25 October 2018

Morning class - Blue group

Swamiji conducted the hatha yoga class with the theme - awareness of the posture and relaxation in the posture.

Rishi Vasishtha spoke on yoga nidra as developed by Sri Swamiji and gave examples of the early teaching of yoga nidra.

Swami Prembhava gave one of Sri Swamiji's original yoga nidras.

Swami Yogamaya conducted the practice of kaya sthairyam

Afternoon class - Red group

Rishi Arundhati gave one of Sri Swamiji's original yoga nidras.

As part of the swadhyaya component, Sannyasi Sivadhara read from the Yoga Chakra series of books, introducing the second chapter of yoga.

Swami Vedantananda conducted the practice of kaya sthairyam.

Swami Shivadhyanam conducted the hatha yoga class.


Of Hub, Spokes and Rim – Positivity All Around

In his Song of 18 ITIES, Swami Sivananda describes 18 different qualities that a human being should develop and master in order to be a true human being. This is what he called living the divine life in this material life. If you are able to imbibe the positive qualities in yourself while living in the materialistic world, and you begin to express these positive qualities to uplift the correctness of your life and in yourself, then that is the beginning of divine life. When Swami Sivananda conceived of yoga, when he gave the instruction to our master, Sri Swami Satyananda, to propagate yoga, he only gave three instructions: yoga for the cultivation of the qualities of head, heart and hands – intelligence, emotion and performance.

Sri Swamiji developed the yoga chakra, the wheel of yoga. If we look at a wheel, then in the centre is the hub, and from the hub come out the spokes, and at the other end, at the opposite end of the hub, the spokes are held together by the outer rim, the outer circle of the rim. The inner hub, from where all the spokes emanate from, is the state of consciousness, the pure state of consciousness, the transcendental state of consciousness, the transcendental, pure state of our life and being. From this transcendental state emerge the six spokes.

Sri Krishna defines the six spokes (15:7): Manah shashthaaneendriyaani prakritisthaani karshati. The six spokes are the five senses and the mind. The five senses and the mind are connected to this outer rim, and that is our life. Every moment of our life we are utilizing the senses and the mind. The senses and the mind are giving us the experience, information, understanding, knowledge and the skill necessary to survive in this life. We are the wheel, we are surviving in this life utilizing our five senses and mind, and we emerge from the source of creation. You decide, whether you call the source of creation Big Bang, or Satyam-Shivam-Sundaram or God. Yoga calls it by the name of Ishwara, the unchanging reality. Life is the changing spectrum.

If life is a chakra, if life is a wheel, then our effort to transform and change is also part of the effort of the chakra. This is from the material perspective: the consciousness, the senses and mind, and the life experience. That is the wheel of life, jivana chakra. From the spiritual dimension, this jivana chakra becomes the yoga chakra, for yoga chakra is only a reflection of the jivana chakra. The wheel of life and the wheel of yoga are not separate. They are one and the same. When we talk about the wheel of yoga, then different ideas and practices come in. When we talk about the wheel of life, then the understanding of the senses, the mind and the life experiences are prominent. They both merge together.

The wheel of yoga represents the return journey from our life expressions back to the source by following the spokes back to the hub. That is the theory of kundalini yoga as well. The descent of kundalini from higher states to the lower states in mooladhara has brought us into existence. The ascent of kundalini again, along the same path, by the same process, will give us the experience of the higher nature. Kundalini has given the experience of the world and kundalini gives the experience of the higher nature. Similarly, in the chakra too, when we emerge we are connecting to the world, and when we focus and are centred, we come back to the source.

Therefore, in the yoga chakra we see the different branches of yoga as means to return to the source. However, before we use yoga as the means to return to the source, which is the experiential second chapter of yoga, let us first understand properly how we need to broaden our awareness and perception in the outer dimension before we begin to travel in. That is a very important aspect of yoga: to first expand and enlarge the awareness in the outer dimension, the world, and then to begin to withdraw. When we are expanding in the outer dimension, we are using the same six yogas and we are controlling, guiding and directing the same six senses of life: five senses and one mind.

While we are progressing through hatha yoga, raja yoga, kriya yoga, while we are progressing through and working with karma yoga, bhakti yoga and jnana yoga, our lifestyle is affected. We become more and more aware of how we are living and what we can do to balance that lifestyle so that there is more relaxation, more awareness and more time for cultivating a spiritual identity. So when we practise hatha yoga, karma yoga, raja yoga, jnana yoga, apart from the body and mind, flexibility and adaptability, there is also a change of nature and behaviour.

This change of nature and behaviour in your life, the outer rim, is what makes you good and bad. Good and bad experiences come because of your personality. How you see, how you perceive, how you understand, how you accept, how you realize, how you know what is correct, how you know what is wrong. All this happens at the life level, not at the consciousness level, for consciousness is free. It is the expression of mind which has to become positive at the rim level.

To improve the experiences in life, to improve the qualities of life, it is not hatha yoga or raja yoga which will do that, but yamas and niyamas. Yamas and niyamas are not moral and ethical codes of conduct, as defined by yoga. Yoga does not see morality or ethics separate to the expression of human nature. If you are a properly balanced, harmonious, aware individual, then all your expressions, behaviours and thoughts will be appropriate. You don't have to think of ethics and morality if you are living a correct life. If you are not living a correct life, then you may think about ethics and morality. That is not the point of contention in yoga, for as you purify and deepen your realization about yourself, the improvement that takes place in your human nature, personality and psyche brings out the positive qualities. This expression of the positive qualities is known as yama and niyama. When you are able to curb your hate and when you are able to love the person you hate, it is a condition, it is an awareness that you have developed, and that is the yama and that is the niyama. A change in the tamasic nature of the mind and experiencing and expressing the positive, sattwic nature of the mind is yama and niyama. Therefore, to improve the lifestyle it is not asana which is going to do that. To improve your expressions and interactions it is not pranayama or meditation which is going to do that. It is the effort to connect with the positive in life.

Evening program

Swami Sivamurti presented Satyananda Yoga in Greece, from the early days in the 1970s to the present. A slide show and video clips of Sri Swamiji, Swamiji and Swami Satsangi in Greece brought the history alive.

The Ganga Darshan car-park was the venue for the evening programs for delegates and local citizens of Munger. The children of Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal gave a stunning dance-drama performance with a water theme. Ma Ganga and the environmental threats as seen and lived by the children was certainly not merely entertainment, but a wake-up call to all to live a yogic life with awareness and care for others and nature.