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    Some Questions Answered

    Q. 1. In practice, during concentration, the mind plays havoc in spite of repeatedly bringing it to the focal point. Would you please suggest how to get more steady.

    A. Only two suggestions. In spite of the mind playing havoc and in spite of its going away repeatedly from the centre, do not give up your practice. Go on—continue, continue, continue. Do not struggle with it, do not lose your temper, do not become upset, do not become angry or irritated. Patiently, without losing your balance, bring it back again and keep it on the focal point. That is the only way. And ultimately it will succeed. That is what they say.

    Secondly, try to analyse your mind-wanderings—where does the mind fly, where does it jump. Then you will be able to know what is the cause behind its behaviour. There must be some working desire, working ambition; or may be, you are having in your daily life certain practices which help in constantly making the mind bring out those ideas. Supposing you read political news daily. Indira Gandhi will come there, Afghanistan will come and some other thing will come, because you are providing material to the mind for this jumping about, this Vikshepa. You may be listening to the radio; you may be reading novels; or you may be going in the company of people who always gossip and talk all sorts of things. Naturally, these manifold ideas keep troubling you in your mind. You are giving Samagri every day. Then, how will Vikshepa stop? You have to withdraw the fuel. You must try to find out what factors exist in your life-style, in your outer activities and environment, that may possibly be a likely source for these things. You must find out the causes contributing to these things. You must make a frank appraisal and analysis of your own daily life and activity, and if you find that there are certain factors that are likely to contribute towards this sort of restlessness and wandering, you have to eliminate those factors if you want to concentrate successfully.

    So, these two things you have to do. Do not give up the effort. Keep up the effort with all patience, and persistence, with a “bulldog tenacity”. Gurudev was fond of using this expression. It is a popular belief that there is a breed of English dogs called bulldogs. They say that the bulldog is not very, very aggressive, but if it bites some person, afterwards it will not let go. It is very difficult to make it let go. Once it bites, it will not let go. No matter how much you may struggle, it will not let go. The owner may have to come and use some special method to make the bulldog open its mouth. Otherwise, it will not let go. So, this expression “bulldog tenacity” has come into vogue. And Gurudev was very fond of this expression. So, find out the causative factors of your mental distractions and try to remove those factors from your life and do not give up the effort. Be patient and carry on.

    Q. 2. Control of senses, rather than withdrawal, while living in the midst of activities in the world, is not easy. Does it mean that one has to be in awareness of the Inner Reality at every moment and one has to be watchful of one’s thoughts, words and actions every moment?

    A. I have given a detailed answer to this question in the chapters dealing with Pratyahara. So, there is not much to say in addition. Let the eye see something, but you do not look. Let the ear hear something, but you do not listen. Do not pay attention to that process which the sense is engaging in. Try to withdraw yourself from the inevitable activity of the senses. You cannot completely change the nature of the senses. The eyes will see, the ears will hear, the skin will touch, the nose will smell and tongue will taste, whether you want it or not. That is their Dharma. They will go on with their perceptions. But you try not to associate yourself too much with them in a personal way; try to stand apart from them. Control of senses does imply withdrawal. Withdrawal and control of senses cannot be treated as separate. They go together and constant awareness of your inner Self helps you in this process of withdrawal of the mind and control of the senses. That is the truth. Watchfulness should be there. You have to be vigilant, you have to be watchful. All these are complementary processes.

    Q. 3. Kindly let us know why Maharshi Patanjali made no mention of Kundalini in his Raja Yoga. We read in many books regarding Kundalini. Is it that this topic has come up subsequent to Patanjali? Is it possible for those whose Kundalini has not awakened to see steady light during meditation?

