Sometimes students have written to or asked Swami Veda Bharati, Swami Ritavan Bharati, and other senior teachers in our tradition questions about practice. These articles are “Question and Answer,” or Q&A. Below please find a listing of questions; to read the whole article please click on "Click here for the Q&A." If you have a question related to Spiritual Practice, you can ask it at this link AHYMSIN Spiritual Committee.
Question: I am reaching out in regard to the Hatha sequencing and warm-up stretching I did daily while at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG). I really enjoyed the teaching and how the lessons were put together. While I do recall some of the general postures, I was wondering if someone might be able to share names of asanas that the lessons were structured around, so I can look into them in more depth, please? Any background on the yoga classes, postures, and sequencing would be greatly appreciated. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: Can you tell me the number of repetitions as far as high anyone can go and brief procedure about of Ashwini mudra? Swami Rama said that no exercise compensates this (Ashwini mudra) exercise bladder muscle get exercised sphincter muscles exercised and by this practice alone you can get control over your autonomic nervous system. Can you explain how Ashwini mudra can lead me to get control over my automatic nervous system? I heard that someone who was practicing Ashwini mudra wrote his experience like that (I have practiced ashwini mudra quite often and hence now i'm constantly falling sick because of the increase in body heat , a couple of months back i was admitted because of the same reason, my body generates too much heat , the apana remains in my stomach it was trying to come out resulting in vomiting , excessive vomiting caused dehydration and i was admitted hence i need to know how to overcome this heat, i'm still facing the same problem even today ). So if it is true that Ashwini mudra generates so much heat if yes then how to cool down or overcome from it? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I am stuck with my thoughts. Please help me. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: Mostly, I do not get distracted or waylaid by rose petals or mud slung at me.... except when my mother does it. I need advice! The three golden circles don't work with her, either. What am i doing wrong? Why am i failing? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: Kindly help me. Fear has made me not able to do my work. It has caused fatigue and tiredness. It's been a few years like this. This anxiety has been very debilitating. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: Does GOD judge us? Swami Rama wrote in The Essence of Spiritual Life, "Sit down and quietly think about what you have done in your life, because in the end, during the period of transition, you will have to face yourself. What have you done that is satisfying? Have you done anything selfless – totally selfless? You go on doing your work and reaping the fruit, and then you hoard. In this way there can be no liberation."
I think that this is THE only yardstick for GOD to judge. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: "Not till your aspiration reaches the level of desperation will it be fully realized." — Swami Veda Bharati This point is made over and over in the scriptures. But why is it so? What is the inner logic behind such a construct? Thank you in advance... Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I have felt very little yogic guidance to deal with the deep historical trauma and violence of racial prejudice and racial division that our community is dealing with. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: Two questions: 1) Could you please tell me if Gayatri mantra is connected to surya and therefore should be only recited during day time and avoided after sunset? And 2) I believe that we are not supposed to practice any special mantras (mantras apart from our diksha mantra) during 12 midnight to 3 am and 12 noon to 3 pm (6 hours in total). Is this correct? Click here for Q&A.
Question: Only one who has realized his true self who is free from ego and body mind breath identifications can understand and speak the truth and guide. All others are only speaking about concepts and second hand knowledge. That being the case, how can they guide others? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: If a mantra is given by an initiator, rather than by an enlightened Master, I do not understand how a person, just a normal human being, can give something to another normal human being that will be effective. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I am practising yoga and meditation taught by Gurudev Swami Rama. I am getting angry. Please help me so that I may control it. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I suffered from mental anxiety and heart palpitation from the year 2009. From then I tried different yoga and meditations. I get benefit from that for some time but after some time like 6 months I again suffer from the same mental problems and heart palpitation which does not allow me to practice meditation. For that I was thinking to take mantra initiation so that by practising mantra meditation I can change my personality. I have been practising some mantras but I am not able to find out that which mantra will be suited to me. Please help me and guide me. Click here for Q&A.
