A Call to Supreme Peace

Swami SivanandaO my dear aspirants! I send you the thought-currents of Peace from the peaceful atmosphere of the sacred Himalayas, the Abode of Rishis.

Peace is absolute serenity and tranquility, wherein all the mental modifications, Sankalpas, thoughts, imaginations, whims, fancies, moods, impulses, emotions, instincts, etc., cease entirely and the individual soul rests in his own native, pristine glory in an unruffled state.

Peace is Turiya state or the fourth condition of superconsciousness. Peace is realm of infinite bliss, eternal life and eternal sun-shine. Cares, worries and anxieties and fear which torment the soul here, dare not enter, where all distinctions of caste, creed and colour vanish altogether in the one embrace of Divine Life and where desires, cravings find their full satiety. Peace is eternal life, in the pure spiritual consciousness, Atman, Brahman or Highest Self.
Peace is within. Search Peace within the chambers of your heart through one-pointed  concentration and meditation. If you do not find Peace there, you will not find it anywhere else. Remember, dear friends, that the goal of life, the summum bonum of existence is the attainment of Peace and not the achievement of power, name, fame and wealth. God is  Santi-Svarupa (embodiment of Peace). Srutis emphatically declare: “Ayam Atma Santo – This Atman (Self) is Silence.” Desire is the greatest enemy of peace. Desire causes distraction of various sorts. There is no peace for him who has no concentration. There can be no happiness for the unpeaceful. In that Supreme Peace all pains, sorrows, miseries and tribulations vanish forever.
Give up all desires, cravings, longings, egoism and “mine-ness.” You will get Peace. The Peace of the Eternal lies near those who know themselves, who are disjoined from desire and passion, subdued in nature, of subdued thoughts. The man who is endowed with supreme faith and has mastery over his senses, gets Supreme Peace quickly.

Dear brothers! Children of Immortality! Plod on. Push on. Do not look backward. Forget the past. Forget the body and the world. But forget not the centre. Forget not the source. A glorious, brilliant future is awaiting you. Purify. Serve. Love. Give. Live in Om. Feel always and everywhere the Indwelling, all-pervading Presence. Realise the Self. Rest in the magnanimous ocean of Peace, in the stupendous sea of stillness. Drink the nectar of Immortality. May the Indwelling Presence be your Centre, Ideal and Goal. May Joy, Bliss, Immortality, Peace, Glory and Splendour abide with you forever.

Stand up now like an undaunted spiritual solider in the Adhyatmic battlefield. Become a spiritual hero of great intrepidity and unique chivalry. Get over the obstacles fearlessly one by one and manifest divine glory, splendour, purity and sanctity. Wait patiently with a calm and serene mind for results. Do not be hasty, rash and impetuous. Allow proper time for regeneration and renovation. Nil desperandum – never despair. Wear the Vairagya-coat of arms. Wield the shield of Viveka. Hold the banner of faith. March boldly and cheerfully. Stop not till you drink the elixir of immortality to your heart’s content. Stop not, dear Sadhakas, till you enter the immortal realms of eternal sunshine, undecaying beauty, unfading ecstasy, supreme bliss, infinite joy, unalloyed felicity and unbroken peace. This is your final destination. You can take eternal rest now. This is your goal. This is your highest aim and purpose of life. Rest now in everlasting peace, friends! This noble and stupendous selfless work is awaiting you now in the Grand Plan. Fulfill the Divine Will and become Buddha of undying fame. Salutations unto you all!

Santi Mantra
Om Poornamadah Poornamidam
Poornat Poornamudachyate ;
Poornasya poornamaadaya
Poornamevaavashishyate

Om Santih! Santih! Santih!
The whole (Brahman) is all that is invisible. The
whole (Brahman) is all that is visible. The whole
(Hiranyagarbha) was born out of the whole (Brahman).
When the whole (the Universe) is absorbed into the whole
(Brahman) the whole alone (Brahman) remains.
Om Peace! Peace! Peace!

Excerpts from “Practice of Bhakti Yoga” by Swami Sivananda

Obstacles in God-realization #4

Swami SivanandaEvil Company

A man is known by the company he keeps. Birds of the same feather flock together. These are all proverbs or wise maxims. They are quite true. Just as a nursery is to be well fenced in the beginning for protection against cows etc., so also a neophyte should protect himself very carefully from foreign evil influences. Otherwise he is ruined totally. The company of those who speak lies, who commit adultery, theft, cheating, double-dealing, who are greedy, who indulge in idle talks, back-biting, tale-bearing, who have no faith in God and in the scriptures etc., should be strictly avoided.

Newspapers deal with all sorts of worldly topics. Aspirants should entirely give up reading of newspapers. Reading of newspapers kindles worldly Samskaras, causes sensational excitement in the mind, makes the mind outgoing, produces an impression that the world is a solid reality and makes one forget the Truth that lies underneath these names and forms.

False Tushti & Rasasvada

The Sadhaka gets some experience during the course of his Sadhana. He sees wonderful visions of Rishis, Mahatmas, astral entities of various description, etc. He hears various melodious Anahata sounds (Nada). He smells Divya Gandha. He gets the powers of thought-reading, foretelling etc. The Sadhaka now foolishly imagines that he has reached the highest goal and stops his further Sadhana. This is a serious mistake. He gets false Tushti or contentment. These are all auspicious signs that manifest on account of a little purity and concentration. These are all encouragements which God gives as a sort of incentive for further progress and intense Sadhana. The aspirant gets more strength of conviction by having these experiences.