    A. Patanjali has not completely ignored Kundalini. He has touched upon certain aspects of Kundalini Yoga in describing different types of concentration. Concentration upon the inner Chakras has also be casually hinted at in Raja Yoga. But, the reason why Patanjali does not make mention of Kundalini is because Raja Yoga is essentially a Yoga of mental discipline. Raja Yoga is the inner Yoga of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi; and it is concerned mainly in training the mind, in disciplining the mind, to become a powerful instrument to pierce beyond the veil of creativity and duality and go into the realm of non-dual consciousness, of absolute consciousness. This is the whole attempt of Raja Yoga. And Patanjali is not try to do it through the power of the Kundalini; he is trying to do it through the power of a purified and concentrated mind. As such, he has no need to make a mention about Kundalini. And so he does not mention Kundalini. Patanjali’s instrument is not Shakti. His instrument is the concentrated mind. That is the reason. Kundalini Yoga is Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga is Kundalini Yoga. The name “Hatha Yoga” does not imply merely Asanas and Pranayamas. Hatha Yoga, properly interpreted, is actually Kundalini Yoga. Hatha Yoga is the process or technique of controlling the solar and the lunar Pranic currents, the right and left Pranic currents, and uniting them through various Bandhas, and taking the unified Pranic current towards the Muladhara Chakra at the base of the spine, and through various Bandhas and various Pranayamas, trying to make this united Prana that is now directed powerfully towards the base of the spine to somehow or the other activate the sleeping power of Kundalini; and, as a further step, even trying to gradually force the Kundalini through the central channel of the Sushumna Nadi. So, Hatha Yoga is a very, very scientific and exact process. It is a different technique altogether. It is treated in Siva Samhita, Gheranda Samhita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika and such other texts. To some extent, Jnanesvar also, in his commentary on the Sixth Chapter of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, brings in these techniques. But, Patanjali, in his Raja Yoga, does not mention about Kundalini, because Raja Yoga has no concern with Kundalini. Its main approach, main technique, is to bring about the higher superconscious state through meditation, through the power of the concentrated mind, and not through the force of the occult sleeping power.

    Q. 4. What is the comparative difference between Raja Yoga and Siddha Yoga which was practised and preached by Paramahamsa Muktananda at Ganeshpuri? Is it possible for a common meditator to get his Kundalini power awakened without practising Asanas and Pranayamas?

    A. It is not possible for a common meditator to get his Kundalini awakened without practising Asanas and Pranayamas if his path is Hatha Yoga. But if his path is Raja Yoga or Jnana Yoga or Bhakti Yoga, it is possible for a common meditator to awaken the Kundalini Power without any Asana and without any Pranayama. Kundalini can be awakened even through the power of the previous Samskaras and Vasanas. There can be spontaneous awakening of Kundalini, there can be a spontaneous trance, though that is a rare phenomenon, though that is an exception. But for a normal Yogi, if he is following the path of Hatha Yoga, Asanas and Pranayamas are indispensable; otherwise he cannot awaken the Kundalini. But, if he is not practising the path of Hatha Yoga, and if he is practising the Sadhana of Bhakti Yoga or Raja Yoga or Jnana Yoga, Kundalini becomes automatically awakened when he attains a certain state of purity and concentration. The awakening of the Kundalini is the outcome or the result of attaining a state of very high purity in one’s life and in one’s concentration of mind. If these two things are there, whether it is achieved through Vedanta or Bhakti Yoga or Raja Yoga, Kundalini awakening follows as a matter of course. The difference between Siddha Yoga and Raja Yoga is that in Raja Yoga the seeker develops his powers by self-effort, while in Siddha Yoga this power is imparted by his Guru through a traditional process which they call Shakti Paat. They call it the transmission of power by the Guru to the Sishya.

    Q. 5. When I will be leaving the Sivananda Ashram, it will be to return to society and worldly life. But in doing that, I do not want to lose, forget, disregard, displace what I have got from the Divine Life Society. I really want to preserve and carry on with what I feel I have started with here in the Ashram. What is the trick?

    A. The trick is to have a couple of periods every day, morning and evening—very early in the morning and late in the evening—when, mentally and through feeling, you transport yourself from wherever you are to Rishikesh. Re-create Rishikesh in your mind, re-create this environment, re-create Ganga, re-create this beautiful surrounding, and plunge in it, remain in it for half an hour with vividness and intensity. Begin the day by coming to Rishikesh, remaining for half an hour in Rishikesh and then getting up and going into your city surroundings. And while you are in the social milieu, try to keep a little golden thread as a subtle, unseen undercurrent of the Rishikesh Bhava, the Yoga Bhava, and carry with you this golden thread of undercurrent, of Bhava, right up to the end of your day. And when, at the end of the day, all is over, shed the dross of the world just as a duck shakes its back and sheds all the water. And then, once again go into silence, go into serenity, go into an absolute state of profound inner meditation and there transport yourself to Rishikesh. Drop the feeling of the worldly environment and get into the surrounding of a powerful spiritual feeling. Remain in that current for half an hour. So, that is one thing. And whatever spiritual principles and Yogic rules you have obtained here in the Ashram, try to see that you keep on applying those principles, day after day, in all fields of activity, in the context of all human relationships, in the context of the social milieu in which you may live and work. If you do these two things, the trick will work. And after a year, come back for a brief visit again, may be for a month or two.

