Mentoring with RadhikaG

What is Mentoring with RadhikaG? This page explains in detail what the mentoring program is about, for whom it is suitable and for whom it is not suitable. 

Our Tradition is over 6000 years old. For millennia the teachers of our Tradition treated their students like their own children and welcomed them in their homes. This was no mere book learning. Living together with the teacher, the students learned to eat, breath and live meditation. But before the teacher can fill the cup of the seeker with knowledge and wisdom, she or he must help the seeker to “empty his cup” of old deep rooted habit patterns of thinking, only then can the teacher lead the seeker to his own intuitive fountain of Inner Wisdom. 

Guru-Shishya Parampara: The unbroken teacher-student lineage

This Tradition comes down from the ancient rishis of the Upanishads. In  the Gurukula, the home of the guru, the teacher, the householder sages of the Upanishads nurtured the young students and revealed to them the mysteries of living and dying. 

Upanishad means "sitting close to". The student sits together with the guru, the teacher and listens carefully and contemplates. This is not intellectual learning based on book knowledge. It is based on the Oral Tradition. The lineage is the cornerstone of the Oral Tradition. This teacher-student relationship is not about joining courses in large institutions, getting certificates or titles. The only thing that counts is how the student evolves. To evolve the student must do sadhana or practice, thus the student is known as a sadhaka.This kind of Yoga education is about unlearning the  limitations created by the conscious mind, helping it to expand, by becoming aware of the unconscious mind. This is the highest form of education.

This system acknowledges that there can be no standardized form of learning and unlearning in Yoga Meditation. Each individual is unique and thus only a 1:1 relationship with an authentic teacher can transform a student. 

In this traditional approach the student evolves for himself. He may teach eventually as well, but he does not enter this relationship to get a certificate at the end. The relationship is not about learning and information; it is about unlearning and attaining wisdom through direct experience. Thus, the emphasis is not on aparavidya, scriptural knowledge or professional knowledge, but rather on paravidya, the inner wisdom that reveals the mysteries of living and dying. 

In a traditional system the hours do not matter, since all depends on merit as assessed by the teacher. A student may spend up to 15 years under the tutelage of the teacher! In a world where students are running from one teacher to another, trying out their own experiments, this program is unique. The teacher takes responsibility for the welfare of the student and preserving the lineage of Samaya, the internal way.


Are you drawn irresistibly to your teacher?

The word guru has many meanings and is used in a variety of different ways. Guru can mean simply teacher and so we hear of dance gurus or music gurus. The Sanskrit word guru has many translations, for instance, the planet Jupiter is also called guru and so is a pregnant woman! The yogis interpret guru as "that which leads from darkness to light." This interpretation comes from the Oral Tradition and from direct experience. The word guru also means gravity. Thus guru is also a force that attracts, that pulls you like a magnet, a heavy planet, a huge star or a black hole, and in doing so it de-stabilizes its surroundings. Clearly a guru is nothing for the faint-hearted! 


The Mentoring Program: Modern term for Guru-Shishya Parampara

Mentors are common in the fields of education and management. One might think this is a new idea. It is not. It is, in fact, an ancient idea, dating back to the times of the Vedas and Upanishads over five thousand years. 

If we study the etymology or the origin of the word mentor, we would discover that is actually comes from the Sanskrit root, "mantr", which means one who thinks,  a counsellor, guide or preceptor!  And it is closely related to "mantra", a sacred word, "mana" which means mind and "mantri" which means prime minister or chief advisor to the King. So the word mentor is not all that new and foreign to Yoga.

So why do you need a teacher or mentor at all? Because the mind is tricky and meditators need guidance in the unfamiliar and potentially danger territory of the mind. Also because any understanding from a book is limited by our own limited understanding! To grasp the deeper truth behind the words of the scriptures, you need someone who can clarify your misunderstandings and interpret the teachings correctly. The greatest problem with the modern student is incorrect understanding of the scriptures. The teacher or mentor also explains the difference between shreyas and preyas. Shreyas is good for you, but not necessarily pleasant, like medicine. And preyas is that which is pleasant but not necessarily good for you, like sweets. The mentor guides the student towards a change in lifestyle and cultivating shreyas in daily life by learning to distinguish between these two. 

The core of the mentoring program is the relationship, that will help the student evolve. It is this personal 1:1 relationship with the mentor that is the backbone of yoga, taught the traditional way. The learning through online meetings, retreats, interactions in Facebook groups, videos on Youtube are all useful but are only complementary to the core.

At the heart of the mentoring program is your relationship with the mentor. 

This is not a business contract. It is a relationship based on mutual respect, love and honesty. 

