Sivananda Yoga FAQ
Q 1: 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 sense of peace and strength?
Do you feel certain that your power of discrimination and light of thought have 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 Lord?
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 2: How does the power of concentration increase?
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 Pranayama, by prayer, by increasing the number of sittings in meditation in the evening and at night, by Vichar, etc.
Q 3: “If a thing is refused to him (the Sadhak), he should not aspire for it again”. Please explain.
A: “If a thing is refused to him (the Sadhak), he should not aspire for it again.”
Read this statement again and again till it suffuses your entire being, till the proper substance of it is totally realized by yourself. Then only you will appreciate the grand truth to imbibe its true spirit.
“Neither ask nor reject” should be the motto of an ideal Sadhak. He/she should not have any special craving for any particular object, however dearest and cherished it be. Whatever comes by chance without any self-effort can be had, provided that it does not degrade the individual from the moral standards. He/she should not develop any attachment to any object lest he should suffer mentally when the object is weaned away from him or refused to him by the will of the Lord. Everything comes and goes as per His sweet will. Whether one strives for an object or not when something is due, it certainly befalls to one’s lot of its own accord. Aspirants should cultivate mental detachment and indifference towards good and evil, happiness and misery, love and hatred and all sorts of pairs of opposites.
Such mental equanimity can be acquired by Atma-Vichara (self-enquiry), study of sacred scriptures, Satsang with Mahatmas, etc. Self-sacrifice, self-contentment and self-denial are what are required in the spiritual field for progress. It is no defeatist mentality if the Sadhak rests satisfied with his ordained lot without yielding himself even mentally to the temptations which he previously used to enjoy. He is certainly not the “fox that remarked that the grapes were sour when he could not reach to have them”. By voluntary self-denial and dispassion or by keeping equanimity when something pleasing does not fall to one’s share, tremendous will-power accumulates. It is therefore a necessity to keep balance of mind in all states of working consciousness.
Make love your treasure. Spread the message of love. – Sri Swami Sivananda
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Ever live within your income. Save when your are young. Spend when you are old. Never run into debt. – Sri Swami Sivananda
SIDDHIS: Psychic powers manifested as by products of spiritual advancement through personal Sadhana practice, such as meditation, mantra repetition and yoga.
Siddhis that are brought into the present life by birth indicate their attainment in a previous life, but it does not guarantee that the individual is making proper use of them in this life. Those gained through chemical means are not necessarily associated with any level of spirituality at all and can be easily governed by the ego. Siddhis achieved by Mantra repetition or tapas and austerities are generally of a very high order as long as they are performed for attaining God-Realization rather than personal or material gain. Powers that come from ‘Samadhi’ are the purest, for they come to the aspirant without being desired.
It must be remembered that siddhis are not the aim but a by-product of the path to God-Realization. Those who misuse Siddhi power for destroying others are themselves destroyed in the end.
The repetition of Gayatri Mantra, Pranava Mantra, OM Namah Sivaya, OM Namo Narayanaya, OM Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya Mantras, done with Bhava, faith and devotion will bestow a Mantra Siddhi.
When the mind wanders, repeat some mantras, stotras (spiritual verses), hymns, verses from the Gita or the Upanishads. – Sri Swami Sivananda