Portrait of Robert Padman Bernstein

Interview by Dhāraṇī Diana Díaz

Padman, a certified meditation teacher at IYI for the past twenty years, has studied the Eastern spiritual approach to living for over fifty-five years. For fifteen years prior to receiving meditation certification, he taught various classes including satsangs at IYI. He also teaches an online class, “A Course Miracles,” Eastern spiritual psychology for the western mind.

When and how did you discover Yoga? What brought you to IYI?
I discovered IYI in 1974 . . . I had a lot more hair back then! I didn’t have any real interest in yoga, meditation, stuff like that, but listening to Beatles music helped awaken that interest in me. One day in 1974, I was living in Detroit at the time, I was walking down the street, saw a poster of Swami Satchidananda on a telephone pole and decided to go and see what he could tell me. He told me “everything I didn’t remember I needed to know.”

What do you love about Yoga?
One: The yogic mind or “peaceful mindset” that can be developed towards living everyday life, with all its difficulties, and that could be summed up in the saying: “I could see peace instead of this.”

Two: The philosophy and psychology of meditative mind as expressed in Sutra’s two and three: We seem to have two minds. The first is an ego or historically programmed, modified or conditioned mind. And the second, what we could say is a spiritual mind. By becoming an observer of both thought systems, with faith, and usually with uphill perseverance, gradually, lovingly, gently, we can “teach ourselves” a method to “choose” which thought system we want to identify with, and thus “consciously choose” the life we want to live. The method used is our choice.

What do you hope your students will receive from your class?
I hope students receive whatever they’re ready to receive. And that I do the same from them. We’re all students and teachers or we wouldn’t be here. In a way we could say that is all there is to learn.

How much of your teaching style is attributable to your personality, life experience, and your teaching wisdom?
Partnered with my everyday ups and downs, all my life experiences, my teaching style and still evolving personality are rooted in three things. The first is listening, watching and re-watching Gurudev’s videos. Attending his IYINY Satsangs. Seeing him in Virginia as well at his many New York appearances. And in reading his and other books by similar teachers. The second is the practicality and clear teachings of “A Course In Miracles.” And the third is repeating as often as I can, with no regret when I forget, but rather with joy when I remember, our shared inner GPS: Our Global Peace System: also known as mantra.

What is one of your hidden talents?
How does it show up in your own Yogic practices and in the classes and workshops you lead? I don’t know about my hidden talents, they’re hidden. Ongoing classes at IYI: Guided Meditation by Zoom every Sunday morning, at 10:30 New York time.


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