Sadhana advice from Swami Sivananda

If you give up idle talk and gossiping and idle curiosity to hear rumours and news of others and if you do not meddle with the affairs of others you will have ample time to do meditation.

Environments are not bad but your mind is bad. Your mind is not disciplined properly. Do not complain against bad environments but complain first against your own mind.

Train your mind first. If you practice concentration amidst unfavorable environments, you will grow strong, you will develop your will force quickly, you will become a dynamic personality.

Know things in their proper light. Do not be deluded. Emotion is mistaken for devotion. Violent jumping in the air during Sankirtan for divine ecstasy. Falling down in a swoon on account of exhaustion from too much jumping for Bhava Samadhi. Rajasic restlessness and motion for divine activities and Karma Yoga. A Tamasic man for a Sattvic man. Movement of air in rheumatism in the back for ascent of Kundalini. Tandri and deep sleep for Samadhi. Manorajya or building castles in the air for meditation. Physical nudity for Jivanmukta state. Learn to discriminate and become wise.

Do not utter such words as are calculated to bring your own self-glorification. You must forget at once what is bad. But you must not forget any good done to you by others. There is no expiation for that man who is ungrateful. Forget your good qualities. Forget the bad qualities of others. Forget the enmity of those who are inimical to you. Forget the good actions that you have done to others.

Do not be afraid of any other devil. Fear itself is the greatest devil. Kill this devil first. All other devils will take to their heels. All troubles are only imaginary. Fear comes of ignorance. There is fear where there is duality.

When you remain in the world, association with worldly persons is unavoidable. Cut short the conversation and the period of mixing with them.

The worldly duties are not ties. The world is the best teacher. You are not require to renounce the world and take shelter in the Himalayan cave to claim back your lost divinity. The world cannot stand in the way of your God-realisation. Live in the world but allow not the world to live in you. He, who living in the midst of temptations of the world attains perfection, is true hero.

If a yogi or a Sannyasin who is able to keep up serenity of mind while living in a cave in the forest, complains of disturbance of mind when he lives in the bustle of a city, he has no control of mind. He has no inner spiritual strength. He is not a practical Vedantin. He has no Self-realisation. He has not attained the goal of life. He is still within the domain of Maya.

A real yogi or a practical Vedantin is one who can keep perfect calmness of mind while performing intense activities amidst the bustle of a city. This is the central teaching of the Gita.

By destroying Vasanas and Sankalpas, you melt or annihilate the mind. By annihilating the mind, you kill egoism. By killing egoism, you know the Self. By knowing the Self you attain Self-realisation. By attaining Self-realisation you become free from all sorts of pains, tribulations and miseries. You enjoy supreme unalloyed bliss of the eternal and become That.

Destroy the Vasanas (of body, world and booklore). Withdraw the mind. Identified yourself with the Sakshi (silent witness of the mind).

You cannot wash the mind with soap and water to get rid of its impurities but if you eradicate desires and attachment, the mind will be purified of itself.

This Atman is Silence. The best conception of God is ‘Silence’. Therefore learn to be silent. Make the mind silent, waveless, thoughtless and desireless. This is real silence.

The world is a big wheel. It is revolving unceasingly. The mind is the nave of this wheel. Those who are egoistic, proud, passionate and greedy are caught up in this wheel. If you can stop the mind from moving, the world-wheel will come to a standstill and you will be freed from the round of births and deaths. If you wish to stop the mind from moving, you will have to annihilate egoism, pride, desire and greed.

Truth dawns by itself upon the mind of the tranquil who are equally good and friendly to all beings. Tranquillity of the mind is attained by eradication of desires and thoughts. Mind is agitated by desires and thoughts. When desires and thoughts are controlled, the mind becomes as calm as the lake which is not agitated by the winds. Tranquillity cannot be attained within a week or a month. Practice for a long time is essential.

Do not enter into heated discussion with people. Restrain the senses. Annihilate Raga-Dvesha (likes and dislikes). Extend compassion to all creatures. You will soon attain immortality.

A real aspirant who thirst for Self-realisation should be absolute honest in every dealing. Honesty is not only the best policy in him, but also a strict rule of daily conduct.

