Shifting to the Heart

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

People come to yoga for different reasons, but ultimately the practices will guide the individual towards balance. Enjoyment happens when we are contented, happy and at peace. That is the direction of sadhana. One of the strongest sadhanas to lead us in this direction is mantra and music because they affect the emotions and sentiments, not the intellect. Intellect can cause confusion, comparison, assessment, analysis, create questions and create answers, but mantras open the energy of the heart and explode the energy of the emotions and bring out that power. There is power in everything. There is inherent strength in the body, but it manifests only when we need to use it, whether it is to pick up a small stone or a large rock.

Energy is also inherent in emotions as well as in the mind. Mental energy is known as buddhi, emotional energy is known as bhava. As long as we are stuck to buddhi, there is no salvation. When we come to bhava, the air clears immediately. A classic example of this situation is two people who are madly in love and living together. In the course of time, there is strife and one incident destroys their connection and relationship completely. What happened to that feeling of love which was overpowered by greed, jealousy or anger? If we reconnect with love, jealousy, greed and anger will have no place.

Maintaining emotional balance, the bhava balance, leads to enlightenment, or evolution of consciousness. Enlightenment is evolution of consciousness. Mantra becomes the process, the tool by which the energy of bhava is elevated. Right now our bhava energy is not elevated. We have good IQs but very disturbed EQs. All our EQs are at different levels and are distorted and depressed, because we are craving and searching for something. Bhava becomes the energy, the force, for ultimate self-awareness and self-realization. The mind is transcended, or left behind.

So we have to actually shift from the head space, buddhi, to the heart space, bhava. The heart space is the connecting force. It does not see any division or difference in anything or anyone. The people who have been inspirers in the course of the human journey have awakened their bhava, their heart space. Intellectuals have been appreciated, they have written good things, but inspirers are those who have shown the way to follow the path of the heart. That is an indication that if we follow the path of the heart, we can change ourselves and help other people to come out of their limitations and to grow.

April 2009, Rocklyn Ashram, Australia, printed in Yoga Sadhana Panorama Volume Six