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Τετάρτη, 27 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

The Role of Women in Tantra

The Role of Women in Tantra
Swami Satyananda Saraswati

In tantra there are two important poles of energy known as Shiva and Shakti. In fact, Shiva and Shakti have various spheres of existence and operation in the cosmos and in the individual. In the ordinary human society man and woman represent Shiva and Shakti respectively. In the universal mind, time and space represent Shiva and Shakti aspects. In spiritual life, mind and prana represent Shiva and Shakti. In hatha yogic texts, these two Shaktis are known as ida and pingala. Ida represents the consciousness and pingala represents the life force, or prana.

These two Shaktis are the opposite poles of energy. Ordinarily, they are never together, but at the time of creation, they meet at a point of union on every sphere. In the universal mind, time and space come together at the nucleus, and when they unite, then the explosion takes place in matter. Here, time is represented by plus energy and space by minus energy.

Aspects of awakening
In the ordinary human society, man and woman are the two different poles of energy. These energy poles have been discussed in detail in the ancient tantric tradition. You may have seen a photograph of Kali standing practically naked, with one foot placed on Shiva, who is flat on the ground. She has a ferocious expression, a blood stained tongue and a mala of 108 human skulls. That is Kali in the awakened state. You may also have come across some pictures, though they are very rare, of Shiva seated in lotus posture. Half of his body is Shiva and half is Shakti. Then, you may have seen the picture of Shiva and Parvati sitting in the position of guru and disciple. Shiva is seated in lotus posture, and Parvati is seated on a lower platform. Shiva is instructing her in the secrets of tantra. These are three examples. The fourth example, you may also have heard about. About 110 miles from Monghyr is a very important centre of tantra known as Tarapeetha. There you can see Lord Shiva sucking at the breast of Shakti.

These are the relationships between Shiva and Shakti at different levels of evolution and awakening. At one point, Shakti is the disciple and Shiva is the guru; that is, woman is the disciple and man is the guru. At another level, they are not at all different. Shiva and Shakti are intertwined together in one body, one frame and one idea. At yet another level of evolution, Shakti is supreme and Shiva is subservient. Now, this is the philosophical interpretation of the stages of awakening of the inherent shakti in everybody.

Spiritual awareness of the woman
In the tantric tradition, the woman is considered to be higher than the man so far as the tantric initiations are concerned. This should by no means be understood as a social claim. It is purely a spiritual attitude in relation to the evolution of higher consciousness. The frame of a woman, her emotions, and her psychic evolution is definitely higher than that of a man. Awakening of the spiritual force, that is, kundalini, is much easier in the body of a woman than in the body of a man.

Besides this, there is another important point that we have to understand. Generally, a man who goes into the deeper realms of mind and comes out, is not able to bring those experiences back with him, but a woman can. It seems to me that there is very little difference between a woman's inner and outer awareness. When you go very deep into your consciousness, you have certain experiences. But when you return from that deeper state of mind to the gross awareness, a veil falls in between those experiences and the conscious mind. In the case of a woman, this veil does not fall.

Apart from this, the psychic being of a woman is highly charged with spiritual awareness. The external expression that you will find in a woman or in a girl - love for beauty, tenderness, sympathy, understanding, are expressions of her inner state. I usually make a joke. I say, if all women leave this world, it would become a desert. There would be no colours, perfumes, smiles or beauty. This indicates that the inner awareness of woman is very receptive and ready to explode.

In the realm of kundalini yoga also, the woman's body is charged by a particular centre. Mooladhara chakra in the male body is intricately situated in a very congested area. Men do moola bandha and still nothing happens. But in a woman's body, you can even touch mooladhara with your fingers. Therefore, awakening can take place in a woman's body much more quickly than in the body of a man.

Another important point is that woman has always been the main transporter of energy and man the medium. The woman may not be your wife; she could be your mother, daughter or disciple. Mary was Christ's mother. The Mother of Aurobindo Ashram was a disciple. In the same way, in the tantric tradition, there is the story of the sixty four yoginis. 

The word yogini is the feminine gender of yogi. Now, these yoginis are worshipped all over India. There are sixty four temples dedicated to the sixty four aspects of feminine energy. One of them is in Assam, another in Calcutta at Kali Ghat.

Vama Marga
Now, when we study the books on tantra, we clearly come across one central theme: Shakti is the creator, and Shiva is instrumental. Shiva has never been considered a creator. One of the greatest thinkers and sages of India, Adi Shankaracharya, wrote in the first line of his most famous tantric work, 'Without Shakti, how can Shiva create?' Therefore, the Hindus have accepted the union of man and woman in order to facilitate the process of evolution through tantra.

Although, from time to time, the relationship between man and woman has had different purposes due to the cultural influences from various parts of the world, in Hinduism we have continued to remain steadfast on one point, that the relationship between man and woman has a spiritual objective.

Therefore, in tantra, a woman's place is on the left side. Before marriage, the girl sits on the right side, and when the marriage ceremony has taken place, then she sits on the left. She is thus known as vama. In Sanskrit, 'vama' means one who is on the left side. Vama also refers to ida.

There is an old story about Sita and Rama. When Rama was over sixty years of age, his wife Sita became pregnant and went to live for some time in the ashram of a saint. During this period, one of Sri Rama's duties as emperor was to perform a certain religious ceremony. However, the wise men ruled that he could not perform that ceremony without his wife in attendance. Because Sita could not be present and the ceremony was compulsory, they constructed a statue of her, and when the ceremony was being conducted the statue was placed on Rama's left side.

