Become a Yogi

Babaji Day, at The Ashram
Shree Peetha Nilaya, 30 November 2019

On Babaji Day, Paramahamsa Vishwananda spoke about Mahavatar Babaji and what it means to be a yogi.


Jai Gurudev, everybody! And a wonderful Babaji day! 

What does that mean? You know, every year we celebrate that great yogi. Some people have never heard of Him. Some people have recently heard of Him.

A yogi functions completely differently. Somebody asked me once, ‘Is Babaji a Vaishnava or is He Saivite? Is He an Advaitist? Is He Advaita Dvaita? What is He?’ This is very often in the minds of people, because when we say certain things about a yogi, you think that, yes, a yogi is somebody who is beyond duality. Like Lord Krishna said to Arjuna in Chapter 6, Verse 46: ‘A yogi is greater than an ascetic, greater than a man of knowledge, greater than a man of work, karma yoga.’ He urged Arjuna, ‘Become a yogi.’

So, in which state is a yogi? Take Mahavatar Babaji: He existed before all the sampradayas were created and before the Saivites or Vaishnavas existed. He was there. Probably He Himself inspired some of the great acharyas to create. 

A yogi is greater than an ascetic, greater than a man of knowledge, greater than a man of work, karma yoga.’ ... ‘Become a yogi'.

Bhagavad Gita

Because the more your mind becomes attached to the mundane reality, the more you need a certain discipline. But a yogi is beyond that. That’s why Krishna said, ‘Don’t become an ascetic’, because behind an ascetic, there is a lot of expectation. An ascetic does all his ascetism to control himself. So, constantly he has to watch himself; he has to be always alert. And also, there is this expectation, ‘In case I am not alert, I may fall.’ A person of knowledge, someone who dives in search of knowledge, dives themselves into books. They understand only a certain limitation of things. So, with their knowledge what happens? Their ego also rises. Because when the ego rises, we start to compare ourselves. No? ‘I am better than you because I know best.’ A men of work is also, again, full of expectation because nobody will do something without expecting something in return. 

‘But Arjuna, don’t be like this. Become beyond that.’ Which means, ‘With faith and love, dedicate to Me.’ He said faith and love. Here Bhagavan Krishna doesn’t speak only about the aspect of Krishna. He said, ‘Me, who is seated within you. Rediscover who you are truly.’ And what you have inside of you is beyond all that drama which you have created in your mind. Because all the drama you have created limits you. A yogi is beyond that drama. All that Mahavatar Babaji has seen in His life for all these centuries, and all the great sages…how is He? He is silent. He is quiet. He is the inner observer of things, no? So, it’s not that you have to rush to the Himalayas to see Him, but in the inner core of your heart, in the silence of your heart, there you find Him. 

But you don’t find Him as you expect, you know. Very often people will think, ‘Oh, yeah, I will see a big yogi’ or whatever. No, you will not find Him like that! You will find Him as the personification of the Self. That’s why Krishna said, ‘The yogi perceives Me in everything.’ Because the yogi has gone beyond the duality. When you look at things, you are stuck on that, no? When you understand something, you are stuck on that. Your understanding or your seeing is limited. It’s not just saying that, ‘Okay, He is a great yogi, so we should sit and meditate like Him.’ No! He is a reminder of who you are.

That’s why when Krishna reminded Arjuna, ‘Become a yogi’, He didn’t say it to Arjuna only. He said it to each individual person. ‘I am inside of you. I’m seated inside. Why are you looking for Me outside? Look for Me inside. If you look for Me outside, you will be disappointed.’ Because outside you will find only the limitation. But out of His Grace (because He knows very well that our minds are very flickering), He has taken an aspect so that we can concentrate upon Him and so that we can serve Him. But once that aspect has interiorised within oneself, when you see Him inside, you carry Him all the time with you, in all places. The saint doesn’t see or perceive the way ‘normal’ people see, you know. People will come and go in your life, but the saint always stays the same.


I always tell the story of Kabir crying. So, they asked him, ‘Who hurt you? Who has harmed you?’ Kabir said, ‘So and so passed away.’ 

‘Aha…’, they said, ‘…but that’s good he passed away!’ He said, ‘No, no, no, it’s not good, because he was my benefactor. Whatever he was doing, he was a bad person, yes, but in reality, he was constantly thinking of me.’

So, you see, we see things in a very limited way. As long as we see things in that limitation, you will gain only limitation. When you transcend that limitation, then you will perceive Krishna in everybody, in everything, wherever you are. He is not only one sitting in the temple, but He is sitting in the temple of your heart. And this is the place where the yogi dwells, the state of being a yogi, where, when you close your eyes, the first thing you see is Him. You don’t see you. Because what would you see of you? Who are you? Which life? Because when we talk about ‘you’, you are talking about you now, no? But ‘you’ has many ‘yous’. For thousands and millions of lives, which one will you call yourself ‘you’? But there is this identity of the Atma which is part of Him. That’s why you don’t perceive you, you perceive only Him. So, a yogi is always absorbed into that. Their minds are always absorbed into that. Their hearts are always absorbed into that. Then you become a yogi.

So, Mahavatar Babaji has asked me today to teach the third kriya. So, I will start today. Because kriya, the third one, has to be given one to one; I can’t just do it in masses.

How many of you have the second level of kriya? Wow, amazing! How many of you have had it for five years? It was given in 2011, so five years, more than five years, … Lift your hands! Good. So, how many of you have been practicing every day? Oh, my goodness! You have missed only one per year? Which means that in five years only five times you have missed? If you have not missed any, it’s very good. How many of you have not missed five days in the five years? That’s it? Okay, good. Then you can come and receive the third kriya later on. 

Only four people? It’s a bit shameful. Five people. Good. So, you five people, if you see that you have not missed more than five times within the five years, then you come and I will give you the third kriya. 

Jai Gurudev!

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