A Brief Outlook on Raja Yoga pt.#1

practical-raja-yoga-meditationA WAY OF LIFE

Yoga does not require turning away from life. It demands transformation and spiritualisation of life. Yoga is primarily a way of life, not something which is divorced from life. Yoga is not forsaking an action, but is effecient performance in the right spirit. Yoga is not running away from home and human habitation, but a process of moulding one’s attitude to home and society with a new understanding.

Yoga is for all and is universal. It is not a sectarian affair, but a way to God and not a creed. The practice of Yoga is not opposed to any religion or any sacred church. It is purely spiritual and universal and does not contradict any one’s sincere faith.

The idea of the novice that Yoga constitutes physical exercises ormere postures and Pranayama, etc., is an error. These have nothing to do with real Yoga. There are considered to be aids in Yoga practice. Most people do not have access to Yoga beyond its
physical level, because the true Yoga demands intense personal discipline, coupled with intense thinking under the guidance of an able teacher. Yoga promises superphysical and spiritual blessing. It becomes unattractive to a common man who clamours for Immediate fruits and worldly prosperity.

Moral purity and spiritual aspiration are the first steps in the path of Yoga. One who has a calm mind, faith in the words of his preceptor and the scriptures, who is moderate in eating and sleeping, and who has intense longing for deliverance from the wheel of births and deaths is a qualified person for the practice of Yoga.

An austere and simple life is indispensable for Yoga. The foundation of Yoga is self-control. Discipline is the essence of Yoga, discipline of body as well as discipline of the mind. In the practice of Yoga, there is a reversal of the normal outgoing activity of the mind. Steadiness of mind is essential for a reversal of the normal outgoing activity of the mind.

YOGA

Yoga is union with the Lord or the Supreme Soul. Raja Yoga is restraint of the waves or thoughts or modifications of the mind. ‘Raja Yoga’ means ‘King of Yogas’, because it directly concerns with the mind.

The mind is made up of three qualities, viz., Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Sattva is purity, goodness, harmony, light and wisdom. Rajas is passion, action and motion. Tamas is inertia, darkness and ignorance. Internal fight is going on between Sattva and
Rajas-Tamas. Convert Tamas into Rajas through work and Rajas into Sattva through meditation.

Sadhana or Abhyasa is any spiritual practice that helps the aspirant to concentrate his mind and realise God.

Faith, aspiration and dispassion are the three important qualities of a Yogic student.
Non-violence, truthfulness and celibacy are the three fundamental virtues.

YOGIC DIET

Diet has intimate connection with the mind. Mind is formed from the subtlestportion or essence of food.

The food should be light, nutritious and Sattvic, for the purpose of meditation. Diet is of three kinds, viz., Sattvic diet, Rajasic diet and Tamasic diet.

Foods which increase vitality, energy, vigour, health and joy, which are delicious, bland, wholesome, substantial and agreeable, are Sattvic.
Foods which are bitter, sour, saline, excessively hot, pungent, dry and buming, which produce pain, grief and disease, are Rajasic.
Foods which are stale, tasteless, putrid, rotten and impure, are Tamasic.

All articles that are putrid, stale, decomposed, unclean, twice cooked, kept overnight, as well as overripe and unripe fruits should be abandoned.

Instinct or voice within will guide you in the selection of articles of diet. You are yourself the best judge to form a Sattvic Yogic menu to suit your temperament and constitution.

Do not make sudden changes in your diet. Let the change be slow and gradual. Take food half-stomachful, fill a quarter of stomach with water and allow the remaining part for expansion of gas. It is moderate diet.

Do not practise Yoga immediately after a meal, nor when you are hungry.

Take light meals at night. A cup of milk and some fruits will suffice. Then alone you.will be able to get up in the early morning for meditation. Do not take rice at night.

Control of mind is very difficult for those who take meat, etc.

