Gurugram June 2017 | Preface
Om Namah Sivaya
Greetings to all.
By the grace of Master and Swamiji all Ashrams and Centres in the Sivananda Organization are running smoothly imparting the ancient knowledge of Yoga and Meditation. The busy season in India, South Asia, South America and Bahamas was winding down but none the less the Ashrams and Centres offer good amount of activities planned for the coming months. Europe, North Asia and North America are now getting ready for their high season, offering many Teacher Training Programs, Meditation and personal Sadhana Courses.
The 60th Anniversary celebrations of Swami-j’is journey to bring yoga to the western World continue, with many Ashrams and Centres doing their best to honour the beginning of Swami Vishnudevananda’s mission in 1957.
June is International Day of Yoga month. In 2015 the United Nations proclaimed the 21st day of June to be International Day of Yoga, adopting a resolution by India, calling on all countries to observe and raise awareness of the benefits of practicing Yoga. The 3rd annual International Day of Yoga is 21st June 2017. Check your Centre or Ashram’s calendar to see what events are held on the 21st or on the weekends before or after the 21st June.
One special program on the horizon is a rare opportunity for your personal spiritual growth with our upcoming and very special Sivananda Sadhana Mandalam, a forty-one day program of spiritual practice, held in the tropical splendour of the Sivananda Dhanwantari Ashram in South India from August 1 to September 10 2017. Link here for more information.
Sivananda Dhanwantari Ashram Neyyar Dam is also pleased to announce the completion of their first Teen Yoga Camp, with many recognizable faces attending who were frequent attendees of the previous Neyyar Dam Kids Camps.
In this month’s Gurugram we continue the exploration of Meditation techniques from the book “Swamiji Said – A Collection of Teachings by Swami Vishnudevananda in His Own Words”, looking into concentration and compassion with the mind.
We thank you, the students and devotees, for the continued support to the Sivananda Organization while staff continues the teaching of Swamiji’s mission, impacting the peoples of the World on their multifaceted search for Peace. May Master and Swamiji bless us all.
Saturate your mind with divine thoughts. – Sri Swami Sivananda
|Jul 02 – Jul 30/17
TTC – English, Français, Espaňol,
Val Morin, QC, Canada
www.sivananda.org/campJul 05 – Aug 02/17
ATTC – English
Woodbourne, NY, USA
www.sivananda.org/ranchJul 08 – Aug 05/17
TTC – English 中文 Tiếng Việt
Da Lat, Vietnam
www.sivanandayogavietnam.orgJul 29 – Aug 27/17
TTC – English, Deutsch
Reith, Tyrol, Austria
www.sivananda.org/tyrol/enJul 30 – Aug 27/17
TTC – Français
www.sivananda.org/orleansAug 03 – Aug 31/17
TTC – English
Woodbourne, NY, USA
Aug 05 – Sep 03/17
Aug 06 – Sep 03/17
Aug 06 – Sep 03/17
Sep 02 – Sep 30/17
Sep 02 – Oct 01/17
Sep 03 – Oct 01/17
|Sep 09 – Oct 07/17
TTC – English, 中文
Chengdu, Sichuan, China
www.sivanandayogachina.orgOct 01 – Oct 29/17
TTC – English
Netala, Uttar Kashi, Himalayas, North India
www.sivananda.org/uttarkashiOct 14 – Nov 11/17
TTC – English
Grass Valley, CA, USA
www.sivananda.org/yogafarmOct 21 – Nov 19/17
TTC – English, Français, Deutsch, Espaňol, Italiano
Rudraprayag Himalaya Mountains, India
www.sivananda.eu/en/yoga-teacher-training-in-india.htmlNov 01 – Dec 01/17
ATTC – English, עברית
www.sivananda.org/nassauNov 04 – Dec 01/17
TTC – English, עברית
Nov 06 – Dec 04/17
Nov 12 – Dec 10/17
Nov 21 – Dec 19/17
Dec 04 – Dec 31/17
Dec 16/15 – Jan 14/17
This month Swami Vishnudevananda gives some valuable insight to the mental energy during meditation.
At the feet of Swami Vishnudevananda. Thoughts on Meditation.
