Sivananda Yoga FAQ
Q 1: Why do different prophets give contradictory teachings?
A: Prophets are born from time to time to remove a catastrophe and establish Dharma. They preach according to the time, place, conditions and requirements. Lord Buddha preached, “Don’t kill”. Guru Govind Singh preached, “Kill”. When Buddha was born, people were sacrificing many animals. He had to preach Ahimsa to stop killing. Guru Govind Singh had to infuse chivalry in man. One prophet preached, “Renounce and go to the forest”. Sri Ramanuja preached, “Enjoy at home. Have no attachment. Worship Vishnu”. The teachings are not contradictory in reality. They are needed to suit the occasion, time and nature of men.
Q 2: Can truth be compromised in the sense that telling a lie is sometimes not only inevitable, but also indispensable? Will such a breaking away from truth be justified?
A: Truth is truth and falsehood is falsehood. They are as wide apart as the terminals of a diameter of a circle or the north and the south poles. He who wants ethical perfection, who loves Dharma for the sake of the Supreme, ought to stick to truth however crucial be the circumstances, however tense be the situation. Think of Harischandra… how he stuck to truth even in the face of trials. How his name is to stand, for all time to come, for truth undimmed! Harischandra was truth personified. That is why he is known as Satya Harischandra. This single instance is enough to sustain man’s living on a sound basis of truth, however disastrous and threatening be the crises one has to face. However inevitable and indispensable it be, and however much the situation demands to gain some selfish ends, falsehood should ruthlessly be avoided. Truth and falsehood cannot be linked together. Yoking of the one with the other is awfully absurd. No doubt, in the Bhagavata and other Puranas a few exceptional instances have been cited, where speaking untruth would be considered appropriate. But they are a matter of exception, they are not applicable to all times and all persons. For illuminating and interesting information in this connection, go through my book, “Ethical Teachings”.
Q 3: The mind is fickle. Attempts at concentration are sometimes successful, but often end in disappointment. Kindly help me.
A: First of all, take care of your health. Become strong by proper food and mild exercises of Asana and Pranayama. Observe Brahmacharya. Destroy desires, worries, anxieties, the building of castles and any vicious qualities. Lead a contented life. Practice Avyavahara. Observe Mouna. You can easily control the mind.
When one rises to the state of Samadhi, he does not make the mistake of doubting as to whether it is lower or higher or the highest. He knows what it is without doubt, quite naturally. – Sri Swami Sivananda
Free from worldly activities or concerns.
Make patience thy strength. – Sri Swami Sivananda