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by Swami Sivananda
A Guide to Better Living And Spiritual Progress
A page of sublime teachings and morals for the day.
"A great thought is a great boon, for which God is to be first thanked, then,
he who is the first to utter it, then the man who is first to quote it to us be thanked."
Table of Contents
About This Book (Back Cover) Dedication JANUARY 11-25 FEBRUARY 26-38 MARCH 39-51 APRIL 52-62 MAY 63-75 JUNE 76-87 JULY 88-98 AUGUST 99-109 SEPTEMBER 110-120 OCTOBER 121-131 NOVEMBER 132-143 DECEMBER 144-156
About This Book
This book is a composite collection of spiritual teachings from the writings of His Holiness Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj.
The main purpose of the work is to spiritualise the reader’s daily duties, enhance his progress towards peace and perfection, solve the problems which he might have to encounter and give an insight into a better and worthier living.
These "Meditations" have been selected from different books and are arranged according to a particular order. The book is intended to be placed in daily Puja and only one thought should be read in a day. The reader should meditate and think deeply, concentrating his mental faculties on the thought of the day.
OM Sri Satguru Paramatmane Namah
All those who strive for
A better living, spiritual
Enlightenment, for a life
Dedicated to virtue and
1. THE POWER OF WILL
Will is Atmabal. Will is dynamic soul-force. Will, if it is rendered pure and irresistible, can work wonders. There is nothing impossible for a man of strong will to achieve in the three worlds. The vast majority of persons have no consciousness of will or mind or intellect, though they talk much on "will and mind". Will becomes impure and weak through Vasanas (desires). When desire is controlled, it becomes changed into will. The sexual energy, the muscular energy, anger, etc., are all transmuted into the will-force when they are controlled. Fewer the desires, stronger the will.
Napoleon had a strong will, and so, he won sanguine success in wars. Viswamitra had a strong will and therefore he created a third world for King Trishanku. Dattatreya had a strong will and so he created a woman by mere willing. All Jnanis and Yogis have very strong will.
2. HOW TO STRENGTHEN YOUR WILL
Get up at 4 a.m., and sit on Virasana and meditate on these formulae. Repeat them mentally with feeling.
My will is pure, strong and irresistible. Om, Om, Om.
I can do everything through my will now. Om, Om, Om.
I have an invincible will. Om, Om, Om.
Meditate on the immortal Atman and develop the will. It is the best method. Do not use will in the wrong directions. You will have a hopeless fall. Do not test the strength of your will in the beginning. Wait till it becomes strong and pure. Will is the King of mental powers. When will operates, all the mental powers, such as the power of judgment, power of memory, power of grasping, power of conversation, reasoning power, discriminating power, power of inference, power of reflection—all these come into play within the twinkling of an eye.
3. ADAPT AND ADJUST
One should patiently hear the words of others even though they are not interesting and charming. He should not fret and fume. Patient hearing develops will and wins the hearts of others. One should also do actions or tasks that are uninteresting. This also develops the will power.
Never complain against bad environments. Create your own mental world wherever you remain and wherever you go. There are some difficulties and disadvantages wherever you go. If the mind deludes you, at every moment and at every step, try to overcome the obstacles and difficulties by suitable means. Do not try to run away from bad, unfavourable environments. God has placed you there to make you grow quickly.
4. NEVER COMPLAIN
If you get all sorts of comforts in a place you will not grow strong. You will be puzzled in a new place when you cannot get these comforts. Therefore, make the best use of all places. Never complain against surroundings and environments. Live in your own mental world.
This world is a relative plane of good and evil. Remember this point at all times. Try to live happily in any place, under any condition. You will become a strong and dynamic personality. This is a great secret. Keep this in your pocket and unlock the Elysian regions, the spiritual realms and the immortal abode. You can get sanguine success in any undertaking. This habit of concentration is of great help to strengthen the will.
5. HAVE MASTERY OVER THE MIND
You must have an intelligent understanding of the habits of the mind—how it wanders and how it operates. You must know easy and effective methods to control the wandering of the mind. The practice of thought culture, the practice of concentration, the practice of memory culture, are all allied subjects. All these are of immense help in the practice of will culture.
Gladstone and Napoleon could go to deep sleep the moment they went to bed through mere willing. Mahatma Gandhi had this practice. They could get up in the morning at any time they wanted—to the very minute. They had so trained their subconscious mind. Everyone of you should develop this habit through will and become a Gandhi, a Gladstone, or a Napoleon.
6. CONSERVE ENERGY
The practice of keeping the mind fully occupied is the best of all practices for keeping up physical and mental Brahmacharya. Those who want to become magnetic and dynamic personalities or prodigies should utilise every second to the best possible advantage and should try to grow mentally, morally and spiritually every second.
Idle gossiping should be given up entirely. Every one of us should realise the value of time. Will is bound to become dynamic if one utilises his time very profitably. Application and tenacity, interest and attention, patience and perseverance, faith and self-reliance can make a man a wonderful world-figure. You will have to apply your will according to capacity; otherwise your will would deteriorate.
7. PROGRAMME OF LIFE
Make a programme of work or daily routine, according to your capacity, and see that it is carried out daily. Keep only a few items. If you keep several items which cannot be executed in a day, which are beyond your capacity, your interest will gradually decline. Your energy will be dissipated and scattered. You will get brain-fag. Whatever you wish to do daily must be carried out to the very letter.
Thinking too much is a hindrance in the execution by the will. It brings confusion, diffidence and procrastination. There is slackening of the force of the will. The opportunity will slip away. Think for sometime correctly and decide. As soon as you have resolved, you must "will" immediately. There must not be any unnecessary delay.
8. BALANCE OF MIND
He who is attempting to develop his will should always try to keep a cool head. He should keep a balanced mind under all conditions. He will have to train or discipline the mind. It is worth practising.
