Gurugram September 2021| Preface
Om Namah Sivaya
Greetings from all staff in the Sivananda Centres and Ashrams!
Over the past few months of 2021 many TTC/ATTC teachers’ training courses and guest Yoga Vacation programs blossomed on site in many of our Ashrams while others, regulated by Covid-19 protocols, continued with the popular online versions of the same. As we turn to September in the Northern Hemisphere, the Summer holidays come to an end and the energy shifts to returning to work and starting of school. The Southern Hemisphere transitions to summer activities and retreats.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic and its accompanying stress, suffering and fear is not over and there seems to be no near end in view. The Covid pandemic has turned into an ordeal of endurance, testing our faith and ability to surrender to the maximum degree. Hardly anyone seems to be spared on this planet despite what season it is.
We want to see this extraordinary challenge of the past 18 months as a mean of immense purification. It feels at times that help can only come from God, that the whole experience is out of humanity’s control. It is said of Prarabdha Karma (karma for this life time) that it can only be eliminated by being lived, and it feels like humanity is now experiencing the consequences of many decades of disrespect for life in all its forms, including our own bodies and minds. The cost of ignorance is pain. Swami Sivananda says that pain is the great purifier.
Let us pray that we may learn from this great trial to become more humble, respectful and aware that we are not the ones controlling life. May we learn that there is an infinite consciousness in the background orchestrating this whole play and that we must acknowledge it and surrender to it. This could be an incredible opportunity for us to step up into a higher level of consciousness.
May we seize this opportunity and support each other in this task.
May you find the inner strength to stay steady and calm in the midst of the storm.
May we be able to continue to offer an abundance of courses to support and inspire you on this intense journey.
May we take this time to honour a devoted soul of the Sivananda Organization:
IN MEMORIAM – Swami Mahadevananda Saraswati
In 1968 Swami Mahadevananda joined Swami Vishnudevananda as one of his first students. In 1973 Swami Mahadevananda received the initiation into sannyas, the monastic order. He then became the director of the Sivananda Center in Montreal for many years. In 1979 he went to India to direct the Dhanwantari Sivananda Ashram in Neyyar Dam, Kerala, where he built the Indian Sivananda Organization – especially in South India. Swami Mahadevananda served as a guru bhakta, a devoted disciple of his teacher, Swami Vishnudevananda. He will be remembered for his devotion, as well as for his powerful voice while leading kirtan. Swami Mahadevananda spent his final years in personal retreat in Montreal, Canada and in Thailand. He kept very much to himself, to his meditation and personal Sadhana. Swami Mahadevananda left the body at the age of 81, on the 30th of August 2021, the auspicious day of Krishna Janmashtami. Pujas and prayers will be offered at the Sivananda Ashrams. May he rest in Peace.
We send our best wishes for peace and health to all.
Swami Kailasananda for the Acharyas of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres.
Join us for our monthly Meditation for the Planet on Sunday September 5 2021 at 2pm CET. Check our websites for information.
Donations: With many of the International Sivananda Yoga Centres and Ashrams teaching online, finances are a concern, so if this is at all possible for you, your financial support would be very gratefully received by contacting any Ashram or Centre.
A saint’s life is one long prayer. – Sri Swami Sivananda
2021 COVID-19 Update:
Please check with each TTC/ATTC location whether COVID-19 has affected your selected course.
The SIVANANDA YOGA Teachers’ Training Courses are available either online (TTCOL) or in residence/in person, depending on the location. Please check with each TTC/ATTC location whether your selected Teacher Training Course is available online or in residence as some Ashrams have opened, while others are temporarily closed. Thank you for your patience as schedules change during COVID.
To view all 2021 TTC/ATTC/SI courses on the Sivananda website: https://sivananda.org/teachers-training/programme-calendar/
See the full list of other international courses and events: https://www.sivananda.org/
Brahmacharya rejuvenates. It augments energy, nerve and brain power and vitality. It is the life-ray of humanity. – Sri Swami Sivananda
From Discourse III: “Vibhuti Pada – On Divine Powers”
III.36. SATTVA-PURUSAYOR ATYANTASAMKIRNAYOH PRATYAYAVISESO BHOGAH PARARTHAT SVARTHA-SAMYAMAT PURUSA-JNANAM
“Enjoyment is the result of a lack of discrimination between Purusha and Sattwa. Knowledge of Purusha comes from performing samyama on the interests of the Self rather than on the individual’s interest”
Purusha is absolute Divinity, which is beyond qualities. Sattwa is purity, but it remains a quality of Nature. From Sattwa comes joy and light. These qualities must be transcended for the final merging with the Self. This distinguishes between the purity of the Absolute and purity of Nature. It is further explained that knowledge of Purusha is gained by perfected meditation on the interests of the Self rather than on individual interests.
