Gurugram February 2021 | Preface
Om Namah Sivaya
Greetings from all staff in the Sivananda Centres and Ashrams.
As 2021 got underway the Sivananda Organization continued with a plethora of online teachings. Recently, many Ashrams proposed the continuation of offering online TTCs with a very good response from the students. The Organization is now better equipped with good quality cameras and lighting, making the online experience more pleasant for the students. It is indeed a blessing to be able to stay connected this way. Abundant feedback of gratitude continues to be received from participants of both teacher training courses and various programs.
The successive lockdowns and consequent economical crisis has brought much stress, loss of meaning and a sense of hopelessness to many around the world, therefore an important focus will be to nurture our Sivananda Centres and Ashrams as spaces of positive energy, peace and spiritual connection for the benefit of those who need such support, guidance and hope.
The positive lifestyle taught by Yoga will not only improve our physical immunity, but also mental immunity. In this time of restrictions on our physical freedom, we can focus on creating a space of inner freedom by connecting to the Self within. We can decide to increase our practice of mantra repetition to create a shield of positivity within and let this positivity radiate into the world. Keeping the mind on a positive track is a wonderful and important form of karma yoga, which in turn can be passed forward and shared with others.
May we all reassert our determination to stay calm, positive and surrender to the Divine Will. Let us remember the words of Swami Sivananda: “The Divine has a plan for every individual. Do not dare to question it.”
While most of our Centres remain closed and continue to teach daily classes and course online, our India Centres and Ashrams have recently been able to reopen and teach onsite. A few Ashrams or Centres are also open in Asia and South America. Refer to the monthly Gurugram’s World News: Ashrams and World News: Centres reports for updates and links.
Please accept this invitation to join us again this month for the Unite for a Healthy Planet worldwide meditation on Sunday 7th February 2021 at 2pm CET for 30 minutes. https://sivanandaorleans.org/unite-for-a-healthy-planet Let us all connect and create a powerful wave of peace and harmony. It will be streamed on youtube. Information on www.sivanandaorleans.org
May we stay strong in our faith and determined in our commitment to our Sadhana. We share our energy and love with all those who suffer in these hard times. May all be healthy. May all find relief, peace and stay in balance.
The Acharyas of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres
Donations: With many of the International Sivananda Yoga Centres and Ashrams teaching online, finances are a concern, so if this is at all possible for you, your financial support would be very gratefully received by contacting any Ashram or Centre.
Go beyond all that causes duality. – Sri Swami Sivananda
2021 COVID-19 Update:
Please check with each TTC/ATTC location whether COVID-19 has affected your selected course.
The SIVANANDA YOGA Teachers’ Training Courses are available either online (TTCOL) or in residence, depending on the location. Please check with each TTC/ATTC location whether your selected Teacher Training Course is available online or in residence as some Ashrams have opened, while others remain closed. Thank you for your patience as schedules change during COVID.
To view all 2021 TTC/ATTC/SI courses on the Sivananda website: https://sivananda.org/teachers-training/programme-calendar/
See the full list of other international courses and events: https://www.sivananda.org/
There can be no religion without Vairagya. – Sri Swami Sivananda
From Chapter IV: “Kaivalya Pada – On Realization”
IV.19. NA TAT SVABHASAM DRSYATVAT
‘Nor is it (the mind) self-luminous, for it is in the realm of perception.’
The mind is something that can be observed as an object, and not the source of
knowledge, just as the moon is not a source of light but a reflection of the
IV.20. EKA-SAMAYE COBHAYANAVADHARANAM
‘It cannot perceive two things at once.’
Even though thoughts are formed in but a split second, still only one thought-form
can exist in the mind at one time. So it is impossible for the mind to be
perceiving itself while it perceives something else.
Do vigorous Sadhana. Burn all impurities. Attain illumination through meditation. – Sri Swami Sivananda
Bhagavad Gita Quote
The Bhagavad Gita is a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, narrated in the Bhishma Parva of the Mahabharata. The Bhagavad Gita is comprised of eighteen discourses, with a total of 701 Sanskrit verses. The timeless scene takes place on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Sri Krishna, through a swift conversation with Arjuna, reveals profound, sublime and soul stirring spiritual truths, plus, rare secrets of Yoga, Vedanta, Bhakti and Karma. Those who study, and endowed with Faith, can reap the full benefits of the Bhagavad Gita, and the science of the Soul.
