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Shivabalayogi on His Mission

Shivabalayogi’s Sabotage

The Living Example

The Cosmic Shivabalayogi

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Meditation as the Mission

Diversity in the Mission

A Community of Devotees

Measuring the Mission

The Living Self

Lord of Yogis

An Army of Monkeys & Bears

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Perspectives on the Shivabalayogi Mission Today

Meditation is your religion.  Meditation is your purpose.  Meditation is your path.

Meditation as the Mission (Part 2)

Shivabalayogi in samadhi  Meditation as the Measure

Meditation is the what devotees working in the “mission” most closely and readily associate with Shivabalayogi.  Meditation also has the advantage of being less associated with Indian culture than bhajans and bhava, and certainly far less controversial.  So if there is a popular and universal theme to Shivabalayogi’s mission, it would be meditation.

The embodied teacher, therefore, should be one who has mastered meditation.  The true representative of Shivabalayogi is a master of meditation, not a trance swami.  This judgment appeals to many.  For them, common sense and their beloved Shivabalayogi should return to the devotees in the form of a yogi who has mastered meditation.

True, Shivabalayogi’s public programs invariably included as much time in lively bhajans as in quiet meditation, but the explanation is that he intended bhava samadhi to be encouragement to meditate, not an end in itself.  He gave experiences of spiritual intoxication to motivate devotees to seek even deeper experiences in meditation.  The devotee was to internalize the bhava, not express it as unruly behavior without discipline.  Meditation should have a calming and deliberate effect.

The concern is that trance without self-control manifests too easily as emotional over-enthusiasm.  Worse still, trance could be an act or an exaggeration designed to serve the ego.  There is no shortage of examples.  The typical story involves experiencing powerful bhava samadhi, then the experience inflating the devotee’s ego, then the misuse and acting.  By comparison, meditation gives peaceful clarity which is more important.

If meditation is the measure of Shivabalayogi’s mission, the results are mixed.  Compared to the millions he initiated, few meditate regularly.  He left behind no schools or teachers to encourage the practice.  Perhaps most significantly, within the Shivabalayogi story, no one appears to have successfully graduated.  He initiated very few into tapas, and even the one man who successfully completed twelve years “failed”.  He still had ego.  As Swamiji explained, those who do tapas for a purpose get only that.

Promoting meditation as the mission, without more, is like measuring spiritual maturity by the number of hours spent in meditation.  It ignores the risk that, like any other spiritual practice, meditation can serve to strengthen the little ego.  It also ignores Shivabalayogi’s own insistence on the importance of the path of devotion (bhakti), including spiritual song and even bhava samadhi.  This is a context in which meditation ought to be practiced.

It bears repeating that Shivabalayogi stated that the purpose of meditation is not to attain God realization.  It is to reduce tension in the mind.  Through regular meditation we learn to control and focus our minds.  We can discover our own purpose in life, and we can work more effectively with others.  Instead of an end in itself, and instead of a tool to escape the world, perhaps we should think of meditation as an important tool among many tools for living happily in the world.

 


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