Now, in western countries, vama marga is a very misunderstood concept. They call it 'left hand tantra', which is an incorrect translation. If you are reading a book on tantra and find the words 'left hand tantra', take a red pencil and cross them out. In tantra, vama marga actually means the path of spiritual evolution, which is practised with your wife. Marga means path and vama means the wife, the woman, the partner, whichever she may be.

Tantric relationship
In vama marga, it is Shakti who is important, not only in sexual life but in spiritual practices, carrying out the processes of creation and in conducting most of the spiritual rituals. Amongst Hindus, all the rituals, religious and otherwise, are mainly conducted by women; men have to sit quietly. Woman is the commissioner; man is the participant. Whether it is an ordinary social ceremony, a religious ceremony, the worship of sonic deity, or a day of fasting, it is the woman who has to introduce it. The man just has to follow her. This is the tradition in India known as initiation from the woman to the man.

Now, what is vama marga? It is the spiritual path which can be practised along with your partner. The second division is called kalachakra. This involves the mother giving initiation in the son, The north of Bihar particularly is the centre for this type of initiation. Up to the borders of Nepal in the north. Assam in, the east, and Uttar Pradesh in the west, is the are in which the kalachakra initiation is prevalent, even today.

According to this tradition, the son considers his mother a goddess. Every morning, just as Christians go to church on Sundays or Hindus go to the temple and bow down before the deity, or do some sort of prostration, in the same way, the son approaches his mother. This is not just a social respect that he pays to the elders of the family. It is a spiritual adoration which is performed, not because she is his mother, but because she is his guru.

The same thing is done in vama marga as well, but here it is not the son, but the partner who prostrates before the woman. Then the spiritual mark or mark of blessing has to be put. It is she who places it on him, not he who places it on her.

So these are the two important roles in which the woman is involved in tantra. It is a sad mistake to consider the woman in tantra only as a sexual partner. Sexual life is important, but it is not the only relationship that can exist between a man and woman. After all, your mother is also a woman, so too is your daughter, as well as your wife. Now, are you going to have the tantric relationship with all these, or are you going to have sexual relationships with all of them?

Misuse of tantra
At present the west is rebelling against its own religion. That is why they are confusing and misinterpreting tantra. They are trying to create anarchy in the sexual sphere of man. Many teachers in India are also confused on this matter. In tantra you don't have to fight with your religion or tradition. 

Tantra never said that sexual life is a sin. It says that sexual interaction is a natural urge; do it if you like. Religion in the west has said it is a sin; only one man was born without sin, and all the rest were born with sin. Naturally you have to rise above that guilt.

So you have to find some sort of explanation for sexual life, and tantra has become a cover. Tantric thought is very clear and straightforward regarding this point. A verse in one of the ancient texts states that there is no harm if you drink wine, eat meat, or indulge in the sexual act. These are natural urges of all human beings, but if you can transcend them, your spiritual progress will be very rapid. As such, tantra should not become a cover for any particular urge in human life.

The woman comes first
In tantra the role of initiator is shifted from the male to the female. Ramakrishna Paramahansa always considered his wife Sarada as Devi, or goddess. In Sanskrit. Devi means illumined or illustrious. When Ramakrishna was married, he was very young and his wife was still a child, but he only regarded her as the Divine Mother. That is how he always behaved towards her, and that is what he considered her to be.

In tantra, the woman has to be dealt with very carefully because she is the high tension line for kundalini energy. You do not have to be afraid of her, but you have to be very careful, because in her lies the potentiality of a great explosion, if you have a wife, well, she is your wife. But if she is going to be a tantric partner in your spiritual life, then it is for a different purpose and then the process is entirely different.

In India, right from the beginning, there has been this tradition. Whenever you make a reference to a man and woman, you always refer to the woman first and then the man. We never say Ram Sita, we always say Sita Ram. You never hear Shyam Radhe: it is Radhe Shyam, Radha being the feminine and Shyam the masculine. This is because in the scheme of evolution. Shakti comes first and Shiva comes next. With this attitude, if you go On in spiritual life, either with your wife, daughter or disciple, then you have to see that she is the activator and you are the participant in every sphere. Even if a man has realised the higher awareness, he will still have difficulty in communicating that to others if he does not bring a woman into the picture.

Hypothesis in hatha yoga
In tantra it is also to be remembered that there is another path called dakshina marga or Vedic tantra. Here the woman is not necessary, neither as daughter, mother or wife, because the aspirant is considered to have both forces within himself. Ida is feminine and pingala masculine, Union between the mental and pranic forces is equivalent to union between a man and woman. 

That is the hypothesis in hatha yoga, ida is shakti and pingala is shiva. When they unite in ajna chakra, that is the real union. The seat of Shakti is in mooladhara. The seat of Shiva is in sahasrara. Shiva is in eternal yoga nidra there, inactive, unconcerned nameless and formless. He has nothing to do with destruction or creation. His consciousness is homogeneous and total. There is no vibration in sahasrara. Shakti is in mooladhara, and by the practices of yoga, you awaken her. She becomes aroused and makes headway through sushumna up to ajna. When Shakti reaches ajna chakra, union takes place.