Life is not a misery. One should live for hundred years by performing action without attachment. Life is not a bondage when it is looked with the proper light. Such a man of proper knowledge looks on all beings as his own Self and his self as all beings. To him everything is his own Self, and he is not affected by grief, delusion or sorrow of any kind.

The Atman is not born, nor does it dies. It has not come from anywhere and it has not become anything. Unborn, constant, eternal, primeval, this one is not slain when the body is slain. This Atman is hidden in the deep core of the heart of beings. It cannot be attained by any amount of reasoning, study or instruction. It comes only through the Supreme grace. A man of bad conduct, who has not ceased from crookedness, cannot hope to attain the Atman.

The road to Supreme is clothed with pricking thorns. It is sharp like the edge of a razor, hard to tread, a very difficult path! It can be trodden only with the help of knowledge obtained from men of wisdom. Knowing That, one is liberated from the terrible mouth of death.

The mind and the senses always run outwards. Only the man of self-discipline and perseverance can gaze inward and experience the state of Atman as it really is. The childish who have no knowledge of the Truth, run after external pleasures and they fall into the widespread of death. Only the wise, knowing the state of Immortality, seek not the stable Brahman among things which are impermanent here.

The Atman or the Brahman has no connection with the world of change. The goodness, the light, the pleasure and the beauty of the world is not to be found there even in name. That State is experienced when the senses cease to work together with the mind and when the intellect does not move, and when there is mere consciousness. When all desires which are lodged in the heart are liberated, then the mortal becomes immortal. Herein he attains Brahman.

Brahman is Truth, Knowledge, Infinity, Bliss. Brahman is Bhuma where one sees nothing else, hears nothing else and understands nothing else. It rests on nothing else. On it everything else rests. One who knows this rejoices in his own Self and rests contented in his own Self.

Sacrifice cannot bring salvation. They are mere temptations which bind one to birth and death. The deluded people think that mere sacrifice and charity constitute eternal blessedness. They are mistaken. What is not the effect of action is not attained by any amount of action. Brahman which is not done cannot be attained by what is done. Having scrutinised the nature of the world, a wise man should arrive at indifference and dispassion. He must approach a preceptor and learn Brahma-Vidya from him. Such a fortunate soul rends asunder the knot of ignorance.

There is no other duty for man except meditation on the Self. Dismissing all else, one should establish himself in the Self. There remains nothing to be done or attained, when the Self is experienced. There is nothing but Brahman. All this is Brahman.

Existence alone was in the beginning. This was one alone without a second. From that everything else was produced. The modifications of it are only apparent. There is no world except mere names and forms, mysteriously connected with one another. There is no sun or moon except mere colours or fictitious forms. When the colours are distinguished, the sun loses it sunhood, the moon loses its moonhood, things loses their thingness. Brahman alone exists.

The Self alone is dear. One who loves something other than the Self loses what he loves. The Self is the Absolute. One who knows this becomes indestructible. He is only a beast who considers he and his God are different. Not for the sake of this all this is dear, but for the sake of the Self this all is dear. By knowing that Self, everything else becomes automatically known, for the Self indeed is this all.

The Self is an ocean without a shore and a surface. It is mere Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. Where there is duality as it were, one can speak to the other, see the other and understand the other, but where everything is just one’s own Self, then who can speak to whom, who can see whom, who can understand whom? This is the Supreme end. That is the Supreme blessing. That is the Supreme Bliss. On a part of this Bliss other creatures are living.

He who is without desire, who is freed from desire, whose desire is satisfied, whose desire is the Self – his Pranas do not depart. He being Brahman Itself, becomes Brahman immediately.

One who sees His own Atman in all beings, and all beings in his own Atman – he becomes fearless. He is not deluded by the objects of the senses. He is not particularly attached to any object or being. Time and space bow before him and withdraw. He lives in the one Great Present. There is neither a past nor a future for him. There is neither a ‘here’ not a ‘there’.

The apparent change does not belong to the Atman. Nay, even death is not the end. It is but another apparent change. Life continues beyond. Man sleeps with one encasement and wakes up after a short while with another encasement! Death has lost its dread for him! He has achieved the impossible – he has eluded the grasp of Death itself!

