Highest Yoga


Sri Swami Sivananda

This discourse is a chapter from the book “Yoga Samhita”.

Study daily the story of Avanti Brahmin that occurs in Srimad Bhagavatha (Book of God). You will be greatly inspired. This story places before you the great ideal of egolessness. The Avanti Brahmin was persecuted in a variety of ways by his own kith and kin and the other people. He bore it all with a smile on the face and was ever immersed in his Self-knowledge.

Similarly a person is praised by some and criticised by others. Patience and perseverance is necessary if you are to receive something grand. Become an embodiment and exemplar of the Mahamantra that I always sing “Bear insult: bear injury: this is the highest Sadhana (spiritual practice).” Spiritual growth should not be measured by the length of time you are able to sit on Padmasan (lotus posture), by the number of Siddhis (psychic powers) that you possess, by the lights that you see during meditation and the sounds that you hear; these are all minor things. Spiritual growth can be truly measured by the extent to which you have got rid of the egocentric irritability that is found in great abundance in a worldly man. This is the most difficult thing. When a person abuses you, criticises your work, vilifies you and scandalises you, are you able to maintain the equilibrium of mind and ignore these things as mere vibrations in the ether, which do not touch the majesty of your resplendent Atman (Self)? Then you have truly progressed in your Sadhana; you have achieved something.

Therefore whatever be the other forms of Sadhana that you practise, I always say you should develop the great virtue of adaptability which contains in it all the element of humility, simplicity, patience, tolerance, perseverance and sincerity. The aim of Sadhana is the curbing of the ego which veils the Truth, the supreme Self that resides within your heart, the Satchidananda Atma (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute Self) that you are in reality. Adaptability and the diligent practice of “Bear insult and bear injury” will enable you to achieve this aim. But it is not so easy. A small word will upset you to such an extent that you would instantly fly into a rage. You will lose your temper in no time. You know it is bad to get angry; yet, when the time comes, when your patience is put to test, when someone criticises you or abuses you, you will instantly lose control over your temper. This is Maya. Eternal vigilance is necessary to guard yourself against this evil. Service of humanity is indispensable if you are to acquire perfect control over the mind, if you wish to eradicate this egoism (Abhiman), the greatest and the most inveterate enemy of a true Sadhaka (aspirant). When you see some light during meditation, do not imagine you have attained Self-realisation. It is not so easy; after several births only you can hope to attain Self-realisation. BAHUNAAM JANMANAAMANTE JNANAVAN MAM PRAPADYATE. But, if you practise this supreme virtue of adaptability, if you are patient, forgiving and loving, you will attain the goal very quickly.

There are different types of people in this world; and in moving with them all you have constantly to adapt, adjust and accommodate. This is the relative world, of good and evil; so you have to be tolerant, forgiving, loving. That is the way to Eternal Bliss. That is the way to regaining your essential divine nature. That is the goal of life; attain this by selfless service, cosmic love, meditation, living a simple life, taking Sattvic (pure) diet and entertaining sublime thoughts.

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