Dear Yoga Mentor, My Question Is…

Sometimes students have written to or asked Swami Veda Bharati, Swami Ritavan Bharati, and other senior teachers in our tradition questions about practice.  This is one such “Question and Answer,” or Q&A.


I really want to learn yoga and fulfill my purpose in this life time. I really do not want to be reborn again.

This is where my doubts come in: I really like finance as a subject. I also like yoga, spirituality, philosophy and nutrition. Is it normal to want to do both yoga as well as finance/business? Can I fulfill my purpose?

Also I love my family and would like to live with them. I would like to get married and have children myself. Is it possible to go on the journey of self-realization by being with your family, being married to the one u love and having a family? Is it necessary to give up family life to focus totally on spirituality and self-realization?


Three have answered this question: Lalita Arya (Ammaji), Michael Smith, and Carolyn Hume

From Lalita Arya (Ammaji):

Here are my comments.

1. You are to be complimented as you seem to be a true, persistent if a little confused seeker. We all are when we start searching, and what are you seeking?  - you named it - "My PURPOSE (my caps) in this lifetime."  To me Life is a gift. Gifts are given for a purpose like birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Why were you given this Life Gift? Seek the answer...there is always a Path...sometimes it's not so much the Doing as the Being.

2. Life is Whole - so long as we are not hurting others whatever path seems fulfilling to your Purpose of Life may be followed diligently. Yoga encompasses All life - while try to separate anything. Yoga guides.

In the Himalayan tradition, an Ideal life style is divided into four sections - Brahamacharya - Celibate Youth (for studies), Grihasta - Marriage (companionship, family, etc), Vanaprasta - Literally Forest Dweller but in these modern times more like a Trial period of learning de-tachment in preparation of the last period of Sanyaasa - Renunciation.

In history there are many Yogis. Rishis who continued to live a life of togetherness with their partners while pursuing Self-Realization. Then there are also those who chose to abandon that life style and go it alone. However, they are NEVER alone in the regular workings of the world depending on their path of service. Some retire to caves - Swami Veda (Dr. Arya) spent 40 days in a cave while he was still married. So it is all encompassing.

Clear the mind, become an initiate (if you are not yet one) and you will be guided by the entire line of Guides, who promise just that.

All the best in your search, blessings, Ammaji

From Michael Smith:

Swami Rama has said many times that a householder can attain moksha and cites Rama, Sita, many married saints, sages and highly evolved spiritual persons, such as Gandhi. Mohan Swami’s address at the last Sangha Gathering is worth reading.

From Carolyn Hume:

Swami Rama has taught in The Essence of Spiritual Life:

“You can live in the world and yet be spiritual. It is not necessary for you to renounce the world. Wherever you are, stay there. Simply follow two formulas. One formula is for living in the external world:

All the things of the world that are given to me are given to me by the Lord. They are meant for me and I have the right to use them, but I don’t have the right to possess them, for they are not mine.

All things will become means in life if you have this attitude, instead of, 'This is mine, this is mine'. You are afraid of losing what you have; you are afraid it will decay and go to decomposition. You should learn to use the things of the world without being possessive. As St. Bernard said, 'Love the Lord alone. Use the things of the world as your means.'

In addition, you should do your actions selflessly, lovingly, and skillfully.”

Living in the world allows us to fulfill karma and also provides circumstances that allow us to learn things we need to learn.  Sadhana is not confined to the meditation seat, to the asana class, etc.  Family life can provide means for transforming personality, for spiritual growth. Marriage and family life have the potential to help us open our hearts and increase our ability to love and share ourselves with others. Swami Rama urges us to learn to love, to learn to give without expectation, to learn to give selflessly, to learn to distinguish between love and attachment.  You may like to read the book Love and Family Life by Swami Rama.

If you have not done so, I would recommend that you take a series of classes that introduce, orient and share the foundation practices and philosophy of the Himalayan Tradition.  This can be done at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) in Rishikesh, India, or at one of our centers. And then incorporate these teachings and practices into your daily life. Also Self-Study Readings, Recordings and Videos of Swami Rama and Swami Veda Bharati can be found at this link: http://ahymsin.org/main/himalayan-tradition/standard-reading-list.html

As Ammaji has said, “…become an initiate (if you are not yet one) and you will be guided by the entire line of Guides...” The classes and study materials mentioned in the previous paragraph will help prepare you for this.

In one of his Guru Purnima messages, Swami Rama said,

“In our tradition there have been many, many sages. If you find any obstacles on the path, there will be help. Always you will be guided by the spiritual beings, those who watch your progress.

