Gurugram May 2014 | Preface
Om Namah Sivaya
We are happy to inform you all, by the grace of Master and Swamiji, the Organization experienced a very successful Winter season in both India and the Bahamas. Europe continued to thrive with high number of students in their TTC And ATTC programs plus very busy activities at the Centres. At the latest EBM meeting a new Executive Board Member was announced. Swami Sitaramanandaji has been appointed to the board.
This month the GURUGRAM continues the Raja Yoga series, reviewing Swami Vishnudevananda’s Instructions on Meditation Series, with excerpts from book The Sivananda Companion to Meditation (2003).
We thank you all for your continued support and encouragement. May Master and Swamiji’s blessings be with us always.
Pranams to all.
Detach yourself from the unreal. This is the way to attain Self-realization. – Sri Swami Sivananda
Swami Vishnudevananda Instructions on Meditation Series
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. The more care and attention you give to the preparation, the more positive the results.
Here are the basic guidelines for the beginner:
4 – THE SITTING POSITION
Sit in a comfortable steady posture, with spine and neck erect but not tense. The psychic current needs to travel unimpeded from the base of the spine to the top of the head, helping to steady the mind and encourage concentration. A comfortable cross-legged posture provides a firm base for the body, but it is not necessary to place the legs in padmasana, the classic lotus posture. You may wish to sit in siddhasana, the half-lotus position, or in any simple cross-legged position. Sitting on a cushion will help the thighs relax and bring the knees closer to the ground. In these sitting positions, a triangular path is created for the flow of energy, containing it rather than allowing it to disperse in all directions. Metabolism and breathing slow down as concentration deepens. Elderly or less able people may wish to sit on a comfortable chair, with ankles crossed. Lying down is not recommended because you relax completely and may find it almost impossible to ward off sleep. The mild muscular contraction necessary to hold the back upright in a sitting position keeps you alert. Try to relax the rest of the body as much as possible, especially the muscles of the face, neck and shoulders. The chest should be open, with the rib cage lifted to encourage abdominal breathing. Initially you may find it difficult to keep the back straight for more than a few minutes. The practice of asanas (yoga postures) for as little as thirty minutes a day will strengthen your back, making it easy for you to sit comfortably over a long period of time. The actual purpose of asanas, according to the classical texts, is to be able to sit effortlessly and without fatigue for prolonged stretches. Patanjali, author of the most significant treatise on raja yoga, says that the meditation pose should be “sukham sthiram”, pleasant and firm. Swami Sivananda says one should feel as steady as a mountain outwardly and as flowing as honey within. Your body will be at ease and will require no attention; a little like a vehicle that has been parked and can be forgotten about. You will be able to disconnect from the sense of being the body and focus on the deeper aspects of consciousness. It may take a few months to master the meditation posture; however the confidence and satisfaction gained from training the body is well worth striving for. This first achievement in your practice will give you much joy and the confidence to overcome higher obstacles.
“Be gentle and patient with your mind; do not expect miracles. The more care and attention you give to the preparation, the more positive the results’. Face north or east to take advantage of favorable magnetic vibrations.” – Sw. Vishnudevananda
Next month… the breath while meditating. Following month address the mind, choosing a point of concentration an object of concentration, giving space to the mind, disassociating from the mind, pure thought, then Samadhi to conclude.
Excerpts from The Sivananda Companion to Meditation (2003) – The Sivananda Yoga Centre; Gaia Books, New York.
There is no death! This is the fundamental message of Vedanta. – Sri Swami Sivananda
Bhagavad Gita Quote
Chapter X: The Yoga of Divine Manifestations
X.12. PARAM BRAHMA PARAM DHAAMA PAVITRAM PARAMAM BHAVAAN; PURUSHAM SHAASHVATAM DIVYAM AADIDEVAMAJAM VIBHUM.
Arjuna said(to Krishna): Thou art the Supreme Brahman, the supreme abode (or the supreme light), the supreme purifier, the eternal, divine Person, the primeval God, unborn and omnipresent.
X.13. AAHUSTWAAM RISHAYAH SARVE DEVARSHIRNAARADASTATHAA; ASITO DEVALO VYAASAH SWAYAM CHAIVA BRAVEESHI ME.
All the sages have thus declared Thee, as also the divine sage Narada; so also Asita, Devala and Vyasa; and now Thou Thyself sayest so to me.
Self-realization alone can give permanent satisfaction, eternal peace and immortal bliss. – Sri Swami Sivananda
10 – Ekadasi
09 – Ekadasi
Perfection, freedom, independence are attained only by direct experience or wisdom of Atman. – Sri Swami Sivananda
Prana assumes five forms viz., (1) Prana, (2) Apana, (3) Samana, (4) Udana and (5) Vyana. Of these five, Prana and Apana are the chief agents. The principal Prana is called Mukhya Prana. The Prana, joined with Ahamkara, lives in the heart.
The seat of Prana is the heart; of Apana, the anus; of Samana, the region of the naval; of Udana, the throat; while Vyana is all-pervading. Vyana moves all over the body.
The function of Prana is respiration; Apana does excretion; Samana performs digestion; Udana does deglutition (swallowing of the food). It takes the Jiva to sleep. It separates the astral body from the physical body at the time of death. Vyana performs circulation of blood.
The aim of Life is to realize your unity with the Self. – Swami Sivananda
Complete glossary can be found at: http://www.sivananda.org/teachings/glossary/glossary.html