Dance of Shiva
This union occurs when the two poles of energy come together. When you put on the switch, there is light, because the wires of the switch are uniting. In the same way, in ajna chakra, when union takes place, the explosion also simultaneously occurs. Then the energy created in ajna chakra moves up to sahasrara chakra. 

There Shiva and Shakti unite with each other, and when they unite, Shiva begins to dance. Perhaps you have seen a photo of Nataraja. That is the symbolic expression of the awakened Shiva.

When Shiva wakes up from his profound yoga nidra, then he begins to dance. I am not talking about a man, but a force. The awakening of that force in man is symbolised by the dance of Shiva in the form of Nataraja. Then Shakti and Shiva descend together through the same path to mooladhara. Both come down together to the mundane level, the gross plane. That is the path of the saints who come down and reach us from time to time. If you happen to read the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo, you will understand about the awakening of energy and its union with Shiva, both of them dancing together and then coming down to our plane of existence. That is why in kriya yoga we have ascending and descending passages - arohan and awarohan.

Now, the role of women in the tantric tradition has been defined, but the position of women in the modern cultures is far from this. People all over the world are fighting with their own guilt and sin. If you wish to resurrect the pristine position of women today, then the whole attitude will have to be changed. In fact, our social structure will have to be based on a new concept of religious realities, in which the role of woman in mankind's spiritual evolution is fully understood and accepted. This is absolutely necessary for the emergence of a new society. And you will have to realise this very clearly, so that what you practise and teach is not a consequence of your own religious conflicts within.

Πέμπτη, 21 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

Bhagavad Gita by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Bhagavad Gita

Lecture given by Swami Satyananda Saraswati
in Denmark on 14th March, 1971.

The Srimad Bhagavad Gita is a very vital and elucidating part of the great epic Mahabharata. The original name for India was Bharata and the Mahabharata which literally means "Great India'' tells us sublime metaphysical truths through the glitter and glory of a bygone India.

The Bhagavad Gita, which forms the inner core of the Mahabharata, is the essential philosophy which has ruled the minds of Indian thinkers and statesmen for many centuries. For Indian people the philosophy extolled by the Bhagavad Gita is not just for idle speculation or contemplation, it is a way of life. It is a philosophy which the Indian mind can comprehend very quickly.

The Pandavas and Kauravas

The Gita begins in a dramatic way. About five thousand years ago there lived two fraternities belonging to the same lineage, known as the Five Brothers or Pandavas and the Hundred Brothers or Kauravas. The Kauravas, who were the ruling authorities endeavoured to gain complete control of the kingdom by refusing to allow the Pandavas their rightful share. The problem became such a vital one that ultimately both parties prepared for a great war to decide the issue. Finally, the day came when they met each other on the battlefield supported by their great armies.

The commander-in-chief of the Kauravas was a very grand, powerful and noble man called Bhishma. The commander-in-chief of the Pandavas was called Arjuna. Although he was the third among five brothers he became the commander-in-chief by virtue of his being a great warrior. The driver of his chariot was Sri Krishna, and the Gita is a dialogue between Arjuna and Sri Krishna, who is also revered as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is here on the battlefield of Kurukshetra that the philosophy of the Gita begins.

Sri Krishna

One cannot talk about the Gita without making a direct reference to Sri Krishna, because he revealed the Gita to Arjuna, and unless you are familiar with the life of Krishna right up to the point of his death, the Gita will remain obscure.
From the time of his birth, Krishna faced nothing but grievances and difficulties. As a child he was victimised and condemned to death by his own uncle. Although he miraculously escaped death, this enmity followed him throughout his life. Day after day he had to fight battles and face his enemies, but from the moment he was born up to the day he died, there was not a day when he did not laugh.
In Indian mythology there are stories of Krishna as being a mischievous child at home, as a young boy playing in the fields with the cowherd boys and girls, as a statesman giving expert advice, as a warrior fighting in battle, and as a Guru giving absolute lessons on Yoga and other sciences. There are thousands of fables about Krishna, but on analysis one can easily discern that the central theme around the stories which characterise Krishna is that of non-attachment. That was the character of the man, and it is essentially this philosophy of non-attachment that is brought forth so clearly in the Gita.

The battle of life

The opening scene of the Gita is the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Two armies are poised for battle. When Arjuna, the commander-in-chief of the Pandavas, sees his own friends and relatives and knows that he may have to kill them, his heart gives way and he says that he will not fight, preferring to renounce than to face the battle. Thus begins the Gita.

Krishna tells Arjuna that a man has to face life, accept it and fight at every step. Those people who expect everything in life to be comfortable and to their liking will always suffer difficulties. Accept life in whatever way it comes to you. Try to get the best out of it by way of a philosophy, proper understanding and wisdom. Every man is working to fulfil his own great ambitions and desires. If they are fulfilled he is happy, but at the same time afraid and insecure in case he loses them. Or, if his desires remain unfulfilled he is completely broken. Herein the problems of life begin, whether mental, psychological or emotional.

Bhisma is lying on a bed of arrows with Arjuna standing above him with bow drawn and pointed.

For all of us in this world, life is an eternal battle which we have to fight continuously. These two families who are at war, in actual fact symbolise the two great conflicting forces present in every individual But we have to understand that in order to progress, conflict is necessary for an individual. Without these conflicting forces you cannot evolve. Comfort and pleasure are death because they do not motivate the individual to go ahead in life. Difficulties and problems are actually the accelerators of human evolution. Therefore, you have to continually create conflict and try to confront it. Only then will the soul evolve. Divine and spiritual knowledge comes to one who can accept and understand the nature of conflict.