Balance of mind is one of the vital characteristics of a developed Jnani or Yogi. That Yogi who can keep a balanced mind at all times is really a strong and happy man. He will get sanguine success in all his undertakings. You may fail to maintain the balance in fifty attempts; but from the fifty-first endeavour, you will get strength of will. You will slowly manifest balance of mind. You should not be discouraged in the beginning. Remember the story of "Bruce and the Spider". Bruce learnt from the spider. He failed seven times but succeeded in the war in his eighth attempt.
9. NEED FOR A DEFINITE AIM
The vast majority of persons, even the so-called educated people, have no definite aim in life. They waste their time and finish their life’s career in gloom, despair and sorrow. The intellect is there, but they have no definite aim or purpose. They have no ideal, no clear-cut programme of life. Hence their life becomes a failure.
Everyone of you should clearly understand the aim of your life. Then you should chalk out the line of work that is congenial to your aim. You should work hard to realise the aim. You should try every second to live up to that ideal. You can realise the ideal right now in this very second or after ten years by walking with faltering steps.
10. WHAT YOU SHOULD DO AFTER RETIREMENT
When one has successfully finished his duties as a householder, when his sons are all fixed up in life, when the daughters are given in marriage, he should devote the remaining years of his life in spiritual pursuits, study of religious literature and divine contemplation.
Many people have no definite ideas as to what they are going to do (after retirement). After retirement from active service, they take to some other avocation. They are still greedy. Till the end of life they count money and entertain thoughts of grandchildren and great grandchildren. Pitiable is the lot of these men indeed! Blessed is he, who spends the whole time in study and meditation in a solitary place after retirement from service.
11. BE NOT DIFFIDENT
I want to place before you another important point. I have no such words as "cannot", "difficult", "impossible", "weakness", etc., in my dictionary. Those who are attempting to develop their will-force should remove these words from their dictionary also. These are the expressions of a weakling or an effeminate person. These are the expressions of a timid woman.
Become a lion. Become a spiritual Lord. Become a champion in the Adhyatmic field. By mere willing or chanting "OM" mountains can be crushed to powder. By mere willing mountains should move. By mere willing oceans should recede. By mere willing, all the waves of the ocean should subside. Lord Jesus did this and you, too, can do that.
12. THAT THOU ART
Understand the glory, splendour and power of the Self which is at the back of your mind, thought, will and memory. Understand the magnanimity and immortal nature of that hidden interpenetrating, indwelling Essence. Know that this Self is the storehouse for all knowledge, bliss, power, beauty, peace and joy.
Feel that the sun, the moon and stars do their respective functions at your command. Feel that the air moves, rain showers, fire burns, rivers flow, sun shines, stars glitter, and Indra, Agni and Yama do their respective functions at your bidding. Thou art the Glory of glories, Sun of suns, Light of lights, Holy of holies, Divinity of divinities, God of gods, Emperor of emperors. Thou art Truth. Thou art Brahman.
13. IMPORTANCE OF ETHICS
An ethical man is more powerful than an intellectual. Ethical culture brings in various sorts of occult powers. If you study Yoga Sutras, you will find a clear description of the powers that manifest by observance of the practice of Ahimsa, Satyam, Asteya, Brahmacharya and Aparigraha. The nine Riddhis roll under the feet of an ethically developed man. They are ready to serve him.
The philosopher need not necessarily be a moral or ethical man; but a spiritual man must of necessity be moral. Morality goes hand in hand with spirituality.
14. TRUTH ALONE TRIUMPHS
You should always try your level best to speak the truth at all costs. You may lose your income in the beginning but in the long run, you are bound to be victorious. You will realise the truth of the Upanishads—"Truth alone shines, but not falsehood."
Even a lawyer who speaks the truth in law courts, who does not coach up false witnesses may lose his practice in the beginning but later on, will be honoured by the judge as well as the client. Be truthful. You will have a peaceful death. Do not kill your conscience in order to have comfortable living and to please your wife. Life here is evanescent and like a bubble. Aspire to become divine. The various formulae—Ahimsa is the highest of all virtues; speak the truth and do virtuous actions; do unto others in the same way as you wish others to do unto you; Love thy neighbour as thyself—are all best calculated to develop the moral aspect of a human being.
15. CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE
The attitude of friendliness or enmity is a mental creation. The enemy or friend is not outside. It is the feeling or imagination from within. An intimate friend of long standing becomes a deadly enemy within a second. One hot or harsh word changes the situation completely within the twinkling of an eye.
A human being erroneously identifies himself with his body and wrongly imagines that he is a little Jiva with little power and little knowledge. This is his human Bhava (attitude). This should be changed into Brahma Bhava by changing the angle of vision and mode of thinking. Think you are Brahman. Think you are pure and all-pervading intelligence, light and consciousness. Think you are immortal, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.
16. MEMORY CULTURE
Memory culture is very important. It brings success in God-realisation as well. A man with strong and retentive memory gets sanguine success in all his ventures and undertakings. He who has memory can conduct his business affairs very successfully, remember credits and debits and keep account in a satisfactory manner. Intelligence is only nine-tenths of memory.
A knowledge of the working of the subconscious mind is very necessary for those who want to develop their memory. Most of the mental operations take place in the subconscious mind. The conscious mind takes some rest, but the subconscious mind works throughout the twenty-four hours. It is the subconscious mind that brings the answer like a flash of lightening in the early morning when you fail to get a solution at night.
17. PRACTISE INTROSPECTION
Practise self-examination for ten minutes before you go to bed. Sit comfortably on a chair. Close your eyes. Think of all actions—good and bad, that you did during the course of the day. Think of all the mistakes that you committed consciously or unconsciously.
On the first day you may not be able to find out even two or three mistakes in your actions because you are not in the habit of doing so; but by daily regular, and systematic practice, you will be able to visualise clearly the actions and mistakes of the day. Even an hour will not be sufficient to review the actions. The mind becomes subtle and sharp by the practice of introspection.
