The Greatest Gift (2)

“In order to survive, we need to eat.” Guruji began. “When we are learning to cook, we sometimes need to use certain quantities and follow a method in a recipe book so that the food will taste good. But naturally, if we are not a perfect cook, and we try by ourselves, we sometimes make mistakes.“

“We fry the vegetables until they burn, we add too much salt or spice or sugar into the cooking and spoil the meal. But despite the mistakes we make, we never say that I will stop eating. We carry on learning and doing, because food is a requirement of the body.“

“In India we talk about sahaj karma. “Sahaj” has two definitions: “easy”, and “by birth”. There is just one sahaj karma that unites us because we are all been doing it since birth. It is breath in the form of pranayama. We inhale, there is a gap, we exhale and there is another gap. It is giving us life and we can hold our breath for some time but we cannot stop the breath through will-power or force alone. This karma (action) is a chain – we are bound to it – but in yoga we can learn a technique to breathe correctly and to perfect our pranayama in order to free ourselves.

Yoga science teaches us that the mind is connected to the breath. If we can harness the breath which is grosser than the mind, then we can start our journey to find permanent peace and happiness. The breath goes in and out by itself, but this is not sufficient. We have to learn to breathe correctly and perfectly. We need the recipe how make our respiration long and deep. We need to learn a method for that.

If you want to bake a cake you can buy all the different ingredients at the supermarket. Each ingredient is separate until you follow the recipe and whisk, blend or mix them all together. Then it becomes one mass and you put it in the oven at a set temperature to bake until it is perfect. Finally you can enjoy the delicious cake that you made. When you have made the effort to prepare your food by cooking, you can sit down and eat and enjoy.”

In the same way, when you breathe in and out with a technique or method, there is no doubt that someday your breath will be correct and the preparation that you are doing will yield results. One day through yoga in a natural way the breath will mature – you can reach the higher stages of Kriya yoga where the breath is conquered and there is no more fear of death.

I hear people say, “I have been practising yoga for ten years. So I know very well what yoga is.” But whether they have been practising for two years, five years twenty years – they don’t know. And they are wasting their time. They don’t know because yoga is “union”. When you know yoga, it means that you are completely settled in Truth.

When we have a big ego, when we say “I” in this path, it is harmful. This is why in India we have a very old tradition: before we do any action, say like eating, or working, or starting our yoga practices, first we have to offer what we are doing to God.”

Offer what we are doing to God?! Oh yes, I almost forgot! (This blog is all for my own benefit, you know, slow on the uptake, need reminding of these things.)

Especially when it’s time for a visit to the accountant, as was the case last week to submit a very late tax return. “So, how’s this going?” he asked as usual, and I just pointed to the figures in red showing the costs of recording and releasing Divine Romance, and mumbled something under my breath about the new project. He has observed that to date I have not made a cent on my music or my book. And every year he gives me a curious look tinted with air of sympathy and goes off on a tangent about what it would be like to be an author like J.K. Rowling, and how much money even the young actors in the films make.

It’s interesting, because in the spiritual path, Guruji has told me many times, “everything is reverse”; there is always loss. Even a spiritual master may also go through periods (or even a lifetime) of extreme physical or monetary need. It may seem strange but it happens. With Guruji’s example it’s easier to understand that genuine success is internal cannot be measured in terms of numbers or money. Winston Churchill put it beautifully when he said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give”.

“Yes, Mr Accountant, it took almost two years to write, record, practice these new songs and prepare for a release. Yes, I poured my heart and soul into every part of it. I know it doesn’t add up on paper, but I’m certain that there was a purpose for making it, because Guruji was behind it with his blessing and encouragement from conception to completion with this project, just as he was with the book…!”

After all, the accountant doesn’t have a clue how many people’s lives have been changed through Footsteps to Freedom since it was first self-published because of their subsequent contact with Guruji and knowledge of original Kriya Yoga. Since 2003 the letters I’ve received about both the book and those who have loved the music already, too … well, those alone are truly priceless to me. Some things are far deeper and greater than loss or gain.

So on the music front too, I just have to look at the other side of the coin and remember how Guruji says never to think of loss or gain: how we just have to do our duty – and offer all we are doing to God.