Mallik Mahāśaya, Naren Bābu, and Anand Bābu arrive at Yogi Bābājī’s kuñja
On the way, while leaving Paṇḍita dāsa Bābājī’s āśrama, Yogi Bābājī could understand by the sun’s position that it was about eleven o’clock. He was walking rather quickly towards his kuñja. Near a tamāla tree he saw three Bengali gentlemen coming. He considered that one of them was Mallik Mahāśaya. Bābājī had previously received news of their intended arrival, so he had kept his kuñja cleansed. As the three gentlemen came near, Bābājī inquired, “Where do you live? Where are you going?” Among the three, one was wise by age—perhaps sixty years old. His hair and moustache were practically white. He was wearing a fine cotton shirt with dhotī and cādara. He was carrying a bag in his hand and wearing Chinese shoes. The other two had beards and were thirty or thirty-two years old. They were wearing glasses and holding walking sticks and bags. They all held umbrellas over their heads. The wise gentleman came forward and said, “We’ve come from Calcutta. We will go to Yogi Bābājī’s āśrama. Nitaidāsa Bābājī has written him a letter.”
On hearing this, Yogi Bābājī said, “Then you’re looking for me. Are you Mallik Mahāśaya?” The gentleman said, “Yes sir.” Bābājī cordially received them and brought them to his kuñja.
The kuñja was very sanctified. Three or four kuṭiras were surrounded by trees. There was one temple room. Bābājī arranged for their meal after first engaging his disciple in their service. After taking bath in Mānasa-gaṅgā, they took prasāda. On finishing their meal, they sat under the pañcavaṭī and conversed.
Mallik Mahāśaya said, “Bābājī Mahāśaya! Everyone in Calcutta glorifies you. We’ve come to your feet with the hope of getting enlightenment.”
Bābājī happily said, “Mahāśaya, you are a great soul. Nityānanda dāsa Bābājī wrote me that such a Hindu lover of learning as you is hardly seen in Calcutta. You’ve studied many yoga scriptures and practiced the same.”
Mallik Bābu introduces himself
Slightly smiling, Mallik Bābu said, “This is a good morning for me, that I’ve met such a yogi as you.”
As he spoke, Mallik Bābu fell at Yogi Bābājī’s feet and continued, “Bābājī, please forgive me for the offense I committed. The first time I met you I didn’t offer obeisances. Bābājī, nowadays in Calcutta the old customs are so far lost that we don’t even offer obeisances when we see our superiors. Now let me have the pleasure of touching your feet in this secluded place. My history is this: in my early days I was an atheist. Later, when I received education from the Christians, I thought their religion was better than ours. I went many days to pray in church. Then I embraced Brahmoism, the modern religion preached by Rājā Rāma Mohan Rāya. Then for some days I practiced the foreign arts of demonology, clairvoyance, and mesmerism. In order to properly practice that art I went last year to Madras to see Madam Laurence. By that art I could make departed personalities appear by remembering them. With a little endeavor I could get messages from distant places. Seeing all my abilities, one day Nityānanda dāsa Bābājī said to me, `Bābu! If you can see Yogi Bābājī at Govardhana you may attain many supernatural powers.’ Since then I’ve developed firm faith in Hindu scriptures. I no longer eat meat, and I always remain pure. I’ve developed more abilities due to these habits. Now I follow many Hindu vows. I drink Ganges water, I don’t take food touched by non-Hindus, and morning and evening I offer prayers to God.”
The introduction of Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu
“Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu came with me. They have faith in Brahmoism, but they don’t hesitate to accept that there is some truth in the yoga-śāstras. I’ve shown them a number of results from yoga. Now they have as much faith in me as they have in their preceptor. They had no desire to visit Hindu tīrthas, where one must indulge in many forms of idolatry. While taking prasāda today it appeared from Naren Bābu’s facial expression that he felt distressed. I feel, however, that they will soon have faith in Hindu śāstras like I do. I’m taking shelter at your feet; would you please give me some instructions in rāja-yoga?”
