Questions and Answers with Chandra

Questions and Answers with Chandra

May the Lord fill your mind and heart with purity and devotion

The highest state of meditation is Samadhi, where there is no “I” or ego anymore, no doubts, no me, no you, no notion of time, no eating, no talking, no walking, no working and no action, realizing that the Self is action-less.

Chandra teaches    students with Chandraji    pranam


Why is it essential that each and every one of us follow the Yamas, otherwise known as the Ethical Rules?

Chandra: Every religion has ethical rules, but ethical rules do not belong to any particular religion. They are universal. Without them, the mind will never settle, people will lack the right conduct and behave with greed, lust and wrath. According to the Yoga system and the scriptures, these are the gateways to suffering. It is not safe to enter in deep meditation if the heart and mind are not clean, it’s like trying to make a fire with wet wood—it will cause lots of smoke and bring tears to the eyes. So, Yama is the foundation, you understand? Without it you will never reach enlightenment of Samadhi (Self-Realization). Throughout the entire creation every religion has ethical rules: thou shall not kill, thou shall not steal, thou shall not lie, you understand? The rules have to be kept in order to build harmony between each other and then the love starts expanding beyond your relatives. And then after human love comes Divine Love. First you have to break the boundaries from your relatives because very often, in the beginning we all love only our relatives and friends. So by keeping the ethical rules, gradually we’ll reach all beings everywhere. Then and only then, there will be Divine Love.

The ultimate purpose of Yoga is to prepare the body and mind for meditation, and through meditation one experiences Self-Realization. Do you consider meditation a means of peaceful revolution?

Chandra: Yes, without this Divine revolution or meditation towards the Supreme Self, there will be no peace. There are many degrees of meditation for controlling the mind. But to bring real peace a person must keep the ethical rules, the Yamas and Niyamas, you understand, otherwise the meditation doesn’t reach Samadhi, the state of absolute bliss. Through meditation you may control your mind, you may control your breath and feel great and forget all your material world problems. You may even gain psychic powers, but you will not experience Self-Realization if the Yamas and Niyamas are not kept. Many people practice meditation just to be able to control their mind, to reduce their pain and suffering, to succeed in their personal things, in their business, you understand. But that is not the ultimate state of meditation. The highest state of meditation is Samadhi, where there is no “I” or ego anymore, no doubts, no me, no you, no notion of time, no eating, no talking, no walking, no working and no doing anything at all—realizing that the Self is action-less. This is Self-Realization and this is ultimate freedom.

Why do you think people should stop eating meat?

Chandra: For two reasons. By eating meat, you’re breaking the first rule, the first commandment of all the ethical rules—thou shall not hurt anyone. When you eat meat, someone has killed the animal for you. The second reason, the material is no good for you. After 90 days or so that material turns into your physical body, and the mind will never settle. You will never enter the state of Samadhi. Your health will be lost, very soon your kidneys, liver and colon will fail due to the animal diet. Also due to eating meat you lack compassion for all beings and you will never reach the realm of God. Your compassion should be great enough, big enough, so that you understand eating meat involves pain and suffering. The animals were made to be loved, not to be eaten. All beings are like us, they love life, they want to live peacefully, and all animals understand violence and tremble with fear at violence.

Not everyone is compassionate, and giving and receiving love isn’t always easy. What are your thoughts on the responsibilities of the Guru, or any great leader or revolutionary, to guide students and disciples on a path of greater compassion and deeper love?

Chandra: There are many kinds of Gurus fit for different classes of students. Those students who are old souls seeking liberation, they will find a Guru or spiritual preceptor to guide them. It’s very important. Even all the saints that we have, Jesus, Buddha, they had Gurus in the past, too, to guide them a little bit. So the Guru is very essential. The Guru will guide and share the wisdom with the student and eventually show the location and how to get in direct contact with the Supreme Guru that resides within the student. The spiritual preceptors and Gurus are always alert and radiating love and peace. Their bodies and minds may at times be tired, but never the Self.

So, today as a teacher what do you feel are the important qualities and understandings that you bring as a teacher?