Take your food when the Pingala or Surya Nadi flows in right nostril. Surya Nadi is heating. It digests the food well. Sleep on your left side at night. The food will be digested well. Sit on Vajra Asana for ten minutes after taking food. This will digest your food well.

Give up tea and coffee. Eat and drink as a master. Have no craving for any particular diet.

MIND AND ITS CONTROL

Mind is Atma Sakti. It is through mind that God manifests as the universe. The seed of mind is egoism.

The mind is purifred by the practice of selfless service, Japa, Tapas, right conduct or practice of Yama (self-restraint) and meditation. The mind filled with Sattva is Suddha Manas or pure mind. The mind filled with Rajas and Tamas is Asuddha Manas or impure mind.

The mind assumes the form of any object it intensely thinks of. As you think, so you become. This is an immutable psychological law.
In waking state mind has its abode in the brain. In dream state it has its abode in the throat. In deep sleep it rests in the heart.

‘Prara’ is the connecting link between body and mind. lf you control Prana and sex-energy, you can control the mind. Through control of breath you can control the
mind.
Cosmic mind is the universal mind of the Lord. It is superconscious mind. Conscious mind operates through the brain in the waking state. Subconscious mind is Chitta. All impressions are imbedded in the subconscious mind.
Mind can attend only to one thing at a time. Steadying or fixing the mind on one point is
called Abhyasa.

Mind is the dividing wall between soul and body.

You can be established in Samadhi or superconscious state only by long practice, with zeal and faith. Without dispassion or non-attachment or indifference to sensual enjoyments no spiritual progress is possible.
Annihilate the impure mind with the help of the pure or higher mind and transcend the mind also.
Do not try to drive away impure thoughts. The more you try the more they will return. Fill the mind with divine thoughts. The impure thoughts will gradually vanish by themselves. Do not try to control the mind through violent methods. You will miserably and hopelessly fail.

The mind is at the root of Samsara or process. Desire is the fuel. Thought is the fire. Withdraw the fuel of desire; the fire of thought will be extinguished.

Mind thinks, intellect determines, egoism self-arrogates, subconscious mind memorises.
When the mind is Sattvic, calm and pure, you will get glimpses or flashes of intuition.

Mental actions are the real actions. Thought is the real action. A Rajasic mind wants variety and new sensations. It gets disgusted with monotony. Change of work is change for the mind.

Excerpts from “FOURTEEN LESSONS ON RAJA YOGA” by Sri Swami Sivananda

The Role of Diet in Sex Control

Swami SivanandaDiet plays a prominent part in keeping up Brahmacharya. Purity of food brings in purity of mind. There are certain kinds of food that make the mind and the body very strong and steady. If proper attention is given to the purity of the food that we take, Brahmacharya becomes quite easy.

The influence of foodstuffs on the brain cells, emotion and passion is remarkable. A confection of sparrow produces an aphrodisiac effect. It directly stimulates the reproductive organs. Garlic, onions, meat, fish and eggs stimulate passion. Mark how elephants and cows that live on grass are quiet and peaceful and how tigers and other carnivorous animals that live on meat are turbulent and ferocious. Instinct or the voice from within will guide you in the selection of articles of diet that are conducive to the keeping up of Brahmacharya.

Sattvic food

Cheru, Havis Annam, milk, wheat, barley, bread, ghee, butter, dried ginger, green gram, potatoes, dates, plantains, curd, almonds and fruits are all Sattvic articles of food. Cheru is a mixture of boiled white rice, ghee, white sugar and milk. Havis Annam is also a similar preparation. This is very useful for spiritual aspirants. Milk is a perfect food by itself, containing as it does, the different nutritive constituents in a well balanced proportion. This is an ideal food for Yogins and Brahmacharins. Fruits are great energy producers. Bananas, grapes, sweet oranges, apples, pomegranates and mangoes are wholesome and nutritious. Dry fruits such as grapes, raisins, dates and figs, sweet fresh fruits such as bananas, mangoes, Sapotas, melons, limes, pineapples, apples, wood apples and sweet pomegranates, sugar and sugar-candy, honey, sago, arrowroot, milk, butter and ghee of cows, tender coconut water, coconut, almonds, pistachio nuts, Toor Dhal, Ragi, barley, maize, wheat, rice of red paddy whose bran is only partly removed and rice of good smell or sweet taste, and all preparations from any of these grains, and white pumpkin are Sattvic articles for keeping up Brahmacharya.