The Yoga Mentoring Program has been developed by Radhikaji, Author and Founder of THATfirst keeping the following in mind: 

  1. Unbroken Lineage: All ancient spiritual traditions of Yoga Meditation are based on the Guru-Shisya Parampara i.e. the tradition of handing down authentic teachings from Master to disciple, forming an unbroken lineage over millennia; not just a couple of years or decades. 
  2. No Compromise: Any standardized form of teaching Yoga Meditation is a compromise.
  3. No Dependency: Yoga Mentoring takes you to the inner teacher and thus makes you independent. It is does not encourage the seeker to get dependent on the Mentor.
  4. Medicine is bitter: You need to get in touch with Radhikaji and make appointments. The focus is on individual development, on shreyas (the good) and not on preyas (the pleasant). Medicine is sometimes bitter. 
  5. Confidential: All 1-1 sessions are personal and confidential. All sessions are in person, telephonic or using online facilities such as Skype, FaceTime or our Gotomeeting online meeting facility.
  6. No Cybergurus: A personal meeting with Radhikaji is absolutely necessary. This is not an online university with a cyberguru! 
  7. Donations welcome: For millennia, the teachings have been handed down to those who were ready to receive these. This is not a business contract. This is based on a deep trusting relationship, mutual respect and honesty. The teachings are priceless, therefore we only accept donations or contributions from those who value these teachings. 
  8. No instant results: This training can take up to 15 years depending on the quality of the student. Those who have had deeper mystical and spontaneous mystical experiences seem dive in to the Tradition and the teachings effortlessly. Others may struggle to evolve and develop. 
  9. No certificate: You do this for yourself. You are ready to teach when you have developed out of your limitations and evolved. You are “empowered” to teach, when you receive the command, ajna to teach. 
  10. Active Participation: Everyone should participate actively. Mentoring is not a passive program.
  11. Not reinventing the wheel: We do not need a new style or new yoga. All the experimentation has been done. Just follow the path laid out by the sages; that’s the highway. If you want to experiment, this may not be your "thing".

Pre-requisites for participation in Mentoring program

There are certain pre-requisites for participating in the Mentoring program: 

  • For a successful start in such an intense and deep relationship it is necessary that the mentor and the seeker both want to enter in to such a relationship. 
  • Regular Participation in the Yoga Learning Program. Meetings place once a month, on a Sunday, duration around 2 hours. Plan your life events around these. 
  • The Yoga Learning Program (YLP) is a pre-requisite for the 1:1 mentoring sessions. 
  • Around 2-4 personal sessions in the year can be organized with Radhikaji. This means a 1:1 session to discuss your practice, your development and how to integrate these in your life. This is more work for me, but it is for your benefit. You have to make the appointments. 

For whom is the Mentoring program (and for whom is it not)

Mentoring is suitable for:

  • Those who are willing to nurture the relationship between teacher and student  based on mutual respect, humility and trust.
  • For whose who ask fundamental questions like: Who am I? From where have I come and why have I come here? What is happiness? What is suffering? What is my relationship with the universe and other human beings? What is the essential nature of my being, and what is the essential nature of the manifested world, and its cause? What is the relationship between the center of consciousness and the objects of the world? Do we live after death?
  • It is suitable for those who feel, “I am bound. I want to be liberated.”
  • For those who seek something permanent; who are uninterested in the transient and ever-changing.
  • For those with a sense of discrimination, who know what is right and what is wrong.
  • For those having a bit of vairagya, non-attachment. That is the aspirant is not overly attached to the worldly objects.
  • For those with the right attitude, that is, humility and the willingness to study and train the mind.
  • For those who are courageous and willing to listen to the bitter truth, shreyas as opposed to preyas.
  • Only for those who are already participating in the Yoga Learning Program (YLP).

The mentoring program is not suitable for those: 

  • who want to evolve their own version of yoga from books and websites according to the whims and fancies of their minds 
  • who want spiritual entertainment and are "window shopping" for teachers.
  • who are just curious and want to check it out
  • who want a "cyberguru" whom they can contact at their convenience
  • who already have a teacher who is competent and leading you on the inner journey
  • who want to expand their egos by acquiring more information to show off their knowledge
  • who do not want to make any changes in their current lifestyle and attitude to life
  • who think they are too clever and independent and therefore do not really need any guidance 

Rigidity vs Focus: One Tradition, One Teacher

Is the Mentoring program rigid and inflexible? Maybe. :-) 

It all depends on your perspective. We prefer to use the word focus. The mentoring program is very focused and has a clear purpose.  The sages say the shortest and easiest way to evolve spiritually is with commitment to: One Tradition, One Teacher. It does not mean it is short and easy. It means, it is the shortest and easiest among all the possibilities.

In the words of Swami Shivananda: 

"Do not dig here and there shallow pits for getting water. The pits will dry up soon. Dig a very deep pit in one place. Centralize all your efforts here. You will get good water that can supply you throughout the year. Even so, try to imbibe thoroughly the spiritual teachings from one preceptor alone. Drink deep from one man. Sit at his feet for some years. There is no use of wandering from one man to another man, out of curiosity, losing faith in a short time. Do not have the ever-changing mind of a prostitute. Follow the spiritual instructions of one man only. If you go to several people and follow the instructions of many persons, you will be bewildered. You will be in a dilemma.

From a doctor, you get a prescription. From two doctors, you get consultation. From three doctors, you get your own cremation. Even so, if you have many gurus, you will be bewildered. You will be at a loss to know what to do. One guru will tell you: "Do Soham Japa". Another will tell you: "Do Japa of Sri Ram”. A third guru will tell you: Hear Anahata (mystic) sounds. You will be puzzled. Stick to one guru and follow his instructions.

Listen to all, but follow one. Respect all, but adore one. Gather knowledge from all, but adopt the teachings of one Master. Then you will have rapid spiritual progress."

How to join the Mentoring Program

If you have got as far as the end of this long article, then there is a serious possibility that you are truly interested in the mentoring program. :-D

If that is so then: 

  • Join our Facebook group and get to know other members of the THATfirst family.
  • Write Radhikaji a private message using the contact form, introducing yourself and explaining why you want to be part of the mentoring program.