Talks

The Knower

There is an eternal silent entity within us all. And that is what you call the “silent witness” or the “Knower.” The scriptures talk about that as the eternal witness. That is the light in you, or the Self in you, or the Atman. It doesn’t talk or do anything—it just is. And that is what you call “God.” It is due to our own limitations that we say, “God did this, God did that, blessed me, or punished me.” God never blesses or punishes. God just is. Still, we tend to say, “God created the world, God sustains the… Read more… Read more

The Name of God

I would like to begin with OM. The mystic sound OM is the word expressive of God. It is God’s name. We have to give a name to God, to have a Christening ceremony. A namegiving ceremony. It is something like a child is born – he has to be given a name, a suitable name. But it is rather difficult to find a suitable name for that nameless, formless, omnipresent and omniscient One. According to the Yoga of Patanjali, He has given the name Himself. It’s not only that Patanjali calls Him that name; probably the baby Himself calls… Read more… Read more

The Guru Within You

“Satchidananda” is the common name for all of us and every thing. Satchidananda is your own essential name. And that is the real Guru within. That essence is what you call Satchidananda. It is divided into three parts: Sat, Chid, Ananda. Sat is existence, Chid is knowledge; the Truth revealed. And then by knowing that, the outcome is Ananda or bliss. For example, wood pulp exists. That is the Sat. Then it expresses as a piece of paper. The existence expresses, so you get the Chid, the knowledge of it. And then when you use it, you have the Ananda.… Read more… Read more

The Guru and the Broomstick

At a satsang in August of 1999, a group of new graduates from the Integral Yoga Hatha Teacher’s Training (TT) program took the opportunity to ask Swami Satchidananda some questions about himself and the role of the Guru in the life of a spiritual seeker. We find this an appropriate satsang to reprint as we celebrate Guru Poornima, the full moon day in July dedicated to paying one’s respects to the Guru. Question: On first seeing you, I was surprised at how everyone bows down to you. I feel that other people are making you into a celebrity. How do… Read more… Read more

The Greatest Victory

When the word Yoga is mentioned, most people immediately think of some physical postures for relaxing and limbering up the body. This is one aspect of the Yogic science, but actually only a very small part and relatively recent in development. The physical Yoga, or Hatha Yoga, was primarily designed to facilitate the real practice of Yoga—namely, the understanding and complete mastery over the mind. So the actual meaning of Yoga is the science of the mind. Traditionally, the word Yoga by itself refers to Raja Yoga, the mental science. With the current burgeoning of interest in expanding consciousness and… Read more… Read more

The Essence of Yoga Therapy

When I came to this country in 1966, I met Dr. Ramamurti Mishra (who became Swami Brahmananda), the founder of Ananda Ashram, New York and a doctor from India who was also a Yoga practitioner. He was giving a lecture and, casually, he mentioned that Yoga practices can help healing. He did not even say they could “cure” anything, but that Yoga could help healing. Just because he mentioned Yoga, some doctors cooked up a story saying that he was using drugs at his ashram. He was deported and he couldn’t return to the U.S. for two years. Thankfully, attitudes… Read more… Read more

The Entire World is My Family

In essence we are one. We are all related to each other. All we have to do is to understand that and to experience it. We are related in spirit. If we see the spirit in ourselves, we will realize we are all one. Your true nature is that of a spiritual and divine being. We are essentially spiritual beings made in the image of God. We are all the expressions of God. God multiplied into various forms and names. So, we can say we are the family of God; we are all sisters and brothers. We are all different… Read more… Read more

Tapas: No Pain, No Gain

“Dukham eva sarvam vivekinaha. For a discriminating person the entire world is created to give you pain and nothing but pain,” Patanjali says in Book Two, sutra 15. Not that he was condemning the world, no. If you have the right approach, the world doesn’t cause you pain, nor does it give you pleasure. It is just there. Everything depends on our approach. The wrong approach has to bring pain, because only with pain can we learn the lesson. With pleasure we seldom learn lessons. Only by suffering can we learn more. So those who want to learn more should… Read more… Read more

How to Succeed in Yoga

Yoga means to control the mind, to master the mind. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras begin by saying, ‘Control of thoughts is Yoga – Yoga chitta vritti nirodhah.'(1,2) But how is it to be done? Even the ideal disciple, Arjuna, says to Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, ‘My mind is verily restless, turbulent and obstinate. I deem it as hard to control as the wind. ‘(VI,34) But here, Krishna gives a very helpful point: ‘By practice and non-attachment the mind can be control I ed.’ (VI, 3 5) This very same clue is given by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras also:… Read more… Read more

Beyond Words

I do believe that silence is golden. I always recommend speaking in measured words. I don’t believe in going to extremes—either complete silence or endless talking. Talk only when there is a need. And even there measure your words. Because speaking itself takes a lot of energy. And not only that but, unnecessary speaking can create a lot of problems. You can easily make more enemies by talking too much. Silence saves you from quarrels. Many of our problems and enemies are created by our talking. Think of the times you were disturbed, the times you yelled at someone and… Read more… Read more

Self-mastery

As human beings, the biggest task we face is training the mind. The great thinkers have said, “It is easy to win victories over all the continents, to conquer the entire world, but the biggest victory ever won is over your own mind.” If you can master your mind and make it listen to you, obey, then you are a great conqueror. Not otherwise. If you go to an executive office somewhere and see the director of a big company, he or she might be even bragging, “Look at that. A thousand people are working under me. Just with the… Read more… Read more

Samadhi

“By the total surrendering to God with devotion, samadhi is attained. (11:45 Yoga Sutras of Patanjali) Very often, I am afraid of using the name “God” alone, for it is very much misunderstood and misinterpreted. The moment you say God, people think that there is somebody sitting in a corner and pulling all the reins on one side and the whip on the other, driving everyone crazy. It’s not that. Let us know what God really means; let us give him the right place. God is not just a king sitting somewhere waiting to punish you. It is the natural… Read more… Read more