Question: My question is - Under the theory of karma, we understand that ego (ahamkara) is the root cause of the sense of doership, which in turn envelopes one in the karmic whirlpool. However, what is this ego? Where does it generate from? How does it generate? What is its source? What is the process? And finally, how does one get rid of this ego? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: In certain traditions, when one receives Initiation, the Guru is said to "burn" or "take on" the sanchita Karmas. The reserve Karmas stored far in the unconscious Mind. Does something similar take place here, when we are connected to The Himalayan Tradition? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: "You have no alternative but to learn to love your duty. Then it becomes easy. If you do not love something, and yet you do it, it creates division in your mind, and gives your stress. Learn to create love toward your duties. It can be done." - Swami Rama, Sadhana, The Essence of Spiritual Life, Pp. 53. So inspiring! Which duty do we have to learn to love? Maybe our miseries and misfortune or our choices in our life? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: "Uncontrolled thoughts lead to the asylum, but controlled internal dialogue leads to an understanding of the nature of the mind and helps in the path of meditation and contemplation." -Swami Rama, Freedom from the Bondage of Karma (pg 19). How about the many people I have encountered who control their thoughts to often achieve desirable outcomes that involve hurting and damaging other humans or animals or environment? They have spent years directing their thoughts and planning their actions successfully and they feel content with the results. Sometimes throughout generations. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I was wondering about what constituted bhakti. And is it necessary? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I have read this quote from Kundalini - Stilled or Stirred (p.75-76) by Swami Veda Bharati: "Spiritual experience narrated to others loses its power. If people know that you meditate, half the effect of the concentration of meditation is dissipated. The true meditation is that which is held secret. Let no one know, and hold it like a treasure, close to your chest and heart. The secret of meditation is secret meditation. The secret of successful meditation is secret meditation, for which you seek no recognition, no honour and no respect. Instead, seek insult and you will succeed."
Which means this message lost its power in the transmission?
Another swami shared this with me years ago as I related to him an extraordinary experience I had had. When deeper revelations come it is tempting to share with others. Such as the profound firsthand experience of being one with Brahman. I just want to know how Swamis do it without losing the import of the message. Or do they understand that no such oral representation could ever come close to even approximating the experience? This is how I understand Swami Rama's explanation with regards to the guru within. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I can only visit Rishikesh once or twice in a year, in that case how can I keep track of my practice? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I think, Kundalini yoga is all about tapping into your spiritual energy, raising awareness, and a whole lot of yogic breathing....Is it so ?? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: Does a long challenging and purifying the mind not subtly take you to an ego of the mind? Because you are still in the gross body/mind and extremely far from Brahman...nothingness. How much time and how many lives do we go through “neti, neti”? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: How many people do Agnisara and Ashwini mudra and 2:1 breathing? And its benefits? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: During my study of four Vedas, I could not find any mantra relating to Yoga as physical Exercise. Can any learned Vedic Scholar guide me to this subject in Vedas? In Patanjali Yoga Shastra relevant reference to Veda mantra is not quoted. Vedas do refer to maximum life/age of a person up to 300 years if the individual strictly follows Rtam (eternal Laws of God).In Rtam there is no mention of Physical Yogas but if a person assists God in the maintenance of this Grand wondrous Brahmand by ensuring no physical, spiritual or social pollution in Brahmand, a person can live up to 300 years. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: Swami Rama stresses often on internal dialogue while I find it is a practice on which we (or at least myself) put enough time and effort. It is also hard for me to properly understand what really internal dialogue is. I hope someone will clarify... Click here for the Q&A.
Question: We feel sometimes that nothing is happening even after doing meditation....but actually we are clearing our past samskaras...is it right what I think? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I have a few questions: That blissful feeling that comes from self-realization, is it permanent or breaks up? How does bliss feel? Can you describe it? Secondly, i take it that to achieve self-realization, one has to master the art of restraint and concentration. How does one go about doing this? Like what are the first steps as a starting point? Last but not least, what is your take on meat-eating and vegetarianism? Click here for Q&A.
Question: How are the Gunas and Karma related to each other? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: They say that as you practice your mantra repetition becomes faster, but mine is becoming slower. Click here for Q&A.
Question: Is a guru able to remove a person’s karma or transmit shakti to awaken the kundalini or accelerate one’s journey towards enlightenment? I think: There are unfortunately no short cuts to attaining Self-Realization. It has to be a personal practice to go within oneself and experience for oneself that awareness of the true nature of the self or the atman. It is not possible for anyone to transmit this experience to another. Click here for Q&A.
