Yogi Anand Mehrotra is a spiritual master who was born and brought up in Rishikesh on the banks of the Ganga. He grew up on the lap of his Master. Surrounded by very loving people, he grew up in a very yogic family who had their personal sadhana, a great family who was steeped in the tradition. From a very young age, he was exposed to profound teachings of the Himalayan Yog-Vedantic Tradition and began practicing.
He was identified as a prodigy. He respected and was engaged by the elders of the tradition. He has been an exceptionally brilliant student throughout his life. While engrossed in studies, he always had an intense thirst for knowledge. He spent years studying and practicing. He was very involved with a genuine interest. At a young age, he had very profound inner experiences, inner cognition accompanied by deep authentic teachings.
Anand grew up with his Master and through him, had the privilege of spending time in the high Himalayas, journeying to the Himalayas. Anand started teaching this profound knowledge consistently at the age of 21 and has been teaching ever since. He has traveled extensively around the globe and his teachings have impacted many people. His students include people of all ages, all nationalities, including leaders and celebrities, actors, creatives, lawyers, successful entrepreneurs, and young students − a vast range of people from North America, South America, Europe, China, Australia and many more countries.
There have been documentaries made of him and he has taken part in other documentaries. He has led people in transformative journeys in the Himalayas as portrayed in some of those documentaries. He has been featured in international publications and magazines. As a conscious Jyotish Master, Anand consults and shares his incredible insights and wisdom with many all over the planet.
Anand has dedicated his life to honoring the pure knowledge of the integrated practices of the original teachings and wisdom of the Himalayas and to protecting the integrity of the powerful techniques contained in these ancient practices. He has developed Sattva Retreat, Sattva Yoga, Sattva Yoga Academy, Sattva Connect, an online platform, and Sattva Summit.
When Anand was still in his teens, he founded Khushi Charitable Society and the Sattva Foundation, organizations that still offer support to the local communities, supplying food to those in need, and medicines and medical equipment to hospitals and clinics.
He continues to be an active philanthropist, always excited about creating employment opportunities for people so that they can become economically independent, He is very passionate about conscious farming, organic practices and nourishing nature, so he founded Sattva Organic Farms. Anand Mehrotra is an enthusiastic, conscious entrepreneur.
He eagerly conceives of new enterprises and then quickly manifests them. Anand has designed buildings and sacred spaces. He created Yogini Ayurveda and The Sattva Collection which both support artisans in India. He established Sattva Publications and has written and published three books. He is a phenomenally creative being who started Sattva Music and has recorded and released sacred music through that company.
Anand’s current projects are many, including the development of Sattva Jyotish Gems, Rasa Resorts and other retreat places. The new Sattva n Co Organics will be launched soon with the release of its first product, its own brand of Kombucha.
Listen to more great episodes at Next Level Soul Podcast
Follow Along with the Transcript – Episode 052
Alex Ferrari 0:06
I like to welcome the show Anand Mehrotra how you doin' Anand?
Anand Mehrotra 1:58
I'm very good Alex, thank you for having me. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 2:00
Thank you so much for coming on the show. I am so excited to talk to you. I've I've actually watched you from a couple of shows on Gaia that I saw Rhoda Dharma and the Yoga Sutras I think that's yoga sutras or
Anand Mehrotra 2:17
The yogic path,
Alex Ferrari 2:18
The yogic path Yes, the yogic path, excuse me, those were the four I think it was the first time I was introduced to you and your work and then when I launched my show, I was like, I have to get an on on the show and who you are my friend.
Anand Mehrotra 2:31
Thank you. I'm very happy that you learned this so and you got to this see those shows on Gaia?
Alex Ferrari 2:38
Yeah, absolutely. So first, how can you discuss how you began your spiritual journey?
Anand Mehrotra 2:45
I for me and think I think we all start our spiritual journey when we are born. The moment we start to develop any awareness, we ask questions, start asking questions as young children. And then for me, it's just that it was never lost. I was privileged and very blessed to be born in this place where I was in Lakshman, Jhula Rishikesh, you know, and I was my Guruji was there. So he was the first one after my father and my, of course, my mother, to see me he is the one who named me, his name was Ananda so rupees, you see his picture, right here. And he's the one who named me. So I grew up, you know, surrounded by people who are very aware of their spiritual journey. And, you know, the symbols were everywhere, and I was exposed to the teachings from a very young age. So the questions were never suppressed, but rather, you know, you were inspired to ask and encourage to ask those questions and discover. So, you know, I was for 18 years, I was with my guru. And then when I turned 18, he transitioned from this physical form and then I went on the journey alone and I traveled all over India. Before that, I was mostly here in education up in the mountains in Badrinath. The abode of Baba GIC is a beautiful first statue of Baba Ji there. So I spent a lot of time there in Badrinath with Maharajji and Gangotri Gomoku area where the source of gabdais and so being exposed to the teachings from an early age really helped lay down the strong foundation for me in this life.
Alex Ferrari 4:34
Now, there's been so much talk over the over the centuries about Guru's. And they're you know, in the West, the guru is been bastardized a bit as far as the name and the use of the word everyone's a Guru if they know something, what is truly the definition of a Guru from your point of view?
Anand Mehrotra 4:55
You say, for us Guru is really an expression of nature. It is embedded In the guru Taqwa is a quality of nature, it is expressed, it is embedded within the manifest reality, for the manifest reality supports evolution, progression, growth, we are here to learn and to evolve. And nature supports that. So embedded within nature within this tournament manifest reality is the guru tattva. Meaning that expression of creative intelligence that supports our growth supports our evolution. And that data is then expressed in bodily form and human form. And then that, when it takes the human form, becomes the guru. Ultimately, the guru is pointing to only one direction, and that is to do your own very self, for you to discover the deeper and deeper aspect of yourself. And of course, we can use that word in there as the, you know, Chef, Guru and all kinds of things which are used in the West, but that, as you said, it's a misunderstanding of the word you know, in India is not so much emphasis is not so much on the idealization of the guru, but rather, the focus is on the process of learning. And the process of maturing for the student. For my guru always said, there is ultimately no guru, there is only a golden chain of students. And the ultimate Guru is the unborn. That's the ultimate Guru, the causeless cause, and anyone who has a cause who can locate a cause is a student. So in our tradition, we say as much as we say, there's a golden chain of Guru, we actually look at it as a golden chain of students, everyone is learning and growing, and discovering deeper and deeper value of the infinite within their finite expression.
