Sivananda Yoga FAQ
Q 1: I am convinced that praying to saints and worshipping them is absolutely wrong. They prayed to God and found salvation for themselves, and in like manner, we also can take care of our salvation without depending on any saint.
A: No. It is not so. Saints and sages are worthy of our adoration and prayers, because they have shown us the ways to God-realization. The apprentice, who has just entered service in any field, is expected to have an attitude of submission and receptivity to his senior who trains him on the job, although the latter may be a man like himself. The same is applicable in the field of spirituality. By respecting saints and following their teachings, you grow in spirituality, you learn to love, and know God more adequately. May God bless you!
Q 2: If an individual is a Perfect Master, he is capable of functioning on all planes at the same time. He possesses to a remarkable degree the powers of clairvoyance and clairaudience. Can he not read the thoughts of the student before the student has time to utter them, before the student can bring out his questions, as Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa did? Can one who has such powers, even of thought-reading, be regarded as a Master?
A: Clairvoyance and clairaudience are not always automatic processes. Unless the Master directs his attention towards someone, he need not necessarily be aware of the seeker’s mentality and doubts. Imagine a seer or a Perfect Master who is ever aware of what everybody thinks! A Siddha does see and hear everything in Samadhi. This everything comes then to mean the Self or Atman or Supreme Consciousness where the individual thoughts and words cease to exist as such. Powers like thought-reading do not necessarily connote perfection; and perfection cannot be vetoed by the absence of these powers. A Perfect Master can acquire these powers if he so wills; but you cannot force him to.
Q 3: If the Soul is immortal, why does Swamiji celebrate his birthday which belongs to the body?
A: I do not celebrate my birthday. It is the devotees who do it. Celebration of such birthdays is equal to worship of Para Brahman. Worship of the Guru is worship of Para Brahman. The devotees take delight in celebrating the birthday, and they are benefited, uplifted. A spiritual wave is created year after year when the birthday is celebrated, and more and more people get a chance of knowing the existence of the Divine Life Society and my teachings. The celebrations of the birthday is an annual reminder to the aspirants of the purpose of their life. It is a fillip to their Sadhana. The pious, receptive attitude prevalent on such an occasion draws forth the grace of the Guru and God upon the devotees. The thoughts of peace, love, devotion, etc., sent out by the innumerable devotees that assemble together to celebrate the birthday go a long way to promote peace, harmony and spiritual well-being in the land.
It is not without purpose that the Hindus celebrate the birthdays of religious leaders, saints and sages, such as Buddha Jayanti, Sankara Jayanti, Mahavira Jayanti, etc. The Hindu calendar is spotted with many such Jayantis and other holy days, so that the observance of these Jayantis and holy days may give the needed spiritual impetus to people and they may strive with increased zeal for the attainment of the purpose of life, viz., God-realization. The more we have of such special, holy days, the more we have the chance of being inspired to intensify our spiritual progress.
There is no virtue like Truthfulness. – – Sri Swami Sivananda
TAPAS – Tapasya –
Austerity, practical (i.e., result-producing) spiritual discipline; spiritual force.
Literally it means the generation of heat or energy, but is always used in a symbolic manner, referring to spiritual practice and its effect, i.e. the roasting of karmic seeds; the burning up of karma.
Walk in the foot-steps of the great Saviours and Saints of the world. – Sri Swami Sivananda