We continue reviewing Swami Sivananda’s summary of each chapter of the Bhagavad Gita.
The Yoga of the Division of the Threefold Faith
Summary of Seventeenth Discourse
This discourse is termed the “Yoga of the Division of the Three Kinds of Faith”. The theme of this discourse arises out of the question asked by Arjuna in Verse 1 with reference to the final and closing advice of Lord Krishna in the previous discourse, contained in the last two verses therein (Verses 23 and 24). Arjuna asks, “What about those who, even though setting aside scriptural injunctions yet perform worship with faith?”
The Lord replies and states that the faith of such men who ignore the injunctions of the scriptures could be either Sattwic, Rajasic or Tamasic. This would be in accordance with the basic nature of the person himself. And, conversely, as is the kind of faith, so develops the nature of the man.
Thus, in all things like sacrifice, worship, charity, penance, etc., these qualities become expressed in accordance with the kind of faith in which the person concerned is based. They produce results in accordance with the quality of the doer’s faith. These acts done with right faith lead to supreme blessedness. When done without any faith whatsoever, all these actions become barren and useless.
Seek the Bliss Eternal in your own Atman. – Sri Swami Sivananda
Become a friend of humanity. Become a radiant Yogi in this World. – Sri Swami Sivananda
SATTVA, RAJAS, TAMAS: The three Gunas: three forces; the three qualities
The natural medical system of Ayurveda has been practiced in India for thousands of years and bases its teaching on three Gunas, or primary qualities, that are said to exist in all natural things. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Each represents a different quality: Sattva is purity, Rajas is activity or passion and Tamas is inertia or darkness. In every material object, person or action, the characteristics of all three gunas are present; one, however, is always dominant. Whether a person’s diet consists of Sattvic foods, Rajasic foods or Tamasic foods determines which Guna influences their thoughts and actions.
Sattva is harmony or light or wisdom or equilibrium or goodness. Rajas is passion or motion or activity. Tamas is inertia or inaction or darkness. During Cosmic Pralaya these three Gunas exist in a state of equilibrium. During Srishti or projection a vibration arises and the three qualities are manifested in the physical universe. The three qualities bring bondage to the Jiva or the individual soul. Though Sattva is a desirable quality, yet it also binds a man. It is a golden fetter. Rajas is the source of attachment and thirst for life. It causes attachment to action. Tamas binds man to heedlessness (Pramada), laziness (Alasya) and sleep (Nidra).
These three qualities are inseparable. No one is absolutely Rajasic or Sattvic or Tamasic. Sometimes Sattva prevails in man. He is calm and serene. He sits quietly and entertains sublime, soul-elevating thoughts. He studies religious scriptures. He talks on divine topics. When Sattva prevails, the other two qualities are overpowered for the time being. At other times Rajas prevails. He does action. He moves about. He plans, schemes, speculates. He craves for power, wealth and action. When Rajas prevails, Sattva and Tamas are overpowered for the time being. Sometimes Tamas prevails and the man becomes slothful. He feels lazy, indolent and lethargic. He is dull and feels sleepy. When Tamas prevails, Sattva and Rajas are overpowered for the time being.
The Bhagavad Gita describes the nature of Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic natures in Chapter XVIII as follows:
“That which knows the path of work and renunciation, what ought to be done, fear and fearlessness, bondage and liberation-that intellect is Sattvic (pure), O Arjuna. That by which one wrongly understands Dharma and Adharma and also what ought to be done and what ought not to be done-that intellect, O Arjuna, is Rajasic. That which, enveloped in darkness, sees Dharma as Adharma, and all things perverted-that intellect is Tamasic.”
Light, positive, Sattvic or pure thoughts are calm and can be more easily transcended. Rajasic (extrovert) and Tamasic (dull) thoughts like anger, jealousy and greed are difficult to control. The question is how to purify the thoughts and experience positive thinking…
Do not allow the mind to wander about in sensual objects. Practice Nirodha/self-restraint. – Sri Swami Sivananda