Baba Hari Dass

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Baba Hari Dass, silent yoga master
Baba Hari Dass, Mount Madonna Center, Watsonville, CA, around 2006

Baba Hari Dass (26 March 1923 - 25 September 2018) was a yoga master, a silent monk, a builder of temples, and a commentator of Indian scriptural tradition of Dharma and Moksha. He was classically trained in India in Ashtanga Yoga – Raja Yoga of Patanjali (the Yoga of Eight Limbs), as well as Kriya Yoga, Ayurveda, Samkhya, Tantra Yoga, Vedanta, and Sanskrit.


The Yellow Book (1974)[edit]

Lama Foundation, San Cristobal, NM; and Sufi Community Press, Tucson, 1974.

  • We cannot describe it. We cannot reveal it. And when we do, we disappear.
    • Introduction
  • When a person realizes peace inside by doing yoga, he will not smoke and get peace disturbed. The peace obtained by yoga is much higher than the pleasure of smoking.
    • concerning smoking and yoga path, p.6
  • The ashram [religious hermitage] protects man from the world. Man must protect himself from the ashram.
    • p.11
  • Religion of your upbringing is like a cloak - you must know how it is made in order to take it off.
    • p.13
  • Q: Did you start life like us with lots of demands, and what spurred you to give it up?
    A: When I was six or seven, I would feel I was inside a box of earth and sky, and I would weep. Once I asked my mother: "Take me out of this box of earth and sky." She said, "I can't." Then I said, "I'm going."
    • p.33
  • Using siddhis (powers) is not good for those who possess them. It can also trap the mind into desires. By being pure in mind siddhis will come by itself, and a yogi should not try to show his powers. First thing is to have siddhis and then not to get trapped in siddhis.
    • p.42
  • Teach to learn. Watch yourself before you teach.
    • p.55
  • Pleasure has desire in it. Desire is pain. There is no satisfaction. So pleasure is pain.
    • p.65
  • Your body is the temple of your soul. Your soul is God's temple.
    • p.79
  • How many teachers did you have? A: Myself.
    • p.85

Hariakhan Baba: Known, Unknown (1975)[edit]

Sri Rama Foundation, Davis, CA; Library of Congress Cat. 75-3838, 1975.

  • was well known to people (in Kumoan villages) that Babaji Maharaj's (Hariakhan Baba) age was several thousand years and that he was present at the War of Mahabharata at the time of Krishna.
    • Ch. Nainital District, p.56
  • In 1929, for the first time, I paid attention to the stories being told by older people about Sombari Maharaj and Hariakhan Maharaj.
    • Ch. Almora District, p.78
  • When I was building Kenchi Ashram, which is in Nainital District, I was told by the villagers that Hariakhan Maharaj used to live in a cave there. I preserved that cave, which is behind Hanuman Temple at Kenchi.
    • p.79

Yoga Journal (1977)[edit]

No. 14, May 1977, p.64; Active Interest Media, Inc.; ISSN 0191-0965, May 1977.

  • Q: Is life a dream or a meditation?
    A: Life is a meditation when you know it is a dream.

Silence Speaks, from the chalkboard of Baba Hari Dass (1977)[edit]

Sri Rama Publishing, Santa Cruz, CA; 1st ed.; ISBN 0-918100-19-4, 1977.

  • God is the only lover and He loves in different forms - parents, husband, wife, friend, children, animals. All are His forms and He, Himself, has no form.
    • p.9
  • Without watching ourselves we can't be aware of the tricks the mind plays. So a yogi should be alert all the time.
    • p.11
  • What is mind? A heap of thoughts.
    • p.14
  • Q: How do you define ego?
    A: Ego is life. To keep the body's existence is ego. It is the part of the mind which identifies a creature with the world. Ego self tells you, “This is my body,” and also tells you, “This is my Self.” It connects the two.
    • p.15
  • Q: Can intellect aid understanding?
    A: It helps in the beginning but cannot give full enlightenment. The mind is the main instrument to gain enlightenment, but enlightenment is only reached when the mind stops.
  • Q: How can we stop the mind?
    A: Not hitting it with a hammer. Stop the mind by the mind.
    • p.31
  • Q: What can I do to overcome my fear of death?
    A: Attachment to the body causes fear of death. It is the strongest attachment. Even a newborn infant has this attachment. To overcome the fear of death it is necessary to accept that we all have to die.
    • p.39
  • Q: What is silence?
    A: Silence is an austerity. You control your desire to talk. By talking, people try to impress others, which you can't do if you are in silence. In silence you have to develop tolerance. At first it is difficult to do because you separate yourself from others by not expressing yourself. But gradually the mind reduces that ego and an aspirant accepts the situation, which develops tolerance and reduces anger.
    • p. 165

Ashtanga Yoga Primer (1981)[edit]

Sri Rama Publishing/Hanuman Fellowship, Santa Cruz, CA; ISBN 0-918100-04-6, 1981.

