Home > Ask Ananda’s Experts > About the Experts > Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Ask Ananda’s Experts
Questions and Answers About Meditation, Yoga, the Spiritual Life, and More

About the Expert
Regular Answerers

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi is a founding member of Ananda and a lightbearer, now serving in India with her husband Nayaswami Jaya.

Sadhana Devi and Jaya worked for many years to build Ananda Village in California, then served for a few years on the East Coast, helping to build another kind of community. In 2006 they came to India to join the Ananda Sangha staff at Gurgaon. After two years helping to build community in Pune they are returning to the Ananda Sangha headquarters in the Delhi area (Gurgaon), where they will continue to teach and work with outreach services.

Jaya and Sadhana Devi have a daughter, Shyama, in Portland, Oregon.

Posts by Nayaswami Sadhana Devi:

  Page 1 of 3   Next

Vineeta
Lucknow

Question

A very close one of my family knows tantrik vidya. He can know from a distance what’s happening in whose life. He has told certain things about me, which arose my suspicion as its a little impossible 2 know prrsonal details as he told.

I don’t want to be suspicious about him, as it is a sin to doubt someone without proof, but what is the way to protect us from such intrusions of privacy. I have also been told someone did “tutka” on me.I had a turbulent life for the past 10 years. How do I take God’s help to protect ourselves?

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Ananda India

Answer

Dear Vineeta,

As you seem to know, tantra can be a dangerous practice, especially for someone who is unfamiliar with its deeper truths. That said, there are ways you can protect yourself from evil influences of all kinds. The great masters are always with us and we can call on their aid at any time. Here are two techniques you can practice:

During meditation, or at any time, mentally surround yourself with light. Think of it as allowing only good to enter. Spend some time visualizing yourself sitting in that light and let it act as an invisible shield, protecting you from all evil influences. Then, as you go about your day, remind yourself of that shield from time to time, allowing in only good and positive influences.

Before leaving home at any time, stand and describe a circle around your body with your hands and arms. At the same time, chant Om Tat Sat as many times as you wish, again visualizing your body circled with light. Also, try to focus your eyes at the spiritual eye (the point between the eyebrows) whenever you can.

The great ones are stronger than tantra. You do not need to be a disciple to call on them. They will help and protect you.

sam
us

Question

My understanging is that Master’s main mission was to the West. Why is Ananda putting so much energy in India. Isn’t the greater need in the West?

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Ananda India

Answer

Yes, it is true that Yoganandaji’s main mission was for the West. When he came to America in 1920 there was little, if any consciousness of God within, or of the possibility that one could have a personal relationship with God. Yoganandaji’s directive came from Babaji through Sri Yukteswar, to go to the West, where people were beginning to yearn for that relationship. As it says in our ceremony, A Festival of Light,

“Jesus appeared to the great master, Babaji. ‘The lights on the high altar of my church are growing dim. Though still lit on lower altars of good works, the noble taper of inner communion with the Lord burns low and is ill attended. Let us together, united in Christ love, put lights ablaze on the high altar once again!’”

It’s difficult to say where there is a greater need. All over the world souls are in darkness. And likewise, there are souls everywhere calling out for a deep inner relationship with God. Ananda has responded to that call from many countries, with India being most recent. Meeting so many people there who know of Paramhansa Yogananda and are looking for teachers and fellow students, gives us heart to reach out to India as well as those countries where we have already established centers and communities: Europe, Latin America, and the U.S.

Our way of spreading the teachings of Kriya Yoga is to establish meditation groups and centers where there is interest, and then to train more teachers to expand this work out wherever people are open and receptive. These teachings are not only for the West, but for all the world.

Much joy to you,

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Leg Pain in Meditation
October 14, 2012

Debashis Ghosh
India

Question

I have been practicing meditation for more than 2 or 3 years but I skip out after every 2 or 3 days. When I meditate for more than 20 mins, my legs pain. Could you let me know how to meditate without getting into this pain? I am also able to concentrate max. for 25 to 30 mins. Recently I also started using the Hong Sau technique which seems good. I am only concerned on energizing myself to relieve the pain and meditate for a long time. Please guide me.

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Ananda India

Answer

Dear Debashish,

You are not alone in your leg pain! I am assuming that you are sitting on the floor in a cross legged position, perhaps in lotus or half lotus pose. This is a difficult posture to master, but over time it will become easier if you take it slowly. It should help you if you sit on a small cushion, with your hips on the cushion and your knees on the floor. You might want to try a little hatha yoga before you sit to meditate, perhaps with vajrasana, the firm pose, holding the pose just for a minute or two. This will help to relax the thighs and knees.

However, it is not necessary to sit on the floor at all to meditate. Sitting in a straight backed chair, or on a backless bench, is an excellent position. Be sure that your spine is straight, your shoulders relaxed, and your chin level with the floor. Your feet should be flat on the floor. Using cushions you can raise or lower yourself so that you are in the proper position. You will probably find that you can sit longer that way.

