From the Preface
His Holiness Sri Yogi Dharma Mittra is a precious gem and a jewel among the highest and most exalted Yogis of time immemorial. For decades, seekers who wish to awaken to the Supreme Self through the Holy science of Yoga have turned to Dharma. In Sri Dharma, all aspirants find a remarkable simplicity and complete humility—a true friend to all and the most shining example of living Yoga.
His deep understanding of the essential nature of discipleship to his own great Guru (Swami Kailashananda) provided the foundation for all of us who would later find our Guru in Dharma. His complete humility, devotion and dedication to the Guru were born of the highest sincerity and love. Through his own life and example, he taught us what it means to give one’s life to God, to the service of humanity. Seekers from all over the world have come to study with Dharma—some to merely sit in his presence. A presence that is simultaneously unassuming and Divinely omnipotent. A supremely equanimous state that has the profound effect of quieting the mind and opening the heart.
At the Guru’s Ashram
December 16, 1973 was my first Hatha Yoga class with Yogi Dharma Mittra. It was in our Guru’s Ashram, located at East 56th Street, New York City, New York. I thought I was a pretty adept Hatha Yogi, however, I found out that day why Dharma Mittra taught the advanced class offered by the Ashram. The fluid and subtle energy was truly amazing, yet never was he pushy, overbearing, or over correcting. He let you improve at your own speed.
As I began doing more Karma Yoga at the Ashram, and became more integrated there, I found Dharma was the lead of the building maintenance and my experience in construction led me to working under him for a while. In those days, Dharma’s English wasn’t very strong. Since we couldn’t communicate by words, sometimes I found he had this way of communicating psychically. Of all the other Sadhus there he was the easiest to communicate with. I realized this was so because he had less ego which didn’t obstruct the message he was trying to convey. Later, I was assigned to a different area of Karma Yoga. I still got to take classes with him since at that time I could do advanced postures.
Dharma’s steadiness and devotion is a tribute to our Guru and has spread it in all sincerity thoughout the world.
~Aum Shanti. Shiva Prasad
However, I remember our Guru’s Saturday nights lectures and Dharma and another disciple would do a Hatha Yoga demonstration for the Guru and the crowd attending. Dharma did some pretty incredible postures in adoration of our Lord and Guru. I also began realizing that one reason Dharma was so good at Hatha Yoga was because of his level of devotion, not because of his athleticism. He was a very good example for a new disciple like me to follow. He also was very strict in his diet and helped run the juice bar in the Ashram and made some great live food, which proved it wasn’t so bad eating healthy foods and juices.
Guru and Guru Mantra
The science of Yoga must always be learned under the guidance of a Preceptor, known as Guru. Since time immemorial, this is how Yoga has been taught and no amount of time, modification, stubborn ego or commercialization will change that. The Guru is God incarnate and the doorway to liberation. To see the Guru is to see God. In the Guru, you have the ideal of liberated perfection and the human example from which to mould your life. The Guru will remove all doubts and ignorance and transform the vicious samskaras. Worship your Guru and bow to Him/Her with reverence. There are foolish students who claim they do not need a Guru, or that they have several Gurus. You cannot serve two Masters. Books may serve the intellect, but they cannot provide ignition or transmission.
Initiation literally means “ignition”, and just as when you start a fire, you begin with small twigs and then slowly add larger amounts piece by piece and very soon the fire is quite large. But how do you begin? With one small twig—a small twig with the consciousness and potential to awaken the dormant consciousness of the larger pieces once they merge with the initial small twig. This is how it happens. The Guru illumines the spiritual path by casting internal light. The disciple begins to see with the inner eye, due to the awakening of spiritual energy. Spiritual knowledge is a matter of Guru-Parampara. It is transmitted from Guru to disciple. The Guru’s grace enables the disciple to perceive the latent spiritual power within, and shows the doorway to the Super-consciousness. But it is the disciple who must step through it.
The dimension of transmission is directly proportionate to the spiritual qualities and thirst of the student. It is like turning the key to start the car. The Guru may assist in turning the car on, but unless the disciple is strong, determined and firmly committed to the Guru and the goal, the car will not move. The Guru can point the way, assist in directing the student to the right frequency and station, but the tuning in to that frequency is up to the disciple.
True Spiritual knowledge can ONLY be imparted psychically.