Yogi Bābājī fears falling down due to materialistic association
Listening to Mallik Bābu’s prayer, Yogi Bābājī displayed an amazing mood of slight joy and sorrow. “Bābujī, I’m indifferent and don’t have much connection with worldly life. I stayed in a cave in Badarikāśrama and, by the practice of kumbhaka, I hardly ate for almost a year. Suddenly I met the great devotee son of Vyāsa, Śukadeva, who told me to return to Vraja. Since then, I’ve become somewhat worldly-minded by the association of the Vraja-vasis. Still, I don’t live with those who are extremely attached to material life. So far, your dress, eating, and association is like that of extremely worldly-minded people. I’m apprehensive; if I associate with worldly-minded people, I may fall from the yoga path.”
Mallik Mahāśaya’s vow, change of dress, and acceptance of the holy name, as well as Naren and Anand Bābu’s independence due to their faith in Brahmoism
Hearing Bābājī’s words, Mallik Bābu said, “I’m prepared to accept dress and eating habits according to your orders, but how can I renounce my two companions? Here is my plan: let Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu stay here one or two days, and then they can go to Bangiya Samaj in Vṛndāvana. I will stay under your feet for six months and practice yoga.”
Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu fully accepted that proposal and said, “Within two days we’ll be going to Vṛndāvana, where our servants are waiting for us.” This arrangement was finalized.
Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu then went to see the surrounding natural beauty. Seeing Bābājī alone, Mallik Bābu said to him, “Bābājī, it wasn’t right for me to bring them here, because on seeing their dress everyone neglects them. If you are merciful to me, then I will soon give up the association of all non-Āryans.”
Bābājī said, “By seeing a Vaiṣṇava’s dress and behavior, many people give up their company. That is not my habit. I never hesitate to be even with yavanas. Vaiṣṇavas are never envious of other classes, still, for the sake of convenience, I feel one should accept Vaiṣṇava dress and behavior.”
One hardly accepts Vaiṣṇava dress after one day’s instruction, still, either due to previous saṁskāras or to acquire Yogi Bābājī’s confidence, Mallik Bābu immediately gave up his Rs.5/- leather shoes. He wore a tulasī-mālā on his neck and tilaka on his forehead and then offered obeisances to Bābājī. Bābājī gave him permission to chant hari-nāma softly on beads, and Mallik Mahāśaya began this practice.
When Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu returned from their walk and saw Mallik Mahāśaya’s condition, they conversed, “What sort of mentality is this? It seems our staying here is not good. Though he’s a great paṇḍita and seeker, still he’s restless. What is this new appearance? Why so far in one day? Let’s see what happens. We won’t disrespect our sacred Brahmoism. Anyway, we will examine human character by watching him.”
Seeing Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu coming near, Mallik Mahāśaya became somewhat restless and said, “Naren! See what I’ve become. Anand! Are you displeased?”
Both Naren and Anand said, “You are the object of our respect. We are not displeased with any of your actions.”
When Yogi Bābājī makes some spiritual inquiry, Brahmo preceptor Naren Bābu exposes defects in Hindu dharma
Bābājī said, “You are learned and religious-minded. But have you discussed the Absolute Truth?”
Naren Bābu was a Brahmo preceptor. He often assisted teaching the Brahmos. On hearing Bābājī’s questions, he put his glasses on and began to speak.
“Bhārata is contaminated with some defects since a long time. The defects are:
(1) Jatibheda, or castism. Every human is the son of one father. Everyone is brother. Far from making progress, Indians are gradually becoming fallen because of casteism. Especially they are greatly disliked by the advanced European races.
(2) By giving up impersonal Brahman and worshiping many imaginary gods and goddesses, they have gone very far from God.
(3) Idol worship.
(4) Uselessly taking vows such as fasting.
(5) Uselessly giving respect to cunning brāhmaṇas.
(6) Due to abominable habits, our brothers are gradually going to hell.
(7) Belief in rebirth and considering all animals are living entities.
(8) Refrain from meat eating. As a result of a lack of proper food their bodies become weak and they are unable to rule the kingdom.
(9) Weak husbandless women suffer humiliated conditions due to widowhood.
In order to deliver India from these malpractices, the seed of sacred Brahmoism sown by philanthropist Rājā Rāma Mohan Rāya has grown into a tree which is giving fruit these days. We pray to the impersonal Lord that all Indians may become free from the darkness of illusion and accept Brahmoism as taught in the Upaniṣads. Bābājī Mahāśaya! When will that day come when we will all pray together?”