Alex Ferrari 6:57
Is that including the guru himself, or herself?
Anand Mehrotra 7:01
Within with within each and every one guru himself and herself as well.
Alex Ferrari 7:05
So the I've studied Yogananda, and you're gonna and this works over the years, I'm a very big fan of Yogananda, and he actually introduced me to the east, as he was supposed to, into the teachings, can you define what self realization is?
Anand Mehrotra 7:25
This is a hole that is the fundamental value of life is the self everything becomes evident to the self. And this is the self that remains unknown, if the self remains unknown, then everything else that becomes known to the self cannot be complete, there is always a certain level of it there and ignorance that remains. So from the yogic perspective, the nature of self is Atman. And the nature of Atman is Brahman. Raman being the cosmic self. So the nature of localized value that you and I, what do your podcast is called Soul soul is Atman and Sanskrit, so the nature of Atman is cosmic. And it is not a belief system, we can't just believe in that or agree or disagree. The point is to realize that because beliefs are only required when you don't know something, if you know something, you don't need belief. So belief can be a precursor to knowing belief sets are helpful if they move you in the direction of knowing. And hence, as you see in the teachings of the great master Paramahansa Yogananda that is technology techniques, to realize to know, that which you long to know, you know, not just believe, but to intimately gain knowingness towards that knowingness of who am I? Because that's the fundamental question, Who am I? Why am I what am I? Where am I? What you know, what is the purpose of all of this? So all of these questions are fundamentally based upon knowing yourself for everything else is secondary, to self self is primary, only self is self evident, everything else becomes evident to self. So it's the journey of knowing oneself. And as one knows oneself, one realizes that there is no such thing as an isolate itself. The isolate itself is merely a hallucination. And one starts to go beyond the ego and massage to discover become aware of one's own atman nature. And as one becomes aware of one's atman nature, which naturally propels one in the direction of greater unity, one's own cosmic self. So that's the journey of self realization. Question. From our perspective. The journey itself is in finite, it's an in finite game. So it's not a finite game that you realize yourself today. And that's it. I'm done. You know, even with romance or Yogananda, who was a great avatar, he never stopped his practice. He always kept his technique, his sadhana going, he always took time for his own seclusion. He always took time for his own meditations. So all our masters, they have always, you know, my own guru, there was not a single day where he missed his practice, you know, so the Self Realization, it's an unfolding journey that keeps on unfolding, because the nature of self ultimately, is in finite. So you keep realizing, and in that realization, there is a greater and greater liberation that starts to become available to us.
Alex Ferrari 10:54
What I find fascinating is the difference between believing and knowing, which is a fine line. And it's difficult to at least from my experience, difficult to distinguish was more difficult to distinguish before when I didn't have a knowing. But within my own practice, over the years, I fought and I consider it kind of almost like a falling into a knowing where I know certain things like the universe will unfold the way it needs to, and the benefit of my journey, as a soul through this life. That is a knowing before it was a belief. But once I opened myself to that knowing, things became easier, things became calmer, I became more empathetic, I became more loving, I became all of that is when I started to feel the knowing. But for many years, I felt that I knew the knowing the ego knew the knowing, of course. But when you go down to that deep level, and it's just like, No one can move you from it. You can, someone can talk to you for hours, days, weeks, to convince you other but for you, inside you just like that that's not the truth. It's like the sky is blue, the sky is blue, the sky is blue, someone could tell you the sky is pink, all they want, but you got to the sky is blue. So what is so what for people listening? What is the difference between how can they tell the difference between the knowing and the believing of the knowing. Because there is a distinction.
Anand Mehrotra 12:33
As you said, you know, the, you know, Patanjali was one of the great masters of the yogic tradition, wrote the yoga sutra, in that he says one of the biggest obstacles to knowledge is knowledge itself. Right, it's the one of the biggest obstacles to knowledge is the idea of knowing what we realize no, when we look at the world, we see that there is so much strife and struggle and war in the world. And when you really examine the people fighting and organizing and the different ideologies, it's not the war of right versus wrong, it is the war of right versus right. Both all the parties involved, have a fundamental belief systems that they are on the right side, and that's why the words can stretch out for so long. So, you know, what we believe this positionality is we take we have to really examine them. And this fine line that is there between where you can you know fall into either the knowingness or fall into the ignorance you know, so, with the eye in Sanskrit is not the state of not knowing, but rather it is the state of incorrect knowing, while believing it is the correct knowing, right? So it is. So we say always here in our tradition, that instead of trying to be right, we have to be passionately interested in being wise. And wisdom requires silence. Wisdom requires relinquishing all attachment to different positionality is it requires you to open up to a different inner spaciousness. And that's why practices are required, where we begin to transcend the thinking mind, where we start to become aware to the dimension within us, where we are not the thoughts where we are not the conditioned belief systems, where we are not the stories that we have been fed, where we begin to dis identify from all the data that we have accumulated in the mind. That is the idea of knowing right? And as you begin to open up to that inner spaciousness, their knowingness starts to penetrate. It starts to bubble up within us and as you said, in that knowingness, there is deep humility. In that knowingness there is ease the greater the ego Audience the greater is the arrogance. The greater the ignorance, the greater the noise. The wiser. One will always be silent. Inwardly not silent through force, though I must keep quiet. Oh, I don't give my opinions. No, no, no. Inwardly silence. It's like, as you said, when you see the sky is blue. And there are three people arguing that it is not. You remain silent because it's theirs. It's funny. Right? It's the truth, its truth, its truth. Yes, it's liberating. It's liberates you inside, but at the same time makes you very much at ease with the isness of business. You have nothing to prove anymore. Right? In the idea of knowing you're always struggling, because you're always trying to prove yourself to be right. Because fundamentally you do not know. And so you for you to be right. You have to have this the other who you have to prove that other to be wrong for you to feel secure in your positionality. So in the knowingness, that struggle naturally eases off because it is an inner maturity, you just see it. And that is true power. That is true power. And that power, there is no resistance, you are not resistant to any outcome of the future. Because as you said, then you really know that the universe is your ally. It's not an affirmation merely. It's not just something you said not you know, something I've read on a book as a nice quote, it is something you know intimately as your breath, it and that knowing liberates you, it truly liberate so you can so we can check in anytime if we have True Knowingness, it has to accompany a state of deep inner silence, it has to accompany a state of inner ease. It has to accompany in our state of humility, a sense of greater peace within your own heart. And if the unknowingness is not accompanied by a sense of greater peace, then we have work to do.
