Sutra of Happiness

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

According to the environment, you live a certain lifestyle. There is an ashram lifestyle and routine and a lifestyle you live outside the ashram environment. You lead a natural life outside, but for the duration of your stay, you have adjusted to the ashram. This is an achievement. It is an indication that you are willing to adjust and refine yourself in life.

Yoga and mental attitude

Yoga is one thing and managing life is something else. Yoga begins in the form of practice: asana, pranayama, mudra, bandha, shatkarma, and so on. That is what you practice at home, as part of your routine, which may also include mantra and meditation, and other forms of pratyahara and dharana techniques. However, the practice of yoga in itself is not enough to give you the ability to adjust in life. For that you have to consciously fine-tune your mental attitudes.

The fine-tuning of mental attitude has to begin with awareness, asking yourself, "Where am I at present?" Then the understanding has to develop, "How do I adjust and how do I become happy in the present moment?" With these two thoughts in mind, you can fine-tune your attitude. As a student of yoga, I believe that you are in a position to recognize and realize this concept – recognizing the present and knowing what you can do to be happy in that present.

Sutra of happiness

The fine-tuning of attitudes begins from this point onwards. You have to be alert and aware enough to see the wide variety of attitudes that you express in daily life. You have to be open enough to realize, recognize and modify these attitudes. This is not a matter of experimentation. No. When you take a bath, you don't experiment; you know you will get wet. That is the reality. In the same manner, changing your attitude to adjust to the outside environment is also a reality.

For those who come from the outside environment to the ashram environment, it is a reality. For those who adopt sannyasa, it is also a reality. At every stage, it is the component of mind which has to be managed in the right perspective and with the right attitude.

This is the sutra of happiness which is the sutra of success. The entire journey of life depends on this ability, not on anything else, not on creativity and not on calmness of mind. The life journey, from birth to death, from childhood to old age, with the success and failure of life, ultimately is the outcome of the management of one's attitudes. That's all. A student of yoga keeps this in mind, for if you adhere to it, you can go far in life, externally and internally. It will be an inspiration to others.

With the change of attitude, you will begin to live the precepts of Swami Sivananda, where your participation in the world will be seen as service; where your interaction with other people will be seen as an expression of compassion and love; where your attempt to reach out to other people will be seen as an effort to give; where your attempt to identify with the present will be seen as the attempt to purify and to get rid of the excess baggage that we all carry. In this manner, with the change of attitude, you will be living the precepts of Swami Sivananda and that will enrich your spiritual life.

—3 May 2005, Satsang with children of Sivananda Balakashram, Bhuj, Gujarat