I want you to faithfully tread the path of light and life by doing your duties selflessly, lovingly and skillfully in the external world, and punctually meditate. Meditation is one method that helps you fathom the internal sates, those levels of life that are not normally understood by the human being. And in meditation you should be patient with yourself. You should gradually go ahead. Nothing is lost inside, everything is lost outside.

It is not external method; it is an internal method. It is a journey within you. When you go from your gross self to your subtlest self of life, when you know yourself, you can relate well to the world.

Don’t ever miss your meditation. Meditation is helpful in understanding yourself and knowing yourself. And the same meditation helps you in action in your daily life. While doing your duty in meditation, you remain aware of the Reality all the time.

This day is a day of determination. When you determine, you do your sankalpa, you decide that I will devote my time and energy towards enlightenment and that I will attain enlightenment in this lifetime. Determination is one of the greatest powers, gifts, given to the human being by Providence. That sankalpa shakti should not be broken, should not be scattered. The more your mind becomes one-pointed and inwards, the more you will find yourself. Sankalpa shakti, determination must be developed.

Be punctual. Learn to sit in meditation and do it systematically. See that your body is in a state of steadiness and is not uncomfortable. Learn not to move in meditation. Learn to have physical stillness first. Then make your breath serene without any noise, without any jerks, without any pause, and then you will find your mind becoming calmer. And whenever thoughts rush from the unconscious mind, learn to let go. This sort of introspection will lead you to a deeper state.

A day will come when you can go beyond the mire of delusion created by your mind, and you will have control. Meditation, contemplation and prayer should go hand-in-hand. I pray to the mighty Lord to help you. I pray that you all will be happy and enjoy, and let the flower of your life bloom so that you can serve one another and help others. Enjoy all the time. Be happy. Learn to be happy.

Let me tell you something. If you learn to do human effort sincerely, then that ascended power suddenly comes in touch with descending power that is called Kripa, blessings, as the grace of God, the grace of the highest, the grace of the Absolute One.

So, human effort is Sadhana. It needs the grace of God. When you are doing your sadhana, you are bound to receive the grace from Providence, from the Highest Level.
May God bless you. I love you. I will continue praying for you. That is my wish for the Guru Poornima Day.

I revere this day because I too have a Guru. The spiritual path can’t be tread with-out kripa, Guru’s graces. But if you want to have the Guru’s grace, you would have to have your own grace. You should make sincere efforts, and then the grace of God will come. Let you be graced today, the day which reminds you that you have to follow the path of enlightenment, loving all and excluding none. That is the way to the Divine.

Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi. May God bless you.”

Editor’s Note:

If you have a question about spiritual practice, you can use this link to ask it:  http://ahymsin.org/main/adhyatma-samiti-spiritual-committee.html

To read “Dear Yoga Mentor, My Question Is…” columns, please use this link: http://ahymsin.org/main/practice/dear-yoga-mentor-my-question-is.html

Lalita Arya (Ammaji) is a mantra initiator and a member of the AHYMSIN Adhyatma Samiti, or Spiritual Committee.  Ammaji is founder of KHEL, a charitable organization. “KHEL provides equal opportunity education, support and employment, regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation. We believe that it is only through one’s own efforts that success is possible. KHEL gives future generations the necessary tools to change their lives.” We invite you to visit the KHEL website: http://www.khelcharities.org/. She is a writer, poet and artist, and has authored the book Eyeful of Sky: Poems. She was married to Pandit Usharbudh Arya, who became Swami Veda Bharati.

Michael Smith, E-RYT 500, has been teaching yoga for over 36 years and is currently a curriculum coordinator for HYT-TTP (Himalayan Yoga Tradition – Teacher Training Program).  He has also been certified by the Himalayan Institute Teachers Association and the Behram Guard School of Yoga Meditation (an Iyengar-based Hatha Yoga School).  He was a public school teacher for 35 years and also a professor of Comparative Religion at North Hennepin Community College.   He has edited and/or illustrated many books on yoga and has lectured widely on stress management (the topic of his Master’s Thesis) and also on holistic health.  He teaches regularly at The Meditation Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, and has faithfully been transcribing Swami Veda’s talks for many years.

Carolyn Hume has been designated a mantra initiator and has served on the AHYMSIN Adhyatma Samiti, or Spiritual Committee, and also on the Executive Committee. She served as Director of Communications for AHYMSIN.



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