The senses have been created with a natural tendency to flow out towards the objective universe. This externalisation dissipates the rays of the mind, weaken the intellect and blind the eyes of intuitive perception. Unity is falsely represented as diversity, the untrue appears to be True, pain appears to be pleasure, and shadows holds out greater charms that the Substance Itself. This is the path of ‘Preya’ (the Pleasant) which the dullwitted ignorant man pursues.

The Atman is Akarta, non-doer. It is Abhokta, non-enjoyer! Realisation of this Truth enables man to transcend Samsara or the cycle of births and deaths.

Renunciation is necessary, but inner renunciation born out of true knowledge that the Atman is Akarta and Abhokta, and that it is not affected by the actions of the sense-organs, is considered preferable to external renunciation of physical actions. Man should perform his duties, in the proper spirit. Such actions do not bind him, but on the other hand they help him to liberate himself.

The deluded attachment to men and women, friends and relatives, money and gold, has to be ruthlessly burnt to ashes! All the so-called duties of the world have to be kicked away for the sake of that glorious state of Self-realisation.

Kick off the world ruthlessly. Enough of tea and coffee, enough of soda, lemonade and crushes, enough of novels and cinemas, enough of races and aeroplanes, enough of father, mother, brothers, children, friends and relatives! You came alone and you will go alone.

A worldly-minded fashionable wife (or husband) is a sharp knife to cut off the life of the husband (or wife). Be wedded to Santi and have Vairagya as as the sons, and Viveka the magnanimous daughter and eat the delicious divine fruit of Atma Jnana which can make you immortal!

Application of soap to the body, oil to the hair, powder to the face, looking into the mirror a thousand and one times a day, wearing rings on the fingers – these and many like these will intensify your attachment to the body. Therefore give up all these things ruthlessly.

The cause of pain is love of pleasure. The cause of death is love of sensual life. Death is a horrible thing to him who is intensely attached to sensual life. Words like cremation, murder, death, corpse, burial, make the sensualist shudder at heart, for he is extremely attached to the body and the objects of the senses. “How to part with the sensual objects?” is his great cause of misery. Pity!

According to vedanta, annihilation of Adviya or ignorance leads to Samadhi. According to Patanjali Rishi, the aspirant attains Samadhi by removing the hold of Prakriti by practice and discipline.

The Vedantin enjoys the eternal bliss and natural easiness of Sahaja Samadhi. He remains as Sakshi or silent witness. He does not make any serious attempt to control the psychic stream or thought-current. He raises the Brahmakara Vritti by meditating on the significance of “Tat Tvam Asi” Mahavakya.

The Samadhi in the Jnani is effortless and spontaneous. Wherever the mind goes, there it experiences Samadhi. He rests in Samadhi always. There is no “In Samadhi” and “Out of Samadhi” for a sage. He enjoys freedom, bliss and peace, in all moments of his life.

Yogic Samadhi is analytical and discriminative. In this Samadhi greater stress is laid upon the discrimination between the Prakriti and the Purusha. In Jnana Samadhi, no discrimination is needed. Brahmakara Vritti, raised by an attempt to become identical with the Supreme Self or Brahma Chintana, destroys Avidya and dies by itself.

No more words. Enough of discussions and heated debates. Retire into a solitary room. Close your eyes. Have deep silent meditation. destroy the Sankalpas, thoughts, whims, fancies and desires when they arise from the surface of the mind.

You are left alone now. You have nothing to see and nothing to hear. There is none to cheer you. You will have to depend on yourself. Do not look backward. Forget the past. Forget the body and the world.

“Gathering his mind, the Yogi should retire to a mountain-cave, a temple or a secluded room. He should not associate with anything through mind, speech and action, for accumulation of and association with things cause misery to Yogis. He should cultivate indifference towards everything. He should be regular about his diet. Worldly gain should cause him no pleasure, nor worldly loss any sorrow. He should look upon one with an equal eye, both who censures him and one who bows before him. Whether good is happening to anybody or evil, he should not reflect. When there is gain he should not be besides himself with joy, nor should he worry when there is loss. He should look upon all beings with an equal eye and should remain unattached like the air. He who thus keeps his mind in health, works for others, cultivates an equal eye towards everything and everybody and lives for six months a regular disciplined life, can realise Brahman and attain Brahmanhood (Nirvikalpa Samadhi) himself.” (Mahabharata – Santi-Parva)

