By Terrilee Bulger CYA-RYT200
When I received the call for submissions for the newsletter, I was submersed in training with my guru, Manju Jois. My submission is a question and answer format with him.
TB: In a time when we face many challenges — climate change and environmental destruction, political upheaval and war, social inequity, poverty and discrimination etc. — what can or should a yogi do?
MJ: When the universe gets imbalanced, the world gets in this state. In Vedas, we talk about prithvi [the earth], vayu [the air], agni [fire] and jala [the water]. We are all made of these elements and these elements also make up the earth. Therefore, when we get imbalanced, we must start to balance our own body. Once we start balancing ourselves, we can start to balance the world. Right now, we can’t find the balance. There is so much ignorance in the world and right now there is more ignorance than intelligence. If you look at what is going on all over the world now, for example, there are leaders who want to start wars or use nuclear weapons. When that happens, the universe will come to an end and it is ignorance that causes that.
So, in yoga philosophy, at times like this, you go inside of yourself to see what needs to be balanced. Once you start to find the balance there, you can start to balance the universe.
TB: “So you start with balancing your own issues?”
MJ: That is right. That is why we don’t judge people. It is not our business to judge. First, we must work on the impurities in our own self. Once someone starts clearing up the impurities, just being around a person who is pure and simple makes you pure. That is very important. So, when you are with certain people, you enjoy their company and you feel comfortable with them. They are not draining your energy from you. They are getting something from you too that you didn’t know you had.
TB: So, what you are saying is that when you balance yourself, other people will become balanced by being around you?
TB: And what about chanting? Does that help?
MJ: It does. Chanting is very powerful. That is why we need more chanting every day. The slow vibration purifies you. If you hear nice chanting, your mind reacts to it positively. The vibration starts in your head and that is what clears up the cloud in your mind. See? Everyone has a cloud sitting there [in their head] so we must help make it disappear. The sun behind the cloud. The chanting brings the sun. It is called ahtnam in Sanskrit — it means your soul and jnana means knowledge — you will see the whole knowledge come out of you. That is enlightenment. And that is what we are trying to discover. It comes with daily action.
TB: It reminds of the quote from the Dalai Lama that is something about if you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.
MJ: Yes, we [yogis] always think that to make a difference, “you” must come first. If someone says, I don’t have time to do this, then you can say, “you are never going to have time; before you know it, your time will be up. If you neglect [yourself] now, then slowly, you will get sick, you are not getting proper exercise, and slowly it will kill you”. So that is why you always have to take care of yourself first.
TB: That makes a lot of sense.
MJ: It is important that people remember “I am everything. I am the creator. I create good things, I create bad things. I am good and I am evil”. You can’t blame someone else like “oh, you did this to me”…no, you did it yourself. You have a choice. So, whatever choice you make, it is entirely up to you. Just when you make that choice, think about it and the impact that it has.
TB: Thanks Manju.
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