Forbidden food

Highly seasoned dishes, hot curries, Chutnies, chillies, meat, fish, eggs, tobacco, liquor, sour articles, oil of all kinds, garlic, onions, bitter things, sour curd, stale food, acids, astringents, pungent stuffs, roasted things, over-ripe and unripe fruits, heavy vegetables and salt are not at all beneficial. Onions and garlic are worse than meat.
Salt is the worst enemy. Too much salt excites passion. Even if you do not take salt separately, the system will derive the necessary quantity of salt from other foodstuffs. All foodstuffs contain salt. Giving up of salt helps you in controlling the tongue and thereby the mind and all the other Indriyas.

All kinds of peas and beans, both fresh and fried, horse gram, sprouted grains, mustard, all sorts of chillies, asafoetida, lentils, brinjals, lady’s finger, cucumbers, bamboo shoots, papaw fruit, drumsticks, all varieties of gourd such as white gourd, snake gourd and squash gourd, radish, leeks, mushrooms of all kinds, things fried in oil or ghee, pickles of all sorts, fried rice, sesame seeds, tea, coffee, cocoa, all kinds of vegetables, leaves, roots, fruits and foodstuffs that create wind or indigestion, grief, pain or costiveness or other sickness, pastry preparations, foods that are dry and burning, foods that are bitter, sour, saline, over-hot and pungent, tobacco and its preparations, foods and drinks containing liquor or narcotic drugs such as opium and bhang, food preparations which are stale or have become cold subsequent to their removal from the hearth or which have lost their natural taste, smell, colour or form, and milk of buffalo, goat or sheep should be avoided as they are either Rajasic or Tamasic by nature. Lemon juice, rock salt, ginger and white pepper can be used in moderation.

Mitahara

Mitahara is moderation in food. Take wholesome Sattvic food half-stomachful. Fill a quarter with pure water. Allow the remaining part free. This is Mitahara. Brahmacharins should always take Mitahara only. They should be very careful about their night diet. They should never overload the stomach at night. Overloading is the direct cause for nocturnal emissions.

Control of tongue is a sine qua non if you want to control lust. The tongue must be controlled first. Then it will be easy to control the passion. There is intimate connection between the tongue and the organ of generation. Tongue is an organ of knowledge. It is born of the Sattvic portion of the water-Tanmatra. The organ of generation is an organ of action. It is born of the Rajasic portion of the water-Tanmatra. They are sister organs as the source is the same. If the tongue is stimulated with Rajasic food, at once the reproductive organ also gets excited. There should be selection and restriction in diet. You should take food only when you are really hungry.

Fasting

Fasting controls passion. Fasting destroys sexual excitement. It calms the emotions. It controls the Indriyas also. Passionate young men and ladies should take recourse to occasional fasting. It will prove highly beneficial. Fasting is a great Tapas. It purifies the mind. It destroys a great multitude of sins. It destroys all the impurities of the body and all sorts of poisons. It eliminates uric acid deposits. Young, robust Brahmacharins should observe fasting whenever passion troubles them. You will have very good meditation during fasting, as the mind is calm. The chief object in fasting is to practice Dhyana rigorously during that period as all the Indriyas are calm.

