Learn to Apply

From Yoga Chakrodaya, Munger Yoga Symposium 2018, Book 3/3

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati: What we learn and what we apply in life are two different understandings. I have seen that happen now at the program. We all talk about awareness, and everybody thinks of awareness as being aware of oneself. When we are seated together in the classroom, everybody is well aware of what they are doing and thinking, how they are sitting, what is their environment – the mind goes to all those areas. It is guided to those areas, and after a class of meditation everybody says, “Oh, wonderful meditation! I was so aware.” That is only a classroom expression and understanding. It does not percolate down to behaviour and action.

An example: a song was presented just now. Beautiful song. Two people had one mike and a second mike next to them was left empty. Nobody noticed or observed this, nobody was aware of this. The instruments were overpowering and the voices were dim so nobody could understand the words. No one applied the awareness to ensure the correctness of what was happening.

I am using this instance as an example to tell you that this is how you apply your understanding and awareness. You don’t incorporate these components of your knowledge into action. That is where human beings always fail, and that is why despite the guidance that is given all the time to everybody, people do not progress or evolve. Everything becomes a technique only, not a condition of life. “Swamiji teaches the techniques of awareness in class but I never apply them in practical life.” That is the attitude. So how can you cultivate spiritual awareness? Your participation, your awareness and your action have to come together. That is yogic life. Not the ability to practise meditation for three hours. That is yogic practice. What is the outcome of that practice? In real, practical life, all the wisdom, understanding and awareness is put aside, and you fall back to your normal nature. If somebody reminds you of this forgetfulness, then one of the six conditions of mind raise their head, depending on the incident, situation or event.

The six conditions which are inherent in the mind are passion, aggression, greed, infatuation, arrogance and envy. All inter actions in life are guided by one of these six and not by human wisdom. Therefore the negativity rises and develops in the personality. Why does one become more and more tamasic? It is be cause one falls prey to the influence of the six conditions of mind.

The purpose of yoga is to manage the six conditions of the mind, not just the conditions of body. People use yoga for health and well being which is physical, and for peace and relaxation which is psychological. Fair enough. However, don’t limit yoga to that only. Use it to fulfil your needs, but remember that the aspiration of yoga is to manage the six conditions of the mind, for it is these conditions that lead you into the well of suffering, insecurity, ignorance and negativity. No matter how good your health is, no matter how much money you have, if you fall prey to these conditions, there is never happiness, contentment or satisfaction. Therefore, application of the vidya, the understanding, to improve the lifestyle and bring a qualitative change in the perceptions is necessary. That is the effort of the second chapter.

No new asanas are being taught, but an understanding is developing. No new pranayamas are being taught, but an understanding is developing. You have to learn to apply that understanding in practical life. If you are able to do that, then you are living the yogic life and following the aspiration of the second chapter of yoga.

26 October 2018, Munger Yoga Symposium