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Swami SivanandaSwami Vishnu

Sivananda Bahamas Blog

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Inspiration and ideas on yoga philosophy, practice, and lifestyle. Enjoy, tell others, and return often.
 
 
 

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Welcome to the 2014-15 season, from Swami Swaroopananda: “It is with great pleasure that I invite you to join us in the Bahamas this year for another season of joy, beauty, and wisdom and ...” Read the rest here: www.sivanandabahamas.org/welcome-swami-swaroopananda/ ... See MoreSee Less

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Swami Swaroopananda Q&A | sivanandabahamas.org

Individual Karma vs Collective Karma

Question: Will a person who lives a pure, peaceful and spiritual life still be affected by the collective negative karma associated with the time and place in which they live?

Answer: Yes, of course. Think about the sinking of the Titanic. There were many different kinds of people on the Titanic - evil people, normal people, saintly people, all types of people. When the boat sank, however, everyone who was on board shared in the collective karma, but the experience of everyone on board was different. This is the point. Everyone shared in the collective karma of the sinking boat, and at the same time, the experience of each one was different.

One person had the opportunity to get into a lifeboat but he gave his place to another passenger. Then the boat sank and the person died. This was just one experience, right? The boat is sinking, people are panicking, and this one person gives his place to another person. He saves a life, and in the end he loses his life. Of course the person whose life he saved never forgot this individual, never. So, you see? There was a common experience. Within that common experience – if you know the story of the Titanic you will recall that the orchestra was playing as the boat was sinking, that some people were panicking, some people were peaceful, some people were helpful. At the end of the day, some people’s lives were saved and other people’s lives were not saved.

From a spiritual point of view, what is the lesson? The lesson is that, yes, there is indeed collective karma, but we also have free choice within that collective karma to create our own destiny, and also to help and shape the destiny of others. The life of the person who survives because another person sacrifices his own life will be transformed forever. The sacrificing person not only saved the physical life of the other person, he also helped to transform the other person’s life.

Within a collective karma situation, all of us have choices to make. We have to make them. Yes, in that situation, some of us may physically die and some of us may physically survive. But the choices we make are the most important thing within that situation. Those choices – the free choices within the collective situation – are what make the situation spiritual.

The planet Earth is like a boat, so let’s assume that the boat is sinking. In some parts of the boat, people are saying, “Ah, nothing is happening.” In another corner, people are panicking. In another corner people say, “We are in first class, we should be the ones to survive.” In another corner, people are sacrificing their own lives for the sake of others. It is a collective situation but each of us has free choice, which makes our lives spiritual, and which makes other lives spiritual.

I remember hearing a funny story from a very wise person. There is a boat sailing in the Caribbean. Suddenly, the captain sees on his gadgets that water is rushing into the boat. He actually can see that the water is gushing into the boat through a particular cabin. So he sends the first officer to that cabin to see what is happening because the boat is going to sink. When the first officer enters the cabin, he sees a passenger with a drill, cutting a big hole in the wall of the cabin, and water is rushing in. The first officer says to the person, “Are you crazy? Look what you are doing! The boat is going to sink!” The passenger then replies, “This is not your business. This is my cabin.”

Who is that passenger? We are that passenger. We say, “Oh, this is not your business, because this is my cabin.” This is also freedom of choice.

Yes, there is collective karma. Yes, there is a collective situation. Our free choice within that situation is what is spiritual, and even if our free choice is poor, we can learn from others. Our free choice is often poor, but we are inspired by the free choice of other people – like Mahatma Gandhi, like Mother Theresa, like Swami Vishnudevananda and so on. We are inspired by the free choice of others. The saints also have freedom of choice, even more than us.


http://www.sivanandabahamas.org/wp-content/uploads/Swamiji_b.jpg

Swami Swaroopananda is a senior disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda. A practicing yogi from a very young age, Swami Swaroopananda has dedicated his life to the practice and teaching of yoga. He taught in Yoga Teacher Training Courses around the world and is currently teaching advanced yoga philosophy courses and lectures internationally. He is Director of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat and acharya (spiritual director) for the Sivananda centers and ashrams in the Bahamas and the Middle East. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres.

