There is no greater gain than contentment. A man who is fully endowed with this important virtue is the richest man in all the three worlds.
Contentment is one of the important items in the Niyamas of the Raja Yoga philosophy. The Gita also says: “Be contented with whatever you get by chance and apply yourself to meditation with a dispassionate mind.”
Greed is the Chief Officer of Passion. Wherever there is greed, there is passion and wherever there is passion there is greed almost invariably. The understanding gets clouded, the intellect gets perverted and the memory gets confused by passion and greed. Therefore people find it difficult to develop the virtue of contentment.
An objector says: “I quite realise that contentment gives peace. But I have a doubt. lf I become contented, all my ambitions will die. I will become lethargic and lazy. On account of my various sorts of ambitions, I move about hither and tithel I exert and I am energetic.” My reply is simply this: “Contentment can never make you idle. lt is a Sattvic virtue that propels man towards God. lt gives strength of mind and peace. lt checks unnecessary and selfish exertions. lt transmutes the gross energy viz., greed that is forcing man towards selfish exertions into spiritual energy, Ojas. That man who is contented is full of Sattva. He is more energetic now. He is inward. He is always peaceful. He turns out more work calmly and with one-pointed mind. All the dissipated rays of the mind are collected now.
A contented mind is the greatest blessing a man can enjoy in this world. lt has a beneficial influence on the soul of man. lt destroys all inordinate ambitions, all murmuring, repining, and makes one serene, happy and rich. lt is a pearl of inestimable value. Contentment is the best tonic. lt is the best medicine. lt gives best health and peace of mind.
A contented man is never poor. The discontented man is never rich. Be always contented with what happens. Know that what God chooses is better than what you choose.
lf you are not contented with what you have, you will not be contented with what you like to have.
Contentment is natural wealth. Luxury is artificial poverty.
Abandon all desires. Desire only the will of God. Seek Him alone. You will find perfect contentment, peace and bliss.
lf you increase your wealth, you increase your cares, worries ahd anxietes. But a contented mind is a hidden, supreme treasure. A man of contented mind knows not cares and anxieties.
A contented man is easy in mind. He does not repine. He is satisfled with things as they are. He never complains.
Contentment is the best virtue; contentment is called the true enjoyment; and the contented man gets the best repose. He derives happiness from within. lt is a panacea forthe cure of the dire disease-avarice or greed.
O man! Lead a life of perfect contentment and be happy forever. Live in God who is Nitya Triptior Supreme satisfaction or Contentment.
It is the quality that enables men to meet dangers without fear. Courage enlarges your resources but cowardice diminishes them.
No spiritual progress is possible without courage. courage is an essential of high character. There cannot be truth without courage, you cannot do anything in this world without courage.
Physical courage depends upon bodily strength and intrepidity. Moral courage is that quality which enables one to pursue a course deemed right through which one may incur contempt, disapproval or opprobrium.
True courage is not the brutal force of vulgar heroes, but the firm resolve oivirtue and reason.
Have the courage of your convictions. Have the courage to act up to or consistently with your views or opinions.
lf you have courage and confidence, you can accomplish anything in this world. Courage is the source of all success. You have strength in proportion to courage. Your abirity to perform deeds is in accordance with your courage and confidence.
You may have courage when everything is going right; but it is difficult to have courage in times of panic and danger. The really courageous man is one who knows no fear when danger is on his heels and helps others with a calm attitude of mind.
Meditate ceaselessly on the absolutely fearless Atman or the lmmortal soul that dwells in the chambers of your heart. You will become an embodiment of courage.
Excerpts from “HOW TO CULTIVATE VIRTUES AND ERADICATE VICES” by Sri Swami Sivananda
There are three Gunas or qualities in the mind, viz., Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. When Sattva preponderates man is calm and serene (Santa). When Rajas preponderates he is Ghora (agitated or excited). When Tamas preponderates he is Moodha (dull and foolish).
Control Tamas through Rajas. Control Rajas through Sattva. Control Sattva by Sattva itself.
He who has gone beyond the three Gunas, who has equal vision and balanced mind in pleasure and pain, honour and dishonour, is a sage or a full-blown Yogi. When the mind is Sattvic, there is serenity. Truth is reflected in a serene mind.
