Gurugram November 2020 | Preface
Om Namah Sivaya
Greetings from all staff in the Sivananda Centres and Ashrams!
As the world continues to struggle with all the restrictions and the suffering brought by the pandemic, the need to find relief increases proportionally. Connecting with the Divine within to keep our balance and positivity, and be able to see the deeper meaning behind this apparent curse, is the need of the time. The celebration of Navaratri, the 9 day festival dedicated to the Divine Mother, brought the soothing energy needed in these challenging times. The Divine Mother was first invoked as Durga, the fighter for justice, then Lakshmi, the giver of abundance and light, and finally Saraswati, the bestower of wisdom, This specific order is symbolic of the spiritual path : we first need to face our inner enemies – anger, fear, hatred, jealousy and greed, then work on developing positive qualities, like compassion, generosity, gratefulness ; this will ultimately culminate in a state of acceptance and peace.
All Centres and Ashrams celebrated Navaratri wholeheartedly. Pujas were also shared online with thousands of grateful students, some of them conducting a small ritual simultaneously at home. The powerful and sweet energy of the Divine Mother opened our hearts and brought a feeling of being protected and loved. The recitation of Her many names, the chanting from the Devi Mahatmya – the scripture relating the destruction of many demons by the Divine Mother, as well as the daily reading of this scripture, felt like nectar for the soul. Students sent many messages of grateful appreciation for the sharing of this loving and pure energy. May the Divine Mother protect and uplift us all ! May she protect the world and establish a new feeling of fraternity and mutual understanding between people.
We continue to offer classes, courses and TTC online as many Centres and Ashrams are still closed or are closing again with new lockdowns being put in place, especially in Europe.
Please accept this invitation to join us for the Unite for a Healthy Planet worldwide meditation – Every 1st Sunday of the month at 2PM Continental European Time, for 30 minutes. https://sivanandaorleans.org/unite-for-a-healthy-planet
on Sunday October 4th at 2pm CET. Let us all connect and create a powerful wave of peace and harmony. It will be streamed on youtube. Information on www.sivanandaorleans.org
We send our prayers for health, renewed inspiration and commitment to your Sadhana. May you thrive as a powerful ambassador for peace.
With Om and Prem,
The Acharyas of the International Sivananda Yoga Centres
Many of the International Sivananda Yoga Centres and Ashrams are still only teaching online. Finances are a concern, and, if this is at all possible for you, your support would be very gratefully received.
Four great virtues are Courage, Benevolence, Forgiveness and Purity. – Sri Swami Sivananda
We are happy to announce there is are presently a healthy choice of SIVANANDA Yoga Teachers’ Training Courses conducted Online (TTCOL) and a few in-person, in residence TTCs. View all 2021 TTC/ATTC courses on the Sivananda website https://www.sivananda.org/, then check with each TTC/ATTC location whether it is TTCOL or TTC in person. If the Ashram is closed, the online Teacher Training Course has been a popular solution.
See the full list of other international courses and events: https://www.sivananda.org/
Think that you are an instrument (Nimitta) in the hands of God when you work. – Sri Swami Sivananda
From Discourse II – Sadhana Pada – On Spiritual Disciplines
“The Niyamas consists of cleanliness, contentment, austerity, self study, and self surrender.”
The ‘niyamas’ are observances which cultivate positive qualities. They involve purification, stilling the mind, self-discipline, inquiry into the nature of the Self, and surrendering the personal will, or ego, to the Supreme will. Aside from cleanliness, one should cultivate indifference toward the body. Cleanliness means internal as well as external purification. A proper diet based on vegetarianism and natural foods, specialized yogic cleansing techniques, and the Yoga exercises keep the body internally pure and free from obstructions. Cleanliness also extends to the mind. Only when it is it is purified can it be a pure mirror for the reflection of the Self.
Humility is not cowardice. Meekness is not weakness. Humility and meekness are indeed spiritual powers. – Sri Swami Sivananda
Bhagavad Gita Quote
The Bhagavad Gita is a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, narrated in the Bhishma Parva of the Mahabharata. The Bhagavad Gita is comprised of eighteen discourses, with a total of 701 Sanskrit verses. The timeless scene takes place on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Sri Krishna, through a swift conversation with Arjuna, reveals profound, sublime and soul stirring spiritual truths, plus, rare secrets of Yoga, Vedanta, Bhakti and Karma. Those who study, and endowed with Faith, can reap the full benefits of the Bhagavad Gita, and the science of the Soul.
We continue reviewing Swami Sivananda’s summary of each chapter of the Bhagavad Gita.
