A comfortable lounge in a space-aged building at Los Angeles International Airport might seem a strange place to encounter a guru. One might expect a cave in the Himalayas or an ashram in India to be a more appropriate venue. But amidst the lava lights and shiny surfaces of the appropriately-named Encounter Restaurant is exactly where I meet Yogiraj Gurunath Siddhanath on a recent warm summer day.
Besides his flowing hair and beard, the fit-looking man would attract little attention in his traveler’s khakis. But as this living master associated with an ancient lineage of Kriya Yogis and Shiv Goraksha Babji would readily attest, it’s what is going on inside of us that is of profound importance.
Pausing for a quick respite between legs of a journey that has him jetting between India and Europe, the peripatetic guru stops to chat with Yogi Times and expound on everything from the merits of curly fries to the exacting metaphysics of Kriya Yoga, an ancient practice that has little to do with asanas, but everything to do with “yog,” or divine union.
After relishing a plate of fries and calling them “brilliant,” Gurunath seems intent on clearing-up misconceptions on the very meaning of the word “yoga.” Yoga, or more appropriately “yog,” he points out, is about the spiritual evolution of consciousness. “Authentic Yog is the fusion of Jiva or soul, with Shiva, spirit. Modern yoga is everything else but that,” Gurunath explains. “Someone might know all 184 asanas, but still not have a ghost of an idea what true yoga is about.”
The perspective he teaches in a book released last year, “Wings to Freedom,” is that Kriya Yoga is a dynamic pranic meditation expressly for spiritual evolution. “Kriya means ‘to do,’ but nothing is done from the level of desire, only from consciousness. This practice, done without desire, creates no new karma and is above the law of cause and effect, and hence, puts an end to human suffering.”
Delving deeper into Kriya Yoga, Gurunath explains the practice offers a “star gate” to one’s inner kingdom of heaven. “By penetrating the star of the third eye, the yogi enters an omniscient state of self-realization.”
The conversation that followed is shared below for readers:
Yogi Times: What should the experience of “Awakening” mean to the modern Western person? Is it still relevant? Gurunath: “Awakening” is opening oneself up to the knowledge of any fact of life, be it a person, place or thing. Any knowledge garnered evolves the human being, consequently making “Awakening” one of the most relevant experience in a person’s life.
YT: Is it really possible to balance a modern life, with family and job responsibilities, with a spiritual practice? Gurunath: It may not be possible to lead an absolute spiritual life with family and job responsibilities, but it is very possible to balance one’s life with just the right amount of spiritual practice.
YT: Why is it important to work with a Guru? Can’t we just find the answers through introspection, reading or listening to informed personalities? Gurunath: If children need teachers to tutor them in primary education, how much more do we need a Master for our advanced education in the evolution of spiritual consciousness. Formerly, man had problems. Today man himself is a problem. He has come up against the insurmountable barrier of his mind, living in a bedlam of misery created by his own thoughts he is unable to find the tranquility of his soul. For this, it is necessary to work with a living master, a Guru: one who has himself tread the path and subdued his mind. Such a living Guru not only navigates the bewildered student to his blissful soul, but transfers to the agitated mind of the student his enlightened awareness, thereby speeding up the disciple’s evolution. This no amount of reading nor introspection can do.
YT: What are some of the core tenets of your philosophy and lineage? Gurunath: We the Hamsas are: Meditated to the furthering of human awareness. Dedicated to serving humanity as one’s larger self. And devoted to New Life awakening for earth-peace- healing through self-peace-healing.
YT: If someone has grown up with a different religion, does it make sense for them to follow a path rooted in Eastern mysticism? Gurunath: Religion implies bondage, mysticism means freedom. In following religion you are – as the latin root implies – bound to an ideology. Mysticism intrigues, creates the desire to explore hidden truths, the desire for freedom of flight. So unveil mysticism and find the freedom to fly!
YT: Why do you think more people are contemplating spiritual issues these days? Gurunath: To some it is a means to cope with the pace and stress of modern technology and industry. To others it is a means for relief from anxiety and mental agitation. But basically the blueprint of the Aquarian Age sweeps all Souls to higher spiritual practices, each according to their own capacity.
YT: What are the everyday things one can do to increase their awareness and keep on a path of enlightened growth? Gurunath: Practice “No-Thing” by raising your consciousness up and out of the mind’s lake to be in your supra-conscious state of expanded awareness.
Yogiraj Gurunath Siddhanath in San Francisco this August 22nd 2014
& for an empowerment workshop on the 24th
hamsa-yoga.org If you are looking for a way to start or deepen your daily meditation – take a look at this program by MindValley: bit.ly/YOGIMeditation and the Mindfulness Based Stressed Reduction online course by Sounds True: – The YOGI TIMES team