
Soon after that incident, at a Sunday Service at Hollywood Temple Master was greeting the devotees after the service. The last person was an 18 year old girl. She went to Master and didn’t say a word - she just knelt down before him. Master put his hand on her head in blessing and then he very gently patted her head and said, “Good girl, good girl.” She felt no need for words in the presence of her guru. I never forgot that scene – it was a very sweet, very poignant moment.
There are lessons to learn in these stories. I tell these stories, not to talk about myself, but so that you can learn the lessons as I have learned the lessons. In the Gita, Krishna teaches all these lessons. Arjuna played the role of disciple for our benefit.
Arjuna asked Krishna how to transcend the gunas
- how to get out of this dark forest and go home. And Krishna said: by devotion – by bhakti yoga.
First go inside. Use the techniques to go inward until there is no room for thought of self. Bhakti - pure devotion – only You, my God. Self-surrender is the highest form of Bhakti.
Sometimes you may have a dark period. You may find it difficult to meditate and you may not feel you are getting much out of it. No - it’s not true. Those dark periods are precious. They are very important - they are necessary - because they are teaching us unconditional love. God is meeting you through the light and through the darkness.
Maybe you are striving for devotion, but don’t feel love for God. Just remember, wanting to love God is loving God. A saint said, “His absence too, is one of his manifestations.” God cannot be absent. Be like a courtier that goes to the court of his king – and remember that even if the king doesn’t talk to you, you are still in the presence of the king - and that’s enough. When you meditate, you go into that Presence.
And if God is silent - if He doesn’t talk to you - if He doesn’t give you any experience - it’s okay – because you are in the presence of God. You have to cultivate that - that deep personal relationship with God.
A saint said, “There is none more intimate and affectionate than God. God cannot be angry. Anger is a perversion.” Throw out negative concepts of God. God is love. God is peace. You have to cultivate that – that infinite, affectionate God - a concept of God that you can love. A saint said, “Just like a mother who holds the face of her child in her hands to cover it with kisses, so does God hold the devotee.”
Cultivate a personal relationship with God and cultivate the thought that in meditation you are with that God.
And then what do you do? Don’t ask for things. Just be there with God. Not, “What do you give me?” Just be there and love. Master said, “Go with joyous expectation to meet God in meditation.” Then in meditation you are there. And then love, and that’s all. When I had an opportunity to see Master, to be with Master, I came with “joyous expectation”. Master wrote, “Just lose yourself in your love for God”, meaning forget yourself. People want to see me and be with me, but I don’t understand that, when they can be in the presence of God.
Kriya Yoga plus devotion. Master brought us these teachings and they are the teachings of the higher ages. “Now, may I suggest that you meditate, and apply what I have just said. Remember, God is waiting for you inside.”
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