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Swami Swaroopananda Q&A | sivanandabahamas.org

Have You Seen God? If Yes, When and Where? With Form or Without Form?

Question: Have you seen God? If yes, when and where? With form or without form?

Answer: We learn in yoga that guru is God. So yes, I’ve seen God, who in the form of my own guru taught me that God is within. He taught me that if I want to find God, I have to meditate, that within meditation I’m going to find God, which is no different from my own Self. It’s your Self as well, because God is the Self of all. This is how Swami Vishnudevananda taught me. He taught me to meditate and to find God within. Therefore I’ve been meditating for many years, and according to Swamiji’s guidance, on the Atman, on the Self, which he taught me is none other than God. That one Self, our innermost being, is the Self of all, so we all have direct access to divinity. Swami Sivananda says divinity is closer to us than our jugular vein, which is true. Divinity is pure consciousness itself, sitting within our heart.

Allow me to return the question: Have you seen God? Swamiji would say not only have you seen God, you are God. In what manner are you God? You are pure consciousness itself, as am I. From this point of view, internally I have meditated on my innermost reality, which is none other than pure consciousness, and which my guru taught me is none other than God, and externally, I have seen God in the form of my own guru. He also taught me that whatever I see externally is nothing but God, that it is all God in manifestation. We learn this also in Vedanta that it is the one God that assumes all these names and forms, but we don’t recognize it. Swamiji taught us to see God in our fellow beings because what we see is God.

Sometimes in deep meditation you can see something like fireworks, but we also can see God in an ordinary way, which is actually more important than to see God in an extraordinary way. This is how my guru taught me, and this is how I was taught to practice. So, have I seen God? Yes, as much as any other person. Right now you are seeing God, and if you close your eyes and you feel your innermost being, which is pure consciousness, you are experiencing God. If you meditate long enough and deeply enough, this experience will become deeper and deeper. It’s nothing unique to me; it’s something common to all of us. We are all God.

When practicing padmasana, the lotus, does the left leg go over the right leg or the right leg over the left?

Answer: In padmasana there are two variations, either one of which is good for beginners. In advanced hatha yoga, there are certain practices where the instruction is to first bend the left leg and to put the right foot over the left thigh and so on. And then there are other practices where you are taught the other variation; it depends which practices you are doing. For certain types of pranayama, we will use a certain type of padmasana; for other types of pranayama, another type of padmasana, and so on.

In meditation, generally speaking, the indication is that the right foot should be on top of the left one — first of all you would bend the left leg, and then the right one. But there may be variations because the main thing is not what comes first, but whether you are comfortable in the asana. Are both knees on the floor? Is your seat — asana means seat — steady? Are your spine, neck, and head straight and aligned? Are your hands in a mudra? Is your body relaxed? Is your mind calm? How long can you sit in this asana without moving, being fully relaxed? For most of us, right over left or left over right is secondary.


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, 2016 — January 2, 2017
Swami Swaroopananda, Rabbi Daniel Sperber, Lama Migmar Tseten, Doug Allen, Yaqin Aubert, Kyriacos C. Markides, Emily Markides, Swami Brahmananda, Gaura Vani, Snatam Kaur, and Krishnan Namboodiri

Experience the underlying unity in diversity at this gathering of spiritual leaders, mystics, and musicians from the world’s major spiritual traditions.

 
Yoga Vacation Program
December 28, 2016
Swami Swaroopananda

Ask anything you ever wanted to know about yoga practice and philosophy and the spiritual path.

 
Yoga Vacation Program
January 28, 2017
Swami Swaroopananda

Ask anything you ever wanted to know about yoga practice and philosophy and the spiritual path.

 
Yoga Vacation Program
February 28, 2017
Swami Swaroopananda

Ask anything you ever wanted to know about yoga practice and philosophy and the spiritual path.

 
Yoga Vacation Program
March 23, 2017
Swami Swaroopananda

Ask anything you ever wanted to know about yoga practice and philosophy and the spiritual path.

 
Yoga Vacation Program
March 25, 2017
Swami Swaroopananda

Ask anything you ever wanted to know about yoga practice and philosophy and the spiritual path.

 
Special Event
April 9 — 17, 2017
Swami Swaroopananda, Panache Desai, Roger Jahnke, Zacciah Blackburn, Swami Sitaramananda, Marisa Laursen (Sri Devi), Ron Alexander, Jan Engels-Smith, Kathi Keville, and Jnaneshwari Chaitanya

Learn how to experience radiant health and vitality as we explore healing modalities from various traditions and their connection to spirituality.

 
Yoga Vacation Program
April 10, 2017
Swami Swaroopananda

Join us for a traditional celebration of the Passover seder with Swami Swaroopananda.

 
Special Event
April 16, 2017
Swami Swaroopananda, Marilyn Rossner, and Bishop Trevor Williamson

Celebrate a beautiful Easter morning with us in paradise.

 
Yoga Vacation Program
May 28, 2017
Swami Swaroopananda

Ask anything you ever wanted to know about yoga practice and philosophy and the spiritual path.

 
Special Event
June 2 — 10, 2017
Swami Swaroopananda, Swami Brahmananda, Swami Hridyananda, Stephen Kaplan, Amit Goswami, Prantik Kundu, Eben Alexander, Rukmini Chaitanya, Jnaneshwari Chaitanya, Shyam and Mohini, Suba Parmar, and Ramesh Parmar

Join a gathering of the Sivananda community and special guests to celebrate Swami Swaroopananda’s birthday with concerts, teachings, pujas, stories, and more.

 
Yoga Vacation Program
June 6 — 10, 2017
Swami Swaroopananda, Swami Brahmananda, Swami Hridyananda, Rukmini Chaitanya, Jnaneshwari Chaitanya, Shyam and Mohini, Surya, Krishna Chaitanya, and Pranava

Sivananda teachers from all over the world will unite for this infusion of inspiration, prana, and fun!

 
Yoga Vacation Program
June 27, 2017
Swami Swaroopananda

Ask anything you ever wanted to know about yoga practice and philosophy and the spiritual path.

 

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