Sivananda Yoga FAQ
Q1: How can a person, who has been thinking in a negative way for a long time, change to positive thinking?
A: Start with some positive suggestive formulas: “I am hale and hearty. I am healthy. There is nothing wrong with me. I was under a misconception of my own abilities and capacities. Now I have realized my real nature”. Do it with the help of a person advanced in Yoga or a devotee of the Lord. Start with a prayer to the Lord. Make prayer a part of daily life and ‘a must’ in life. Negative thinking will diminish.
Q2: What are the marks of spiritual progress?
A: Peace, cheerfulness, contentment, dispassion, fearlessness and an unperturbed state of mind under all conditions indicate that you are advancing in the spiritual path. Spiritual progress is not measured by Siddhis or powers, but only by the depth of your bliss in meditation. These are sure tests of your spiritual progress:
- Is your interest in inner spiritual activity and outer Sadhana increasing day after day?
- Does spiritual life mean to your consciousness a matter of great delight, a delight far transcending the happiness that the world of vital pleasures affords you or offers you?
- Has your personal awareness come to a possession of a sense of peace and strength which those who are not aspirants do not find in their everyday lives?
- Do you feel certain that your power of discrimination and light of thought has been steadily growing?
- Is your life being gradually led to such experiences which reveal to you the operation of a will and intelligence other than your own, the will and intelligence of the Omnipotent?
- Has there come into the conscious activities of your everyday life, the active function of a new delightful angle of vision, a new perspective, a strong sense of self-possession, a steadily growing conviction of your dependence upon and intimate relation with the all-pervading Divinity?
If your answers to all these questions or to any one of them are in the affirmative, be absolutely sure that you are progressing, and progressing speedily, in the spiritual path..
Q 3: God-realized souls, on leaving the mortal coil, merge in the cosmos and thus do not have any individuality on any plane. However, it is claimed that saints like Sai Baba and others, who have attained Moksha, do help and guide those devotees who seek their blessings. How can we explain this?
A: Realized souls, who wish to help the devotees even after they give up their physical bodies, retain their astral bodies (Sukshma Sarira) for the sake of their eagerness to help those that are in need of their help. But Jivanmuktas, generally, do not retain their astral bodies just in order to help the aspirants, since there will always be highly evolved souls on the relative plane, who will carry on the task of teaching the spiritual aspirants.
Be humble and grateful. – Sri Swami Sivananda
02 New Moon
Replace doubts with Satsanga, company of those with no doubts. – Sri Swami Sivananda
The Vedantic Kumbhaka in Pranayama
Being without any distraction and with a calm mind, one should practice Pranayama. Both expiration and inspiration should be stopped. The practitioner should depend solely on Brahman; that is the highest aim of life. The giving out of all external objects, is said to be Rechaka. The taking in of the spiritual knowledge of Sastras, is said to be Puraka, and the keeping to oneself of such knowledge is said to be Kumbhaka. He is an emancipated person who practises his Chitta thus. There is no doubt about it. Through Kumbhaka the mind should always be taken up and through Kumbhaka alone it should be filled up within. It is only through Kumbhaka that Kumbhaka should be firmly mastered. Within it, is ‘Parama Siva’. At first in his Brahmagranthi there is produced soon a hole or passage. Then having pierced Brahmagranthi, he pierces Vishnugranthi, then he pierces Rudragranthi, then the Yogin attains his liberation through the religious ceremonies, performed in various births, through the grace of Gurus and Devatas and through the practice of Yoga.
Sharpen the intellect. Thin out the ego. Purify the mind. – Sri Swami Sivananda