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Sivananda Yoga FAQ

Q 1: The Atman is different from the body and is not affected by the latter’s doings. The body is reborn a number of times according to its Karma and goes through life and death as per the Supreme Will. If this is so, then who goes to hell or heaven?

A:. The real experiencer of anything, in an individualistic way, is neither the Self nor the physical body. It is the mind that is the Centre of individuality, that individualizes and imprisons a ray of the Atman in what is called the individual soul. And it is this mind, as embodied in the subtle body, that undergoes the pleasure of heaven or the pains of hell, or for that matter, any experience through a gross or a subtle body. The mind appears to have consciousness on account of there being a ray of the Atman in it, in the form of a reflection, very much limited by its own constitution. Hence it will be clear that the individuality of a person is as much real or unreal as a reflection of a real object. Though everything happens according to the Supreme Will, the Karma of the individual determines the form or shape of the experience that is to be had under the dispensation of this Will. It is not the Atman or the body that has any type of relative experience, though the body is a gross means of experience; it is the mind that has all this.

Q 2: Would there be world peace if there were no politicians?

A: World peace would not depend upon the existence or non-existence of politicians, if only people, individually and collectively, understand and live up to the canons of perfect righteousness, wisdom, truth and justice. As long as people do not rise to this level, ‘politicians’, which is only a name for those who are in charge of the administration, will continue to be actuated by their selfishness and greed and will accordingly ride roughshod over the feelings and sufferings of millions and will go on embarking on wars however destructive they may be in general.

Q 3: In our quest for Truth, Swamiji, I can understand that great Saviours, like Jesus, Krishna and Buddha can help us. But are such souls always present amongst us? What are we to do, Swamiji?

A: Saints are always present in the world. Rogues are also always present. Saviours and dacoits are ever present in the world, for it is a world of dualities. Good and evil are ever present here. Absolute good can be found only in God. You should get the guidance of saints. Only they can teach you the Brahma Vidya. Books will certainly help you. They will put you in tune with the great ones. When you read the Bible, you are in tune with Lord Jesus. When you read the Gita, you are in tune with Lord Krishna. This also will help you. But, just as you cannot learn cooking from books, you cannot also learn Yoga from books alone. But, you should not indefinitely wait for a teacher to turn up; when the aspiration arises in your heart, you should at once start the practice with the help of some scriptural text your mind likes the most.

God is sweeter than the sweetest thing. He is All-milk, All-love, All-sweetness. He is the in-flowing honey and nectar. – Sri Swami Sivananda

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Spiritual Calendar


06 Ekadasi
08 Swami Sivananda’s Birthday
08 Onam
10 Full Moon
21 Ekadasi
25 New Moon
26 Navaratri begins (26th Sept to 4th Oct)
30 Ganesha Chathurthi


04  Vijaya Dasami
05  Ekadasi
06  Navarathri Starts
09 Full Moon
20 Ekadasi
24 New Moon

If you exist, God also exists. – Sri Swami Sivananda


MAHATMYA – greatness; glorious acts; of glories

The Devi-Mahatmya which, in a majestic poetry in Sanskrit, describes the Epic of the march of the human soul to its destination, The realization of this freedom is the dramatic aspect of the great worship of the Divine Mother during the nine days of Navaratri.

The Gītā Māhātmyam sings the divine glories of Śrīmad Bhagavad. This verse is recited at the conclusion of the daily reading of the Bhagavad Gita.

Worldly life is Apurna (incomplete). It is finite, imperfect, limited. It is full of weaknesses, pains, sorrows, disease. – Sri Swami Sivananda