God is the Inner Ruler of your heart and mind. He is the silent witness of your thoughts. You cannot hide anything from Him. Become guileless and straightforward.
Anger and lust are the two inner enemies that stand in the way of developing Bhakti.
From lust follow ten vices that are mentioned in Manusamhita: “Love of hunting, gambling, sleeping by day, slandering, company with bad women, drinking, singing love-songs, dancing, vulgar music, aimlessly wandering about.”
Anger begets eight kinds of vices. All evil qualities proceed from anger. If you can eradicate anger all bad qualities will die of themselves. The eight vices are: “Injustice, rashness, persecution, jealousy, taking possession of others’ property, killing, harsh words and cruelty.”
How are Bhaktas to be known? Lord Krishna has given a description of them. You will find it in Bhagavata. “They do not care for anything. Their hearts are fixed on Me. They are very humble. They have equal vision. They have no attachment towards anybody or anything. They are without mine-ness. They have no egoism. They make no distinction between sorrow and happiness. They do not take anything from others. They can bear heat, cold and pain. They have love for all living beings. They have no enemy. They are serene. They possess exemplary character.
Here is Sadhana for advanced students. This is highly useful for getting quick, solid progress in the spiritual path. Get up at 4 a.m. Start your Japa on any Asana you have mastered. Do not take any food or drink for 14 hours. Do not get up from the Asana. Control passing urine till sunset if you can. Do not change the Asana if you can manage. Finish the Japa at sunset. Take milk and fruits after sunset. Householders can practise this during holidays. Practise this once in a fortnight or once in a month or once weekly.
Here is another Sadhana for ten days. You can do this during Christmas holidays or Pooja holidays or summer vacation. Shut yourself up in an airy room. Do not talk to anybody. Do not see anybody. Do not hear anything. Get up at 4 a.rn. Start Japa of the Mantra of your Ishta Devata or your Guru Mantra and finish it at sunset. Then take some milk and fruits or Kheer (milk and rice boiled with sugar). Take rest for one or two hours; but continue the Japa. Then again start Japa seriously. Retire to bed at 11 in the night. You can combine meditation along with Japa. Make all arrangements for bath, food etc., inside the room. Have two rooms if you can manage, one for bath and one for meditation. Repeat this four times in a year. This practice can be kept up even for 40 days. You will have wonderful results and various experiences. You will enter into Samadhi. You will have Darshan of your Ishtam. I assure you.
Belief in God is an indispensable requisite for every human being. It is a sine qua non. Owing to force of Avidya or ignorance pain appears as pleasure. The world is full of miseries, troubles, difficulties and tribulations. The world is a ball of fire. The Antahkarana charged with Raga, Dvesha, anger and jealousy is a blazing furnace. We have to free ourselves from birth, death, old age, disease and grief. This can only be done by faith in God. There is no other way. Money and power cannot give us real happiness. Even if we exercise suzerainty over the whole world, we cannot be free from care, worry, anxiety, fear, disappointment etc. It is only the faith in God and the consequent God-realisation through meditation that can give us real, eternal happiness and free us from all kinds of fear and worries which torment us at every moment. Faith in God will force us to think of Him constantly and to meditate on Him and will eventually lead us on to God-realisation.
God will give us full security if we worship Him with unswerving devotion and undivided attention. He gives us the Yoga of discrimination to enable us to reach Him easily. Out of pure compassion for us He destroys the ignorance-born darkness by the shining lamp of wisdom. He speedily lifts us from the ocean of Samsara if we fix our minds on Him steadily with devotion and faith.
The ignorant, faithless doubting self goes to destruction. He cannot enjoy the least happiness. Neither this world, nor that beyond is there for the doubting self. Those who have no faith in God do not know what is right and what is wrong. They have lost the power of discrimination.
Excerpts from “Practice of Bhakti Yoga” by Swami Sivananda