Yoga Practice with ALEXEY BAYKOV, Yoga Class, Asana, Pranayama, Meditation, Yoga Nidra
DAKSHINAMURTHY & I
Author Alexey Baykov
In June 2016, I experienced a spiritual crisis, manifested in informational hunger: despite the fact that the speed of reading of new books did not keep up with the finding and buying new ones, both paper and digital, I realized somewhere deep inside that all these books, no matter how abstruse and smart and spiritual they could be - no longer give me what I needed - something completely different ... but I did not understand what exactly.
At this time, I continued to study psychotherapy consultation, especially taking a great interest in the analytical psychology of C. G. Jung, and one day at the end of June, I met my dear long-time old friend who was my energy-healer and energy teacher back in 2009. So we met to plunge into the holy springs, on the way to, we had a talk about psychotherapy again and she remembered Osho, which wrote briefly about the psychotherapy of Sigmund Freud and Carl G. Jung in the book on various spiritual topics "The Path of the Mystic". It says that Jung, who seemed to be a seeker of truth, and a man who was very stubborn in his search, have been recommended that he should meet Sri Ramana Maharshi as a person with knowledge without university education - a man – the son of true Indian culture... And can you imagine... Jung found many reasons and excuses not to meet with Him ... as it turned out, with one of the greatest mystic people of the 20th century.
Thus I did not just have the question "why?", I realized that Jung could no longer be the one I should and can follow ... because one of the most important characteristics of a human Seeker of Truth, is curiosity – very strong and stubborn and sharp – it is the basics of a Tue Seeker - a passion for learning new.
Without thinking a second, I’ve thrown Jung in my heart, I copy-pasted the name of Sri Ramana Maharishi into browser, and in several seconds I’ve found all the books of Sri Ramana Maharishi in Russian uploaded there by the translator himself Oleg Mogilever (O. M.), which is for me a sign of a true approach, because the information should be distributed freely.
And ... I dived into the books of Sri Ramana Maharishi - I began to read everything down the list - eagerly swallowing information like a freediver breathing the air after a long deep immersion.
And when I read and analyzed almost every sentence and word finishing the 2nd volume of the “Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi”, I’ve realized that just now, after 10 years of dreams and plan to go to India (another story), now I know exactly where I need to go – to the Ashram of Sri Ramana Maharshi at Mount Arunachala. And then I began to look where it is... and found the information that the Ashram that it is just a formal place, but there’s the last adept alive out of the 75 enlightened devotees of Sri Ramana Maharshi - Sri Lakshman Swami.
In the Internet I found a blog from 2009 (7 years ago at the time) where a story of one of the devotees, who tells about his search for Sri Lakshmana Swami. In his blog he says that Swami meets his devotees and other people only 2 times a year - on a holiday of Fire - Karthikai Deepam and on his birthday on December 25.
In the year 2016, Sri Lakshmana Swamy became 91 years. (As I learned on my arrival, Sri Lakshmana Swami no longer goes to people since 2012 – for 5 years already). And I, being an office-plankton-man, which can take no more than 14 days of vacation at a time, planned a trip from December 11 to January 10 - just about 30 days for an electronic visa, including Karthigay Deepam on a full moon, when a sacred fire is lit on the top of the Mount Arunachala with ghee oil and burns from 2 to 7 days and the birthday of Swamy. (As it turned out this year 2016, the fire burned for 11 days and so I had an opportunity to visit the top of Arunachala on the last day of Karthikai Deepam with Ghee Fire).
Since the end of June, when I’ve finished the Osho’s critics of Psychotherapy as a way of spiritual path I began reading the books of Sri Ramana Maharishi. I canceled all the yoga-classes, except once a week in the fitness center and spent all the time: 8 hours at work, reading e-books of Sri Ramana Maharishi, then at lunch also and after work and on the weekends (from Friday evening to Monday morning) meditating on the question "Who am I?" (Ko’Ham).
