Foundation Yoga Courses
Yoga for Beginners
October 7 - 11, 2012
November 5 - 9, 2012
December 3 - 7, 2012
January 9 - 13, 2013
Feb 1 - 5, 2013
Feb 25 - Mar 1, 2013
May 12 - 16, 2013
Unity in Diversity Weekend
September 14 - 16, 2012
Rosh Hasha'na: Jewish New Year's Eve
September 16, 2012
Cleanliness, Contentment & Self-Discipline: Practices for Spiritual Evolution
September 17 - 20, 2012
The Pathway to Happiness: Understanding & Working with the Law of Karma
September 21 - 23, 2012
In Giving That We Receive: Introduction to Selfless Service
September 24 - 27, 2012
Kirtan Special: Open Your Heart & Find Your Voice Through Chanting
September 28 - 30, 2012
The Art of Concentration
October 1 - 4, 2012
Columbus Day Weekend Retreat: The Art of Positive Thinking
October 5 - 8, 2012
Yoga for Beginners Course
October 7 - 11, 2012
Breathe Deeply, Relax Completely: Pranayama Sadhana
October 8 - 11, 2012
Hatha Yoga Theory & Practice
October 12 - 15, 2012
Navaratri: 9 Nights of the Divine Mother
October 16 - 24, 2012
SAVE THE DATE
Christmas & New Year Symposium: Unity in Diversity and the Interconnectedness of Life
December 22, 2012 - January 3, 2013
Om Namah Sivaya!
Blessed Yogis & Yoginis,
We would like to invite you to join us this Thanksgiving, enjoy a summer getaway and celebrate the joy of gratitude at the Ashram. Arjuna, a highly experienced yoga teacher and a professional vegetarian chef will prepare a vegetarian feast and special workshops will be offered to make the perfect holiday for you. Want to become a yoga teacher and share the joy of practice with others? Book your TTC today, and enjoy an early registration discount.
Om Shanti. Om Peace.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat Bahamas
|Realization of the Highest Truth In Everyday Life
Swamiji gives a powerful Q&A session in Manhattan. Watch as Swamiji discusses "How to live with Realization of the Highest Truth while still going about everyday life?"
How Dharma, or Divine Law, Sustains Everything
Q & A with Swami Swaroopananda
In dharmic society, there is a clear definition of one's duty from birth, based on the caste system. But how can we know and maintain dharma in our adharmic society, in which people no longer know their duty?
Think of dharma as universal divine law, and adharma as that which is contrary to universal divine law. Now, when we speak about health, we talk about being in harmony with the universal laws of creation. When we are in harmony with the universal laws of creation, we are in a state of health. A good gardener knows what every plant needs, so he knows what will sustain the well-being of the plant. So that thing which sustains the well-being of the plant is the dharma of the plant. That thing which sustains the well-being of a human being is the dharma of the human being. Whatever sustains the well-being of all creatures is the dharma of the creatures. Whatever sustains the well-being of creation is the dharma of creation. Divine law, or dharma, sustains everything, and we should know it. Whatever is contrary to divine law is adharma, which brings suffering, delusion, illusion, misery, destruction, chaos, imbalance and so on at all levels because at every level you have dharma and adharma.
In ancient times, the rishis, the sages, guided humanity so people knew about dharma and adharma. There also was a certain system for humanity which was called the Varna Ashrama system, which means that each one of us is born with certain gifts; with a mission in this life. That mission, a certain thing that we are supposed to do in this life, determines our varna, determines what we are actually going to do. If we truly do what we are supposed to do in this life, we will have followed our varna. This is the real meaning of caste. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says that varna or caste is determined by two things: guna -- which of the three gunas is predominant in our mind -- and prarabdha karma, the results of our past actions that manifest in this body called our life. But truly the meaning of varna is that a person knows the reason why he was born, his vocation in this life. Many times we don't do what we are supposed to do in this life, and then we are in misery and other people are in misery, because when we are not doing what we are supposed to do, everyone suffers. On the other hand, if we are doing what we are supposed to do, we are happy, and everyone else is happy. In the Varna Ashrama system the idea of varna is to know our mission in this life, why we are born. Knowing this is a very precious thing. And ashrama means to understand the evolution of the life of a human being toward the highest good, and the highest good is God-realization or Self-realization. The stages of life that we are supposed to go through in our journey to the highest good are called ashramas, stages of life that every human being has to go through.
The questioner says that today it's very difficult for us to know our varna, our vocation in life, but that's not 100 percent true. In fact, we are born with this knowledge which is supposed to be reawakened in us one way or another. We are going to face situations in our life that open doors to fulfilling our mission. Some people, for example, are supposed to get immersed in yoga in this life. They don't know anything about yoga, but at certain points in their life, a gate will open for them, and if they enter it, they are going to enter into their life mission. It is the same with other things.
