01 THE EIGHT STEPS : SERVE - LOVE - GIVE ....
The first base of the Sivananda Yoga is like for many other yogas, the Patanjali Yoga Sutras and the eight steps of the Patanjali Yoga:
YAMAS – NIYAMAS – ASANAS – PRANAYAMA –
PRATYAHARA - DHARANA – DHYANA - SAMADHI
These steps constitute the base of the RAJA YOGA or PATANJALI YOGA which is explained in another chapter.
What is important to signify here is that this yoga represent a personal sadhana for the yogi to purify him-herself, transform his-her gross nature into his-her true nature, actually to become what he-she really is.
This path is thus relatively self-centered, it is a preparatory path which include self discoveries and progressive transformation which will enable further spiritual evolution.
The eighth step in the Patanjali Yoga is : SAMADHI
But what is Samadhi?
What does it mean to get there?
Do we necesseraly get there ?
Do we have to stop after having attained samadhi ?
And then ? what happens after ?
So, many questions raised to which Sri Swami Sivanandaji gave not only answers but tools to manage our sadhanas so that they become not only self-centered but open to the world for the benefit of other people.
Actually it is almost impossible to talk about Samadhi which is a very high experience of consciousness which neither words nor thoughts can describe.
In a very brief and uncomplete summary we can say that the yogi’s individual consciousness at this stage comes into contact, merges with the Cosmic Consciousness, experiencing Oneness, allowing a huge opening, new perceptions, new vision of the Universe.
What has to be remembered here is that after such an experience one is definetely not the same as before. And the purpose of one’s life will thus necessarily broaden, expand for the benefit of others.
Experiencing Oneness really means that one experience that “you are me” and “i am you” and “they are also me” and “i am also these people”
It means that at a certain level of consciousness “WE ARE ALL ONE”
And these are not merely words, with yoga it becomes EXPERIENCE.
The implications of such an experience come naturally:
Can we continue to harm other people- be it only in thought ?
Can we accept that other people harm others ?
Can we look at people craving, suffering without acting, without trying to help?
Of course not...
So that is where the following steps given by Sri Swami Sivananda come into play as a very logical continuation of the yogic sadhana, where the inner flower flourishes for the benefit of many…
They will allow us to give to the world and to other people what we have gained throught our personal experience in yoga, they will allow our unfolded TRUE nature to benefit to many.
First step : SERVE
As we have acquained an equal vision over all people, we are able to HELP and SERVE all people without any distinction or discrimination.
This service is SELFLESS service, meaning that it is totally dedicated to the people which we help, considering their very situation and needs, and at no point centered on our own ego or satisfaction or reward.
***** little story to illustrate this point: ********************************
A young girl had just come out from a social gathering where she had been told to do a “good action”.. So on her way back home she wonders what she could do as a “good action” when she sees on the sidewalk a blind man waiting, immobile with his white stick.
Immediately she thinks that the man is waiting for help to cross the street and runs to him, takes him by the hand and helps him to cross the street with great gentleness !
The man did not even have time to tell her anything… and found himself on the other sidewalk….
And he is probably still on this sidewalk .. waiting for someone to help him cross again the street !!!! Because he had absolutely NO intention to cross the street, he was just waiting for a friend to pick him up.
So Selfless service means that we serve according to the NEEDS of others, and not according to our own desire of serving this or that way …
Selfless service means to help other people come out of their suffering, be it at physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual level.
As a consequence we inspire other to grow, and by doing so LOVE builds up
Second step : LOVE
Love builds up naturally in the process of spiritual growth.
This love is UNCONDITIONNAL LOVE
It manifests spontaneously and gradually along such experiences.
Oneness brings Love, Service brings Love, gradually we come to see ourselves in every being, gradually we come to see everyone in ourselves.
And the more we serve, the more love builds up, like a candle in our heart which radiates all around and attracts more and more people.
“If i see myself in you, If i see you in myself, then Whom do I love?”
This is the concept of Universal LOVE according to Paramahamsa Niranjanananda.
This is the TRUE UNCONDITIONNAL LOVE experienced and given by all the great saints and masters like Mevlana, Amma, and so many others...
The more we connect with this Unconditionnal Love the more we can experience ONENESS…
Third step : GIVE
Because proper Giving is an ART. (see “the art of Giving” by Simon Eugéne – wonderful movie about Rikhia and Sivananda Math)
Giving is an art in that that it should not involve our ego, any personal benefit.
Giving means helping others to manage their lacks or emptinesses, and moreover to help them go beyond their lacks, to provide them the means so that the lacks themselves vanish.
When we are established in true unconditional LOVE then GIVING comes also naturally and in the good manner.
As a Chinese saying says:
“Dont give fish to people, teach them to fish”
Here again, the ART of GIVING should aim only at rendering people to whom we give, more and more independant and able to live as real human beings.
Fourth step : PURIFY
Actually all the previous steps acts as a very purification.
Our body gets purified by the act of loving, serving, giving,
We have appropriate behaviours.
Our minds gets purified by the thoughts of love, service, offering
We have appropriate thoughts and emotions.
Thus Spirit get purified established in SATTWA, purity.
Purification in that way happens by itself.
Hands, Head, Heart beome unified and act together with only one focus: The upliftment of others.
Like this the four first steps of Sivananda Yoga are LIVING EXPRESSIONS of the Sivananda Yogic Life Style
Fifth step : DO GOOD
This step is actually contained in the four previous ones… As the sensation of oneness is established, we cannot do anything else than GOOD. And if sometimes we fail, then we start again !
Sixth step: BE GOOD
Likewise, the process of transformation has taken place with the inner and outer work, cultivating the “ities”, serving, loving, giving, purifying…
Our Hands Head and Heart are aligned, work together, meaning that what we do with our hands (physical body) and with our head (mental body- mind) is aligned with what is in our heart (spiritual body- soul).
That way we are fully united with all our potential of true human being and are able to naturally dedicate our life for the upliftment of others.
Seventh step: MEDITATE
Having purified the body,
Having purified the mind,
Having harmonised body, mind and spirit,
We may attain proper states of true meditation,
SILENCE where TRUTH lies.
This is the way to the CONNECTION to ALL BEING.
This is the only true way to live in alignement with the Cosmic Soul, or Cosmic Consciousness.
This is the only way to attain pure happiness and be able to SHARE this happiness with others.
Eighth step : REALISE
There one becomes simply ONE with the WHOLE.
There is nothing more to say about it.
It has to be experienced.
SERVE - LOVE - GIVE - PURIFY – DO GOOD - BE GOOD – MEDITATE – REALISE
HARI OM TAT SAT
Tags: give, serve, love, purify,