Interview mit Shankaracharya Svarupananda
Teil 3
From TM-EX Newsletter, Volume 4, Number 2, Summer, 1992 INDIA


INDIA -- A Visit to the Shankaracharya, Part III

[Editor's Note: The following transcript is taken directly from the taped conversations between Robert Kropinski, a former TM teacher and follower of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and Shree Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati, a pre-eminent disciple of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati (Guru Dev), who is considered Mahesh Yogi's Spiritual Master.]

Q: So, in other words, explain to Shankaracharya, that what he (Mahesh) gives is, for example, my mantra was aing, and I paid $400 and I received the word "aing.'' So, mentally, I closed my eyes with aing, using that mantra, repeating it mentally, passively. In other words, passively, just saying it, repeating it like that. Mahesh claims these mantras came from Shankaracharya.

Shankaracharya: Shankaracharya (Guru Dev), whose disciple he (Mahesh) calls himself, I was also his disciple, Brahmand Saraswati's (Guru Dev). He (Brahmand Saraswati) was my Guru. He would not accept any offerings from his disciples.

Disciple should be such that he gives to his Guru everything. Then nothing belongs to the disciple, everything is Guru's. Guru should be such that he does not take anything from the disciple. He thinks only good of his disciple.

Q: Lord, we have heard that Mahesh Yogi instructs mantras himself, and some people believe him as their Guru. He is a kaaystha by birth (lower caste). Do you think it is appropriate for him to instruct like this?

Shankaracharya: My first information was that he used to place a picture of Guru Dev and had people worship the picture, and then he would give out the mantras. I have met many persons who, in reality, had their mantras from Mahesh, but they consider themselves to be disciples of Brahmaliin Jagadguru Shankaracharya (Guru Dev). But, no matter whom they consider their teacher, the fact of the matter is that a person who gives a mantra is to be considered the real Guru. If Mahesh thinks that he is backed by Shankaracharya, then what is proper on his part is to tell people to take initiation from Shankaracharya.

Q: Brahmananda Saraswati did not charge any fees when he used to initiate?

Shankaracharya: This is a principle. A quotation from Goswami Tulsidas: "The guru who charges or takes money from his disciples in return for initiation, steals disciples property and goes to damnable hell.''

For that reason Guru Deva used to give `upadesha' (initiation) without any fees. He used to say "If I accept any gift from the disciple (or fees), then his sins are transmitted to me.'' In India, dharma, yoga, knowledge, specialized knowledge can never be sold for money. That is priceless. Anyone who puts a price on it insults it. So, a mantra is also never given for money. Knowledge cannot be sold for money. Therefore, the process that is being employed by Mahesh is merely for the sake of making money, and this is entirely against the canons of Indian culture and civilization. Where money is involved that becomes a business.

I am telling you what is good for you without any vested interest. This is the rule followed here. We do not have a class of people as he (Mahesh) has created there...You don't need a class for giving a mantra.

Ashtanga Yoga--Yama, niyam, aasan, praanayaam, pratyaahaar, dhaarnaa, dhyaan, samaadhi, theses are the eight limbs of yoga. A Guru takes a disciple into these one by one. In return, the Guru does not accept anything from his disciple. He does it out of kindness and out of a feeling for doing good to his disciple.
The second thing is, when one practices yoga, then he attains sidhis (supernatural powers). But, these powers are of no use. One who is asking for a price for a mantra, it shows, he did not have anything to give out to anyone else.

Q: My Lord, it is reported that he (Mahesh) is giving "Sidhi initiation'' and is charging a minimum of RS 20,000 ($10,000 US approx.) for what he teaches. His Sidhi mantras are Sanskrit verses of the Yoga Sutras and he has promised Sidhis (supernatural powers) as an achievement of the practice. To me it looks like cheating, what is your opinion?

Shankaracharya: So far as `Yoga Darshan' (the Yoga Sutras of Maharishi Patanjali) is concerned, the first step of the 'Yoga Darshan' is 'Chitta vritti nirodaha' or control of the fluctuations of the mind. Achievement of Yoga practice is the state of 'Samadhi' and 'Samadhi' is the goal of the practice. When the Sadhaka (practitioner) reaches the state of `Samadhi' then he may attain some Sidhis like travelling through space, seeing distant objects, etc. But these are obstacles and one should not be attached to these Sidhis, for they do positive disservice to the Sadhakas and their use can cause reversal of spiritual achievement.
These Sidhis come of their own accord, naturally to anyone engaged in meditation. But, if the goal is to obtain and use Sidhis then it is a perversion. These are obstacles in the way of samadhi and one should not have any sense of attachment with them, otherwise something undesirable may happen. Any attachment with them is not expected of any yogi.

Who disciplines himself and concentrates (dharana) on 'Surya'--"Surya Sanyama Bhubana Jnanam',' meaning who disciplines or contemplates on Surya, he attains the knowledge of the universe. To get this knowledge one has to concentrate on `Surya.' But, prior to that stage of dharan (one pointed concentration) `pratyahar' is necessary. Pratyahar, realization of Divine Truth in perfect form at all times, is necessary. That stage comes after yama, niyama, asana, and aprnayama. All these stages mean complete discipline of body, mind and emotions with no attachment or aversion of any kind in the world.

Whoever goes in straightaway for meditation for a little while without these preceding stages, cannot get `pratyahar' which is an abstraction of worldly enjoyment and he cannot come to the stage of 'dharan' (one pointed concentration). And one who cannot concentrate of discipline himself, how can he attain Sidhis (supernormal powers)? so all these talks are just cheating and an Indian yogi should not do that. This will tarnish India's image.

What Mahesh Yogi need is to show others how to fly. He should fly in the sky in front of everybody. It would be nice if he once flies from America to India without any airplane. Then perhaps what he says can be accepted. Otherwise, he will be like those who entrap people in their net of forgery.

Robert Kropinski