Gurugram May 2017 | Preface
Om Namah Sivaya
Two Brahmacharis were initiated into Sannyas at the Yoga Camp on 28th April 2017. All eight EBM were present for the Homa and Mantra Diksha performed in front of the Gurus’ statues in the Krishna Temple. The new Sannyasins are Swami Adi Parashaktiananda Saraswati (formerly Ananta Chaitanya from the Yoga Farm) and Swami SivaSankariananda Saraswati (formerly Sankari Chaitanya from San Francisco Center).
Two dedicated staff members were also initiated into Brahmacharya. The new brahmacharis are Ganga Chaitanya (formerly Ganga from Ho Chi Minh Center) and Annapurna Chaitanya (formerly Ally from the Yoga Camp).
May Master and Swamiji continue to bless them and we pray for their liberation in this very birth.
We thank you, the students and devotees, for the continued support to the Sivananda Organization while staff continues the teaching of Swamiji’s mission, impacting the peoples of the World on their multifaceted search for Peace.
In this month’s Gurugram we continue the exploration of Meditation techniques from the book “Swamiji Said – A Collection of Teachings by Swami Vishnudevananda in His Own Words”, looking into the mind and concentration.
Pranams to all.
Thought must agree with your word and word with your deed. – Sri Swami Sivananda
|May 03 – Jun 01/17
TTC – Français
www.sivananda.org/orleansMay 04 – May 31/17
TTC – English
www.sivananda.org/nassauMay 06 – Jun 03/17
TTC – English
Grass Valley, CA, USA
www.sivananda.org/yogafarmMay 14 – Jun 11/17
TTC – English
Netala, Uttar Kashi, Himalayas, North India
May 20 – Jun 18/17
May 27 – Jun 24/17
Jun 01 – Jun 29/17
Jun 03 – Jun 30/17
Jun 18 – Jul 16/17
Jun 30 – Jul 28/17
Jun 30 – Jul 28/17
Jul 02 – Jul 30/17
|Jul 05 – Aug 02/17
ATTC – English
Woodbourne, NY, USA
www.sivananda.org/ranchJul 08 – Aug 05/17
TTC – English 中文 Tiếng Việt
Da Lat, Vietnam
www.sivanandayogavietnam.orgJul 29 – Aug 27/17
TTC – English, Deutsch
Reith, Tyrol, Austria
www.sivananda.org/tyrol/enJul 30 – Aug 27/17
TTC – Français
Aug 03 – Aug 31/17
Aug 05 – Sep 03/17
Aug 06 – Sep 03/17
Aug 06 – Sep 03/17
Sep 02 – Sep 30/17
Sep 02 – Oct 01/17
Sep 03 – Oct 01/17
Sep 09 – Oct 07/17
We have chosen our location, time of day to meditate and now we are sitting. Now what? This month Swami Vishnudevananda gives some valuable insight into the workings of the mind, plus, the understanding of choosing a point of concentration while meditating.
At the feet of Swami Vishnudevananda. Thoughts on Meditation.
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.
We continue with Swamiji’s guidance:
6 – THE MIND
For your meditation practice to succeed, it is important to transform the suffering and negativity of the mind by welcoming heightened awareness, broad vision, joy, and contentment into your life. The degree to which you are successful in your practice will be in direct proportion to your commitment to this goal. There must be an earnest desire to refrain from “sleeping with open eyes”, as Swami Vishnu-devananda would say. Our minds love ease; we love to be on holiday, doing what we want when we want, with no sense of responsibility. We feel free with all options in our life possible. However, these options remain only potentialities, mere dreams, and without effort nothing in our lives changes. For real change to occur we need to understand that commitment is not a limitation of freedom, but, on the contrary, an assertion of the freedom to choose the direction in which we want our lives to go. Meditation allows us to see things as they are, without the masking veil of our likes and dislikes, without fear or hope. Start every meditation session asserting this willingness to face reality without escaping into imagination. It is not easy to do this, and initially you may try to take refuge in familiar defense strategies. But be patient, and over a period of time, gently coax the mind away from these destructive thought patterns. Gradually you will grow aware that you need to stop escaping into distraction whenever difficulties arise. Detachment from hopes and fears protects against suffering. By making the commitment to your wellbeing at each and every practice session, by gently commanding the mind to be quiet for a specific length of time, by focusing only on the present moment, your life will be immeasurably enhanced.