“Humility, unpretentiousness, harmlessness, forgiveness, rectitude, service of the teacher, purity, steadfastness, self-control, dispassion towards the objects of the senses, insight into the pain and evil of birth, death, old age and sickness, unattachment, absence of self-identification with son, wife, or home, and constant balance of mind in wished-for and unwished-for events, unflinching devotion to Me by Yoga, without other objects, resort to sequestered places, absence of enjoyment in the company of men, constancy in the wisdom of the Self, understanding the object of essential wisdom, that is declared to be real wisdom, all else is ignorance.” (Bhagavadgita)

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Feel offended by other people’s ‘non-sociable’ personality or practice of silence?

Walk alone, live alone, eat alone and meditate alone. Cut off all connections ruthlessly. Hide yourself away. Do not build ashram. Do not hoard disciples. Do not mix. Do not associate.

– Swami Sivananda (excerpts from Concentration and Meditation)

Many friendly sociable good people who are interested in yoga and meditation practice, but somehow, they don’t really understand the core teachings and practice of yoga and meditation of silencing the mind, would feel very intimidated or offended by the teachings and practice of turning the mind inwards for self-introspection and silencing the mind, through the practice of seclusion and solitude (cutting off from all social interactions and connections), where the sociable friendly good people would feel very uncomfortable and intimidated being with those who do not engage in social interactive activity and conversation. They criticize people who observe silence, seclusion and solitude as being ‘unfriendly’, as their minds are being conditioned by certain ideas and standards to categorize people into ‘friendly people’ or ‘unfriendly people’ in the social world based on what they think is friendliness and unfriendliness.

Those who don’t talk much, or don’t engage in a social interactive conversation with other people, or don’t invade or interfere with other people’s way of life, thinking and behavior, who don’t comment or acknowledge about other people (whether it’s something good or bad), are being recognized as ‘unfriendly’ or ‘uncaring’ in the sociable society.

“People in a room do not talk to each other is so wrong.” This is the thinking and belief of the worldly minded people.

People attending a ‘silent meditation retreat/course’ complain about people in the retreat/course are so unfriendly because they don’t talk or interactive with one another?!

But what kind of bad actions have these people who are being perceived by friendly sociable good people as ‘unfriendly and uncaring people’ done to other people? Nothing. In fact, they are helping the world to have less conflict and have more peace by observing silence when they do not go around judging or expecting other people to be in certain ways that they think it should be. They do their own things and don’t invade or interfere with other people’s way of life and do not generate inconvenience for other people. That is already a great contribution to the society. We should be grateful and thankful to them.

The nature of those who observe silence appear to be ‘not fun’, non-concerning and non-engaging with other friendly sociable people who expect all human beings should be fun to hang out with, should be active in social interaction, to be talkative, to be engaging and connecting with other human beings physically and verbally, it’s not surprised that why people feel ‘wrong’, ‘awkward’, ‘unwelcome’, ‘disrespected’, ‘hurt’, ‘offended’, ‘intimidated’, ‘unconcerned’, ‘unnoticed’, ‘unacknowledged’, and so on, when they come in contact with those who observe silence. All these reactions of a disturbed state of the mind are coming from their own minds reacting towards something that they dislike and disagree with, and it’s nothing to do with whether other people are being ‘friendly’ to them, or not.

People would feel disturbed and offended by other people whom they think are not being ‘friendly’ enough towards them, as they expect friendly treatment from others the way that they think it should be. There’s an issue with themselves, not with other people. Other people have the freedom to be friendly or unfriendly towards anyone.

Because of most friendly sociable good people would feel greatly disturbed and offended by other people who observe silence of the mind, that’s why it’s better for yoga and meditation practitioners to retreat from the society to observe seclusion and solitude.

