Gurugram January 2021 | Preface
Om Namah Sivaya
New Year’s 2021 Greetings from all staff in the Sivananda Centres and Ashrams!
What a year 2020 was… the challenges took many forms, fully testing our ability, both as an organization and as individuals, to adapt, to adjust and to accommodate and reinvent ourselves.
This, in this time of hardship, is when the teachings of Yoga are needed more than ever. Their power and relevance become even more extraordinary.
This past year also taught us the importance of surrendering and trusting in the benevolence of life. It was and continues to be a lesson in overcoming fear and how to take refuge in the Divine.
The Scriptures say that Yoga is like a sheltering monastery for those who are afflicted by the 3 types of pain: Pain arising from physical or mental disease; Pain arising from planetary influences and Pain arising from natural calamities. May we all take refuge in the wisdom of Yoga.
While our intellects cannot understand the complexity of the Laws of Karma and why things happen the way they do, Swami Vishnudevananda said once : “If a calamity happens in the XX1st Century, know that it is the will of God”.
The COVID-19 pandemic is teaching us that the world as we knew it one year ago is probably gone for good and that we need to invent the world to come…together. This is the “True World Order” that Swami Vishnudevananda had envisioned back in the 1970s.
We feel blessed to have received these precious teachings from our Teachers and even more blessed to be able to share them at this crucial point in humanity’s evolution.
Though many of our Centres and Ashrams have been closed we continue to reach out to an expanding audience, thanks to technology. We continue to hold the Teachers’ Training Courses, Satsangs, workshops, asana classes and lead at-home retreats. As one retreat participant recently expressed, “Following your retreats and Satsangs online has enabled me to keep a sense of purpose during the lockdown and to stay focused and sane mentally. I am so grateful to the Sivananda Centres for what they have done for me and many others.”
We wish for all abundant health and safety in 2021. May all be blessed with renewed inspiration in their Sadhana, a deepening of their faith and the energy to serve the World with enthusiasm.
Asato Ma Sat Gamaya
Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya
Mrityor Ma Amritam Gamaya
Please accept this invitation to join us again this month for the Unite for a Healthy Planet worldwide meditation on Sunday 3rd January 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
With Om and Prem,
The Acharyas of the International Sivananda Yoga Centres and Ashrams
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 your local Ashram or Centre.
More than food, water and fire, humanity’s need is sympathy, kindness and community. – 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/
Crave for a thing, you will get it. Renounce the craving, the object will follow you by itself. – Sri Swami Sivananda
From Discourse II: “Sadhana Pada – On Spiritual Disciplines”
“When negative or harmful thoughts disturbs the mind, they can be overcome by constant pondering over their opposites.”
The yogi is ever alert, watching his mind. When he sees useless thought waves arising, he immediately replaces them with positive thoughts, thus creating new mental habits that are conducive to spiritual growth.
Love all. Embrace all. Be kind to all. This will remove jealousy. – 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 Between the Divine and the Demoniacal
Summary of Sixteenth Discourse
This discourse is important and very instructive to all persons who wish to attain happiness, prosperity and blessedness, and to seekers in particular, who wish to attain success in their spiritual life. Lord Krishna brings out quite clearly and unmistakably here the intimate connection between ethics and spirituality, between a life of virtue and God-realization and liberation. Listing two sets of qualities of opposite kinds, the Lord classifies them as divine and demoniacal (undivine), and urges us to eradicate the latter and cultivate the divine qualities.
What kind of nature should one develop? What conduct must one follow? What way should one live and act if one must attain God and obtain divine bliss? These questions are answered with perfect clarity and very definitely. The pure divine qualities are conducive to peace and liberation and the undivine qualities lead to bondage. Purity, good conduct and truth are indispensable to spiritual progress and even to an honourable life here.
Devoid of purity, good conduct and truth, and having no faith in God or a higher Reality beyond this visible world, man degenerates into a two-legged beast of ugly character and cruel actions, and sinks into darkness. Such a person becomes his own enemy and the destroyer of the happiness of others as well as his own. Caught in countless desires and cravings, a slave of sensual enjoyments and beset by a thousand cares, his life ultimately ends in misery and degradation. Haughtiness, arrogance and egoism lead to this dire fate. Therefore, a wise person, desiring success, must eradicate vice and cultivate virtue.
In this world three gates lead to hell—the gates of passion, anger and greed. Released from these three qualities one can succeed in attaining salvation and reaching the highest goal, namely God. Thus the sacred scriptures teach wisely the right path of pure, virtuous living. One should therefore follow the injunctions of the sacred scriptures that wish his welfare and be guided in his actions by their noble teachings.
Where there are kindness, humility and purity, there spirituality springs up, saintliness shines, divinity descends and perfection manifests itself. – Sri Swami Sivananda
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