Interview with Swami Satyananda Saraswati: "the most important Yoga learn in silence"
He went to India in search of a guide to practice in 1976. There he became resigned)sannyasi) of the order of Sri Shankara and returned, 30 years later, to Spain, where he shares teaching transmitted and the essence of yoga to those who want to delve into this path. It is an interview of Irene Jimeno for YogaenRed.
Account Swami Satyananda Saraswati in the 1970s, at the age of 15, read the Bhagavad Gita, a text that awoke in him an intense need to deepen in its interior. She started practicing hatha yoga with the help of Van Lysebeth, Swami Sivananda, Iyengar, Vishnudevananda books and different teachers guide.
I noticed how the asanas, and yogic breaths calming your mind, harmonized prana and it was discovering another way of living. Naturally their diet became a vegetarian, and finally reached the meditation and the need to find a teacher that will guide this process. This need led him to India in 1976.
You've dedicated your life to this process. After all these years, how would you define Yoga?
Yoga is a set of practices, techniques, and knowledge that leads to the full recognition of our essence, to give us is that we are all, a consciousness beyond the individual.
Krishna defines yoga in the Bhagavad Gita as the dissociation with the suffering. The goal of yoga is kaivalya, release. Free from the illusion of being a body-mind and recognised as the always free conscience.
In the West, today, when we talk about yoga many times we refer to Hatha yoga.
Yes, and Yoga is much more. For example, the asana, in Raja yoga of Patanjali is just another step in the process. But before we find the yamas, impeccable ethical behaviour in all your actions: non-violence, truthfulness, not appropriate to what is not yours, self-control, and be free of greed. Only properly following this first step, what a change we have! But often the Hatha yoga is not associated with a way of life that includes all of our lives. Many people are looking for yoga only the solution to physical and mental problems when they could find much more. A good Professor, that living yoga in a deep way, not only has the ability to solve these problems, but it is able to display carefully, and according to each person, another way of living that can bring a much bigger joy.
What you would recommend to someone that you feel you want to deepen your yoga practice?
If the asana and pranayama are executed correctly, naturally arises a silence that leads to meditation. The most important Yoga you learn in silence. That State where there is no any content in mind and where the very idea of 'I' disappears. In this silence we find most sacred teaching, and this is the gate of the awakening. I would also say that investigate and soak in the great wisdom of the philosophy of yoga: Karma yoga, the yoga of selfless action, Bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion, Raja yoga, the yoga of meditation, Jnana yoga, the yoga of knowledge...
You have lived 30 years in India. What you find all these years of practice?
The grace of my master, the invisible impact and powerful result of contact with a person established in the knowledge. This is undoubtedly what most transformed me. Then, of course, the years of happy practice: hatha yoga, pranayama, rigorous meditation, recitation of texts and the repetition of the mantra, pilgrimages, the study of sacred texts, the company of masters... And long periods of solitary life.
This isolation is necessary to traverse the path of yoga or you can combine with the busy modern life?
If we read the lives of the Yogis, many of them retired to devote himself to the practice in fullness. At the same time, many contemporary masters teach us that we can take a practice yoga in the midst of everyday life. All life is Yoga. Here's the big secret! ¿Why do Shirshasana very well if I'm not able to treat my child or I'm not ethical to others? Yogi consecrated his life. If we manage to live constantly with this attitude, life becomes in the way and the master; and every situation, on a spot where we can grow. All this in a relaxed, wrong us, but knowing that If we have an intense desire to reach inner freedom, life will be demonstrating media to achieve this.
"The Yogi consecrated his life", what does it mean to sacralize our life?
We need to first break the vulgarity that surround us media and elevate our lives. Yogi lives with a few high values and contemplates the divinity of its very essence. Slowly, and due to the intensity of his practice, starts to receive this divine essence of others, in the universe, in the trees, animals, mountains and enters a natural and high State of consciousness.
Can we recognize this sacredness in our own Western roots?
The human being has always sought the infinitude of his own being. From the deep hindu metaphysics to the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers (Pythagoreans, Orphic, platonic, neoplatonic...), Taoism, Buddhism, the traditions of Indians sioux, lakota, or people; not to mention the traditions of shamans of Northern Europe, and many others... The search for infinity is part of the existential pursuit of the human being. As they say the Upanishadsanything finite will give us satisfaction. Actually it is the infinite that seeks itself.
Your teacher, Swami Muktananda, taught Yoga and Advaita Vedanta and Kashmir Shaivism as methods to recognize this infinity.
The various schools within Hinduism are very permeable and share many principles. One of the teachers of yoga contemporary catergory, Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh, was a great exponent of hatha yoga, but also of raja yoga, bhakti yoga and Advaita Vedanta. In the same way, my teacher we formed in hatha yoga, emphasizing the benefits of this practice while, at the same time, we began the practice of kirtan, devotional singing and meditation and the path of knowledge of the Advaita Vedanta. Advaita is the metaphysical conception of the Upanishads(later developed by Sri Shankara, to Ramana Maharshi), which leads to non-dual recognition of our essence or atman.
What is the essence of the Advaita Vedanta?
Understanding clear, first in intellectual way and after experiential way, that There is a single transcendent essence beyond all name, shape, time, space, cause and effect. And this transcendent reality texts trying to describe through concepts such as 'sat cit ananda' (existence, consciousness and bliss absolute), is what I am, the non-dual consciousness.
And we get this knowledge?
Through the auto-indagacion or vichara, the discernment between what is Real, sat, and the transitory, ASAT. The acquaintance who am I? I am this body? I am the prana or life energy? The mind, the intellect? The search engine delves into this inquiry until the search engine and search go away and what remains is the reality always full and free itself.
Swami Satyananda It will be an experiential retreat on Advaita Vedanta in August 2016 Can Sans, Girona, exhibiting the work of Sri Shankara: Vivekachudamani, the Supreme jewel of discernment.
For more information consult the website: www.advaitavidya.org