Sivananda Yoga FAQ
Q 1: When the grace of Guru and God is there, why is the mind still not controlled?
A: There must be Purushartha also. Only when you do Purushartha, the grace will come. A professor will not answer the questions for you and make you pass. The Gita says, “Uddharet Atmanatmanam”. One should raise oneself. Grace only helps one to raise oneself. Everybody should work out his own salvation. You may ask, “What is grace then?”. If an aspirant gets letters from his preceptor, clearing his doubts, that is grace. If an aspirant comes here, takes Ganges bath and hears the lectures here, that is grace. Many people are thirsting, even croropathis (those who possess crores of rupees) are thirsting to come and bathe in the Ganges, but all do not get a chance of coming and having their wish fulfilled. If good books are available for Svadhyaya (study), it is grace. If one enjoys good health for doing Sadhana, that is grace. If God so wishes, He can give Mukti to the whole world in an instant; but He does not do so. Grace descends only when there is Purushartha.
Q 2: The Lord’s grace will do everything for me. Why should I do any Sadhana?
A: This is wrong philosophy. God helps those who help themselves. God’s grace will descend only on those persons who exert. The Lord’s grace will descend in proportion to the degree of surrender. The more the surrender, the more the grace. You cannot expect the Lord to do self-surrender for you. Be up and doing. Strive. Plod. Persevere. The Lord will shower His grace upon you. Mira abandoned everything. She renounced kingdom, husband, relatives, friends and property. She remembered her Lord Krishna whole day and night. She shed tears of Prem. She sang His praise with single-minded devotion. She gave up food. Her body got emaciated. Her mind was ever absorbed in Lord Krishna. Only then did Lord Krishna shower His grace upon her.
Q 3: 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”.
Meditate on the Self or Atman that dwells in your own heart. Dive deep in to the ocean of bliss. – Sri Swami Sivananda
01 – New Moon
08 – Ramanavami
Purushartha can give you anything. Change your habits. Change the mode of thinking. You can conquer destiny. You are now thinking: “I am the body.” Start the spiritual anti-current. You can conquer death and attain the immortal seat of supreme splendour.
Even for realization, the Lord’s grace is necessary. For obtaining the Lord’s grace, intense Purusha Prayatna, otherwise known as Purushartha, can be voiced forth throughout the famous “Yoga Vasishtha”.
By virtuous deeds and right thoughts you can disarm destiny. You have a free-will to act. By self-exertion, Ratnakar became Valmiki. By Purushartha/self-exertion Markandeya conquered death. By Purushartha/self-exertion alone did Uddalaka attain Nirvikalpa Samadhi (higher realization). By Purushartha/self-exertion, Savitri brought back her husband (Satyavan) to life.
Meditation leads to Samadhi – the super-conscious state. – Swami Sivananda