Swami Vishnu-devananda would say that it is not possible to teach someone how to meditate, any more than it is possible to teach them how to sleep. Sleep overtakes us only when we detach our mind from its concerns. Meditation also cannot be forced, but unlike sleep, it is a conscious state. We need a degree of willpower to remain in the state of heightened awareness that occurs when we meditate. However, at the same time we need to relax, letting go of all expectations and desires. This subtle balance between the effort needed to sustain concentration on the one side and detachment from all distractions on the other is the art of meditation. We learn to focus the mind without struggle, yet maintain enough control to avoid a drift into reverie. To attain this state of relaxed awareness we need to prepare ourselves, and there are several steps that will help us. It is important to reiterate that meditation is a process, and as such, takes time. Be gentle and patient with your mind; do not expect miracles.
We continue with Swamiji’s guidance:
8 – CONCENTRATION
You will find that you need to stabilize your mental energy even further. The mind now
needs to be trained in the art of concentration itself and for this you need to give your mind an object on which to focus. All previous steps are actually a preparation for this purpose – keeping the mind on a single object for more than a few seconds. Concentration is supported by a firm posture, a quietened breath, and focus on an energy Centre. This is still not meditation. Meditation is a state beyond concentration, which is reached only once the mind is perfectly concentrated. Yoga considers the use of mantras (words of power) as an essential tool for concentration. The practice is simple: repeat the mantra mentally and synchronize this repetition with your breath. It will help if you can feel the vibration of the mantra emanating from your concentration Centre. The breath, the concentration Centre and the sound of the mantra become one point. However, the mantra can also be repeated out loud, especially if you are becoming drowsy. You can also start the practice by repeating the mantra aloud, gradually lowering your voice to a whisper, then reducing it to the most powerful method, mental repetition. Always use the same mantra; the mind will attune itself to the sound and rhythm and will focus more easily. A mantra is a powerful tool, channelling two aspects of the mind – the desires to see and to hear – which can interrupt the flow of concentration when not properly directed. As you repeat the sound, you listen to
it and at the same time visualize its form. You can also repeat a mantra and visualize
any symbol of an uplifting nature. The symbol can be abstract or concrete. You can focus on light, the sun, or the sky, or on a symbol connected to your religious belief if you have one, such as Christ, Krishna, or Buddha; or the Star of David, the Cross, or OM. You can also focus on a positive quality like love or compassion, relating to it, not as an abstract concept, but as a living entity that you want to manifest through your actions and words. Make sure that the object of your concentration is of an uplifting nature: it should have the inherent power to take your mind to the infinite. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali expands this idea even further by advising us to focus on anything of an agreeable nature, allowing unlimited scope for choice.
9 – GIVING SPACE TO THE MIND
While seated in meditation, first allow the mind to wander at first – it will jump around, but will eventually settle into concentration, along with the concentration of prana. Initially, in your eagerness to control the mind, you may be too forceful with it. If you focus too hard a headache may develop. Relax deeply into the breath and focus more gently. We are often unaware even of our most obvious psychological habits and the power that they have over us. Be patient. There is a natural tendency to want a quick fix, but there is no easy way to bring the mind to a permanent state of silence and contentment. It needs to be freed very gradually from its many layers of emotional agitation. If the release is too sudden, there is a danger of being overwhelmed by the resulting reaction and you may decide to abandon the practice. Change has to happen consciously, progressively, and steadily to have a lasting effect. So give yourself space. Be both firm and gentle with the mind at the same time. Educating your mind is similar to educating a child. Both love and strength are necessary. Arm yourself with patience. Develop a healthy relationship with yourself, avoiding both over-indulgence and harshness. Realize that what you are attempting to accomplish is not easy and feel a healthy pride when you make a step forward, however small it may seem. As the Bhagavad Gita says, become your own best friend and feel compassion for that part of you which is struggling to regain a sense of wholeness. As you give space to your mind, keep it under close observation, like walking a dog with an extended leash – the dog retains a sense of independence, but is quickly reminded that its freedom is limited when it wants to wander off. During the first few minutes of your practice, develop a relationship of trust with your mind by being patient and compassionate. Then you will find that the part of your mind that resists being told what to do will cooperate more readily.
Practice meditation regularly. This will enable you to enter the Kingdom of everlasting peace and bliss. – Sri Swami Sivananda
Bhagavad Gita Quote
Chapter XIV: The Yoga of the Division of the Three Qualities of Nature
XIV.18. OORDHWAM GACCHANTI SATTWASTHAA MADHYE TISHTHANTI RAAJASAAH;
JAGHANYAGUNAVRITTISTHAA ADHO GACCHANTI TAAMASAAH.