25 or 30 minutes concentration is a very good start. If you have only been practicing Hong Sau for a short time you are doing very well. Before your concentration begins to diminish, make sure to spend some time enjoying the after effects, sitting in the silence of peace and letting it expand outward from your body. The time that we spend in this way is said to be real meditation, and we should try to practice it for at least 15 minutes at the end of our meditation. Techniques prepare us for this, but they are not a substitute for the silent sitting.

Many blessings on your practice. Please contact us if we can help you further.

Joy to you,
Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

alan
us

Question

I consider myself an American practitioner of Hindu ideas. As a foreigner how can I expect to be treated when visiting India, and where do foreigners fall in the world of caste?

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Ananda India

Answer

Dear Alan,

Living in India for the past 6 years I have found that Indians in general are courteous and friendly to Americans.

Of course, the more Westernized a city, the more likely are its residents to speak English and accommodate American customs. It's important for us as guests, however, to respect Indian customs, which often can be very different from ours (remember that we are on the other side of the world, and many things are opposite!)

Indians in general are more reserved than Americans, and have more conservative morals. For example, you won't see many public displays of affection. They are also a little more formal and polite than Americans, which I find very charming.

The thing I find most distressing among Americans is our tendency to compare the two countries unfavorably. There is much to appreciate about India, as well as much that is unpleasant. When Americans make an attempt to fit in as well as we can, we often learn a lot and grow in the process.

I've asked a few friends about your caste question. In general, modern educated Indians try to transcend caste; however, it is so ingrained in the consciousness that it sometimes comes out without their realizing it.

That said, foreigners are outside the caste system. In certain ashrams that means that they are not allowed in the temple. My only other encounter with caste has to do with being served. Those in the servant castes treat Americans as though they were a higher caste, and won't allow us to lift a finger. Nor are they comfortable with too much "equality." Even if invited, they won't eat with you, for example. In time you get used to it, and you will learn how to be kind and appreciative of their services without confusing them with unfamiliar customs.

If you would like to read more about India from a Westerner's point of view, my husband has a blog you can read.

Joy to you,
Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Restlessness in Meditation
February 6, 2012

rex carlson
usa

Question

During my meditation practice (seated observation of normal breath for 20 minutes/day) I become unable to sit for another moment about 7-12 minutes in. It's like I want to jump out of my own skim - it's new. I think it's just some strong emotion that I may not be ready for. So far I keep practicing without judging it and I will hopefully I'll get through it eventually. Any thoughts? Thanks!

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Ananda India

Answer

Dear Rex,

Your dillemma is a common one, especially for beginners.

Most of us have to practice quite a bit to reach the ability to sit for long periods. Your solution seems to be a good one, and I am sure that you will eventually overcome.

A second thing that you might try is to be sure that you are keeping your eyes uplifted to the point just above the eyebrows: with closed eyes, lift your gaze as though you are looking out at a point about arm's length away from the forehead.

This will take you above the conscious mind, with its plans and thoughts, and give you a feeling of peace.

Many blessings, and joy to you,
Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

anonymous
usa

Question

I think I want to follow the spiritual path, but I don't know how to tell this to my materialistic family, as they might think I have gone crazy or think I have fallen into a fad. Do you have any advice for "coming out" about my desire to explore spirituality to parents and family members?

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Ananda India

Answer

Dear Friend,

Your situation is common, and poses an interesting challenge to the spiritual seeker. How can we present our spiritual activities in a way that others can understand?

Yogis say that God is often experienced as peace and calm, and many seekers begin their spiritual search by seeking to increase these qualities in their lives. Most people, no matter how materialistic, can understand one's efforts at stress management - in other words, one's search for a way to reach peace and calmness.

Hatha yoga is one form of stress management, and any good yoga class will include a period at the end for experiencing peace in savasana. The next step after hatha yoga is meditation, where one learns to concentrate as well as experience peace.

I think you can probably start with hatha yoga as stress management, sharing a little with family and friends. After you have seen their response you may feel encouraged to talk about meditation with them. If they seem unresponsive, or even hostile, it's better to keep it simple and not try to convince them at this point.

When they see what works for you, they might be open or even curious to know more. But even if that happens, remember to start simply. If you're learning a foreign language you'll begin with small words of practical use, rather than esoteric or philosophical concepts. The same principles apply when introducing foreign concepts.

In the many decades that I have been practicing meditation I have made it somewhat of a hobby to try to think about the different ways that one can explain the spiritual search. You might find it interesting too.

Many blessings and joy to you,
Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

minismom
USA

Question

dear sir/madam

i am not able to meditate more than 15.20 mins a day. and long stretches become disguised thought awareness programs.

yesterday however i noticed the emotions behind my thoughts, the emotions or feelings preceded the thought and were usually starting from the stomach!! that was good in a way since the thoughts would go away once i tracked the preceding emotion!!

is this real or just a egoic hallucination.

also no bad dreams or dreams for that matter within two weeks of med

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Ananda India

Answer

Dear friend,

Your practice of 15-20 minutes a day is a very good start. Congratulations!

