Dear Yoga Mentor, My Question Is…

Sometimes students have written to or asked Swami Veda Bharati, Swami Ritavan Bharati, and other senior teachers in our tradition questions about practice.  This is one such “Question and Answer,” or Q&A.


"smera smera stimita" is very lovely. But how will you differentiate between a spiritual condition and say some psychosis states? Seeing the misery around and the compassion, can a spiritually illumined man in his awareness go on smiling? How can a realized soul escape the empirical realities before him to be in a smiling condition? How can it be different from psychosis where the people loss the touch with reality?  

Note: Please read Smera Smera Stimita by Acharya Chandramani at http://www.swamivedablog.org/smera-smera-stimita/


Three have answered this question: Swami Nityamuktananda Saraswati, Michael Smith, and Dr. Stephen Parker (Stoma).

From Swami Nityamuktananda Saraswati:

Hari om friends,

Yes indeed, "smera smera stimita" is indeed a beautiful phrase; I use it frequently, yet I understand the Question perfectly. Our world is in peril to an extend … as never experienced before. How can we smile, is the smile on our face not hypocrisy in the face of the suffering of all, earth, environment, animals, humanity. Well, all the answers to that are enfolded in Swami Rama’s book, Call to Humanity. He calls us to wake up, do not retreat in books and caves ... but become active, be engaged and alleviate the suffering of the world. He writes: we cannot reach spiritual fulfilment/enlightenment... if our neighbour is hungry or in pain. 

He extends that to include not just humans. He calls, in other words, today’s spiritual seeker, to become, what is now know  as a spiritual activist.

He talks about in a world of mass media ... we are affected by the world’s misery... not just with neighbours but the world at large.

Once we know that all is energy, divine energy , that we all are ONE – the energy of the violence (Syria/ISIS), the misery of the refugees and migrants (Africa and now  of Europe) the hunger  in Africa and many places of the world, is touching us, each one.. we cannot escape it, if we really understand that all is One, that we need to be inclusive not exclusive;  Energy moves, like Air…and Water… it affects us, affects our bodies, our mind … our capacity to evolve on the spiritual path.

Swami Rama is very clear on this.

I have, however, to apologize, for theses quotes are my memory, as I am travelling at the moment, and can’t check the exact words in my library. I am sure the reader can do so him/herself. Furthermore I encourage the get the old version of the book, published when Swami Rama was still alive, as many changes are there in the new edition.

With love and respect, Swami Nitya

From Michael Smith:

I think this is great question: “What should be the attitude of a person of good conscience to the suffering that is part of the world condition?” …  and many people, sages, saints and scholars throughout the ages have tried to answer it.

Swami Veda said once that universal sadness and compassion is a sattvic emotion because things are seen with the utmost clarity and completeness: yoga-pratyaksha

I asked Swami Rama once, “What can we do in the face of the wide scale environmental devastation on the planet,” and he said, “Clean up your mind.”  I asked, “MY mind, personally?” “Yes!” he said emphatically.

On March 3rd at the Sangha Gathering in 2013 Swami Veda told us to do the same thing:

“There are these stations in many different dimensions, not just in just one dimension. A one-dimensional growth is incomplete. The multidimensional growth that I will describe for you, whether it takes thirty minutes or whether it takes three lectures, you will keep with you, and you will learn to recognize those stations. Some of them are very interesting stations. When we did here the study of the Shiva Sutras, we came across a phrase. A few of you were here; most of you were not. Can anyone remember that phrase that we popularized? Smera, smera stimita. Does anyone remember from that course? Can you say it? It has a very nice musical sound. Smera, smera stimita. Smera, smera stimita. Smera, smera stimita. And the commentator who is writing on the Shiva Sutras says that as you come to these stations, you smile in amazement; you smile and you will become stilled. It is not that you become all excited. It is not that you become a dancer. Stimita: you become stilled, stopped in amazement. That is, the effect of those stations at times in your spiritual progress is this smera, smera stimita.

“I can tell you, there is no journey more interesting than your spiritual journey. For your worldly journeys you need to pay for a sea cruise, you need to buy airline tickets, you need to service your car, but for this journey: free of charge. Everything is free of charge. The whole cosmos: free of charge. And I don’t know why people don’t take the offer. It’s a free lunch. The spiritual universe is a free lunch. Don’t you want to enjoy this transcendental free lunch? Learn to enjoy it, and wait for that smera, smera stimita. At every revelation a smile, your mind smiles and goes further – stilled.

“So, enjoy whatever little smile of the mind that comes in your view, comes in your way, and every moment of whatever relative stillness and amazement that touches you. You know, sometimes you see that you are amazed and for a moment you are stopped still. That is the way it is in your spiritual journey. You are stopped still. And if one of those moments – Don’t ask me when; there is no clock; ask my guru – if it once happens and Mother Infinity reveals her glimpse and all her cosmic music pours into you, if even for a fraction of a second, even that fraction of a second, which is a fraction of a second by your worldly clock, feels like an infinity passed, because Infinity showed one of her multiple faces.

“These are not false promises. This is not a pep talk. That is the way it goes. And there begins to come in you gradually, gradually, gradually, a sense of fullness. And wherever there were empty quarters in your personality, in your heart and in your mind, they begin to fill and you begin to sense the fullness. Then what do you do with that fullness? It pours out of you to others, and you become a teacher; you become a healer. You don’t get a teacher by getting a teacher training certificate; you become a teacher because there is this fullness in you, and this stillness is overflowing and touching the hearts and minds of others, and you cannot help it; it’s just there.  And the more you progress to the next smile, the more you progress to the next station in stillness, the more it pours into you and overflows from you. Don’t waste it; be creative with it; channel it. Don’t waste it; be creative with it; channel it.

