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May I Answer That? | by Sri Swami Sivananda



272 Answers on a diverse range of yoga and spirituality questions by Sri Swami Sivananda

TitleMay I Answer That?
AuthorSri Swami Sivananda
PublisherA Divine Life Society Publication
Year1994
Copyright1994
AmazonMay I Answer That?

Publishers' Note

This book is a compilation from the various published works of the holy Master Sri Swami Sivananda, including some of his earliest works extending as far back as the late thirties.

The questions and answers in the pages that follow deal with some of the commonest, but most vital, doubts raised by practising spiritual aspirants. What invests these answers and explanations with great value is the authority, not only of the sage's intuition, but also of his personal experience.

Swami Sivananda was a sage whose first concern, even first love, shall we say, was the spiritual seeker, the Yoga student. Sivananda lived to serve them; and this priceless volume is the outcome of that Seva Bhav of the great Master.

We do hope that the aspirant world will benefit considerably from a careful perusal of the pages that follow and derive rare guidance and inspiration in their struggle for spiritual perfection.

May the holy Master's divine blessings be upon all.

SHivanandanagar,
January 1, 1993.

The Divine Life Society

-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers
1. Why should we believe in God ? Belief in God is an indispensable requisite for every human being. It is a sine qua non. Owing to the force of Avidya or ignorance, pain appears as pleasure. The wor...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 2
3. What is Brahmamuhurta? Why is it eulogized by the Rishis? 4 a.m. in the morning is termed as Brahmamuhurta. Because it is favourable for meditation on God or Brahman, it is called Brahmamuhurta. A...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 3
9. Why do Sadhaks fail to realize God quickly nowadays? After attaining a certain stage of development, they begin to dissipate their energies in preaching, in making disciples, in publishing books. ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 4
14. Are Jnana and Bhakti conflicting with each other? My answer is emphatically No. There is, in fact, an inter-relationship between these two, the one supplementing the other. Bhakti is not at all...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 5
17. I am in earnest search of a Guru who can emphatically say that he has realized Brahman or the eternal Truth or God. Can you give trace of such a man? May I take the liberty to ask you whether you ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 6
21. How are people benefited by a pilgrimage? This question has to be answered by each pilgrim for himself. The spiritual benefit always depends entirely upon the heart's faith. Faith is the life-bre...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 7
23. Why should Ithe Brahman, Ithe Cosmic Consciousness, the Existence without another, the Infinite, the All-pervading and the Omniscient, at all project Prakriti? Why must I be bound by t...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 8
26. I am a stranger whom you would never have dreamt of coming across, but please do not detest me for being a woman. I am only too eager to taste the happiness of spiritual life. Please, Swamiji, hav...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 9
28. Does purity of food lead to purity of mind? Is non-vegetarian food not Sattvic? We have in the Mahabharata instances of people taking the meat of goats sacrificed to the Lord. Yes, purity of food...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 10
31. When the grace of Guru and God is there, why is the mind still not controlled? There must be Purushartha also. Only when you do Purushartha, the grace will come. A professor will not answer the q...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 11
35. What standards should be adopted to measure true greatness? The true greatness of man is to be measured not by the amount of wealth nor by the number of bungalows which are had or by the exercise...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 12
39. What is Nadi Suddhi in its technical sense? How to feel that one has attained perfect Nadi Suddhi? Nadi Suddhi means purification of the nerves (Nadis). Nerve is not the correct English term for ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 13
42. Was Srimad Bhagavad Gita actually recited by Lord Krishna in the battlefield or is it the imagination of the poet? Yes. There is no doubt about the Gita having been recited by Lord Krishna in the...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 14
45. 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 ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 15
49. There is such an expression as the flight of the alone to the Alone. Where is the necessity for a Guru or his grace? God's grace will do, as it is said in the Upanishad. How will you get God's ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 16
54. 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. ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 17
57. Are there fulfilled prophecies in the Hindu scriptures? If so, please explain them. The Lord has given His ever-standing promise that He would appear on earth whenever there is a danger to Dharma...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 18
62. I am under the impression that no advanced Yogi has ever achieved anything in the realm of matter or contributed to progress outside of writing about high, abstract and introspectionist themes and...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 19
65. Can prayers cure diseases when doctors fail? Is it true that more things are wrought by prayers than the world could dream of? Doctors and medicines are only instruments in the hands of God. Unle...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 20
68. 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. Suffi...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 21
72. When Kundalini is awakened, how to take it to Sahasrara through the various Chakras and how to keep it at a particular Chakra where the Yogi wants it? And how to bring the Kundalini back to Muladh...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 22
75. What would be your advice to a person who has taken initiation for the second time due to the force of certain circumstances, yet has no faith in the initiator? A compound feeling of attraction an...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 23
79. 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 puls...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 24
81. 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 crea...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 25
84. 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 rew...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 26
