Subscribe to our Daily Teachings | Read our YOGALife & Publications

Sivananda Yoga FAQ

Q 1: “Atman is our real Self and we are, in reality, universal and absolute”.” The personal relative self involves the idea of individuality, but the Absolute does not”. The question then arises, are there two selves? One involving individuality and the other, without individuality, but universal?

 A:There is really one Self which is the Absolute. The Relative Self is not something different from the Absolute Self, but it is only the Absolute Self experiencing, through the instrument of the mind. An object has an independent nature of its own, but when it is seen through a distorted, coloured glass, it also appears distorted and coloured. It does not however mean from this that the object is both perfect and distorted at the same time. The difference is only in the means of perception and knowledge. This is the case also with the experience of the Absolute Self with the help of the finite mind, acting as the instrument of knowledge. The difference is in the medium of perception. The Reality is one.

 Q 2: I am very anxious to take Sannyasa. Will you kindly suggest a method to quench my thirst?

 A: There are beautiful Ashrams throughout the Sivananda Organization where Nishkamya Seva is carried out. They are always in need of sincere and energetic workers. You can remain in any one of the Ashrams and help in the Ashram’s activities. Do not be changing from one Ashram to another. Select the best that suits you and stick to it.

 Q 3: Why does not the benevolent, kind and all-merciful God help the righteous man and give him happiness? Why does He leave him to the mercies of his Purva Karma?

A:Karma is likened to the wheel. It has to work out; because the force that set it in motion has to be spent. It is a cycle of action and reaction. Just as the arrow once discharged from the bow cannot be withdrawn, even if the hunter feels that he has aimed at a wrong target, Prarabdha Karma, the fruit of those Karmas performed in previous births that have come up for experience in this present birth, cannot be annulled. How then does God help His devotee? The all-merciful God does help His devotee by strengthening his will-power, his power of endurance, to bear the Karma-Phala with a cheerful countenance. The devotee is certainly not left to the mercy of his Purva Karma; he is beautifully clothed in the protective shield of His grace. Just as in the worst winter and violent storm, you remain unaffected in your own house and in your warm clothing, the devotee (though to the onlookers he is poor, sick or suffering) does not feel that he is suffering at all and is ever happy and blissful in His remembrance.     

Previous FAQs at

Sages are fountains of spiritual wisdom. Approach them with all humility and reverence.  They will impart divine wisdom. – Swami Sivananda

Quick Links

Spiritual Calendar

MAY 2019
04      New Moon
15      Ekadasi
18      Full Moon
30      Ekadasi

JUNE 2019
03      New Moon
13      Ekadasi
14      Mariamman Flag Hoisting
17      Full Moon
23      Pongala Festival
29      Ekadasi

 Renunciation is the bestower of peace and immortality. – Sri Swami Sivananda


SIDDHIS – Psychic Powers

The Aspirant becomes free only when his individual will becomes merged in the Divine Will. Licentiousness and autocracy must not be mistaken for spiritual freedom. By becoming a tool (Nimitta) in the hands of God, the Bhakta destroys the egoism or the little false ‘I’, but gains all the Divine Aisvarya or the Siddhis of the Lord. He becomes perfectly free. He has become one with God now.

Siddhis that are brought into the present life, by birth, indicate their attainment in a previous life, but it does not guarantee that the individual is making proper use of them in this life. Those gained through chemical means are not necessarily associated with any level of spirituality at all and can be easily governed by the ego. Siddhis achieved by Mantra repetition or tapas, austerities are generally of a very high order as long as they are performed for attaining God-Realization rather than personal or material gain. Powers that come from ‘Samadhi’ are the purest, for they come to the aspirant without being desired. It must be remembered that siddhis are not the aim but a by-product of the path to God-Realization

A Hatha Yogi gets Siddhis (psychic powers) by uniting Prana and Apana and by taking the united Prana-Apana through the six Chakras (Centres of spiritual energy) to Sahasrara at the crown of the head. A Raja Yogi gets Siddhis by Samyama, i.e., combined practice of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi at one time. A Jnana Yogi exhibits Siddhis through pure will or Sat-Sankalpa. A Bhakta gets Siddhis through self-surrender and the consequent descent of grace. Kriyas, viz., Neti, Dhauti, Nauli, Basti, Tratak and Kapalabhati belong to Hatha Yoga. All need not practise these Kriyas. Those who have got much phlegm in the body should practise these Kriyas. Learn these under an expert Hatha Yogi. Hatha Yoga is not the goal. It is only a means to an end. Take to Raja Yoga after possessing good health.

Beware of Siddhis! If you are drawn to the psychic powers or Siddhis, you will miss the supreme goal.- Sri Swami Sivananda