‘Friendliness’ in the path of yoga and meditation is nothing to do with accumulating friendships, constantly visiting each other to stay connecting, to be hanging out from time to time to do some social activities together, and get into worldly conversation of commentary, criticism, mocking, flirting, boasting, story telling, mourning, grumbling, debate and discussion, and so on. ‘Friendliness’ in Yoga is when the mind is being free from ill-thinking, ill-will, anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, fear, offensiveness, defensiveness, judgment, expectation, interference, invasion, violence or hostility towards all and everyone, free from discrimination of friends or not friends, superiority or inferiority that based on personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements.

When people don’t do anything that intentionally to hurt us, or disturb our peaceful life, or cause inconvenience to us, or interfere with our freedom of thinking, action and speech or way of life and conduct, that is what true friendliness is about.

When people in the society who think they are friendly people criticizing or mocking those whom they think are unfriendly people, then they don’t know the true meaning of friendliness, as themselves are being unfriendly, by having such ill-thinking and criticism towards other people whom they feel offended or intimidated by their silence of action and speech, and they interfere with other people’s freedom of actions, to act or not to act (whether to talk to another being, or not talking to anyone, where not talking to other people when there are people around expecting people should talk to one another is being perceived as unfriendly, offensive and wrong for the worldly friendly sociable good people.)

There is nothing wrong, offensive or intimidating when people have no interest to engage in any ‘friendly’ and ‘caring’ conversation with us. But the expectation from us towards other people that all ‘normal’ and ‘good’ people must somehow be engaging in interactive conversation with us to show friendliness to us, is what make us feel offended, intimidated, or wrong, when we don’t receive the interaction the way that we expect it to be. We are the one who is intimidating and offending other people’s freedom of behavior. But we don’t see it this way.

If people truly love the world and want to build a peaceful harmony society, it’s not about expecting other people to conform to our own way of life, thinking, belief, culture and behavior that we think is the way it should be. But it’s to respect everyone to be different and allowing everyone to be different, without invading or interfering with other people’s way of life, thinking, belief and behavior that are different from ours.

It’s okay if people don’t want to be sociable with other people. It’s okay if people are not interested in engaging in some forms of interactive activities or conversation with us. It’s okay if people keep to themselves and are not interested to connect with anyone to live a quiet secluded life. At least they don’t do anything intentionally that would hurt or disturb our life or the environment. If we feel disturbed is because we are disturbed by our own mind reaction towards their behavior that we dislike and disagree with.

When people talk too much, or talk non-sense or subject that we aren’t interested in, especially when we want some quiet time to ourselves, or people want to know too many things that we prefer to keep to ourselves, we complain about them for being overly warm and too friendly and busybody.

When people don’t talk to us or interact with us, and don’t ask anything about us that we would like to share with other people, we also complain about them for being ‘cold’ and ‘unfriendly’ and ‘uncaring’.

Be free.

The ego exists in all and everyone and anyone

The ego exists in all and everyone and anyone, whether educated or non-educated, intelligent or non-intelligent, knowledgeable or non-knowledgeable, religious or non-religious, wealthy or poor, men or women, young or old, vegetarian or non-vegetarian, yoga practitioners and non-yoga practitioners, yoga teachers and non-yoga teachers, and so on.

If the ego can easily be eradicated, then the entire world would be in peace and harmony.

Though it’s not easy, fear not. Keep practicing. Root out the ego and egoism, patiently and diligently.

The entire worldly cultural, educational, religious, spiritual, social and political system is all about empowering the ego and egoism. It is normal and the right thing to do for human beings to empower self-identification, self-image and self-achievement. It would be wrong and strange if one abandons self-identification, self-image and self-achievement.

Even in the world of yoga which is ‘supposed’ to be all about starving the ego and eradicating egoism and separateness, but now mostly is all about empowering the ego and fueling egoism and separateness.
“I am a yogi.”
“I am a healer.”
“I am an experienced/good yoga practitioner.”
“I am an experienced/good yoga teacher.”
“I am X or Y brand yogi.”
“I am a Christian/Muslim/Buddhist/Hindu/Atheist/… yogi.”
“I am a certified and qualified yoga teacher.”
“I am a yoga teacher affiliated with such and such yoga alliance or yoga association or yoga school.”
“I have been practicing and teaching yoga for how many years and have taught in such and such yoga schools/ashrams and have taught how many yoga students.”
“These are my yogi family/friends/brothers/sisters/gangs.”
And all kinds of ‘yoga brands’, ‘yoga lineage’, ‘yoga schools’, ‘yoga festivals’, ‘yoga retreats’, ‘yoga courses’, ‘yoga healing products’, ‘yoga health food’, ‘yoga apparels’ and ‘yoga accessories’, and so on.