Avoid excessive fasting. It will produce weakness. Use your commonsense. Those who are not able to observe a full fast can fast for nine or twelve hours and can take milk and fruits in the evening or at night.
During fasting, the internal digestive organs such as the stomach, the liver and the pancreas take rest. Ninety per cent of the people in this world take more food than what is absolutely necessary for the body. Overeating has become their habit. All diseases take their origin in overeating. An occasional complete fast is a great desideratum for all to keep up good health, relieve the internal organs and maintain Brahmacharya. Diseases that are pronounced incurable by allopaths and homoeopaths are cured by fasting. Fasting develops will-power. It increases the power of endurance. Manu, the Hindu law-giver, prescribes in his code the remedy of fasting for removal of the five capital sins also.

It is better to drink a large quantity of water, either tepid or cold, according to temperament and inclination, during fasting. It will flush out the kidneys and remove the poison and all sorts of impurities in the body. In Yoga it is termed as Gata-Suddhi or purification of the flesh-pot, the physical body. You can add half a teaspoonful of soda bicarbonate to the water. Those who fast for two or three days should not break their fast with any solid food. They should take some kind of fruit juice, either sweet orange juice or pomegranate juice. They should sip the juice slowly. You can take an enema daily during fasting.

Fasting is more a spiritual Kriya than a physical Kriya from the viewpoint of health. You will have to utilise the fasting days for higher spiritual purposes and in the contemplation of God.

Excerpts from “Practice of Brahmacharya” by Swami Sivananda

Words of Indian Saints Part #21

paramahansa-yoganandaManu is the universal lawgiver; not alone for Hindu society, but for the world. All systems of wise social regulations and even justice are patterned after Manu.

He has outlined the duties of a king. “He should shower amenities like Indra (lord of the gods); collect taxes gently and imperceptibly as the sun obtains vapor from water; enter into the life of his subjects as the wind goes everywhere; mete out even justice to all like Yama (god of death); bind transgressors in a noose like Varuna (Vedic deity of sky and wind); please all like the moon, burn up vicious enemies like the god of fire; and support all like the earth goddess.

“In war a king should not fight with poisonous or fiery weapons nor kill weak or unready or weaponless foes or men who are in fear or who pray for protection or who run away. War should be resorted to only as a last resort. Results are always doubtful in war.”

The origin of the caste system, formulated by the great legislator Manu, was admirable. He saw clearly that men are distinguished by natural evolution into four great classes: those capable of offering service to society through their bodily labor (Sudras); those who serve through mentality, skill, agriculture, trade, commerce, business life in general (Vaisyas); those whose talents are administrative, executive, and protective-rulers and warriors (Kshatriyas); those of contemplative nature, spiritually inspired and inspiring (Brahmins). “Neither birth nor sacraments nor study nor ancestry can decide whether a person is twice-born (i.e., a Brahmin);” the Mahabharata declares, “character and conduct only can decide.” Manu instructed society to show respect to its members insofar as they possessed wisdom, virtue, age, kinship or, lastly, wealth. Riches in Vedic India were always despised if they were hoarded or unavailable for charitable purposes. Ungenerous men of great wealth were assigned a low rank in society.

Inclusion in one of these four castes originally depended not on a man’s birth but on his natural capacities as demonstrated by the goal in life he elected to achieve. This goal could be (1) kama, desire, activity of the life of the senses (Sudra stage), (2) artha, gain, fulfilling but controlling the desires (Vaisya stage), (3) dharma, self-discipline, the life of responsibility and right action (Kshatriya stage), (4) moksha, liberation, the life of spirituality and religious teaching (Brahmin stage). These four castes render service to humanity by (1) body, (2) mind, (3) will power, (4) Spirit.

“These four stages have their correspondence in the eternal gunas or qualities of nature, tamas, rajas, and sattva: obstruction, activity, and expansion; or, mass, energy, and intelligence. The four natural castes are marked by the gunas as (1) tamas (ignorance), (2) tamas- rajas (mixture of ignorance and activity), (3) rajas-sattva (mixture of right activity and enlightenment), (4) sattva (enlightenment). Thus has nature marked every man with his caste, by the predominance in himself of one, or the mixture of two, of the gunas. Of course every human being has all three gunas in varying proportions. The guru will be able rightly to determine a man’s caste or evolutionary status.

