The Value of a Yoga Sangha

The word sangha means association or assembly, company, or community with common goal, vision or purpose.   But moreover, sangha is a Holy space, a holy place where two rivers come together and merge into one.    The goal of any sangha is to gather people who want to be in company with Truth towards a common aim.   Sangha usually suggests the assembly of beings possess some degree of realization.   The Kriya Yoga Sangha is a community of laypeople who are spiritual seeking yoga practitioners with the common goal of self realization, or at least examining, Who am I?

After receiving initiation into Babaji’s Kriya Yoga, many students wonder what they should do or learn next.  Practice is the first thing, and then after that, practice, practice, practice.   When I first began yoga seriously intent on progress, I was told to expect a significant transformation in seven years.  I was thrilled at that possibility and made the commitment.   Today, many people tell me that they gave Kriya Yoga one month.  I asked them to make a commitment of at least 144 days.   But often,  after a month if no progress  is detected they give up, disappointed that the techniques did not work for them.

We should all understand going in to this,  that progress will be hindered by deeply seated habits of inertia and distraction.  Great effort is required to discipline the body and much more is needed to discipline the mind and emotions.    The human mind is generally very unsteady, and without consistent support and stimulation from others, is often fatigued.    The practices should be enough, you may say, but when left to your own devices interest in doing the practices is lost or enthusiasm for transformation itself fades.  All it takes if for the mind to become momentarily intrigued by something  else.   It is easier to blame the techniques or the teacher, or even to doubt yourself, than it is to keep up the practice.   The remedy to this dilemma is “satsang” or “sharing of truth” with dedicated fellow students in a Sangha.

Regardless of the spiritual techniques one practices, you will make no progress without a goal.   Knowing what you are aiming at, is critical to success.  Many people take Kriya Yoga Initiation without really knowing why they came to it in the first place.    Perhaps  intrigued by the Autobiography of a Yogi, or having succumbed to the romantic notion of Self- realization, they came but, without really considering just what the path might demand. 

Babaji tells us the aim of a Kriya Yogi is to ‘know the Self.’     He goes on to say, ‘to know your own self is to know the self of others and is almost an identical experience.  In our acquisition of the knowledge of the self, one comes to know the self of others and begin to relate to others as oneself.   Whether you want to know your own self or you want to know others, you have to start knowing both.   That is why a sangam is of infinite value to every spiritual seeker.   It can help to uplift you into your own inner being, and also to connect with that same Self, in others

Most of the time, we do not know what we truly want out of life because we have never looked into our self.    We are repeatedly swayed in what we want, by fleeting thoughts, fleeting emotions and fleeting desires.   It is the lack of self awareness,  even on a superficial level, which  negatively affects our work, our relationships our health, our life.

Babaji recommends group meditation for all adepts of His Kriya Yoga.    He tells us that “simple study of spiritual books among your selected friends and group meditations or common prayer in the end will go a great way to elevate the minds.”     The mind may resist with doubts like, why go to a meeting with a bunch of people just like me?    The answer lies in the unique chemistry that occurs when truth seekers meet one another.   The whole world will be grateful to you if you will focus together your energy in this direction

 Jesus Christ encouraged Satsang, when he said: “whenever two or more of you are gathered together in my name, there I am also.”   When he encouraged others to gather in His Name, he was referring to bringing together our Christ consciousness.  Christ Consciousness is Awareness of our Divine Source, and that Awareness is alive in each of us, even if we are not conscious of it.    This is the true purpose of a sangah, as it is conceived in India, to gather Awareness into a collective force.

The recognition of divinity within ourselves and within others, is not an intellectual experience; it is infinite Presence and what our hearts long for.  However, in an attempt to know the Lord, we often discard His living presence.   We expect that a sudden jump into intense sadhana will bring us face to face with him.   But, we neglect the utmost  principle of seeing the Lord at our very door.   We hopelessly discard Him in other forms, so our sadhana fails to give us the desired results.

The techniques and the teaching are given us to help us  strengthen and purify the body, mind and emotions.   When we focus on words of truth, as expressed in scriptures, sacred books, or inspirational literature, we can also transcend the habitual perspective of a lower sense-oriented, desire-oriented mind.    We become attuned to that higher Consciousness which spoke through the authors of such texts and perhaps even discover the power of grace, which flows from this All-pervading Presence.   When we really let ourselves chant the names of God the trivial round of ego-glued preoccupations can melt away into timeless inspiration.  We are empowered and Truth speaks through consciousness, which appears like a bridge between our mind and God.  When we do this in groups the energy is magnified and radiated out into the world.

Satsang manifests whenever you sit in the physical presence of a saint, but it can also manifest when you and others focus on your own highest truth.  How you focus on this truth, which is beyond definition and words, may vary: it may include meditation, chanting, inspirational readings, self-inquiry, questions and answers, devotional practices. What is required is only to let go of worldly distractions for a time, to allow your true self to shine forth in inspiration, joy and peace.  A sangha (of loving, like-minded people) can be a vehicle for opening your heart, but more importantly, it offers you a forum for sharing the doubts that arise with your experiences.