(Krishna speaking to Arjuna)
Those who are seated in Sattwa proceed upwards; the Rajasic dwell in the middle; and the Tamasic, abiding in the function of the lowest Guna, go downwards.
XIV.19. NAANYAM GUNEBHYAH KARTAARAM YADAA DRASHTAANUPASHYATI;
GUNEBHYASHCHA PARAM VETTI MADBHAAVAM SO’DHIGACCHATI.
When the seer beholds no agent other than the Gunas, knowing that which is higher than them, he attains to My Being.
COMMENTARY: The seer knows that the Gunas alone are responsible for all actions and He is distinct from them.
XIV.20. GUNAANETAANATEETYA TREEN DEHEE DEHASAMUDBHAVAAN;
The embodied one, having crossed beyond these three Gunas out of which the body is evolved, is freed from birth, death, decay and pain, and attains to immortality.
When you love God, you love everything. All are manifestations of God. – Sri Swami Sivananda
09 Full Moon
16 Mariamman Temple Flag Hoisting
24 New Moon
25 Pongala Festival
08 Kavadi Flag Hoisting
09 Subramanya Ayyappa Temple anniversary
09 Full Moon (Guru Poornima)
11 Krishna Temple Anniversary
14 Masters Mahasamadhi
23 Kaavadi Chariot Festival
23 New Moon
Empty yourself of your egoism, then the Divine will fill your heart to the brim. – Sri Swami Sivananda
TAMASIC: describes the qualities of darkness, inertia in an object. The root word, Tamas, is one of the three gunas that all objects are comprised. Tamasic is a quality attributed to describe dark, lethargic, unaware properties of thoughts, words or actions.
The Tamasic diet consists of a list of foods that practitioners of the ancient Indian medical system of Ayurveda consider to be Tamasic, meaning that they may cause certain potentially harmful mental and physical conditions. According to Ayurvedic beliefs, people wishing to become serious students of yoga should avoid Tamasic foods in their quest to achieve a healthy balance between their mind, emotions and body. Ayurveda teaches there are two other diets besides the Tamasic that can also affect this balance: Sattvic and Rajasic.
The natural medical system of Ayurveda has been practiced in India for thousands of years and bases its teaching on three Gunas, or primary qualities, that are said to exist in all natural things. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Each represents a different quality: Sattva is purity, Rajas is activity or passion and Tamas is inertia or darkness. In every material object, person or action, the characteristics of all three gunas are present; one, however, is always dominant. Whether a person’s diet consists of Sattvic foods, Rajasic foods or Tamasic foods determines which Guna influences their thoughts and actions.
The Tamasic diet is characterized by the following foods: meat, fish, onions, garlic, curds, mushrooms, alcohol and any other fermented foods, including vinegar, bread, pastries and cakes. Any stale, overripe or under ripe, tasteless and rotten foods are also considered Tamasic, as is tobacco, or any kind of drug, plus any foods that have been processed, including those that are preserved in any way, canned or frozen. The prana/subtle life energy is low in these items.
Ayurvedic practitioners believe that a person who eats primarily Tamasic foods is doing harm to both their minds and their bodies. Ayurveda teaches that such a person will lose Prana, or life energy, and will be filled with strong, dark urges such as greed or anger, coupled with a lack of proper reasoning skills and a sense of inertia.
The Bhagavad Gita describes the nature of Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic natures in Chapter XVIII as follows:
“That which knows the path of work and renunciation, what ought to be done, fear and fearlessness, bondage and liberation-that intellect is Sattvic (pure), O Arjuna. That by which one wrongly understands Dharma and Adharma and also what ought to be done and what ought not to be done-that intellect, O Arjuna, is Rajasic. That which, enveloped in darkness, sees Dharma as Adharma, and all things perverted-that intellect is Tamasic.”
Light, positive, sattvic or pure thoughts are calm and can be more easily transcended. Rajasic (extrovert) and Tamasic (dull) thoughts like anger, jealousy and greed are difficult to control. The question, then, is how to purify the thoughts and experience positive thinking.
A glossary can be found at:
Develop the eye of intuition. Have a vision of the Infinite. – Sri Swami Sivananda