“‘Bahu-jana-hitaya, Bhau-jana-sukhaya.’ When the Buddha sent his first batch of monks to go teach in the world, he said in the Pali language in which he spoke: ‘Charatha bhikkavo charikam bahu-jana-hitaya, Bhau-jana-sukhaya.’ ‘Wander, O monks. Wander a great wandering for the benefit of the many, for the comfort of the many.’ If your spirituality does not benefit many and if it does not comfort many, what is the difference between a worldly material, selfish life and a spiritual life? So: ‘for the benefit of the many, for the comfort of the many.’ In your stations of progress, this will arise in you naturally. You don’t need to try. You are helpless. You cannot help it. If there is a space under a tree, you will sit under a tree and, like Socrates, people will gather around you, because they are thirsty and you have the potion of elixir, or water. That depends on how diluted your elixir is. Dilute it less and less and less over time. Dilute your elixir less and less and less over time and serve it in its purest forms.

“Many times I spoke to my master and I said, ‘Master, I am very jealous of all those great yogis who sit in the caves.’ He said, ‘Tell me of what benefit are they to the world?’ Of course, that is his way of answering. I know of what benefit they are. Sitting there, they are of greater benefit at times than shouting and yelling like me here. But something will happen in you. And if there is space under a tree, you will fill people there, or whether you sit under a tent, or you sit in a palace or an ashram or a monastery or wherever, this teaching will flow from you, healing will flow from you – healing of minds.

“One of the things that begins to happen is that the mysteries of the universe begin to unfold before you. You begin to understand the principles and the laws by which the whole universe operates. There is a meta-science about which I have indicated in one of my writings [on Sri Vidya], the science of sciences by which all the sciences operate.”


"How shall I help the world?"
"By understanding it," said the Master.
"And how shall I understand it?"
"By turning away from it."
"How then shall I serve humanity?"
"By understanding yourself."
(Fr. Anthony de Mello, SJ)

The day that people will be able to roll up the empty sky like a leather scroll,
on that day, without knowledge of the Self, there will be peace.
(Svetasvara Upanishad)

In adolescence I aimed to change the world — to right the wrongs of humanity on a global scale.  I envisioned an end to war, oppression, injustice, and strife. Soon I realized that I would have to change my own community first. Only after succeeding here, could I hope to impact upon the world. So I set out to improve education, mediate quarrels, and introduce proper priorities into local politics. Finally, I saw that my real work was with my family. I must begin by changing and perfecting those closest to me — my wife and children. Only later did I see that my true focus of effort must be myself — that to become a kind and decent human being was a life's worth of work. And if, with the grace and assistances of G-d, I could succeed in this most difficult of tasks, I would be making the greatest of all possible contributions to my family, community, and even to the world.
(Rabbi Yisrael Salanter)

If there be righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character.
If there be beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home.
If there be harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation.
If there be order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.
(Confucius 551-479 B.C.)

Through Hunkapi (A traditional Oglala Sioux ceremony) a three-fold peace was established.  The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka (the Great Mystery), and that this center is really everywhere; it is within each of us.  This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this.  The second peace is that between two individuals, and the third is that which is between two nations.  But above all you should understand that there could never be peace between nations until there is first known that peace which, as I have often said, is within the souls of men.
(Black Elk)

“People are often worried that taking time to meditate is being selfish.  The most unselfish thing you can do in your life is to know the Self and then act.  Rather than reacting, acting from the center within.  The light of meditation is good because it make us good, makes us good in the sense that we come out and become more gentle, more compassionate, more sensitive, more relaxed, more joyful in our relationships with other living beings.”
(Swami Veda Bharati)

“A man who has attained samadhi is a blessing to society.  If humanity is to achieve a better civilization, it is possible only through the growth of the inner being.  The entire life of a man who is established in samadhi is a spontaneous expression of the unhindered flow of supreme consciousness.
(Swami Rama of the Himalayas)

“Your own self-realization is the greatest form of service you can render the world.”
(Ramana Maharshi)

From Dr. Stephen Parker (Stoma):

My response to the question is a bit simpler. As a person makes spiritual progress, their mind becomes more joyful in a permanent and unshakeable way. The joy is not coming from their ahamkara, their self-(mis)identification, but from the real source. That joy is not disturbed even when their heart feels the pain of others through compassion. For this reason their mind remains clear and they remain free to respond out of love rather than out of suffering. Pain in life is inevitable; suffering is a choice. And the choice is whether to keep your mind in the experience of ahamkara where "I" suffer or to remain mindful of the greater Self whose experience that "there is suffering" does not eclipse basic joyful awareness.

Editor’s Note:

If you have a question about spiritual practice, you can use this link to ask it:  http://ahymsin.org/main/adhyatma-samiti-spiritual-committee.html

For previous “Dear Yoga Mentor, My Question Is…” columns, please use this link: http://ahymsin.org/main/practice/administrator.html

Swami Veda’s Lectures on the Shiva Sutras, Vol. 1 and 2, are available for purchase at http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/SwamiVedaBharati



The Himalayan Tradition of Yoga Meditation

Purification of Thoughts     Dhyana     Mindfulness     Japa     Dharana     Shavasana     Breath Awareness     Qualified Preceptor     Guru Disciple Relationship     Unbroken Lineage     Silence     Full Moon Meditation

Copyright © 2009-2015 by AHYMSIN ®