Sattva increases through association with the wise, study of religious books, Sattvic food, repetition of the Lord’s Name, etc. Sattva has the characteristic of effrrlgence. It is also harmony or goodness or purity. Sattva is stainless like the crystal.
Sattva binds a man by attachment to happiness and knowledge. Sattva is a golden fetter. Rajas and Tamas are iron fetters.
Rajas is passion or activity. Rajas causes distraction and restlessness. Rajas is the source of thirst and attachment to action. A Rajasic man wants power, wealth, prestige, position, name and fame. A Rajasic man constantly moves. He is ambitious. He is ever engaged in action. He is talkative. He is full of cravings and desires. He is attached to action. He runs after sensual pleasures. He is under intoxication of pride of wealth.
Tamas is inertia or darkness. Tamas is bom of ignorance. It binds a man by heedlessness, indolence, carelessness, lethargy, sloth and sleep.
The fruit of Sattvic action is happiness; the fruit of Rajasic action is pain; the fruit of Tamasic action is ignorance. If anyone meets death when Sattva is predominant, he attains to the spotless world of the Highest. If he meets death in Rajas, he is born among those attached to action. If he meets death in Tamas, he is born in the womb of the senseless. He takes his birth amongst the dull and stupid, or the lowest grades of human being.
The three Gunas are present in all human beings. No one is free from the operation of any one of the three Gunas. These qualities are not constant. Sometimes Santa predominates; at other times, Rajas or Tamas predominates.
The Lord has mastery over the three Gunas. When the three Gunas are in a state of equilibrium, Prakriti is in a state of equipoise. There is no projection of the world. There is Pralaya or deluge. A vibration arises. There is disturbance in the Gunas. Equilibrium of the Gunas is disturbed. The world comes out. Rajas and Tamas are pitfalls on the spiritual path.
PHILOSOPHY OF OM
Om is the word of power. It is the sacred symbol of Brahman or God. All languages and sounds have come out of Om. The whole world also has come out of Om.
The goal which the scriptures uniformly extol, which all acts of austerity which speak of and wishing for which rnan leads the life of celibacy-that goal is Om.
Japa of Om is remembrance of the Lord. The Yogic students get one-pointedness of mind by repetition of Om. By constant repetition of Om the force of spiritual Samskaras is increased.
Repeat Om mentally when you retain the breath (Kumbhaka). This will give you power, strength, vigour and health.
Om is the life and soul of all Mantras. The essence of all scriptures is Om. ‘A’ starts from the root of the tongue; ‘U’ proceeds from the middle; and ‘M’ comes from the end by closing the lips. ‘A’ represents the waking state, ‘U’ represents the dream state and ‘M’ represents the deep sleep state. A U M covers the entire sounds producing area.
Amen is Om. Ameen is Om. The vibration produced by chanting Om in the physical universe corresponds to the original vibration that arose when the world was projected. Yogis always meditate on Om. Om is the inner music of the Soul. It is the music of Silence.
THE EIGHTFOLD YOGA
There follow the eight limbs of Raja Yoga: Yama (self-restraint), Niyama (observances), Asana (pose), Pranayama (control of Prana or breath), Pratyahara (abstraction of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (superconscious state).
FIRST STEP – YAMA (self-restraint)
1. AHIMSA – is perfect harmlessness. Eliminate the beast nature within. Ahimsa is not merely non-killing. It is positive, cosmic love.
By injuring another you injure your own self. By serving another you serve your own self. Love all. Serve all. Hate none. Insult none. Injure none in thought, word and deed.
Ahimsa is Supreme Love. Ahimsa is a weapon of the strong. It cannot be practised by weak persons.
The practice of Ahimsa develops the heart in a wonderful manner. The practice of Ahimsa will make you fearless. He who practises Ahimsa can move the whole world. He can tame even the wild animals.
Amisa is not a policy. It is a sublime virtue. Anger can be easily controlled by the practice of Ahimsa. The law of Ahimsa is as much exact and precise as the law of gravitation or cohesion.
He who is patient and forgiving, who has self-control can practise Ahimsa. If you practise Ahimsa, you should put up with insults, rebukes, censures and assaults. You should never retaliate, nor wish ill to any body even under exfreme provocation.
