Can an aspirant have the same spiritual experiences as Sri Swami Satyananda?
We all are of a different brand like the cars on the road. Some are expensive like Mercedes and Alfa Romeo; some are accessible and some are low-cost cars. In the same way, we all are branded. We are not one and the same. No two people in the world are one and the same.
Our brand of life indicates how we function, how we think, believe, perform, live, act and respond. Our mind set, nature, personality, belief, everything is contained in the brand to which we belong. Therefore, the level of experience, the type and the quality of experience is different.
Why say Swami Satyananda, why not anyone of that stature, in the past or present? Has anybody come to the stature of Jesus, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Teresa of Avila, Ramana Maharishi, Yogananda, Vivekananda or Swami Sivananda?
Nobody has come to the level where masters have lived. If you come to that level, you will become the master. Therefore, if you are seeking the same experience as Swami Satyananda, find out if you are of the same brand. If you are, then it is possible.
If you are, then through sadhana you can come to the same point as Swami Satyananda, Swami Sivananda, Swami Yogananda or Swami Vivekananda. A Mercedes can compete with a Mercedes, a Toyota can compete with a Toyota, an Ambassador can compete with an Ambassador; it is as simple as that.
If you think that you are of the same stature as Christ and that through your determined effort you can have the same experience, you will become the master yourself.
We all have our own samskaras, our own karmas and our own desires. Sometimes, our desires want us to become something like somebody else, however our karmas and samskaras will not allow that to happen. Our desires are not powerful enough to influence, alter and change the samskaras and karmas.
Once you know that you can make the attempt to at least fine-tune yourself and refine yourself, then through your effort you can try to bring about that change.
Begin by changing the things that need changing in your life. Begin with what you need to change qualitatively within you. Don’t try to copy somebody else. If you are copying, you are not allowing your own expression. You are just a simple copycat, a photocopy which will fade after some time. You are not writing the original script. Try to cultivate that which is good within you instead of copying something else from somebody.
That is your sadhana. Have an aim, an aspiration which you can attain and experience, and be yourself. Then it becomes possible for you to make that metamorphosis and change and have a glimpse of the state where the enlightened ones, the sages, had their fulfillment. By that time, if the samskaras and karmas are purified, you will be absorbed into that state.
Is it possible on a scientific level, to improve one’s ability in subjects such as mathematics and science, through yoga and, more importantly, meditation?
Whether it is mathematics or anything else, it is a vidya, knowledge, which is attainable. It is not something that you are acquiring from outside, it is something that you are experiencing inside. You are bringing vidya out from within you.
Aryabhatta, the first mathematician of the world, had intuitive ability due to meditation and the lifestyle he lived. Vedic mathematics were revealed by sages and saints who were in states of meditation.
Vidya is not abstract. It is clearly definable, sequential and progressive. Science like maths can be learnt through meditation, and that ability can be cultivated through meditation as well.
What is sparsha yoga?
Pashupata yoga was the original yoga taught by Shiva to Parvati. Pashupata yoga had five branches: mantra yoga, sparsha yoga, bhava yoga, abhava yoga and maha yoga. From sparsha yoga, hatha yoga and marma yoga evolved. What today is known as marma therapy, is marma yoga, the science of skin. Marma means skin and sparsha means touch. Therefore, sparsha yoga is the yoga of touch. Touch means an awareness of the body, of different body parts, of this existence and of this unit.
What do you do in hatha yoga? You connect with your body to purify the body, to cleanse the body of its toxic content. You practise asana to balance the hyper and the hypoactivity of the pranas. You practise pranayama to regulate the physical pranas and to elevate them to the spiritual dimension. In hatha yoga, you are connecting with the koshas which you are.
Your body is made up of five skins or layers. The annamaya kosha, the pranamaya kosha, the manomaya kosha, the vijnanamaya kosha and anandamaya kosha. Hatha yoga deals with the awareness, the realization of annamaya, pranamaya and manomaya koshas. The actual work takes place in these three, however the aspiration is to go up to anandamaya.
The second aspect of hatha yoga is marma yoga, a more intense direction of energy. Marma yoga is the mother of the science of acupressure and acupuncture. It is also the science of touch. By altering the flow of energy currents one is able to induce an altered state of mind and harmony of the hyperactivity of the energy systems.
In sparsha yoga, the main focus has been the two major branches, hatha yoga and marma yoga. That is the relationship of sparsha yoga with today’s yogic practices and concepts.
Do the yamas and niyamas correspond to specific chakras?
Nobody has mentioned a relationship between yamas, niyamas and chakras, yet definitely they are connected. There is no question about it. Yama represents a state and a quality of mind. Niyama is the expression of that state and quality. The quality is associated with a specific chakra and with the awakening of the chakra, that particular quality will start to be active. Then with the awakening of the quality, the corresponding behaviour of the mind will change into yama.
Humility and forgiveness are the qualities of ajna chakra as you have to transcend the experiences of the mind. The experiences of the mind are contained up to vishuddhi chakra, the fifth element. Beyond the fifth element, you are nowhere. If you chop off your head, you are finished.
In the same manner, up to the fifth element is the mind. The sixth element is ajna chakra which is transcendence of ahamkara, self-identity; it is transcendence of the lower mind which retains and holds. Therefore, humility comes in, and with the release of what you hold onto, you are able to forgive, kshama. These are qualities of ajna chakra and represent the mind set of ajna chakra.
What is the meaning of ‘forgive and forget’?
The interesting part in ‘forgive and forget’ is that one is to get and one is to give.
‘For’ indicates that something is to be used or applied in something; something is for a particular purpose. So when you say ‘forget’, it is for you to get something, and when you say ‘forgive’, it is for you to give something.
What are you getting and what are you giving? You may, think of ‘forget and forgive’ as something that you do in your mind. However, forget means to release something and not to hold on to it, and forgive means to extend your sympathy, compassion and love, without holding on to any reaction which you may be experiencing.
When you are giving your good intention to a person who has done something bad to you, that is forgiving. When you are receiving something bad from a person, yet it is not affecting you, it goes away, then that is forgetting.
—21 February 2016, Ganga Darshan, Munger