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Sivananda Yoga FAQ

Q 1: Kindly please give me some detailed practical hints to get non-attachment in mind in our every action?

A: Think that you are an instrument (Nimitta) in the hands of God when you work. Egoism and respectability will vanish. Don’t expect fruits for your actions (Nishkamya). How can you expect fruits when another, viz., God, is working through you? Further, when you are aware that the world is full of miseries, what is the use of coming back again into the world ? You are a toy in the hands of God. He holds the string. He is the Sutradhar. Do all actions from a sense of duty. Reduce your wants. Lead a very simple life. Hate luxury. Control the Indriyas. Look at everyone and everything in the world as the manifestation of Narayana. Think that this world is illusory and a long dream. How can there be attachment now in the mind, my dear Ramachandra? If you do actions in this way, you will become a practical Yogi. I assure you. Cheer your spirit. Gird up the loins and engage yourself boldly in the daily battle of life.

Q 2: 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 some 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. All negative thinking will end and they will become quite normal.

Q 3: How does the power of concentration increase in my mind?

A: Concentration increases by curtailing your wants and desires, by observing Mouna for two hours daily, by remaining in seclusion in a quiet room for one or two hours daily, by practicing Pranayam, by prayer, by increasing the number of sittings of meditation in the evening and at night, by Vichar and so on. These are all elements of your Sadhana practice.

Mouna gives peace. It removes anxieties and quarrels. It develops will power. It conserves energy. – Sri Swami Sivananda

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There is some truth in everything. Views and opinions are subjective aspects. – Sri Swami Sivananda


NIMITTA: an instrument; a sign

There are three types of nimitta:
Parikamma-nimitta – also known at the preparatory sign, this is the perception of an object at the beginning of concentration
Uggaha-nimitta – also known as the acquired sign, in which the mind reaches a mild degree of concentration with an unsteady or unclear image
Patibhaga-nimitta – also known as the counter-sign, where a clear and static image is a sign of pure concentration.
Nimitta Bhava – an instrument-in-the-hands-of-the-Lord attitude

When the thread of Ahankara is broken by ‘Aham Brahma Asmi’ Bhavana or Sakshi Bhava or the self-surrender method by taking the Nimitta Bhava (instrument-in-the-hands-of-the-Lord attitude), all the Indriyas will be broken down or destroyed. The connection with Indriyas will be severed.

Serve everyone with intense love, without the idea of agency, without expectation of fruits, reward or appreciation. Feel that you are only a Nimitta or an instrument in the hands of God. Worship God in the poor and the sick. Have no attachment to any place, person or thing. Keep up mental poise amidst the changes of the world without consideration of success or failure, gain or loss, pleasure and pain. Have the mind always rooted in the Self amidst activities. Then you will become a true Karma Yogi. – Swami Sivananda

A weak will is overpowered by the strong desire. Reduce your desires and live contently. – Sri Swami Sivananda