Apart from these two opposing forces present in everyone, there is also a third force which represents harmony, and balance. In the Bhagavad Gita this harmonising force is symbolised by Sri Krishna. He represents the inner soul or Guru helping every man to overcome conflict. Although he is not directly involved in the fight or battle, he is creating it so that the soul or individual consciousness evolves. It is in this context that we must understand the Gita.

Yoga and inner conflict

The conflict you face in your life and personality can only be beneficial to you if it is faced with an aspiration and background of Yoga. When any conflict arises the only thing you should do is to try to understand it and begin to practise Yoga. Yoga concerns itself with the evolution of the individual consciousness, starting with the lower planes and going to the highest realms.

Yoga has a definite beginning and it progresses according to the evolution of consciousness. There is a stage when Yoga comes to a point of culmination, not termination. The name of the first chapter of the Gita is the "Yoga of Dejection". There are many yogas: Hatha Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Tantra Yoga, Nada Yoga, Gyana Yoga, and so on and so on and so forth, but have you ever heard of the Yoga of Dejection, the Yoga of Disappointment, Frustration and Breakdown?
Yoga begins, not when your mind is contented, but when the scales are heavily loaded against you, when you are facing overwhelming problems in your life. Unless your soul faces conflicts, unless your mind faces difficulties and disappointments, it will not become active; it will live like a pig, absolutely contented and satisfied to sleep continually.

Do not consider these differences and problems as external ones. The Gita is not talking about material problems or the basic necessities of life such as food and clothing. It is talking about those problems in man which psychologists are also talking about today. The deep rooted problems concerning your inner personality which are as deep as the subterranean planes of the ocean. You may say that you have no problems, but I do not believe it, because it is impossible to exist without them. This duality caused by two contradictory forces is working side by side in every man, except the most enlightened sage.

The starting point of Yoga is when we become aware of these two great conflicting forces. We are faced with the problem of what to do with them; whether to try and eliminate them, criticise and analyse them or cry and scream over them. Do not try to put a covering over the struggles and battles within you. Whether you are a good or bad man, a man full of passion or one with criminal tendencies, you must know and understand what is inside you.

Modern psychology has brought to our notice that there are thousands and thousands of people on this blessed earth who do not want to know what they are, because the moment they discover their own nature they react with fear and disbelief. This is the greatest obstacle in life. Each and every item, whether it is birth or death, loss or gain, praise or criticism, love or hatred, conflict or peace, passion or anger which is lurking in the depths of your consciousness, must become known to you. This is the second piece of advice of the Gita.

Sadhana to transform karma

Even if you discover and understand your own conflicts and problems they will still remain with you. For this reason you have to begin some sort of sadhana which is the practical side of Yoga.

In the Gita, sadhana begins with Karma Yoga, the "Yoga of Action". The philosophy of Karma Yoga is that you have to transform your Karma, your daily activities in such a way that they are conducive to your spiritual progress. Through action you express yourself and thus unburden your soul.

Side by side with Karma Yoga, you should also practise Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Gyana Yoga. These are the arms with which you become victorious in life's battle and eliminate the conflicts that are lurking in your personality. When your mind becomes completely free from the influence and association of conflicts then you are a liberated man or woman - a jivanmukta.

Liberation according to the Gita

The concept of liberation according to Gita is not when you close your eyes, withdraw your mind and enter into the great void. This experience is not related to actual life. Gita adds a new dimension to liberation. It is living life without being affected by it at any cost. It is detachment in the midst of a holocaust.

When you face conflict in this peculiar and illogical life, the great void ceases to have any meaning, it is completely eliminated. You cannot understand what samadhi means and how it can be related to a life that is so turbulent.
In the Gita it is said that salvation is related to your love, your hatred, frustrations and accomplishments. Many people satisfy themselves with vain thoughts of, "I am Brahman, full of bliss. I am part of that consciousness'', but this is not a genuine realisation because it does not transform their personality, emotions or ego. When they come out of meditation, they exhibit the tendencies of any ordinary man.

The Gita says that complete freedom should be brought into daily life. It should not be restricted to the meditation room, but come into your kitchen and be expressed when you are working in a shop, driving a motor car or about to face an emotional crisis.
To experience complete freedom in every walk of life, meditation for one hour is not enough. You have to have a completely reoriented philosophy, a retrained and healthy mind and a cultured way of thinking with new dimensions of awareness.

Yoga of synthesis

Renunciation is not freedom. According to the Gita, abstention and refraining from duties and responsibilities is living an incomplete life. The Yoga of the Gita is known as Poorna Yoga, or Complete Yoga. If you lay stress on Bhakti Yoga and say, "No Hatha Yoga, it is only for sick people. No Raja Yoga, it is only for swamis. No Karma Yoga, no Gyana Yoga; only singing the name of the Lord", this is called Apoorna Yoga, Incomplete Yoga.

Just as you have a nice mixture of people or colours, you must also have a good combination of Yoga, because you are not homogeneous. Your personality is composed of four essential elements: dynamism, devotion, mysticism and rationalism. This is called complete nutrition in life. According to these needs, you should practise Karma Yoga for dynamism, Bhakti Yoga for emotions or devotion, Raja Yoga for mysticism and Gyana Yoga or Vedanta for rationalism.