Alex Ferrari 17:04
It is so funny because when you meet people who have that knowing, and I've met them through their older people, there's a, there's a wildness, there, there's a there's that strength of knowing that they have nothing to prove. There's a strength that you that that energy, that vibration is something that you feel, and you feel when you're in their presence. It's an you know, I've never been in, in the presence of a master or a guru, but I can only imagine that is like a true like, like a Yogananda. I can only imagine what it was like to be around someone like Mo has such a power. But it's a quiet power. And I think that was the substance is important thing, it is a quiet strength within them, that no matter what they say, the sky is blue, whether you like it or not. Water is wet, whether that dry water not so much. Now, I also I've been meditating for a few years now. And I wanted to ask, what part does meditation play in the process of self realization?
Anand Mehrotra 18:14
Is one of the foundational practices on the path of self realization for the knowingness cannot occur, as long as there is no silence when we are not intimate with the silence within us that field of silence. We cannot have enough space between the IMS and the content. Otherwise, the seer remains the scene. So the observer remains identified with the content, we remain identified with the content of our consciousness. And so in order for us to really gain knowing of ourselves, we need to go beyond the content that is constantly floating within our minds within the field of consciousness. And that's one of the fundamental functions of meditation is to help enliven our awareness, beyond the lower content, which is constantly floating around, and to make us available to that level of witnessing to that level of finer seeing, where the seer can begin to see beyond the immediate content that floats around within his or her field of consciousness. And that begins to open up the possibility of transcending our own conditioning, transcending our false identity, being able to see our own programs and how we react, you know, how we get triggered and how we design our own suffering. Possibility opens up so you know, our wish is that everyone in the world should meditate, discover that place of inner stillness. The world will be a much better place,
Alex Ferrari 19:57
Took the words right out of my mouth. I was about to say that we world would be a much, much better place if people meditated more. In the in the show that I watched the road to dharma, which is a beautiful show, I recommend it to everybody listening to watch it, you'd go on a journey into the Himalayas, with students of yours. And many of them were wishing there would be more yoga, and things like that, where you were truly being their gurus, you're their guru and challenging them and testing them in their own journey to self realization. What I noticed was that most of your students, if not all, had negative stories or stories that they told themselves that they were fighting through to find that truth. And that's what I found interesting that you were poking holes in those stories during the journey. Some were not very happy about that, by the way. But But why is it that we tell ourselves, these kinds of limiting stories might not be negative or just limiting stories that stop us from moving forward, not only in our life, but in our spiritual journey?
Anand Mehrotra 21:20
See, it's the nature of the lower mind, the lower mind has a negative bias. If you examine the content of your thoughts on the involuntary thoughts that the mind generates, majority of the involuntary thoughts that the mind generates are of limiting kind, right? Either they will be limiting, or they will fall in the category of craving or aversion. That's the nature of the lower mind. And if we are not, if we don't wake up to our own true nature, at a younger age, we start to believe in this content, we start to believe in this, this narrative that is being woven by this kind of this cobwebs of pot. And then, you know, as we mature, and our brain starts to develop a certain level of maturity and atomically, you know, in our early 20s, as to get to the 21 really reaches that anatomical maturity, it starts to get really hard wired that identity, which actually on deeper examination is not to be found. But because we haven't examined and nobody has spoke that we have been taught to be busy externalize all our senses are designed to be externalized. So we remain constantly to escape ourselves, right? Because when you go looking, you find these cobwebs, and you don't want to be there. So you keep yourself busy trying to get somewhere. And well, you've secretly know what where you're trying to get to is actually away from yourself. So obviously, when we dive deep within ourselves, it is a little bit uncomfortable, you have to go through that fire, to discover your own gold, you know, and that's an essential part of the journey. It's not an opposition, it's just part of the journey, when we begin to realize that, you know, as he said, like, if you want to swim across the Ganga, you're gonna get wet and you will feel cold, and there will be times where you will feel very, very tired. And so that's just the part of the journey. Some people might feel less cold, some people will feel more cold, but that's cold you will feel irrespective of who you are. And so these identities, these conditioned ideas of self, you know, when challenged, obviously, one of the first things that we go to is blame we, because it makes us feel uncomfortable, we want to react, you know, like a teenager, with aggression or indifference or tantrum is just so as a teacher, when you are in those position, when you're leading just have to be inwardly compassionate, and outwardly this engaged with that aspect not affected by that and internally, each and every one of us has to be ready. When you begin your journey that you will face that a little bit of discomfort. And when that arises, we shouldn't be surprised you just innocently favor your journey. Innocently keep favoring your technique, your sadhana, your practice, and you will prevail, you will prevail, that is the law of nature. staying power equals deserving power.
Alex Ferrari 24:36
Now, when when we speak of masters and spiritual leaders around the world, from every denominations from Jesus to Mohammed to Buddha to, to to Yogananda to your master. In the West, there is a preconceived notion that if you're a guru or a master, you must be born this way that you come out Have the womb fully realized, and you're completely you are divine. Where, because I always love even when I was being raised in the Catholic tradition, you know, Jesus was born 30 years past, and then he's the master. But they don't talk about the 30 years. They don't talk about what happens during that time, which has always been a problem with me when I was when I was growing up. Even at a young age. I'm like, what happened? There's like he just showed up. So can you talk a little bit about the path of that self realization of self mastery, because there is that kind of myth in the West that all masters are born that way, but for my experience, and for my studies, it is the opposite, that they have to work through their own their own path. And through that path is how they self realized and are able to teach from a much deeper place by going through their own fires their own journeys, because, like you said, if you're going to if you're going to swim across the river, or the Ganges, you're going to get wet, no matter who you are on the planet, if you swim across the Ganges, you will get wet. So, whoever you are, there are certain pains, certain fires that you will have to go through in order to find Self Realization to find self mastery. Is that correct?