18. CALM THE RIPPLES IN THE MIND-LAKE
Ignorant people identify themselves with the body, mind and the Vrittis of the mind. The mind and body are mere instruments. The real man is, of course, behind the mind.
If you become one with the mind and Vrittis, you get various sorts of misery and sufferings. The whole universe is created by the Vrittis of the mind alone. If these mental waves subside, you can attain the Absolute state, the state of highest bliss and peace. Just as you can clearly see the bottom of a lake when the ripples and waves on the surface subside, even so, you can cognise your real self when the Vrittis that agitate the mind subside.
19. NOW OR NEVER!
Stick to the spiritual path at all cost. Apply yourself diligently. Waste not even a single precious minute as life is short and time is fleeting. That tomorrow will never come.
Now or never. Stand up with the firm resolve: "I will become a Yogi in this very birth, this very moment. Gird up your loins. Do rigid constant Yoga Sadhana. Walk along the path of Yoga in the footsteps of Jnanadeva, Gorakhnath, Sadasiva Brahman and Tailanga Swami.
20. THE COSMIC WIRE-PULLER
My silent adorations and prostrations to the cosmic Proprietor, the inner ruler, the superintendent, the supreme head, the President-founder, the silent Sakshi and the Governor of this wonderful mental factory! Brahman (Absolute) is the silent Sakshi of this factory. Hiranyagarbha is the supreme Director of this factory. Every man has his own mental factory. The Absolute has to manage and supervise the whole cosmic factory.
He who dwells within the mind, who is within the mind, whom the mind does not know, whose body the mind is, and who rules the mind from within, is the Self, Inner Ruler, Immortal. Salutations to this Inner Ruler who illumines the minds and the mental factory.
21. WHAT IS VASANA?
The summum bonum of existence is the attainment of the knowledge of the Self or the realisation of the one homogeneous Self. The knowledge of the Self can only dawn when there is extinction of all Vasanas. This Self-realisation cannot be obtained without completely giving up all Vasanas. Extinction of all Vasanas alone is Moksha.
The subtle state of desire is called Vasana. Desire is gross in its nature. A hidden Vasana is termed Kashaya. Some philosophers define Vasana as a tendency or inclination. Others say, "the blind clinging to sensual objects, through intense longing or craving without deliberation or thinking is known as Vasana."
22. WHAT IS MIND?
Mind is the cause for bondage and freedom of man. A mind that is filled with impure Vasanas tends to bondage; whereas a mind that is destitute of Vasanas tends to freedom. Mind is no mind when the Vasanas are destroyed. You become mindless. When you become mindless, intuition dawns and you are endowed with the eye of wisdom. You enjoy indescribable peace.
Mind is Vasanamaya. This world is Vasanamaya Jagat. Mind clings to sensual objects through Vasanas and constantly thinks of the objects. If the Vasanas perish, the mind ceases thinking of objects and we attain the state of thoughtlessness.
23. POSITIVE OVERCOMES NEGATIVE
You will have to transmute the impure Vasanas into pure ones through constant efforts. You will have to change the current of impure Vasanas and allow them to run in the channel or river of pure Vasanas.
There is no harm if you have abundance of pure Vasanas. Pure Vasana is also a fetter. Just as you remove a thorn with the help of another thorn and throw both of them when the thorn is removed; so also, you will have to destroy the impure Vasanas through the help of pure Vasanas and then abandon these pure ones also. To desire for liberation or Moksha Vasana also must die eventually. Then only will you become That.
24. CONTROL OF MIND
One of the most common habits of the mind is the wandering habit. It cannot stick to one point as it is of the nature of air. Sri Krishna says, "O mighty armed (Arjuna)! The mind is hard to curb and is restless, but it may be curbed by constant practice and by dispassion."
Destruction of desires and control of Indriyas are the essential steps for the control of mind. It is the desire that makes the mind restless. The Indriyas run after objects and the mind also follows the Indriyas just as a dog follows the master. Therefore if you want to check this wandering mind you will have to renounce all sorts of desires and control the Indriyas first. Then alone will you be successful in the practice of concentration, meditation, will-culture, memory-culture and thought-culture.
25. HOW TO CONCENTRATE
The vital point in concentration is to bring the mind to the same point, i.e., to object again and again by limiting its movement in a small circle in the beginning. That is the main aim. A time will come when the mind will stick to one point alone. This is the fruit of your constant and protracted Sadhana.
There should be one line of thought. There should be one continuity of thought like the steady flow of oil from one vessel to another vessel, like the continuous sound of a church bell.
26. BE REGULAR IN MEDITATION
You must be regular in your practice of meditation. You must sit daily both morning and night and at the same hour. The meditative mood or Sattvic Bhava will manifest by itself without exertion. You must sit in the same place, in the same room. Regularity in meditation is a great desideratum and a sine qua non.
Even if you do not realise any tangible result in the practice, you must plod on in the practice with sincerity, earnestness, patience and perseverance. Your effort will be crowned with sanguine success after some time. Do not stop this practice even for a day, under any circumstance, even if you are ailing. Meditation is a first class tonic. The wave of meditation will remove all sorts of disease. It will infuse spiritual strength, give new vigour and vitality.
27. PRAY FERVENTLY
O All-merciful Lord! Through Thy Grace, may I realise the Truth. May I always entertain sublime thoughts. May I realise myself as the Light Divine. May I serve humanity with Atmabhav. May I be free from greed, lust, egoism, jealousy and hatred. May I behold the one sweet immortal Self in all beings. May I realise Brahman with pure understanding.
May that Light of lights ever guide me. May He cleanse my mind of all impurities. May He inspire me. May He bestow on me power, courage, and strength. May He remove the veil in the mind. May He remove all obstacles in the spiritual path.. May He make my life happy and fruitful. I bow to Thee, O God of gods, O Brahman of the Upanishads, Support for Maya and Isvara, the Bridge to Immortality.