Once a couple of days before my birthday, I came home after work, once again reading the biography of Sri Ramana Maharishi and inspired by his story (spiritual comics), I did not think for long or did not think at all, just laying down on the bare floor to try what is it being alive and healthy 32-years-old to feel that I'm dying and dead, as Sri Ramana Maharishi being 14-years-old.
In a minute my body, already having a 5-year experience of yoga-nidra, suddenly plunged deeply into some incredibly dark state, as if I freedive into darkness and reached the very bottom of the depths of… not of the sea, but of my inner Ocean of Unconsciousness and I began to realize that I can now really take it like this and die… in a second realizing it immediately there was a fear in me that my mother would find out that I was dead and how bad it would be for her, as she once told me that woukd dies of sorrow, if she finds out that I am dead before her - and this fear fixed in me, but the process in which I plunged became irreversible, I began to sink deeper and deeper into the depths of darkness, and then I began to pray with fear of death for my child's prayer, as if… or I was really… on the verge of death, and no mantra could come to me at that moment - only prayer with tears on my eyes , which, from childhood, was somehow formed in me, and I felt like praying because of the fear, not because of love to God – as a slave, but not as a friend, I felt how gloomy cold, going up from legs to my chest and neck choking me and feeling squeezed into the hard floor, with tears in my eyes running on the cheeks, at this moment I understand that I’m still lying in the room, and that I continue to stay in what I think of myself - and then I realize that the mind has just caught me again with its favorite trick and I admitted defeat that the fear in thoughts can outwit me: it caught me in attachment to a mother who not only gave birth to me once physically, but also spiritually (when got me out from deep-depression-almost-death with one golden phrase: “look how it becomes”), but giving the responsibility not to die before her, although I thought I was ready.
By November I had reached the book "No Mind – I am the Self" written by Sri Lakshmana Swamy and his enlightened disciple Mathru Sri Saradamma, who describes her practice of Bhakti (self-surrender and dedication), how She was meditating on the photo of her teacher Sri Lakshmana Swamy. Thus I printed out a photo of Sri Lakshmana Swamy and Sri Ramana Maharishi.
But it was more powerful for Sri Ramana Maharishi to meditate, and literally in 2 minutes I felt a powerful stream, as if from a photo through the eyes of Sri Ramana Maharishi, the energy passed into my eyes, forcing all the body making it tremble and burn as beneath the stream of hot wind of electricity and the heat of the sun.
On December 11th I arrive in Chennai, a taxi meets me and we go 4 hours to Tiru (Tiruvannamalai) until it gets dark and in the dark I reach a person with whom I agreed about a taxi and about renting a room (there is a story about the room). This Hindu businessman and his American girl-friend tell me that the Ashram of Sri Ramana Maharshi works until 9 pm at most, and at that very moment was 9 pm. But I do not think for long, I understand that I came to visit the Ashram and Sri Lakshmana Swamy, so there's nothing more for me to do here. And I went on foot to the Ashram, at the same time studying the way from the room to the center of the city Tiru. Approaching the Ashram, which is on the main road (almost highway), I see crowds of people - black night and the black 6-line-road path – black people walk... barefoot on dirty asphalt - this kind of action is incredibly exciting. It turns out that all the dedicated mountains of Arunachala from the whole state of Tamil Nadu come to the Karthikai Deepam holiday to walk around the mountain at least once, and sometimes much more... (there is a story about the passage around the mountain).
I come to the Ashram and see that it is open: I visit the main building where prayers are held, I visit the place where Sri Ramana Maharishi reached Maha Samadhi and left the body, and now it is time to close the Ashram, and going out, I understand that I absolutely do not want to sleep, and that my mission is to find the Ashram accomplished, and the second is left: to find Sri Lakshmana Swamy and it is necessary to do it now.
I take out my printout of google maps and the photo of the gate of Swamy's house that I found on the blog of 2009, and I come up with the idea of asking someone from those in the Ashram.