Expect and accept

When you want to imbibe the philosophy of the Gita into your daily life, just remember these few points. First of all work hard; expect results, but if they do not come you should not be broken. You must be courageous and go on with new ventures.
Next, the mind must be balanced, through a spontaneous culmination of the process of Karma Yoga. Whatever Yoga you practise, never forget the central consciousness or atman within you. It is the source of all Yoga. As a practitioner of Yoga, accomplishments, ambitions and yogic life must be practised side by side.

Finally, do not condemn any phase of life, because they are all phases of consciousness. If you condemn a householder's life you are creating a sickness in your mind. It is written in the Gita, whether a man is sick, or great, or even helpless, he represents different points of evolution. Krishna calls them the different aspects of his great canvas.

If you practise Hatha Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, with this broad and liberal attitude to life, you will not only be successful in every way, you will also gain enlightenment. Contentment does not come by achievement. It comes by a sense of enlightenment which one can attain through Yoga.
Likewise, all of you must begin an experiment with Yoga and I assure you that if the world has failed you, if your friends and family have failed you, even if your own beliefs have failed you, there is one thing that will never fail you and that is Yoga. You can take this from me as a bold pronouncement!
Paramahamsa Satyananda

Δευτέρα, 18 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

ΟΜΟΤΡΟΠΟΝ ! στίχοι 18 Φεβρουαρίου 2013


Το ΟΜότροπον, ανώτερο του Όμαιμον είναι, ανωτερο είναι, του Ομόγλωσσον και Ομόθρησκον.                                                                                                                        

Το ΟΜΟΤΡΟΠΟΝ τα Έθνη Ενώνει, ανεξαρτήτου Θρησκείας και Γλώσσας, χωρίς το Ομότροπον, το Όμαιμον φυλών, του ίδιου Έθνους και συγγενείς εξ αίματος, σε πόλεμο βρίσκονται.                                             

Το Άρυο Συμπαντικό Ομότροπον, ο Ερμής, με το Κηρύκειον Διδάξε, τις Στάσεις Ζωής του Ανθρώπου, στον Κόσμο της ύλης. ΟΜοίως, οι Στάσεις Ζωής του Γιόγκα, το ΟΜΟΤΡΟΠΟΝ Διδάσκουν του Ασκούμενου, στον Κόσμο της Δυαδικότητας.                                                                                                          
       Δέλφειος/Σιβαντυάναμ Στίχοι 18 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

Satsang with Swamiji - Questions and Answers

Satsang with Swamiji

Given by Swami Satyananda Saraswati at the home of Mrs. Nancy Hausner, Kathmandu, Nepal, February 1977.

In 1956 when we started the yoga fellowship, there was ignorance and misunderstanding of yoga everywhere. When I was on my first world tour in 1968-1969, I found that it was very difficult for people to understand what exactly yoga meant. Some had vague and incomplete information and thought yoga was a kind of magic or psychic feat. They were not able to understand or place yoga in the scheme of their lives. So we started working in Monghyr, training sannyasins and sending them all over the world in order to show people what yoga meant. Today the work is going on and we have centres in Australia, Europe, America and the South American countries.

More interesting, however, are the series of scientific criticisms and evaluations of yoga which have developed in recent years. Scientists and doctors all over the world are now trying to understand how and why yoga has such a great influence on the human body and mind. Researches conducted in the USSR, Poland, France, England, America, Australia and also in India have proved beyond any doubt that the practices of yoga are a scientific process by which physical and mental diseases can be overcome. Yoga is not merely to tone up the body or reduce fat. Now scientists are conducting research into the influence of yogic practices on the brain wave patterns of individuals.

These alpha, gamma, beta, delta and theta waves control human behaviour. Whether you are angry or pleased, full of compassion or anxious and afraid, you are under the influence of these waves. However, by creating particular waves you can influence the brain. Yoga practices enable us to control the behaviour of these brain wave patterns. In addition to the scientific experiments, which have been made in many countries on brain wave therapy, medical experts have been talking about the scientific effects of yoga practices on the nervous system.

The sympathetic, parasympathetic and central nervous systems control our sense activity, emotions, thoughts and fears. We are what our motor and sensory cortex tell us to be. We are controlled by the nervous system. If it fails to carry the impulses or is unable to control the impulses, then mental and physical problems arise. Scientists today have come to the conclusion that most of the diseases that are in the body have their origin in the mind via the emotions. An emotional situation causes a mental vibration, a mental wave, and through body-mind relationship this influence is transferred to the body in the form of a disease, like asthma, diabetes or insomnia. People who want to get rid of fat and have a beautiful figure must remember that the metabolism in the body is controlled by the mind, which is influenced by the emotions. When you are in the grip of fear, the adrenal glands secrete adrenaline directly into the blood stream. This immediately affects the coronary artery and therefore the heart. This can cause the anginal disease called heart pain.

Some of my disciples are now working on Kirlian photography. The Kirlians were electronic engineers who came to the conclusion that this physical body, which we see through our naked eye, has radiations which we cannot see. These invisible radiations are the electrical charges that are conducted by the body. The Kirlians discovered how to photograph these radiations in a high voltage, high frequency field.