Anand Mehrotra 26:19
Absolutely. Absolutely. I think this idea of greatness thrust upon a soul, undeserving greatness thrust upon a soul is a kind of a safety mechanism of the ego. Because if masters are just born, then okay, you know, is he or she was just born that way. And the ego can remain in that self hating game. Right can remain in that smallness. And so the atman can be suppressed. So it is in our tradition in the yogic teachings, right. So that's why there is teachings and practitioners, you know, practices, even in the greatest scripture on yoga, which is the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna and Arjuna are having a discussion, right? It's a someother. It's not Krishna just lecturing. Arjuna is asking questions. And ultimately, Krishna is Arjuna is asked to take action. And he has to do the work that is needed to be done. Even the story of the Buddha. You know, he's living this sheltered life. And then yeah, encounters the reality, the bubble bursts. And then, you know, he goes through his trials and tribulations, he travels all across India, he met different masters, he learned to meditate. He learned different practices, some work for him, some didn't. And then he came up with his own system, through all his learning. He came up with his own system. That's why he taught meditation because he had learned meditation. Right?
Alex Ferrari 27:46
He didn't he wasn't born with the knowledge of meditation.
Anand Mehrotra 27:50
You know, he taught the Vedic knowledge in his own unique manner. So if you look at even the story of Paramahansa Yogananda, he's having those inner experience and is longing to come to Rishikesh, you know, I was thankfully born here. And so he's longing to come to Rishikesh and is, can't get here, right, he gets on the train, he can't get any, you can see his own struggles that he has had. And even when he went to America, you know, you hear his struggle, that I'm tired of trying to convince people to love God, right where he was he had so even as a great master, he went through those challenges, even Buddha, you know, his own one of his own cousins, in Egypt, a shot to try to assassinate him. Or there's a story of Buddha where he, you know, he had reached a certain maturity, hundreds of 1000s of followers already at that time. And then there was this big battle about to happen in India at a certain time, and a king was taking his army to attack on it. And Buddha went physically himself to stop, and he lay down on the road. But he couldn't, right, they just went the other way. And they still had their own conflict. So there's we have to be when we realize that the realness of it, then it makes it, you know, very intimate and accessible. And this idea of trusting it away, it keeps us in a it's kind of a caricature, it's a cartoon character, right, which it's kind of safe for the ego to keep it away, keep that illumination and that kind of living from a place of inner unity, away from oneself, and then can keep us trapped within the small eye. And so in our teachings, we always, you know, speak of that it is that to a mercy that is one of the great opening Sadek teachings thou art that you know that thou art and now it's your job to realize it. And these are the teachings you must as everyone else, you must get to work, you know, everyone, Krishna included, you know, Numana included even not just, you know, in the Puranas of India that is 100 Mana one of the great heroes in the Ramayana, which is this great epic, right. And so I know mana is one of deities, you know, is an expression of personified, you know, perfection of love, and strength. And then you have Hano mana who encounters Rama and anumana, because of his own mischief is born with this great realization, but because of his own mischief, he forgets his own essential nature. And then he encounters his master Rama. And through being with him, he starts to do the essential practice and astrology slowly, slowly starts to regain his memory of who he really is, and, and that makes enables him to jump across the ocean. I mean, it's a metaphor, this, this journey of how you can forget who you are. And then this realisation of who you are unleashes is incredible amounts of power in you. So each and every one of us has it accessible. The point is, are revealing, you know, do we have enough self love to deliver ourselves the highest gift that life has to offer?
Alex Ferrari 31:02
And do the work that it takes to do it. Because it's, it's not for the faint of heart.
Anand Mehrotra 31:07
Yeah, you know, we just have to be interested in doing the work and we have to let go of the idea of whether it is difficult or easy, these are pointless ideas, right? It's always easy. If somebody says it's easy, doesn't mean anything. And if somebody says it's very difficult, doesn't mean anything, it just is, you know, it's like on the road to drama, you're going to you know, walking up to the kid and as it's just a is Katana doesn't say I am a difficult temples to get to. His Katana is just a temple in the Himalayas, you know, and you have to track up 21 kilometers to get there. And it's because some people are just running up and some people are struggling, you know, and for the same person, it can be difficult for first one hour and then they can get this wind and get inspired. And all of a sudden, it's not difficult. So we have to let go of those ideas, we just have to keep leaning in the direction of, of Polish, Rama, proper effort, proper knowledge, and you know, inner sincerity, inner sincerity that is the key, where we are not doing it to impress anyone else. But to that's really the true self love. Right? That is the truest self love when you realize that you deserve that freedom within yourself. That you deserve that, that great gift within yourself. It's truly the highest expression of love.
Alex Ferrari 32:30
When you say the word freedom, and I find that very interesting, because when I was telling you my earlier journey, finding freedom is freedom is a certain there is a freedom, when you have the knowing inside of you can you kind of dive a little bit deeper into that inner freedom because when you say freedom, that means you associate freedom with not not free, either being imprisoned or being controlled or being some other thing that you're not free. So my interpretation is that you're trying to free yourself from your name and trying to free yourself, you're trying to reconnect with what you truly are. And that this is a suit. This is a character. This is a face that we put on while we're walking the earth. But not to forget who we truly are. And I use the analogy of, of actors, and a movie, because I come from the movie business. So if you're a scene in a movie, an actor goes, he plays a scene, he could play the good guy, the bad guy doesn't even matter. But when the season's over, he's now back to being an actor. That insanity is the actor who believes he's the character and doesn't want to leave the character forever. And that's where we are in. Is that a fair a fair analogy?
