Interview with Swami Shivapremananda direct disciple of Swami Sivananda



Yogacharya Swami Maitreyananda


Interview by: Dharmachari Swami Maitreyananda – President International Yoga Federation

For you Swami, what is Yoga?

– In the West you have the belief that Yoga is primarily Hatha Yoga, and is not; Hatha Yoga is the Yoga of physical and breathing exercises. This is the base of  the Yoga Vedanta philosophy. Yoga has been primarily an aspiration to seek spiritual identity through meditation. Yoga was developed in India, where it is said that ancient sculptures prior to arrival of the Aryans (1800 BC), representing cross-legged figures were found. Among the Indians of Latin America and in Egypt also found that cross-legged position, but that does not mean that it was Yoga. In times of Buddha practiced Hatha Yoga, which was not only to achieve a healthy mind and good health, but for psychic experiences.
Starting about 2,300 years ago, yoga started to be really practiced to achieve good health, purify the mind and harmonize the flow of the nervous system, as a means of meditation, to maintain clear and healthy mind.
Highest value of Yoga is the integration of the two aspects of our nature, human and spiritual. The goal is to combine different aspects of Yoga. We need a deeper and clearer understanding, no fantasies, through the reality check along with a spiritual aspiration: this is Jnana Yoga. Then, we also need devotion because without love you cannot have inspiration and sublimation of the passions, in order to deepen our feelings, this would Bhakti Yoga.
Moreover, we need mental discipline through Raja Yoga, i.e. replace our instincts crude for goals and ideals, and the practice of meditation.
The fourth aspect, which is Karma Yoga, would be to translate our spiritual experience in unselfish service, and that the work will determine the truth of faith.

In the Bhagavad Gita says, “It’s yogi who remains inactive, but executing the works without worrying about their fruits.” Would this be an explanation of what a yogi?

– That would be a aspect of Karma Yoga, i.e., Yoga of the service, but first we must explain what is meant by “fruits”, which in the Bhagavad Gita translated by the result of the action inspired by selfishness. Logically we should always expect a good result when we do something, if not, we would improve our level of efficiency, but we do not have a particular gain egotistical calculation. Of course we have to defend our way of life material security, but should always be work for the sake of an ideal, and that believing in an ideal he will do better and better. Therefore, a yogi is one who loves spiritual ideals that are of value only when specified in the action. Any yogi, any religious, or anyone who believes in a religion must have spiritual ideals, if not, their religion is worthless, it’s just emotionalism. When you really love God, the truth of that love leads to love of neighbour, is how he behaves, how he lives with his family, in society, trying to help improve the level of those around him.

His teachings have always been in favour of a better integration of man in the world, but can keep inner calm when you are immersed in the whirlwind and in the acceleration of the big city?

– For practice you can find inner serenity. When you have spiritual aspirations, having understood the high values ​​of our life, the practical means to apply them in different circumstances, forming our most healthy and strong to the challenges faced attitude. For example:. With the restriction of our excessive expectations, attachments that stifle our relationships with others by possessiveness, exaggerated desires and also educating and sublimating our selfishness, vanity and arrogance
Finally, we live to have a sense of living as live is how we form our values, how we perform, we express and experience in our daily life. To live is to make the most of our being. We live in a family to feel a spiritual satisfaction with their members, have friends not because they only serve to entertain us, but we must satisfy our hearts sharing spiritual values with them.
When you have achieved the experience of inner serenity and can maintain a balance, you can live in any city. It is true that to be in the field one is quiet.
Bhagavad Gita In is said that a person sitting doing meditation can have your mind wandering and being with great inner turmoil, as it is involved in mental activity. However, another person whose mind can be calm even in the midst of the action, has inner serenity. Sitting one can be very restless and working can be very quiet. Do not be disturbed if you have inner strength.

You teach that must sublimate the ego, not dissolve. What is sublimation?