Even if we discover our vocation at a later stage of life, we should not be afraid to enter a particular gate. But we have to try to do it without hurting others, we have to try to minimize the misery that is going to be caused to others when we try to do it. Nor should we abandon our duties in life just because we may have made mistakes. A mother, for instance, should not abandon her children even though she may realize that in this life she is supposed to be a swami. Instead she should be a householder sannyasini as described in the Bhagavad Gita -- to live in the spirit of sannyasa as a householder. In the same way we may discover at certain points in our life that we have missed opportunities, but now we have another opportunity. We should try to grab those opportunities without hurting others and without abandoning our duties in life. Another meaning of dharma is called swadharma, which means to do our duties in life, and to do them selflessly. So a mother should take care of her children, the teacher should teach, a student should learn, the engineer should plan, the architect should design, the builder should build, the cook in the kitchen should really elevate the bodies and the minds of the people through cooking, whoever cleans the toilet should inspire us by regarding the toilets like a temple, really making them shine.
In a real society, every person does his duty joyfully, because every little thing is important, there is not even one molecule in this creation which is not important. The reason why creation is so glorious, if we do not interfere with it in a bad way, is because there are so many beings within creation that are doing their duties. There are so many beings – including human beings -- faithfully doing whatever they are supposed to do. We have to learn from those who are following dharma; we have to get inspiration. If we don't understand dharma we should search for a teacher who will teach us about dharma and adharma. It's very important to learn about the divine law and about what is contrary to it. It's important to learn how to discover our life mission. It's important to know that everything we do is glorious.
I am a swami, I can teach many things but I don't know how to build. But then, Chris and Monty are here, and they have this knowledge, so they are helping us. Then people come and say, "Oh, these beach villas, they are so beautiful." Yes, they are beautiful, but you see, I did not design the beach villas. Monty designed the beach villas, and Chris is helping us, and then Shoham, who is a Feng Shui expert, will come and say, "You located this thing in the wrong place; you have to move it." But I have no idea about Feng Shui. It should not be expected that one person should know everything and should do everything. Joy and happiness come when everyone shares his or her gifts with others. There's absolutely nothing that is unimportant. Everything is extremely important, extraordinarily important. Some are inspiring us by singing; others are inspiring us by doing puja; others are inspiring us by creating beautiful gardens; others are inspiring us by healing. Then, when we look at these people who are our teachers, and are inspired by them, we can discover our life mission. Remember that everything is important, that there is nothing that is unimportant, and that everything is joyful the moment everyone does his dharma with joy for the welfare of everyone else and with no selfishness. This is the idea of an enlightened society.
Beyond those external things that we are supposed to do, there is a dharma that we call the highest dharma, the universal dharma, a duty that is common to all. That duty is Self-realization or God-realization. Every sentient being has this dharma. And then, beside the universal dharma, there are specific dharmas; one is born to be an engineer, another is born to be a teacher. There are specific dharmas and there are universal dharmas, and both are important. Adharma is what is contrary to it, and it's important to know it in order to prevent it, to refrain from it. Because if adharma rules, our desire for happiness will not be fulfilled. Adharma is contrary to happiness, contrary to harmony, contrary to joy. If we truly have the desire to know our life mission, we can find it. If we have the desire to know how to progress spiritually, the way is available and we can find it. But we have to apply this desire. We have to make it manifest.
Swami Swaroopananda is the Acharya (spiritual director) of Sivananda Yoga Centers and Ashrams on the West Coast of the United States, in the Middle East, and in the Bahamas, and is one of the foremost disciples of Swami Vishnudevananda. This article is from one of his spontaneous question and answer sessions, which he frequently offers at Sivananda centers and ashrams all over the world.
PRACTICAL WAYS TO SELF-REALIZATION
Swami Sivananda's Birthday (Jayanti)
Understand the laws of the universe, Move tactfully in this world. Learn the secrets of nature. Try to know the best ways to control the mind. Conquer this mind. Conquest of mind is really conquest of nature and the world. Conquest of mind will enable you to go to the source of Soul-Power and you then realize: 'I am the immortal self.'
do not murmur. Do not grumble when troubles and sorrows descend upon you. Every difficulty is an opportunity for you to develop your will and to grow strong. Welcome it. Difficulties strengthen your will, augment your power of endurance and turn your mind towards God. Face them with a smile, In your weakness lies your real strength. Thou art invincible. Nothing can harm you. Conquer the difficulties one by one. This is the beginning of a new life, a life of expansion, glory and divine splendour. Aspire and draw. Grow. Expand. Build up all positive virtuous qualities-the Daivi Sampatti, viz., fortitude, patience and courage that are dormant in you. Start a new life. Tread the spiritual path and realize : 'I am the immortal self.'
have a new angle of vision. Arm yourself with discrimination, cheerfulness, discernment, alacrity and understanding spirit. A glorious brilliant future is awaiting you. Let the past be buried, You can work miracles, You can do wonders. Do not give up hope. You can neutralise the effect of evil influences and the antagonistic dark forces that may operate against you. You can change the unfavourable circumstances, into best possible ones. You can nullify destiny. Many have done this. You can also do so. Assert! Recognise!! Claim thy birth-right now!!! 'Thou art the immortal self.'
Introduction to Ayurveda - The Science of Longevity