Review: “Adversity and Awakening” by Swami Satchidananda

blog 3.29.14

This tiny book is filled with invaluable wisdom perfect for those of us who are aware of and acknowledge that we are spiritual beings first. I highly recommend reading this book, especially if you are facing a tough time and are in need of some enlightened words to bring clarity to your mind and understanding to your heart. Below are some highlights from the book that I found particularly insightful.

On “The Nature of Suffering”:

  • Once you know that suffering is for your benefit, you won’t have to be worried about it.
  • Suffering is the effort that goes into cleaning out the problems.

On “How to Find Peace and Joy in a Chaotic World”:

  • Whatever you want to see outside in the world, find it first within yourself.
  • Maintain your peace at all cost.
  • We should take care that we don’t lose our peace due to our thoughts, words or actions.
  • If you lose your ease and peace, you become a nuisance to others.

On why “Faith and Fear Do Not Go Together”:

  •  So the secret of life is accepting suffering and then learning the lesson.
  • Anybody who has that complete faith in God will be freed from all their problems.
  • If you really have faith, you don’t have to be afraid of anything.

On “Facing Death and Loss”:

  • So, it’s not the doctor or the medicine; it’s your faith that is the most important.
  • We are all eternal because we are the image of that eternal God.
  • If we believe that everything that happens in our lives is for our highest good, then we will have more peace.

On “Nature and Natural Disasters”:

  • The soul was not created. It is immortal. The immortal principle. But it takes different forms. When it takes a new form, you call it a birth. It stays for awhile; and when, the form is broken – it dies.

On “Terrorism”:

  • So many people offered their very lives trying to save others at Ground Zero. They all forgot themselves as individuals and worked for the common good. We really have paid a big price to learn this lesson.
  • All these kinds of calamities make us come together. They force us to remember God and to unite as one family, regardless of our faiths and backgrounds. They make us remember how we are all the same, how we need one another. 
  • That’s exactly what yogic life means: living a collective life and rising above selfishness, sharing the joy of everyone and the pain of everyone.

On “The Law of Karma”:

  • Nothing happens to us without our karma.
  • The Sanscrit term karma can mean two things: action, and also, the result of action. So when you do karma, (an action) you reap karma (the resulting action). Every action will leave its result; every cause will bear its effect. No action goes without its reaction.
  • If you sow a bitter seed, you will have a bitter fruit.
  • We have to purge out our karma. It’s almost like, without knowing it, you ate something wrong. Now, it’s creating a problem, and you’re throwing it up. That may not be pleasant, but it will get what is harmful out of your system.
  • If you understand the pain, it’s no longer a pain; it’s a blessing because it’s helping you.
  • If you sow something, somebody else can’t reap it… So we have to purge out our karma. When we don’t think of that, we simply blame others.

On why “Despondency and Suicide Won’t Bring Relief”:

  • At the time of death, we simply drop the physical body. The spirit doesn’t stay in the body; it leaves. When a person leaves the body prematurely – not by a natural death but because of suicide – that soul needs another body. The soul’s karma in that particular body is interrupted, and this leaves the soul stranded.

On “Why Anger Won’t Help Us”:

  • If we focus only on the negative, we become filled with fear and anxiety, or anger and hatred.
  • The greatest victory you can win is over your own mind. That’s what Yoga is all about.

On how “Religion Doesn’t Teach Hatred and Killing”:

  • True faiths don’t teach hatred and killing, nor did any of the prophets. It’s the people who wrongly interpret the scriptures who create the divisions. Divisions come if we put our egos into the teachings of these religions. Let us strive to be free of that kind of egoism. 
  • Even the scriptures, the words of sages and saints, are understood through one’s own mind. We interpret everything the way we want, depending on the state of our minds.”

On “Comforting Those Affected by Disaster”:

  • The Self, the Soul, can never be dead. It is always alive; because it is part of God. If God made everybody in God’s image, how can God die?
  • You are permanent. We go through different bodies. Death is nothing final. Death is as if you take an old shirt and put on a new one. 

On “How to Pray”:

  • Let us spend at least a few minutes each day in meditation… these peaceful vibrations will help millions of peace-less minds. You’ll be helping the whole world find peace and joy.
  • Then, why do we pray? It’s not to tell God what to do; it’s not even to heal the sick person. It’s to bring ourselves into alignment with God and God’s healing energy. It’s to heal ourselves first. 

On why “The Future is Bright”:

  • Make use of the golden present. Enjoy the golden now. If you’re worried about the end of the world, you’re missing the present existence of the world.
  • Don’t worry about tomorrow. The people who worry about tomorrow miss today.

At the end of this book, one will find an appendix containing three Yogic practices to help deal with stress. I found the exercises easy to follow and helpful. I feel that this is such a wonderful resource and I am planning on passing along this wisdom to a loved one.

OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

Photography by Ajua Hawkins.

Copyright 2014 Ajua Hawkins

2 Replies to “Review: “Adversity and Awakening” by Swami Satchidananda”

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