Upcoming Courses

Special Event
December 22, 2014 — January 1, 2015
Swami Swaroopananda, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Rabbi Ted Falcon, Imam Jamal Rahman, Alberto Villoldo, Snatam Kaur, Neshama Carlebach, Josh Nelson, Kyriacos C. Markides, and Krishnan Namboodiri
Come celebrate light, truth, and peace.
 
Yoga Vacation Program
December 30, 2014
Swami Swaroopananda
Ask anything you ever wanted to know about yoga practice and philosophy and the spiritual path
 
Special Event
January 25 — 30, 2015
Swami Swaroopananda, Rubin Naiman, Robert Moss, Christina Pratt, and Edward Tick
This special conference brings together five leading teachers from a broad range of traditions to explore a comprehensive scientific and spiritual perspective of dreaming.
 
Yoga Vacation Program
January 30, 2015
Swami Swaroopananda
Ask anything you ever wanted to know about yoga practice, philosophy and the spiritual path.
 
Special Event
February 4 — 7, 2015
Swami Swaroopananda, John Kastner, Kenny Johnson, and Swami Brahmananda
What is the nature of true redemption? How does it happen?
 
Special Event
February 10 — 15, 2015
Swami Swaroopananda, John Perkins, Brant Secunda, Charles Eisenstein, Elaine Valdov, Vicki Robin, Sister Greta Ronningen, Swami Brahmananda, Swami Hridyananda, and Rukmini
Following Swami Vishnudevananda’s mission of promoting inner and outer peace, we are delighted to host the 8th Yoga for Peace Symposium.
 
Yoga Vacation Program
March 1, 2015
Swami Swaroopananda
Ask anything you ever wanted to know about yoga practice and philosophy and the spiritual path.
 
Special Event
March 15 — 19, 2015
Swami Swaroopananda, Nathan Katz, Daniel Matt, Douglas Canterbury-Counts, Judith Simmer-Brown, and Vasudha Narayanan
According to mystical and religious traditions, the deepest secrets of the universe and the soul are expressed through archetypes of the feminine and masculine.
 
Special Event
March 20 — 24, 2015
Swami Swaroopananda, John Kastner, Andy and Noella Bouvier, Lisa Ramshaw, and Frederic Luskin
Forgiveness is a powerful part of spiritual life and a deeply transformative practice.
 
Yoga Vacation Program
April 3, 2015
Swami Swaroopananda
Join us for a traditional celebration of the Passover seder with Swami Swaroopananda.
 
Yoga Vacation Program
April 4, 2015
Swami Swaroopananda
Ask anything you ever wanted to know about yoga practice, philosophy and the spiritual path
 
Yoga Vacation Program
April 5, 2015
Swami Swaroopananda, Marilyn Rossner, and Bishop Trevor Williamson
Celebrate a beautiful Easter morning with us in paradise.
 
Special Event
April 12 — 16, 2015
Swami Swaroopananda, Peter Russell, Amit Goswami, Cassandra Vieten, and Lothar Schäfer
Join these leading thinkers on consciousness to explore how science and spirituality are coming together in a new worldview.
 
Special Event
April 19 — 24, 2015
Swami Swaroopananda, Swami Shantananda, Rabbi Mitchell Chefitz, Lama Thupten Phuntsok, Swami Sitaramananda, and Father Vincent Pizzuto
Join us and learn from prominent spiritual leaders the theory and practice of meditation.
 
Yoga Vacation Program
April 24, 2015
Swami Swaroopananda
Ask anything you ever wanted to know about yoga practice, philosophy and the spiritual path
 
Special Event
May 17 — 21, 2015
Swami Swaroopananda, Stephen Kaplan, Daniel Drubach, Francisca Cho, and Michael L. Spezio
This 5-day symposium will open a conversation that engages the ideas of consciousness, self-consciousness, selflessness, and compassion.
 
Special Event
May 24 — 28, 2015
Swami Swaroopananda, Shayk Abdul Haqq Sazonoff, Rabbi Jonathan Kligler, Ed McGaa (Eagle Man), and Carrie Grossman (Dayashila)
Join us as leading teachers and practitioners explore the mighty power of prayer and lead you on the path of devotion.
 
Yoga Vacation Program
June 3, 2015
Swami Swaroopananda
Ask anything you ever wanted to know about yoga practice and philosophy and the spiritual path