The mind consists of energy. The energy has to be trained to flow in a harmonious way. – Sw. Vishnudevananda
7 – CHOOSING A POINT OF CONCENTRATION
Try to select a focal point on which the mind can rest. The mind needs a point of anchorage to ground itself as it usually spends much of the time daydreaming, disconnected from the present moment. This is partly achieved by bringing the awareness to the posture and the breath. But it can be further strengthened by bringing the attention to a specific point in the body. There are energy points in the body that are particularly appropriate and helpful to focus upon. These points are called chakras, or energy Centres. This knowledge belongs to a branch of yoga called kundalini yoga, a specialized branch of the path of raja yoga. Kundalini yoga focuses on these energy Centres in order to release the energy stored in them and bring about an expansion of consciousness. There are seven major chakras in the body and many more secondary ones. They are located in the astral body (a body of energy that is like a subtle etheric double of the physical body), along the spinal column. They correspond to the different levels of consciousness, or the different levels of expression of our inner energies. The three lower chakras correspond to the more basic desires of the mind, the desire for security, for pleasure and for the expression of our individuality. The fourth, the heart chakra, corresponds to the expression of our energy as love; the fifth, the throat chakra, is the Centre where consciousness expands to encompass knowledge of past and future incarnations. The sixth energy Centre, located at the point between the eyebrows, is the Centre for intuitional knowledge. The last, on the top of the head, corresponds to a state of union with cosmic consciousness. Swami Sivananda recommends that we focus either on the heart Centre (Anahata chakra) or the Centre between the eyebrows (Ajna chakra). According to the science of kundalini yoga, one can meditate on any one of the chakras. However, the masters warn us that we must be ready for the energy release that is produced if we do so. Energy of course is neutral, and will empower whatever it is with which we identify. If the mind still strongly identifies with the instinctive desires, the newly released energy will feed these desires, strengthening them, and preventing us from bringing our awareness to higher states of consciousness. Until the mind is thoroughly purified, it is safer to focus on the higher chakras.
Swami Vishnu-devananda advises people with a more emotional type of personality to focus on the heart Centre. This Centre is ideal for those who find it easy to relate to others and the world at large through their feelings. They will find it easy to invoke devotion to an ideal, since this part of their personality is already active. Focusing on the heart Centre will help to channel emotional energy and allow it to manifest as selfless love. The heart will expand. If your personality is predominantly intellectual – if you tend to trust your thoughts more often than your feelings – you will find it easier to focus on the point between the eyebrows. This is the Centre for self-awareness. Focusing on this Centre will uplift the intellect and will gradually free it from its narrow and selfish vision. Eventually the doors of intuition will open and you will perceive reality without the limited screen of the intellect. This state is often referred to as the opening of the third eye. Obviously everyone has both an emotional and an intellectual side to their personality, but one aspect is usually predominant. Neither point is better than the other. Concentrating on either of these points will lead to the same result: an expansion of consciousness. The main purpose here is to train your energy to stabilize on one point. Once you have chosen a point, keep to it for the rest of your life. If you change, the energy will become unsteady again, which will make the mind wander. The mind consists of energy. The energy has to be trained to flow in a harmonious way. You cannot stop the energy from flowing, but you want the flow to be steady and quiet, like pouring oil from one vessel to another, so that you feel no movement and the flow is uninterrupted. Try not to confine your mind when you focus on your chosen energy Centre. This may seem paradoxical, but focusing is a springboard for concentration, allowing the mind to expand into infinite space. Meditation is not merely an act of will, but more a commitment of the heart. Where your heart goes, your mind goes, and where your mind goes, your life will follow.