2. SATYA (truthfulness). Thought, word and act should agree. This is truthfulness. Whatever you have seen or heard must be spoken of as it is. Do not twist or modify. This is Satya.
By speaking truth, the mind is purified, and divine light dawns. Stick to your promise at any cost.
lf you are established in truth, you will get Vak-Siddhi – whatever you say will come to pass.
3. ASTEYA (non-stealing). Desire or want is the root-cause for stealing. If you are established in non-stealing, all wealth will come to you.
4. BRAHMACHARYA (continence) is is purity or freedom from last in thought, word and deed. It is freedom from serial thoughts, sexual urge and the attraction of sex. What is wanted is sublimation of sex-energy. Repression or suppression of sex-energy will not help in the practice of Brahmacharya.
Brahmacharya lies at the very heart of Tapas or Yoga. No spiritual progress is possible without Brahmacharya.
5. APARIGRAHA (non-covetousness) removes anxiety to preserve, fear of loss. It gives peace, contentment and satisfaction. It is an aid to practice of Ahimsa, Satya and
Never take from life more than what you need for your simple and bare living. If you are established in non-covetousness, you will get the memory of past life.
SECOND STEP – NIYAMA (observance)
Niyama is the second step in the path of the Eightfold Yoga of Patanjali. It consists of:
1. SAUCHA (purity). Through purity of mind come cheerfulness of mind, concentration, conquest of the senses and fitness for Self-realisation.
2. SANTOSHA (contentment) gives superlative happiness and peace.
3. TAPAS (austerity). Through the practice of austerity come some powers or Siddhis.
4. SVADHYAYA – study of spiritual books and scriptures.
5. ATMANIVEDANA (self-surrender). Through the practice of self-surrender comes Samadhi or superconscious state.
THIRD STEP – ASANA
Any steady and comfortable pose is Asana. A steady pose gives concentration of mind. Physical exercises draw the Prana out. Asanas send the Prana in. Where Hatha Yoga ends, Raja Yoga begins.
Prana is energy. It is subtle life-breath. It is the life-principle. lf Prana departs from the body, we call the condition death.
There is only one Prana. It assumes five names according to the function it performs:
1. Prana does inhalation and exhalation.
2. Apana does the functions of nutrition and excretion (elimination).
3. Samana does the function of digestion.
4. Vyana does the function of circulation of blood.
5. Udana does the function of deglutition. It takes the individual during sleep to the heart. It separates the astral body from the physical body at death.
Mental function is due to vibration of the Prana force. Prana is the link between the astral and the physical bodies.
Prana, Apana, etc., are gross forms of the main Prana. Psychic Prana, which generates thought, is subtle.
In the Cosmos, the universal Prana brought forth the elements. Prana vibrates on cosmic Ether. Air, fire, water and earth are produced.
Prana is the oldest part of existence for it starts functioning from the very moment the child is conceived. It is the best also. Even during sleep it functions, when mind and
other organs are at rest.
Cosmic Prana is termed Hiranyagarbha. Fire burns through Prana. Wind blows through Prana. Rivers flow through Prana.
Prana is magnetism. Prana is electricity. Prana is expended in thinking, willing, acting, moving, talking, etc. A strong and healthy man has an abundance of Prana or nerve force or vitality. The Prana is supplied by food, water, air, solar energy. The excess of Prana is stored up in the brain and nerve centres.
When the sex-energy is sublimated, it supplies abundance of Prana to the system. lf you can control Prana, you can control all the forces of the universe. If you control the Prana; you can control the mind easily.
There is intimate connection between Prana, mind and semen (the vital fluid). If you can control your seminal energy, you can also control your mind and Prana.
Retain the breath and send the Prana to any diseased part of your body. The disease will get cured. Store abundant Prana through the practice of Pranayama. Touch any diseased part of the body in any man. The disease will be cured. A senior Yogi can transfer his Prana to others and cure diseases.
Prana is the universal life principle. It is the principle of energy or force. It is all-pervading.
FOURTH STEP – PRANAYAMA
Pranayama is restraint of Prana. By restraint of the breath Prana is controlled. By the practice of Pranayama, Rajas and Tamas, which cover Sattva, are removed. Then the mind becomes fit for concentration. Practice of Pranayama removes diseases of the body and renovates the cells, tissues and nerves.