“Do not associate. Do not build ashrams. Do not hoard disciples. Do not mix. Live alone. Walk alone. Eat alone. Meditate alone.” – Swami Sivananda

Renouncing worldly social activities

All physical activities should be completely suspended, all attachments should be ruthlessly cut asunder completely for five or six years, if you want to practice Dhyana Yoga, if you want to realise God through concentration of mind. Newspaper-reading and correspondence with friends and relatives should be completely stopped; as they cause distraction of mind and strengthen the world-idea. Seclusion for a period of five or six years is indispensable.
– Swami Sivananda 

 

The practice of renouncing worldly social activities, as well as seclusion and solitude, is contradicted with the conditioned thinking and belief of the worldly minded sociable community where most people have strong attachment or clinging towards family and friends, worldly identities and social activities.

There’s no need justification for oneself and about one’s yoga practice, when one is practicing yoga and has the correct understanding of the mind and the mind stuffs. There will be criticism and condemn coming from the worldly minded people who are conditioned to think and behave in certain ways, whom also expect other people should also think and behave in certain ways, to be socially and culturally accepted in the society.

In certain social culture, having a friend or some friends come together to engage in conversation consisting of gossip, complain, mourn, criticism, condemn and back-biting is seemed to be a totally normal and acceptable behavior. But those who choose to stay away from such social interactions and conversations, and stay away from people who like to engage in such activities would be criticized for being unfriendly and impolite. In certain family bring up, acting to be agreeable and speaking lies to say nice things in front of others while they have bitterness, ill-thinking and ill-will towards others, but they want to complain and criticize and speak bad about others behind their backs is being recognized as a form of cultural politeness and socially acceptable behavior. But this is not yoga practice.

Those who practice seclusion and solitude and renouncing social activities, they minimize social activities and contacts with other human beings as much as possible including family and friends, as they can generate great distraction, polluting one’s mind with worldly ideas and attachments, pull one away from one’s yoga practice and disrupt one’s regular practice routine by taking up one’s time, space and energy for yoga practice, if one doesn’t have strong self-discipline and certain degree of non-attachment. This would be criticized by the passionate worldly minded sociable community as anti-social, cold, selfish, uncaring and unfriendly, which are being seen as abnormal, or wrong, or inappropriate, or unacceptable behavior to them. And hence, only those who are bold and have strong affirmation in their yoga and meditation practice for self-realization can take up the practice of renunciation, seclusion and solitude. All the others are just clinging onto the worldly names and forms and be happy with what the minds think and believe as worldly achievements, while doing some forms of yoga practice as part of their life activities to relieve stress, to be healthier and to feel better. There’s nothing wrong with that.

In yoga, it’s a noble act to benefit the society by focusing one’s life existence, time and energy for conquering one’s impure and outgoing mind, to be free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance, so that one can truly benefit and care for the society. Those who take seriously in this practice, they don’t talk much. They don’t mingle. They don’t spread further negativity or impurities into the society through social talking and mingling. They don’t commit actions of gossips, criticism, condemn, back-biting, boasting, flirting, teasing, telling lies, hypocrisy, finger-pointing, blames, complaints, grumble, mourn, and etc. They don’t encourage or support others to engage in such activities by keeping themselves away from such activities or conversations.

Those whose minds are tamed, purified, one-pointed, undistracted and free from worldly passionate desires after underwent intense disciplines and restrictions, can then mix freely into the society and perform selfless actions to serve the worldly community without egoism, attachment and identification, while being undisturbed, or unaffected, or uninfluenced, or undetermined by the worldly activities, actions and the fruit of actions.

The worldly minded sociable community including many of those who think they love yoga, who practice or teach yoga, they might not be able to appreciate or understand the great value of renunciation nor will they have any interest in this practice. In fact, they criticize and condemn others who uphold renunciation, seclusion and solitude.