“To a certain extent, all races and nations observe in practice, if not in theory, the features of caste. Where there is great license or so-called liberty, particularly in intermarriage between extremes in the natural castes, the race dwindles away and becomes extinct. The Purana Samhita compares the offspring of such unions to barren hybrids, like the mule which is incapable of propagation of its own species. Artificial species are eventually exterminated. History offers abundant proof of numerous great races which no longer have any living representatives. The caste system of India is credited by her most profound thinkers with being the check or preventive against license which has preserved the purity of the race and brought it safely through millenniums of vicissitudes, while other races have vanished in oblivion.”

Serious evils arose when the caste system became hardened through the centuries into a hereditary halter. Social reformers like Gandhi and the members of very numerous societies in India today are making slow but sure progress in restoring the ancient values of caste, based solely on natural qualification and not on birth. Every nation on earth has its own distinctive misery-producing karma to deal with and remove; India, too, with her versatile and invulnerable spirit, shall prove herself equal to the task of caste-reformation.

“Do not do what you want, and then you may do what you like” – a guide to soul freedom through mastery of the ego told by Sadasiva.

Excerpts from the book by Paramhansa Yogananda “Autobiography of a Yogi”

Obstacles in God-realization #6

Swami SivanandaHabit of Self-justification

It is an old-standing habit. Self-assertion, self-sufficiency, obstinacy, dissimulation, speaking falsehood are the constant retinues or attendants of self-justification. He who has developed this can never improve himself, as he will never admit his faults. He will always try his level best to justify himself in various ways. He will not hesitate to tell several lies to support his false statements. He will tell one lie to cover another lie and he will speak lies ad infinitum. The aspirant should always admit his faults, mistakes, weaknesses etc., then and there. Then only he can improve quickly.

Anger

It is a gate to hell. It destroys the knowledge of Self. It is born of Rajas. It is all-consuming and all-polluting. It is the greatest enemy of peace. It is a modification of lust. Just as milk is changed into curd, so also lust or desire becomes transmuted into anger. When a man’s desire is not gratified, he becomes angry. Then his mind becomes confused. He loses his memory and understanding. He is under intoxication. He loses his senses for the time being. He does not know what he is exactly doing. He is a prey to anger. He is under the sway of anger. Anger is a form of Sakti or Devi. In Chandipatha you will find, “Yaa Devee Sarvabhuteshu Krodharupena Samsthita; Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah.” “I bow to that Devi who is seated in all beings in the form of anger.”

Resentment, indignation, fury, wrath and irritation are all varieties of anger according to degree or intensity. If a man wants to correct another man and uses slight anger unselfishly as a force to check and improve him, then it is called “religious anger.” Suppose a man molests a girl and tries to outrage her, and a by-stander becomes angry towards this criminal, then it is called ‘righteous indignation.’This is not bad. Only when the anger is the outcome of greed or selfish motives, it is bad.

If a man becomes irritable for trifling things very often, it is definite sign of mental weakness. One should control irritability by developing patience, Vichara, Kshama, love, mercy and spirit of service. When anger is controlled, it becomes transmuted into an energy that can move the world. It becomes changed into Ojas, just as heat or light is changed into electricity. Energy takes another form. If an aspirant has controlled anger completely, half of his Sadhana is over. Control of anger means control of lust also. All vices, evil qualities and wrong actions take their origin in anger. If anger is controlled, all bad qualities die by themselves. He who has controlled anger cannot do any wrong or evil actions. He is always just. An easily irritable man is always unjust. He is swayed by impulses and emotions. Too much loss of semen is the chief cause for irritability and anger. The root-cause for anger lies in egoism. Through Vichara egoism should be removed. Then only one can control anger completely to the very root. Through development of the opposite virtues such as Kshama, love, Santi, Karuna and friendship it can be controlled to some extent. The force can be reduced. Jnana only completely fries all Samskaras. But practice of Mauna is of great help in controlling anger.

