Yogi and the Common Man
People usually wonder about other people. “Why does he not have a heart?.
Why is he so rude?” or “Why is he treating the children so badly.”
We generally ask such questions, but many forget that we too behave without a heart many times.
On the other hand, a Yogi is a person who knows how he is positioned at all times.
Therefore he is awake and aware.
He has a mind and he is aware of the deepest movements within his mind.
This is what sets him apart.
A Yogi is often Misunderstood
Many people may consider a Yogi to be a loner.
There is a common misconception that a yogi is neither bothered about himself nor others.
Therefore, some consider Yogis to be stone-hearted.
They wonder, “What right does he have to advise us about love and compassion, when he has deserted his parents, in search of some imaginary Truth.”
The argument appears logical but is still far away from the Truth.
It is important to go deeper in order to understand the true meaning of a Yogi.
One should only refer to Shastra when trying to find answers to questions like, “How can somebody qualify as Yogi”.
One should understand that even common questions about the world silences a common man.
The Yogi poses deep questions to life
A Yogi at heart, begins questioning when everyone becomes silent.
These questions are deep and beyond the common man’s intelligence.
The Yogi asks certain questions, which have relevance only beyond the material field.
Naturally how can these questions interest a common man?
But, only if common man understands the Importance of Introspection, can he grasp the mindset of a yogi.
Where matter ends, the Yogi at heart, starts questioning.
What makes one a Yogi?
A person who poses the relevant questions, that talks beyond matter, is a Yogi in need.
When he undertakes the path of austerity, faith and devotion and gets all his questions answered then he becomes a Master, a Yogi by deed.
The world can never consider Yogi to be ordinary by any standard.
His dress, the way he lives his life, all this is exceptional.
He is born only to get his answers which have been accumulated over many lifetimes.
When he receives the answers, he becomes liberated.
He spends time guiding other sincere seekers.
This is the journey of a Yogi.
Some Questions that a Yogi poses to Life
We, common men, are just going through the routine of life without questioning or challenging our own experiences.
This is because we do not have the strength or energy to confront the deeper questions of existence.
A person who takes courage to put deeper questions to life and seeks the answer is already a Yogi in the making.
Why are we here?
What is the purpose of life?
What decides my life?
Can I gain control of my life?
How can I equip myself to get life under control?
How can I contribute to life?
These are some of the questions that the Yogi puts to himself.
When he is burning with the desire to know, he starts transforming from that instant.
What is the nature of the Yogi?
The Yogi has performed many austerities and got his heart and mind under perfect control.
Neither Profit nor loss nor happiness nor sorrow affects the Yogi.
He remains unaffected by the variations of the world.
He views everything around him with equanimity and remains unaffected.
This is the purport of being stone-hearted in the most positive sense.
Stone also represents grit, immovability, and steadfastness.
Such is the heart of a Yogi who remains steadfast on his path without deviating one bit just like a stone.
One should make an attempt to understand the heart of the Yogi, the way Sanatana Dharma expects it to be.
Only then can a common man be able to gauge the waters in which he himself is standing.
What separates the Yogi from a Common man?
Most people are not able to control their senses, because the mind is too weak and keeps oscillating from one thing to the other.
This is because the mind is not disciplined.
The combination of Mind, senses and sense-objects creates havoc.
It is important to perform Abhyasa (अभ्यास practice).
This is where the Yogi is different from others
Not surprisingly,he has a deeper purpose in life.
If taming the mind interests you then it is important that the mind should withdraw from the senses.
A Yogi is like a tortoise.
Just as the Tortoise withdraws its limbs into the shell when it is in danger,
The Yogi withdraws his senses from the sense-objects and remains aloof.
It is better to avoid a sense-object rather than being trapped in the mesh between the senses and sense-objects.
This we can explain with an example.
How can we train the mind?
If one has diabetes, if sweets attract someone the first thing is to avoid sweets totally.
One should never try to taste the sweet.
Sweetness becomes an addiction only for the untrained mind.
One has to train one’s mind with the malefic effects of sweets.
This one does, by thoroughly engaging the mind with knowledge about diabetes.
If we do that, the mind becomes equipped with relevant knowledge.
Knowledge is a source of strength for the mind.
One should continuously train the mind with the knowledge of the malefic effects of consuming sweets.
Over a continued period, the mind shall slowly withdraw its association with the tongue.
For the Higher Purpose, Sacrifice Lower Tendencies.
Only under these circumstances can the mind gain enough strength to pull away from undesirable habits.
If one further trains the mind into higher pursuits, one shall lose total interest in lower propensities.
Through positive training, one shall be able to uproot deep-rooted tendencies that limit us.
This is the way to arrest the mind.
When we find higher purposes, our search shall deepen.
Then, we will gain the confidence to look further into life and identify anomalies.
It is this search which sets a Yogi apart from the rest of the world.
Sri Ramanuja explains about the Mind
Let us look at a typical exposition mind, as per Sri Ramanujacharya in the Sri Sampradaya.
Sri Ramanujacharya describes beautifully, the nature of the mind.
When the mind is steadfast, Acharya exhorts, it is the Buddhi (बुद्धि). If egotism fills the mind, it is “Ahankara” (अहंकार).
The Contemplative mind becomes the “Chitta”.
Atma has two identities according to Vishishta-Advaita or Sri Sampradaya.
One is Vishishta Vesha (विशिष्ट वेश) and other is Nishkrishta Vesha (निकृष्ट वेश).
In the first case, the Atma is in association with the body.
However, in the second case, Atma is devoid of its association with the body.
In the first case, one shall only see sorrow as the residue of this experience.
The one trained through Sadhana and Spiritual knowledge can enter Nishkrishta Vesha.
In this perspective, only Ananda or Contentment, Peace, and Spiritual Happiness shall be the residue.
Yogis are people trained to see Atma through Nishkrishta Vesha and hence they are blissful.
Yet from the eyes of the common man, they may seem to be stone-hearted.
On the contrary, a Yogi being stone-hearted is in an extremely positive and desirable sense.
Thanks for reading!