Question: Accidental awareness during general anesthesia and the devastating psychological effects the phenomenon can have on patients who experience it, especially those who are awake and paralyzed. Most incidents of anesthetic awareness occurred among patients who had received paralytics as part of their anesthetic cocktail. Patients described a range of sensations, including choking, paralysis, pain, hallucinations, and near-death experiences. Most episodes were short-lived, with 75% of them lasting under five minutes. Despite this, nearly half of all patients who were conscious during surgery had long-term psychological consequences such as PTSD and depression. Is there a yogic perspective on this phenomena? Can this 'fear' for awakening be converted into something without fear? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I run a yoga center and 2 teachers are helping me voluntarily. They are good teachers of Hatha who are not from our tradition, and they do the relaxation exercises after the Hatha, starting relaxing from the toes going up. During my class, being a certified Yoga Teacher I start from the forehead going down, as I have been taught. I have asked them this morning to do it my way. But I am feeling bad. Was there a reason Swami Rama taught us to start relaxation from the crown to the toes? Please enlighten me. Aum, in service. Click here for Q&A.
Question: Today I finished reading Living with the Himalayan Masters. For me, it was like reading a number of fairy-tales, though I don't deny the possibility of such "miracles" to happen.
My questions are:
1. Do these powers still exist in your tradition? Or are they things from the past?
2. In your tradition, are there practices that can be thought for attaining such abilities? If yes, will I have access to this advanced science?
3. As for the power of healing in particular, is there someone in your tradition who can heal chronic illnesses? I am asking this because I do have a chronic disease that is incurable by current medicine. Is there anyone that I can go to for healing, or any practice that I can do to heal myself?
Click here for Q&A.
Question: How is it that a Swami is practicing external rituals? Click here for Q&A.
Question: What is the role that the personal mantra (the mantra that is received during initiation) plays in yoga? Click here for Q&A.
Question: I am lost. I believe meditation can heal. I fear I am too lost. Click here for Q&A.
Question: Could you shower your guidance on Asana perfection??? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: What is Khechari? (Apart from the lingual frenulum cutting metaphor) Click here for Q&A.
Question: "When the sun and moon meet at the muladhara chakra that is called amavashya, the new moon day. Close by, kundalini sleeps in adharakunda. The aspirant who wishes to rouse kundalini seeks to control his mind and to confine the moon to its place and the sun to its place, so that the moon cannot shed its nectar nor can the sun dry it. When this occurs and when at the same time the place of nectar becomes dried by the svadhishthana fire with the help of vayu, then kundalini awakens herself." ~SWAMI RAMA, Path of Fire and Light, Vol 1 (pg 77)
Too mystical and esoteric. Those who know what has been expressed and experienced the same, may [you] please shed more Light on the above post? How to make the energies of the sun and moon meet at the muladhara? How to find if the nectar is really flowing into the chakras or is it another whims and fancies of the hallucinating mind or is it another vikalpa ? Any lectures by Gurudev Swami Rama on the same? Also, How to know at what level one has reached in the various energy centres? How to know the right vayu is flowing and dried up in the swa-adhishthana? Any pointers to the mystical poetry and different sutras with simple and practical explanation would be really much appreciated. In, reverence and gratitude. Om jai gurudev. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: Can anyone give me more knowledge on the Vishuddha chakra, the ether element...space energy...communications?? What is the Vishuddha chakra? I know its place in the body, the throat; it’s especially important in the psychic breath of the Ujjayi pranayama. To me it is a mystery. Click here for Q&A.
Question: What should one do of s/he wants to meditate but while meditating s/he is disturbed by the disturbing thoughts that are uncontrollable? And what if during the attempt of meditation the mind is invaded by obscene thoughts or images of the revered beings like saints and/or God? The fact that more we prohibit a thought from coming to mind, more forcefully it enters in, makes the thing more difficult! In that condition should one continue meditation-attempt or leave it or keep on take small gaps in between? Click here for Q&A.
Question: How do we break the bonds of karma, what is the method? And is there a method to break or erase the bonds of Prarabdha karma, or "destiny" as it understood? Click here for Q&A.
Question: I want to know the procedure to increase the energy level of mind field or soul. Click here for Q&A.
Question: In "Five Pillars of Sadhana," Swami Veda writes "Eat five mouthfuls less than enough to fill the stomach." How can we know when it is 5 mouthfuls less than enough to fill the stomach? Click here for Q&A.
Question: I have a question about sex and lust. Are these considered to be sinful? What if we are constantly surrounded by beautiful women? Is it wrong to have lust for them? Is lust a natural feeling? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: Can anyone teach Sri Vidya to us since Swami Veda has left his body? Click here for Q&A.
