What are the health benefits of meditation and yoga? How do they help in relieving stress in today’s world? Chat with Expert on meditation and yoga, Swami Ram Swarup, conducted at at 2 pm (IST) on May 17, 2003

Q 1) How does meditation help us in relieving stress?
Swami Ram Swarup: Meditation means: to reach at the seventh stage of Ashtang Yoga. That is, right from the beginning, yam, niyam, aasam, pranayam, pratyahar, dharna, dhyan… Dhyan means meditation. Yam, niyam purifies us by means of our daily routine, satya, ahimsa, astaye, bhramcharya, etc. When we reach at aasan, yoga-aasan, the aasan purify our body. Next is pranayam, whose practice purifies our mind, and all types of arteries and veins, etc. Then comes pratyahar, which stops us to do anything wrong or against religion or ved-shastras. When we have achieved all these qualities then from where depression will come? When our body is purified, when our mind (man, buddhi, chitta, ahankar) is purified by means of yoga practice, then from where any illness, depression, or sorrows will enter? Meditation is the next stage after pratyahar where we try to realize God, being purified. Because we have been purified by the practice of Yoga, as said before. And God is also purified, and he loves purification, and he thus showers all merriment, pleasure, long-life, etc. when we do Yoga practice. There is no alternative of Yoga philosophy.

Q 2) Inorder to practice yoga and meditation is it necessary to have a guru?
Swami Ram Swarup: Yes. When the world is created, then unsexual shristi (world) is created by God as mentioned in Mandal 10, Sutra 129 of Rig Veda. At that time, no learned person is available because all have left their bodies in the previous earth. So there is only one learned, who is almighty God. So he gives us knowledge as a Guru in the shape of four Vedas, mentioned in 31st chapter of Yajurveda. So, also, Patanjali Rishi in Yoga Darshan, Sutra 1/26 says that God is our first Guru at the time of creation. Thereafter alive Rishis, Munis have been giving knowledge as a Guru because until and unless knowledge is given by anybody else, no knowledge can be attained. As newly born baby, if nursed in a densy jungle cave, and is not given any language or knowledge he cannot be a learned at the age of 25 or 80. So Guru is required, but learned Guru is required who knows the Vedas, Yogas, fully. This is fundamental law of God and cannot be changed. And this law is mentioned in Vedas, Shashtras, Gita, Ramayan, etc. everywhere. But we must be aware of false prophets nowadays.

Q 3) I read somewhere that you are an engineer by profession so how did this transformation happened?
Swami Ram Swarup: I was fond of meeting with the Saints right from the beginning of my childhood. So, in my services too, I used to be alone in jungle or in home, or while posting to Ladakh, or Rajouri Punj sector, and used to study Upanishad, Gita, and used to do Yoga practice. I was met with a great Yogi whom I searched in the densy jungle of Rishikesh, who actually gave me Ashtang Yoga philosophy. So, from the childhood, I have been touched with spiritualism. My father was also in Army, who was also a spiritual person. So, when I became totally ascetic, I got my premature retirement after rendering 26 years service. I am pentioner too. So, when felt one way, and he become addict thereof, he gets the Goal at last. I also discharged my family duties, settled them and side by side I did Yoga hard practice. My disciples know, I used to awake early 2:00 o clock, and continuously used to do Yoga, and in the evening, it repeats. The main aim of the human being to get long-life and peace and to build nation strong is to do realize God. I still serving the people and the nation by donating Yog-vidya and inspiring public to discharge their duties towards family and nation. And in my books, written by me, these preaches exist.

Q 4) Swamiji, is it wrong to wish for wordly happiness and how does one know whether what one is wishing for is right or wrong for him/her? how does one know that what it is wishing for is there for the person in this birth or not? can one know oneself with astrology? is there any limitation to one’s self relisation?
Swami Ram Swarup: Our shastras want proof. As Yog shastras asked for proof to know whether it is wrong path or right path. The main proof is proof of four vedas. So whatever we say for services to people, nation or God, etc., it should be mentioned in Vedas. So if it is according to the Vedas, that is true, otherwise it is wrong. Astrology is not mentioned in the four Vedas, Shastras and Geeta, etc. The luck is only based on hard-working, pious deeds, cooperation, towards a right path say Vedas, Shastras and Holy books. Self-realization is to be attained because we have been blessed by almighty God for the same. If we are failed, then life is ruined. We will have to face our karmas as per the karmas of our previous births. To remove the effect of our previous bad deeds, worship, yoga-practice is needed. Salvation is self-realization.

Q 5) There are many stress reliving methods, why is meditation most talked about?
Swami Ram Swarup: Because meditation, which is fully known as Ashtang Yoga, being 8 path of the same (that is yam, niyam, aasan, pranayam, pratyahar, dharna, dhyan and samadhi) has been preached by the Almighty God in the vedas. So, when in comparison of God, who is almighty, and one for the whole of the world, there is no other God. He is neither born, or will be born. So, there is no alternation of Yoga Philosophy. God is supreme. Sun has been made by God. No other people can make such Sun. So Yoga has been preached by God, so no other alternation of Yoga can be preached by anybody else because nobody can be bigger than God. Almighty means, God has all powers and needs no assistant. Whereas mankind needs assistance. We are soul. Soul needs assistance to see (from eye), to hear (from ear), and so on.

