May I answer that by Swami Sivananda

  • By Swami Sivananda
  • November 2003


Q43. Would you kindly suggest some effective methods for conversion and sublimation of the sexual energy into spiritual energy or Ojas? 
Observe strict continence in thought, word and deed. Give up thinking useless and vain thoughts. Keep balance of mind in all conditions and circumstances, contemplating the Divine. Practice Sirshasan, Sarvangasan and Oordhva Padmasan, besides Viparitakarani Mudra. Preserve the energy by constantly repeating the Name of the Lord, doing intense Japa and meditation, and study of the Gita, the Bhagavata, the Ramayana and the like. Develop Viveka, Vairagya and Vichara. As dispassion increases, so is the vital energy not allowed to leak out. The greater the Vairagya (non-attachment to worldly objects) the more secure will be the semen. The more the preservation of semen, the greater will be the transmutation into Ojas, which means abundant physical, mental, moral and spiritual strength and quick evolution. Pranayam helps a lot in gaining control over the physical machinery and the mind. To have control over the mind means to have control over the Prana Sakti and prevent Veerya from being let out. To have control over this masculine power means to have abundant Ojas which enables the aspirant to glow spiritually. Intense Sadhana, with the desires reduced to the barest minimum, will sublimate the sexual energy into spiritual energy. For further information, go through my book Practice of Brahmacharya. It gives exhaustive details regarding the subject in question.

Q45. Due to Prarabdha if a person is to suffer from a disease or if he has to die young, will the repetition of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra help him to overcome them?  
Prarabdha can be overcome by the grace of the Lord. The Lord’s grace descends when there is sincere devotion and when man does Purushartha. Purushartha is possible when the mind is pure. The mind becomes pure when one does acts of kindness and charity. The laws of nature do not operate when there is the grace of the Lord. His grace is all-powerful. We have the instance of Markandeya who conquered death by his Purushartha, by sincere devotion to the Lord. He was destined to die young, but when the Lord’s grace descended, Lord Yama had no power to carry out his wish. So it is possible to overcome Prarabdha by Teevra Purushartha.

Q46. Some philosophers lay great emphasis on reason and rational living. What have you to say?  
How can reason and logic be given the highest place? The mind, intellect and reason fail when you are under the power of an intoxicant. When anesthesia is given, where is the logical mind? Does the logical mind function when you have fasted fully for a fortnight? It disappears in sleep and swoon. There are some herbs that incapacitate the mind the moment you take them. Thus, there are many occasions when the logical mind of man becomes impotent and stops its function. How can this logical mind or rational living be given the highest status? Intuition is the highest faculty and the evolution of man is complete when he develops this intuition to the greatest degree and realizes his Atman. The knowledge gained in Samadhi is the highest knowledge. It is Samyag-drishti or Tattva-jnana.

Q51. Swamiji! I live in Lucknow. It is so different from Rishikesh. I would very much miss the calm, peaceful atmosphere of Rishikesh when I go back to Lucknow. The atmosphere there is so artificial. What Sadhana can I do? 
Why! You can do wonderful Sadhana there also. The world is not a hindrance. You have got a very practical and thorough knowledge of Vedanta. The fiery spirit of Ram Tirth is in you. Start Brahmamuhurta meditation classes. This is the greatest service you can do to the citizens of Lucknow. Go from Mohalla to Mohalla and preach Vedanta. Open study circles in each Mohalla. Conduct morning Brahmamuhurta meditation classes in each Mohalla by turn. You would be doing a great service to all humanity and to yourself. Awaken people to the real purpose of their life. That would keep your consciousness awake too.

Q54. What is the interval between death and the next birth? Where does the soul dwell during the period between death and rebirth? 
The interval between death and rebirth varies from person to person. It may be two years or it may be two hundred years, or more. There is no hard and fast rule. If the attachment to the world is very intense, a Jiva may be born again immediately after death. There is a girl in Dehra Dun who has memory of her past life. She took her present birth four years after she died in her previous life. Those who have done a lot of virtuous actions remain in heaven for a long time, for two hundred or three hundred years, before they are reborn on earth.