Chandra: Fist of all, the teacher has to be kind, not selfish, not turning the yoga system into a business. Also, they must be established most of the time in the state of sattva. Sattva is the state after you do your meditation, after you have some knowledge of Yoga. You are automatically calm, without the ego. You feel like God is passing through you. You feel you are just an instrument. A teacher must believe in God or the Self, the Supreme Self. Also the teacher must be a vegetarian. They may keep the mozzarella, the cheese, no problem. But the flesh must go, because otherwise, they are breaking the first rule: thou shall not kill, or ahimsa. If you are involved in this, your mind will never settle in meditation: always restless. Lower passion increases. So the teacher must be vegetarian, kind, and of course, have Self knowledge and be without the ego. They must have Guru also.

What is the true purpose of asana? Why do asana?

Chandra: The asana is to bring radiant health, to stimulate the glands. And also it goes beyond the physical. It goes to the mental and astral bodies, in every pose, every pose, there is always a specific place to concentrate to stimulate the glands or psychic centers in your body. Through Yoga one develops radiant health, physical power and becomes free from all disease and then tone may easily succeed in meditation. It is not important to put the legs behind head, all these fancy poses. The most important pose, the king of the poses, requires no flexibility: the headstand. The mother of all the poses is Sarvangasana, the shoulder stand. The other main poses are: the cobra pose, the spinal twist, and one pose for meditation.

Can you explain how purification happens when we practice asana, meditation and pranayama?

Chandra: Well, there are lots of levels of purification. Since we came into existence we may carry some sins we committed in the past—fishing, disturbing the animals, causing pain and discomfort in others. Due to ignorance of ourselves, about God, we make other sins hurting ourselves or others—acting without discrimination—and those are impurities. We have about 72,000 psychic channels. They are extremely subtle. It is believed that it is through these channels that the light from within manifests. Through sins and ignorance, these psychic channels are blocked. The Light from inside, or God, cannot manifest in full force. So in Yoga we are trying first to keep the Yama. To stop sinning. To act properly in order to build up harmony and to clean the psychic channels. Lack of knowledge also blocks the psychic channels. You don’t know who you are. You don’t know who God is. You believe that God has name and form and is somewhere up there punishing people, sending them to hell forever or anything else. All these are caused by impurities. So keeping the ethical rules, reading the scriptures (especially teachings about Self Realization) and getting the right knowledge, that purifies the psychic channels—the astral, subtle bodies. There are other purifications in the physical levels. The colon is the mother of all disease. If you don’t clean your colon you are going to attract all kinds of diseases. And then how can you succeed in your meditation and in anything else? No way. So there are other impurities too. Your house has to be clean. Your refrigerator has to free from corpses and cadavers. And then your stomach has to be clean. If you eat corpses and cadavers, you make your stomach a graveyard and then your meditation goes nowhere. Your house will be like a morgue. You understand? So everything has to be clean from the subtle to the grossest. That is the house and your body. By keeping a nice diet in 3 months you can have almost a new body. Then you feel good, your asanas improve, you will able to stay longer in meditation. Your meditation will be better. Because your mind will become calmer due to the type of food you eat.

When we encounter very painful experiences or we see people we love going through things which are very hard, how can we draw on Yoga to remain balanced and equanimous?

Chandra: Very simple. You must realize the laws of karma. Without knowledge of the laws of karma, you will never rest, because you believe in accidents. Even Mr. Einstein, the great scientist who split the atom, realized that for every action there is a reaction. Whatever is happening to you right now is caused by previous actions. Let’s say something bad happens to you. Let’s say you lost your finger. Remember someone who just lost their leg. Why are you worrying about your little finger? I have students who sometimes feel so depressed, “Oh I hurt my back. Now I can’t dance for the next two weeks.” What about someone who just broke the spinal cord? How many soldiers are coming from Iraq without legs and parts of the body? Why are you worrying about this little such and such? You understand? So whenever you are in pain or someone else is in pain, you remember the laws of karma. They have their karma too. Of course we have compassion, love. We pray for them. But in our case, if we are in pain, we pray for others. And try to remember others who are 10 times worse than you are. And remember the laws of karma. Whatever you are passing through, it is your own fault from the past. It is caused by the karmas from the past. The Yogis are very happy when something unexpected happens to them because, one more is over with. You understand? They know. Not just believing, they know through silent meditation everything has a cause—everything. They are very happy that one more karmic result passed away. So remember faithfully the laws of karma. Realize that whoever is suffering right now, they have their karma. Even the animals have the karma. Why do some animals go to the slaughter house, to the lab, and some end up in a family of the yogis? Just by realizing that you really appreciate God. The Divine laws are perfect. So by knowing that, you pass through any situation. Yogis are ready for any amount of pain. You understand? There is no bad feeling. You understand that everything is perfect, for a Divine purpose.

