Shri Brahmananda Saraswati

from a September 2015 Satsang

I'm very thrilled to be able to be here with you for this week to talk about Shri Brahmananda Saraswati and I’ll do my best to communicate some of his teachings. His teachings are very deep and wide and immense. The teachings that have been recorded on CD and tape and book are really just a fraction of the amount of teachings that came through this incredible being, but David and myself and all the staff here will do our best to share some of these extraordinary gifts from an extraordinary being. I don't want to say extraordinary man because he was not a normal man; the most I can say is extraordinary being.

When you were in his presence you could not help but to feel the electricity coming from him and this reminded everyone in his presence of their own innate divine nature. He really was such a bright light that the light was not focused on him, it was so bright that he illuminated the situation that he was in and one of our jobs, for each one of us, is to turn the light and reflect it back to others. That is our big job and I wanted to share something that you will recognize that we do often perhaps in a Jivamukti class but just to acknowledge this source where these things have come from and that they have come from him directly. So let us do it right now. Rub your hands together. Rub your hands together until you feel a vibration. This is prana. Lift your hands feeling the pulsation.

OM Tryambakam yajambahe, sugandhim pushti vardanam,
urva rukhamiva bhandanan, mrtyor mukshi amamritat, swaha!
Tryambakam yajambahe,sugandhim pushti vardanam,
urva rukhamiva bhandanan, mrtyor mukshi amamritat, swaha!
Tryambakam yajambahe, sugandhim pushti vardanam,
urva rukhamiva bhandanan, mrtyor mukshi amamritat, swaha!
OM shanti OM shanti OM shanti OM
OM shanti OM shanti OM shanti OM

Can you feel your arms hands and fingers pulsating? Can you feel that pulsation of electricity? The pulsation is enhanced through the mantra. But just lifting the hands up can do it too.

(Recording of Shri Brahmananda Saraswati)
Raise your hands. Close your eyes. Feel the pulsation of electricity. From your heart to your shoulders, arms, palms, fingers, fingernails, back and forth. Shake your hands and feel pulsation. When you feel pulsation bring your palms down. Feel pulsation in both lungs and heart. Both shoulders. Your neck, front of the neck, back of the neck, right side and left side, your face, head, brain, upper, middle, lower. Inside the brain and outside.

(Recording of Cosmic Meditation of Shri Brahmananda)
The ocean of nectarine. Experience the ocean of nectarine. What could that possibly mean this ocean of nectarine? Well, we chant to find the answer.

Satsangatve Nissangatvam
Nissangatve nirmohatvam
Nirmohatve nischala tatvam
Nischala tatve Jivanmukti
Bhaja Govindam bhaja govindam
Bhaja Govindam mudha mate

Let's read together Shri Brahmananda's holy translation. Good and virtuous company gives rise to non-attachment. Hold it right there! What does that mean? Do you know what you're saying? OK first of all what's good and virtuous company?

Student: Satsang.

What's satsang? Don't say good and virtuous company. What is it? This? What's this? Like-minded? So we're all here because… what do we have in common? What is like-minded about us? Seeking yoga? What's that?

Student: Union.

Union? With what? Starbucks? I see a lot of Starbucks. Coming in union with Starbucks right?

Student: With the Divine.

With the Divine, with God, what's that? See I'm a yogi, I really don't like all this theory, I want practical, how-to, get down to it. You know Shri Brahmananda was a worshipper of the Divine Mother. You can't get any more down to earth than the Divine Mother. All of his instructions were about getting down to earth. Did you hear that or did it sound very cosmic and etheric? Understand what he was trying to bring about. He was trying to get us to acknowledge the blood flowing in our bodies. That's life, that is really down to earth stuff. He was trying to get us to acknowledge that we are alive right now and through this life comes knowledge of the Self. Through the gift of the Divine Mother who is this life. Your physical body your mind gives you the opportunities for the ocean of nectarine.

So if we can surround ourselves with supportive people, people who want that, who want us to have that, then we are in good and virtuous company. People who know that there is such a thing as good and evil on a relative level. There absolutely, well not absolutely, but it does truly exist on a relative level. Absolutely - it does not exist. But to get to that absolute understanding you have to understand what is happening relatively or on a down-to-earth practical level. So good and evil... what determines what is good? What is a good action what is a bad action? Alanna what is a good action?

Student: Something that leads you toward the truth.

