SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA's YOGA
SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA
THE GIANT MASTER
LIKE THIS IN THE FOLLOWING CHAPTERS WE WILL HAVE A LOOK AT THE SIVANANDA YOGA 's BASIS
THE EIGHT STEPS WHICH MAY LEAD ONE TO LIBERATION
SERVE LOVE GIVE PURIFY
DO GOOD BE GOOD
THE EIGHTEEN "ities" POWERFUL QUALITIES TO BE CULTIVATED TO IMPROVE OURSELVES
SERENITY - REGULARITY - ABSENCE OF VANITY
SINCERITY - SIMPLICITY - VERACITY
EQUANIMITY - FIXITY - NON IRRITABILITY
ADAPTABILITY - HUMILITY - TENACITY
INTEGRITY - NOBILITY - MAGNANIMITY
CHARITY - GENEROSITY - PURITY
Par isayunusemre le 9 August 2011 à 14:05
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
Par isayunusemre le 4 December 2011 à 20:42
What are these 18 "ities" ?
They are 18 qualities or virtues to be cultivated in the garden of our mind.
Because in yoga we can imagine that our mind is like a garden; for most of us we dont know what is in this garden, and what we oftenly see are the so-called bad sides of it. And if we try to eradicate those "bad sides" then we fail because we dont konw how to do it.
Actually those "bad sides" of our mind are like the weeds in the garden: the more we try to weed them the stronger they grow !
That is why instead of trying to get rid of our weeds, we are going to PLANT GOOD SEEDS, BEAUTIFTUL FLOWERS AND PLANTS , and in the course of time and patience one day there will be no weed anymore. All will have been replaced by wonderful colorful brillant flowers.
And in fact our mind is same a this garden.
The 18 "ities" are 18 seeds of beautiful plants and flowers.
Up to us to plant them, nurture them, look after them, to ultimately become a real Human being.
That is the advise of Sri Swami Sivananda to all spiritual aspirants.
Each month we can take up one "ity", and work on it.
Like this we will learn a lot about ourselves, about out moods, mind, characters, and we will see ourselves evolve in the course of time.
Thus here they are :
Isn't it difficult to be serene all time ?
In fact what does it mean .. to be "serene"?
Actually as long as we are identified with ego and its multi-faces .. we cannot live in serenity.. no way
But if we manage to be in union, in harmony with Atma, the soul, if we have this inner connection with our true being, then everything changes and whatever happens outside we stay in serenity inside.
So if we work with serenity during one month, observing the situations which trigger the lost of serenity, observing how sensitive we are to such and such event etc .. then we learn about our functionning and with time, patience and love, we may manage to establish in serenity.
According to the Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, regularity is one of the most important factor of the yoga practice.
Abhyasa: constant, regular practice which extands over a long period of time.
Only through abhyasa will the sadhana give fruits.
In addition, regular practices shows a stable and positive mind.
3. absence of vanity
Being neither over-confident, nor under-confident, actually having no vanity means simply being what we really are, which is not that easy however...
At first we should be sincere to ourselves. Then we should be sincere to those who are sincere with us.
Here again, being sincere meaning following the inner nature, not the conditionned mind...
Without trying to “show”, just be yourself.
Sister of sincerity, following our inner truth, being true to ourselves is the utmost condition to feel at peace inside.
In the last 4 ities – absence of vanity, sincerity, simplicity, veracity – we find a common idea :
Being just what we really are.
Is it so difficult?
This is what we shall discover when we work with the ities.
The situations in which we are ..more complicated than we thought .. and why ?
The situations where we actually “show” .. whereas it is absolutely unnecessary .. so why ?
The situations where it is so difficult to be really sincere... why ?
Why is it so difficult to be just what i am ?
The work with the ities brings light, remove the darkness which lies inside, thus allows us to become what we are.
Equanimity means to remain centered whatever happens, whatever the color of the experience, be it of pain or happiness.
Again to reach the state of equanimity the main point is to be connected with our inner nature, which knows neither temporary pain nor temporary happiness, but permanent contentement, bliss.
Fixity is the ability of the mind to stay focused on its goal, be it short term or long term goal.