28. WITHOUT SELF ALL IS VOID
It is a well-known fact that any number of zeroes has no intrinsic value unless a number is placed before them. Even so, the wealth of all the three worlds is nothing, if you do not lead a spiritual life, if you do not try to acquire the spiritual wealth, if you do not strive for Self-realisation. You will have to live in the Soul or the Self within. You will have to add Atman to the life here.
That is the reason why Lord Jesus says: "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Everyone of you is a power in your self. You can influence others, radiate joy and peace to millions upon millions of people, far and near, and elevate others, even from a long distance.
29. WAY TO BEATITUDE
You cannot attain final beatitude by mastering a million scriptures, by practising rigorous austerities. Brahman can be realised when all Vasanas and Trishnas perish, when word ceases and thought dies, when the veil of ignorance is rent asunder, when the mind is absorbed in its Source, when the senses are curbed in toto, when the Brahmakara Vritti rises, through constant Nididhyasana and through the Grace of the Guru.
1. GITA SHOWS THE WAY
Gita lays down that the purpose of man’s life here is to attain Self-realisation. The Lord does not cut asunder Sannyasa and life-in-the-world, as some scriptures that prevailed before the Gita had done. Observe the conditions of the Varnas and the Ashramas today; and you will readily admit the Omniscience of the Lord and His foreknowledge of the chaos that would envelop humanity. The Lord, therefore, enjoined Karma Yoga upon all. "Fill your mind with thoughts of Me; be devoted to Me; do My will; surrender yourself unto Me; you will soon reach Me": that was in short the burden of His Song. The Karma Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita is truly the Yoga of Synthesis. This Yoga is the most suitable one for the Kali age. It helps the integral development of the human personality. It leaves no loop holes for Mayaic forces to enter as it fills every part of man with godliness.
2. SELFISHNESS VEILS UNDERSTANDING
Selfishness clouds understanding. Even if a man has a tinge of selfishness, he cannot find out what is right and wrong. A very pure, subtle sharp intellect is needed for this purpose, besides destroying selfishness.
You should possess a well-purified heart. You must have a balanced mind. You must be indifferent to heat and cold, pleasure and pain, praise and censure, success and failure. You must be well-trained in selfless service for several years. Then you can get over selfishness and acquire real understanding.
3. BEHOLD GOOD IN ALL
Evil is mere appearance. It is not a reality. It is an illusion. Evil exists to glorify good. Good and evil are not two independent things or entities. They are the two sides of the coin.
An evil man is a saint of the future. Transmute evil into good through Vichara or reflection. Out of evil often cometh good. There is neither absolute good nor absolute evil in this phenomenal world. Good and evil are relative terms.
Behold good alone in everything. Develop again and again the good-finding faculty. Destroy the evil-finding quality to its very root.
4. VALUE OF PROMISE
Never break your promise. Stick to it even if it costs your life. It is better to give up your life in order to secure due performance of sacred and solemn promise.
"Be slow to make promise, but quick to perform it." This is an old adage. Say, "I shall try but I do not promise you." Do not entangle yourself by making promises thoughtlessly. He who keeps his promise is respected by the people. He who practises truth must stick to his promises. It is a great virtue.
5. YOUR INNER GUIDE
Conscience is the light of the soul that is burning within the chambers of your heart. It is a form of truth. It is a guiding voice from within.
Virtuous acts, charity, benevolence, nobility, generosity, acts of mercy, practice of truthfulness, Brahmacharya and Ahimsa sharpen the conscience. On the other hand, falsehood, cruel and immoral life, crookedness, deceitfulness kill the conscience. A man of guilty conscience is ever restless and unhappy in this world and in the next world also. A man of pure conscience is a veritable god on earth.
6. THE GLORIOUS PATH TO BLISS
He who is virtuous, who is kind on all occasions, who is filled with compassion, obtains the greatest contentment and ascends the superior path of virtue.
The wise men who with sanctity lead a virtuous life obtain eternal bliss and immortality. Those who are charitable, secure prosperity in this world and abode of happiness in the next. Harmlessness, forgiveness, peacefulness, agreeable speech, control of passions and excitements constitute the superior path of the honest and the wise.
7. THE MARKS OF A VIRTUOUS MAN
Who is good and virtuous? One who is devoted to the well-being of all, who can give his all and sacrifice his very life for others, who is endowed with great courage, who follows all the duties laid down by scriptures, who is ever ready to work for the well-being of others.
Such a promoter of virtue cannot be seduced from the path of virtue. He is free from lust or anger, unattached to any worldly object. Gain or loss, happiness and misery, the agreeable and the disagreeable, life and death are held in equal estimation by that man of firm mind engaged in acquiring divine knowledge.
8. THE SECRET OF SUCCESS
Miserliness is a great curse. It is an enemy of oneness and a friend of selfishness. Miserly persons are quite unfit for the spiritual path. Generous-hearted persons are very rare. Many have achieved power, popularity, peace and happiness only through a generous heart.
Miserly persons can never dream to have all these and success in life. Their very company is very dangerous for spiritually-minded persons. They poison the whole atmosphere on account of their corrupted and contracted hearts.
9. MOHA—THE STEEL CHAIN
Some men retire from service and live on the banks of the Ganga, Narmada and the Yamuna. They do a little Japa and meditation and study Yoga Vasishtha and Upanishads and imagine that they are Jivanmuktas.
They entertain intense Moha for their children and remit their pension to their sons and grandchildren. They will not spend even a pie in charity. They are hopeless, self-deluded souls! "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God."
10. REALISE GOD THROUGH CHARITY
Give to the poor, the sick, the helpless and the forlorn. Give to the orphans, the decrepit, the blind and the helpless widows. Give to Sadhus, Sannyasins, religious and social institutions.
Charity should be bestowed with humility and joy. You should feel that you are highly honoured in getting an opportunity to be of service to another. You must feel that you are the receiver. Thank the man who gives you an opportunity to serve him by doing charity. Give with right mental attitude, and realise God through charitable acts.