  • Don't think that you are carrying the whole world; make it easy. Make it play, make it a prayer.
    • p.2
  • The aim of life is to attain peace. No one can give us peace. We can't buy or borrow it. We have to cultivate it by practicing yama and niyama (yoga restraints and observances).
    • p.5
  • All sadhanas or methods are for simply tricking the mind. The trick is to not let the mind spread out in a form of thoughts.
    • p.9
  • Within the physical body every human being has a subtle body made up of invisible structures and energies (kundalini, nadis, and chakras); and within the subtle is the causal body out of which the subtle and physical bodies are formed.
    • p.11
  • The world is an abstract art. We see it as we want to see it. It is a garden of roses and it is also a forest of thorny bushes and poison oak.
    • p.20
  • Faith and devotion are the foundation on which meditation is built.
    • p.27
  • Contentment, compassion, and tolerance are the pillars of peace.
    • p.58
  • Work honestly, meditate every day, meet people without fear, and play.
    • p.74

Fire without Fuel - The Aphorisms of Baba Hari Dass (1986)[edit]

Sri Rama Publishing, Santa Cruz, CA; ISBN 0-918100-08-9, 1986.

  • Creation is the product of bliss, and bliss is its sustainer; to bliss it returns.
    • Ch.I: God & Creation, p.14
  • Anything that exists will never be destroyed; its disappearance is simply a transformation.
    • Ch.I: God & Creation, p.18
  • The Self is beyond birth, death, gender, class, and religion - only the body wears those labels.
    • Ch.II: Self - God within a Being, p.27
  • A person knows what he knows. An animal knows, but doesn't know what he knows. In Yoga, "I" consciousness is called asmita klesha. It is classified as an affliction and a hindrance to attaining higher consciousness.
    • Ch.III: Mind - Its Functions and Its Fantasies
  • There is always a chance for a person to break out of the cycle, but there is no such chance for an animal unless it incarnates as a human and develops "I" consciousness.
    • Ch.III: Mind - Its Functions and Its Fantasies, p.36-7
  • A wise person is one who sees the effect of an action before he acts.
    • Ch.III: Mind - Its Functions and Its Fantasies, p.41

The Path to Enlightenment is not a Highway, (1996)[edit]

The book is also known as My Convictions, Sri Rama Publishing, Santa Cruz, CA, 1996.

  • The embodied soul has two purposes to fulfill: Experience the world, and get liberation from all experiences. If the self were not in bondage then the two purposes would not be fulfilled.
    • p.2
  • A prisoner never stops thinking about getting out of the prison. Life in the world is like sitting in a prison. One who doesn't realize that doesn't think of getting liberation.
    • p.4
  • Everything can be a trap. A hermit goes to a cave to get out of all worldly attachments and then gets attach to the cave. If we miss the point, then everything becomes a trap.
    • p.15
  • Making separate groups is human nature. No matter how much we talk about universal unity, we end up making another group.
    • p. 18
  • Greed is a sickness of the mind. The more one hoards, the more greed increases. Giving with no expectation eliminates greed.
    • p.23
  • Household is a chariot. The parents are its two wheels. If the wheels don't move equally, the chariot cannot run straight.
    • p. 35
  • Just like pure water poured in a dirty cup becomes dirty, similarly the pure ego rooted in the impure mind becomes impure ego.
    • p.49
  • The ego has no form and no particular center of existence. It pervades the mind, intellect, senses, and the body as 'I am'.
    • p.65

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Book I (1999)[edit]

A Study Guide and Commentary for Book I, Samadhi Pada, Sri Rama Publishing, 1999.

