Two Questions

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

What is the meaning of Sri Swamiji’s statement: Real life is within?

Life is directed, guided and sustained by the mind. What you call life is nothing but an expression and experience of your own mind. How you live, how you think, how you desire, how you plan, how you act – everything is created by the mind and everything else follows the planning of the mind. This planning of the mind, when connected with the senses, engages us in the outer dimension – senses, sense objects, likes, dislikes, attractions, repulsions – all the human behaviour is projected when the senses and mind are in sync with each other. This makes our nature and our perception extrovert. When our perceptions become extrovert, when our mind becomes extrovert, then dissipation and distractions take place.

When you close your eyes and disconnect from the outer experiences, when you shut down the senses and close the outer experiences, then you only remain aware of one entity and that is the mind. In meditation, this mind is being managed to create a different condition. The more harmonious and peaceful it becomes, the more joy, happiness and fulfilment you derive from life. It is leading you to contentment, satisfaction, and to separation of the fluff from the real, of desires from needs. When that aspect of your nature, the internal aspect of our nature, becomes dominant in life, then there is continuous expression of peace and happiness.

If you look at the nature of Swami Sivananda, his whole personality radiated happiness and peace. If you look at the personality of Sri Swamiji, his whole personality reflected happiness and peace. How come few people are able to project that and others not? We are all connected with the senses and sense objects, our mind is connected to that and therefore the direction of expression is outwards. Through sustained effort, through sadhana, these people were able to balance and harmonize their own nature and mind and they were at peace with themselves. We are not at peace with ourselves but they were at peace with themselves.

Therefore, Sri Swamiji made the statement: Real life is within. It is not something that can be found in the dimension of the sense objects, or through the senses. It can be found by looking within, and by discovering that peace and harmony you can become different.

What is the mission of the yogic mission?

When you say mission from the Western perspective everybody thinks, 'This is where I have to go, that is my mission'. So don't look at it from a Western perspective. The yogic mission is yogic living according to Swami Satyananda. Neither Swami Sivananda nor Swami Satyananda ever advocated yoga for self-realization. They have never done it. Swami Sivananda was clear when he said that the purpose of yoga is the integration of head, heart and hands. He did not mention God-realization or spiritual realization. In all his teachings and discourses Swami Satyananda spoke of well being of body, mind and spirit, not of attaining self-realization. Our tradition of gurus has never advocated self-realization yet aspirants always think of self-realization as the aim and that is their folly. If you want self-realization go to some other place because for three generations nobody has spoken of self-realization in Swami Sivananda's tradition.

Swami Sivananda was a visionary and he knew that preparing the ground is much more important than trying to see the result. If you want flowers you have to focus on your garden, you have to focus on soil, water, compost, protection, care, so the process is different. However, the outcome, the flowers, is dependent on the process. Similarly, for a blind person wanting to see the sun the effort has to be in acquiring eyesight. One of the mistakes that people make is they tend to ignore the process and want to attain the result. They don't go through the effort, they simply sit and want to experience and see the flowers, yet they have not done anything to prepare the ground, or plant the seed. The effort has to be in the process and that is what was the intention and teaching of Swami Sivananda and Swami Satyananda.

Effort is not losing oneself in some experience but to activate the process and go until the end. In this method, the yogic mission is experiencing the yogic lifestyle by deepening our experience of yoga. By deepening the experience of yoga, life changes. Just as by practising yoga, life changes, by teaching yoga, life changes, in the same way by experiencing yoga, life changes.

The mission is not propagation of yoga, the mission is to experience the depth of yoga and to become one with the yogic spirit, to improve the outer and internal conditions, and to experience harmony, peace and creativity. This under standing of yoga is not something that you will gain by teaching other people but through experimentation and your own personal efforts.

People generally try to teach others with the understanding, 'If I teach, I will be holier than thou'. That is an expression of their ego. If you want to become 'holier than thou' then you have to bring the change inside you. You have to go through that experience of what goodness can be, what transcendence can be, what peace and bliss can be, and then develop that experience more and more in your own life. That is the yogic mission: to go to the depth of yogic experience.

14 October 2018, Ganga Darshan, Munger