⟢ Honesties ⟣

Usually when we talk about the cornerstones of the yoga philosophy, the concepts of Ahimsa and Satya are brought forward. That’s not a surprise, because these principles don’t belong only to the philosophy of yoga, they are very closely linked to anybody’s life. And we are dealing with these things every single day. 

I have often heard that Satya, the truthfulness, shouldn’t never be valued more highly than Ahimsa, the principle of non-violence. We should be truthful, but not to the detriment of hurting somebody. This kind of emphasis is not directly found in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. Actually, on the contrary. Yama – all five principles under which the yoga practitioner observes and practices self-discipline – are all equal. They are equal also because they all somehow include all others and are interweaved. 

As life is complex, so is yoga philosophy that teaches us how to live a good life. If you live your life intellectually, it’s a big challenge to live up these principles of respecting all life and being truthful. It can seem even impossible, because sometimes it feels that if you obey to one principle you have to give up another one. Mind has its limits. The heart doesn’t have limits. It understands everything. 

There are many sides to truthfulness. What about for example when our words in their truthfulness touch people or even hurt them, and those same words finally change their life in a good way? And that’s the point! The criterium cannot be whether the truth hurts, but on one hand, why do we say what we say and on the other hand and where do our words lead the other. 

The ultimate criteria is still Ahimsa, but it’s an experience in our heart. When we act from LOVE and for life, we know what is right. We find the right words and we have the courage to express what is to be expressed even if we hurt somebody momentarily. 

Love is responsibility. Responsibility is understanding the necessity of growth in life. That’s why our honesty can sometimes hurt and still be the right thing to do. If honesty leads to growth, it usually is justified.

LA VÉRITÉ BLESSANTE

On entend souvent dire que Satya, véracité, ne devrait pas évincer Ahimsa, non-violence. Nous sommes censés être honnêtes et véridiques, mais sans blesser personne avec notre vérité. Toutefois, ce n’est pas sur cette idée que le Yoga Sutra de Patanjali insiste. C’est presque le contraire. Les cinq principes – Yama – que nous observons en nous et sous lesquels nous pratiquons la discipline, sont tous égaux. Ils sont égaux aussi, parce qu’ils se contiennent les uns les autres et s’enchevêtrent.

La vie est complexe et la philosophie du yoga l’est naturellement aussi, en étant un système qui aide à construire une vie saine et équilibrée. Si nous vivons notre vie intellectuellement, ça serait un grand défi de vivre selon ces principes qui respectent toute expression de vie. Ça peut nous paraître même impossible, vu qu’en suivant un règle, nous avons l’impression de devoir en laisser tomber un autre. Le mental a ses limites. Le cœur n’en a pas. Il comprend tout.

Il y a plusieurs facettes à la véracité. Par exemple, nos mots dans leur vérité peuvent toucher quelqu’un ou même faire mal à quelqu’un et par là, ils changent quelque chose en bien en eux. Le critère n’est pas si la vérité fait mal, mais plutôt pourquoi nous émettons ce que émettons et en plus, où nos mots vont conduire l’autre.

Le critère ultime est toujours Ahimsa, mais c’est une expérience dans notre cœur. Lorsque nous agissons à partir d’amour et pour la vie, nous savons ce qui est juste. Nous trouvons les mots justes et nous avons le courage d’exprimer ce que nous devons exprimer même quand ça fait mal à quelqu’un dans un moment donné. 

L’amour est responsabilité. La responsabilité veut dire la compréhension de la nécessité de grandir dans la vie. C’est pour ça que l’honnêté peut parfois faire mal, car elle fait grandir.  Et si elle amène l’autre à grandir, elle est justifiée. 

TOTUUS SAA SATTUA

Puhuttaessa joogafilosofisista elämää järjestävistä kulmakivistä, tuodaan usein esiin Ahimsan ja Satyan merkitystä. Eikä ihme, sillä nämä asiat eivät kuulu yksinomaan joogafilosofiaan, vaan liittyvät tiiviisti kaikkien ihmisten elämään. Me olemme tekemisissä näiden asioiden kanssa jopa päivittäin. 

Monesti kuulee korostettavan, että Satya, totuuden puhuminen ei saa jyrätä väkivallattomuuden ihannetta (Ahimsa). Meidän tulisi siis olla rehellisiä ja totuudellisia loukkaamatta rehellisyydellämme. Patanjalin Joogasutra-tekstistä ei tällaista painotusta kuitenkaan löydy. Oikeastaan päinvastoin. Yama – ne asiat, joiden suhteen joogaa harjoittavan tulee haluta pitää itsekuria – ovat kaikki keskenään samanarvoisia. Ne ovat samanarvoisia myös siksi, että ne ovat kaikki toistensa osia ja kutoutuvat toisiinsa.

Elämä on monisyistä ja niin on joogafilosofiakin, joka tarjoaa eväitä hyvään elämään. Jos elämää elää älyllisesti, on suuri haaste voida elää näiden periaatteiden mukaisesti. Silloin voi nimittäin näyttää siltä, että kun yhtä periaatetta toteuttaa, joutuu luopumaan toisesta. Mielen rajat tulevat helposti vastaan, kun taas sydämellä ei tällaisia rajoja ole. Sydän ymmärtää kyllä.

Totuudellisuudessa on monta puolta. Jos esimerkiksi sanamme kaikessa totuudellisuudessaan koskettavat jotakuta jopa satuttavasti, koska ne osuvat ja sitten lopulta vaikuttavat elämää parantaen, niin se muuttaakin kaiken. Kriteeri ei voikaan siis ole se, loukkaako joku asia, vaan yhtäältä se, miksi sanomme, mitä sanomme ja toisaalta, mihin tekomme ja sanamme johtavat.