Something that leads you toward the truth, towards Yoga. What is a bad action? Takes you away from it to where? Away from that is where? Ignorance? More entangled in karma? What's karma? Our bodies and our minds are karma. Everything we've ever thought, said, or done has created this body. So that which is considered bad or un-virtuous is that which takes us into more identification with our bodies, with our sadness, our incompleteness, our anger, our jealousy, our lack of fullness. Shri Brahmananda said yoga is the state where you are missing nothing, total and complete, feeling ok, the ocean of nectarine. That is the experience only of the Self, not of the non-Self.

Satsang -- being around people who want to do things to move towards that and not do things that will enhance your separateness, you wouldn't come into a situation where you want to talk bad about somebody, or gossip, or make people listen to your problems, that's not Satsang. Satsang is where you leave that bad stuff behind because you know it's not going to get you into the ocean of nectarine. So this kind of Satsang will bring about it says non-attachment. It means you stop being attached to your karmas, to recognize that, OK, I've done stuff, I've done stuff for a long time. I've been unkind, I've been selfish, I've been angry, I've been irresponsible, I've done all this stuff, OK, I've done it but you don't feel guilty about it. You might have some healthy regret but you don't linger there. You want to get on the jumbo jet. You want to move on.

So what you're trying to do is stop identifying with yourself as body and mind as your personality - that's what yoga's about. You want to identify yourself with the I-AM without any other conditions attached to it.

Let's continue on. From non-attachment comes freedom from delusion. What's that mean, freedom from what delusion? Thinking that you are the body and mind. Thinking that there are divisions of this and that, duality, raga and dvesha.

Let's continue. With freedom from delusion one feels the changeless reality. This is important. You cannot feel the changeless reality if you're thinking about your problems. You cannot feel the changeless reality. The two cannot come together, they delete the other one. So it's either you're identifying with the Divine or you're identifying with the body/mind, the personality. You can't have both. Until, let's not go there. One step at a time. There is a point where you can have both but you gotta wait.

Let's go on. Experiencing that changeless reality one can attain liberation in this life. And what is the name for that? What word describes that? Jivanmukti. I-AM is the ocean of awareness. So when he says the ocean of nectarine, this I-AM is very sweet, in other words. A nectarine is sweet and it has a nice color to it. Golden orange, which is the complimentary color to what? Blue! So many clues. Blue, the blue sky, blue is the color of love.

Realizing this, one feels I am not the body and mind although I have a body and mind. Realize Govinda, Realize Govinda; realize Govinda in your hearts, o wise ones. Who is Govinda? Krishna. Who is Krishna? The blue one. Krishna is the blue one. When you have overcome duality, blue and orange, in the ocean of nectarine, Krishna as Govinda has taken all of the senses and directed them to one place, the divine. So this is what I was referring to. When you reach that point of the Jivanmukta, you can have it all. You can have a sensual divine experience but not until you go beyond the personality. Personality, experience of the senses is not what you should be going after. I wanna feel good. I wanna look good. I want people to like me. That will not take you to this ocean of nectarine, to this Atma Bodha. Knowledge of the Self. It will take you back to your karmas. He says "realize this, Oh wise ones." Of course mudha mate really means stupid ones, but Shri Brahmananda said no, we do not translate that line like that because if you are reciting this mantra you are wise, you are not an idiot. If you are even in the room where this mantra is being recited you are wise.

Sharon Gannon is a 21st-century Renaissance woman, an animal rights and vegan activist and a world-renowned yogini, perhaps best known as the founder, along with David Life, of the Jivamukti Yoga Method. She is also an accomplished writer, dancer, painter, musician and chef. Sharon has devoted many years exploring the role of diet in promoting physical, emotional and mental well-being as well as spiritual development. She lives in a 125-acre wild forest sanctuary in Woodstock, NY.

A student of Brahmananda Sarasvati, Swami Nirmalananda, K. Pattabhi Jois, and Shyam das, she is a pioneer in teaching yoga as spiritual activism and is credited for making yoga cool and hip—relating ancient teachings of yoga to the modern world. Sharon's book Yoga and Vegetarianism has been called the "seminal" work on the subject, exploring the relationship of veganism to the teachings of yoga.

Sharon is a musician and is a featured vocalist on many CDs including Sharanam, which is her 2010 solo album, produced by Frenz Kallos. She has produced numerous yoga-related DVDs and is the author of several books, including Jivamukti Yoga: Practices for Liberating Body & SoulThe Art of Yoga, Cats and Dogs are People Too!, and Yoga Assists. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Toward 2012, Arcana V: Music, Magic and Mysticism, What comes after Money, Semiotexte, Yoga Journal, Mantra, and Origin. She writes a monthly essay called the Focus of the Month.