When we define yoga, we have to be very careful. Some people say that hatha yoga- the physical part of yoga- is the definition. Others say no, meditation is yoga. For some people hatha yoga, the physical part of yoga, is more important; for others, meditation. But the effect of both is the same on the human body and mind. What is achieved by meditation can also be achieved by hatha yoga and vice versa. Hatha yoga is not only physical in nature. The practices of asana and pranayama have immediate influence on the body, the endocrine glands and the nervous system. Pranayama affects the psychic centres of the body. When the body is purified, free from toxins, and your nervous system is capable of carrying all the impulses throughout the body, the psychic centres awaken. So even by practising hatha yoga a spiritual or semi-spiritual state can be achieved. Others feel that the same thing can be accomplished by simple meditation, and I agree. Meditation affects the whole metabolism. It can control all the electrical impulses, the prana or the magnetism in the body by which you live, talk, think and participate in all kinds of activities. So meditation, raja yoga, is a very important part of yoga, and scientists have conducted many experiments on people in meditation.

How does meditation affect the rate of oxygen consumption and respiration? What happens to skin resistance? Yoga is not merely a set of exercises, it is more than that. One who practises yoga systematically can accelerate his spiritual evolution.


Q. I thought that hatha yoga led to raja yoga, yet you say that they are equal?

A. Hatha yoga is a part of raja yoga. Now, let me explain the term hatha yoga. Hatha means 'vital' referring both to prana and mind (manas). Yoga means union and harmony. Hatha yoga means mind and vital energy. This body is composed of physical energy or prana and mental energy or mind. There must be a complete balance and harmony between these twin forces within the body. In hatha yoga balance is maintained between the vital and mental forces. If the vital forces supersede the mental forces, one becomes very aggressive and violent, but if the mental forces supersede the vital forces, then there is a lot of impractical thinking, a lot of day dreaming, and people go crazy. They become loony. The balance between the two is very important; therefore I personally do not consider hatha yoga to be merely physical.

Because our awareness lives in the physical body, we are aware of the physical body first. Therefore we have to start with physical awareness. But if you are not particularly aware of the physical body, if you have evolved to the mental body, you must start from there. Hatha yoga concerns itself with the perfection or the purification of the different portions of the physical body, while raja yoga pertains to the mind. But remember that if you just sit for meditation with an impure body, a vacillating mind and an unbalanced nervous system, you will not really progress spiritually. So hatha yoga is a part of raja yoga.

Q. What is tantra?

A. Actually tantra is the aum of yoga. From tantra yoga has emerged. Tantra and yoga are inseparable. Tantra goes side by side with the yogic practices. What we want in life can be achieved by tantra and also by yoga. Tantra awakens the psychic body, the kundalini shakti. Tantra is the system by which you liberate or separate the two aspects of matter and consciousness, purusha and prakriti, or Shiva and Shakti. Sometimes matter rules over consciousness and sometimes consciousness rules over matter. When consciousness rules over matter, there is spiritual vision. When matter rules over consciousness, there is creation. These twin energies live and work together in total agreement with each other. As long as matter and consciousness are united, existence continues in a set pattern. But by the practice of tantra, you can separate matter from consciousness, prakriti from purusha or Shakti from Shiva; then the awakening takes place. What we are aware of within us is a combination of the two. We are aware of matter, the material body, and mind, the 'I', the senses and the objects of perception. We are aware of all these sections at the same time. By the practice of tantra the awareness is withdrawn from all sections and centred on one point- I. That is the separation of prakriti (matter) from purusha (spirit) and that is tantra. How do you practise it? There are many ways. The most important part of tantra is mantra and next comes kriya. With the help of mantra and kriya yoga you can awaken the dormant potential power known as kundalini shakti. This is the prime purpose, the ultimate reality in tantra and in human evolution.

Q. Do you practise yoga all day long?

A. Yoga is a part of life. Swamis live a yogic life for the evolution of body, mind and consciousness. We do not practise yoga all day long. The hatha yoga and raja yoga sciences are meant for householders, and not for renunciates. We do not need to practise them. Yoga practices are for people who are under stress and strain, who are facing emotional, psychological and physical problems in their lives. Yoga practices are mainly for people who live and move in the world, who have a worldly mind. They accumulate a lot of problems within themselves and when they are unable to eliminate all those problems, they take the help of yoga asanas, pranayama, meditation, etc. For swamis, yoga is not a practice. We live a very natural life within ourselves and for us life is all fullness. In the ashram we work, perhaps more than a householder does. Most of us get up at three o'clock in the morning, and by four o'clock we are on duty. Those sannyasins who work in the office, the printing press, the kitchen, report for work at four a.m. For us, work is the most important thing in life, and the work we do brings us great peace and pleasure. We don't study or practise yoga for ourselves. Yoga practices are unnecessary for those who have accepted and understood the mind. Householders and people who live in the world have to practise yoga as a part of their daily routine in order to be able to face the situations of life, but once you are free from those situations, you don't really need yoga.

Q. What is the goal of a sannyasin?

A. We have only one goal- to serve the guru, to live for the guru, to work for the guru in a peaceful and correct way with an unfettered mind. We don't create psychotic and neurotic mental cobwebs around us. What we think, the pain and pleasure in life, weren't there until we created them for ourselves. There are many mental conditions that a human being creates for himself. Sannyasins have become aware of this so they don't condition themselves. All the swamis live in a community and work plenty, sometimes eighteen to twenty hours a day. The ultimate goal which we know is the awareness of a greater reality beyond the body, beyond this world. The dimensions are infinite, but we don't worry. We know that the way we are going we will reach it; we are not neurotic about it. The evolution of this self to the point of cosmic vision is our ultimate goal. For that it is important that we live in a community with the guru, do a lot of karma yoga and purify the mind. When the mind is purified, there is a spontaneous awakening, a great unfolding of our vast dormant potential.