-For we must first restrict sublimate. When our ego wants to put his weight on other egos restriction is needed, which does not mean suppression, but we must respect the right of other people’s thinking. We can communicate well with another person only if we respect your opinion. It is wrong to want to impose our ego. We must educate practicing modesty, knowing that we have much to learn. It’s a process that is ongoing as we learn that there are higher values ​​than personal benefit.
sublimation of ego would then exceed our gross ego, our selfishness. Of course, we are forced to make decisions in life. The choice is inevitable and cannot do it without ego, we become dependent on another person. It is better that one should suffer through their own choice for the wrong choice of another person.

Do we need the guidance of a teacher or guru?

– All teachers need to learn about various topics from our lives, but I do not think a spiritual master should become the owner of the fate of a disciple. No one should surrender to another’s personal responsibility to choose their own path and walk.
guru can show the way, can explain, can help in the process of understanding of spiritual teachings, but I do not think we should surrender our will to another being human. We can learn, we can respect those who deserve respect, we can have devotion to noble souls, because we always need inspiration in our lives and if we find a teacher, if we can link with it, we use it for learning and inspiration.
But a teacher should not only be wise, must have spiritual qualities in his personal life, and his works should command respect due to their righteousness. We should find these qualities in a teacher. Integrity, altruism, pure love, sublimation of the passions and humility
His wisdom must be based not on mysticism, but a thorough examination of the search for truth.

Could you explain what is meditation?

-. Meditation is a process of search for inner serenity, but its real value is to make you feel the identity of the self with its spiritual source, i.e. come to love a sacred presence in the heart
Meditation is not merely relax mind into a self-hypnotic process by repeating a mantra, a few letters, a sacred word or a group of sacred words.
The mind is an energy field and when there are multiple pulses scattered energy in different directions, a conflict occurs in the mind and this loses energy. When we capture these pulses through continuous repetition of a mantra, the energy moves in a circle and do hold, in this energy pattern, a balance that would be a small degree of self-hypnosis occurs. The mind feels so calm and serenity and ease tension.
But this is not enough. Repeating a mantra is an aspect of meditation. The most important thing is to love a sacred presence in the heart, feeling the body as a temple, mind like an altar, and this altar feel the spiritual essence of our being. Along with this feel mental clarity, inner strength, since we are unaccompanied and this allows us to be more understanding.
Several techniques in meditation, some of which are: focusing on the breath, repeat “peace and freedom”, synchronizing with inspiration and expiration feeling the freshness of the nerves in the head and the warmth inside the chest or nasal respectively pits.
You can also repeat one mantra to accustom the mind to its sound structure, to record their grooves in the subconscious, as another means of concentration.
exercising can make a autosuggest to plant in us spiritual ideals, repeating, after choosing the following statements, according to the preference and individual and need to memorize.
Inhale, feeling your breath , mentally repeated slowly and with deep conviction: “Peace is my real nature” and exhale “no conflict.” The phrase three or four times repeated, then it is silent absorb meaning. It continues with “Love is my real nature”, “no selfishness”; “The truth is my real nature”, “No falsehood”; “Happiness is my real nature”, “no unhappiness”; “Strength is my real nature”, “no weakness”; “Freedom is my real nature”, “no bondage.”
I would like people to know that meditation is more than simply repeating a mantra, because above all there must be a cultivation of spiritual ideals, one autosuggest on the qualities for the formation of character and come to feel connected to their spiritual source, which is God.

In one of your books you say you cannot know God through the mind and only emerging in what he made. Can you clarify this?

– God is the transcendent spirit, transcendental in the sense that is beyond matter and at the same time inside her. This spirit of our purified feel more emotion than logic intellect. God is the source of the spirit in which we relate to the devotion, which is a sacred emotion; lift our hearts and feel the presence of God. After achieving the approach to our spirit, we feel peace and serenity. But we have to realize the spiritual ideals they represent God; all religions are God’s ideal expressed by spiritual values.To understand why we need the intellect and we need our discernment of right action.

Interview published in Integral Yoga Magazine, No. 2, 1989, Buenos Aires directed by  Ph.DFernando Estevez-Griego Yogacharya