HEART CONVERSION TALK SERIES
Volume 1, Number 10
The Yoga of Death in
A Discourse Given by Sri Da Avabhasa on February 13,
DEVOTEE: Sri Gurudev, recently in a gathering You
put Your Hands very forcefully on my head. After that I
started to have very intense facial kriyas in meditation
when I would feel Your Transmission. Sometimes my head would
just completely dissolve in light. I have been feeling this
process going on in my meditation since that time, even
though I am not yet at the stage of hearing.
That is my question. I am not at the point of hearing,
but I feel this process of the reception of Your
Transmission going on in my body. Would You say something
SRI DA AVABHASA: When you practice
feeling-Contemplation of Me, when you come into My Company,
you likely will have experiences of My Spiritual
Heart-Transmission. I have indicated this in the “I Am What
you Require” section of The Love-Ananda Gita and elsewhere,
in The Dawn Horse Testament, for example. Why is it a
It is whatever it is. The question is not whether an
individual can have some Spiritual experiences in My
Company. This is easy enough. The whole question of the
Yoga, My “Consideration” of the Yoga, the practice of the
Yoga of the Way of the Heart, is not to develop the Yoga. It
is to assume the responsibilities of Spiritual life so that
the Yoga can be effective, consequential, ego-transcending.
There is no great purpose in the Spiritual experiences
themselves, although they can be interesting, inspiring,
purifying. They are not intended for their own sake as
conditional experiences. They are part of a sequential
process, a developmental process, leading toward Divine
Self-Realization, Which only occurs in the case of Most
So the process is about ego-transcendence, not merely
about experiences of a Spiritual kind—or any other
kind. Experiences may very well occur—they do commonly
occur—in the case of My devotees. The listening-hearing
process precedes real Spiritual responsibility in the Way of
the Heart, because when the Spiritual process begins and as
it goes on, the core of it is the “conscious process” of
ego-transcendence, not merely receiving or experiencing
energies in the body-mind. I can tell you, “Practice
surrender. Practice self-surrendering, self-forgetting,
self-transcending feeling-Contemplation of Me.” You do this,
in fact, as an exercise constantly.
But there are limits on your ability to be so
surrendered, so self-forgotten. Your ability to transcend
the self-contraction is limited. Surrender is not an
ego-effort. But for the Spiritual process to be effective in
the great sense that it must be in the Way of the Heart, you
must be equipped at the foundation with true hearing, the
capability for ego-transcendence.
So this is the foundation process: First, handle your
life-business. Adapt to the fundamental practice of the Way
of the Heart. Endure the ordeal of listening to the degree
of hearing and its demonstration. All of that equips you
with the foundation for an effective Spiritual Yoga. Even
from the beginning of Contemplating Me, certainly coming
into My physical Company, you will have experiences of My
Spiritual (and Always Blessing) Presence. They are different
in each individual case—there are any number of karmic
designs of the body-mind—but typically My devotees have
some experience or other of the invasion of My Spirit-Force,
even early in their relationship with Me, sometimes or
frequently beginning with the pressure, the feeling of
descent of energy and so forth, in the head. Others
experience it in the frontal line, sometimes the spinal
line. These experiences are interesting enough. They have a
purifying effect, in fact. But you must equip yourself to do
the Spiritual Yoga.
You are spending your entire life bargaining about death.
Every moment of your life is stressful. This is why it shows
all kinds of signs of reactivity, desire, and
seeking—all the pursuit of objects and others. The
self-contraction is the root of that, but the experiential
context of it is the knowledge of death, the fear of death,
the anticipation of death. You are animating yourself
constantly because of this fear. You are trying to escape
it, argue your way out of it, distract yourself from the
feeling. You spend your entire life anticipating death,
fearing it, avoiding it, and going toward it. In truth you
must be up to the very thing that you are afraid of. Instead
of wasting your life bargaining about death, anticipating
it, you must be involved in it.
Life must become death, not in the negative sense of
merely seeking to destroy yourself bodily but only in the
most profound sense. What you are fearing about death is not
merely a physical event but the dissolution of your own
existence, your own separate existence. The real process in
life is one of submitting to this death, engaging life as
that very process, entering into it most profoundly, moment
by moment—making ego-death the Yoga of life.
You will not do this until you have understood yourself
most fundamentally and have overcome this bargaining game,
this seeking game, and enjoy the capability for transcending
the self-contraction moment by moment under all
circumstances. When you become thus equipped, then even
though you may have been having some Spiritual experiences
of Me all the while, you become able to enter into My
Spirit-Presence, into the true reception of It, true
self-surrendering, self-forgetting, self-transcending
submission to My Spiritual Presence. So, then, instead of
merely having Spiritual experiences in the body-mind, you
transcend the ego in Spiritual Communion with Me.
At the beginning of level two, you intentionally, with
fullest commitment and with the capability of true hearing,
enter not merely into the Initiation into My Spiritual
Presence, because you may have had some experience of It
already, but most profoundly into commitment to Me
Spiritually with the fullest reception of Me, and you begin
the conscious Yogic ordeal of submission to My Spiritual
Presence. And this Yoga can fulfill itself as I have
indicated to you—can, should, likely will—in the
maturity of level three of the Way of the Heart, in the
fundamental dissolution of the point of view of attention,
so that you Realize that you Stand in the Position of the
Witness, Prior to the body-mind.
You can from that point, then, enter into the “Perfect
Practice”, where ego-dissolution is Perfected in Divine
The fundamental sequence of practice in the Way of the
Heart is the listening-hearing process, developing the
capability of ego-transcendence, then the ordeal of the
Spiritual Yoga via the design of the frontal line, then the
“Perfect Practice” in its three stages. This is the
fundamental course. There may even be ascending experiences
early on, just as there may be ascending experiences in
level three, but fundamentally that is not ones
responsibility if the Yoga is in the frontal line in level
The real beginnings of the Way of the Heart, then, are
about a conversion of life, beginning with handling
life-business, setting it straight, understanding yourself
most fundamentally. Another way of describing that process
is that it is a matter of coming to terms with your life of
seeking, or in other words your effort to avoid death. In
some fundamental sense, then, true hearing is the acceptance
of life as the death process, so the body and the mind and
the self-knot itself have voluntarily submitted to Divine
Communion. You are equipped, then, to allow the Descent of
the Divine Force and your submission to It, so that all the
manifested personality gives way, is dissolved.
The frontal Yoga is not merely about openings in the
body, experiences in the body-mind, feeling energies in the
body. It is about submitting to My Spiritual Force in the
context of the entire body-mind, submitting the entire
body-mind, so that the self-contraction in that form is
utterly given up and replaced by the Divine Presence, the
Divine Consciousness. It is quite a different thing, then,
than simply the matter of experiencing My Spiritual Force in
the body, relative to the body, and so on.
The frontal Yoga is not significant, not a matter of
responsibility, until there is the capability for
ego-transcendence. Until then, experiences are strictly
secondary, purifying to a degree, inspiring perhaps, but not
of ultimate significance or consequence. Also, your ability
to receive Me, or in other words to surrender the body-mind
to My Invasion Spiritually, is very limited. You can
experience Me but not most profoundly, not in the fullest
Yogic sense. Without the equipment of true hearing, it
cannot be done. This is why in the traditions, even though
there are Yogic practices, Yogic practitioners, and so
forth, practice is essentially an ordinary, or evolutionary,
matter, an egoic matter, of developing the conditional
persona by combining it with Spiritual force in order to
develop the conditional persona and largely expand it,
develop its knowledge, its power over this, that, and the
other thing. This is not true Yoga, it is not the great
Yoga, it is not the Divine Yoga. It is conditional Yoga,
ego-bound. It is evolutionary. It is part of the
psycho-biography of egoity itself.
The Divine Yoga is always and fundamentally about
ego-transcendence, utter dissolution of the ego in the
Divine. It is not a matter of seeking the Divine but of
receiving the Divine, Communing with the Divine. The Divine,
then, is the Gift from the beginning of the Divine Yoga, not
that which is to be Realized at the end of it. Of course It
is Realized all the while and at the end, but it is the
principle from the beginning. That is the uniqueness of the
Way of the Heart, the Divine Way.
DEVOTEE: Thank You, Sri Gurudev. You talk about
how we are limited in terms of our reception of Your
Transmission. And I can feel in meditation that sometimes I
am having very profound feeling-Contemplation of You or
reception of Your Transmission, but suddenly I …
SRI DA AVABHASA: “You you you you you you you”,
you see. It is not it. It is not the Divine Yoga. It is just
experiences that are interesting to you, consoling to you,
new to you, fascinating you. But you—not Me, not the
Divine—are the subject, and the process is not
ego-transcending in any full sense, any profound sense. You
are just acquiring experiences. In that sense, Spiritual
experiences have no greater consequence than your ordinary
life-experiences. You all tell Me, practically in the same
breath, about your emotional-sexual experiences and also,
from the other side of your mind, about your Spiritual
experiences. They are all part of the same game of
The Divine Yoga does not take place in the context of
seeking, only in the context of ego-transcendence,
ego-transcending Divine Communion.
