Radiant Immortal Atman! Beloved and blessed children of the Divine! May the light of His grace and the glance of His compassion, kripa-kataksha, be upon us, now and always, so that through it we always strive to make ourselves worthy of His presence, which is constantly with us.
I place before you certain ideas that are necessary if we should come out gloriously successful as we are meant to, in this, our self-chosen path, the path that leads us back to our cosmic source and origin, so that there is no more wandering in this wilderness of samsara, there is no more wandering in this desert of dry phenomenal existence, dry in the most essential sense. Not that it is devoid of water or entertainment, not that it is devoid of pleasant diversions, that it has in plenty, and perhaps that is the problem of the awakened soul.
If phenomenal life were to be bitter, then the soul would no longer be attracted towards it, enmeshed in it and forever entangled by it. But because bitterness is soon forgotten and sweetness always keeps nagging our memory, we fall into the trap again and again and yet again. This is called maya.
The pains, the bitter experiences, are soon forgotten. The humiliations and whatever suffering one has undergone are forgotten. But even a little bit of pleasant sense titillation, a little excitement, gets lodged forever within, with the potential to again and again trouble the enmeshed soul through memory, in dream as well as waking. It never gets dislodged, never.
You cannot root out these embedded impressions, nor eradicate them, nor take them out and throw them away. They are too deeply embedded, deep, deep, deep within, where you cannot reach, mind cannot reach, intellect cannot reach. It is helpless. These embedded impressions of previous pleasant experiences form the root of diversion and temptation. They form the root of losing the path, moving away from the straight path and going into byways, away from blessedness.
Therefore there is only one way. These deep-rooted samskaras (mental impressions) and vasanas (subtle desires) must be destroyed at their own level. They cannot be brought out, although there are various Western psychological methods where they try to help the individual to bring out everything from deep within. They have a variety of psychotherapeutic and psychiatric methods, including regression which takes a person back, back, back into youth, childhood, infancy and the womb. There are some foundations that claim that they can even take you back to previous life experiences, but that is only mere fanciful thinking. Some person with great vision may be able to regress, and may be able to tell about another person’s past life, but one’s own past life is forever a hidden thing. It is a locked book until and unless you are near Self-realisation. In the highest state of yoga-siddhi (perfection in Yoga) recollection of past births deliberately becomes possible, they say.
And for an illumined being it is a paradoxical situation. Neither there is a past nor there is a future when one attains the awareness of eternity. Past, present and future fuse into the here and now. Therefore there is no question of recollecting anything past; everything is known then and there. And secondly, at that time there is no necessity for recollecting past births. All births are then known to be so much of delusion, so much of illusion which never existed.
So various foundations in the West have arisen who say they will help you to regress and to root out these deep-rooted traumas, malaise, predilections and inclinations, vasanas. They may enable the person to become aware of and to some extent relieve themselves of the hidden effects of these inner things, but they do not have any technique of removing them. It is not so easy because they are in the karana-sarira (causal body) and the karana-sarira cannot be liquidated excepted through divine power. So, no matter what technique of regression or psychotherapy you use, you may get temporary relief from the effects, but the subtle desires and impressions will still be there.
Therefore, there are only two methods of dealing with them. One powerful method is to constantly affirm the Reality. Identify yourself with the true Self, your essential, real Being, which has neither birth nor death. Then the question of previous births and previous impressions itself becomes absurd. This is the super method, constantly identifying yourself with your nitya nija svarupa (own eternal nature) where there is neither upadhi, nor samskara, nor vasana, nothing. Therefore you do away with the very necessity of probing for and destroying past impressions by identifying yourself with the transcendental reality of your Being, where all these things have no meaning, all these things do not exist.
The other powerful method is to destroy them where they are through deep meditation and the power of the Divine Name. That is the purpose of japa. This technique of deep meditation and the power of the Divine Name can do the impossible, it can do everything for you. These techniques are therefore to be adopted, and purposively the power of the Divine Name is to be taken deep, deep, deep within where you cannot reach—a constant creating of an inner divine atmosphere, a divine climate, a divine state, by the use of the Divine Name.
And while engaged in doing it, constantly be in a state of awareness, so that even with the impelling force of these deep-rooted inclinations, vasanas, and even with the constant surfacing of these samskaras in the form of vrittis and thoughts, you can nullify their constant manifestation by holding the awareness: “I am in the sacred presence of Gurudev, I am in the sacred presence of my ishta devata, I am in the sacred presence of the all-pervading Divinity. Never can I be unworthy of that Presence either through a wrong thought, word or action, a wrong motivation, inclination or impulse, or a wrong desire unworthy of that great and sublime Presence, never!”
So even the awareness of the constant presence of the Universal Being or your own ishta devata, shining in the chambers of your heart with the effulgence of a million suns, or the awareness of the constant presence of Gurudev will be enough safeguard, enough insurance, enough to prevent you from slipping into a lower level, slipping away from the straight path.
If you will but invoke this method, if you have a real strong desire to shine as an ideal sadhak, to shine with divinity, if you are really sincere, true to yourself, honest with yourself, if you are earnest in your professed spiritual path and life, then if you take recourse to this method, you are safe; your divinity is safe, you are insured against anything contrary to the life that you have adopted. You are protected; you have inner strength.
That is the deep significance, great importance and the indispensable necessity of invoking from within constant awareness of the sublime, powerful, divine Presence—always, everywhere, under all circumstances and amidst all distractions and experience. It is an anchor. It is firm ground.
May Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji’s abundant blessings and benedictions enable you to hold on to awareness, enable you to have an interior brightened with his effulgent presence within, and may that presence guide you across all ups and downs of life and bring you to the great, great goal of divine perfection, illumination and liberation! This is my humble prayer. God bless you, God speed you. May you prosper. May success be yours!
Sivananda Yoga (Yoga DVD)
Yoga, A Way of Life - Sri Swami Adhyatmananda
"Yoga and Health" - a complete book with Question & Answer section by Sri Swami Adhyatmananda
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