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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: Is this Universe an accidental combination of jarring atoms? Please be kind enough to explain the evolution of the Universe?

A: The Universe is not an accidental combination of atoms. The theory of evolution differs according to the different schools of philosophy. The most accepted view, however, is that of the Vedanta. According to it, the universe is a systematic organic whole directed by a supremely intelligent and omnipotent Being behind it. From the relative standpoint, the universe appears as a gradual unfoldment of the primordial matter into the visible gross effects, this matter being actuated by the all-pervading Consciousness Itself. The effects of this matter are, objectively, the five principles of sound, touch, form, taste and smell, giving rise to ether, air, fire, water and earth, and subjectively, the subconscious, the mind, the intellect, the ego, the sense-organs of perception and action, the vital energies and the physical body. All these effects appear as realities, though they are not so actually, because they are based on the one Reality which is the omnipresent Pure Consciousness. From the absolute standpoint, there is no substantial universe at all, except the temporary external form taken by the fluctuating imagination of the mental consciousness within.

Q 3: Will there be continuity of consciousness during suspension of breath?

A: Hari Singh was a Hatha Yogi. He was buried underneath the ground in a box for three months in Ranjit Singh’s court. He came back with life when the box was opened. Hatha Yogis block the Talu Chakra, the posterior nasal openings, with their elongated tongue that is obtained through Bahir Kechari Mudra Kriya of Chalan (moving the tongue frequently), Doshan (dragging the tongue with butter) and Chedan (cutting the frenulum lingua that is underneath the tongue). They drink slowly the nectar that dribbles from the Sahasrara Chakra through the opening in the palate. This instance of Hari Singh clearly indicates that the real “I” is entirely distinct from Prana. In spite of the suspension of breath, Hari Singh had continuity of consciousness.

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Wisdom of the Self is the ripe fruit of the beautiful flower of virtue. – Swami Sivananda

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TYAGA – Renunciation
The mastery of the mind leads to the renunciation of all.

Chitta-Tyaga alone constitutes the renunciation of all. True renunciation lies in the abnegation of the mind. It consists in renouncing all desires and egoism and not world-existence. Through such a mental abnegation, you will be able to free yourself from all pain. Then will come immortality in life or enjoyment of the infinite delight of existence free from ego, founded on oneness of all in Brahman.

Renunciation of physical objects is no renunciation at all. The real Tyaga (renunciation) consists in the renunciation of egoism (Ahankara). If you can renounce this Ahankara, you have renounced everything else in the world.

Hope and Anticipation are the opposite of Vairagya and Tyaga.

Complete glossary can be found at:

Seek the Bliss Eternal in your own Atman. – Sri Swami Sivananda