Wednesday, July 4, 2012

VI: 17

Chapter 6, Verse 17

"With harmony in eating and drinking,
In sleeping and staying awake,
They are in alignment
With the Higher Power
In everything they do.
This is the Yoga
That gives peace
From all suffering."

Swami Shivananda:

If you eat too much, you will feel drowsy, and sleep will overpower you.  If you eat too little, you will be weak and unable to sit for a long time in meditation.  You are to eat neither more nor less than what is necessary for maintaining the body in a healthy and strong state.

This is a moderate diet for a Yoga student: half the stomach to be filled with food, a quarter with water, and the remaining fourth to be empty for the free movement of air.  Keep to the Golden Mean.  You will then make rapid progress in Yoga.

The nervous system is extremely sensitive.  It responds to very slight changes and is often responsible for mental distractions.  It is therefore important for the Yoga student to lead a regulated life and to be moderate in food, sleep, and physical exertion.  Regular Yoga practice eliminates all sorts of suffering and sorrow in life.

Sri Eknath Easwaran:

We can think of the Lord as a physical education teacher.  He looks over us carefully and selects those of us who are drooping with selfishness.  To these he gives sorrow, saying, "Let me give you some special exercises to help you grow tall and straight."  When we have grown to our full heights, becoming sensitive to the needs of others, the Lord will say, "You don't require any more ideals or any more suffering, for you have extinguished all vestiges of selfishness in your being.  Now you are one hundred percent ready to help reduce the suffering and sorrow of those around you."

When we look carefully and consciously at our own suffering, we shall find that it often comes to teach us to stop repeating our mistakes.  When we learn how to avoid the selfish pitfalls of life, there is no reason why suffering should come our way at all.

A friend:

God is everywhere.  How can there be a place for sorrow and selfishness in God?  These are humanity's illusions.  They are caused by human beings themselves.  I don't believe God hands us suffering.  We often find ourselves in difficult situations, and sometimes we make mistakes.  Those of us who realize our mistakes are doing something positive and are Blessed.

[When we remember God in difficult situations, and in smooth situations as well, we triumph as human beings.  When we forget God, we become swallowed up in Maya (the illusion of separateness), which brings suffering.  It is up to each of us ourselves to dwell in God's steady Presence within ourselves (and outside, too!) and to hold on to that awareness for dear life.]

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