INTRODUCTION WHAT IS YOGA? |
Yoga is the art and science of union. Yoga means that which unites. It is a science of
consciousness. As such it is not something that can be taught or understood apart from
personal experience. Yoga is a practicethat allows one to experience the hidden side of
In Yoga Philosophy there are two aspects to life. In Genesis God said he made man male
and female because God was male and female. In Yoga Philosophy what is considered the male
aspect of the person is at the crown of the head and is called Siva. What is considered the
female aspect normally resides at the base of the spine and is called Sakti. Siva is
considered to be inactive, unmanifest, absolute. Sakti , the active aspect, is the
evolutionary energy in man. The whole dance of life is the effort of Sakti to reunite with
Yoga union is the union of the male and female, the union of Sakti and Siva, the union of
the creative energy with pure consciousness, the union of the Mother of the Universe with the
Uncreated Infinite. In tantra yoga it is represented as sexual union. In Christianity it is
called a wedding.
Siva Yoga was created to enable one to fulfill the purpose of life, to bring complete
fulfillment to life. At least a vague understanding of what constitutes the purpose of life is
necessary before one can take up Kriya Yoga. One who practices Kriya with another goal in mind
will not be practicing the true science of Kriya. Such practice will not lead to the same
The goal of life is the refinement and purification of the vehicle so it will manifest
the supreme beauty of Vishwanatha, of Universal Consciousness. Siva Yoga is a complete science
that covers every aspect of life. Yoga means union. The analytical mind is always breaking
things down into their parts in a vain effort to understand them in this way. In Yoga only
barriers are broken down. New connections are made. Differences are integrated into a new
organic whole. In Yoga understanding comes not from analysis, but from wholeness.
Siva Yoga is a path for fulfilling the purpose of life. It is designed to bring one to a
state of balance and fulfillment. The whole paradigm is transformed. Self defeating behaviors
must be eliminated. Commonly people on earth seek fulfillment by fulfilling desires. This is
a very peculiar practice. Step one: create a desire. Now you feel the pain of this
unfulfilled desire. Step two: do what is necessary to fulfill the desire. Now you feel the
excitement of having your desire fulfilled. The previous pain of the unfilled desire is also
gone. These two combine to create what we experience as “happiness.” We like this feeling.
Liking this feeling our judgment is impaired by this prejudice. (Likes and dislikes are the
vehicle through which prejudices arise.)
If you don’t know where to go then go one step backwards. Then turn around and retrace your
step. Alas, you are so fulfilled from this progress! What? You had no progress. You are
right back where you started from. Only now you are more confused and think fulfilling desires
is a worthy goal.
Prejudiced by your feeling of “happiness” and thinking fulfilling desires is a worthy goal you
start creating all kinds of desires. You see each desire as the opportunity for more
happiness. You think you will be so happy when you have all these new things: a nice house, a
powerful car, a beautiful spouse, beautiful children, prestigious job, lots of money. Oh! you
could be so happy if only all these desires were filled.
Actually each desire is just one more step backwards. When you fulfill it you are only
back where you started from. Back where you started from that is if you don’t create any more
desires in the process.
But once you are addicted to desires, once you are caught up in this desire-pain-fulfill
desire- happiness paradigm how can you get out of it? Siva Yoga allows you to get out of it.
The desire paradigm only works in the lower four chakras. By Siva Yoga you lift your center of
consciousness to the higher chakras, and the paradigms that bound you before can no longer
One way to tell what chakra you are operating from is to observe your state of consciousness.
If you feel a personal desire you know you are centered at the fourth chakra or below. If the
desire relates to security or fear you are operating from the first chakra. If it involves sex
or sensual pleasure the second chakra is predominate. When personal empowerment is involved so
is the third chakra. Personal friendships, loyalties and affections usually arise from the
fourth chakra. The fifth chakra is the world of ideas, corresponding to the causal world. Here
true understanding and cooperation dawn. Differences are only recognized from the standpoint
of ideas. Ego, self and individuals are known only as ideas.
Slip up one more chakra and differences cease to exist. This is the realm of divine love. The
reality of this love, more real than anything in the lower five chakras, dissolves all
differences, uniting everything in perfect oneness. Here there is no longer even ideas about
different things. Ideas belong to the paradigm of the fifth chakra. They don’t exist here.
Everything here is known by becoming one with it. Ecstasy and perennial bliss reign here. Their
power cannot be escaped. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall
be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the
former things are passed away.” This is the sixth chakra.
What is the purpose of life? What is my goal? What ideal rules my life?
The understanding of what Siva Yoga is will change as one’s center of consciousness changes.
The same definition will take on new meaning as one grows.
THE FIVEFOLD FOUNDATION OF YOGA
The ancient tradition of yoga developed a system of mastering the consciousness to fulfill the
purpose and aims of human life. In order to master the consciousness long periods of
meditation were necessary. But meditation was not possible if one were in a state of anxiety
and restlessness. Our modern culture breeds anxiety and restlessness. In fact, it thrives on
it. The whole industrial, polluting complex was created and is sustained because people believe
its products will help lessen their anxiety and bring them peace and contentment. Actually it
increases anxiety and stress. This in turn continues to feed the industrial complex in a
Yoga long ago understood and wrote the prescription for eliminating anxiety. It constitutes
the first four limbs of yoga: yama (righteousness), niyama (spiritual practice), asana (right
condition of the body) and pranayama (control of the life energy). A little effort applying the
yoga science will eliminate much anxiety.
FIRST PRINCIPLE OF YOGA: NON-INJURY
The first limb of yoga, yama, is divided into five interrelated practices. The first of these
is ahimsa. Ahimsa has no English equivalent. It means to be totally free of animosity toward
any creature. Being free of animosity naturally results in a state of intense love because of
the nature of life.