Ylimmäksi kriteeriksi nousee edelleen Ahimsa, mutta nimenomaan kokemuksena omassa sydämessämme. Kun sanamme nousevat RAKKAUDESTA ja ovat elämän puolella, me tiedämme, mikä on oikein. Me löydämme sanat ja uskallamme sanoa, vaikka hetkellisesti loukkaisimmekin. 

Rakkaus on vastuullisuutta. Vastuu on sitä, että ymmärrämme henkisen kasvun välttämättömyyden hyvän elämän rakennusaineena. Siksi rehellisyytemme voi joskus loukata ja silti olla oikein. Jos se loukkaa jotakuta niin, että siitä seuraa jotain parempaa, on rehellisyys ajanut asiansa.

Conference notes

NOTES FROM SHARATH’S CONFERENCE ON THE 22TH OF DEC

Tapah-Svadhyaya-Ishvarapranidhanani-Kriyayogah (Patanjali Yoga Sutra, II.1.)

Tapas means austerity. It means to lead a disciplined life.

Yoga practitioners (don’t talk about yogis) should get up early in the morning, follow a vegetarian diet and get early to bed. You should be able to maintain the discpline.

If you party in the night, you will struggle in your practice, because your mind is not focused.

Why should we follow strictly these guidelines? The mind is either focused or distracted. By an undisciplined life, the mind gets distracted and it’s impossible to go further in the asana practice.

Svadhyaya – selfstudy. You do your practice, teacher teaches and you think the whole day what your learned from him. You do your own research. Yoga books and yoga knowledge help us, but the student should put effort to understand. You can study and never understand even if you come 30 years to Mysore if you just hang around after your asana practice.

Asana brings calmness to the mind. If it’s not done properly, can bring aggressivity. We study the three limbs, Yama, Niyama, Asana to get rid of the disorders of the mind. That’s the purpose of doing asanas.

Ishvara Pranidhanani – Surrender to the Divine. Difficult for many people. When this is established, it’s Kriya Yoga. When practiced and established, you can go to Samadhi. When you surrender, nothing can hurt you. You become part of the Divine.

We think we are great and that’s why it’s difficult to surrender. The ‘I’ is always first.  When the ‘I’ is greater than yoga, the problems start. We act like we are everything even if we are just a tiny dot in this universe. Think someone is above us – Supreme God.

You should follow 4 things (when ready for Pranayama), Yama, Niyama, Asana and Pranayama, then automatically the rest (of Ashtanga) will happen. Dhyana (meditation) – you can see people doing workshop advertizing with pictures where outside they are like Buddha, but inside the mind is running. 😀

STUDENTS’ QUESTIONS

Q1:  How to develop faith? When I practice at home I don’t feel so inspired. It would be nice if something happened, but don’t believe anything happens through my practice.

A: You just do your practice. Your duty is to do. Fruit will come. God gives.

By coming to Mysore makes changes in you. It’s already an effort itself. If you don’t believe in this practice, try not practicing for a month and you’d understand the value of the practice.

Q2:  How to maintain spirituality if you’re not spiritual?

A: You are spiritual, but you don’t know it. You have to build a correct foundation. If the foundation is not correct, also the spiritual practice will tumble.

Spirituality has nothing to do with religion. Religions started often like this. You believe someone else’s experience instead of finding it inside of yourself. Fundamentally we are spiritual. Many things disturb us so that we don’t realize that. The change that comes through yoga is that first everything seems to be outside of us and after we find everything inside.

There are yogis in all the religions as there are non-yogis in yoga.

Spirituality is like growing a flower. You need to nourish the ground and the flower will blossom. In yoga you nourish with Yama, Niyama, Asana.

When you have children, educate them to respect the mother, the father, teachers, others and you become spiritual. It’s more spiritual than going to the temple and then do bad things after.

Q3: How do you share the experience of yoga with someone who doesn’t believe in God?

A: By practice. Once people come to yoga, they’ll come to know the spirituality. At least 30%-40% of them.

Q4: Do we need to do advanced asanas to reach Moksha?

A: No. Proper understanding is needed. Advanced asanas not a guarantee. It’s more how you do your practice that counts. You can have Dhyana state when doing asanas. Someone can be very flexible and so can do asanas easily, but the mind is not there. It’s not yoga.

Q5: Should we count in the practice?

A: Counting is important to know the Vinyasa.

Q6: So many asanas, some are stronger than others. In Yoga Mala Guruji speaks about Sirsasana and you seem to put a lot of importance on back bending.

A: You do so much forward bends, so it’s important to compensate that.

Q7: What should be the room temperature for the practice?

A: You must do efforts in asana practice to bring sweat from inside. If the sweat comes effortlessly (heated room), no use. It only dehydrates you and makes you weak.

Q8: Can you say something about the lifestyle business?

A: People learn 15 days in teacher training and then they say: “I’m a yoga teacher.” They are spoiling yoga and the name of yoga. How many of those “teachers” are dedicated to yoga? How many of them dedicated their whole life to yoga? These people give bad fame to yoga. It’s about Sa-tu-dirghakala-nairantaryasatkarasevito-drdhabhumih (Patanjali Yoga Sutra I.14.). You have to practice long time without interruption and with devotion.

Some people do many workshops with different teachers and then they put this list on their website. From yoga’s point of view not good to do different workshops. Do the same thing and maintain the dignity.

Students can feel the teacher’s energy. If the foundation of the teacher is not good, whatever they teach, is not good.  If you don’t practice, how can you teach others?

Q9: If yoga increases sensitivity and perception, how does it not weaken oneself?

A: You have to think and find what is good for you. The strength and perception comes through practice. It’s a process. It comes by time. You will have better clarity and understanding. If it doesn’t happen, your efforts are wrong.

2013-12-21 17.10.00~ Blossoming in Mysore ~