Sri Swami Atmaswarupananda
Early Morning Meditation Talk given in the Sacred Samadhi Hall of Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh
As we are aware, Gurudev always used to remind his disciples that the goal of life is God-realisation. To achieve that goal he advocated integral yoga–yoga of the head, heart and hand. It is not that we haven’t had many examples, even in the past century, of great saints who have realised God by following a single yoga–yoga of the head or the heart or even perhaps with Mahatma Gandhi, yoga of the hand. Ramana Maharshi believed in the path of enquiry as did Nisargadatta Maharaj. Papa Ramdas believed in repetition of God’s name and total surrender to God. His leading disciple Krishnabai was surrendered totally to him. So we don’t require integral yoga to realise God, but Gurudev believed it was the best way because it included all parts of our being; it didn’t leave anything out.
But perhaps there is another reason that Gurudev believed in integral yoga, because in the final analysis God-realisation is not about us. As Gurudev rather humourously answered one day, “Who is left to realise God.” In other words the condition of God-realisation is that we disappear and God alone remains. The real purpose of God-realisation is that God alone remains serving Himself in all these names and forms. Thus, integral yoga allows us to acknowledge God in all parts of our being, so that there is no “I” left over either in our head or our heart or our hand.
Many years ago, back in the 50’s, there was a devotee of Gurudev’s living in Canada. He was not very sophisticated, and so he would write to Gurudev about all sorts of things–complaints about this, questions about that. And then he would laugh, “No matter what I say, all Gurudev tells me is, See God in all. See God in all. See God in all.” And perhaps there is nothing else we need to be told. Whatever we’re thinking, see God in it. Whatever we see, hear, smell, taste, touch, see God in it. Whatever there is in the world, see God in it. Acknowledge God. If we’re angry, see God in it. If we forget God, see God in it. Is this some sort of a cop out to make excuses for what we do? Let us try the practice. Let us practise seeing God in all and see if we remain the same person.
One of the conditions of total surrender is that we must risk everything. If we turn everything over to God, we don’t know how we’re going to behave, and we must risk that. But, in fact, if we turn everything over to God, we actually become a different person. And that different person’s behaviour–while we don’t know what it’s going to be–is not likely to be the behaviour of the old man.
And so it is when we practise seeing God in all. We ultimately become a new being, because we don’t have any of our old reference points left The old man, the human being, is a separate individual seeing everything outside. When we see God in all, even in our own ego, we become a new being, because to us God alone is. This is the true integral yoga that Gurudev wanted us to practise and to become.