Naren Bābu spoke in a faltering voice and then became silent. At that point no one spoke further.
Bābājī became a little resolute and said, “Yes, it is better to develop some God consciousness then to have doubts. I once stopped at Vālmīki Muni’s āśrama on my way to Kanpur. In a public place there I heard these things from an Englishman. After that, I never heard such talk again.”
When Bābājī asks some basic questions, Anand Bābu responds with the teachings of Brahmoism
Bābājī further said, “Alright, I would like to ask about some basic topics.
(1) What is the constitution of God?
(2) What is His relation with the living entities?
(3) What is the process to please Him?
(4) What happens to the living entity if God is pleased? (5) Why is the Lord worshiped?”
Anand Bābu was a modern man from a good family. He gave up his sacred thread and became a preacher of the Brahmo philosophy. When he heard Bābājī’s scientific questions, he was enthused and stood up. He said, “O Mahātmā! Please listen. There are answers to all questions in the storehouse of Brahmoism. Don’t minimize Brahmoism because it has no scriptures. All those religions which highly regard some scripture certainly have some old mistakes in them. Your Vaiṣṇava philosophy appears like a small pond in a field compared to the ocean of Brahmosim. Pearls are not found in that pond, pearls are obtained from the ocean. Although we don’t have voluminous scriptures, still the scriptures we have, named brāhma-dharma, answer all questions like someone who has all knowledge at his fingertips.”
Anand Bābu opened his bag and put on his glasses. He took a small book from his bag and began to read:
(1) God is formless.
(2) His relationship with the living entities is like a father to His sons.
(3) He is satisfied by activities which are dear to Him.
(4) We get abundant joy.
(5) He provides us the mother’s breast milk, the grains in the field, and the fish in the reservoir of water. Therefore we are indebted to Him and obliged to worship Him.
You see how our dharmācāryas have given the essential truths in a few words. You would have written a voluminous scripture like Mahābhārata to explain these five points. Blessed is Rājā Rāma Mohan Rāya! All glories to him! Let the flag of Brahmoism fly from one corner of the world to the other.”
Seeing the intense gaze of the bearded Anand Bābu, Bābājī smiled and said, “All good to you. May the Supreme Lord one day attract you. Today you are my guests. I should not say anything which could give you anxiety. If Lord Gaurāṅga desires we will soon discuss the whole subject.”
On hearing Bābājī’s humble statement, Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu put their glasses away and smilingly said, “As you say. We will gradually listen to all your conclusions.”
In answering Mallik Bābu’s questions,Yogi Bābājī compares rāja-yoga with haṭha-yoga
When everyone became silent, Mallik Mahāśaya continued saying, “Bābājī Mahāśaya! Kindly explain rāja-yoga.”
Yogi Bābājī said, “So be it.” and began speaking.
“The yoga practiced by philosophers and Puranic scholars is called rāja-yoga. Yoga prescribed by the tantric paṇḍitas is called haṭha-yoga. I’ve little taste for haṭha-yoga, because it is an obstacle in the practice of Vaiṣṇavism. Haṭha-yoga is described in the śākta and śaiva tantras as well as the scriptures written from those tantras, like Haṭha–yoga dīpikā and Yoga-cintāmaṇi. Among those scriptures I consider Śiva-saṁhitā and Gheraṇḍa-saṁhitā the best. During my stay at Kāśī I studied those scriptures and practiced some of them, but ultimately I came to see that one can only get some bodily benefit from that system of yoga. Attaining samādhi by that process is not easy.”
Analysis of the science of haṭha-yoga
“This is the science of haṭha-yoga in short:
(A) Through pious and impious activities, the living entity gets a container in the form of a body. The living entity within the container is born and dies according to his karma.
(B) That container, in the form of an unfired pot, is not useful even after burning. There is always chance of danger in the ocean of material existence. By haṭha-yoga that container is purified by fire.