When the anger assumes a grave form, it becomes difficult to control. It should be controlled when it assumes the form of a small ripple in the subconscious mind. One should watch the mind carefully, whenever there is a sign of irritability. Then it becomes very easy.

Anger gains strength by repetition. If it is checked, man gains strength of will gradually. An aspirant should direct all his attention towards the conquest of this powerful enemy. Sattvic food, Japa, meditation, prayer, Satsanga, Vichara, service, Kirtan, Brahmacharya, Pranayama-all will pave a long way in eradicating this dire malady.

When a man abuses you, try to keep quiet. Bear the insult. You will gain strength. Check the impulses and emotions to begin with. Whenever there is likelihood of a burst of anger during conversation or debate, stop your speech. Always try to speak sweet, soft words (Madhura and Mridu). The words must be soft and the arguments hard: but if the words are hard, it will bring discord. If you find it difficult to control anger, leave the place at once and take a brisk walk.

Smoking, meat-eating and drinking of liquors make the heart very irritable. Therefore they should be completely abandoned. Tobacco brings diseases of heart. It gives rise to “tobacco-heart” which gets easily irritated.

In the light of modern psychology all diseases take their origin in anger. Rheumatism, heart-diseases and nervous diseases are due to anger. The whole nervous system is completely shattered by one fit of anger. It takes months before it is restored to normal equilibrium.

Excerpts from “Practice of Bhakti Yoga” by Swami Sivananda

Obstacles in God-realization #5

Aimless Wandering

Swami Sivananda

Some aspirants have got a habit of wandering aimlessly. They cannot stick to one place even for a week. The wandering habit must be checked. They want to see new places, new faces and want to talk with new people. A rolling stone gathers no moss. A Sadhaka should stick to one place at least for a period of twelve years (one Tapah period). If his health is delicate, he can stay for six months in one place during summer and rainy season and in another place for six months during winter. Sadhana suffers if one wanders constantly. Those who want to do rigorous Tapas and Sadhana must stay in one place. Too much walking produces weakness and fatigue.

Lingual Diarrhea

Much energy is wasted by too much talking. The energy that is spent in talking must be conserved and utilized for divine contemplation. talkative man is unfit for the spiritual path. Practise Mauna (Silence) daily for two hours and especially during meals. On Sundays observe full Mauna for 24 hours. Do a lot of Japa and meditation during Mauna. The Mauna that is observed during meditation cannot be taken as Mauna. Mauna should be observed by householders at such a time when there are great opportunities for talking and when visitors come to meet. Now only the impulses of speech can be checked. Ladies are very talkative. They create troubles in the house by idle talk and gossiping. They should observe Mauna particularly. You should speak measured words only. Too much talking is Rajasic nature.

Discussing too much

Too much discussions end in enmity and hostility. Much energy is wasted in useless discussions. Intellect is a help if it is used in the right direction of Atmic Vichara. Intellect is a hindrance if it is used in unnecessary discussions. Intellect takes the aspirant to the threshold of intuition. Thus far and no further. Reason helps in inferring the existence of God and finding out suitable methods for Self-realisation. Intuition transcends reason but does not contradict reason. Intuition is direct perception of Truth. There is no reasoning here. Reasoning concerns matters of the physical plane. Wherever there is ‘Why’ and ‘Wherefore’, there is reasoning. In transcendental matters which are beyond the reach of reason, reason is of no use.

Intellect helps a lot in reflection and ratiocination. But people in whom reasoning has highly developed become skeptical. Their reason becomes perverted also. They lose faith in Vedas and in the teachings of Mahatmas.