In an ashram karma yoga is given very much importance. We work so hard that karma yoga becomes our life. Only by making yoga part of one's life or one's whole life can the maximum results be derived.

Q. What are the stages of sannyas?

A. When we become sannyasins, for the first few years we live with a guru and try to imbibe the best from him. We seek his guidance for a particular period, which is traditionally twelve years, and after this we become mendicants. We leave the ashram and then we are on our own. Having been trained by the guru for a period of twelve years, we have become very responsible thinkers. We know how to live without being caught up in the maya or the temptations. For some period we keep on walking just like beggars. I have been to Kathmandu a number of times just like a beggar, sleeping somewhere in a tent, on a lawn or in some wayside hut. I've gone to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon- walking, by train, by bullock cart. So by living with many people and having a lot of experiences, we come to understand the way people think, how and why they suffer, the purpose of life and what exactly evolution means. By meeting thousands of people for a number of years, we come to a conclusion as to what should be done. Then we establish ourselves at one particular place and the disciples gather around.

At that point I had a vision and in my mind came yoga. I was never a yoga fanatic. My personal spiritual life consisted of total surrender. This is my nature and right from childhood I had always envisioned surrender as the higher reality. But still when I was moving all over India, Ceylon, Afghanistan, Nepal and Burma, I realised that yoga was the need of the people. So I started teaching yoga. Now everybody is doing it. There are many swamis, however, who do not involve themselves with establishments or organisations. They just want to live an independent life. That's another way.

Q. What does God mean to sannyasins?

A. We feel that God is within us; God is the subtle or spirit body in everyone. When you have illumination within you, you don't seek it any more. God is a symbol for the beginner, but one who is illumined has found God within. When you start school, you begin with A B C D, however, an older student who already knows the alphabet shouldn't be put into kindergarten. For a beginner the symbol, a cross, flower, lingam, etc. is necessary. But when awareness is deep, grand and magnificent, then what need is there for symbols?

Everything depends upon one's own awareness. If you want to enter into the temple of God, in the beginning, of course, you can do it externally, but that alone will not bring you to God. Visiting temples is like going to kindergarten. The high temple, Shiva's real dwelling, is only found within. The outer temples only symbolise what is found inside. The external holy places and shrines are built of brick and mortar on the basis of the envisioned model that people have experienced within themselves. A Shiva temple or any outer shrine is only an expression of what is found within.

So it is very important to know the way to the inner shrine. Only by entering the inner shrine can you know the God, the deity dwelling there. Once you have had a vision of the deity within your temple, which is not material, not brick and mortar, then why go to outer shrines? Temples and shrines are necessary in the beginning, but there is a period when one has to transcend them because they are symbols. As long as you are aware of them you are within the boundaries of the mind. In order to experience reality one has to transcend these boundaries, because God is beyond the limited, finite mind. In order to know him, you have to transcend the mind. There are many techniques, which lead to the point or brink where you have to jump over the mind, but I don't think that anyone can teach us how to make this jump. Up to this point your yoga practices, the practices your guru has given you, kriya yoga, singing or any spiritual practice, can help you. But beyond this point there is no spiritual practice, no yoga practice that can help you, and no book has been written on it.

People have tried using LSD and ganja, but that's not transcending the mind, not jumping over the mind, not spiritual evolution. That's just escaping the mind for the time being. These drugs dull the mind, and that's all. Most of the people who come to me have had LSD and so many things, but their minds are very dull.

Only one thing can help- grace. But what is grace? Nobody knows. It is like a helicopter. So all our spiritual pursuits and religious practices only take us to the edge of this boundary of material consciousness. Up to that point everybody can teach you but to take you beyond surpasses all human power. You alone must find the way.

Q. What is the difference between states of consciousness caused by drugs and meditation?

A. It is a fact that drug-induced experience totally deprives one of any control- one is helplessly tossed about by the emotions. Meditation, however, is a creative process, which converts the chaos of uncontrolled feelings, thoughts and volitions into a centre of integrated psychic faculties in the depth of consciousness.

Moreover, the deleterious effects of drugs, physiologically and psychologically, result in deterioration of mental powers. Meditation is impossible unless you are ready for an expansion of consciousness, and not every person is ready. Drugs, however, can take one to an experience for which he is not ready. The experience depends on the contents of the individual mind. The same drug may give one person a wonderful new experience, and another a very frightening experience which overwhelms him.

Yoga is the safe and sure method of attaining mystical experiences, for it initially cleans out and remoulds the whole mind and the personality. It is based on the rich experiences of yogis throughout the ages, as well as modern scientific research.