(C) Seven kinds of bodily purification are:
(1) śodhana, or purification by six activities;
(2) dṛdhīkaraṇa, or becoming strong by practicing āsanas;
(3) sthirīkaraṇa, or becoming steady by practicing mudrās;
(4) dhairya, or becoming indifferent by practicing pratyāhāra;
(5) lāghava, or becoming light by prāṇāyāma;
(6) pratyakṣa, or direct perception by dhyāna; and
(7) nirliptīkaraṇa, or becoming free from worldly attachments by samādhi.
(C1) Six activities for purification are:
(1) dhauti (2) vasti, (3) neti, (4) laulikī, (5) trāṭaka, and (6) kapāla–bhati—by these six activities the body is purified.
(1) Dhauti, or cleansing, is of four types:
(a) antar-dhauti, or internal cleansing vātasāra, by air; vārisāra, by water; bahisāra, and bahiśkṛti, also by air, are the four kinds of antar-dhauti.
(b) danta–dhauti, or cleansing the teeth danta-mūla, the roots of the teeth; jihvā-mūla, the root of the tongue; karṇa-randhra-dvaya, the ears; and kapāla-randhra, massaging the forehead; are the five kinds of dhauti known as danta-dhauti.
(c) hṛd-dhauti, or cleansing the heart daṇḍa-dvārā, by stick; vamana-dvārā, by vomiting; and vastra-dvārā, by cloth, are the three kinds of hṛd-dhauti.
(d) mala-dhauti, or cleansing the stool; daṇḍa, by stick; aṅgulī, by finger; and jala-dvārā, by water; will purify the mala.
(2) Vasti, cleansing the abdomen, is of two types:
(a) jala-vasti, or sitting in water upto the navel and contracting, and
(b) śuṣka-vasti, dry contraction.
(3) Neti, passing a string (the length as measured from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the outstretched small finger) into the nostril and out the mouth.
(4) Laulikī, quickly swinging the head from side to side.
(5) Trāṭaka, without blinking the eyes, staring at a point till tears come.
(6) Kapāla-bhāti, or bhāla-bhāti, (inhaling through one nostril and exhaling through the other, then vice versa) is of three kinds:
(a) avyutkrama, (b) vyutkrama, and (c) śītkrama.
(C2) Becoming strong by practicing āsanas:
Thirty-two kinds of āsanas are advised. After cleaning the container, āsana is practiced to make the body strong. This is the second process of haṭha-yoga. Siddhāsana, padmāsana, bhadrāsana, muktāsana, vajrāsana, svastikāsana, siṁhāsana, gomukhāsana, vīrāsana, dhanurāsana, mṛtāsana, guptāsana, matsyāsana, matsyāgrāsana, gorakṣāsana, paścimottanāsana, utkaṭāsana, śakaṭāsana, mayurāsana, kukkuṭāsana, kurmāsana, uttāna kurmāsana, maṇḍukāsana, uttāna maṇḍukāsana, vṛkṣāsana, garuḍāsana, vṛṣāsana, śalabhāsana, makarāsana, uṣṭrāsana, bhujaṅgāsana, and yogāsana. Any one of these āsanas can be practiced.
(C3) Becoming steady by mudrās:
By practicing āsana the container is made strong, then by performing mudrās it becomes steady. Out of many mudrās twenty-five are always and everywhere suggested. They are mahāmudrā, nabhomudrā, uḍḍīyana, jālandara, mūlabandha, mahābandha, mahāvedha, khecarī, viparītakaraṇī, yonimudrā, vajrani, śakticālanī, taḍāgī, māṇḍukī, śāmbhavī, adhodhāraṇā, unmanī, vaiśvānarī, vāyavī, nabhodhāraṇā, aśvinī, pāśinī, kākī, mātaṅgī, and bhujaṅginī. For each mudrā there is a particular benefit.
(C4) Becoming indifferent by pratyāhara:
By performing mudrās the container becomes steady, then by pratyāhāra the container becomes undisturbed. When the mind is gradually withdrawn from the objects of the senses and kept equipoised, that is called pratyāhāra.
(C5) By performing prāṇāyāma one becomes light and the nerves are purified, then one may progress to kumbhaka, dhyāna, dhāraṇā, and samādhi.