In Yoga we are the observer, perceiver and the observed at the same time as we practice. Can you talk about this and about Yoga as the practice of observing oneself without judgment of oneself?

Chandra: In the beginning, you are always observing the object of your meditation there and you are here. There are levels of meditation. One one level, the meditator, the action of meditation and the object of meditation are present. You are aware of it. You should try to be identified with the object of your meditation. For example, if you concentrate here on Trikuti, you should not try to feel like you are concentrating there, you are the concentrator, the meditator, and the object is here. You should try to copy, to pretend, that you are Trikuti itself. “I am Trikuti. I am having Divine perception.” Many people believe that God is in heaven; God is there and you are here. You will never be satisfied. In order to find God, you have really to surrender. And then you will able to lose this notion that you are the observer, the worshiper of God. You have to pretend that you are Him, Himself. That involves total surrender of the ego. The spiritual knowledge can only be imparted like this: psychically. Let’s say if you believe in Lord Jesus or Lord Buddha or if by some rare chance you have a Guru, you must surrender totally and then you should try to pretend or copy them. It’s like channeling. The personal self then disappears. You keep saying, “Take me, take me.” And then you become the object of, you understand, whatever you are looking for. You have to become the object of your concentration, meditation. Then that is the end. That is the highest type of meditation, especially for those who are seeking God. You have to totally surrender and become one with God. That is the state of Samadhi, where the mind, the observer and the action of observing disappear. You become the object.

Why do some students experience jealousy?

Chandra: Let’s say there are many yogis that cannot enter the highest states of Samadhi, because there is a little bit of the ego, spiritual jealousy there. “I am the blessed one now. I am the chosen one that is here. You are not there.” Let’s say, I am here being interviewed—you are not. You understand? There are all these judgments. All these things happen because of one thing: lack of Self Knowledge and Realization. When you have true Self Knowledge, just the Knowledge is enough. You can no longer see and differentiation; there is no such thing as judgment. You understand? Because you are everyone. If you are doing something to them, that is me. If I see someone doing miraculous postures, I don’t feel bad at all because that is me in a different body. There is no way to judge anything because you see yourselves everywhere. Believing is not enough. Intellectual idea of ‘union’ is not enough. When you get really Self Realized then it comes naturally. Whatever is happening it is you or God; there is no ego. There is no expectation of fruits. Like real yogis, when they teach, they say, “I am not teaching, something is teaching now.” If I meditate or bring a flower to God or the Lord, I am not asking anything. It has to be done, that’s it. Because I love you. There is no selfishness or judgment in any way after Self Knowledge or Realization.

What is the most important thing that you want to bring to your students?

Chandra: To the students? The knowledge—Self Knowledge. But before that they have to develop compassion to all beings, especially the animals. Become a vegetarian. Surrender. Respect the teacher. Be obedient to the teacher. Seek Self Realization. Try to avoid the powers because during the Yoga practice, you may be tempted by psychic powers and then that will be an obstacle.

Is there anything else that you would like to say?

Chandra: These days, a lot of students and teachers keep asking me, “Why are we now having all these kinds of Yoga, and all these teachers? Everywhere, Yoga, Yoga, all kinds of teachers.” So there are lots of teachers. There are honest teachers, enlightened teachers. There are teachers who want just your money. There are teachers who want to turn Yoga into a business. There are teachers who want to date the students. There are teachers who keep altering the classical system, making hybrids and commercializing the Holy Science. In response I say there are all kinds of students and all of these different teachers and styles each fit a different student's level of consciousness. The student will find the teacher who fits exactly with their level of consciousness. Students attract the teacher according to their qualifications. And sometimes I have questions about why we have to be vegetarian. As I said before, you can keep the dairy in moderation, but one has to be compassionate. You should not eat meat, flesh, because that will never bring good health and the mind will never settle. How long will you wait to become enlightened? It is according to our deeds from the past. It may be tomorrow, next week, or ten years from now, or ten lives from now. But if you are following the first step of Yoga, Yama, I promise you, it will be sooner rather than later.

Om Shanti, Shanti Shantih.
Be Receptive to the Grace of God