Σάββατο, 16 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

Gurukul Education

Bihar Yoga Bharati

BYBThe realization of a saint’s vision... shining jewel-like on a hilltop overlooking the Ganga, Bihar Yoga Bharati (BYB) is dedicated to the study of yoga in a gurukul environment, providing a spiritual oasis in the technological desert of the 21st century.
Swami Sivananda first had the vision of a yoga institute when he established the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy in Rishikesh. This inspiration was carried forward by Swami Satyananda, who established Bihar School of Yoga in 1963, followed by the Ganga Darshan complex in Munger. Swami Niranjanananda, with the blessings of his predecessors, founded Bihar Yoga Bharati in 1994 in order to preserve and regenerate the total scope of yogic science by combining academic and scientific methodology with a spiritual vision.
BYB has been established along the lines of Nalanda and Vikramshila, two great spiritual centres of learning. It will continue the work started by these ancient centres as a path-finder for the current and future spiritual awakening of people throughout the world, in the spheres of Yoga, Vedanta, Tantra and other allied subjects. BYB offers scholars, scientists, doctors and yoga aspirants from all parts of the world a golden opportunity to work together to formulate a scientific basis for the growth, expansion and rapid integration of yoga into modern society.

Location and History

BiharBYB is located at Ganga Darshan in Munger, Bihar, 175 km from Patna, the state capital, and 500 km from Calcutta. Ganga Darshan is situated on a hill which commands a majestic view of Mother Ganga as she sweeps through green paddies, fertilising, energising and purifying the surrounding areas.
Thousands of years ago, the state of Bihar was the home of two great spiritual universities. The university at Nalanda at one time housed more than 10,000 students, monks and scholars, many coming from far off lands to study there. It was also famous for its library, which was ten storeys high. The university at Vikramshila, near Bhagalpur, emphasized the study of tantra.

Dedication - Bihar Yoga Bharati

Swami SivanandaDedicated to the Indian Rishi tradition, Vedic lifestyle and Sanatan Sanskriti (the eternal culture) of yoga.
The manifest form of the thoughts of Swami Sivananda Saraswati and the sankalpa of Swami Satyananda Saraswati.
Sponsored by the Bihar School of Yoga, Ganga Darshan, Munger.
Dedicated to Munger city, Bihar state, India and the whole of humanity by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati.
                                                                   Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati                 

Blessings of the Seer
“Everyone’s good wishes are working. My guru, Swami Sivanandaji, conceived the vision of a Yoga Vedanta Forest University. Now the decision has been taken. This new educational institution will be called Bihar Yoga Bharati because I want to make it clear that I have immense gratitude towards Bihar, the place where yoga has again emerged”.
Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Swami Niranjan Saraswati is an exceptional visionary who integrates the traditional yogic wisdom of harmony, steadiness of awareness, self-restraint and selfless service.

About Bihar Yoga Bharati

Bihar Yoga Bharati (BYB), an Institute for Advanced Studies in Yogic Sciences, was established by Swami Niranjanananda at Munger in 1994 to preserve and regenerate the yogic sciences by combining academic and scientific methodology with a spiritual vision. Bihar Yoga Bharati (BYB) is dedicated to the study of yoga in a gurukul environment, providing a spiritual oasis in the technological desert of the 21st century.

The culmination of the vision of Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati and Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati, this gurukul based institute is the first of its kind in the world wholly devoted to the subject of yoga. BYB has been established along the lines of Nalanda and Vikramshila, two great spiritual centres of learning. It continues the work started by these ancient centres, as a pathfinder for the current and future spiritual awakening of people, in the spheres of Yoga, Vedanta, Tantra and other allied subjects.
What is a Gurukul?

Normally an educational institution focuses solely on academic goals, whereas a gurukul environment combines both intellectual and experiential learning, aiming towards the holistic growth of the student. Emphasis is laid on both the mental and spiritual development of the student.
BYB offers scholars, scientists, doctors and yoga aspirants from all parts of the world a golden opportunity to work together to formulate a scientific basis for the growth, expansion and rapid integration of yoga into modern society.
Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati originally had the vision of a yoga institute when he established the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy in Rishikesh in 1950. This inspiration was carried forward by Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati, who established Bihar School of Yoga in 1963, followed by the Ganga Darshan complex in Munger. Swami Niranjanananda, with the blessings of his predecessors, founded Bihar Yoga Bharati in 1994 as an Institute for Advanced Studies in Yogic Sciences.
Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati founded Bihar School of Yoga in order to carry out the mission given to him by his guru to spread the message of yoga from door to door and from shore to shore. Under the banner of BSY, he propagated yoga for people of all ages from all countries, races, religions and cultures. Under his guidance, the ancient science of yoga was taught on a scientific basis with clarity and vision. Thousands of people were and continue to be trained and educated in yogic subjects. Bihar Yoga Bharati is thus a natural continuation of the teaching activities of BSY.
This gurukul based institute, the first of its kind in the world to impart a comprehensive yogic education, is currently undergoing course restructuring and presently offers fully residential courses in Yogic Studies, of four months duration and in Yogic Science and Lifestyle of three months duration.
What is Education?
Education is not the amassing of information and its purpose is not mere career hunting. It is a means of developing a fully integrated personality and enabling one to grow effectively into the likeness of the ideal that one has set before oneself.
Education is a drawing out from within of the highest and best qualities inherent in the individual. It is training in the art of living.
Education is not injecting knowledge or information from outside. It is creating an atmosphere in which you will be able to express the knowledge which is already in you.
Education must be designed so that it can serve two purposes. Firstly to enlighten the intellect, to purify the emotions and to improve the quality of social awareness, and secondly to awaken and express the inner knowledge.
Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati