My interview

Not long ago, I was asked by yoga teachers from Argentina to answer questionary.  I decided to publish it here, in case someone would be interested in.

Interview with Guru Yogi Matsyendranath

1. What is your spiritual name?
My spiritual name is Yogi Matsyendranath. I was given it while I was receiving the transmission into tantric sadhanas. But among Nath Sampradaya followers in India I am more known as Yogi Matsyeshvarnath. Actually, these two names are synonymous.

2. What Sampradaya do you belong to? And what is your Parampara?
I belong to the Nath Sampradaya, it traces back to Shiva Adinath, however, it became famous in virtue of Mahayogi Gorakshanath. In fact, both of them are considered to be the Lord Shiva. The Parampara I belong to is quite long. My Guru is the head of Devipatan temple, which is a popular and well-known sacred place among Nathas situated in North India. My Guru was given his first initiation by Guru Kamalnath, while Kamalnath obtained his initiation from Navaminath and so on. My Guru has also been blessed by the patriarch of Sampradaya, Shri Shri Avedyanath and his successor Yogi Shri Adityanath.

3. Where do you live now?
At this moment I live in Latvia (Europe), where I have a temple. Sometimes I travel to India and Russia, the place where I was born and began to spread out the Tradition.

4. What do you do?
I am teaching the people yoga, that very one which was taught by Gorakshanath and Matsyendranath, as well as the other yogis of my Tradition.

5. Do you have any family; wife or children?
No, I do not have a family in its usual sense. I have only my spiritual family consisting of Guru (my father), Goddess of the Universe (my mother) and disciples (my children). Although I am not opposed to the general family values, my affairs do not leave me any time for social life.

6. Could you give us a brief overview of your life?
In brief, I was born in the USSR and began to study martial arts when I was at school. Gradually, I became interested in spirituality, then I switched to yoga. At that time only one ideology existed in the USSR – communism and there was not enough information regarding spiritual aspects of yoga. So, I started to study by books, which were spread out illegally. After a while everything became open and my friends asked me to teach them, so we started practicing together. At that time I was the only yoga teacher in the city. Afterwards I went to India, since I did not have any money I had been living there as a beggar for several years. Some time later I met Nathas and received initiations. I had learned everything that Guruji was teaching me, then he told that I was allowed to spread the Tradition on but to sincere students only. However, I had no idea how to start it, because the Indian reality is different from the West one; perhaps that was the reason why lots of Teachers did not want to do it. Nevertheless, I tried to develop the Tradition and I faced lots of challenges in the beginning. As I see now much has been done since that time and today practitioners from Europe, America and other countries know about the Tradition and some of them are even teaching it.

7. What is spirituality according to your understanding?
Spirituality is samarasya realisation (the state of a single taste of life). It is an accomplishment of soul transcendence (Alakh-vijnyana) within this body and this world.

8. Do you think a person can live a spiritual life?
Of course, spirituality is the nature of one’s true Self.

9. Do you think there are people living a material life?
I think so, but everyone’s live is different. Our aim is to obtain enlightenment while we are living in this world, as well as to acquire wisdom, which will liberate us from sorrow.

10. In your opinion is the balance between the material and the spiritual possible?
Definitely. Gorakshanath taught yoga of the sun and the moon, and, of course, they were simbols. The sun is an immersion into material being and mode, while the moon is spirituality which rejects society. In spite of this, we are able to reach the balance. However, there are different practitioners, some of them go to extremes, but what we need is equilibrium.

11. What can you tell us about the Life itself?
Life for many people is full of bitterness in this world, however, the happiness also occures. If a person is honest with himself, certainly, he could acquire pure knowledge, and the world will appear as manifestation of the Universal Mother to him, in the form of that Goddess, who has created this world. Everything is Her manifestation. And, as soon as we learn how to follow Her will (Adesh), our live will become completely different.

12. How do you think what is the purpose of life?
The aim of the life is to cognize its source and realize it within oneself.

13. What is that particular thing which should be never forgotten in this life?
My Guru said “In every moment of your life realise what is the main thing, and what is the secondary one. You should always remember about supreme one.”

14. Can you give us a definition of Yoga?
Yoga means connection between an individual soul and the supreme source, this contact reveals in presence of a pure, quiet and awaken consciousness. Every man needs this state, whatever he is doing in this life he will always be a winner. So, yoga is necessary for everyone.

15. What is meditation?
Different religious schools imply their meaning in this concept. In our Tradition it is called dhyana, that is the state when attention is absorbed by its source, by Self (Atman) or pure consciousness. Then a yogi is dwelling in a state of super-consciousness (unmani).

16.  What is meant by enlightenment?
This is when you look at things correctly, i.e. when you perceive a temporary thing as the temporary, and an eternal one as the eternal.

17. And what does self-realization mean?
Self-realization is a proper realizing yourself as Shiva, and the entire world as Shakti, your manifestation. Then yoga can be discovered (the unity of all).

18. Do you think it is possible to find self-realization in this life?
It is necessary. Sometimes we are able to feel our higher nature even though we may be far from it. But the goal of yoga, according to our Tradition is to learn how to be in the presence of the God continuously while living this life.

19. Who has reached self-realization?
There have been such yogis in our Tradition and they still exist, however, most of them are very modest. Therefore, they tend to talk about themselves as minor Gurus or yogis. Although they share their strength and support high aims of sincere seekers (avalambi).

20. What is the mind according to your understanding?
Mind is what controls our feelings (indrias). Mind can be controled via prana (pranayama), and a yogi is able to control prana through nada sound (anahata). Then a yogi dissolves his mind in the universal source of consciousness, he reaches samadhi. Mind can be our friend, if it is enlightened one, which agrees with the heart. However, mind can be an enemy, in case it clings to the limitations of this world.

21. What do you think is the best technique to control the mind?
As I have said above, if the mind is enlightened (sрuddha-vikalpa), such control and related techniques are efficient and rather accurate. But this is possible through the expansion of its peaceful consciousness.

22. Do you think it is possible to transcend the mind?
Of course, if you are very honest with yourself (actually, you are Atman whose nature is the pure consciousness), it will definitely happen.

23. What is desire? Do you think that desire stems from the mind?
Yes, the desires arise out of our consciousness. But we should be able to regulate our desires, it is possible only through the mind control. Mind control means its purification or enlightenment. Of course, it is not always easy for everyone, but we must try. Peace of mind (that is yoga itself) is possible through vairagya and the practice of mind quieting which is abhyasa. Thus, we need to practice yoga (pacification of mind).

24. What should we do with our desires?
We need to transform our lower desires through awareness of the presence of Divine in them.

25. What is Maya?
Maya can be rendered as “dimension”, which is measurable by any means. For example, if I watch at and listen to someone, I do not perceive the others, because through one object “meya” Maya reveals as limiting power. But the term “maya” has not only a negative context. There is Maya as illusion, but there is also Yoga Maya – the form of enlightened knowledge. In the world there are not only bad or good objects, all depends on how we perceive them within our own consciousness. Development of pure and positive vision is the yoga practice. Then, Maya is not your enemy, but a friend, it is the Mother Goddess.

26. What is its origin, how is its effect produced?
It appears from the omnipresent light of consciousness, which is called Shiva in Tantras and Yoga Shastras. Shiva creates a play for Himself, thus Maya is manifested.

27. Is there a way to transcend Maya? How?
Yes, through Divine Love.

28. What is your understanding of what compassion is?
Compassion is Shakti. As a yogi and tantric I consider that clarifying knowledge is in our soul, it is also associated with Kundalini Shakti, which awakens and allows to perceive others. We are not able to accept what we do not appreciate, respect, love and what is of no interest to us. On the contrary, if we see the Divine in somebody, our mind and soul are open for that person. This is what I call compassion full of wisdom, purity and renunciation.

29. Can compassion be developed? How?
Of course, it may be also necessary. Through attentiveness to the true self, we can gradually sympathise and be attentive to those, who need enlightenment and self-awareness.

30. What are the characteristics of compassion and how in your opinion a compassionate person reacts to aggression?
A man with a genuine compassion should not be confused with one who imitates it. Much depends on the particularities of the case but we must learn how to deal with varied aggression neatly, to avoid causing harm to ourself and others whenever it is possible. If we imply ahimsa in respect of ourselves, then we will not have any problems with external aggression too, we will be able to reduce it dramatically. But it is a great mastering with different levels. If you are not able to respond to aggression just like Jesus, then do not imitate him. We can perform some actions properly only having some wisdom within. Everyone overcomes his own stages of the spiritual and social evolution.

31. In your opinion is the role of a woman changing in todays world? Has this any affects on a man?
The women have their strengths and weaknesses, like the men. All women are the earthly manifestations of the Goddess, eventually they help the men to find their inner woman – Kundalini, while the women find Shiva inside of themselves. I think if Kundalini is awaken inside of you, no adverse external circumstances could frighten you any more. But, this knowledge is secret, therefore certain limits and etiquette have to be followed in the world. Of course, the frames do not imply the inner purity, and we should not condemn anything, because everyone may have imperfections. In addition, the conviction is considered to be one of the imperfections.

32. Do you think Yoga can help people who live in a big city?
If we understand it thoroughly, it will help anywhere. As I said earlier, this is the purity of mind and soberness. Is there anyone who does not need it? Certainly, techniques will differ from those that are used by sadhus living in the Himalayas and forest, but the essence of yoga remains the same.

33. Do you think that a yogi can reach the state of Dhyana within the distractions of a big city?
Actually pranayama helps in such cases greatly. Also, the deeper you learn the subject of mantras, the better they help you to transform an aggressive energy of the megapolis. I think if you find a real master, he will show you a very broad way allowing to be a yogi in any environment.

The meeting with Andrew Harvey

Yesterday I communicated with a remarkable person, Andrew Harvey, he is an interesting and unique man from the USA. Here is his website:

I was struck by his unique vision, which he developed during the study of different forms of religious spiritual practices. He divided them into two categories, they are “warm” and “cold.” I am going to explain a little: “warm” are those religions where the emotional plane involved, such religions as Islam or Christianity, the religions of a prayer. “Cold” are those religions, which built on contemplation and mind tranquility, like Buddhism, or teachings focused on jnyana and etc. Andrew Harvey said that the best thing is the ability to combine both variations.

His explanation is very similar to the approach existing in the Gorakshanatha’s traditions, namely yoga (union) of the sun (ha) and moon (tha). We agreed that our next meeting in Melbourne we will devote the public program about Shaivism.