11. EAT A LITTLE
Eat to live and not live to eat. Let your attention be turned not to storing of food and enjoying the luxuries of life. If you are whole-timed spiritual student who has given up all work and taken to pure Japa and meditation, you can live on one meal a day.
You will be free from diseases and your mind will be calm and serene. When you sit for meditation in Brahmamuhurta, you will merge in Brahman.
12. THE BENEDICTION
His mental Bhava helps a man to purify his heart very quickly. All acts done with divine Bhava become divine activities. This is real Yoga.
Glory to India, the land of charity! May she continue her divine activities for ever! May the inhabitants of this glorious Aryavarta live up to the ideals of their forefathers, the Rishis of yore! May Ananda ever flourish! May rains come at the proper time! May the earth yield plenty! May peace, prosperity and joy be to all beings.
13. BE SWEET
A really sweet man is divine. He does not expect anything from others. His very nature is sweet. He brings joy to others by his innate sweetness.
Sweetness is born of Sattva. It is the sweet aroma of a perfected soul, Siddha Purusha, adept through long and intense Tapas, discipline, Yoga practice, communion through mind melting in silence. Sweetness must be an essential attribute of a spiritual propagandist and public worker. The Rajasic ego should melt in the crucible of Yoga fire. Rajas must be churned out. Then the butter of sweetness will float on the surface of the Sattvic mind.
14. WIN EVERYONE’S HEART
The one quality which will bring for one respect, fame, and the confidence of worthy men is the sweetness of speech. This is one thing by practising which a person is esteemed by all and becomes famous. This is the one thing which yields happiness to all. One may always secure love of all creatures by practising sweetness of speech.
Sweetness of speech secures one’s object, while at the same time it never pains any heart. Sweet speech pleases more than does the gift of an object.
15. HONESTY—THE UNIVERSAL VIRTUE
Honesty is not a virtue meant only for a particular section of mankind, as loyalty is to the subordinate, chastity is to married women, and filial piety and obedience is to children and students.
It is a sacred duty and moral obligation in the interest of social solidarity. A honest man is dear to Lord. He showers His Grace and blessings upon such a one. Honesty never goes unrewarded in the long run. The honest man comes to be honoured by all.
16. BE MODERATE IN EVERYTHING
You should be moderate in eating, drinking, sleeping, reading, laughing, copulation, talking, exercise, etc.
Lord Krishna says, "Verily Yoga is not for him who eats too much, nor who abstains to excess, nor who is too much addicted to sleep, nor even to wakefulness. Yoga kills all pains in him who is regulated in eating, and amusement, regulated in performing actions, regulated in sleeping and waking." He who is moderate in everything is a perfect Yogi.
17. A MARVELLOUS LUBRICATOR
Tolerance is needed in all spheres of life, social, economic, political and religious. Fights, quarrels, ruptures, fractions in society and domestic circles and war are all due to lack of tolerance. All social, religious and political institutions are held together by the cohesive force of tolerance.
Tolerance is a marvellous lubricating oil which helps the smooth revolutions of the wheels of life.
18. THE INVULNERABLE FORTRESS
The birth of a man is due to his mixed Karmas, mixture of good and evil. Every man will have to meet dangers, calamities at some period of his life. He who is endowed with fortitude will bear them calmly with great presence of mind and with a smiling face.
Fortitude is a sweet mysterious spiritual mixture of courage, calmness, patience, presence of mind and endurance. It is a virtue born of Sattva. It gives great strength of mind to Sadhakas, who tread the path of Pravritti.
19. THE BASIS OF DIVINE LIFE
Self-control is an indispensable requisite for the living of a truly ethical life. Without self-restraint, the practice of ethics is quite impossible. You have sublime sentiments and noble intentions, but when you have no self-control, you will be a slave to baser passions.
Self-control leads to the highest merit. It is the eternal duty of man. Self-control surpasses in merit charity, sacrifice, and study of the Vedas. The man of self-control acquires great reward in the next world and gets esteem in this world.
20. THE KNOWER OF SELF
That man who never rejoices at large accessions and never feels sorrow when overtaken by misfortune is said to be endowed with wisdom and contentment.
Overcoming lust and anger, practising the vow of Brahmacharya and becoming a complete master of his senses, the Brahmana practising patiently the austere penances and observing the most rigid restraint, should live in the world calmly waiting for his time like one seeming to have a body though fully knowing that he is not subject of destruction.
21. CONTROL ANGER
Control of anger, is indispensable in the practice of ethics. Anger is your dire enemy; it is the enemy of peace, wisdom and devotion. It is born of Rajo Guna. All actions proceed from anger. It is one of the three gates of hell. It is the slayer of all Tapas. Therefore control anger through patience and forgiveness. Indulge not thyself in the passion of anger.
Bear slight provocations with patience; forgive the faults of others. Forget not your own defects and weaknesses. Forget the wrong done to you by others. This is the way to control anger.
22. THE GATEWAY TO VIRTUE
Good and bad are both in man. Human being is a mixture of both. All creatures contain forces of virtue and evil. It is the restraint of evil and the active exercise of good that raises man above other creatures.
Anger is the outlet or channel through which emerge harshness, cruelty, pain and harm; vengeance, violence, war and destruction. When anger is overcome your understanding becomes clear and discrimination is active. You are enabled to choose between right and wrong. You proceed without confusion upon the straight, narrow path of moral rectitude.
23. COVETOUSNESS—THE GATE TO HELL
Covetousness causes anxiety, desire to speak ill of others, strong lustful desire, gluttony, liability to premature death, strong desire for falsehood, irrepressible desire for indulging into passions, insatiable desire for indulging the ear, evil speaking, boastfulness, arrogance, neglect of duties, rashness and perpetration of every kind of evil action.
Satsanga, discrimination, dispassion, the practice of the opposite virtues such as nobility, generosity, charity, integrity, honesty, disinterestedness, Japa, Kirtan, meditation, enquiry will eradicate covetousness.