~ Sri Dharma Mittra
Guru is the motivator and provides the initial boost. But it is the disciple’s responsibility to keep the fire going through tapas, abhyasa, sadhana and loyalty. There is no more powerful way of conquering the fickle mind and samskaras than personal contact with and service to the Guru. The student who is under the guidance of Guru is safe from all. Guru is your fortress against your lower nature and all obstacles and difficulties. But you must follow the Gurus guidance implicitly. Dharma always said, “Yoga is complete obedience to the teacher.” The Guru forces you to look at your behavior, and a true Guru is never concerned with what people think of them. The Guru takes on the task of guiding the soul from identification with the material world, the senses and sense objects to the spiritual world of Divine consciousness and this at times requires criticism and point out patterns and behavior the student does not wish to look at. This can be harsh and unpleasant, but like surgery to remove a boil that is festering, once the pattern or behavior is removed, the healing can begin. The Guru is your spiritual surgeon.
Guru may at times appear firm or stern, but that may be the treatment you need to clean away something that is festering in the mind, preventing you from going further into union. Some of my most profound teachings from the Guru were in the guise of being reprimanded and scolded, but I was always so grateful, for I knew He had the courage to tell me what no one else would. He molded me and had the courage of true love to uncover all of my lower and diabolical tendencies. The nature of egoism made it certain I would never do it alone. And Master was always loving even in the most severe teachings. But I will tell you this—I would rather take a million scoldings from my Beloved Master than all the flatteries of the world.
Satsang is the experience of sitting in the company of the Guru for the spiritual teachings of Self-realization. These are traditional gatherings held to enlighten the disciples spiritual knowledge and accelerate progress. Satsang may be momentary. For instance, sometimes people come to sit at the feet of a saint on one or two occasions, as their schedule will allow, or as they are spiritually ready. Those students take the opportunity of being in a holy place and meeting holy persons in a momentary manner.
But once the seeker establishes a permanent relationship with the saint and begins to regard that saint as their spiritual guide, as their Guru, then satsang brings very special results. It becomes permanent, and psychic transmission can begin to occur. When you nullify your personality, satsang becomes discipleship, the saint becomes the Guru, and you sit at the feet of the Guru in a very unique way. You become charged with intense devotion, complete surrender and an overwhelming spirit of loyalty. You become the embodiment of humility and meekness. So when this type of relationship is established, the real transformation begins, and it becomes greatly accelerated. Only the receptive can benefit from true Satsang.
Dharma’s presence has been felt around the world and countless seekers from all seven continents have studied with and been touched by this Divine seer. What we find in the life and teachings of Sri Dharma Mittra is the very breath of Yoga. The purest and most stainless panorama of Universal consciousness. Dharma is a prince among men and a jewel among saints. And while his physical presence is quite powerful and his majesty and beauty indescribable, Dharma remains completely natural, humble, unassuming, and wholly unaffected. His humility and love have endeared him to all.
Dharma rarely said, “I am your Guru” to students. Occasionally he would say, “you are my disciple” and accept a student as a disciple. Then he would work more freely and directly with that disciple. The Guru/disciple relationship was for the disciples, not for him. We, his students, have learned many things just by observing Dharma. He speaks to everyone, referring to everyone in terms of respect. There is poise in his every move. His countenance is child-like and his eyes sparkle with the luminosity that can only be born from one who has become one spiritually with the whole of creation. His very presence clears all doubts and is beyond the limitations of the physical world. Godliness is his aura. The glory and majesty of a Sannyasi cannot be described, it can only be experienced.
People see God in different ways, according to their state of consciousness. Some people worship fire, some people worship higher Saints, some people see God beyond name and form. In Yoga, these are stages of consciousness. This last way of seeing would be the psychic eye. A higher state of consciousness.
The idea is that, as your consciousness goes higher, you become more spiritual. There is also the idea that you can actually push your consciousness higher– with the help of the Guru– to reach Divine perception.
~ Sri Yogi Dharma Mittra
The habit of giving is so ingrained in him that even when Dharma advanced in his own spiritual practices, he selflessly shared everything he learned to make the path easier for all of us. He never wanted anyone to have to go through the strict austerities and disciplines he did in the quest to find God. I imagine he did all our suffering for us, long before we even found him.
Dharma always said that the greatest gift is spiritual knowledge. After years of struggle, incredible self discipline and determination, once he found God, instead of going off to enjoy Samadhi alone, he dedicated his life to the dissemination of spiritual knowledge. Dedicated his life to finding us, the lost and lonely, the confused and searching. To bring us home to him. To awaken us from the slumber of ignorance to the Supreme Self. I feel Dharma’s presence in everything I do and in every single moment. He is the only one in my thoughts and the sole motivation for all decision. He waited for me, found me, molded me and imparted Self knowledge. Without him I would be dead or wish I was.
I am genuinely amazed at the immeasurable and infinite love and patience you have shown me, Guruji, and the direction you provide in each moment to us all. You, greatest of Gurus, have taken this human form and come into this world to re-establish Dharma (right conduct). The wonderful transformation you have brought about in the lives of millions all over the world is positive proof of your Divinity. I bow at Thy lotus feet for all eternity.
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