Anand Mehrotra 33:49
Yeah, it's a beautiful thing. It's a beautiful analogy. You know, it's a you know, I speak of it too you know, that we get invested in the movie when you go watch a movie, and you have to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy the movie, right? So as an audience, also, not just as an actor, but as an audience. Also, you have to suspend disbelief that you have to get invested in the story. You know, almost fully, not totally, but almost there to enjoy the show. Otherwise, if you just sit there and say, hey, it's all fake. It's you're not gonna get any feedback there's gonna be no you're not putting in any energy and so, the system will not complete itself for you to enjoy the movie you have to to a certain level forget that it is not real. And for you to have whether it is a drama or you know, or a horror or even a horror movie, you have to suspend this belief and you have to forget that it's daylight out you have to believe in the darkness of that cinema hall and all the creatures that the shows for you to have that chemical reaction in the body. So, it is you know this to free oneself, of a limited state of Consciousness, right? Because ultimately all life is is nothing but an experience within our own consciousness. So we are free or enslaved to the degree, our consciousness gives us permission, what is the state of our consciousness, so free here is not just freedom, free to do whatever I want, we are already doing that as a civilization, and it's not working out very well, for most of us, you know, so it's about gaining and refining one's own consciousness state for all life is an experience within one's consciousness. And that's where freedom starts to occur, where the parameters, the bars, the walls are not of a cell, but though of your own consciousness, that narrow bandwidth of your consciousness, which does not allow us to see behind the veil, which does not allow us to see who we truly are, which keeps us encased within narrow parameters of thinking of identity of ideologies, and this perpetual state of existential crisis. So, it is an essential, what we speak of freedom is freedom from self, from the bondage that self generates from the false idea of self, you see, we are all in, in prison by our own self. And, you know, this false self is the prison
Alex Ferrari 36:24
And that false self was created by family society, cultural, all these different ideas and maybe traumas that have happened to us during our life correct?
Anand Mehrotra 36:34
Yeah, it just time time creates false self, because there is time and time that is memory there is the state of knowing and there is a state of not knowing. And so, if the atman which enters time, it starts to engage in the field of diversity and it learns, and in that process of learning, it also learns that which is not to be learned
Alex Ferrari 36:54
Comes from along with the package
Anand Mehrotra 36:56
That comes along with the package, right, it's the because of this is the field of duality, there is going to be light there is going to be a shadow, if there is going to be a night there is going to be day this is the field of duality. So because there is a possibility of growth and incredible expansion, there is also has to be a possibility of regression. Because if there was only the possibility of progression, we would not know what progression feels like what it looks like. So for us to know progress, we need to know what is not progress, this is the field of duality. So here we learn that is relevant, like this is we are having a conversation which is deeply moving and inspiring. And also we have conversations in our life which are depleting. So that contrast is needed, right? That contrast is needed. So in the field of duality is just happens. It's just time does that to us, you know, this is the price. Misery is the price that in finite being pays to play someone.
Alex Ferrari 37:52
There's this, there's a price to pay, there's always a price to pay, always a price to pay. But I've realized that in my in my few years walking the earth, there's always no matter what you want in life. No matter it, there's always a self, you want Self Realization, there's a price to pay, you want. Do you want a better career price to pay, you want a better body price to pay, you want to you want to go out with a girl, you gotta go ask our price to pay, you're gonna you might get shot down. These are the things that there's always a price to pay.
Anand Mehrotra 38:22
There's always a collateral that you have to there is a field of duality for you to receive, you must do. You must complete the circuit. If you don't, if you're not willing to complete the circuit, then you can't move forward.
Alex Ferrari 38:35
We've used the word consciousness a few times in this conversation I'd love to hear your definition of consciousness.
Anand Mehrotra 38:43
Consciousness you know in the simplest ways, the consciousness is within what which any experience arises. And consciousness is through which the experience is known. Right so in this very moment, there is experience and there is the knowing of the experience. So we are having an experience but we are also aware that we are having an experience. So for us to have an experience that consciousness is prerequisite. Without consciousness, there cannot be any experience. And without consciousness, there cannot be any knowing of the experience. So, consciousness is within which all experience arises. It is through consciousness that experience is known. And ultimately it is of consciousness. Consciousness is the fundamental substance of which all experience is made of.
Alex Ferrari 39:47
So is it similar to the old I think it was Zen, Zen Buddhists or Zen? Zen story of if a tree falls in the in the forest and no one's there to hear it? Did it really make Make a sound, you need the consciousness to be the consciousness and that scenario would be your hearing, in order to because the event happened. But if there's no one there to witness the event, or experience the event, that's the consciousness.
Anand Mehrotra 40:26
Report, if there is a report on an event happening, that is already consciousness.
Alex Ferrari 40:32
So we are, we are having a conversation that is happening. But both of us are having a conscious someone sitting in the back seat saying, we're having the conversation, and aware of the conversation,
Anand Mehrotra 40:45
Aware of the conversation. So that's consciousness, right consciousness is through which all life is known. All that we know is consciousness, all that we know is consciousness. So when we use the word sub consciousness, I like to use the word sub awareness, it's still in your consciousness, but it's not known. So we make this distinction in India, citta and ProGear. So consciousness, and the knowing quality of consciousness that is ProGear, or awareness, right? So consciousness, so even within when we talk about in Western psychology, the conscious and the sub conscious mind, the subconscious mind is structured still in consciousness. It's not structured in some stone, it is still in consciousness. But it is some awareness that you're not aware. Now, when you start to, let's say, culture, your awareness that is through meditation, through spiritual practices, through inner work. As you start to culture, your awareness, you start to expand the bandwidth of your knowingness. And as that bandwidth of your knowingness is expanding, that which was sub awareness starts to also come within the field of your awareness. And that's where you can feel troubled a little bit by our own cells, you can start to see things which you didn't want to see about yourself, right? But therein lies the great opportunity for you to totally begin to transform and do away with those parts of you, which were really designing your own suffering and suffering of people around you. So that's awareness and knowing quality of consciousness we call Pragya. awareness, and consciousness itself is Jet, or Jetta.
Alex Ferrari 42:24
And then when your subconscious starts getting meshed into or becoming aware of your subconscious, the ego will fight tooth and nail to stay doesn't want to go down that road, it doesn't want to live it doesn't want you to be self aware, the ego wants you to stay in the eye.