Irregularity of Sadhana

Just as a man is regular in taking his food, so also he must be strictly regular in his Sadhana. One can get the meditative mood quite easily without effort if he does his Sadhana at fixed hours, both morning and night. In winter one can have four sittings. One should have the same pose, the same room, the same seat, the same Bhava or the same mental attitude, the same hours for meditation.

One should meditate regularly. He should do the spiritual Sadhana untiringly with indefatigable energy, asinine patience, adamantine will and iron determination. Then only sure success is possible. Meals should be taken at regular hours. One should go to sleep at fixed time. See how the sun is very regular in its rising and daily work!

Sometimes the mind gets disgusted with one particular kind of Sadhana. It wants some new kind of Sadhana. Just as mind wants some variety in food and other things, so also it wants variety in the mode of Sadhana also. It rebels against monotonous practice.

Do not expect anything. Be sincere and regular in your daily routine, Tapas and meditation. The Sadhana will take care of itself. You mind your own daily business. The fruit will come by itself. Let me repeat here the words of Lord Krishna: “Thy business is with the action (Tapas, Sadhana and meditation) only, never with its fruit; so let not the fruit of action be thy motive, nor be thou to inaction attached.” (Gita: ll-47.) Your efforts will be crowned with sanguine success by the Lord. It takes a long time for purification of the mind and getting a one-pointed mind. Be cool and patience. Continue your Sadhana regularly.

Fault-finding

This is a detestable old habit of man. If you spend even a fraction of the time that you waste in finding your own faults you would have become a great saint by this time. He who applies himself diligently to his spiritual practices cannot find even a single second to look into the affairs of others. Much time is wasted in back-biting, scandal-mongering etc. Time is most precious.

Fear

This is a very great obstacle in the path of God-realisation. A timid aspirant is absolutely unfit for the spiritual path. One must risk the life, if he wants to attain immortality. The spiritual wealth cannot be gained without self-sacrifice, self-denial or self-abnegation. A fearless dacoit who has no Deha-Adhyasa is fit for God-realisation. Only his current will have to be changed. Fear is not an imaginary non-entity. It assumes solid forms and troubles the aspirant in various ways. If one conquers fear, he is on the road to success. He has almost reached the goal. Tantrik Sadhana makes the student fearless.

Fear assumes various forms. Some are not afraid of tigers in the forests. They are not afraid of gun shots in the battlefield. But they are awfully afraid of public criticism. Fear of public criticism stands in the way of an aspirant in his spiritual progress. He should stick to his own principles, and own convictions, even though he is persecuted and even though he is at the point of being blown up at the mouth of a machine-gun. Then only he will grow and realise. Fear of all sorts should be totally eradicated by Atma-Chintana, Vichara, devotion and cultivation of the opposite quality, courage. Positive overcomes negative. Courage overpowers fear and timidity.

Force of Old Samskaras

When the aspirant does intense Sadhana to obliterate the old Samskaras, they try to rebound upon him with a vengeance and with redoubled force. They take forms and come before him as stumbling-blocks. The old Samskaras of hatred, enmity, jealousy, feeling of shame, respect, honour, fear etc., assume grave forms. Samskaras are not imaginary non-entities. They turn into actualities when opportunities crop up. The aspirant should not be discouraged. They will lose their force after some time and die by themselves. Just as the dying wick burns with intensity just before it gets extinguished, so also those old Samskaras show their teeth and force before they are eradicated. The aspirant should not get unnecessarily alarmed. He will have to increase the force or momentum of spiritual Samskaras by doing Japa, Dhyana, Svadhyaya, virtuous actions, Satsanga and cultivation of Sattvic virtues. These new spiritual Samskaras will neutralise the old vicious Samskaras. He should plunge himself into his spiritual practices. This is his Kartavya or duty.

Excerpts from “Practice of Bhakti Yoga” by Swami Sivananda