Traditional Hindu depiction of Patanjali as an avatar of the divine serpent Shesha, regarded as the first compilation of the formal yoga philosophy of Yoga Sutras.
  • Yoga is defined as a method – the process of nirodha (mental control) – by which union (the goal of yoga) is achieved. Yoga is therefore both the process of nirodha and the unqualified state of niruddha (the perfection of that process). The word yoga (union) implies duality (as in joining of two things or principles); the result of yoga is the nondual state..., or as the union of the lower self and higher Self. The nondual state is characterized by the absence of individuality; it can be described as eternal peace, pure love, Self-realization, or liberation.
    • Sutra 2, Bk I, p.5

Everyday Peace: Letters for Life (2000)[edit]

Sri Rama Publishing, 2000, ISBN 0-918100-21-6, 2000.

  • You have everything and you want more. It's natural in human beings. You don't need to give away your house, money, and car, and leave your family to find God. The only thing necessary is to understand attachment.
    • p.17
  • Human birth is the highest. It is for attaining liberation. If we don't consciously try for liberation, then we are misusing our human birth.Every action, thought, and word should be spiritual. It happens only when the mind is purified by sadhana (spiritual practice).
    • p.34

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Book II (2008)[edit]

A Study Guide and Commentary for Book II, Sadhana Pada, Sri Rama Publishing, 2008.

  • The ego rules the mind because it links the “I” with the mind and body. If the “I,” which is another name for the self, were not identified with the mind and body, the ego would have no power. Self-study, svadhyaya, therefore, is the set of practices that investigates the nature of the self to discover its origin. When the origin is found to be separate from the body, the ego loses the battle and peace is attain.
    • Bk. II, Sutra 1, p.5

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Book III (2013)[edit]

A Study Guide and Commentary for Book III, Vibhuti Pada, Sri Rama Publishing, 2013.

  • Samyama, which is the application of concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and superconscious trance (samadhi) in lightning succession, is practiced with the intent to gain specific knowledge of the object of concentration. The object is seen from all sides, in all its aspects, with full depth and breadth. As such, this complete absorption of the mind using the process of samyama brings complete and specific knowledge of the object. This power of knowing is vibhuti.
    • Bk. III, Sutra 4, p.7

Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Ch. I-VI (2013)[edit]

Baba Hari Dass, Sri Rama Publishing, Santa Cruz, CA; 1st ed., 2013.

  • Having made pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat the same, you engage in battle for the sake of battle; thus you shell win and not incur sin. (Bhagavad Gita, Ch II, verse 38) Here, Sri Krishna is saying that if Arjuna has neither desire for heaven nor for sovereignty over the earth, then he should achieve equanimity of the mind. With equanimity of the mind one can achieve success in the war of life. Without it, one cannot remain unaffected by the pairs of opposites and will be continually tossed about by the waves of egocentric likes and dislikes.

Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Ch. VII-XII (2014)[edit]

Baba Hari Dass, Sri Rama Publishing, Santa Cruz, CA; 1st ed., 2014.

  • Among creations I am the beginning, the middle, and also the end, O Arjuna, I am the science of the Self, and I am the logic of all arguments.
    • Bh. Gita, Ch X, verse 32
  • I am the logic of all arguments - Arguments are of three kinds: 1) jalpa (arrogant argument) – In this type of argument one tries to establish one's point of view by contradicting the opponent's argument without considering whether the opponent's argument is right or wrong. 2) vitanda (destructive criticism) – In this type of argument the person simply destroys the opponent's viewpoint by misleading argument. 3) vada (logical argument) – In this type of argument one uses a method of discussion with reasoning with an aim to find out what is truth and what is untruth. Reasoning is the best method of discussion to achieve the truth. This is why the Lord says, “Among arguments, I am vada or logical argument.”

Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Ch. XIII-XVIII (2015)[edit]

Baba Hari Dass, Sri Rama Publishing, Santa Cruz, CA; 1st ed., 2015.

  • Knowledge, action, and actor are declared in the science of the gunas to be of three kinds only, according to distinctions of gunas; hear them also duly.
    • Bh. Gita, Ch XVIII, verse 19

Mount Madonna Messenger[edit]

Mount Madonna Messenger (Hanuman Fellowship), Watsonville and Santa Cruz, CA.