There should not be any strain in any stage of Pranayama. You must enjoy peace, joy and happiness. Do not produce any sound while inhaling or exhaling. Do not practise Pranayama when the day is hot.
Those who practise Pranayama can cure many diseases by directing the Prana to the affected part. The wish and intention of curing the disease is projected with a powerful will. Sit by the side of the patient. Close your eyes. Inhale gently. Then retain the breath and direct the Prana to the diseased part of the patient’s body. Concentrate your mind there and chant Om mentally. Strongly imagine that the Prana is penetrating into the diseased cells and destroying them. You can do this on yourself, too, when you are
You can repeat the process as in Pranic healing sitting alone in your meditation room and directing the Prana towards the direction where the patient lives. Fix up an appointment with the patient. Ask him to have a receptive mental attitude at the particular moment when you are directing the Prana to him.
Brahmamuhurta is the best period for exercising Pranic healing. This period is the predawn period from two hours before sunrise.
Excerpts from “FOURTEEN LESSONS ON RAJA YOGA” by Sri Swami Sivananda
An ethical man is more powerful than an intellectual man. Morality goes hand in hand with spirituality. Ethical culture prepares you for Vedantic realisation of ‘Saruam Khalvidam Brahma’-all indeed is Brahman. There is no such thing as diversity.
All aspirants commit the mistakes in jumping to Samadhi and meditation all at once as soon as they leave their houses without caring a bit for ethical purification.
A man of right conduct has ideal principles and mottoes. He strictly follows them, removes his weaknesses and defects, develops good conduct and becomes a Sattvic man. Sound character is the only diamond you must crave to wear. Virtues are conducive to Self-knowledge.
Humility is the highest of all virtues. God helps you only when you feel utterly humble.
The law of non-injury is as much exact and precise as the law of gravitation. lf you can be fully established in the practice of non-violence in thought, word and deed, you are God.
A man who keeps up his promise creates a very good impression on the minds of others and merges in Divinity.
Moral strength is the backbone of spiritual progress. Ethical culture is part and parcel of spiritual Sadhana.
Morality is the doctrine of the right and wrong in human conduct. lt is virtuous life.
The Basis of Morality
Morality is religion in practice; religion is morality in principle. You must do what is right at whatever cost of pain and loss. There can be no divorce of religion from morality. Morality is the basis of religion. Morality and religion are inseparable like heat and fire, coolness and ice, fragrance and flower.
Discourses on morality are the best means to improve the character of man and recover him out of his vices and ignorance.
Morality must not be without religion. lf so, it may change as you see inconveniences. Religion must govern it.
The morality of an action depends upon the motive from which you act. First have righteous principles and then you will not fail to do virtuous actions.
Without religion, morality will die. Religion is the very root of morality. Morality without God is bottomless impiety.
Morality & Ethics
The moral principles are not absolute in the sense that there is a state which transcends moral restrictions. But it does not mean that the moral laws can be neglected.
Morality is the adherence to the inherent sense of the right which is voiced by the conscience that is not bound by selfishness and its several expressions or effects. Morality is the soul-sense, the truth-sense, which refuses to be restricted by the autocracy of the passions that disregard the universality of what is good, and which is free from the agony of imperfection.
The purpose of the moral sense is to point out the way to perfection, and morality, therefore, can be judged from how far it directs the consciousness to unrestricted happiness which is not confined to one or some individuals or even to a part of the universe or merely to an aspect of existence. The wider the scope of the selfless consciousness and the joy consequent upon it, the more moral is the method with which such selflessness is practiced or the act by which such selflessness is expressed.
