Towards a Better World

From Yoga: The 2nd Chapter, Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

The culture that we wish to see in our children is the culture that we have to imbibe today and work to propagate. That is the subject of the second chapter of yoga as well. Swami Satyananda used to say, “You cannot isolate yourself in an air-conditioned room while the raging fire outside is burning everything in its path. You cannot think, ‘I am safe in my cool house.’ The fire will come, envelop the air-conditioned house and burn it down as well.”

One has to work towards creating positivity and goodness, otherwise the human race will be held responsible for creating an environment where a disconnection from human culture and human effort to achieve the best has taken place. Today, achieving the best is conceived as pushing oneself forward by pulling others down, whereas only in the last generation it meant carrying everybody forward with you.

Once a traveler went to a remote place in Africa. He saw children playing in a field there and he thought of giving these poor children something to eat. So he placed some fruits in one corner of the field and told the children, “Look, there are some fruits there, you can run over and eat them.” The children started to run. When they were halfway there, one small child fell down and started to cry. The other children were running, some were almost at the goal. They all stopped. Some had the fruit close at hand; they could have just reached out and grabbed whatever they wanted. But, they all stopped, came back to the fallen and hurt child, lifted him up, and moved together as one to the fruit plates.

That is the meaning of coming together and moving together. That is the meaning of support and growth. Everybody in the spirit of atmabhava, the sense of unity and oneness, supports the community and there is no craving for personal gratification. Of course there is no denying personal gratification, but there is no craving, only awareness and restraint, sanyam.

These are the understandings, in terms of lifestyle and sadhana, that have to now develop in yoga; not only how we can best learn, practise and teach, but also what aspects of culture we can give to the future generations by first imbibing them ourselves and then propagating them. This is one contribution every spiritual-minded person must make for the betterment of the global human society.