Sivananda Yoga FAQ
Q 1: How to free ourselves from Karma, Swamiji?
A: Feel, as you do your daily duties, that you are only a witness of all that goes on around you, of even your own actions. This is called Sakshi Bhav. You should inwardly realize that you are different from the active principle in you. This is the method of Vedanta.
There is the other — easier, but equally potent method of Nimitta Bhav. Feel that the Lord alone is the real doer of all actions and that you are an instrument in His hands. Your actions will be transformed into worship of the Lord, and you will not be bound to them. Work without expectation of any reward and without egoism. Root out the idea of agency; feel, “I am not the doer”. You will be freed from the shackles of Karma. You will not accumulate new Karma. Allow your Prarabdha Karma to work out; and you will attain liberation.
Q 2: My experience has made me conclude that goodness does not always pay in our dealings with people. What is the use of being good and doing good when goodness is not recognized and properly rewarded? Please illumine, Swamiji.
A: Whether goodness pays you well or not from the material standpoint, do good and be good always. No doubt the worldly-minded generally take advantage of such people as ideal gullibles to carry their wishes through and even to deceive. It matters nothing, for the Lord is always on the side of the good and the righteous who stick to Dharma and who rely on Him. No man is to be considered good without the virtue of piety or God-fearing nature. Goodness and piety go together.
The good man is always the spiritually-inclined, though he is in the world. He is unlike the Vyavaharic Purusha. To be good is to increase the purity and devotion unto the Lord in abundant measure. To do good is to reap good in return. If a good action is done, a sweet fruit in favour of you arises with the result that you enjoy it whether you want it or not. If a bad action is done, the consequent fruit of action liable to be enjoyed willingly or unwillingly will be bitter and against you. Whether goodness is recognized or not, do good and be good throughout life. This alone pays you well to attain Chitta Suddhi and knowledge of the Self. Only those who have no knowledge of the Self, i.e., the worldly-inclined, do not recognize good as a medium of perfection through gradual evolution. Not so is the case with the spiritual-minded, for they know fully well that to do good and to be good help them gain the goal of life, viz., God-realization.
Remember that the Lord does recognize and reward always the good people and good actions. He actually lives and moves in them. The good man actually feels the Lord’s presence in himself and around without a vestige of doubt. It is a mockery for a man to consider himself good without being able to be conscious of God’s presence in him, with him and around him. Do not question the benefit of being good and doing good when goodness is not recognized or properly rewarded, for to work alone man has the right and not to the fruits– good or bad– thereof.
Q 3: Swamiji Maharaj! What is your idea about Nirguna Brahman? Does it mean only Shunya? In that case, it does not very much appeal to us. Who would like to meditate on nothingness?
A: Nirguna is not nothingness. It is the fullness of everything that is good. Nirguna is plenitude. In it you find all auspiciousness, all goodness, all beauty, all joy, all health, all sweetness, all purity, all peace, everything developed to perfection. From a distance this fullness becomes inconceivable and so the sages called it Nirguna. Once they reach there, they get merged in that inexpressible experience. It is not nothingness, but it is everythingness, and beyond this too, for it is inexpressible. Only know that all that exists in Maya or false perception, viz., evil, ugliness, misery, change, birth, decay, death, etc., are not in It. For, It is beyond Maya. In Nirguna Brahman, there are no Gunas of Maya, viz.. blue colour, etc. That is what is meant by Nirguna.
God-realization is not a matter to be postponed till retirement. It is a vital urgent need to be attended to immediately. – Sri Swami Sivananda
08 Swami Sivananda’s Birthday
Truth is simple. Truth always expresses itself with the greatest simplicity. – Sri Swami Sivananda
CHITTA SUDDHI – purity of heart; purity of the Antahkarana
Karma Yoga is rooted in self-sacrifice, blossoms as Chitta Suddhi (purity of heart) and Chitta-Visalata (expansion of heart) and bears the fruit of Knowledge of the Imperishable. Worldly desires, unholy ideas, sexual Vasanas, anger, vanity, hypocrisy, egoism, greed, jealousy, etc. will not arise in your mind if you have Chitta Suddhi. You will have no attraction for sensual objects. You will have sustained and lasting Vairagya. Even in dreams you will not entertain evil thoughts. You will possess all the virtuous divine qualities such as mercy, cosmic love, forgiveness, harmony and balance of mind. These are the signs to
indicate that you have attained Chitta Suddhi.
The fire of wisdom and the fire of devotion destroys the fruit of action and brings about Chitta Suddhi, the knowledge of the Self and final emancipation. Knowledge of the Self dawns in a pure mind. Knowledge of the Self is the only direct means to freedom. As cooking is not possible without fire so is emancipation not possible without knowledge of the Self. Karma cannot destroy ignorance because they are not hostile to each other. But knowledge certainly destroys ignorance as light destroys the thickest darkness.
Listen to this story: In Hanuman Ghat two girls were in a drowning condition. Two young men jumped immediately into the Ganga and rescued them. One man asked the girl to marry him. The other man said: “I have done my duty. God gave me an opportunity to serve and improve myself.” He had Chitta Suddhi. The external action is the same (the act of saving the life) but the motive is different. The fruits also must be different. Never care for the fruits of your actions. But do not become a victim of sloth or inertia. Pour forth all your energies in the service of humanity, country, etc. Plunge yourself in selfless service.
May the indweller of our hearts, the omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent Isvara grant you all strength, peace, spiritual power, discrimination, alertness, far-sightedness to practise Karma Yoga and to realize the grand truths of the Upanishads after getting Chitta Suddhi through incessant and untiring selfless service, is the humble and earnest prayer of any sevak.
The Absolute is above time and space, above all changes and relations, above all differences and limitations. – Sri Swami Sivananda