I approach the sitting disciples, and an Indian man in white sari willingly agrees to help me. And we go along the crowded road along with the devotees, on the way of circling around the mountain of Arunachala. Along the way, I understand that he does not know where this place exactly is, but says that he will help me navigate the map, I say sorry to him for taking his time, but he replies that it's a pleasure for him and further cites Sri Ramana Maharshi, and then Silence ... And we reach some seemingly God-forgotten place, where, it would seem, there nobody (“none, even a soul” – as we say in Russia): one yellow lantern illuminating the garbage can, although the rubbish is scattered evenly along the road, the power station, the homeless barking dogs ... We go further, and then the Hindu says that apparently we got lost and propose to go back, but I feel that this is not the end of our search but just a beginning and I go further and find the mini-Ashram of Swamy Sivananda (one of the founders of the northern school of yoga Kriya and Tantra and the teacher of Swamy Satyananda Sarasvati, my teacher's teacher of the methodology of teaching yoga), and then we reach the end of the dark street, where it seem a dead end, but on the right there’s another dark street - in the end of which some spot of light is visible - a bright spot of light... and I see that in this bright place some meditators are sitting in complete silence and above them the inscription ARUNACHALA HRUDAYAM (The Heart of Arunachala), as in my photo - this Place right in front of the gates (second) of the courtyard of the house of Sri Lakshmana Swamy.
... and then I understand that here it is and finally ... I found Him.
My guide, says he was glad to help and he's off, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart, hugging ... and then I walk farther between houses, as if along them there’s a corridor and I get to the last row of meditators on the sitting spot, painted in red, with a statue of Ganesha on the left with the Sanskrit signboard "Ko-Ham?" (Who am I?), And on the right there is a statue of Dakshinamurthy (Shiva manifested as a young man who transmits knowledge through Silence).
... and from afar a woman comes up and begins to tell what this place is about, but I say that I “know”... She says that in the evening from 7 to 10 can meditate only the chosen devotees, but all newcomers can only meditate in the morning from 9 am up to 10 am, and escorts me "until tomorrow" ... I sort of leave, but I understand that I absolutely do not want to leave, that I've come to India - to be here. I hesitate for a while, go back to the 1st gates, and then I understand that I do not want to go anywhere, that my room will wait, and I decide to sit behind the cars standing near the stone wall The wall that creates this street-corridor to the gate of the house of Sri Lakshmana Swamy.
So that no one sees me, I spread out my yogamat between the cars and the wall, and I lay down. I see a clear night sky and a full moon ... silence ... after a while the meditators leave, I see their feet in the space between the street tiles and the bottoms of cars, and the gate (the 1st one) is closed by the woman. Handles at the gate are made in the form of a butterfly.
It was a real eureka for when while lying on the yoga-mat there I’ve realized that the search for Sri Lakshmana Swamy, was like a 3D-game-play - a three-dimensional imagery of the spiritual path of a disciple who in the search for the Heart, as it was depicted in Sri Ramana Maharishi’s books and in “No Mind – I’m the Self” by Sri Lakshmana Swamy:
from darkness to the first gate (with the Butterfly) and further along the corridor to the illuminated red place with the question "Who am I? "At Ganesha and Dakshinamurthy (दक्षिणामूर्ति Dakṣiṇāmūrti - Dakshinaamoorti) at the second gate (with the royal French lilies Fleur-de-Lis) to the entrance to the courtyard where the house with Narthana Ganapathi and Nataraja on the roof is located, where the search target is Sri Lakshmana Swamy.
... I do not want to sleep at all, I want to drink ... and despite the fact that I do not want to go anywhere, I'm going to buy some water ... night ... darkness, crowds of dark people walk barefoot along the dark road around Arunachala, which is barely seen in the dark... all the shops are closed, some people are already tired and sleep right on the side of the road, the rest of the streets are also filled with lying people ... noise, din, sometimes very loud horns of the cars and scooters which make me deaf – they try to pass between the walking and lying people ... – a mass - a mess... looks like the end of days…
I go against the current of the river of Hindu people and I understand that I need the peace that was in that corridor-street at a bright spot of llight by the house of Sri Lakshmana Swamy... It’s now 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning, I was still trying to persuade one of the sleeping Indians to open a shop and sell me a bottle of water. I buy it and rush back, like I'm being pulled by a magnet and my legs automatically speed up the step, don’t feel my feet – as if I'm flying – so fast.