Excerpts from the book: “Swamiji Said – A Collection of Teachings by Swami Vishnudevananda in His Own Words”
In the Bhagavad Gita on Step 7 of Meditation, it reads:
I: “Samadhi Pada- On Contemplations”
‘Or by fixing the mind on one who has transcended human passions and attachments’.
Another highly regarded object of meditation is a saint or sage who has attained liberation. A picture of an inspiring soul, such as Swami Sivananda, Buddha or Jesus, may be kept on the altar or other place of meditation. He may
be focused on either visually or mentally.
I.38. SVAPNA-NINDRAA-JNAANAALAMBANAM VAA
‘Or (by meditating upon) knowledge gained in dreams or deep sleep’.
Many times the Truth is revealed by the superconscious during sleep. Usually this information is forgotten, and is only utilized by the subconscious. But if that knowledge is meditated upon consciously, great progress can be made upon the path.
[from Chapter I: “Samadhi Pada- On Contemplations”]
I.17. VITARKA-VICHAARAANANDAASMITAANUGAMAAT SAMPRJNAATAH
‘”Samprajnata samadhi” (samadhi with consciousness) is accompanied by reasoning, discrimination, bliss, and an awareness of individuality.’
In their search to find out about matter, scientists employ this method. They concentrate on an element and experiment to discover its nature. Thus they have learned how to split the atom and utilize its energy for constructive or destructive purposes; Modern man can now push a button and explode a hydrogen bomb. Knowledge of something not only gives control over it, but over those who have no knowledge of it. One buys a certain brand of toothpaste in preference to another out of ignorance; the advertisers
know human weakness. They claim that one brand has more sex appeal then other, thus play on the weaknesses of the mind. Everybody manipulates power in this way. Politicians concentrate their energies on outwitting each other and the public. They come up with such mantras as “Law and Order” and “Peace and Honor”, and bombard the public with their energy in order to control the mass mind. Even some yogis and swamis use such simple, silly tricks and devices as tiger skins, turbans and beards to capture one’s imagination and hence the mind, If the mind can be tricked, it can be controlled.
Meditation and contentment are the secrets of good health and longevity. – Sri Swami Sivananda
Bhagavad Gita Quote
Chapter XVIII.66. SARVADHARMAAN PARITYAJYA MAAMEKAM SHARANAM VRAJA;
AHAM TWAA SARVAPAAPEBHYO MOKSHAYISHYAAMI MAA SHUCHAH.
(Krishna speaking to Arjuna)
Abandoning all duties, take refuge in Me alone; I will liberate thee from all sins; grieve not.
XVIII.67. IDAM TE NAATAPASKAAYA NAABHAKTAAYA KADAACHANA;
NA CHAASHUSHROOSHAVE VAACHYAM NA CHA MAAM YO’BHYASOOYATI.
This is never to be spoken by thee to one who is devoid of austerities, to one who is not devoted, nor to one who does not render service, nor who does not desire to listen, nor to one who cavils at Me.
Very difficult indeed, it is to sacrifice the ego. Ego persists. Ego is deep-rooted. – Sri Swami Sivananda
Pranava: Om; the original Word.
Upasana: Sitting near; worship or contemplation; devout meditation; to go closer to God.
Pranava Upasana is also known by the name Nirguna Dhyana, meditation on Om, Jnana Yoga or Brahma Upasana.
Panava Upasana is the classical method of meditation outlined in the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It is also called Aum yoga and Aum yoga meditation. The fixing of the mind on the sound of the mantra “Aum” – the sacred syllable that both symbolizes and embodies Brahman, the Absolute Reality. The mantra is constantly repeated in unison with the breath.
To lead the life of goodness is to lead the life of all. – Sri Swami Sivananda