As time goes by you will find it easier to practice longer, but quality is more important than quantity.

As you have discovered, thoughts will begin to intrude as you sit longer. The best way to deal with them is to keep your attention focused at the point between the eyebrows, which we call the spiritual eye. To concentrate at the point between the eyebrows, look upward - not crossing your eyes, but converging them slightly as though you were gazing at your thumbnail outstretched above you.

The important thing is that your attention, not your eyes, be focused on that point in the forehead. Don't try forcibly to bring your eyes to a focus, but gaze mentally at that point, and let the spiritual eye draw you into itself. When you do this you are raising your inner awareness to the front part of the brain, that most evolved area where enlightenment occurs.

Each time your mind wanders, firmly (but gently) return your inner gaze to that point.

You can also mentally look up at that point throughout your day if possible. You will find that you have more mental clarity and harmony in your life and that you are less emotional.

Many blessings on your practice.

Joy to you,
Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Unrequited Romantic Love
October 28, 2011

S
India

Question

Hi,

I have read that we come into this world to learn our lessons, if we understand why that test is there, and put positive energy in that direction, we can learn faster.

Now, in my life till now, I have found out that there is one test pattern that comes repeatedly. Whenever I love a guy, that guy never loves me. It happens only when I feel romantic love, not in any other relation. I feel very difficult to overcome and get back to normal. Please suggest what this test wants me to learn.

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Ananda India

Answer

Dear S,

You pose a common question. It often happens that we feel love that is not always returned, whether a romantic relationship or some other.

True love is not about receiving love, but about giving love. Loving heroically means to continue to love, even when it is met with disinterest, or even disdain.

However, that doesn't mean to force your love on someone. It could mean that you will need to be satisfied with being a friend. Perhaps the lesson you are meant to learn is non-attachment, to be able to accept with good grace whatever the outcome might be in your relationships.

And, very often friendship grows over time into romantic love.

I personally believe that friendship is the best kind of human relationship. Our guru said that it is the purest kind of human love. If friendship is the foundation of any relationship, that relationship will endure through the years, regardless of what role you are temporarily playing - whether spouse, parent, child, co-worker, or any other role.

I would suggest to you that you focus on friendship -- not only having friends, but being a friend. In other words, as a friend, think of the other's needs before your own.

If your friend is doing something that could be harmful, a true friend will try to be a good influence, without judgment, perhaps by suggesting other things to do. If your friend is in a bad mood, again it might help to invite them to do something with you, even though they won't be pleasant company. Thinking of others before yourself will make you a good friend. Being a good friend will draw to you the love that you want, and it will be of the best quality.

In divine friendship,
Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Steps to Kriya Initiation
October 12, 2011

CJ
USA

Question

I have recently finished reading Swami Kriyananda's book "The New Path" and have thought of taking Kriya Yoga course. Somehow, part of me is not sure if I am ready to take them, even with your free online offer of the overview course. I have been meditating for quite sometime and really would like to have proper intructions to help me improve. Is there a way I would know that I am ready for the work of Kriya Yoga ? Or, any other suggestions? Thank you.

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Ananda India

Answer

Dear CJ,

It's good that you are approaching this thoughtfully. You don't need to decide at this point about your readiness. The full course takes about 1 year, culminating in the Kriya initiation.

During that year you will be learning several of our preliminary techniques, which are general and can be applied to many meditation types. About half way through you will be asked if you want to become a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda and this line of gurus ( a requirement for the intiation). If so, your studies will continue.

But whether or not you become a disciple, these beginning techniques will help in improving your ability to concentrate and still the body and the breath. They will become a foundation for your practice, whether you take the Kriya initiation or follow another path.

If, after you have taken some of the course, you don't feel ready to continue, that is fine too. We give this course all the time, and Kriya initiations are offered many times throughout the year. So, take your time and give yourself the chance to find out if this is your path.

Joy to you,
Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Jay
India

Question

Hi,

I was told that God watches us in each and every moment. He guides us and he is our teacher. As God is our true teacher if we make a mistake or do sins isn't this his fault? that he didn't stopped us. Sure he shows us some signs even tries to change our way. But God has the power to do anything then why doesn't he stops us from doing sins?

Regards,

Jay

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

Ananda India

Answer

Dear Jay,

Your question is a good one. As well as watching what we do, God also gives us free will. As you say, sometimes he shows us some signs, or tries to stop us from making mistakes. It's our choice, however, to heed these signs, or not, as we prefer. When we make a choice not to heed the signs, we usually suffer the outcome. When we try to keep God in our minds and hearts and follow his guidance we often find that our lives work better. Even if this doesn't happen we find that we are more able to face our tests with a calm and joyful heart. It's been said that Divine Mother has everything but our love. She wants us to come back to her, but only by our own will and choice. We can show our love by listening for God's messages to us, and by trying to learn from our mistakes.

Joy to you,

Nayaswami Sadhana Devi

  Page 1 of 3   Next

Ask a question

Related

Categories

Print