used the word “yogi” very specifically to refer to only those who completed
tapas and attained bhagavat (God) or atma (Soul)
sakshatkara (vision or realization). Swamiji considered God realization
and Self realization to be the same.
Today, the term yoga is being used popularly to refer to exercises involving
the physical body — asanas. Swamiji never used the word “yogi” to
refer to such people, or to those who were simply practicing meditation.
A Yogi Is One Who Has
What is the real meaning of “yogi”?
“A yogi is one who has actually
completed tapas. By comparison, a spiritual leader is one who reads and gets
knowledge from books. That is the difference.”
Must one complete tapas to be a yogi?
“Yes. For example, Vasishta and
Vishwamitra are great sages in Indian history and they are written about in
the Ramayana. Both were very powerful but neither one could go to God
because they both believed they were God. Vasishta thought he was God and
therefore he could not go to God. Even Vishwamitra thought he was God
because he prayed a lot. He was a hatha yogi and had lots of kundalini
powers. Both had much ego and thought themselves to be God. Finally they had
to do tapas and go to God. They had to do tapas for many thousands of years
because they had so much ego.”
What chance do we have if these great yogis
had problems after thousands of years of tapas?
“Those yogis are doing tapas for the
people, not for the sake of obtaining powers for themselves.”
Is it more difficult to complete tapas for
Some yogis say that once they have seen God
in samadhi, they see God everywhere in the physical world and that there is
no place where God is not.
“That is a stage in tapas. You have
to cross that stage to reach God realization.”
Do we all become yogis, sooner or later?
“It depends upon God; whomever God
Perhaps Swamiji would speak to us about
what tapas really is.
“You should read his history. Tapas
is when a person has done a lot of practice and has God’s darshan. This is
God realization. Then that person comes down to serve the people. Such a
person would look at all religions with an equal mind.”
Do yogis have lineages in which each yogi
becomes the next yogi’s guru?
“All yogis belong to a single line.
They are all the same and they are all connected together. They do not have
lines or branches or anything like that. They are all the agents of God and
whichever agent is sent by God, that agent comes forward to do service. They
come from time to time.”
Is there a fixed number of yogis?
“God has an infinite number of
agents. How many agents does the United States president have?”
How many fully enlightened masters like
Swamiji are there on earth?
“There are many people like that.”
Are there any American masters?
“There are Self realized people in
America, but they will not come out and reveal themselves to the public.
They are among the natives of this land, the Native Americans.”
Will these Native American yogis reveal
“If you bring them out, they will
come out. You brought Swamiji, which is why he is here. Otherwise he would
not have come. If you go and beg them to come here, then they will come.
They are not interested for themselves. What interest does Swami have to
Is there any difference for a woman to
become a yogi?
“There are many such yogis in India
today. Historically, it has been more difficult for a woman to become a yogi
because of marriage. The husband ties down the wife and keeps her from
undertaking spiritual practices.”
Swamiji said that teachers like Christ,
Buddha and others would be coming physically to help the world. When will
“They are coming. Many are born
already and still others are going to be born. All these agents will have to
come and protect the people. The people are in a lot of danger.”
Tapas for a Limited
What is the difference between God realized
“If a person does tapas with a desire
in mind and attains God realization, then that person can become God.
Swamiji did not do tapas with any desire for himself. He was made to do
tapas so he did not have any desire in mind when he had God realization.
Under such circumstances, the person who does tapas becomes an agent of God
and can serve all the people. Swamiji is an agent of God. He was chosen by
God to be his agent and God trained him to do God’s work. Swamiji should
remain an agent of God and serve the people.”
“If a person does tapas and declares
that he or she is God, then that person’s devotees will also declare that
they are gods. If Swamiji declares himself to be God, then those of you who
are near him would say that you are the direct devotees of Swamiji so you
are also gods. You cannot do that now because Swamiji does not declare
himself to be God, but later on you will start doing it. Swamiji should work
within the culture of the guru and disciple instead of declaring himself to
be God. Otherwise all the spiritual leaders will become gods. If everyone
becomes a God, who will be left to serve the people?”
If a yogi incarnates, does the yogi have to
start again? For example, Swamiji said he completed tapas in other
lifetimes, yet he had to do it again this time. Do you have to start again
when you incarnate?
“One does whatever one is given to
do. This time God sent Swamiji to be as a yogi, so he is a yogi. The next
time Swamiji is sent for some other duty, he will do whatever is required.
He has to do whatever God says. This is called the cycle of births [karna
“For example, one of you devotees
here is a lawyer. Just like a lawyer, Swamiji is an advocate going to God
asking him for suggestions and coming back. What a lawyer does for human
beings, Swamiji does for God.”
Is a part of your own mission to help?
“Yes. Swamiji is also an agent like
them. He will have to work along with those people.”
Swamiji is spending so much time in samadhi.
Does he enjoy the physical creation?
“When you reach the state of samadhi
and go into the presence of God, you no longer have any interest in
returning to this world. Yogis have to do their duty, so they have to come
down. They have to obey God and do the work God assigns to them because they
are the agents of God. Swamiji has to do the work of an agent of God. He
would not have to do such work if he remains the light and does not
“Yogis like Swamiji are always doing
work for the world. His mind is forever roaming throughout the world helping
people. A yogi is like a king who serves all the people in his care. But
when a king dies, a new one is immediately installed. When a yogi dies, the
world has to wait several hundred years before another completes the work.”
When I am sitting in your presence I see a
bright halo around Swamiji and I feel an energy in me. What is it?
“That is what a yogi is. If you
meditate, you will come to understand. If you meditate, the energy and
happiness that you now feel will continue forever.”