A wicked man will go to another region. You may call it hell. Or it may be a place where he may not get the objects of enjoyment that he wants. A man addicted to drinking may not get liquor there. It may be a place like a jail where one has to break the stones and do such other hard work. But if one has done virtuous deeds, if one is a philanthropist, who has dug public wells, built charitable hospitals, etc., he will go to heaven where he will enjoy for a long time.

Q66. You state that aspirants in the Nivritti Marga should have a little money in the bank or must depend on alms. Now I have no money and I do not like to beg from door to door, but I am very anxious to take Sannyasa. Will you kindly suggest a method to quench my thirst? 
There are beautiful Ashrams throughout India where Nishkamya Seva is carried out. They are always in need of sincere and energetic workers. You can remain in any one of the Ashrams and help in the Ashram’s activities. They will take care of your material wants. Do not be changing from one Ashram to another. Select the best that suits you and stick to it.

Q68. I desire to reduce my sleeping hours and have control over sleep. Can I take recourse to any medicine?  
You should not reduce your sleep by the use of medicine. That will affect your system. Sufficient rest must be given to the body through sleep. When you regularly enter into deep meditation, the system derives considerable rest and automatically sleep can then be reduced. That will not affect your health.

Sleep should be reduced gradually and cautiously. Now, for a month go to bed at 9-30 p.m. and get up at 4 a.m. After a month, go to bed at 10 p.m. and get up at 3-30 a.m. Again, after a month, go to bed at 10-30 p.m. and get up at 3 a.m. Thus, by gradual means you can reduce your sleep. Sleeping in daytime must be avoided.

Q70. If God is just and merciful, why should there be so much misery in this world? Sometimes we see virtuous men suffer and hypocrites enjoy. What is the logic in this? 
Misery is the eye-opener in this world. Had it not been for the presence of pain and misery, no one would attempt for salvation. Misery is a blessing in disguise.

Virtuous men treat suffering as a blessing as it develops the power of endurance and mercy, and makes them remember God always. They welcome suffering. They do not want worldly pleasure and prosperity. They have a changed vision. They always keep a balanced mind in pleasure and pain. You cannot understand their mental state. They rejoice in suffering. Your mind is still worldly. You cannot understand these things.

Q72. When Kundalini is awakened, how to take it to Sahasrara through the various Chakras and how to keep it at particular Chakra where the Yogi wants it? And how to bring the Kundalini back to Muladhara through the various Chakras? Kindly let me know the movements of the Kundalini. 
You will have to take the Kundalini to the Sahasrara Chakra through the practice of Yoni Mudra. If you become absolutely desireless, if the Vasanas are destroyed in too, Kundalini will ascend by itself without any effort, through the force of purity.

Kundalini will drop down by itself through the force of Prarabdha. It will stop at each Chakra by itself. You need not exert to fix it anywhere. It is better you stay under the proper guidance of a Yogi Guru to learn all these Yogic mysteries and secrets. Try to get ethical perfection before you attempt to awaken the Kundalini and take it to Sahasrara. When you are in the path and when you are sincerely doing Sadhana or Yogic practices, you yourself will know how to take the Kundalini from one Chakra to another. Refer to my book Kundalini Yoga for detailed instructions.

Q73. Is the universe an accidental combination of Jarring atoms? Please be kind enough to explain the evolution of the universe. 
The universe is not an accidental combination of atoms. The theory of evolution differs according to the different schools of philosophy. The most accepted view, however, is that of the Vedanta. According to it, the universe is a systematic organic whole directed by a supremely intelligent and omnipotent Being behind it. From the relative standpoint the universe appears as a gradual unfoldment of the primordial matter into the visible gross effects, this matter being actuated by the all-pervading Consciousness Itself. The effects of this matter are, objectively, the five principles of sound, touch, form, taste and smell, giving rise to ether, air, fire, water and earth, and subjectively, the subconscious, the mind, the intellect, the ego, the sense-organs of perception and action, the vital energies and the physical body. All these effects appear as realities, though they are not so actually, because they are based on the one Reality which is the omnipresent Pure Consciousness. from the absolute standpoint, there is no substantial universe at all, except the temporary external form taken by the fluctuating imagination of the mental consciousness within.