So you must be equipped for the Divine Yoga, and that is
what hearing is about, such that the subject of the Yoga
ceases to be that of the ego and becomes the Divine. That is
why this hearing matter is most critical, most fundamental.
It is not the disappearance of the ego as the subject and
the appearance of the Divine as the subject. It is about the
embrace of the Yoga of death in God—passing out in God,
not into unconsciousness but into Divine Consciousness.
The Way of the Heart is not about developing the ego. It
is about the transcendence of the ego. You must understand
the unique difference between the Way of the Heart and
traditional approaches. Then you will be serious about the
beginning, because it is most profound. Now you are being
amateurish about it. You are talking about listening and
hearing in amateurish terms and rather conventional terms.
You want to just talk yourself into believing you have heard
without going through the crisis.
It is death. It is acceptance of the Yoga of death in
God. It is a profound turnabout in the disposition of the
living being because it is no longer the subject of its own
existence—the Divine is the subject. That is why the
seeing process can follow upon hearing.
Not only do you tend to be rather amateurish about the
process of listening and hearing but you also tend to be
casual about handling your life-business. You are constantly
creating more and more complications and problems about your
ordinary life instead of simplifying, handling that
business, setting it straight, making it a lawful foundation
for Spiritual life in My Company. You are endlessly creating
emotional-sexual complications, dramatizing reactivity,
desiring, seeking, pursuit of objects and others and so on.
You are dramatizing that instead of setting all that
straight based on real self-understanding to the degree of
the crisis of hearing. And you stop the pursuit of escape
from death and accept it as the very process that is the
meaning of life.
Just feel yourself now. Feel your own tension and stress.
It is about the fear of death. You must be voluntarily and
now doing it instead, doing the death, entering into the
submission. Then this stress dissolves, the heart is
relieved. The body relaxes, the mind relaxes, and you become
sensitive, attuned, to reality and, more and more, then, to
the Divine Reality Transmitted to you. As long as you are
under the stress of this knot, you are self-bound, avoiding
even God, desensitized, crippled by your own act, afraid,
and cut off from the true Yoga. Then you just spin your
wheels for the rest of your life, waiting for that terrible
day, you think, when you will not be able to avoid death
anymore and it is just going to happen to you. Then it
finally will, and none of it will have been to any great
effect at all. You will just be recycled, and the same thing
will begin all over again in one form or other.
It is important to use life according to its law. The
stress you feel, the pressure you feel, is your own knot,
your refusal to be given up to the One Who Is. Given up to
the One Who Is, your life becomes plain, simplified, Divine.
The Divine becomes its context. Then you will no longer be
the fitful, egoically “self-possessed” seeker, but you will
be more and more transformed by Divine Communion. Then,
instead of being a worldly fool, you will begin to look like
a Yogi or a Saint, and so on—as such beings do, better
than they do. Your bodily sign will change. Everything will
Why do you think This Body looks as it does? The Yoga has
been done in This Body. It is a kind of a corpse, a Yogic
corpse, its sign no longer made by fear of death or the
dramatization of egoity. So it must be in your own case.
That is what the Way of the Heart is about.
Read The Knee of Listening. I talk about death all the
while. That is what it is about. You are trying to smile
your way through, be amused, stimulated, fulfilled in
conditional terms, ego-based terms. That is not Yoga. That
is not Divine. That is the ego-life, the worldly life. You
must be willing to give up all of your games in ordinary
life and straighten out and purify your ordinary life, bring
it to order, stabilize it so that it becomes a true
foundation for Yoga, the Divine Spiritualization.
Here you have been in My Company fussing and bargaining
about life fulfillment, seeking, principally about this
whole emotional-sexual business. It destroys Yoga. It
dissociates you from the Divine. It is an egoic
preoccupation founded in your own stress.
Find yourself out. This contraction is why you are doing
all that ordinary dramatization. Be responsible for this.
And the more you do become responsible for it, the more you
can handle your life-business and simply set it straight so
that it no longer interferes. You must find out exactly what
it is you have to do in your own case to set it straight. It
is different in every case.
Some may be celibate. Some may be sexually active. Some
do one kind of work, others another. Some may be formal
renunciates, others live in the general community.
Nonetheless, all must make life-resolutions at the
foundation of their practice. All your business must be
handled in every fundamental sense before you can move on to
the advanced and the ultimate stages of the Way of the
You may imagine that because you can have some Spiritual
experiences and some benefits of the religious life, even
though you do not handle your life-business fully, you can
get away without handling it, you see. But all you are
having is piecemeal, mediocre, and ego-bound experience.