87. What are the qualifications of a real Guru or a true guide? Is it possible for an ordinary human being to select a real guide? If so, how? A real Guru is a Srotriya and a Brahmanishtha, one who i...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 27
90. Can I practice Pranayam by consulting books? Yes. You must read the instructions several times and understand the technique thoroughly. If you have doubts, consult some experienced men and then b...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 28
94. I took Sannyasa recently. Can I have a Parivrajaka life or should I live in seclusion? For a new student of Sannyasa, strict seclusion for six years with intense Sadhana is essential. It depends ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 29
99. Through which opening does the soul leave the body? So long as Prana pulls up and Apana pulls down the life-forces, there is continuity of life. But, the moment either of these becomes weaker, th...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 30
102. Krishna is not the Lord. He is not an Avatar. He was a passionate cowherd who lustfully played with the Gopis. What was the age of Lord Krishna at that time? Was He not a boy of seven? Can there...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 31
106. We should direct all our energies in gaining economic betterment for the masses. If we do not waste time and energy in propagating spiritual ideas, Gita studies and Sankirtan, but devote that ene...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 32
108. When everything is predestined and pre-planned by the Lord, why does man endeavour to do and undo things? Should one's repeated failures in respect of a certain work be also taken as the Will of ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 33
110. Swamiji, of late I am not able to read my class books. Immediately I take up my class books, I feel that they are not worth studying, since they do not contain the element that would satisfy my h...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 34
112. Apart from the Guru, do you think that a mediator is necessary in order to enable us to attain Self-realization? Yes, yes. That is the Tutelary Deity or Ishta Devata. The mind cannot all at once...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 35
115. What is the technique of concentration on the 18 parts of the body as advised by Sage Yajnavalkya for the purpose of attaining Pratyahara? Please explain fully. The technique of concentration as...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 36
116. Swamiji, I feel I have not understood the Mahavakyas and their significance properly. I will explain it to you. Listen attentively. The first Mahavakya is: Prajnanam Brahma. Consciousness is B...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 37
119. Why are philosophers called mad? Is there something wrong with the philosophers or the people who call them so? Compared to the man-of-the-world, a philosopher is a mad person in the sense that ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 38
122. In all matters with which it is connected, science gives us a precise account of how a particular thing is constructed and how it grows. We are also given the successive signs that mark the growt...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 39
123. How was it possible for Sri Sankaracharya to have devotion to Sakara Brahman when he was an Advaitin and his philosophical treatises prove that he believed in the nameless and formless One? It i...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 40
127. Psychologists do not accept that there is a superconscious state. They accept only the conscious and the subconscious states. An owl says, There is no light. Is there no light? Similarly, the ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 41
130. Will not one be violating one's Dharma by embracing Sannyas and by not discharging his duties to his parents and dependents? Are one's relatives really dependent on him? The notion that others d...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 42
134. Swamiji Maharaj! What is your idea about Nirguna Brahman? Does it mean only Shunya? In that case, it does not very much appeal to us. Who would like to meditate on nothingness? Nirguna is not no...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 43
138. In our quest after Truth, Swamiji, I can understand that great Saviours like Lord Jesus can help us. But it is not always that such souls are present amidst us. What are we to do, Swamiji? Saint...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 44
140. How to remove indigestion? Eat when you are hungry. Do not eat anything between meals. Eat slowly in a calm mood. Chew properly. Eat moderately. Avoid many combinations of food. Drink a glass of...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 45
143. It is mentioned in our Puranas that in days of yore Akashvani was frequently heard by our ancestors who were forewarned by it of coming events. Is it credible? Or, was it only the voice of their ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 46
145. Swamiji, while you always associate saintliness with humility, why are you so fond of being photographed? The force behind the system of visual education which psychologists today acclaim as inf...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 47
148. Can asceticism lead to enlightenment? Asceticism is really the austere life of sense-control and mental concentration lived for the purpose of devotional practices or spiritual meditations. True...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 48
152. Why haven't you engaged yourself in the active field of service to humanity, Swamiji, just as Gandhiji had done? Unlike him, you have secluded yourself on the banks of the Ganges without entering...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 49
155. We see a very good man suffering too much. Why? The answer may be: Because of his previous Karma in his previous Janma. This we can trace back to the day of creation. The law of Karma is inexo...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 50
158. Does a full-fledged Yogi not feel tempted to test his Yogic powers? Is such testing justified? A full-fledged Yogi can never have the idea either to test himself or his powers. If such be the ca...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 51
162. Does the soul take a new body in one year? Does it take ten years? How long does one live upon the subtler planes before reappearing on the earth plane? There is no definite period of time in th...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 52
164. If God ordains all, it is impossible that I can kill or steal, unless He wishes to punish my victim through me. The victim's Karmas have fructified and it is necessary that he should die, etc. If...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 53
167. Can I take Sannyas when I have my wife and young children ? Is it not a sin to avoid these dependents when they are in a helpless condition? If you have intense and real Vairagya born of Titiksh...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 54