Q76. In Kalisantaranopanishad, it is said that repetition of the Maha Mantra is the only means for destroying sins in this Kali Yuga. But this Mantra has two names, Hare Rama and Hare Krishna. As these two names are different, will it not be Vyabicharini Bhakti if the names of two gods are uttered by a devotee? And what is the form to be thought of in meditation while repeating the above Mantra?  
It cannot tantamount to Vyabicharini Bhakti. Real Vyabicharini Bhakti is worshipping God for a few minutes and again loving children, wife, property, etc., for the rest of the day. The Supreme Deity behind the two names Rama and Krishna is one. He is Lord Vishnu. For meditation, you can have either the form of Lord Krishna or Lord Rama according to the tendency, predilection or taste of your mind.

Q77. How do you train your disciples for quick spiritual success?
As a drastic measure to overhaul the vicious worldly Samskaras, I ask the students to drown themselves in active service for some months or years. The period of training varies according to the evolution of the students. They must know cooking, washing, and nursing of the sick. They must serve the Sadhus and the Sannyasins in every possible way. Side by side they must be able to learn all the Yogic exercises, concentration, Japa, meditation, etc. they must be able to write essays on philosophy and Yoga. They must do Kirtan and deliver lectures also. I teach them on all these points. I give them lessons in the treatment of some ordinary diseases. When I find that the students are able to control their senses and advance in concentration and meditation and when I find that they have developed all the Sattvic qualities, I send them to cool places with instructions for deep meditation.

Q79. How can the character of a nation shine forth in its pristine glory? 
As far as the Indian nation is concerned, it is essentially spiritual. In olden days, everywhere there used to be Ashrams pulsating with divine ideals and replete with venerable Acharyas who were intensely practical and realised. Even their Sishyas were highly evolved and receptive in their very nature in regard to their Guru’s teachings. The degradation in the present era is mainly due to the aping of Western manners and the copying of the Western modes of life without doing even a modicum of justice to how far they are conducive to one’s moral, physical, mental and spiritual growth and how far they are helpful in achieving the ultimate perfection known as Moksha which is the be-all and end-all of life. The modern individual is apt to ignore to imbibe what is best in others, but he is quite willing to accept that which debased him in moral evolution. Such being the case, Ashrams should grow in plenty in every nook and corner of the world, particularly in India. Spirituality is the birthright of India, though it is not barred from any other country. Hence, India should take a lead in this direction and illuminate the dark corners of the world where materialism is predominant.

Secondly, religious education should be made compulsory on a common basis without any partiality towards any particular faith. Religious intolerance is partly the cause of so many wars, feuds, dissensions, etc. education should be imparted free to one and all and it should even be enforced on all alike, body or girl, adult man or woman. Sastra and Dharma, science and religion, should go hand in hand like twin sisters without any detriment to progress in current worldly affairs.

People should be made to understand that Karma of any nature, provided that it is not against Dharma, does not stand in the way of realising the goal of Moksha and they should be freely allowed to follow their own respective choices so as to shine well in their inclined fields. The age-old traditions, provided they are not a hindrance to graded evolution, should be kept up by all means so as to remind us of the ancient glory of Bharata Varsha. In the name of scientific advancement, old methods of industry and livelihood should not be set at naught; but they should continue to proceed as usual, as rejuvenation of life lies in their survival alone. The Ashrams that manufacture ideal Dheeras in the field of spirituality should undertake to disseminate the knowledge of the Self or Atma-jnana through periodical tours and pilgrimages by their Ashramites.

Periodical spiritual conferences should be held and the methods of Sadhana or Anushthana should be imparted. Such reformatory activities should go on, not only in India but everywhere throughout the world. The lead is willed by the Lord to fall to the lot of India. it is her onerous duty to take it up immediately.

Q81. The Gita touches on many subjects which are useful to an aspirant after God-Knowledge, but strangely enough, omits to mention anything about the purpose behind creation. Why did God embark on creation at all? 
The Lord’s silence, in the Gita, about the purpose of creation, is truly a demonstration of His divine wisdom. This very same problem arises in various minds in various forms. How did Avidya arise in Brahman? When did Karma begin? Why did the Formless assume forms? How could darkness or Maya exist in the Supreme Absolute Light? And so on. There can be no answer to these questions. It involves the understanding of the Ultimate Principe, the Intelligence that is behind and beyond these questions, the Cause of all causes, the Subject of all objects. It cannot be known as an object. And, when the subject (Self or Atman) knows Itself, speech and thought cease. The questioner and question vanish in the quest. The doubt disappears in the doubter In that Supreme Silence, the problem is inexpressibly solved! The riddle is solved; but speech is baffled-and the question remains unanswerable.