24. THIS IS IGNORANCE
Attachment, hate, loss of judgement, joy, sorrow, vanity, lust, anger, pride, procrastination, idleness, desire, aversion, jealousy, envy, and all other sinful habits constitute ignorance.
Ignorance and covetousness are the same. Both produce the same result or fruits of the same faults. Ignorance originates from covetousness. The time when ignorance occurs is when the objects of covetousness are not attained. From ignorance proceed covetousness. Hence abandon ruthlessly covetousness by a strong determination.
25. DRINKING—THE BED OF VICES
Drinking ranks as the first of soul-killing habits. It completely destroys the moral faculties of man, kills all lofty ambitions and aspirations and the higher nobler instincts of man.
Man’s nature becomes coarse and he sinks to a low level of extreme degradation. So widespread has this practice become that it is regarded as a social accomplishment and a fashionable desideratum. Where drinking is present, there vices are rampant. It is a dangerous enemy of the ethical life of mankind. It is one’s responsibility to strive vigorously and banish this evil.
26. GAMBLING—THE WEAPON OF MAYA
Beware of gambling. Pushkara challenged Nala for dice game and lost everything. Yudhishtira also gambled and lost his wife. Gambling is a weapon of Maya. The gambler thinks always that he will win in the next play but he goes on losing.
Gambling spoils entirely the character of man, making him irreligious and unrighteous. It makes him excited and to lose sound judgement and sense of decorum. It makes him an atheist. It brings him in the company of evil-minded persons and dregs of the society. Drinking, adultery, meat-eating are the constant companions of gambling.
27. ENTER THIS IMPREGNABLE FORTRESS
Do not waste your precious time in playing cards, in writing solution for crossword puzzles, gambling and race-courses. Money earned through cross-word puzzles will not stick to you even for a day. Life is meant for higher spiritual progress.
Wake up, O ignorant man! Struggle hard and obtain the supreme, inexhaustible spiritual wealth and be happy for ever. Live in the company of the wise and lead the divine life. Satsanga is an impregnable fortress where there is no scope for the entry of Maya and her companions.
28. BECOME THE KING OF KINGS
Be equal in pleasure and pain, in life and death, in praise and censure, in honour and dishonour, in gain and loss. Thus enter into the Infinite or the Supreme Silence.
Renounce all desires through detachment and discrimination. Renounce the objects of the world. Renunciation of desires will follow. Thereafter live happily wherever thou pleasest.
A distaste for the objects of senses is freedom and attachment to the objects is bondage. This is wisdom.
Blessed is he who is established in his own Satchidananda Svaroopa. He is an Atmasamrat, (Self-King). The whole world will pay homage to this Sage.
The mind in a Jivanmukta ceases to function. He is free from delusion and inertia. He experiences indescribable state of wisdom, and immortal Bliss.
O Mokshapriya! Attain wisdom of the Self and become a Jivanmukta now and here. Be sincere in your endeavour.
29. WAKE UP THIS MOMENT
Even men who have got their wives lead a life of dissipation. What a great shame! They have taken a pledge before the sacred fire (God Agni) that they would be true to their wives and yet they lead a life of immorality.
These deluded souls of little understanding deserve capital punishment. The Divine Law of cause and effect is inexorable and unrelenting. It will not spare them at all. O ignorant man! Have you realised now at least your folly? Will you promise me that you will lead a good virtuous life from this moment at least?
30. A WORD TO YOUTH
O College boys, who waste your father’s money in towns, in restaurants, hotels and cinemas! Beware, do not become victims of gonorrhoea and syphillis. Your whole life will be spoiled.
Learn the ways of self-control from Sadhus and Sannyasins. Be regular in Japa and Kirtan, meditation and the study of old scriptures. You are the future citizens of the world. Learn to soothe the itching of nerve through sublime thinking and divine contemplation.
1. AN ASPIRANT AND A WORLDLY MAN
What does a passionate man do? He repeats the same ignominious act again and again, fills his stomach as many times as he can.
What does an aspirant with burning passion for Self realisation do? He takes a little milk and repeats the process of meditation again and again whole day and night and enjoys the eternal Bliss of the Self. Both are busy in their own way. The former is caught in the wheel of births and deaths and the latter attains immortality.
The mind can be controlled by continuous practice. You must keep it always occupied in divine contemplation. If you slacken your efforts, idle thoughts will at once enter.
2. IMPORTANCE OF MORNING MEDITATION
If you get up in Brahmamuhurta at 4 a.m., you will have a clear and calm mind. There is a spiritual influence and mysterious silence in the early morning hours.
All saints and Yogis practise meditation at this period and send their spiritual vibrations to the whole world. You will be highly benefited by their vibrations, if you start your prayer, Japa and meditation at this period. You need not exert. The meditative state of mind will come by itself. Practise meditation in Brahmamuhurta.
3. VOICE OF THE HIMALAYAS
Even a spark of desire is a very great evil. Watch each sense or Indriya when it goes astray. Withdraw it. Practise abstraction again and again. Curb your passion slowly through Japa, prayer, meditation, Satsanga, study of scriptures and Sattvic food. Be ever delighted in your own all-blissful Atman or soul.
Meditation is death for the mind, the demoniac king of the passions and the senses. The more you polish the surface of your inner heart through practice of dispassion and meditation, the more of the Lord’s Grace-effulgence will shine there. Never become impatient in the spiritual path. Be patient. Be calm. Strive, strive, strive!
Regular meditation makes the mind less powerful in its extrovert tendencies. Even a little victory in the inner battle with your mind and senses will develop your power and give more assurance and courage. But do not be swayed by success. Be humble and grateful.
Far more precious than many gold and diamond mines is the spiritual wealth of Self-realisation.
4. BECOME THOU A FLAME OF GOD
Just as the light is burning within the hurricane lamp, so also the divine flame is burning from time immemorial in the lamp of your heart.
