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What Makes A True Yogi?

"A human being is part of the whole, called by us 'Universe'; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest -- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. " ~ Albert Einstein

Since, in many parts of the world people are celebrating Easter, I thought that it would be a good time to share some insights with you. Firstly, I will start by saying that I am not a religious person, and I follow practices of different philosophies that resonate with me, but even though I do not follow religions, I do believe in enlightened Beings who have stepped on this earth, and to me Jesus/Christ was one of them (as much as the Buddha and many others.) Jesus was true yogi who practiced and shared the message of Love for all mankind and I will explain why below.

As some of you know, in the Ashtanga yoga system, there are 8 limbs which I see as branches of a big yoga tree. The first two being Yamas and Niyamas, within these two, there are 5 subcategories/observances that have to do with purification and self restraints.

In the chart below, from left to right, you can see the 8 steps and their order, which is not random. The first things necessary to procede the last things.

These limbs give us steps to move towards God/Enlightenment/Self-realisation, and if we look at them with some depth, we can get a sense of the practices that Jesus/Buddha and many enlightened beings went through. Today, I will focus on Jesus.

The first step, yama, has to do with renunciations. We renounce being violent in thoughts, words and acts and we live from a place of compassion towards all living beings.

One of the most powerful messages from Jesus was to love one another, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’, he realised himself as the highest expression of Love, Oneness is true love and his actions were his message.

Ahimsa, non-violence goes a bit deeper than thinking "Well, I am not moving through life smacking people around and swearing at them", but really noticing everything that supports any act that can cause suffering to other beings and ceasing to do so.

Once, someone asked Ramana Maharshi "How are we to treat others?" and he replied, "There are no others."

When we are able to see ourselves in everyOne, we will stop contributing and supporting their suffering, because their suffering would be "our" suffering.

When I look at the yamas and niyamas with their subcategories, all I see is the practice of Love. When you're in a love state, you live your life with compassion in our heart so it's very unlikely that you will be causing suffering to others. If Jesus had identified himself with his body, mind and identity, as any other human being, he could have probably tried to act upon attacks, but there was no sense of self in him, so he had nothing to defend, he was truly One with God. Even though he was inhabiting the body, he knew he was not "it". He knew one of the reasons why he was put on the cross was because of what he was preaching, which were said to be false. If he has wanted to save himself, he could have gone against his truth. Nowadays we sometimes choose to "not to speak our truth" because we fear someone may not like it or agree with it. We can only speak our truth when we stop identifying with the part of ourselves we think we have to protect. Jesus was a beautiful representation of the practice of Satya, renunciation to lying and commitment to Truth.

In the practice of yamas and niyamas, if someone is rooted in Being, there is no unconscious acts, there's no stealing as in order to steal, it's not necessarily material things that you would take from someone, but practicing asteya includes things like accepting undeserved praise or taking credit for the thoughts/words/downloads that come from a higher intelligence, but in a broad sense, this yama is to not appropriate anything that isn't yours and as the teachings go, you "do unto others what you would have them do to you."

Yoga teachings guide us to a place in ourselves where there's no sense of "I", no ego, no attachments and greed, where our sense of Self merge into Oneness with All that is, in which during the first stages we might need to consciously renunciate our attachments and see the desires that bind us. We become more aware of the pull of our senses and where they are rooted, and the noticing brings in itself a dissolution of the pull which as in the experience of Jesus in the crucifixion allowed him to completely surrender to the way things unfolded for him, he freed himself from form, from sense perceptions and pain, he did not see himself as separate from God, he offered it all to God and even in the experience of suffering, he felt compassion on all and loved all as God, he merged into Godliness, and as in the Bhagavad Gita says "Those who pray to the Gods, go to the Gods." Jesus practiced all of the higher aspects of yoga, he was teaching many of these valuable aspects to whoever was ready to receive them, and those who resonated with them became his followers. Christ was a true and pure example of the qualities of an enlightened Being, a yogi without a label, a beautiful and magnificent expression of LOVE.

I will end this post with the words of Ramana Maharshi on Christ.

“Christ said love all beings as children of God, serve them. Give everything to the poor, even your clothing. Give it all away. Jesus gave it all away including his body.”

"He was lost in love. He was one with all beings and he had great love for all in the world. He was crucified so that his spirit could spread throughout the world. He was one with God. He sacrificed his body for the dharma. He never died. He never died. He is atman living in the hearts of all. See all beings as the reflection of Christ."

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