    Q. 6. How to do cent per cent Karma Yoga?

    A. Have intense love for Karma Yoga. That is the first essential. Have intense love for Karma Yoga and have a burning desire to serve all creatures. And then, have a desire to please God or worship the Divine through your service. Regard your Karma Yoga service also a medium or as a means of pleasing God, of worshipping God. And when you do Karma Yoga, keep your ego aside. Do you think that you are a very fine idealistic person doing Karma Yoga. Do not feel satisfaction with yourself and pat yourself on the back, “Ah, very good. Well done”. Do not have that attitude. On the contrary, feel that you are greatly privileged to have the opportunity of elevating yourself spiritually through Karma Yoga. Thank God for that opportunity. And go on thanking God for every such opportunity. Do not feel elated or proud. Have humility; have the right perspective and approach to Karma Yoga. Have egolessness. Feel: “I am not doing anything; God is using me as an instrument to help His own creatures. He is the Father, Mother. He wants to help them all. So, He is only taking hold of me, and through me, He is helping them. I am only an instrument, I am nothing. This Karma Yoga is not mine”. That is how you should feel all the time. So, do not take upon yourself any credit for what you do. Whatever credit is there belongs to God.

    Also—and this is very important—during the course of Karma Yoga, beware that you do not get attached to those whom you serve. Otherwise, you will have a downfall. Do not develop attachment by too much personal contact. Because, some forms of Karma Yoga may bring you into too much personal contact, into close personal contact, with the people whom you may be serving, and that will create entanglement afterwards. You must be careful. If the person whom you serve is of the right type, it does not matter. If you serve a great saint, and if you get attached to him, then it is all right; that attachment will liberate you. But, if yours is the ordinary field of service of Karma Yoga, social service, then it is a great danger. Too much close familiarity with the people whom you serve may bring about sentimental ties of affection and emotion. That may land you in problems afterwards. So, you have to beware. A Karma Yogi should always have inner Nirliptata. He must always have Anasakti. Karma Yoga is Anasakti Yoga. If you are not able to keep yourself detached, you are heading for disaster. Therefore, be alert and vigilant. Be kind and compassionate, but see that there is no Mamata or mine-ness. See that there is no Maya coming in. Daya is all right, but not Maya.

    And then, if you are engaged in Karma Yoga, be careful to see if in the mind there is any lurking desire for recognition, for approval, for name and fame. See if there is any desire to make use of Karma Yoga for obtaining some personal gains or benefits. This is a common failure of all Karma Yogins. It is because of this danger that some people in the Swaminarayan Sect, when they go to serve in the villages, are very strict with themselves. They go to the villages in the morning, serve till evening, and then get back to their own place. They carry their own rations, they carry their own water. They will not accept anything from the villagers whom they serve, not even food. No. They carry their own rations and they will eat that and serve. Even when they need to rest, they will rest either in the village temple or the verandah of the village school or the village Panchayat house. They will not approach any householder and ask, “May I rest in your house?”. No. The temple is a common place. So is the village school and the village Panchayat building. There they will rest. They will keep very, very careful not to get involved with anyone in terms of sentimental attachment.

    In cent per cent Karma Yoga, there should be no Kartritva Abhimana, there should be no Ahambhava, there should be no desire or Asha. Then it will be Nishkamya Karma Yoga. And, last but not the least, it should be remembered that tempers should be kept. In the heat of activity, one loses one’s temper. This is a common failing in all activities. All Vyavahara is characterised by blemish if you lose your temper. And if someone helps you in your Karma Yoga activity, you are pleased with that person and you get attached to that person. If someone hinders your Karma Yoga activity by coming in the way, he becomes your enemy. You develop hard feelings, ill feelings, towards that person. This should be avoided. There should be no Raga-Dvesha in Karma Yoga. Your Karma Yoga should be Raga-Dvesha Rahita. It should be Abhimana-Shunya. It should be Nissvartha. Nishkama. And you should have the spiritual vision in doing Karma Yoga and you should actually worship the Eternal Divine enshrined in all the creatures whom you may be serving—why, in all the creatures in the universe. You should have this higher vision and this higher Bhava.

