A Life in a Moment

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Habits are difficult to change, and something that is far more deeply rooted than habit is even more difficult to get rid of. You think that you can change these impressions with logic and thinking? You cannot change a basic habit through continuous effort, despite your debate and discussion on ‘What should I do’, ‘What is the method?’ You apply all the aspects of logic and make effort the entire day, yet the habit is not changed. Therefore, bring dramatic change.

You do not even know what lies within. You cannot even control the external factors, so how can you manage the internal factors? You cannot control your sleep; in every yoga nidra you drift off into sleep, so how can you control and manage pranic pratyahara? Do not have high-flaunting ideas about yourself. You are unable to deal with the most basic components in the appropriate manner, and yet you expect to reach pratyahara. That is the unfortunate plight of spiritual aspirants.

The yogic and spiritual systems are clear; it is the aspirant who uses them wrongly. You may think, ‘Why did we not know all this before?’ Well, because previously you were not connected to vidya, you were connected only to the practices. You were too self-centred and engrossed in your own feelings and expectations from the practice. This is the reality, therefore do not have high expectations of yourself or anyone.

You are not aware of your strengths, let alone the flaws. In pratyahara all these things are seen and also how they are coloured by sattwa, rajas and tamas. People say that managing sensorial and psychological traumas are difficult. They are peanuts compared to what you encounter as rajas, tamas and sattwa in manas, buddhi, chitta and ahamkara. A trauma indicates a moment in your life; this indicates your entire life in a single moment. Pratyahara is an entire life in a moment. It is a big shift, therefore do not think of it in a light manner, ‘Oh, wonderful, from tomorrow I can call myself a raja yogi and advertise myself on Facebook.’

Prana has to be withdrawn even from Facebook so that the attraction or the pull to Facebook is gone. Instead, try to open your Heartbook. Facebook is sycophancy and narcissism at its best and Heartbook is connection and compassion at its best. So, close the Facebook, open the Heartbook. Take away the prana from the Facebook and bring prana to the Heartbook. Then you will become a yogi, not through withdrawal of the senses, but by withdrawing the prana from the gross and the material and placing it where your true human nature lies. Then you will discover that by being a true human you have also become divine. This is what our paramguru Swami Sivananda says.

Published in Raja Yoga Yatra 3