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Sivananda Yoga FAQ

Q 1: Does the mental equilibrium of an advanced Yogi get affected when attacked by some serious disease? How does he react on such occasions?

A: Never. If there is any thought of the body or the disease or the bodily affliction or something that cannot be tolerated by the fleshy frame, remember that he is no advanced Yogi or saint or Sannyasin. He who has no thought of himself or the surroundings or the world, he who is centred in his own Self or his beloved Ishta Devata or gracious Guru, and he who is entirely oblivious of limitations of any sort, and identifies himself with the limitless, disease-less, unconditioned, all-pervasive Brahman, is a true and advanced Yogi or Bhakta or Jnani; and not otherwise.

He can have no match in the whole world in the matter of utter indifference either towards his disease or towards his limited, perishable body or the whole world. He always remains in his own Self and he never loses his balance under any circumstance. He firmly believes that he is the Infinite, the Absolute Brahman. He firmly believes that death awaits all
and snatches away everyone at one time or the other and that the six Urmis Shoka, Moha, Kshut, Pipasa, Jara and Mrityu are but common to all the Jivas, not necessarily mankind, and that he is the deathless, imperishable and eternal Brahman. Hence there can be no mental upset for him even amidst crucial tests.

Q 2: Swamiji Maharaj! What is your idea about Nirguna Brahman? Does it mean only Shunya? In that case, it does not very much appeal to us. Who would like to meditate on nothingness?

A: Does it mean only Shunya? In that case, it does not very much appeal to us. Who would like to meditate on nothingness?
Nirguna is not nothingness. It is the fullness of everything that is good. Nirguna is plenitude. In it you find all auspiciousness, all goodness, all beauty, all joy, all health, all sweetness, all purity, all peace, everything developed to perfection. From a distance this fullness becomes inconceivable and so the sages called it Nirguna. Once they reach there, they get merged in that inexpressible experience. It is not nothingness, but it is everything-ness, and beyond this too, for it is inexpressible. Only know that all that exists in Maya or false perception, viz., evil, ugliness, misery, change, birth, decay, death, etc., are not in It. For, It is beyond Maya. In Nirguna Brahman, there are no Gunas of Maya, viz.. blue colour, etc. That is what is meant by Nirguna.

Q 3: A person doing a wrong thing argues that he is doing it because of his Karma; and he does not even try not to do it, because it gives him immediate happiness. How to impress upon him not to do it?

A: Karma does not compel a man to do wrong actions. Samskara does, to a certain extent. But God has bestowed free will on man, with which to make or mar his career. Man has no Bhoga-Svatantrata or the freedom to enjoy or suffer, which factor is governed by Karma. But, he has got Karma-Svatantrata or freedom to do good or evil. He can substitute good Samskaras in place of the old vicious Samskaras by Vichara-sakti, will-power and continued practice of good actions. That evil seems to give immediate happiness is the greatest temptation and the greatest obstacle to the cultivation of virtues; and it can be removed only by discrimination and experience. Contemplation over the ultimate and permanent damage done to the very soul of man by the evil actions, and the harm he is causing to the entire society itself by his evil, ought to compel a man to desist from evil action– however pleasant it might appear superficially. There is no short-cut to this really serious problem; the wicked heart will not yield easily. And therefore our ancients have exalted Satsang. Constant association with the wise and spiritually evolved persons alone can remove these wrong notions from the mind of the wicked one.

Prayer invokes the inner potential of the individual which flows only from God. – Sri Swami Sivananda

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MARCH 2021

09 Ekadasi
11 Maha Sivarathri
13 New Moon
25 Ekadasi
28 Full Moon
29 Holi

APRIL 2021

07 Ekadasi
12 New Moon
14 Vishu  (Malayalam New Year)
21 Ramanavami
23 Ekadasi
27 Full Moon  (Hanuman Jayanti)

The Karma of the individual determines the form or shape of the experience in this World. – Sri Swami Sivananda


SAKSHI – Witness
NIMITTA – Cause; Instrument

BHAV – Feeling; perception; direct experience; mental attitude; subjective state of being; attitude of mind; state of realization in the heart or mind; a right feeling and frame of mind; right intention; right imagination; right mental disposition; purity of thought. Bhava is a Sanskrit term; there is no proper equivalent in English. It means mental attitude or mental disposition. Bhava is internal feeling. There are three kinds of Bhavas, viz., Sattvic Bhava, Rajasic Bhava and Tamasic Bhava according to the nature of the quality that predominates in man. Sattvic Bhava is divine Bhava. It is Suddha Bhava. Just as thought or memory or will can be cultivated or developed by practice, so also, Bhava can be developed.

Sakshi Bhav – The attitude of remaining as a witness.
Nimitta Bhav – The attitude of performing as an instrument of God. A devotee that always thinks that God does everything and they are only an instrument (Nimitta), directed by the hands of God, then this is Nimitta Bhava. The Bhavas of a Bhakta and a Vedantin differ. The Vedantin entertains Sakshi and Akarta Bhavas. The Bhakta entertains Nimitta Bhava. The Vedantin develops Brahma Bhava. The Bhakta develops Dasya Bhava, and so on.

If anyone injures you, forgive and forget the injury done. You will gain immense spiritual strength. – Sri Swami Sivananda