The yogi's advice1

Four hundred years ago in the heart of the Himalayas there lived a God-realised yogi who did not accept any disciples. Once a year the yogi would leave his hut early in the morning and climb down the mountain to a nearby village. There he would meditate under a tree for only one hour, starting at five o'clock in the morning and ending at six o'clock. At six o'clock he would open his eyes, chant Aum and, without saying a word, begin his journey back up the mountain. Seekers would come from hundreds of miles away to meditate with the yogi for just that one hour.

This went on for thirteen years. In the thirteenth year, three seekers followed the yogi after he finished his meditation. Although the yogi did not acknowledge their presence, the seekers continued to follow him all the way up the mountain, hoping he would eventually speak to them. When the four reached the yogi's hut, one boy bowed to him and said, "Master, I have been coming to meditate with you for the last five years. But now I must confess that each time I sat down to meditate with you, either I did not feel any inspiration or I felt very tired. Then before I knew it, the hour was over and I had to wait a whole year before I could meditate with you again. Master, I am so disheartened. Please tell me what I should do."

The yogi blessed the seeker and said, "From now on, when the day comes that you are going to meditate with me, get up at three o'clock in the morning and take spiritual exercises to prepare yourself. Before one runs, one has to exercise and make himself limber. Otherwise, if he tries to run the fastest, he will pull a muscle and stumble. It is not possible to run the fastest if one has not stretched his limbs properly. In the spiritual life also, fifteen minutes or half an hour of preparation is necessary. Feel that when five o'clock dawns, that is when the race begins. You are not competing with others, but only with yourself. Five o'clock is your starting time, but before that you must take various spiritual exercises."

"What kinds of spiritual exercises should I take, Master?" asked the seeker.

"You can spend fifteen minutes to an hour reading spiritual books. You can chant or do japa, or you can learn a few songs. There are some songs which actually embody meditation. Even if you are not a singer, there will be no one nearby to laugh at you. There will be only you and the Supreme. Then, after you have prepared yourself at home, you can come to meditate with me. Otherwise you will come with all kinds of inertia. So please get up at three o'clock. Once a year you can easily do this."

The second seeker then said to the yogi, "Master, I have also been coming to see you for several years. Sometimes I have good meditations, but usually after five-thirty I get the feeling that my meditation is over and I find that I stop meditating. I don't know what to do."

The yogi said, "You should continue trying to meditate. But in silence you should also do these spiritual exercises that I have just mentioned." After saying this, the yogi blessed this seeker.

The third seeker said, "Master, every year I also feel very sleepy during my meditation with you."

The yogi blessed the third seeker and said, "After thirty or forty minutes of powerful meditation, if you find yourself feeling sleepy, then I wish to say that this is not sleep at all. At that time your inner being is operating most powerfully over your physical, your vital and your mind. Mentally you may feel that you are not in this world; you may feel that you have to come back and be very dynamic. But this is not so. Your soul is operating most powerfully and you are mistaking the inner silence for sleep."

"But sometimes I feel that I have been sleeping almost for the entire meditation," said the boy.

"If you feel that you have been sleeping for half an hour, then naturally you are not meditating. If you really are falling asleep, try repeating 'Supreme' as fast possible. Then you will feel the power inside His name and your whole body, your whole being, will be inundated with divine energy."

"Why does one have to chant so fast, Master?"

"If you go on repeating 'Supreme' very slowly, in five minutes you will fall asleep. But this way, if you repeat 'Supreme' as fast as possible, you are bound to feel a new flow of energy. The utterance of the Supreme's name is entering into you as energy."

"But Master," said the seeker, "what will others think of me if I do this?"

"If you do this while you are meditating with others, it may seem as odd as shaking your arms or stretching your legs to keep awake. So please repeat 'Supreme' in silence; you are bound to become very dynamic."

"Master," said the first seeker, "you have shed abundant light on all our problems, We are sure that next time we meditate with you, we will be able to receive infinitely more of what you are offering to us. You have our eternal gratitude."

Then the three seekers returned to their village with the yogi's blessing and the yogi began a new year of silent communion with God.

  1. GRP 2. 14 July 1973.