And here I am - again on the yoga mat between the cars and the wall, in a secluded place in front of the first gate with a butterfly.
Lying, I read the mantra - 108 names of Sri Lakshmana Swamy in Sanskrit ... mosquitoes bite, but I do not care, I'm in incredible bliss simply from staying in such a far point of the world when, even less than a day, I was in cold Moscow, and now - in hot India ... "At the feet of the Master," as Jiddu Krishnamurti once wrote.
The morning comes ... I was not asleep, I’m fresh as if I had slept enough to renew: my mind is clean and sharp, like a diamond… Behind the cars I sit down and see that woman, the representative of Sri Lakshmana (there’s a story about her), doing her everyday chores: goes for water and washes the very red spot that was lit yesterday and was filled with meditators.
Gradually it's time for meditation (9 am) comes and people come to the red spot - the place for meditation. The cars where I left settled, the drivers looked at me puzzled ... but one jeep car that stood behind the first gate next to the meditators remained ... and I stay in the same place ... soon the car leaves and I have a view of the second gate with lilies Fleur-de-Lis and through the gate I see the house of… the first person in my life, who is Enlightened and alive... Sri Lakshmana Swamy - my place has turned out to be so convenient that the Indian daytime hot sun does not fall on me, the high wall conceals a shadow ... I remain sitting and meditating ... staying in deep meditation, I hear a near sound as if a cup was put down - I slowly open my eyes and in front of me there is a mini thermos ... I turn my head and see the back of an Indian who goes into his mini-garden with a big banana tree and turning back to close his gate he looks at me with a modest and slightly guarded gaze, Closing his eyes makes a bow, and in silence (mauna) being surprised I thank him in my heart, fold my hands in the namaste and bow, with tears in my eyes.
Carefully I take a hot thermos cup and, smelling Indian spices, I drink masala tea with milk, cooked with love by a stranger Hindu, a neighbor of Sri Lakshmana Swamy.
I meditate again and after a few hours, I hear again the sound of the dishes placed on the ground, and I look like dumb, I am amazed at the containers of food and the Indian, who modestly bowing and leaving, and I barely manage to thank him. I take a piece of paper and write my gratitude in English, with the question of how I can repay ... and having cooked well prepared food, I leave a note on the wicket of the container, pressing it with a little stone.
The evening comes, and the "chosen" devotees of Sri Lakshmana Swamy and Saradamma return to their evening 3-hour meditation. And so it goes, day after day ... soon on the 6th day, from the courtyard of the house of Sri Lakshmana a young Indian in European clothes, with expensive sunglasses and shoes comes out of the gates with lilies Fleur-de-Lys, comes up to me and says that he was asked to take my picture for Sri Lakshmana Swamy - he takes a picture and leaves. The next day - the 7th day - one of the devotees, comes up to me and says that he has a message to me: "You must go back to Russia, to Moscow ". I say that I have 3 more weeks and a visa and tickets have already been bought, he says that he does not care, the main thing is that I should leave. I answer that why the week was allowed, but no more. He says that I'm not ready for their vibrations and I can go mad. I laugh, and tell him that I‘ve experienced a lot already and I have no fear of craziness or even death - he angrily responds that I am no longer allowed to sit here, since this is a private area. I laugh in full voice - after all, I stayed in Mauna (silence) the whole week, and at that moment when I started to laugh, I see that my Indian friend who fed me all the week left the house and heard all our dialogue. The devotee leaves, and I laugh, lie down and my Hindu friend quietly tells me not to be upset that everything has its own meaning, that everything has its time and place...
But I was not really upset, I was fascinated by the experience of staying in one place, one spot, for this week I saw a whole life, going on in its own way – as if I'm living on another planet.