    Q. 7. Can we not get Self-realisation without attaining Samadhi?

    A. Do not bother about it. Try to attain Self-realisation. Do not bother about Samadhi. If you keenly long for Self-realisation and do all the needful Sadhana, you will get it, with Samadhi or without Samadhi. So, do not bother about Samadhi. In the same way, you can ask: “I am hungry. Someone is giving me meals. Can I fill my stomach without swallowing?” Swallowing is a way to send the food in. So, if you put the food in your mouth and nicely chew it, without your knowledge it will get swallowed. You do not have to bother about it. You do not have to make a special effort to do it. Samadhi is like that. Aspire for Self-realisation and do all the Sadhanas and do not worry about whether you will get Self-realisation with or without Samadhi. You do not have to practise Samadhi. It will come.

    Q. 8. What is the necessity at all of doing good to others?

    A. The necessity is that by doing good to others your mind is taken away from your petty self. Otherwise, man is self-centred. Otherwise, man is always selfish, man is Svarthi. He always thinks only of himself; he lives only in terms of himself. So, all his activities are self-centred activities and this is a great bondage. It is this which is the centre of all friction and disharmony and discord and delusion. So, in order to take your mind away from yourself, away from your little self, you have to think of others and try to do good to others. Secondly, when you try to do good to others, you gradually begin to feel oneness. You begin to feel: “Oh! That being and I are the same”. Thirdly, doing good to others in a selfless way purifies your heart and mind, increases Sattva, removes Rajas and Tamas. It thins out selfishness and the ego. Doing good to others is the most important means of attaining purity, is the most important means of ridding yourself of selfishness.

    Q. 9. How to make a self-examination about the unselfishness of one’s actions?

    A. In the evening, after having done the day’s work, sit aside for fifteen or twenty minutes and recollect what all actions you had engaged in from morning till evening. Recollect what all you did, how you did it, why you did it. Ask the question, “Why?”. What was your ultimate object in doing every action? Was it only to help someone else? Was it only to fulfil your duty, only to discharge your obligations, only to obey orders? Or, was there some other thing also? What was your inner feeling when you engaged in each action? This kind of recollection and self-analysis is known as introspection. Daily introspection is very necessary for the spiritual seeker. For this purpose, set apart a certain time in the evening, sit and review the whole day’s activity and try to go into its inner contents.

    Q. 10. In meditation, when you concentrate on an object, do you try to see the object in your mind, or do you think of it and eventually you see it?

    A. You do both. You have to do both. You have to think of the object in your mind and try to see it also simultaneously while thinking of it. And then, this dual process ultimately enables your concentrated object to appear before you.

    Q. 11. Are there any books the study of which will be helpful in keeping up unbroken Brahmacharya?

    A. Yes, there is a special book called “Practice of Brahmacharya” by Swami Sivananda. Try to study it and practise the teachings contained therein scrupulously. You will succeed.

    Q. 12. How to give up sense longings?

    A. By trying. By developing intense longing for God or Self-realisation and also through Satsangh and Vichara. When you long for things, bring those objects before the keen scrutiny of Vichara and Viveka. When you do Vichara and exercise Viveka, then you will suddenly understand, “Oh, this longing is foolish; this thing is of no use. It is only a passing problem”. When you say that, then your whole attitude changes; your longing goes away. But, if you begin to think that the sense-objects are desirable, that they are very nice, that they will bring you happiness, then you develop longing. So, you have to keep up Vichara and Viveka throughout. And Vichara and Viveka develop and gather strength by constant Svadhyaya and Satsangha. And all these induce an intense longing for God which displaces all worldly longings. So, that is the way. Hari Om Tat Sat.

    Philosophy, Phychology and Practice of Yoga -- | Preface | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 |17 | 18 | 19

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