By performing pratyāhāra, the mind is controlled and the container becomes undisturbed. After that the body is made light by practice of prāṇāyāma. In order to practice prāṇāyāma, the place and time should be considered. There are some rules regarding eating. One should know all these things at the time of starting. First, the nerves must be purified. After purifying the nerves, one should practice kumbhaka. It takes about three months to purify the nerves. The eight types of kumbhaka are: sahita, sūryabhedī, udvāyī, śītalī, bhastrikā, bhrāmarī, mūrcchā, and kevalī. When recaka, pūraka, and kumbhaka are regularly practiced, then one comes to the stage of kevala-kumbhaka.
When the practitioner becomes light by the practice of prāṇāyāma, he can then go on to dhyāna, then to dhāraṇā, and at last to samādhi. I will give elaborate descriptions on this at the proper time.
Closing remarks on haṭha-yoga
If someone practices haṭha-yoga in this way, he can do many wonderful feats. By seeing the results, one can believe this. The tantrics express different opinions on the limbs of yoga. For example, in the Niruttara-tantra, fourth petal it is said,
pratyāhāraś ca dhāraṇā
yogāṅgāni vadanti ṣaḍ
“Āsana, prāṇāyāma, pratyāhāra, dhāraṇā, dhyāna, and samādhi are the six limbs of yoga.’ Although Dattātreya and others have different opinions, still according to almost all, the origin of haṭha-yoga is the same. I did not get satisfaction by practicing haṭha-yoga, because by practicing mudrās so many kinds of powers are acquired that the practitioner cannot make more progress. Especially the six activities of dhauti, neti, etc. are so difficult to perform that unless the guru is nearby there is often risk of death. When I went to Badarikāśrama from Kāśī, one rāja-yogi kindly taught me rāja-yoga. Since then I’ve given up haṭha-yoga.”
After saying this, Bābājī said, “That’s enough for today, I will give instructions on rāja-yoga another day. The day is almost over, and we wish to go to the āśrama of Pūjyapāda Paṇḍita dāsa Bābājī.”
Naren and Anand Bābu develop faith in Vaiṣṇavism as preached by Yogi Bābājī
While Yogi Bābājī was explaining haṭha-yoga, Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu observed his gravity and became somewhat respectful and listened attentively to his words.
While hearing, they developed some faith in Bābājī and some disrespect for their own insignificant knowledge. They said, “Bābājī, we will be happy to discuss spiritual topics with you. Therefore we’ve decided to stay here a few days. We’ve developed special faith in your words.”
Bābājī said, “If the Lord is merciful, there is no doubt that very soon you can all become pure devotees of Kṛṣṇa.”
Naren Bābu said, “It is not possible for us to accept idol worship, but we no longer feel that Vaiṣṇavism is utterly without substance. Rather, they have more knowledge of the Absolute Truth than the followers of Brahmoism. But, unfortunately, even though they understand the Absolute Truth, they don’t give up idol worship—I can’t understand why. Had there been no idol worship in Vaiṣṇavism, then there would be unity with Brahmoism and we wouldn’t hesitate to recognize you as a Vaiṣṇava.”
Bābājī became extremely grave. He knew how to show young people the path of bhakti. He therefore said, “Let us leave these topics today.”
Being enchanted by Bābājī’s wisdom and devotion, Mallik Mahāśaya became silent. While meditating on the description of haṭha-yoga, he thought, “Alas! What fools we are! I went to Madam Laurence in Madras for insignificant things like mesmerism, demonology, and a few details on haṭha-yoga. I haven’t seen such a great magnanimous yogi so far. By the grace of Nityānanda dāsa, I’m without doubt seeing auspicious days.”
For some days Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu discussed many spiritual topics with Bābājī. As a result they developed much faith in Vaiṣṇavism. They came to understand, to a large extent, the science of devotional service. Previously they had not known the nice points in Vaiṣṇavism. With his fine intelligence Naren Bābu could see the pure devotional service referred to by Theodore Parker. Anand Bābu read about pure devotional service in many English books, but he was a little surprised to see it described in ancient Vaiṣṇavism. Still, they both argued how those who can discuss pure devotional service to such an extent can preach worship of idols and men such as Rāma and Kṛṣṇa.
One day Yogi Bābājī said, “Come, let us go see Paṇḍita dāsa Bābājī.” As the day came to an end, they all started for Paṇḍita dāsa Bābājī’s cave.