For most people, it’s possible for them to cut off from the society for a short period of time, as they know they will be back into the society very soon, but it’s impossible for them to be cutting off from family and friends and social activities for a prolonged period of time to allow the mind to have the prolonged period of being free from stimulation, to be quiet, to be in silence. The mind will resist and give itself many ‘rational reasons’ not to practice renunciation, seclusion and solitude.

Renunciation, seclusion and solitude can be developed through gradual process for most people who have strong attachment towards worldly identities, social activities, family ties and friendships. Such like attending short and long silent meditation retreats from time to time, giving themselves and their family and friends a ‘rational reason’ that “I will be away or won’t be in contact with the society, family and friends for some time.” and “It’s totally okay if I don’t mingle, don’t talk, don’t read news or books, don’t look at others, don’t mind about others or the world, and don’t interact or associate with anyone, as I am in such a setting for it.” Some people will start to appreciate such a great relief from being away from worldly social activities and relationships, but for many others, their minds are like fish out of water. There is no guarantee that after attending some silent retreats one will develop detachment and non-attachment towards worldly names and forms which is what yoga and meditation practice is all about.

Om shanti.

P/S : We can’t and won’t run yoga retreats when family and friends are visiting us. When we are running retreats, we don’t accept any family or social visits as it disrupts the retreats. Personally, when I am not running yoga retreats or teaching classes or writing about yoga, I retreat from the social world as much as possible.

 

The lineage of yoga is being contaminated or manipulated by some impure beings?

Out of  love and protection towards the lineage of yoga and meditation, some good beings are being angry and worried about the lineage of yoga might be destroyed, or contaminated, or manipulated by some people in the world who are involving in practicing and teaching yoga and meditation without correct understanding or pure intention.

It is normal and nothing wrong to be worried and upset about this. Anyone also will feel sad when seeing something “good” is being contaminated or destroyed.

The point is, we don’t have to be angry or worried about whether the lineage of yoga will be destroyed, or contaminated, or manipulated by some impure beings, as there is no one, or nothing can destroy, contaminate or manipulate the essence of the teachings of yoga or the lineage of yoga. When we think like that (even though it is out of our love towards the lineage of yoga), it shows that we don’t really have faith in Dharma/Dhamma, or in God, or in the universal consciousness, or in the Self… As all these names and terms are not separated nor different from each other.

The true Self is identical with the universal consciousness. And the true Self will not and cannot be contaminated, nor affected, nor destroyed, nor hurt, nor wounded by anyone, or anything, or qualities, or elements… This teaching is indicated in the Bhagavad Gita.

Ashochyaan anvaschochastwam prajnaavaadaamshcha bhaashase;
Gataasoon agataasoomshcha naanushochanti panditah.
(commentary by Swami Sivananda – Thou hast grieved for those that should not be grieved for, yet thou speakest words of wisdom. The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the death.)

Acchedyo’yam addaahyo’yam akledyo’shoshya eva cha;
Nityah sarvagatah sthaanur achalo’yam sanaatanah.
(commentary by Swami Sivananda – This Self cannot be cut, burnt, wetted or dried up. It is eternal, all-pervading, stable, ancient and immovable.)

When we say Dharma/Dhamma is not affected, nor contaminated, nor hurt by anything or anyone, but it’s existence with name and form (the appearance and qualities) in this world is still conditioned by impermanence. It can be destroyed, be contaminated, be manipulated. But the essence or the true nature of Dharma/Dhamma, or the Truth, cannot be destroyed, nor contaminated, nor manipulated. We need to be able to accept the qualities of names and forms (the appearance of Dharma/Dhamma in the world) is subject to changes and impermanence.

Buddha had mentioned about everything that is existing with certain qualities of names and forms, is impermanent, even Dhamma also will be disappearing from the world, but the essence of Dhamma or the Truth can never be contaminated, nor manipulated, nor destructed by anyone or anything…

So what if the authentic lineage of yoga is gradually disappearing from the world? There must be a cause for that to happen, and the truth about everything is, all the names and forms are subject to impermanence.