Close your eyes. Merge yourself within the divine flame. Plunge deep in the chambers of your heart. Meditate on this divine flame and become a flame of God. Withdraw the Indriyas from the objects. Propitiate the Lord by your supreme Tapas. Meditate on Lord Hari, get into the dazzling divine car and reach the supreme abode of Vishnu.
5. THE GREAT MARCH
When you reach the spiritual summit of thoughtlessness you will reach the abode of immortality and eternal peace and supreme bliss.
O Ram, start your homeward journey. March boldly on the spiritual path. Be not afraid of difficulties. Be bold. Ascend peak after peak. Cross the deep ravines of subtle Moha and pride that come in your way. Take a long jump and cross the mystic frontier of Avyaktam. Chop the thoughts that wage a guerilla war. Enter now into the infinite domain of pure bliss and highest knowledge. Regain your old pristine divine glory.
6. FORMULAE FOR MEDITATION
Fire is generated in sacrifice by rubbing two pieces of wood; even so, the fire of wisdom is generated by meditation on the Supreme Self.
The mind is disciplined in the beginning by fixing it on concrete object or symbol. When it is rendered steady and subtle, it can be fixed later on an abstract idea such as "Aham Brahma Asmi."
Meditate always, "I am pure consciousness. I am Sat-Chit-Ananda Brahman. I am the immutable Self-effulgent, immortal Self. I am the silent Witness of the three states."
7. THE STATE OF KAIVALYA
A desire arises in the mind and it is gratified. Another arises. In the interval between two desires, there is perfect stillness of mind.
But when the mind is concentrated on Brahman or Supreme Self, it becomes one with Brahman like camphor with the flame or salt with water or water with milk. Mind melts in Brahman. Mind becomes of the nature of Brahman. This is the state of Kaivalya. Know the Brahman and be free.
8. THE FINAL UNION
You will have to pass through six stages of meditation and finally you will enter into perfect superconscious state. Perception of form will totally vanish. There is neither meditation nor meditated now.
You will, in this state, attain the highest knowledge and the eternal supreme peace. This is the goal of life. This is the final beatitude of life. You are an enlightened sage or the illumined Jivanmukta now. You are absolutely free from pain, sorrow, fear, doubt and delusion. The bubble has become the ocean; the river has joined the ocean and has become the ocean.
9. MEDITATION DISSOLVES DOUBTS
Regular meditation opens the avenues of the intuitional knowledge, makes the mind calm and steady, awakens an ecstatic feeling and brings the Yogic student in contact with the source or the supreme Purusha.
If there are doubts, they are all cleared by themselves when you march on the path of Dhyana Yoga steadily. You will yourself feel the way to place your footstep in the next rung of the spiritual ladder. A mysterious inner voice will guide you. Hear this attentively, O Yogindra!
10. IDLENESS IS NOT REST
Real rest can be had during meditation when the mind rests in Atman. Change of work can give rest. Remaining idle without work and allowing the mind to wander about wildly like a rutting furious elephant and building castles in the air cannot bring rest.
The man who cannot fix his mind in meditation cannot have knowledge of the Self. The unsteady man cannot practise meditation. He cannot have intense devotion to knowledge of the Self or any burning longing for liberation or Moksha. He who does not practise any meditation cannot possess peace of mind. How can there be happiness for the unpeaceful?
11. WASTE NOT PRECIOUS TIME
"The Yogi, labouring with assiduity, purified from sin and perfected through manifold births, reacheth the Supreme Goal."
If you can give up idle talks and gossiping and idle curiosity to hear rumours and news of others and if you do not meddle with the affairs of others, you will have ample time to do meditation. If worldly thoughts try to enter the mind during meditation reject them. Have steady devotion to truth. Be cheerful. Increase the Sattvic materials in you. You can enjoy everlasting bliss.
12. NEVER COMPLAIN OF ENVIRONMENT
Environments are not bad but your mind is bad. Your mind is not disciplined properly. Wage a war with this horrible and terrible mind. Do not complain against bad environments but complain first against your mind. Train your mind first.
If you practise concentration amidst unfavourable environments, you will grow strong, you will develop your will force quickly, you will become a dynamic personality. See good in everything and transmute evil into good. This is real Yoga. This is the real work of a Yogi.
13. THE RAZOR-PATH WILL BECOME SMOOTH
The Vasanas are very powerful. The senses and mind are very turbulent and impetuous. Again and again the battle must be fought and won. That is the reason why the spiritual path is called the razor path in Kathopanishad. There is no difficulty for a man of strong determination and iron will even on the razor path. Strength comes from within at every step.
The mind-wandering will gradually cease through regular meditation. Meditation will remove irritability also and augment the peace of mind considerably.
14. THE MAGIC PILL
Try to identify yourself with the eternal immortal ever-pure Atman that resides in the chambers of your heart. Think and feel always: "I am the ever pure Atman." This one thought will remove all troubles and fanciful thoughts. The mind wants to delude you. Start this anti-current of thought. The mind will lurk like a thief.
There is no magical pill more efficacious than solitude to remove the disease of Vikshepa (tossing of the mind).
15. SIGNS OF PROGRESS
Your mind will sometimes shudder when evil thoughts enter it. This is a sign of your spiritual progress. You are growing spiritually. You will be much tormented when you think of your evil actions committed in the past. This is also a sign of your spiritual upheaval. You will not repeat now the same actions.
Your mind will tremble. Your body will quiver whenever a wrong Samskara of some evil actions urges you to do the same act through force of habit. Continue your meditation with full vigour and earnestness. All memories of evil actions, all evil thoughts, all evil promptings of Satan will die by themselves.
16. BE OF STRONG NERVES
An aspirant must be sensitive and yet possess the body and nerves completely under control. The greater the sensitiveness becomes, the more difficult is the task. There are many noises which pass unheeded by an ordinary person but which are tortures to one who is very sensitive.
Untrained aspirants generally mistake their own imagination and impulses for the "inner voice of divine command or intuition." When the mind is Sattvic, you can get glimpses of flashes of intuition.