Therefore, the Lord is silent about the transcendental question in the Gita; but such is the divine wisdom of the Almighty that He gives ways and means of solving the problem.

Don’t brother about why creation came into being, but try to know the Creator! Take creation for what it is and try to transcend it. This is wisdom. Trying to probe intellectually into the mystery is only buying psychological distress.

There is no ‘Why?’ in respect of transcendental matters. ‘Why?’ is only for worldly things. Reason is finite and frail. God only knows the ‘Why?’ Realise the Self. Then you will get the answer. Then you will know the origin and nature of Maya and everything.

Q84. My experience has made me conclude that goodness does not always pay in our dealings with people. Then what is the use of being good and doing good when goodness is not recognized and properly rewarded? Please illumine. 
Whether goodness pays you well or not from the material standpoint, do good and be good always. No doubt the worldly-minded generally take advantage of such people as ideal gullibles to carry their wishes through and even to deceive. It matters nothing, for the Lord is always on the side of the good and the righteous who stick to Dharma and who rely on Him. No man is to be considered good without the virtue of piety or God-fearing nature. Goodness and piety go together.

The good man is always the spiritually inclined; though he is in the world he is unlike the Vyavaharic Purusha. To be good is to increase the purity and devotion unto the Lord in abundant measure. To do good is to reap good in return. If a good action is done, a sweet fruit in favor of you arises with the result that you enjoy it whether you want it or not. If a bad action is done, the consequent fruit of action liable to be enjoyed willingly or unwillingly will be bitter and against you. Whether goodness is recognized or not, do good and be good throughout life. That alone pays you well to attain Chitta Suddhi and knowledge of the Self. Only those who have no knowledge of the Self, i.e., the worldly inclined, do not recognize good as a medium of perfection through gradual evolution. Not so is the case with the spiritual-minded, for they know fully well that to do good and to be good help them gain the goal of life, viz., God-realization.

Remember that the Lord does recognize and reward always the good people and good actions. He actually lives and moves in them. The good man actually feels the Lord’s presence in himself and around without a vestige of doubt. It is a mockery for a man to consider himself good without being able to be conscious of God’s presence in him, with him and around him. Do not question the benefit of being good and doing good when goodness is not recognized or properly rewarded, for to work alone man has the right and not to the fruits-good or bad-thereof.

Q86. I am doing vigorous Tapas and meditation for the last five years. With all that, my troubles and difficulties are multiplying. I have lost my job. I am starving now. What shall I do? Is this the Grace of the Lord? How can I continue my Sadhana when I have nothing to eat? 
It is said that the Lord gives food even to the frog that lives between the strata of rocks. Why has He failed in your case alone? This is a great wonder! Has He failed in His duty? This cannot be. He is all merciful, all benevolent! Is it because He wants to develop in you the constructive qualities-courage, presence of mind, endurance, strong will, fortitude, more mercy and love-and makes His instrument more fit for His Divine Lila? Yes, this must be the case.

The struggling and sincere aspirant also gets more trouble and difficulties, because he has to march quickly on the path to reach the portals of the Kingdom of Supreme Peace Unalloyed Bliss.

Princess Mira renounced the pomp and glory of the palace and walked in the burning sands of Rajputana. She starved on her way to Brindavan. She slept on the ground. She lived on alms. The Pandavas underwent countless sufferings even when Lord Krishna was at their back. Draupadi was placed in a very bad plight even though she had Bhima, Arjuna and Dharmaputra to fight for her. Our sufferings are nothing when compared to the persecutions underwent by the five Pandavas, Sri Rama and Mira. Look at the sufferings or Raja Harischandra and his wife! He had to serve in the cremation ground and do the work of a Chandala to keep up truthfulness. It is suffering that develops the will. It is suffering alone that moulds a man on the spiritual path. Be not troubled. Feel Lord Siva’s grace and mercy at every step. All difficulties will melt away like mist before the sun. have perfect unswerving faith in His grace.

Receive Site Updates