Question: If I am not feeling a devotional state of mind or devotional emotions, is there any point in me sitting for meditation or doing japa? Click here for Q&A.
Question: I noticed in many readings that there is a focus on practicing nadi-shodhana. It is almost practiced before any kind of important practice. Is it really very essential? I do practice it before meditation and sometimes during the day. I learned that this will help open sushumna which will calm the mind, but I don’t feel any direct effect of it on me, any thought in this regard? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: What can I do to stop falling asleep when I try to meditate? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I am a member of a centre. Activities such as meditation and yoga some centre members see as private activities. At the moment we have some members who never have time to support with anything. They don’t see that being in service for the centre is an extension of your practice and never have time to support with anything. We have suggested they meditate over the availability of time for our tradition. The situation presents a challenge in the group's ability in being able to serve the mission. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I suffer from obesity and even though I know that controlling what I eat is solely in my hands, I still can't eat less. I have struggled with my weight and self-image problem since childhood. I got into yoga because of this, to lose weight, but somehow it never left me. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I really want to learn yoga and fulfill my purpose in this life time. I really do not want to be reborn again. This is where my doubts come in: I really like finance as a subject. I also like yoga, spirituality, philosophy and nutrition. Is it normal to want to do both yoga as well as finance/business? Can I fulfill my purpose? Also I love my family and would like to live with them. I would like to get married and have children myself. Is it possible to go on the journey of self-realization by being with your family, being married to the one u love and having a family? Is it necessary to give up family life to focus totally on spirituality and self-realization? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: Swami Veda Bharati has written, "When you will have exhaled inwards and inhaled outwards twelve breaths without pause, you will have entered the Great Reservoir." Anyone would like to explain please? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: We recently experienced psychic attack from ___, after attending a chanting session from two of his students. We have taken action to remove all connections to the chanting and have nothing from ____ in our homes. Is there anything further that we can do to remove any remaining blockage from this event? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I have seen all popular Sannyasis getting referred to as taken Mahasamadhi. Is it a word used to refer to the death of a Sannyasi?... When it comes to Sannyasis, use of Samadhi appears to be a fashion. Those who die in surgery in USA are also brought back to India and put in a sitting posture to declare Samadhi. Why such a thing of dishonesty is happening with the spiritually luminous Sannyasis? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: Is it possible for a human being who is absolutely full of determination, will power and patience, who is willing to dedicate his entire life, and who meditates using the right technique to attain Samadhi without having any guru? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: Why full moon meditation is given so much importance??? If possible can you explain to me please. Then how does one manage the terrible mood swings during the full moon ... why do most of us go little off balance during the full moon ... i have been noticing the effects on me ... And i am most angered during the eve of the full moon ... i sit n Meditate every full moon sangha ... but it’s not helping me. .. and i conveniently blame the full moon. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: It is said that the touch of the grace of the Guru (shaktipata) is given through physical presence. For many years, Padmasambhava had guided me though i was aware of it, but not totally in the comprehension of the real Self. Then, a few years ago, in a library, i found, (or he found me) the books of Swami Rama, and later i met once Swami Veda Bharati in Rishikesh who was already in his silence. We exchanged some mails but He is no more in his physical presence now. So, to which Guru am I linked? Do we need a physical presence to be guided, to receive eventually shaktipata when, of course we are ready? I had been initiated on July 31, 2015, by Swami Ritavan Bharati and received a mantra initiation. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: Please tell me about sun gazing in the morning/evening as a practice of Tratak to improve steadiness of mind. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: "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? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I have encountered a problem when I meditate: I generate too much saliva. I focus too much on the position of my tongue which eventually makes me tense unconsciously the muscles of my jaw. I would like to know the right position of the tongue when meditating and also how to approach this problem to solve it. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I need your advice and guidance regarding attending a three day spiritual retreat in Bodhgaya in Buddhist Mahayana Tradition. I am an initiate in our Himalayan Yoga Tradition, and soon planning to start my TTP. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I've recently started studying the tradition after a few years of various Buddhist meditation techniques. I've been to the center in Minneapolis and plan to take more detailed instruction. My question is I just cannot get the So Ham mantra out of my head. After practicing the other day I had an experience that can only be described as my skin just shimmering or vibrating. Just curious if this kind of thing is normal. I really enjoy the tradition and I am learning so much. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I would like to know which possibilities in education there are in continuing education / spiritual practice. I have done teacher trainings in the Sivananda organization (500 hr) and regularly follow courses, but I would like to go deeper into spiritual practice. Are there possibilities when you already have done teacher training courses? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: Where does the soul live? Click here for the Q&A.