Even if it is Spiritual or religious, it is conventionally
Spiritual, conventionally religious. The Divine Yoga
requires responsibility for the ego and requires you to
handle your life-business. It is like coming on retreat,
which also requires you to do so. To live the life of
practice you must do so. The beginning time of practice is
the time to do that. If you are taking a long time at the
beginning, it is because you are not handling your
life-business and you are not “considering” My Word
seriously and entering into the listening process for
Why do you think I call it “listening”? Because it is an
address to My Word. It is listening to Me in the context of
handling your life-business, adapting responsibly to My
Company. If you refuse to do that, your life becomes more
and more confusion, more and more entanglements, more and
more impediments forestalling the time of real practice in
Spiritual and ultimate terms.
DEVOTEE: Beloved Sri Gurudev, I recently had a
dramatic experience of something that you are talking about.
When I first came to Sri Love-Anandashram a few months ago
to live, it was an answer to a prayer to be able to live
here and practice in Your Company, the fulfillment of my
deepest dream. Years ago I had suffered from chronic
insomnia, but I had not suffered it in years.
The first night I was so excited about being here that I
began to realize I would not be able to sleep. Immediately
my subjectivity started to go crazy, and I felt I was about
to destroy my dream to live here, because I might not be
able to sleep and would not be able to function. A great
fear and despair arose in me, and I was completely
overwhelmed by it. I realized in that moment that I had to
practice intensively and resort to You deeply.
Basically what resulted was something like the death
process. I realized I had to give up my desire. I had to be
willing to accept that I might have to leave here. I had to
be willing to accept that I might not have this opportunity
to practice in Your Company and that I might have to reside
forever in one of Your communities and develop as a mature
practitioner and just deal with all of this. In that crisis
something like death occurred, the profound release of what
I was holding on to and aspiring to and seeking. In that
crisis, a great release occurred, and a realization that my
relationship to You would survive. It was a profound
Over the next few days, what I would describe as true
hearing did awaken. There was a profound change in my
practice and true self-observation in my life. It reminded
me of the crisis I had been through when I was diagnosed as
having cancer. It was the same sort of necessity and
profound acceptance. It was very instructive to me.
Unfortunately, I was not able to sustain it.
SRI DA AVABHASA: It was not true hearing, then. It
was a crisis of self-understanding, apparently, but not true
hearing. The crisis of true hearing does not come to an end.
You can experience incidents in your life that are
transformative to one degree or another, insightful and so
on. But they are not permanent.
DEVOTEE: It was so dramatically different than
what I had experienced and so much self-understanding was
given in the midst of it. And the ability to observe and
understand that I was doing the contraction was much more
obvious to me than it had ever been. There was a dramatic
distinction between what I normally had experienced as
practice and what was occurring then. I wondered if it was
hearing. I was not certain what it was.
SRI DA AVABHASA: What are you up to since that is
different? You started being able to sleep, so you stopped
worrying about it. If you had not been able to sleep ever
since then, you would have stayed in place with that
understanding. You went back to getting a good nights
sleep—or a good days sleep.
DEVOTEE: I went back to sleep. That is true. I
began to get on top of it. The ego began to adapt.
SRI DA AVABHASA: So you found a way to survive.
That is not true hearing. You must find out about yourself
DEVOTEE: It is beginning to occur by Your
SRI DA AVABHASA: Tcha.
ANOTHER DEVOTEE: I have felt very greatly
instructed by You relative to how we superimpose ourselves
on the experience of Your Transmission. I have noticed that
I do that all the time when I am feeling You.
SRI DA AVABHASA: Do you see how much reference
there is to “I” in almost everything you say to Me? That is
why I keep Calling you all to the voice and mind of praise.
“Oh, Master”—not even “my Master”—is the voice,
the mind, of utterance that is free of this “I”-reference.
Of course, the English language is built on the
“I”-reference, so you cannot avoid it entirely. The voice of
praise is the balance.
Tell My Leela instead of your story. You think Leelas are
about some encounter you had with Me that brought about some
change in your practice. Those are Leelas of a kind,
certainly, but the fundamental form of Leela is simply
telling about the Guru—just that, describing the Divine
Play itself, not combined with you but just As It Is, just
As I Am, just As I Do. This is the most fundamental form of
Leela-telling. It is another form of the mind or voice of
praise. It is Contemplation of Me, whereas Leelas that are
simply about My effect on you one way or another are ways
for you to refer to Me while still talking about yourself.