Morality is “a great vow which is universal, not restricted either by conditions, states, places, times or circumstances.” (Yoga-Sutras)
Excerpts from “HOW TO CULTIVATE VIRTUES AND ERADICATE VICES” by Sri Swami Sivananda
O 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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Om. I bow with folded hands to Lord Siva, Who is the lord of the universe (Jagat-Pati), world’s teacher (Jagad-Guru), Who is the destroyer of Tripuras (3 cities – egoism, lust and anger), Who is the Lord of Uma (Uma Sankar), Gauri (Gauri Sankar), Ganga (Ganga Sankar), who is full of light (Jyotirmaya), knowledge and bliss (Chidananda Maya), Who is the Lord of Yogins (Yogeesvara), Who is the storehouse of knowledge and Who is known by the various names as Mahadeva, Sankara, Hara, Sambhu, Sadasiva, Rudra, Soolapani, Bhairava, Uma- Mahesvara, Neelakantha, Trilochana or Tryambaka (the three-eyed), Visvanatha, Chandrasekhara, Ardhanareesvara, Mahesvara, Neelalohita, Parama Siva, Digambara, Dakshinamurti, etc. How merciful He is! How loving and kind He is! He even wears the skulls of His devotees as a garland around His neck. He is an embodiment of renunciation, mercy, love and wisdom. It is a mistake to say that He is the destroyer. Lord Siva in reality is the regenerator. Whenever one’s physical body becomes unfit for further evolution in this birth either by disease, old age or other causes, He at once removes this rotten physical sheath and gives a new, healthy, vigorous body for further quick evolution. He wants to take all His children to His Lotus Feet quickly. He desires to give them His glorious “Siva-Pada”. It is easier to please Siva than Hari. A little Prem and devotion, a little chanting of His Panchakshra is quite sufficient to infuse delight in Siva.
Hatha Yogins awaken the Kundalini Sakti that is lying dormant in the Muladhara Chakra by Asana, Pranayama, Kumbhaka, Mudra and Bandha, take it above through different Chakras (centres of spiritual energy) Svadhishthna, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddha and Ajna and join it with Lord Siva at the Sahasrara, the thousand-petalled lotus at the crown of the head. They drink the nectar of Immortality (Siva-Jnana-Amritam). This is termed Amrita-srava. When the Sakti is united with Siva, full illumination comes for the Yogi. Lord Siva represents the destructive aspect of Brahman. That portion of Brahman that is enveloped by Tamo-Guna-Pradhana-Maya is Lord Siva who is the all-pervading Isvara and who also dwells in Mount Kailas. He is the Bhandar or store-house for wisdom. Siva minus Parvati or Kaali or Durga is pure Nirguna Brahman. With Maya (Parvati) He becomes the Saguna Brahman for the purpose of pious devotion of His devotees. Devotees of Rama must worship Lord Siva also. Rama Himself worshiped Lord Siva at the famous Ramesvaram. Lord Siva is the Lord of ascetics and Lord of Yogins robed in space (Digambara).
His Trisul (trident) that is held in His right hand represents the three Gunas-Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. That is the emblem of sovereignty. He wields the world through these three Gunas. The Damaru in His left hand represents the Sabda Brahman. It represents OM from which all languages are formed. It is He who formed the Sanskrit language out of the Damaru sound. The wearing of the crescent moon on His head indicates that He has controlled the mind perfectly. The flow of the Ganga represents the nectar of immortality. Elephant represents symbolically the Vritti, pride. Wearing the skin of the elephant denotes that He has controlled pride. Tiger represents lust. His sitting on the tiger’s skin indicates that he has conquered lust. His holding a deer in one hand indicates that He has removed the Chanchalata (tossing) of the mind. Deer jumps from one place to another swiftly. The mind also jumps from one object to another. His wearing of serpents on the neck denotes wisdom and eternity. Serpents live for a large number of years. He is Trilochana, the three-eyed One, in the centre of whose forehead is the third eye, the eye of wisdom. Nandi, the bull that sits in front of Sivalingam represents Pranava (Omkara). The Lingam represents Advaita. It points out “I am one without a second. Ekam eva Advaiteeyam” just as a man raises his right hand above his head pointing out his right index finger only.
The following are the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Siva: 1. Somanath in Gujarat. 2. Mallikarjuna in Srisaila Parvat in Andhra Pradesh. 3. Mahakala in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. 4. Oinkaresvar on the banks of Narmada in Amalesvarm. 5. Baijnath near Gaya (Paralya). 6. Naganath in Southern India. 7. Kedarnath in Himalayas, Uttar Pradesh. 8. Tryambak, near the source of the Godavari in the Nasik District, Maharashtra. 9. Ramesvaram, in Ramnad district, Tamil Nadu. 10. Bhima Sankar, near Poona’ 11. Visvanath in Benares. 12. Grishnesvar (Gokarna) in Karwar district, Karnataka.
