Figure It Out

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

The highest quality in life is understanding, not love, not compassion. What is the role of love, compassion and kindness if there is no understanding of the pain, suffering and problems that people go through? Interpreting a word just for the sake of the ego is not enough. One has to connect with the experience and that experience comes with understanding, not with self-projected ideas, ambition, ego and desire.

One has to be tolerant and patient, one has to be open in one’s own heart to receive the good and reject the negative. It is easy to practise asana and pranayama but where will they lead you? To good health and lightness of the body, yes. Your body will be great, however your spirit will be dead. You can practise meditation and calm the agitations of the mind to experience peace, however for the spirit to come alive, it has to receive the right dose of nourishment. Just as the right dose of nourishment keeps your body healthy, and the right dose of happiness keeps your mind healthy and happy, in the same way, making a connection with its source keeps the spirit happy.

That is spirituality. Practising asana and pranayama is therapy, not spirituality. It is swadhyaya, learning about oneself. How is my body? Ill? Diseased? Healthy? Well? Weak? Strong? That is what people think about when they are practising asana and pranayama. What is the state of my mind? Am I happy? Am I dejected? Am I suffering? Am I guilty? Am I this? Am I that? That is all one thinks about; if not about oneself, about others. However, in all that thinking, is there anything positive, constructive, balancing, harmonious or uplifting? That is what you have to figure out.

5 September 2019, Ganga Darshan, Munger