I was in a different reality, in a different life, as if there was never another world in Moscow metropolis with its office-plankton work at the computer, with yoga-classes, with past relationships and past suffering and joy - now there is only this life – the life of an escaper: sitting on the yoga-mat at the gates of an Enlightened one, when every day at the same time is equally similar and completely different:
Every morning, a woman caretaker-representative of Sri Lakshmana Swamy soap and wash red place for meditation, change flowers to Ganesha and Dakshinamurthy statues, mad at me, then showly ignored me , and every morning a guy on the scooter selling coconuts, expertly cutting the tip of a coconut with machete, then a motorcyclist with fruits and greens, screaming all over the street, listing every kind of fruit, vegetables and greens, a bicyclist who sell the collected flowers of roses and frangipani, and in the afternoon people came and went, mostly high-class rich Indians. And once the family with the children arrived and when the parents saw that I was sitting in meditation, they would close eyes of their children so that they would not look at me (it turns out that the Hindus have some belief that a child looking at yogi may become interested in becoming the same, which is equivalent to the curse of secular Hindus because a yogi – is a renounced worldly goals, and therefore will not be a "normal" person, to continues family life and gives birth to the new generation... etc.), in the evening meditators sit in different ways, sometimes fussing and trying to take the best place, and once in one of the evenings, when there’s a lot of people with children, there was a celebration to which Saradamma left the court house, in her car, and then I realized that most of the meditators come to her and worship her, however Sri Lakshmana Swamy was closer to me, despite the fact that I’ve never seen him personally.
When Saradamma left and the evening meditation started, something happened, and I felt like a jerk inside lifts me also, as it happens, when I'm alone I meditate and do yoga, and here I am, after sitting so long time, rose and strength of the inside moved me as This has been happening to me since 2009 (after meeting the energy-Healer), and the flow has intensified, and at that moment I feel like a mirror that reflects the flow of Sri Lakshmana Swamy and sends it back with gratitude and the flow is intensifying, coming back and so on – as an infinite funnel - stronger and stronger, and my dance faster and faster – I feel as my body is danced by the Power - as if Nataraja, as if Nardhana Ganapathi in me until I stretch out in prostration with gratitude with face on the Indian ground.
... and after my weekly meditation retreat completed the next day me and my new and true Indian friend go to the mountain Arunachala and other holy places…
Next day I came to my rented room and went to bed ... as for since I had all week sitting at the gates reading the mantra of Sri Lakshmana Swamy, leading my attention from thoughts into the Heart on the Right, the mantra stayed chanting by itself. So falling asleep I heard the mantra chanting in my head as small motor of a mini-aircraft, and then at one point I feel completely and effortless self-randomly from my heart on the right side - pouring golden light and filling all the space inside from the toes to the top of the head, and from the tips of the fingers to The center of the Heart on the right, and I do not know if I'm asleep anymore, or whether I'm awake, lying or gone, and how much time has passed since the beginning of this process, and I understand that this is not a fantasy, but I'm all made up of Light, and I'm just I stay in this space, I enjoy the bliss of being in this state of light.
... when I returned to Moscow, I felt hungry for socialization, and saw an advertisement for the night ethno-disco, without a thought I went there and met a girl who enthusiastically told something to somebody, while I notice a wallpaper on her phone, a strange image of a yellow ball on a black background, I looked at this ball on the phone, and the girl looked at me like I was looking at this ball, and then I asked what this ball is and The girl said that this I can find out only if I meet her teacher on Thursday. And so I came on Thursday, where I meet a man in whom I see the one who I was looking for in India.
here are one of few poems that I wrote to Sri Lakshmana Swami the nest 3 weeks, and also one of all the drawings I made - here's a present for the 91st birthday of Sri Lakshmana Swami, create with mantra consisted of 108 sanskrit names of Him. Other photos and poems
Offered at the Lotus Feet of Master, Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi,
on the Anniversary of His Self-Realization (17 July 2017)
& Advent at Arunachala
(1 September 2017)