Even if people remember these 12 places both morning and evening, the sins of seven births will be destroyed.
In Southern India, there are five famous Siva Lingas which represent the five elements. 1. In Shiyali, Tanjore district, there is Prithvi Lingam. 2. ln Tiruvana Koil, Trichinopoly district, there is Appu Lingam. The Lingam is always in water. Tiruvana Koil is otherwise known as Jambukesvaram. 3. In Kalahasti, Andhra Pradesh, there is a Vayu Lingam. 4. In Tiruvannamalai, via Villupuram Junction, North Arcot District, there is the Tejolingam (Arunachalesvar). 5. In Chidambaram, there is the Akasa Lingam.
1. Sivaya Nama Om Sivaya Namah; Sivaya Nama Om Namah Sivaya.
Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga are not incompatibles like acid and alkali. The fruit of Bhakti Yoga is Jnana. Highest Love (Para Bhakti) and Jnana are one. Perfect knowledge is love.
Action, emotion and intelligence are the three horses that are linked to this body-chariot. They should work in perfect harmony or unison. Then only the chariot will run smoothly. There must be integral development. You must have the head of Sankara, the heart of Buddha and the hand of Janaka. Vedanta without devotion is quite dry. Jnana without Bhakti is not perfect.
(1) Jnana Yoga is like crossing a river by swimming. Bhakti Yoga is like crossing a river by a boat. (2) The Jnani gets knowledge by self-reliance and assertion. The Bhakta gets Darshan of God by self-surrender. (3) The Jnani asserts and expands. The Bhakta dedicates and consecrates himself to the Lord and contracts himself. (4) A Bhakta wants to eat sugar-candy. A Jnani wants to become sugar-candy itself. (5) A Bhakta is like a kitten that cries for help. A Jnani is like a baby-monkey that clings itself boldly to the mother. (6) A Jnana Yogi exhibits Siddhis through will or Sat-Sankalpa. A Bhakta gets all the divine Aisvaryas through self-surrender and the consequent descent of Divine Grace.
In the Gita (IV-39) Lord Krishna clearly points out that Bhakti and Jnana are not incompatibles like oil and water. He says: “Sraddhavan labhate jnanam – The man who is full of faith obtaineth wisdom.”
“To this ever harmonious, worshipping in love, I give the Yoga of discrimination by which they come unto Me.” (X-10.)
“By devotion he knoweth Me in essence, who and what I am; having thus known Me in essence, he forthwith entereth into the Supreme.” (XVIII-55.)
A happy combination of head and heart is perfection.
Excerpts from “Practice of Bhakti Yoga” by Swami Sivananda
There is no virtue higher than Love, there is no treasure higher than Love, there is no knowledge higher than Love, there is no Dharma higher than Love, there is no religion higher than Love because Love is Truth, Love is God. This world has come out of Love, this world exists in Love and this world ultimately dissolves in Love. God is an embodiment of Love. In every inch of His creation you can verily understand His Love.
To love man is to love God alone. Man is the true image of God.
Love is a great leveller. There is no power on earth greater than Love. Pure love is a rare gift of God. It is the fruit of one’s untiring service of humanity and incalculable virtuous actions in several incarnations. It is a rare commodity indeed.
True religion does not consist of ritualistic observances, baths and pilgrimages but in loving all. Cosmic love is all-embracing and all-inclusive. They are the products of ignorance only. They cannot stand before pure love. Just as darkness is dispelled by the penetrating rays of the burning sun, so also jealousy, hatred and egoism are dispelled by the rays of divine Prem.
A man who is struggling to develop cosmic love and realise Him through love, cannot keep anything for himself more than he actually needs for keeping the life going. People talk of universal love but are very niggardly in action. They show only lip-sympathy and lip-love. This is absolute hypocrisy. He who tries to develop universal love should serve humanity untiringly with a disinterested, selfless spirit for many years. He has to kill his little self ruthlessly. He must bear calmly insults and injuries. Then only there is the prospect of cultivating cosmic love. Otherwise it is all vain and flowery talk and idle-gossiping only. It is sugar in paper or tiger in the carpet.