Rasasvada is another kind of experience. It is bliss that comes from lower Savikalpa Samadhi. The Sadhaka who has experienced this supersensual bliss imagines that he has reached the final destination and gives up his Sadhana. He should never be satisfied with alpam or lower experiences. He should compare his experiences with the highest experiences of sages that are described in the Upanishads and find out whether they exactly tally with them or not. He should exert till he reaches the seventh Jnana Bhumika. “I have obtained all desires, I have done everything, I know everything. There is nothing more to be known. There is nothing more to be obtained.”

So-called Friends

The so-called friends are your real enemies. You cannot find even a single, unselfish friend in this universe. Your real friend in need who attends on you sincerely is God, the indweller of your heart. Trust in that Immortal Friend only who dwells in your heart. Then alone you are perfectly safe. He will give you whatever you want. Hear His sweet counsel from within with one-pointed mind and follow.

Depression

Aspirants get moods of depression occasionally. These moods may be due to indigestion, cloudy condition, influence of lower astral entities, and revival of old Samskaras from within. Treat the cause. Remove the cause. Do not allow depression to overpower you. Immediately take a brisk, long walk. Run in the open air. Sing divine songs. Chant Om loudly for one hour. Walk along the sea-side or river-side. Play on the harmonium if you know the art. Do some Kumbhakas and Sitali Pranayamas. Drink a small cup of orange-juice or hot tea or coffee. Read some of the elevating portions of Avadhoota Gita and Upanishads.

Excerpts from “Practice of Bhakti Yoga” by Swami Sivananda

Science of Worship

Swami SivanandaThe individual soul desires to unite himself with his father, the Supreme Soul. This is done through worship. Love and devotion naturally rise in his heart when he hears the glory and greatness of the Lord. An object of worship is therefore necessary for man to pour forth his love and devotion. Worship helps spiritual evolution and eventually brings the devotee face to face with God. As the Absolute or Infinite cannot be comprehended by the limited and finite mind, the conception of the impersonal God in His lower, limited form came into existence. The Nirguna Brahman assumes forms for the pious worship of the devotees.

Worship is the expression of love and devotion by the devotee to the Lord, of extreme reverence towards Him, of keen longing to be in conscious communion with Him, of eager aspiration to be always at His feet, of intense craving to be united with Him. Worship may take the form of prayer, of praise, of meditation or of Kirtan.

Worship differs according to the growth and evolution of the individual. There is nature worship. Parsees worship the element fire. Hindus worship Ganga, cows, asvatta tree, etc. In the Vedas there are hymns to Indra, Varuna, Agni, Vayu. This is nature worship.

There is hero-worship. Great heroes like Sivaji, Napoleon are worshipped even now. In hero-worship the individual imbibes the virtues of the person whom he worships. Birthday celebrations of great persons, anniversaries celebrations are forms of worship.

Then there is relic worship. Hairs and bones of departed souls are also worshipped.

Then there is Pitru-worship, or worship of forefathers.

There is worship of Gurus or Rishis or Devatas. As man evolves, he passes from one stage of worship to another. The lower stages drop down by themselves. A man of higher stage should not condemn his brother who is in a lower stage.

The fundamental object in worship is union with the Lord, who pervades or permeates all these names and forms, by developing intense love. Isvara has different aspects or forms such as Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, Rama, Krishna, Ganapathy, Karttikeya, Durga, Lakshmi, Sarasvati, Indra, Agni, but in whatever name and form, it is Isvara who is adored. The Lord in the form is worshipped. The devotion goes to the Lord.

All are worshipping the one basic Reality, Isvara. The differences are only differences in names and forms on account of differences in the worshipers.

The term “Sadhana” comes from the root “Sadh, which means “to exert”, “to endeavour to get a particular result or Siddhi.” He who does the attempt is called Sadhaka. If he achieves the desired result, Siddhi, he is called Siddha. A fully developed Siddha is one who has attained full knowledge of Brahman. Self-realisation or Darshan of God is not possible without Sadhana. Any spiritual practice is called Sadhana. Sadhana,  Abhyasa are synonymous terms. That which is obtained through Sadhana is Sadhya (God or Brahman).
Upasana means worship. It means to sit near God. One who does Upasana is an Upasaka. The object of worship is Upasya. Upasana is a broad term which includes many forms of worship. It includes meditation, Japa, daily Sandhya, prayer, Stotra etc.

Pooja comes from the Sanskrit root “Poof which  means to worship. Pooja is a simple form of worship’ A picture or image is used for worship. Mantras are recited. Water is poured over the image. Flowers are offered.
Sandal-paste is applied. Naivedya and Arghya are offered, camphor and incense are burnt. The devotee pours forth his love and devotion to the Isvara who is hidden in the picture or image. One important point is that he who does Pooja must abandon the idea of ownership of the articles of worship etc., and must think that all the articles and wealth belong to Isvara and he is only the caretaker. Then only his worship will bring the desired result. Prostrations, offering, etc., are outer worship. Meditation is inner worship.

The mind is purified by constant worship. It is filled with good and pure thoughts. Repetition of worship strengthens the good Samskaras. “As a man thinks, so he becomes.” When the mind thinks of the image of God during worship, the mental substance actually assumes the form of the image. The impression of the object is left in the mind. This is called a Samskara. When the act is repeated very often, the Samskara gains strength by repetition and a tendency or habit is formed in the mind. He who entertains thoughts of divinity becomes transformed actually into the divinity himself by constant thinking and meditation. His Bhava or disposition is purified and divinised. The meditator and the meditated, the worshipper and the worshipped, the thinker and the thought, become one and the same. This is Samadhi. This is the fruit of worship or Upasana.

Excerpts from “Practice of Bhakti Yoga” by Swami Sivananda