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Archive for March 2011

Student Question: We often hear here that for thousands of years the celibacy has been undertaken in certain societies. And I’m assuming that that’s referring to the yogic tradition. I’m more familiar with Judaism and Islam, and in cultures built around those traditions—which have lasted for thousands of  years—celibacy has not been practiced, to my knowledge, or if it has then it has been in a very different form. So I get a little confused when I hear that “for thousands of years, this has been done” or “that has been done,” and, at the same time, it’s been practiced for thousands of years in a totally different way. Could you please provide a little clarity on this matter?

Excerpt: “If you study the Jewish tradition, as well as the Islamic tradition, you will find that they actually do encourage celibacy, up to a certain point in one’s life. And one is really not intended to marry until one has gone through the Talmud, for example, and reached a state of having put sexuality in the correct perspective, which is as a way of serving God. It is a mitzvah; it is a commandment. It is not the unbridled urge of the ego. And once one has gained the ego under control, then sexuality operates,” explains Shunyamurti, the founder of the Sat Yoga Institute in Costa Rica. “So if you look at those traditions, they are practicing a near-celibacy, particularly for rabbis or mullahs or people who have chosen a path that is spiritual in nature and they, and they aren’t simply giving lip service to their tradition.” Recorded on the evening of Thursday, March 24, 2011.

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Student Question: In one of your essays, you made a distinction between the yoga of Patanjali and of Sat Yoga. You mentioned the Advaita perspective, but you also mentioned that we still need to follow the yamas and niyamas, and I couldn’t quite grasp the difference. So could you explain it a little more?

Excerpt: “Patanjali’s understanding of Reality is dualistic,” begins Shunyamurti, the director of the Sat Yoga Institute in Costa Rica. “Whereas the yoga of the Bhagavad Gita, which is leaning more towards the Advaita position, is about recognizing that subject and object are separate, but then—at a higher level—we want to know what is the source of both of them, and reunite the two, not keep them as separate poles of reality.” Recorded on the evening of Thursday, March 24, 2011.

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The Gaze of God – 03.24.11

Excerpt: “Imagine a scene in a biological laboratory,” begins Shunyamurti, the lead research scientist of the Sat Yoga Institute in Costa Rica. “There’s a woman scientist bent over a microscope and gazing at one of those little slides. And the slide has on it a drop of water that’s filled with amoebas. And as she’s gazing in, she sees that these amoebas have a whole world of their own. . . . And at the moment that she’s looking at them, imagine that one of these amoebas somehow, uncannily, becomes aware that it’s being gazed at. And it can’t quite comprehend ‘Who’s looking at me?’ but it knows someone’s looking at it from a dimension beyond its own little world. And let’s imagine that the intensity of its desire to understand the energy it’s feeling causes its mind to actually rise up until this amoeba’s consciousness is united with that of the scientist, and for a moment, it sees itself from her perspective. . . . And at the same time, the scientist realizes that some 84,000 lifetimes ago, she was an amoeba just like that one. And someone gazed at her, and it created this desire that then led to the evolution of her soul through all these different forms until she had become this scientist—now gazing at her own origins. . . . But at that same moment, the scientist realized, ‘But what if I am still being gazed at by a consciousness beyond where I am to the same extent as I am beyond that of the amoeba?’ And her mind suddenly turned within, and, with great intensity of desire, was pulled upward to that higher dimension and realized the Witness consciousness that had been gazing upon her with love. And that consciousness had at one point been a human who had evolved to God consciousness, and there was another union at an even higher level." Recorded on the evening of Thursday, March 24, 2011.

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Student Comment: If the world is in God’s hands and we can’t control anything—and everything is perfect—then it makes sense to me that there can’t be such a thing as a mistake, or an error, or a mis—anything. Nevertheless, I can’t quite understand this fully.

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Student Question: Something you said earlier reminded me of one of your teachings when you said that the reason that atheists don’t believe in God, but that’s only because they’re not capable of loving. So how can they achieve union with God if they don’t believe in a supreme being?

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