Drive this body car intelligently. Relax perfectly. Breathe rhythmically. Meditate regularly. You will enjoy happiness, health and long life. – Sri Swami Sivananda
Bhagavad Gita Quote
Chapter XI: The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form
XI.28. YATHAA NADEENAAM BAHAVO’MBUVEGAAH
TATHAA TAVAAMEE NARALOKAVEERAAH
(Arjuna speaking to Krishna in his cosmic vision)
Just as many torrents of rivers flow towards the ocean, even so these heroes of the world enter the flaming mouths.
COMMENTARY: Arjuna sees all the warriors, whom he did not wish to kill, rushing to death. He knows now that the Lord has already destroyed them, so why should he worry about the inevitable.
XI.29. YATHAA PRADEEPTAM JWALANAM PATANGAA
VISHANTI NAASHAAYA SAMRIDDHAVEGAAH;
TATHAIVA NAASHAAYA VISHANTI LOKAAS
TAVAAPI VAKTRAANI SAMRIDDHAVEGAAH.
As moths hurriedly rush into a blazing fire for (their own) destruction, so also these creatures hurriedly rush into the mouths for (their own) destruction.
Obstacles and unfavourable circumstances are God-sent chances to make you more steady and strong in will. – Sri Swami Sivananda
The greatest obstacles to Self-realization are desire for property, desire for wealth and desire for name and fame. Desire is born of ignorance. The fundamental desire is the urge for mate. Destruction of desire is destruction of ignorance. – Sri Swami Sivananda
ATMAN-NIVEDANA – self-surrender
Atma Nivedana self-surrender is Absolute Love for God exclusively. There is nothing but God-consciousness in the devotee. Even against his own wishes, the devotee shall become one with God and lose his individuality. This is the law of being. The Highest Truth is Absoluteness and the soul rises above through different states of consciousness until it attains Absolute Perfection when it becomes identical with God. This is the culmination of all aspiration and love.
In Vishnu-Sahasranama it is said: The heart of one who has taken refuge in Vasudeva, who is wholly devoted to Vasudeva, gets entirely purified, and he attains Brahman, the Eternal.
The devotee offers everything to God, including his body, mind and soul. He keeps nothing for himself. He loses even his own self. He has no personal and independent existence. He has given up himself for God. He has become part and parcel of God. God takes care of him and God treats him as Himself. Grief and sorrow, pleasure and pain, the devotee treats as gifts sent by God and does not attach himself to them. He considers himself as a puppet of God and as an instrument in the hands of God. He does not feel egoistic, for he has no ego. His ego has gone over to God. It is not his duty to take care of his wife, children etc., for he himself has no independent existence apart from God. God will take care of all. He knows how to lead the world in the right path. One need not think that he is born to lead the world. God is there who will look to everything which man cannot even dream of. He has no sensual craving, for he has no body as it is offered to God. He does not love or adore his body for it is God’s business to see to it. He only feels the presence of God and nothing else. He is fearless, for God is helping him at all times. He has no enemy for he has given himself up to God who has no enemies or friends. He has no anxiety for he has attained everything by attaining the grace of God. He has not even the thought of salvation; rather he does not want salvation even, he merely wants God and nothing but God. He is satisfied with the love of God for by that there is nothing that is not attained. What is there to be attained, when God has sent His grace upon the devotee? The devotee does not want to become sugar but taste sugar. There is pleasure in tasting sugar, but not in becoming sugar itself. So the devotee feels that there is supreme joy more in loving God than becoming God. God shall take complete care of the devotee. I am Thine, says the devotee.
There are innumerable verses in the Bhagavadgita and the Bhagavata establishing the truth that self-surrender is the only way to attain the Supreme. Krishna teaches Arjuna that self-surrender, total and exclusive, alone can give him peace and relieve him from all sins.
One who studies the Bhagavadgita and the Srimad-Bhagavata will come to know what great importance is stressed upon total self-surrender. For self-surrender is the annihilation of individual consciousness and the attainment of Absolute Consciousness. This is equal to Nirvikalpa-Samadhi or Brahma-Sakshatkara. The devotee flies to the state of the highest Mahabhava and merges himself in God. The wave subsides in the ocean. The spark becomes one with fire. The ray is absorbed into the sun. The mind merges in the Atman. The individual loses himself in the Absolute. The devotee becomes one with God. Worldly consciousness vanishes into Universal Consciousness. Man becomes God and the mortal becomes Immortal.
Whatever belongs to God becomes the belonging of the highest devotee. All his sins are destroyed. He has no duties to perform. He is mere Apta-Kama or perfected soul. He is the most blessed. To him the whole world appears as mere Bliss. There is only the manifestation of Supreme Love.
The Gopis and Bali Chakravarti practised this love. The Gopis lost themselves in Krishna. Bali, the king, offered his self to the Lord. The Gopis lost themselves in God-consciousness and attained the Supreme.
Bhava or mental attitude is more important and not the object on which you meditate. – Sri Swami Sivananda