Thursday, July 28, 2011

Samatvam is Yoga, Equanimity is Yoga: Swami Sivananda's Teachings


What is Yoga? "Samatvam is the yoga that Lord Krishna talks about at length in the Bhagavad Gita. He defines yoga as: Samatvam Yoga Uchyate (2:48): Samatvam is Yoga; equanimity is yoga... He [Lord Krishna] explains that samatvam is being able to maintain one's balance of mind in success and failure, gain and loss, pleasure and pain, and that is the aptitude of a perfect master who remains equipoised in all circumstances. That is samatvam, the yoga of equanimity " Swami Sivananda.

I read this book "Samatvam: The Yoga of Equanimity" while I was staying at the Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh. I loved it! It is a very small book, just 120 pages yet it contains so much wisdom. I think it is an excellent book for those who are really serious about learning the deepest aspect of yoga and applying this philosophy in ones daily life. It is based on the teachings of two great yoga masters: Swami Sivananda Saraswati and Swami Satyananda Saraswati.


Content of the book


In Chapter 2, "The Perfectly Balanced Mind", Swami Sivananda gives a beautiful commentary on the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita where Arjuna asks Krishna for the characteristics of he who has attained the state of yoga. In Chapter 3, "The Pathway to Samatvam", he describes what are the qualifications that one needs to have in order to achieve this state of equanimity and he gives advice to serious sadhakas on how to put this teachings into practice:
"An aspirant who treads the path to Samatvam must make every effort to acquire the following essential qualities: Viveka, discrimination; vairagya, dispassion; shadsampat, the six virtues (shama, mental calmness and control; dama, restraint of the senses; uparati, sense withdrawal or pratyahara; titiksha, endurance; shraddha, faith and samadhana, mental balance); and an intense desire for liberation, mumukshutva. In order to posses the virtue of Samatvam, he will also need to dedicate himself to steadying the mind every moment of his yoga career..."
From chapter 4 until chapter 9 Swami Sivananda talks about each one of these qualities.

Swami Satyananda Saraswati teachings starts from chapter 10 until chapter 19. He give plenty of advice on how to put this philosophy in practice to be able to achieve the state of Samatvam. On Chapter 11, "How to Attain Equanimity", Swami Satyananda suggests: have a goal and philosophy of life, have patience, respect yourself, be regular in sadhana (spiritual practice).


Best quotes from Samatvam - The Yoga of Equanimity


These are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
"Try to experience oneness with the divine power by directing the mind to the Lord" Swami Sivananda.

"Samatvam can be found only within. Look within. Search for it within the quietness of your mind through one-pointed concentration and meditation." Swami Sivananda

"Mental equilibrium is maintained by remaining a witness. One definition of yoga is: an art by which we become a spectator of all the experiences of awareness." Swami Satyananda.

"You can attain the highest yoga, you can have the darshan of God, if you can make your mind still and peaceful." Swami Satyananda.

"Be aware of everything that happens. Act like a witness, without identifying yourself with anything. Over-identification with the body, emotions and mind will lead to painful and undesirable physical, emotional and mental experiences. Try to watch all the activities from the center of consciousness."
But what I really need to learn now is how to practice detachment from books. Once again I have to face the fact that I need to keep traveling but I can't carry more weight. I thought about giving the book away as a gift, but even though it was quite cheap, just 100 Indian rupees, it is quite a tough decision. I feel I still need to read it several times before I can do that :-)

If you would like to order this book you can find it in Amazon in this link: Samatvam, The Yoga Of Equanimity. You might also be interested in Taming the Kundalini and Steps to Yoga and Yoga initiation papers, all of them Bihar Yoga Publications.



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