The Yoga of the Division of the Three Gunas. Summary of Fourteenth Discourse
Knowledge of the three cosmic qualities or Gunas, namely, Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas is now given through this discourse. The knowledge of these three Gunas, which hold the entire universe and all creatures under their sway, is of vital importance to each and everyone for their progress and happiness in life. Without this knowledge one will be forever bound by sorrow. In this knowledge we have the secret of success in worldly life as well as in spiritual life. Therefore, one should acquire this precious knowledge.
Lord Krishna reveals that these three qualities compose the Cosmic Nature. This Cosmic Nature is the primal source and origin of the entire creation and all things in it. Hence all things created are subject to their influence and irresistible power. The individual soul also is bound to the body by these three qualities present in Cosmic Nature. The Supreme Being brings about creation through the help of His Prakriti (Nature) endowed with these threefold qualities.
The highest of the three qualities is Sattwa. It is pure. It brings about happiness, wisdom and also illumination. The second quality of Rajas gives rise to passion manifested by intense attachment and greed. It causes sorrow and suffering. The third, termed Tamas, is the worst of all. It arises due to ignorance and results in darkness, lethargy and delusion.
Krishna asks us to diligently endeavour to cast out Tamas from our nature. We should control and master Rajas, and by holding it in check, wisely divert its power towards good kinds of activities. Sattwa should be carefully cultivated, developed and conserved in order to enable us to attain immortality. The realised sage, of course, goes beyond all these qualities, for, although it is Sattwa that enables him to reach God, even this quality will bind him if he is attached to it.
The aspirant should know the symptoms and signs of their presence in his personality and acquire a knowledge of their subtle workings. Then only can he maintain an unhampered and smooth progress in all activities of his life, both secular as well as spiritual. Lord Krishna teaches us this important subject in this discourse from the ninth to the eighteenth verse. He declares that one who rises beyond all the three Gunas through spiritual practices, becomes free from birth, death, old age and sorrow, and enjoys immortality.
In reply to a question from Arjuna, the blessed Lord describes the marks of one who has risen above the three Gunas. He states that if one constantly worships Him with exclusive devotion one will attain the highest divine experience and supreme peace and blessedness.
Do all actions from a sense of duty. – Sri Swami Sivananda
01 Full Moon
A spiritual seeker’s attitude should not be narrowed down by any kind of distinction, be it of class, religion, caste or colour. – Sri Swami Sivananda
HATHA YOGA: Ha – the energy of the Sun, masculine energy, active energy; Tha – the energy of the Moon, receptive energy, cool energy. Yoga (Yuj) – union; the union of universal consciousness with individual consciousness.
Hatha Yoga is a systematic course of exercises, dealing with Shat Karmas, Asanas, Pranayamas, Mudras, Bandhas and exercises on concentration and meditation. Hatha Yoga is a path toward creating balance. Hatha Yoga is like the tortoise that supports the World. It relates to the restraint of breath (Pranayama), Asanas, Bandhas and Mudras. ‘Ha’ and ‘tha’ mean the union of the sun and the moon, union of Prana and Apana Vayus. ‘Hatha’ means any tenacious practice till the object or end is achieved. Trataka, standing on one leg, (a kind of Tapas) and similar poses are all Hatha Yoga practices. Hatha Yoga is inseparable from Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga begins where Hatha Yoga ends. Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga are interdependent. Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga are the necessary counterparts of each other. No one can become a perfect Yogi without a knowledge and practice of both the Yogas. Hatha Yoga prepares the student to take up Raja Yoga.
A Hatha Yogi starts his Sadhana with body and Prana; a Raja Yogi starts his Sadhana with his mind; a Jnana Yogi starts his Sadhana with Buddhi or intellect and will.
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 practice these Kriyas. Those who have got much phlegm in the body should practice 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.
Do Asana, Kumbhaka, Mudra and shake the Kundalini. Then take it to Sahasrara through Chakras in the Sushumna. O children of light! Will you drink not, will you drink not, the nectar of immortality?
Brother! Attain good health. Without health how can you live? Without health, how can you earn? Without health how can you get success in Yoga or any undertaking? Possess wonderful health through the practice of Hatha Yoga. Drink the nectar in Sahasrara and live in the immortal abode of Siva.
No Hatha Yoga, no success,
Not Hatha Yoga, no Samadhi,
Not Hatha Yoga, no health,
Not Hatha Yoga, no Veerya,
Not Hatha Yoga, no beauty,
Not Hatha Yoga, no long life.
– Sri Swami Sivananda
You are in the hands of God. He holds the string. He is the Sutradhar. – Sri Swami Sivananda