Q 6) What is the perfect way to do meditation?
Swami Ram Swarup: Perfect way of meditation is mentioned fully in Vedas and thereafter briefed by Patanjali Rishi in Yoga Darshan, but until and unless an alive Yogi is met, no Yoga philosphy can be taught. So the perfect way is to search a learned Yogi. It is mentioned in the Rig Veda that an alive Yogi is required. God has briefed and praised Yogi in all four Vedas. It is very sad that nowadays most of the saints are telling that Yoga, Vedas and Yajna is needed not. This is against Indian eternal culture. So alive Yogi is only required to know the perfect way of Yoga philosphy and that Yogi must be learned of four Vedas and philospher of Yoga, like Vyasak muni, Vasisht muni, Kapil muni, and Rajrishis like King Janak, Dashrath, Harishchandra, Yayati, Ashtak, and the public thereof. So in the presence of a learned Yogi, the Yoga philosphy is achieved. This is for all family-holders as well as non-family holders, because our all Rishis munis, and all family-members, even Shri Ram and Shri Krishna, did Yoga practice while in family. So, it is very rough to say that Yoga is not for married personnel. Actually Yoga is meant for whole of the world. Being preached by Almighty God, who nurses the world creation. When sun, moon, air, water, etc. and every article of the world is applicable by all human beings, that is Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, etc. then why not Vedas and Yoga? – which is also made by God. So Vedas and Yoga is not a sect, and must be accepted by all human beings faithfully, as adopted in previous 3 periods – satyug, dvapar, treta.

Q 7) What causes jeevatma to become attached to materialistic articles (prakrati)? You had said that “Satsangatwe Nihisangatwam”. What can be done to cure this attachment if we cannot get Satsang often?
Swami Ram Swarup: The jivatma is attached with its nature of Parishwangdharmi. Without satsang nothing can be achieved.

Q 8) How successful has your philosophy and unique negative approach been for the advancement of Hinduism? What is your modus oprendi?
Swami Ram Swarup: The Vedas and Yoga philosophy has been successful. First of all, for me, because I have felt pleasure like everything and I am away from every kind of dirt and illusion. And the same is being preached by me to my disciples, who have also achieved a lot. And at Internet also, so many answers I receive, in which they say that they are satisfied and they have solved their problems. And this philosphy has also promote the brotherhood internationally, that is why I had tours of America, Singapore, and Indonesia, and specially all religions respect this philosphy. My approach is according to the four Vedas, six Shastras, Geeta, Ramayan. And the Vedas being eternal knowledge of God, so cannot be negative approach. So my way is to preach Vedas and every religious preach by writing books, articles in magazines and newspaper, personal speaks, and daily worship by Yajna and spiritual songs. And I am satisfied for the same, and this approach does not deny other religious philosphy. So, it is not a negative approach being according to eternal knowledge of four vedas.

Q 9)I have done Reiki and meditation both, but sometimes they both are not able to help me relax. What should I do? Am I doing something wrong?
Swami Ram Swarup: The right way I have already told that there is Ashtang Yoga in the world preached by God in the Vedas. So you will get the good result when you will start right from the beginning. That is yam, niyam, pranayam, etc. But, nowadays, so many kinds of Yoga are being taught, like Hathyoga, Sahajyoga, and Laya-yoga, etc. But in Vedas there is only one Yoga.

Q 10) Swamiji, how can one stay away from the fear of ghosts? Does meditation provide any solution to this?
Swami Ram Swarup: Ghost is not on the Vedas. This you can treat illusion of psychological effect, so when we will study Vedas and will become learned automatically this fear is over. Yes, proper meditation also makes a man understand that there is no any ghost. Because the Yoga philosphy will be preached by a learned Yogi, where he will preach Vedas knowledge also, which will clear the doubt of ghost. Already I talked that Vedas asked proof. When there is no any proof in Vedas, Shastras, Upanishads, Geeta, regarding ghosts, so it is not true.

Q 11) Why do good people always suffer and evil prosper, sometimes it makes me wonder if there’s a god or not….
Swami Ram Swarup: This is all due to the result of our previous births’ deeds, which oftenly are not known by everybody. Yajurveda says, human being does deeds and result is awarded by God. So, unnecessarily God does not give problems to human beings. The problem is only due to our own karmas. There are three types of karmas – sanchit, prarabdha, and kriyavan. Kriyavan is important, because kriyavan karmas are being done presently and if we do pious deeds presently, like worship, Yoga, etc. then we become able to finish all the previous karmas, and become happy, because we then have no karmas to face. The karma philosphy is to be understood. Ravan was a King and happy, but destroyed. Similarly, Duryodhan, Kansa, Aurangzeb, etc.

Q 12) Is meditation more effective if done at a specific time?
Swami Ram Swarup: Yes please. The time of meditation must be selected and it must be faithful if it is four o clock early in the morning first. And then can be selected in the evening. Minimum 10 aasans must be done daily and pranayam thereon. Spiritual books should be read. So, the Yoga practice done at the correct time daily is more useful than the disturbed times.

Closing message:
Swami Ram Swarup: We are all human beings and must respect each religion and personnel, and promote brotherhood internationally. Yoga and Veda is not a “mazhab”, being preached by God of all human beings and God is also not a “mazhab”. God has created universe, sun, moon, air, etc. which are being used by all human being, keeping aside the sects, and the castes. So the Vedas and Yoga must be accepted by all human beings for a long, happy, life, which everybody want.