© Copyright The Chiltern Yoga Trust
from Venkatesa Daily Readings  December 5th

People labor under the delusion that while a disciplined life is indispensable for a certain path, for another it is not. Saints and sages glorify certain practices like japa and kirtan as easy; this is to encourage the aspirant. Soon the aspirant is reminded that unless he detaches the mind from the world and attaches it to the Lord, no progress is possible. Even so with karma yoga.

Gurudev Swami Sivananda constantly warned that without desirelessness, egolessness and (on the positive side), seeing God in all, mere activity is but labor. Without physical, mental and moral disciplines, what is styled hatha yoga, but which is in fact just yoga exercises, will degenerate into mere physical culture and raja yoga, or the yoga of meditation will be impossible. Gurudev insisted from the beginning, however, that everyone should practice japa, kirtan, meditation, and study of the scriptures, asanas pranayama, without losing sight of the imperative need to progress side-by-side in self control.

Intelligently and sincerely practiced asanas and pranayama, enable us to acquire mastery over the senses and the mind. Perhaps the greatest obstacle on the path of yoga is insincerity. Only God and Guruís grace can enable us to detect is presence and ultimately remove it.

- Swami Venkatesananda