If everyone is free from ignorance, if everyone is wise and compassionate, if everyone is pure and enlightened, then there is no need of this practice or that practice, including yoga, meditation, Buddhism or any other forms of practice…

It is because people are not free and are not pure, that’s why everyone should take up some forms of practice that can help them to be free, to be pure, to be wise, to be compassionate…

Yoga, meditation, Buddhism and other types of practice, are not specially prescribed for the wise, compassionate, peaceful and selfless beings, as all these beings are already free. They don’t need yoga, meditation, Buddhism or any other forms of practice to help them to be free, as they are free…

And so, it is not abnormal, nor strange, nor bad, when we see so many people are practicing and teaching yoga in the world now without “correct understanding” or “pure intentions”, as these beings are the one who needed yoga, meditation, Buddhism, or any other forms of practice mostly and urgently, to attain correct understanding and be pure through all these practice.

Out of compassion, anyone are welcome to practice yoga, meditation, Buddhism, or any other forms of practice, as that is what all these practices are here for…

And thus, why be angry and upset towards all these “impure happenings” that are going on in the world of yoga, meditation, Buddhism, or any other forms of practice?

If the door of yoga and meditation is only accepting and be opened to those who are pure and wise, so that the lineage of yoga is not being contaminated nor manipulated by all these beings that are not free yet, who are not enlightened yet, then there are only few people in the world are qualified to practice yoga and meditation…

Indeed, we should try our best to protect Dharma/Dhamma as much as we can, as long as we can, so that more beings (who are not free, who need Dharma/Dhamma) will be benefitted from the lineage of yoga to be free. But out of compassion, we need to allow and accept all these impure beings into the world of yoga and let them mess around a bit, allow everyone to take their own time to purify, to transform, and be wise and pure. Just like bringing up children. We have to accept them as they are, allow them to make mistakes and learn to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions, allow them to learn and transform in their own ways and pace, allow them to be who they are, and love them as they are.

We don’t have to be worried and angry about all these things that are going on in the world of yoga and meditation that seem to be “corrupted”, or “not so pure”, or “not so authentic”, if we truly love yoga, love God, love Dharma/Dhamma, love our Self and love all beings.

I don’t even identify myself as pure being, that’s why I am still performing my practice regularly as much as I can…

Who am I to judge or criticize other beings for being not pure?

It is okay if in the beginning there are many people who are not pure, who try to do yoga, but are not doing the yoga practice the right way, nor with correct understanding, nor with pure intentions. Everyone starts with being impure and ignorant, and then transformation happens as we practice and when the time is right.

In the beginning when I first started teaching yoga (exercise) class in the dance studio, I had no idea what yoga is or is not. I had no intention to be a yoga teacher to teach yoga classes. I didn’t like yoga asana exercises, as I thought they were boring and too slow for me. I didn’t even think that I will be giving yoga classes and share yoga with so many people in the present now. My main motivation to teach yoga (exercise) classes beside my full time job as aerobics instructor in the past, was to earn a living to support myself, my parents and to help out my poor family.

The income that came from teaching yoga classes before I went to India, allowed me to be able to pay for my course fees, flight ticket and other expenses, as well as some monthly financial support for my parents when I was not around.

You may read the more detailed story about what brought me to India and how I managed to have the money to go to India to learn yoga, from this link MY LIFE STORIES  – PART 6

As I went deeper into the practice while at the same time giving yoga classes, I allowed myself to transform from within, and I owed this to the opportunity given to me by the universe. The universe was and still is so kind to me. It accepted me when I was ignorant, and be compassionate towards me and my family for my family’s poor living condition, and gave me the opportunity to teach “yoga classes” to improve my earning to support myself and my family, but most importantly, it gave me the opportunity to learn about yoga, and to practice yoga, and to transform myself into a more peaceful being. And I serve the universe by sharing these learning and transformation with other beings, where the universe bring us to meet each other.

Protect and preserve the Dharma/Dhamma in us by destroying the ego, impurities and ignorance in us. Trust and have faith in the universal consciousness, allow the universal consciousness to take care of everything else. We are underestimating the power of the universal consciousness if we think Dharma/Dhamma is going to be contaminated or manipulated by some impure beings. As even if that is happening, there is something for everyone to learn from. A fake guru, or an impure yogi, or a bad yoga teacher can teach us a lot about many things that we need to learn.

Om shanti.