Anand Mehrotra 42:40
Yeah, ego exists in the state of ignorance, right? You can only say the ego is a hallucination that atman has. Right so you don't have a soul, you are a soul. Because if we say oh my soul, then we say where is the eye, who has the soul because when I say my shoe, I say the shoe in relationship to me as this body. So they I say my shoes. So when I say my soul, that Who am I who has that soul. So I am the soul, I don't have a soul, I am the soul and I express as this body this body is also me, I express as this body and that's why when I shift make biochemical changes in this body, when I work with this body in intelligent manner, when I breathe intelligently when I do the breath work, I have shifts within myself I have experiences within myself my body generates certain biochemicals, which gives me certain experience. So, there is a correlation even on a physiological level, because the atman of the soul is not just sitting in the body, in some particular location in the organ, the soul is expressing as his body at a certain bandwidth, certain vibrational reality right just like an atom, at a certain level shows up with a certain cluster of atoms show up as a molecule and certain cluster of molecules show up as a cell, the atom within the cell is still atom, it is not dissolved it is at its atomic nature, it maintains its atomic nature, while simultaneously expressing at the molecular level at a cellular level. So right now we are packed with atoms, but thankfully, we don't see that in each other. So there is a dimension within our own body where the atomic reality is the predominant thing, but we need to dial into that level. So we are the soul expressing as the body at this level. And we tune in then we are expressing as the energy as we tune in then we expressing as the great wisdom as we tune in, then we express as bliss, you know, so it's just at different wavelengths of our own being these different aspects of ourselves become more predominantly expressed. It's all happening within consciousness.
Alex Ferrari 44:49
Now, I've heard you discuss a term called crisis of meaning. Can you kind of dive a little deeper into that?
Anand Mehrotra 44:58
See, as I say, The atman has a hallucination which is the ego and the ego is what it is this false idea of self that atman has because the atman does not know itself. It looks outside and starts to create this idea of itself and haphazardly put together idea of salvages incomplete picture of oneself, which is the ego which exists in a state of disconnect, because it exists in a state of disconnect, it is perpetually experiencing life as an existential burden. So it looks for meaning, why am I here? What am I doing? What am I? What is my self worth? What should I do with my life? Am I worthy? Am I likeable? Right? So I struggle, the i struggles to find meaning of its own existence, why does it struggle to find meaning? Because it is experiencing meaninglessness, you see, it goes in and experience meaninglessness. So it goes looking for meaning, it goes looking for meaning. So there is a crisis of meaning. Now, there is an opportunity there. And that's where the invitation of self realization happens. Because in that self realization, meaning starts to happen within you, then you're not having a crisis of meaning your action is not being pushed back by crisis of meaning, but rather an experience of meaning. It's not the knowing of meaning, but this meaningfulness you know, meaningfulness starts to happen. Now, in the state of crisis of meaning, then the ego mind generates ideologies, it generates false belief systems, that once I get there, then I will find the meaning of life, whether it is happiness, whether I will, I will say yes, now I have arrived of whatever, it's constantly doing that based on its own conditioning, right? And then it sets up all kinds of systems to protect that fabricated meaning. It creates systems to indoctrinate the young ones to change that meaning, while always knowing that's really not working out, because if it was the meaning that it wouldn't need protection. Right, right. Meaning if it was truly the meaning we would not need to create indoctrination, we wouldn't have to fight to protect that meaning for truth needs no protection. Right. And so the the egos perpetually in a state of crisis, the egoic self, so it's never satisfied doesn't matter. It is never at ease doesn't matter what it where it gets to what it achieves. It's constantly has this existential restlessness within its own being see. So we have to begin that journey. As we start to go to that, transcended isolated self and start to experience a certain level of inner connection, meaning is born, meaning starts to be experienced on what we have is a meaningfulness. And you can be sitting by the side of the river. And you feel it's so meaningful. And you can be seeing the sunset thing and it's so meaningful, and you can be serving, you know, somebody helping someone cross the road, and it's meaningful. That is just being yourself. That is the meaningfulness that starts to flow through your life. You're no more chasing meaning, but experiencing a meaningful life. And that's a profound shift. We are home, then we're not trying to get home. We are home.
Alex Ferrari 48:36
And that's where I find that meditation is so powerful, because it is the one thing that I've found to quiet, the ego, it quiets the monkey brain, it quiets the noise because you're able to, at least within my practice, able to go into that place where there is no time. Time doesn't exist. It is a darkness, but a loving darkness. And, and it's this beautiful place where I call it dipping your toe in the universe. It's this beautiful kind of moment each like, ah, and it's you come back from it and you feel blissful, you feel reenergized. That's why I've I know many people who are heavy meditators who will sleep two hours, but meditate for five, and they're good. You know, and they're not sleeping, they are meditating and that gives them an energy for sometimes they'll go to three days without sleep, but they have to meditate every few hours. And that just keeps them going and going and going. It's it is the one thing that I found that really does quiet the ego and and that's the other thing. A lot of people have a myth. Again, here in the West, we have this myth that one day you will release yourself from the ego and from my understanding is as long as you're here. The ego will always be there at different variations. at different levels, it could be very, very, very tiny that has no voice whatsoever, because you are so intrigued and so enlightened and things like that. But there's always something here while you're here, is that correct?
Anand Mehrotra 50:12
See, the ego dissolves. In the, because then Vince, you'd seen that, um, it's about gaining inner maturity. Because ego ultimately doesn't exist. Right? It has no existence. It's a hallucination that we have, we as atman have. And we that hallucination only maintains as long as it is not exposed to deep examination. So that fabricate itself can only maintain itself as long as you're not looking. When you start to look deeply. You can't find it, you can't locate that cell so it dissolves. Now, once we have gone beyond that egoic self, then the true work begins the true learning. Right? That's when true evolution begins. Because as long as you are in the ego, you're not really interested in self realization, egos because you're too trapped. So the prerequisite for that progress in the journey is going beyond the ego beginning to go beyond the ego. And there are stages within our own journey, right. So there is the egoic identified consciousness that is cosmic consciousness, which you said, you know, so beautifully tasting the this loving darkness, which is the cosmic consciousness and then you haven't God Goddess Consciousness with Yogananda speaks of very eloquently an autobiography very speaks of Divine Mother appeared to me in my attic right so divine mother appearing to him that's God Goddess Consciousness, unity consciousness and Brahma strategic now, so there are stages within our own consciousness that start to become available, but it is very much true that the sincerity fluctuation that we have, where we can be beyond you can have this cosmic consciousness experiences and you can feel Yes, I'm on this high and then the ego boom, comes so there is this fluctuating moments which happened on our journey so it's consistency is the key right as you stay consistent and inwardly sincere, then it just begins to fall away starts to get chipped away, you know, so instead of it can be slide greasy stuff still left and as long as you keep watching ultimately starts to come off, you know.
