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Sivananda's Integral Yoga

Sivananda's Integral Yoga

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Published by: .Equilibrium. on Sep 23, 2008
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In the history of the world there have been sages, saints and prophets who have practised

and preached one or the other modes of approaching the goal, which is self-realisation. It was

Gurudev

, the prophet of integral yoga, who insisted “It is not enough to practise any one kind of

spiritual discipline, however well you may strive to do so. Every aspirant should incorporate in his

spiritual programme all the items of all the yogas or modes of approaching God.”

Gurudev had no doctrine of his own. He re-delivered the same message that has from the

beginning of time been given to us by the divine. His were the lips of God. He was one with God.

Yet,ifwecanaudaciouslyreadadoctrineintohisteaching,hisownuniqueapproachtothescience

of yoga can be called “The Yoga of a Little” or the yoga of synthesis. He warned us that only the

harmoniousdevelopmentoftheentirebeingcouldtakeuseasilytothegoal.Aweakspotanywhere

in the structure would ruin the whole.

He composed a rather simple but beautiful little song, which he himself sang in the

Mahamantra tune at every meeting he addressed, especially during his All-India-Ceylon Tour in

1950.

hare rama, hare rama, rama rama, hare hare

hare krishna, hare krishna, krishna krishna, hare hare

Eat a little, drink a little;

talk a little, sleep a little.

Mix a little, move a little;

serve a little, give a little;

Work a little, rest a little;

study a little, worship a little.

Do asana a little, pranayama a little;

reflect a little, meditate a little,

Do japa a little, do kirtan a little,

write mantra a little, have satsanga a little.

Do all these, little, little. You will have time for all.

Was the Master against doing more of these wonderful things–like japa, asanas, or

meditation? You ask, “Why only a little, why not much?” Then, we go on to interpret this to mean,

“Doatleastalittle....”Buthereallymeantjustthis,“Doalittleofeach,don’tspecialise.”Thatwas

the message–because the thing that clamours for specialisation is the ego, for the specialist is

admired by the crowd. Specialisation fattens one’s ego, weakens the spirit of tolerance and

understanding, and creates contempt and hatred.

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Yoga is harmony. A beautiful, symmetrical and integral development of the total being,

which means exercising every aspect of your personality every day. Otherwise there is an

imbalanceofpersonality,whichisnoyoga.InGurudev’swaythereforeyoucannotspendtoomuch

timeperdayonanyonepractice,whateveritmaybe.AtruefollowerofSwamiSivanandacanonly

do a little of all. Thus there is harmonious development, health (wholeness) of body, mind and

spirit.

Gurudev, while still a senior student at the medical college, was very eager that people

should know the art of healthy living rather than the technique of healing. The need for curative

treatment arises only when you have been foolish enough to fall ill. Why not prevent it? Soon after

leaving college, he started a magazine called “Ambrosia” and in that magazine he published every

little hint, secret or non-secret, that he could unearth. People must be educated on how to prevent

themselvesfromfallingill,notsomuchonhowtofindacure.Curingisonlyemergencytreatment.

Throughouthislifehewaspassionatelydevotedtomakingknowledgeandserviceavailable

and free to as many people as possible. These two were unique passions of the Master–health and

service. He had no use at all for secrets (“I have this special exclusive remedy, come to ME.”) If he

came upon a secret theory, it had to be published the next morning. Once when someone in the

ashram wished to prepare a correspondence course from Swamiji’s writings, publishing one lesson

a month and making money from the project, Swamiji agreed. But once it was done, Swamiji

immediately put the lessons back into book form and had them published for immediate

distribution, mostly free.

Hewasaprofessionaldoctor,whosoughtbyeverypossiblemeanstohelpyounottogotoa

doctor. Even so the practice of yoga asanas, which he enthusiastically commenced with the aid of

somebookswhileinMalaya,becamepartofthiswholeapproachtohealth.Hisbookonhathayoga

contains the fundamental essence of the basic ancient texts. The importance that hatha yoga played

in the total scheme of his teachings was how to keep yourself healthy, really healthy.

How to be healthy? What does ‘health’ really mean? Health by definition means

WHOLENESS. You cannot have physical health at the expense of mental health. There is no such

thing as physical health. Health being wholeness cannot be divided into physical, mental and

spiritual. A harmonious development of both body and mind was Gurudev’s speciality. Frequently

in his writings on yogaphysicalculture, hecomes backtomentalhealth, spiritualwell-being. Ifthe

mind is completely, disorganised and neurotic, the body cannot be healthy, however many asanas

you practise, for however long, however perfectly.

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