Knowing who we are and our purpose in life changes our perspective on everything.    Usually how we view the world is a reflection of how our family sees it, and from the opinons of our friends, community and the new channels we watch.  This imprinting from others is so powerful that we will accept the view and opinions of others, even when they judge us harshly or harass or bully us.   We choose to suffer from the opinions of others, rather than ignore them and reflect internally on the truth of our own being.    Know the Self; To Thine Own Self be True.  These must be taught early as the cornerstones of our human existence in this world.  

Why aren’t we taught early to look inside for the answers to life’s questions, to look inside for at the rising awareness; taught that meditation can changes our perspective on everything, including our own suffering.   Focused on the external world we remained caught up in judgments of good and bad, desire and aversion, I want this, I don’t want that, this isthis, so it cannot be that.   We remained locked in old habits and patterns, even when they only bring us suffering, pain, dispondency and angst.   Why are we not told, right out to drop the opinionated mind in order to  move inside and relax into our deepest truths.   Opinions, judgments are valued so highly by society.   It values the reasoning of the left-brain so much more than the truth and inspiration, which arises from the right hemisphere.  We tend to treat others and things dear, only as long as they serve a purpose, as long as they serve our interests, our needs.  It is only when our interests are at sake, that we are willing to consider sacrificing our beliefs.

The Lineage of the Kriya Yoga Sangam proclaims that everything – the physical cells of the body, the left and right hemisphere activities, emotions only exists for the sake of the One Self.   Your existence is to mold your individual evolution.  All your encounters in this existence have both a superficial and a deeper reason for being.  And your reactions to these encounters directly affect your physical, vital, intellectual, and mental bodies 

Kriya Yoga teaches —  learn from life,  see every single life situation and your reaction to it as a clue as to who you are and what in you needs to be transformed.   Life is karma and your karma is simply what happens around you as the events of our life.    Even though karma is a difficult concept to accept in times of evil or adversity, the scriptures tell us that your environment and life situation is according to your own creation.    So, take infinite care of your physical, nourish your mind and emotions and heart by entertaining noble thoughts and be happy and accept that you are creating your reality.  Take time daily to consciously Breathe in the Prana of Unity and to meditate to touch the ever-pure Atman.   Live well by letting go of  aversions and harboring no ill will toward anyone. Develop dispassion, discrimination and cultivate the virtues of truth in thought, word and action.  

Recognize that what is a difficulty, an error, a failure or an obstacle is simply there to help you to realize or correct something.  Be in harmony with the way your life actually is, to learn from it.     To be in harmony with your life allows you to realize its purpose, or dharma.   Dharma is your duty, according to the laws or rules of nature, action, life and your evolution.  Dharma is directed by the essence of your being. 

Karma is transformed into dharma when your life events are experienced with self-control and equanimity.   Dharmic are those actions that have no hold on you.  You calmly act and act calmly, with awareness of what you are doing.      Once you live according to your dharma, with spiritual consciousness, everything that happens to you takes on value, as a means of learning your lessons.  And you will  realize that come what may, you are supported by, and have been supported by an invisible ancient Yoga Sangam every step of the way.

    • Andrew Moffitt
    • October 20th, 2010

    Re: your last post

    Durga,
    Spoken with great wisdom and understanding. I can see that you have been to see. You embody the yoga principals with each word and thought. I am uplifted into a lighter realm of active acceptance to my path after reading this. If you ever wondered are my words making a difference? They are! and they carry a vibration that is transformational to the reader. What may seem practical to you can be an inspirational eye opener for others.
    I like it…practice, practice, practice…Andrew

  1. Dear Durga,

    Thank you for your blog, and all your work into Kriya!
    This week we had our first Sangha meeting here in Istanbul, and true, we realy felt the power of it!
    The same worlds you mentioned about Jesus Christ: “whenever two or more of you are gathered together in my name, there I am also.” also came to my mind many times during the meeting, and we all felt the Holy bless of Babaji!
    Babaji is definetly changing the life of many of us here, and we are looking forward to have His connection deeper and deeper in our lifes.

    Ohm Kriya Babaji Nama Aum

  2. Om Kriya Babaji Nama Aum

    Thank you Kriyabans from Istanbul! How wonderful to hear of the beauty of your satsang.
    Surely we are, through Kriya Yoga or any Yoga of Awareness, connected in our common origin and not-so-common dream of being truly connected with all of Existence-Consciousness. A door at our very center opens us to a in-flow of higher consciousness; an awareness of some One, some thing much grander, wiser, more beautiful than our individual ego can even imagine to claim, caring for us….

    You are all beginning to feel that Presence, (Babaji) by going deep within in meditation. By maintaining some of the inwardness throughout the day, while also remaining alert, aware and watchful of your thoughts and emotions, doubts and beliefs, you will make that connection strong.

    We have been given this Kriya Yoga as a means of purification and of body, mind, emotions, intellect… a system, which makes space for the inner energies of shakti (the energy of consciousness) to flow free through body and mind…so that aspiration, tenderness, love, compassion and insight will arise, transforming life, one person at a time. It is a wonderous journey.

    Let me know if I can ever be of assistance.
    Love and Light,
    Durga

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