Alex Ferrari 52:31
Now I've heard you discuss a concept called surrendered action, what is surrendered action?
Anand Mehrotra 52:37
Surrendered action surrendered action. Is this as we speak of, you know, in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna speaks to Arjuna Carmen Neva Deckard is the novel issue that that that your duty Arjuna is to act. So the your action belongs to you, and the fruit of your action belongs to me, act, you must. And that is a liberating place to be at, you know, where you are not bound by the fruit. And your duty is to do the action in the best way possible. So that what we surrender is the attachment to the fruit. And what we focus on is the action itself, the brilliance of action in the here and now fulfilling the need of the hour in the most elegant manner. And in that there is great liberation while you're acting, not in your action is not a waiting room anymore, in order for you to get to the result. You hope for and that's why you're acting so what you're logging in while you're acting is stress is wasted time because all action is in time. And as long as you're not getting there, you are here and here is not worth it. So you're wasting here. And so surrendered action. While we rejoice while being here fulfill elegantly the need of the hour, and we delegate authority to the universe to deliver the results. Another elegant authority, total delegation is required surrender. Surrender is the delegating authority where you're not being a control freak.
Alex Ferrari 54:19
Yeah, that's the thing I've discovered as well as allowing. I've been saying for a while that I chop wood carry water is what I chop wood carry water now where the wood in the water goes, is not my business. It will I just trust and I know that the universe will unfold in the way that it needs to unfold, but I do need to work. I do need to do action. If I don't do I can't just sit there and wait for someone to knock on my door with an opportunity or for something to happen in my life. You have to be acting to give the universe the the ability to open these doors for you. You have to walk if you're going to go somewhere If you have to take a few steps what to do, you can't just you know, transport somewhere, generally speaking,
Anand Mehrotra 55:08
Nobody is going to be inactivity, we cannot be inactive, we are an activity, we are an activity of the whole. This whole, you know, when even when we think we are being inactive, we are actually being active in that. Suppose that inactive state, there is still activity there and there is still choices being made, you're just going and going in a direction, you don't want to really go. So it's, you know, because we are in time and time is activity, time has changed. So whether you like it or not, time is happening. And in that time, either you can lean actively in the direction of progression, or tile will drag you in the direction of regression, but activity will happen. So surrendered. Progressive activity is really the key.
Alex Ferrari 55:53
You talk about the divine order of things, because we kind of touched upon it now with doing the action and then you worry about the universe, the God or universe, the fruit, you let them to worry about you let it worry about the fruit. I've come to realize in my path again, that that there's a divine order that if you start looking back in your life, even the bad things that happen to you, there's a hindsight window, that you look back and go, you know, that was probably not the best I got fired from that job, probably the best thing that ever happened to me up, I broke up with that girl, probably the best thing that ever happened to me, but at the moment was very painful. So even the bad things that happen to you in life, there is a divine order that is for the benefit of my soul's journey, is what I've discovered through my path, can you touch upon the divine order, and that kind of blueprint that we walk into this life with?
Anand Mehrotra 56:45
You see, that's a sign of maturity, that if we are making progress, then it is bound to happen that when you look in the past of your life, then your natural attitude has to be of radical gratefulness, of WoW, to be able to see the Unity threads that have actually supported you those dark nights of the soul those challenging painful moments, and how they have been catalysts of you know, of healing progress of realization in your life. And so we when we look back at our lives, and we still find complaints there and we find blame, then we still have work to do. So maturity will naturally unfolding. When you look at your life in the past, you will feel a sense of deep gratefulness and a learning and educated gratefulness. And when you look towards the future, you will have surrendered rational optimism, you know, you will have surrendered optimism. Why? Because that's the wise position to take when it comes to time. For when you take any big slice enough slice of time, then you fall you realize that things work out from Big Bang to now things have worked out from Helium, hydrogen, you know, no matter which creation theory you buy into, they're all theories ultimately. But let's say we, you know, we agreed to agree on the Big Bang. So me, helium and hydrogen to this complex multicellular, being writing poetry, making movies and making podcasts, things have worked out, in art has gone through different cycles, things worked out, there was a time when there was just dinosaurs walking this planet and asteroids hit and you know, 85, to 95%, of all living complex life was wiped out. And here we are, if we were as a reporter, reporting at that time, then all the headlines would be the world has ended. You know, yesterday, that would be the last headline. And yet here we are. So if you take big enough slice of time, you will find that order is born out of chaos, that is the law, that is the creative intelligence at work, you know, the whole tree comes out of the emptiness that is embedded within the seed. So there is a finite intelligence that work and it requires a great introspection and great humility to begin to really see that, that intelligence at work. Now, that doesn't mean we don't lean in the direction of the right we do our best. But we have to, at the same time know the limits of our intellect that we cannot compute the whole variables that are at work at any given particular moment, on our planet on our solar system and forget about our galaxy and the intergalactic space, there are infinite variables we are talking about no matter no computer can compute that, you know, no brain can compute that. So we have to realize the limits of our own intellect. And in that way, we can accept that and then the unknown becomes our ally, right there is that there is a creative intelligence which is organizing this whole intergalactic universe, which is at the same time, you know, organizing the solar system and this galaxy and this universe and the multi universes. They're all being organized and they are being organized not from some outside, but they are all Being organized from inside out, we live in a self organizing universe. It organizes from inside out, just like our bodies right now you and I are talking and all the listeners are listening. And our bodies are just being organized from inside out. We are not, you know, a holographic where the some kid is sitting somewhere and playing video games with us, we can verify that from our own inner knowledge doesn't matter what somebody says we can know that intimately that there is not a remote controller as well, because we make choices. And we struggle with choices every day. And we see the consequences of the choices we make. So there is a you know, we know that there is a self organizing system. And we have to realize that you know, the time lines we are dealing with is humongous. We are dealing with a lot of space and a lot of time, time has a lot of time on its side. So if you take big enough slice of time, you find that there is a incredible harmony of design. And that's in our traditions, we have Yantras and mandalas, where when you look at from a myopic view, from a close thing, you might see this lines criss crossing, and it makes no sense. And you have to dial out you have to dial out and then you start seeing this form emerge, right and if you dial in, you can't see it. So you have to gain distance. For you see, do you see this mandala that is there. And it blows your mind is phenomenal order, right that comes like prime numbers, you see the prime numbers and then you can't locate the prime. But when you come out, you can see that there is a certain pattern in which they emerge even though the pattern is very difficult to locate, but it emerges. So it's you have to gain distance. And as you said in your life, then you you have gained a certain distance from your ego self. And you've gained maturity within yourself. You're no more in that narrative where you are the victim where you are the effect, not the cause, you have transcended that positionality in your own consciousness, and you have matured so when you look at your life, you can see those challenging moments as gift. And that's a clear sign of your own maturity, that you have grown. That's a testimony that you have grown, you're moving in the direction of true intelligence within yourself. Because if we are looking back at our lives, and we are still burdened by our past, then we are really trapped by our own thinking right? Because ultimately memory is an interpretation of events within our own minds, right.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:37
You spoke of chaos. And my friend we are in some right now. The world is is going through something that I've never seen in my lifetime. Honestly, I've never seen in the history of written time that I can tell where the environment is affected is being affected economies we're on the brink of a possible World War there's a pandemic that has affected the entire planet at the same time. There's so much chaos What do you think is happening to humanity right now? Is there a great shift? Is there something I mean there has to be I feel there's something happening there is a bunch of rising of consciousness something has to be going on because my god you can't ignore it. I mean, it's almost unendurable the amount of things happening to the planet all at the same time.