Pure divine love consciously felt and spontaneously directed towards all beings including animals and birds is indeed the direct result of one’s vision or realisation of the Supreme Being. Let me repeat here the words of Bhagavan Sri Krishna: “He who seeth Me everywhere and seeth everything in Me, of him I never lose hold and he shall never lose hold of Me” (Gita: VI-30). “The self-harmonized by Yoga, seeth the Self abiding in all beings, all beings in the Self; everywhere he seeth the same” (VI-29). “He who beareth no ill-will to any being, friendly and compassionate, without attachment and egoism, balanced in pleasure and pain, and forgiving, he, My devotee, is dear to Me” (XII-13).
There is no iota of hope for your salvation till you develop your heart. Dear friends, bear this in mind always! Love alone will bring you liberation.
The saints, seers and prophets of the world have spoken of love as the end and aim or goal of life. The Rasa Lila of Sri Krishna is full of Prem and divine mysteries. The stripping of clothes of Gopis means the destruction of egoism. Lord Krishna has preached love through His Flute. Lord Buddha was an ocean of love. He gave up his body to appease the hunger of a cub of a tiger. Raja Sibi gave from his own thigh an equivalent weight of the pigeon’s flesh to satisfy the appetite of the hawk. What a noble soul! Lord Rama lived a life of love and showed love in every inch of his activity. My dear children of Love, draw inspiration from their teachings. Tread the path of Love, commune with God and reach the eternal abode of Love. This is your highest duty. You have taken this body to achieve Love which alone is the goal of life.
Excerpts from “Practice of Bhakti Yoga” by Swami Sivananda
Faith in God is the first step to God-realisation. Not an iota of progress is ever possible in the path of spirituality without faith. The faith must be a living faith. It must be unwavering faith. Lack of faith is a stumbling block in the path of realisation. Faith develops into Bhakti or devotion to God. Faith is the gateway to the Kingdom of God. It is the threshold to the Knowledge of God. Faith gives strength and removes anxieties and uneasiness of mind. Faith is therefore a powerful mental tonic.
No faith, no devotion. No faith, no Jnana. The Sanskrit equivalent of faith is “Sraddha” or “Visvas.” The whole world runs on faith only. The Raja has faith in his Diwan. The husband has faith in his wife. The shop-keeper has faith in his customers. The patient has faith in his doctor. The client has faith in his lawyer. The engineer has faith in his head-clerk.
The student should have faith in the existence of God, in the teachings of his Guru, in the Vedas and his own self.
Even Patanjali Maharshi, the exponent of Yoga philosophy lays much stress on faith. He says: “Sraddha veerya smriti samadhi prajna-purvaka itaresham – to others (this Samadhi) comes through faith, energy, memory, concentration and discrimination of the real.” (I-20.)
Let me repeat the words of the Gita here. “He who is full of faith obtains wisdom, and he also who has mastery over his senses; and having obtained wisdom he goes swiftly to the Supreme Peace. But the ignorant, faithless, doubting self goes to destruction; nor this world, nor that beyond, nor happiness is there for the doubting self.” (IV, 39-40)
Bad company, lust, greed, infatuated love for wife, son and property, and unwholesome food are the enemies of faith. They spoil the intellect, cloud the understanding and destroy memory. They produce wrong Samskaras or impressions in the mind and render the intellect gross and impure.
Study of Bhagavata, Ramayana, Gita, Upanishads, Yoga Vasishtha; the elevating company of Sadhus and Mahatmas; service of saints; stay at Prayag, Rishikesh, Ayodhya, Vrindavana, Gangotri, Badrinarayan; prayer; Japa or recitation of Mantra; Kirtan or singing His Name; meditation; remembrance of saints and sages who have realised God and study of their teachings; fasting; pilgrimage; personal contact of a Guru can sow the seed of faith in a man and increase it also till it becomes quite firm and unshakable.
Faith can work miracles. Faith can work wonders. Faith can move mountains. Faith can reach a realm where reason dare not enter. There is nothing impossible under the sun for the man of faith to accomplish. Have therefore absolute and unshakable faith in God, in the power of Ram Nam, in the Vedas and the scriptures and in the teachings of your Guru and, last but not the least, in your own self. This is the master-key for success in life and God-realisation or attainment of Divine Consciousness.
Excerpts from “Practice of Bhakti Yoga” by Swami Sivananda