In the todays world where millions of information fly from people to people in less than a second, where thousands of attractions of all sorts tend to grasp our minds and senses wherever we go whatever we do, fixity is very hard to maintain unless it is regularily cultivated with strong determination. Sankalpa is a very powerful tool to help cultivate fixity. And of course techniques of meditation. Learning the functionning of the mind is the only way to manage its control...
9. non irritability
What irritates me? Why does this man/woman irritates me ? why does this situation gets on my nerves suddenly?
Lets work one months with “non irritability” and learn about ourselves.. so as to become as tranquille as a calm lake in the mountains.
This is the quality of understanding well the nature of people with whom we come into contact and ajust our mode of approach to them, so as to be pleasing to them. In the spirit of Serving and Loving, accepting others as they are.
This applies to our actions as well as our speech and thoughts.
Additionnaly adaptability is also the quality to acquire so as to remain in “equanimity” whatever happens in our life.
If we see life as a boat and our journey in life as a travel in this boat, well when wind blows and the sea becomes more agitated and storm comes then the boat becomes to move in all directions...
If WE inside the boat, stay rigide then most probably the next coming wave will just push us into the sea ...
Whereas if we are flexible, ajust and adapt our body to the moving boat in the storm, then we are more likely to stay serene into the boat, cross the storm and continue the journey at peace...
“respect everybody, considere none as inferior to you” are the words of Sri Swami Sivananda.
“consideration is the key to respect and respect is the key to humility” are the words of Swami Niranjananda.
We should remember that humility is the very quality of our true nature.
Only ego wants to play bigger roles, show other faces, feel superior or whatsoever ...
Connect to humility and you will feel your true nature... simple and beautiful.
Sri Swami Sivananda:
“This is the natural friend of fixity.
Once you have fixed your aim and chosen your path, stick to it, do not waver, be steadfast.
Never compromise your fundamental principles.”
Tenacity goes with fixity and determination, and again sankalpa helps maintain the goal and meditation techniques will greately help to discover the mind tricks and manage them.
“Develop an integral personality, tie the loose ends of your character” says Sri Swami Sivananda.
Our acts should be the reflection of our thoughts and inner feelings.
As Swami Niranjan says:
“Yoga brings harmony between hands, head, and heart”
Once this harmony, this union is achieved there is integrity, hands (body), head (mind) and heart (souls) are together dancing the dance of life.
Yet non- integrity makes us live a life which is not in agreement with our inner wishes, inner inclinations.. and thus creates imbalance leading often to disease...
“Never look into the defects of others, always appreciate the good qualities of everyone.
Never stoop into ignoble thoughts, words or actions. Be dignified in bearing.”
By doing so not only we keep the contact with our inner soul, our inner nature, but also we awaken this energy in others, we awaken positivity in others and create good energy which will benefit to others.
Keeping the connection to the goal, and having high goal.
Avoiding silly talks and childish prattles, not letting the mind dwell on little and insignificant things.
Taking a broad view of things and ignoring the faults of others.
Being great and noble- minded in whatever we do.
“Give, give and give. This is the secret of abundance. Radiate thoughts of goodness and love. Forgive the faults of others. Bless the man who injures you. Share what you have with others. Disseminate spiritual knowledge to one and all. Use the material wealth, knowledge and spiritual wisdom that you possess as a divine trust.” Sri Swami Sivananda
In whatever you give be liberal. Have a large heart. Do not be miserly. Take delight in the joy of others, in making them happy. Generosity is a sister-virtue of charity. It is the fulfilment of charity, magnanimity and nobility.
“Be pure at heart. Eradicate lust, anger and greed. Be pure in your thoughts. Think of the well-being of all. Be pure in your words; never utter harsh, unkind words. Be pure in body. Keep it clean and healthy. Let the dress and surroundings be clean. Observe the rules of physical, moral and spiritual hygiene.” Sri Swami Sivananda.
Purity corresponds to the yama “saucha”.
Again if we keep the connection to our inner nature which is connected to the whole thus to all around us, then purity becomes a must.
If i am not clean in my own being, not only it brings negative energy to me but also it affects others negatively.
If i am clean in my own being, then it affects not only me but others and the whole positively.
Hari om tat sat
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