There can be some usefulness in that, but it is not the
greatest form of Leela-telling. You all tend to be
preoccupied with the lesser form.
Most of what I do you hardly tell anyone about. Little of
My Leela actually gets told. You basically want to talk
about yourself and interest others in how something can
happen to them. What you should be interesting people in is
transcending themselves in My Divine Company. If you did
that, you would be telling them about Me. But you will not
do it. Human beings these days, you feel, are invariably
interested in themselves and do not want to hear about the
Guru. You tell as little about the Guru as you can. Instead,
you tell people about yourself and about themselves. It is
just another way of enslaving the Divine, dismissing the
Divine, and making the ego the subject of religion. That is
You are even a little bit afraid of getting involved in
true religion. You are worldly and conventionally religious
by tendency. This is especially characteristic of
Westerners. It is a part of the principal fault that
Westerners must overcome if they are to develop authentic
practice in My Company. In the traditional East, just the
opposite is the case. People do not want to talk about
themselves. The rule is modesty, make as little
self-reference as possible, talk about the Guru endlessly,
talk about the Divine Leela endlessly, make as little
reference to oneself as possible. In the West it is just the
opposite. You are supposed to only talk about yourself.
DEVOTEE: Sri Gurudev, You have talked a great deal
tonight about the simplicity and relaxation of the process
of self-understanding. I am understanding more that it is
all about the self-contraction. I am feeling it more.
SRI DA AVABHASA: You are being it more.
DEVOTEE: Yes, I am being it more, and I am feeling
SRI DA AVABHASA: Yes, and you must transcend that.
That is what I am talking about.
DEVOTEE: In that process of Finding You,
everything that keeps coming up is suspect.
SRI DA AVABHASA: What is coming up?
DEVOTEE: Even the feeling that I am dying.
SRI DA AVABHASA: Of course you are dying.
Everybody is dying. You must commit yourself to dying. You
must invest yourself in dying. That is the Divine Yoga.
Embrace this pressure, this imposition. Be willing to die.
Be willing to do the thing that you fear, the thing that you
keep putting forward to the end of time, the end of your
life. Do it now.
Start doing some dying here, then. Start giving yourself
up if you have any self-understanding at all, and receive Me
down behind your tongue here. You have to gulp Me down and
give way to Me. So what? That is life.
DEVOTEE: In the process of gulping and receiving
You, this pressure does not go away.
SRI DA AVABHASA: No, you must give yourself to My
Divine Invasion. Accept It. Accept that that is life, that
is the reason for existence, that is the law of existence,
that is the Perfect State you are Given, and allow It
completely, more and more, with all your stress, with
murders in your heart, in your gut, just done.
All your “oinking” refusal, hatred, anger, upset,
pursuit, seeking. So what? You have to make a life out of
this acceptance, this embrace. Eat It. Eat the Living
You must let your fear of death go. You must accept the
imposition of What Is here that you have been refusing all
your life, and take Me on. The dying business is a great
Yoga, all over your heart, opened, relaxed, because you gave
it up. Give it up, relax down, surrender.
You are all in the same boat here in these independent
bodies. Death is coming. Do it, then. Do it now. Embrace
What is Imposing Itself on you. Do not wait until the end of
life. Do it now. There I am—swallow Me down. Take a
deep breath. Be done with it. It has to happen. Do not wait
for the end of life.
That is “conductivity”. Give Me your attention. Let it
go, down to the frogs, the toads. Be at peace. Give up your
struggle. Be at peace here and now. All your obstructions,
your impulses, and your reactivity—let them go now. Be
at peace, free in your mind, free in your feelings, free in
your body, free in your relations.
Take Me down. Breathe Me down. Be at peace in your mind.
Be at peace. Do right now what you think you would do on
your deathbed—right now.
[Speaking very slowly and quietly] Come
and sit before Me and offer your gifts, not ceremonially
merely, but as a real act of self-surrender.
Sit with Me. Receive Me.
Be at peace here in My Company.
Reside here. Live in My Company.
Be at peace with Me.
Release the stress of the refusal of death and your
Drop the self-defense.
These bodies go to corpse.
You go to Me.
Those who remain behind will wash it and burn it.
See—amazingly and during the day, your eyes are
open, the mind is clear.
All is clear.
The world will live at peace—a peaceful life. Relax
This is My Admonition to My devotees: Self-surrendered,
self-forgotten, give up your stress, your own act of
Breathe deeply, down to your toes—emotional
[As He spoke these final Words, and for many
minutes afterwards, Sri Da Avabhasa made gentle stroking
movements over His Heart with both hands as He Gazed around
the room at all of His devotees.]