171. Can a man of my type at the age of 45 enter into the Hatha Yogic practices? How can I get full vigour and vitality at this stage? Yes. You must have sincerity, earnestness, faith, vigour and vit...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 55
174. What is the easiest way for concentration? Japa of the Name of the Lord. And a very important point to bear in mind in this connection is that perfect concentration is not achieved in just a day...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 56
179. In spite of my thorough search, I am not in a position to find out a real Guru. Can you suggest one? To find out a real Guru who may sincerely look after the disciple is a very difficult task in...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 57
182. Is it absolutely necessary to do Nishkama Karma Yoga for Self-realization? If so, how should it be done? Yes. You cannot understand and realize the spirit and object of Vedanta if you neglect ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 58
186. I am disgusted with the false world. I know fully well that it is no use living in such a world. Everywhere I find misery alone. I intend to enter into the life of a Sannyasin, but I do not know ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 59
188. I have no desire to leave Grihastha life at this moment and yet I am very, very keen to awaken the Kundalini Sakti. Is this possible? Will Your Holiness help me? Yes, you can stick to Grihastha ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 60
191. Is woman made for man and to serve him only? Did God create us for the kitchen and for procreation? Why should a woman play a secondary part? Why do you deny equal rights to women? Woman is in ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 61
193. Shall I do Japa of Om Narayana instead of Om in order to make it both Nirguna and Saguna? Japa of the Narayana Mantra keeps the Chaturbhuj Murti of the Lord before my mental eyes. I, however,...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 62
196. Observance of Brahmacharya would appear to be meaningless, because scientists, through laboratory tests, have proved that semen cannot be reabsorbed into the system and that the brain has ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 63
200. Why is Ganges water regarded so sacred? What are the scientific or religious reasons for its water being eternally free from any sort of contamination?. Is it a fact that all sins are washed ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 64
203. Some people have alarmed me that Pranayam and Sirshasan are dangerous sometimes and it might turn a person mad even. Though I discount such alarms, yet my conviction is not firm. Kindly write of ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 65
207. How can a married man practice Brahmacharya? Is it possible especially when the couple are young? To live and enjoy Grihastha life, with one's own wife during the Ritu period subject to the ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 66
211. When death is predestined and also is nothing but a pause to change the clothes, why is it, then, a sin to commit suicide and also to kill living beings for a certain cause? Suicide as well as ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 67
214. Swamiji, why do you allow your feet to be worshipped, allow regular Puja to be offered to your feet? The materialistic modern mind needs a good flushing before it can understand this. To the ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 68
217. If a person has been forced into wedlock with a girl not at all beautiful, but abounding in qualities of head and heart, what should characterize the attitude of that man towards his wife, ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 69
219. How to put a permanent end to all doubts and questions? As one advances in spiritual Sadhana and attains a greater and greater degree of evolution day by day, by regular and unremitting ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 70
222. Do you believe in heaven and hell existing as some independent planes apart from this earth-plane of ours? Why not? They are also planes of existence just like ours. They are as real as the ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 71
227. If I say, Sugar', Sugar', I cannot get sugar. If I say Ram, Ram', I cannot get God. You will have to earn money for purchasing sugar. Then you will have to go to the bazaar to ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 72
233. When I was living in Uttarkashi, I had good Nishtha, exalted Vrittis and good Dharma. I have lost them now after entering the plains, even though I do Sadhana. Why? How to raise myself as before?...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 73
237. Yoga practice, they say, is meant only for men, because it is they who require control. I wonder what work is assigned to women, then! Sit at home and breed children, I presume! But, is it a ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 74
240. I am a theist. Why is it that I become an atheist sometimes when I mix with materialistic people? Your spiritual Samskaras are not yet strong. You are not yet moulded properly. You need Satsang ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 75
244. Can you please give me some detailed practical hints to get non-attachment in mind in our every action? Think that you are an instrument (Nimitta) in the hands of God when you work. Egoism and ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 76
248. Why has God created some souls in a pure state and others in a state of cruelty? Why does He make some do bad acts and prevent their becoming good? When can I have perfection? You can have ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 77
252. Sometimes I hush up things in my mind. I get mental torments thereby. What shall I do to get rid of this habit? You must be frank and as simple as a child. Then only you will get the divine ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 78
257. I am having spiritual practice for the last three years. I do not find any improvement. Why? There is improvement. Your mental images are strong and steady now. Remember that there is no ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 79
261. Can you, at a distance half across the earth, intuit the nature of my life-mission? Your life-mission is absolute dedication of all your faculties to the Lord, and not to be curious to know how ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 80
267. When the Jiva undergoes transmigration and takes another birth after leaving this physical body, is it necessary that we should perform the Shraddha ceremony for him? He is no more in the ...
-Sri Swami Sivananda Yoga and Spirituality Answers. Part 81
270. Swamiji, what is the sense in worshipping the Guru as people do here in India? Isn't that slavery? You mean to say that the disciple becomes the slave of the Guru? Aren't you grateful to the ...









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