Anand Mehrotra 1:03:30
See, that is two things one of the things is that is definitely a shifting from yoga as you know, we are going from Kali, Kali energy to more Dwapara bright energy as the master of Paramahansa Yogananda Shiva, Tish receive share. And also we are living because we are living in this Dwapara beginning stages, you know, within the Kali Yuga, we see a Mercury so there is a lot of reports of everything. So you know, we are bombarded with information. So we are also dealing with access of information, where you, you know, a cat is stuck in a tree. And so you know about it, somebody has tweeted about it. So, it's there's a, you get to, you're bombarded with a lot more information than you know, 5060 years ago. So there is a lot of both as well as there's a lot of people doing incredible stuff and being of general you know, phenomenal kindness and doing great things and there is also people who are still not designing their own suffering and suffering of their fellow beings. So we are going through a peak time where this is an exciting time to be alive. This is the future is bright, you know, if we can just get our act right. And you know, when I say that our act, right, it's not about oh, that you have a responsibility to fix everyone. That's the way of the, you know, we don't need to fall into some kind of Messiah Complex, and, you know, start yelling at everyone else, you know, I think it's invitation. It's a great phenomenal opportunity for us to really grow and for us To transform, and for us to be of service wherever we are, to, you know, sustainable change happens from bottom up, never top down. And each and every one of us really, you know, is the center of infinity because infinity center is wherever you are located. That's where infinity is centered. So each and every one of us represents the center within which the whole infinities accessible. And so we begin with where we are, it is a phenomenal time of great opportunity. We live in this dropper yoga, where the possibilities have opened up phenomenally. And we are overall in a progressive time. And, you know, wherever when there is this big change, about to occur positive chain, that's when the resistance is at its strongest. So we are having all systems and all ideologies and, you know, ways of governing and all kinds of identities collapsing. So there is that challenge is there. And it will take as far as the political scene, it will take some generation for it to change at least one or two generation for the whole political, because you know, new children will be born and new form of governance will emerge eventually, right? Democracy and Communism will give way to something of a higher value, we don't need to discuss that right now. But these times are a great, you know, times of initiation, right? You when you go to any initiation phase period, it's challenging, it requires you to really step up, he requires you to really go through that process in the deepest way, and learn and do the right thing. And that's what this is asking us to do to organize our individuality around love. And then organize our communities around love, and organize, eventually, that ripple will happen where the our Earth will be organized around love. You know, the future is bright, if you are willing to see the light, you know.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:00
And I'm gonna ask you a couple of questions, ask all of my guests, what is your mission in this life?
Anand Mehrotra 1:07:07
My mission is, you know, to keep moving in the direction of my own inner unity and keep radiating that out and serving all those who are willing to be served, you know, fulfill the need of the hour and be of service and as much as I can be while simultaneously awakening more and more of my own inner potential.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:30
And what is the ultimate purpose of life?
Anand Mehrotra 1:07:34
The purpose of life is to live live in greater and greater unity. For that purpose is discovered know yourself.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:46
Self Realization, if you will.
Anand Mehrotra 1:07:49
Keep knowing and self realization not as a destination, but as a unfolding journey.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:58
Yes, I think that's one of the biggest lessons we can pull from this conversation is enjoy the journey, not the destination. And I think so many of us focus on a destination. But as you get older, when you start reaching some of these destinations, you're just like, Okay, now what, but if you would have actually enjoyed the path, which you're on, you're on the journey much lot, much longer times and you are ever at the destination, always that trip up to the to the the monastery or the in the Himalayas, the monasteries, the monastery. Yeah, when you, it took you a lot longer to get there, then you probably actually stayed and a lot longer to get back down. So if you didn't enjoy the journey, you're struggling most of your life most of the time that you did this. Now where can where can people find out more about your work your books, your yoga, your academy,
Anand Mehrotra 1:08:49
You know, so you can go on sattvayogaacademy.com They can find all that stuff there and start to connect a lot of online classes and stuff. And all the information about books and podcasts should will be there.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:01
And I will make sure to put that all in the show notes. Anand it has been an absolute honor and privilege talking to you is wonderful having going into the deep waters of spirituality with you, my friend, I truly appreciate you being on the show. And for the work that you're doing in the world we need we need more of you my friend in the world. So I I truly appreciate you. Thank you so much.
Anand Mehrotra 1:09:24
Thank you, Alex. It's been a great joy and I appreciate everything that you do and what you stand for. And very much it's full of joy to see your work radiate out and touch many lives.
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