Acting on Intuition

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

There comes a certain moment in the life of a businessman when an idea or a sequence of thoughts flashes through his mind. Often that idea becomes the basis for his later success and leadership within society and his business. The idea which flashes across the mind could be called intuition. If you are a businessman and I am a sannyasin, it is not just the hard work within our respective fields which ultimately gives a success, but it is the intuitive idea that flashed across the mind and upon which you started your business and I my mission.

Flash of light

I knew Vedanta well and had a thorough knowledge of the systems of monism, which go back to the intuitive areas of the mind. I understand Sanskrit today much better than English. In Rishikesh, yoga had not captured my attention. I studied the vedantic texts of Adi Shankaracharya, Ramanuja and Madhawacharya. Volumes and volumes I swallowed, but I read only a few yoga texts. Suddenly an idea flashed across my mind; a spontaneous, yet emphatic and clear idea, like an inspiration. That flash was yoga, and from that day on I based all my activities on yoga.

For this flash of light or intuitive realization to occur, there should come a moment in life, when through introspection, things become clear and definite in the mind without any conflict at all. This holds true for a businessman and a swami.

In moments of introspection, light flashes through the mind, the light of idea and revelation. The person makes decisions, knows how to work and acts rationally on the basis of intuition.

It is only an achievement, but I can say that what I wanted to do was worthwhile even though it has taken me all my life to achieve it. I have not yet achieved everything, but achieving it will prove the worthiness of my ambitions. If I do not achieve it, people will say that it was an empty dream and they knew from the beginning that it was not possible.


Failure makes even the most worthwhile dream seem empty. If a thought and dream has been an intuition, if it came like a lightening idea, it is bound to come to fructification. No power can stop i,t for this flash of light comes only when destiny has made all arrangements.

I changed my profession and area of business. I am using the word business. I am not at all a yoga teacher and didn't know anything about yoga. I practiced hatha yoga in 1956 and 1957, but I became a swami in 1943. Twelve years later I knew about yoga. I practiced hatha yoga when I was in Munger. I had to change the language and even the spiritual goal in order to propagate yoga to people.

It was so difficult for me because the idea came with such gusto, such a flash of light. It became almost a mania. For a few months people who knew me said, "What has happened? What is he talking about? What yoga? Is he talking about witchcraft?" At that time people had peculiar ideas about yoga.

Destiny had made all arrangements. Destiny might be called the cosmic law which has been formed in the minds of people who began to change. Today people practice yoga and are interested in yoga. That arrangement was made by a cosmic law.

An idea flashes through the mind when destiny has made all arrangements. It can happen to anyone, to a businessman, professor or research scholar. Albert Schweitzer had to change his profession. He was a musician, an organist in the church, but then he went to medical school and started working. His whole lifestyle changed.

One has to change in the world when an idea comes and the death of the mind occurs. It is so overwhelming, so impressive, so enlightening and it is the way of the mind. At other times, one has to use the rational systems of thought. Intuition and rational matters are not contradictory to each other. Intuition is the basis and the rational mind does the work on that basis.

Need for yoga

Intuition is a lightening flash which creates a potential instantaneously. One sees with the mind's eye that this is what can happen and what has to be done. The second part is building a solid foundation by rationalizing the ideal. The intuition and ideals are there, but then comes the problem of finding a way to realize it. The success is delayed for one does not possess the right skills.

The problem has to be tackled properly. The source must be found which can help one to overcome deficiencies and create conditions which give the skills necessary for success. Here everyone comes up against a stone wall. In situations like this the remedy is yoga.

The aspirants will see how yoga is able to create a potential, procedure and the means; all three are correlated factors. The aspirants must find people who have the same inclination, intention and aptitude. It is important to be not just a dry businessman, but one who practices yoga and is able to study the minds of his opponents.

October 1980, India