This month deepen your practice The Boat pose, Navasana; cultivate the virtue of friendliness as explained by Swami Sivananda’s commentary on the Yoga Sutras and make peaceful pizza.
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THOUGHT OF THE MONTH
O’ Traveller in this Earth-plane! Thou art a pilgrim here. Awake, awake. Life is short. Time is fleeting. Pray fervently. Return to your original home of immortal bliss – the eternal abode. – Sri Swami Sivananda
The Upanishads are not the products of the individual mind and the intellect. They are revelations. – Sri Swami Sivananda
SIVANANDA YOGA FAQ ~~~ Frequently Asked Questions
Q 1: What are the marks of a wise man and a fool respectively from the ultimate point of view?
A: The fool reacts outwardly and emotionally under all circumstances, while there is no reaction in the sage. If at all the latter acts, such actions are not reactions to any immediate action, but are born out of the sage’s Satsankalpa to serve humanity. Secondly, in all situations, the fool places himself first but finds himself last, while the wise man places himself last but finds himself first. Thirdly, the wise man retires silently as soon as he has done his work, but the fool remains to hear, others praise him, and in some cases if nothing like it is coming forward, he shamelessly asks for it. Kindly read also the Second Chapter of the Gita, wherein you will find a nice description of the Sthitaprajna.
Q 2: I meditate every now and then on God’s glory and omnipotence, but seem to derive no tangible results there from. Reasons for it please.
A: There is no use of praying to the Lord by fits and starts or every now and then. Just as you do not give up tea and meals even for a single day, and just as you do no forget them too, so also, do not forget Sadhana. Do Japa and meditation regularly without any break even for a single day. This is a sure and potent way of goading and compelling the mind to penetrate itself deeply and unavoidably into the spiritual practices. By following this procedure, you get used to doing Sadhana regularly at least for the sake of the meals that is necessarily to succeed, in spite of the unwillingness of the mind. When the mind undergoes phases of transition in enjoying the charm of the world, it cannot concentrate upon itself and direct the gaze within itself. Pull the reins of the mind back towards itself as it goes out hither and thither. Continue this process several times in a day. When you develop strength of will to realize the Lord by intense efforts, progress automatically sets in. Read the Second Chapter of the Gita with meaning. You will have a clear understanding of the remedy for setbacks in Sadhana.
Science analysis classifies and explains phenomena, but Brahma-Vidya, or the science of the Self, teaches you to transcend phenomena and attain immortality.
– Sri Swami Sivananda
HATHA YOGA TIP – NAVASANA – Boat Pose ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Press your hands on the floor a little behind your hips, fingers pointing toward the feet, and strengthen the arms. Lift through the top of the sternum and lean back slightly. As you do this make sure your back doesn’t round; continue to lengthen the front of your torso between the pubis and top sternum. Sit on the “tripod” of your two sitting bones and tailbone. Exhale and bend your knees, then lift your feet off the floor, so that the thighs are angled about 45-50 degrees relative to the floor. Lengthen your tailbone into the floor. If possible, slowly straighten your knees, raising the tips of your toes slightly above the level of your eyes. If this isn’t possible remain with your knees bent, perhaps lifting the shins parallel to the floor. Stretch your arms alongside the legs, parallel to each other and the floor. Spread the shoulder blades across your back and reach strongly out through the fingers. If this isn’t possible, keep the hands on the floor beside your hips or hold on to the backs of your thighs. While the lower belly should be firm, it shouldn’t get hard and thick. Try to keep the lower belly relatively flat. Press the heads of the thigh bones toward the floor to help anchor the pose and lift the top sternum. Breathe easily. Tip the chin slightly toward the sternum so the base of the skull lifts lightly away from the back of the neck.
At first stay in the pose for 10-20 seconds. Gradually increase the time of your stay to 1 minute. Release the legs with an exhalation and sit upright on an inhalation.
From ‘The Yoga Sutras’ – commentary by Sw. Sivananda
From Chapter I: “Samadhi Pada- On Contemplations”
33. MAITREE-KARUNAA-MUDITOPEKSHAANAAM SUKHADUKHA-PUNYAAPUNYA-VISHAYAANAAM BHAAVANAATAS CHITTA-PRASAADANAM
‘The mind becomes clear through the cultivation of friendliness, kindness, contentment, and indifference towards happiness, vice and virtue’.
Commentary: Taming of the mind requires the development of good will and universal love toward all. Any kind of negative feeling or identification with the dualities of good and bad destroys peace of mind. In essence, you are pure Soul. Desire, weakness & imperfection of the mind touch thee not. Thou art not the body, nor the mind. – Sri Swami Sivananda
VEGETARIAN CUISINE – PEACEFUL PIZZA
This recipe comes from Ganesha. He is probably the best vegetarian pizza maker. If you have wheat allergies, substitute wheat with spelt flour. The variety of toppings is infinite. Serves 4-8. Recipe per person:
Ingredients for Base:
* 350g (12oz) white bread flour
* 4g yeast
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 2 tsp demerara sugar
* ½ tsp sea salt
* about 200ml (7 fl oz) tepid water
Ingredients for Topping:
* Tomato Sauce
* 110g 94 oz) vegetarian cheese, grated
* 2 red or yellow peppers (or 1 of each), cored, seeded, and sliced
* 12 olives 9otinal)
* olive oil for drizzling
1. To make pizza base, combine all the ingredients, in a bowl, except the water.
2. Gradually add the water, mixing by hand until the dough forms a slightly sticky ball. The exact amount of water will depend on the flour used.
3. Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead well for about 10 minutes, adding a little more flour if necessary. Alternately, mix ingredients in a food processor until slightly sticky dough is formed then turn out and knead for about 1 minute.
4. Put the dough into a lightly oiled mixing bowl, cover with a cloth and leave to rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
5. Preheat oven to 230C/450F.
6. Divide the dough ball in half.
7. Knead each portion into a ball, and then roll out to fit two lightly greased 13×10” baking sheets.
8. Place the dough on the baking sheets.
9. Divide the tomato sauce between the pizzas and spread out evenly. Sprinkle the cheese over the sauce. Decorate with peppers and olives and drizzle with olive oil.
10. Bake the pizzas for about 15 minutes. Check then bake for another 10-15 minutes until base is slightly brown.
Vedanta is a system of life itself. It represents the fundamental recipe on which alone a universal congress of faith can be built. – Sri Swami Sivananda
SPIRITUAL CALENDAR – August 2009
01 - Ekadasi
05 - Full Moon (Rakhi)
16 - Ekadasi
20 - New Moon
23 - Ganesha Chathurthi
31 - Ekadasi
God-realization is not a matter to be postponed until retirement. It is a vital urgent need to be attended to immediately. - Sri Swami Sivananda