Question:'managing pain'. Any suggestions on this topic from a yogic perspective? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I had an illness that recurred, and the doctor has given me medical advice. I don’t know what to do. What is the sense of this illness? I know the physical way is not the spiritual way, but I don’t understand why this is coming again. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I know that death is part of life, that the price of living is death, but we prepare for life, the successes and joys, but for death we are never prepared. How can I reduce periods of depression and anxiety, what can I do to overcome this loss of my loved one, what is the best way to handle the grief? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: What is there in the hands of a human? What should we do, for which we are free to do, with which we can liberate ourselves from all kinds of sorrows? The power to do that thing or not to do that thing should be with us. Is there anything which is outside the Will of God, and for which God has given us power and responsibility to do, which will liberate us from all sorrows? What is that step, for which God has given us independence to take and for which God is waiting that we may take that step and he may liberate us from all sorrows and he may unite us with Him? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I had attended many classes, but I am unable to get controlled meditation; always it occupies with thoughts. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: Is it okay to take initiation into two different traditions? The reason why I was asking was because I am attracted to Bhakti Yoga and there are traditions which I am attracted to as well. I was wondering if it was necessary to pick one tradition out of the myriad traditions that exist. I'm definitely most attracted to bhakti yoga but I am also attracted to raja yoga and jnana yoga. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: If one has an injury to the backbone could it affect the Sushumna stream as it rises through the Chakras? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: As a Chinese I have limited access to the English language. How would you advise that I follow the teachings of the tradition? Click here for the Q&A.
This question came from a long time sadhaka: I'm doing a headstand for 25 minutes--is that OK and what frequency should I be doing it? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I have some questions about kundalini awakening. Since 5-6 weeks my body strongly moves back and forth during meditation and feelings like waves of electricity and pressure in the Ajna Chakra arise. And sometimes I wake up at night and have a feeling as if the whole body is full of electricity. I guess kundalini starts to awaken - should I do any particular practice now? And if kundalini is awakening, isn't she supposed to awaken in the lowest cakra and move upward through the other cakras? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: How can I deal with the memories of intense suffering that I experienced in childhood and in my past? Click here for the Q&A.
Question: I recently read your thought provoking and heart touching book "meditation the art and science". i am a novice in the path of spirituality and meditation. I want to know one thing which I missed in the book is experiences, visions, miracles in meditation .what are the inner experiences while meditating i want to know it earnestly from you. i don't know why but the void will be filled when I receive your reply swami ji. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: Yesterday my student asked me about the difference between yoga nidra and meditation. I'm afraid I could not give a full answer to this. Can you help me with this? Click here for the Q&A.
An initiate asked this question:I've been wanting to ask you something for a while now. Everywhere around us we see people doing wrong, crimes have increased tenfold, people have no morals, they are doing anything without thinking. Simple things that are righteous also, people can't understand anymore. So many atrocities on women, children and animals are increasing. What can we do to heal the world? Can we help others through our meditation? Baba used to say we should keep praying for the world, for world peace. Since childhood I've been saying one line every night till date before sleeping, "please give world peace and a good day to all tomorrow." Should I keep praying for that? I really want to do so much but don't know how to. Please guide me. Click here for the Q&A.
Question: Every morning I practice Kapalabhati, bellows breath and nadi shodhana. Yesterday found out that am having irregular heartbeat with premature ventricular contractions. At this point it's not dangerous but could be if gets worse. Want to check with you whether the kapalabhati and bellows could be aggravating this? Click here for the Q&A.
A student who calls himself an "advancing student" writes: Swami Rama in the lecture on mandukyopanishath (in youtube) teaches the pratice of 2-to-1 breathing. He describes the method and says that one should go up to 60:30; of course, slowly which takes 6 months or even one year. I have started this practice some months ago, and now doing 12:24. I am doing this after my morning meditation, asanas, nadi-shodhana and then the 2:1 breathing. I want your guidance on this practice and to know whether this sequence is alright? What care I should take as the length of ratio increases?. I will be very slow and have a lot of patience. Kindly guide me on this. Click here for the Q&A.