  • Q: How are peace and happiness related? Is peace the only real happiness?
    A: When happiness moves beyond the mind, that is happiness.
    • March 26, 2016
  • Q: I understand that to walk the path one must do it alone. Why is it so much easier to do a yoga class in a group rather than to have the discipline of doing it alone?
    A: In the modern system, Yoga is becoming a group thing. I did not grow up with this kind of system. In my discipline, doing Yoga in front of anyone was forbidden. Because it's a personal thing. That is why yogis chose to live in seclusion.
    • June 10, 2016
  • Q: At the time of death when the elements are changing rapidly and there is confusion and fear, what is the method to fix the mind in positivity?
    A: It depends on regular practice. It can't be done without prior practice of concentration. At the time of death, people lose control over the mind. Only a few keep awareness of God at that moment.
    • June 17, 2016
  • To get out of the rut is not one day's job or one hour in a day or going to temples, churches or mosques on particular days. We have to reflect on all our thoughts all the time and turn the outgoing mind inward in every second of life.
    • Nov 4, 2016
  • Control of the mind can be achieved by understanding yourself, the aim and the energy which is blocking us from progressing. Between God and the Self, the blocking energy is the ego.
  • If the ego is pulled toward the world, it makes a wall. If the same ego is pulled toward God, it makes a ladder.
  • No religion can grant enlightenment or salvation. Your own faith, devotion, and love for God can bring about enlightenment. Your spiritual practices and your desire to attain God are the main thing.
    • June 14, 2017
  • Q: Babji, if you had only two words to say to the people of the world, what would they be?
    A: Attain Peace.
    • March 31, 2017

Quotes about Baba Hari Dass[edit]

Be Here Now (1971)[edit]

Ram Dass, Be Here Now, 1st ed. in Oct 1971 by the Lama Foundation, New Mexico.

  • Hari Dass Baba – this little 90 pound fellow – architecturally designed all of the temples and schools, supervised all the buildings and grounds, had many followers of his own, slept two hours a night. His food intake for the last 15 years had been 2 glasses of milk a day. That's it. His feces are like two small marbles each day. His arms are about this big around, tiny, but when the workmen can't lift a particularly heavy rock, they call for 'Chota Maharaji' – the little great king. As in a comic strip, he goes over and lifts the rock, just with one-pointedness of mind.
    • section: Ashtanga Yoga

Still Here – Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying (2000)[edit]

Ram Dass, Riverhead Books; New York: ISBN1-57322-871-0

  • The aphasia has introduced silence into my conversation...I had training for this kind of thing when I was with Baba Hari Dass in India (1967). I was mauna (in silence) for a period of time, and he and I wrote to each other on tiny slates that we wore around our necks.
    • p. 191

Be Love Now (2010)[edit]

Ram Dass, HarperOne and Love Serve Remember Foundation, New York, NY, 2010.

  • Each morning around 11:30 Hari Dass Baba would come from Hanuman Garh sixteen kilometers away to give me lessons in yoga, asanas and pranayama, for about twenty minutes...
  • He was very loving and very demanding. He told me Hindu stories like those of Ramayana. He kept silence, so he would write on a chalkboard, things likem “Desire is the creator, desire is the destroyer, desire is the universe.”
    • p.138
  • In early 1971 I received preliminary copies of the book [Be Here Now] in India. When it was read to Maharaji-ji (Neem Karoli), he told me to change some of the parts about Hari Dass Baba, who had been my sadhana tutor while I lived in Kainchi that first year.
    • p.150

The Near and the Dear (2012)[edit]

Dada Mukerjee, Hanuman Foundation, Santa Fe, NM; 2nd ed. 2012, 2012.

  • Haridas [Baba Hari Dass] with his band of enthusiastic and active associates, was managing the affairs of the temples and ashram at Hanumanghar [near Nainital]. He was well-versed in pujas and rituals, as well as in pranayama and meditation, and an experienced practitioner of hatha yoga... he also looked after the devotees who who would come there. Those staying there were sometimes taught the preliminaries of yoga, especially hatha yoga. Ram Dass stayed there in 1967 and Lawerie in 1964, among others.
    • p.221
  • Haridas was also very active in building the Kainchi temples and purchasing materials for them. His associates, mostly from Nainital, were his friends and companions... Some of them were so attached to him that they parted from Babaji [Neem Karoli] when Haridas left in 1968. The work ran smoothly under Haridas's leadership, with the full cooperation of his associates.
    • p.222

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