The first rule of ahimsa is based on a principle or truth about life. Yogis who have delved
deep into the nature of consciousness have found that at a very deep level all life is
connected, all life is one. They have found that there is only one consciousness at the
highest level, and that it is thus the same consciousness that is expressing through all forms.
To injure or hold ill will toward any being is therefore to hurt or wish ill against one’s
self. This turning against one’s self is a cause of anxiety. It is to be out of harmony with
one’s inner being, with one’s higher self.
SECOND PRINCIPLE OF YOGA: TRUTHFULNESS
The second practice of yama is satya, truthfulness. Truthfulness
implies living in harmony with what you know to be true. To pretend something is true that is
not, or to act in a way that violates what we know to be true is a source of deep anxiety.
When we learn to be honest with ourselves and act according to the truths of our life we
naturally attain our purpose. On the highest level truthfulness means to live spontaneously
from an inner center of oneness with the highest Truth.
THIRD PRINCIPLE OF YOGA: INTEGRITY
The third rule of yama is asteya, integrity. He who has integrity has no desire to appropriate
for herself what is not rightfully hers. The law of evolution is unselfishness. To evolve is
to grow and expand. This requires looking beyond what one already is. Selfishness wants to
protect and reinforce what one already is, the self. Unselfishness is the law of expansion.
By forgetting the self and thinking of the rights and well-being of others we expand, we
outgrow our self. He who has integrity forgets the self and is dedicated to justice and
success for others. In selfishness there is no growth, no expansion, no satisfaction or
fulfillment. This stagnant state is the cause of much anxiety. The antidote is unselfishness.
Asteya, or integrity, helps one to express unselfishness.
FOURTH PRINCIPLE OF YOGA: CELIBACY
The forth principle of yama is brahmacharya. This is perhaps the most misunderstood of the
principles of yoga because it is so little practiced. The promises associated with it are
enormous because it is so fundamental and essential to success in yoga. It is usually tagged
as sexual continence, or control of the creative energy. More precisely it means movement for
God - God here being the highest state of Being.
People are so caught up in the game of desires that they are not able or willing to stop and
analyze it objectively. Not only does our quality of life not improve as we add more desires,
desires are the single basic cause of all our anxiety. Yet to separate our desires from who we
are is just not possible, at least for most people. We cannot step back from our desires and
look at them objectively, realize their sinister nature, and throw them away.
Understanding sexual desires is important for three vital reasons. First, sexual desire
accomplishes nothing for us. We can just as well do without it. It is not vital to our health
Second, sexual activity uses up vital energy more than any other activity. It results in a
drain to the nervous system. Even sexual desire drains the nervous system, as does all selfish
desire, but especially sexual desire because it so effectively draws the energy into a
downward spiral. This downward spiral is in exact opposition to the upward spiral that is
evolutionary, that brings expansion of consciousness leading to fulfillment.
Thirdly, sexual desire is important because it is so basic. Next to the desire for survival the
desire to reproduce is the strongest and most basic desire endowed by nature. By bringing such
a basic desire as sexual desire under control we gain an understanding of the game of desire
and how desire destroys our peace, our concentration, our memory, our comprehension, our
happiness and our vision.
If we are to cure anxiety and gain happiness and fulfillment we must destroy selfish desire.
But until we understand its sinister nature we will not be able to abandon it, nor will we want
to. The purpose of controlling the sexual or reproductive drive is to enable us to see the
true nature of desire and the pleasure/pain trap. Until we control the fundamental desire for
physical sexual union we will not be able to see its underlying foundation of desire
objectively. As long as we are blinded by our obsession or perceived need for sexual activity
we will not be able to understand either the sexual drive itself nor the true nature of desire
for pleasure and how it enslaves and destroys our happiness, or joy.
Brahmacharya is the best nest in which to hatch the eggs of dispassion for desires. It also
ends the enormous drain on the nervous system from sexual activity, and awakens us to an
understanding of life beyond desire.
FIFTH PRINCIPLE OF YOGA: NON-AQUISATIVENESS
The fifth principle of yama is aparigraha, non-possessiveness. To acquire so mething we
don’t need to fulfill the purpose of life is only a burden. It interferes with our ability to
understand and to practice yoga.
The desire for ownership, however, is a bigger burden and a serious obstacle. Why is it
you want to own something? The more you introspect and seek within the answer to this question
the more the desire for ownership will dissolve.
Nothing external can be truly owned. Getting title to something does not somehow bring inside
of you and make it part of your self. The quality of life is always wholly determined by what
is inside, by your state of consciousness, and not by your legal involvement with societal
rules of ownership.
Ownership is only a game people play which helps define themselves as separate from others.
This car (this job, this time, this investment, this whatever) belongs to me. Therefore it
does not belong to you. In yoga we seek to go to our own Source, our Siva, where we are no
longer separate from others.
These first five principles of yoga are both the foundation and the heart of yoga. Most yoga
programs in the West do not give them enough emphasis. Some ignore them altogether. Much of
yoga exists in order to perfect these five principles. Lack of progress or success in yoga is
usually due to lack of attention to this foundation.
Just as there are two aspects of existence, the absolute and the relative; so there are two
goals or principles of the Siva Yoga of Swami Dharmananda. One: to perfect the conscious
awareness through union of Sakti and Siva. Two: to perfect one’s dharma, the harmony and
beauty of one’s dance of life.
May the Supreme Sakti, who dances all lives in search of Siva, find the auspicious one.
May the Supreme Siva, who’s grace awakens all lives, be joined with His blissful Sakti. Om *
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