17. LIVE IN THE PRESENT
Concern yourself with the present only. Do not look back upon the past or the future. Then alone will you be really happy. You will be free from cares, worries and anxieties. You will have a long life.
Exercise Vichara and Viveka in your attempts. Do not think of the past or the future. The past days of boyhood, your days of schooling—are all dream when you are forty. You will have to deal with the present only. The present is most important.
18. NECESSITY OF SECLUSION
Ekanath, Raja Janaka and others realised by doing spiritual Sadhana while remaining in the world. The central teaching of the Gita is to realise in and through the world. These people were really Yoga Bhrashtas. It is absolutely impossible for the vast majority.
Lord Jesus was missing for 10 years. Buddha went into seclusion for 8 years in Uruvala forest. You can make a beginning in the world but when you have made some progress, you must shift yourself up for advanced practices to a suitable place where you will find spiritual vibrations and solitude.
19. PRACTISE IN DETACHMENT
A householder with Yogic tendencies and spiritual inclinations can practise meditation in a solitary and quiet room in his own house or in any solitary place on the banks of any holy river, during holidays or throughout the year if he is a whole-time aspirant or if he has retired from service.
If you are a householder with a spiritual thirst for intense Sadhana, you cannot all on a sudden sever your connection with your people. Stay for a week or a month in seclusion to begin with. Then gradually prolong the period. Then you will not feel the least pangs of separation.
20. BRAHMACHARYA IS INDISPENSABLE
Semen or Virya tones the nerves and brain and gives energy to the system. He who has preserved this vital force by the vow of celibacy and sublimated it into Ojas Sakti, can practise steady meditation for a long period. He only can ascend the ladder of Yoga.
Without Brahmacharya no iota of spiritual progress is possible. Brahmacharya is the very foundation on which the superstructure of meditation and Samadhi can be built up. Many people waste this vital energy—a great spiritual loss indeed—and they become blind and lose their power of reason under excitement. Pitiable indeed is their lot! They cannot make any substantial progress in Yoga.
21. TRANSFORM THE SUBCONSCIOUS
Meditation on the immortal Self will act like a dynamite and blow up all thoughts and memories in the subconscious mind. If the thoughts trouble you much, do not suppress them by force. Be a silent witness as in a cinema. They will subside gradually. Then try to root them out through regular silent meditation.
The practice must be constant. Then only one can attain Self-realisation surely and quickly. He who practises meditation by fits and starts for a few minutes daily will not be able to achieve any tangible results in Yoga.
22. ALL POTENTIALITIES ARE WITHIN
In all man’s struggles and attempts at achieving any desired object, there is in reality no necessity at all for him to go in quest of external forces to aid him. Man contains within himself vast resources and inherent powers lying untapped or else only partially made use of.
It is because he has allowed his faculties to get scattered on a hundred different things, he fails to achieve anything great despite his inherent potentialities. If he intelligently regulates and applies them, quick and concrete results will accrue.
23. CONCENTRATION FOR POWER
To learn to rationally and effectively use existing forces, man need not wait for any striking new methods, etc., to be invented for guiding him.
Since the dawn of creation nature herself abounds in instructive examples and lessons to aid man in every walk of his life. Observation will tell us that every force in nature when allowed to flow loosely over a wide area moves slowly and with comparatively less power than it would do if gathered together in one mass directed through a single restricted outlet. The concentrated application of a force makes for maximum results in minimum time and effort.
24. HOW TO DEVELOP CONCENTRATION
The powers of the mind are always scattered and resist attempts at concentration. This oscillatory tendency is an innate characteristic of the mind stuff. Of the various methods employed to curtail and arrest this tossing of the mind, those using the medium of sound and sight stand prominent because these two have peculiar knack of catching the attention and stilling the mind.
Therefore in the course of spiritual discipline also the methods of developing concentration take the form of gazing steadily at a dot, or at the symbol of Pranava, or the Mantra or the figure of the favourite chosen deity.
A little consideration of what takes place around us every day would show us that a higher law than that of our will regulates events; that our painful labours are unnecessary and altogether fruitless; that only in our easy, simple, spontaneous action are we strong, and by contenting ourselves with obedience we become divine. Belief and love will relieve us of a vast load of care. O my brothers! God exists.
There is a soul at the centre of nature and over the will of every man, so that none of us can wrong the universe. The whole course of things goes to teach us faith.
Remember Him and attain immortality and Eternal Peace right now.
26. UPASANA—THE HUMAN PREROGATIVE
Eating, drinking, sleeping, fear and copulation, etc., are common in brutes and human beings; but that which makes one a real man or a godman is Upasana. Upasana transmutes a man into blessed divinity.
You will find in Gita—"But by devotion to Me alone, I may thus be perceived, Arjuna, and known and seen in essence, and entered, O Paranthapa."
He who leads a mere outward sensual life without doing any Upasana is an animal only though he wears outwardly the form of human being.
27. GLORY OF SELF-SURRENDER
Self-surrender is one of the nine modes of Bhakti. The will of the devotee becomes one with the Lord’s will and he enjoys all divine splendour of the Lord.
The obstacles that stand in the way of self-surrender are desires and egoism. The self-surrender must be totally unreserved, ungrudging and unconditional. Sometimes the devotee keeps certain desires for his own gratification. The egoism is very stiff and obstinate. It is like hard granite. It has to be split asunder through constant hammering with the chisel of Bhakti.
28. THIS IS BEAUTY!
Minus skin, dress, ornaments, the human body is nothing. Just imagine for a moment that the skin is removed. You will have to stand by with a long stick to drive away crows and vultures. Physical beauty is superficial, illusory and fading. It is skin deep only. Do not be deluded by external appearances. It is the jugglery of Maya. Go to the source—Atman, the beauty of the beauties, the everlasting beauty.
If your hair becomes grey, that is the first warrant from Lord Yama. You must get ready to meet him. The wrinkles on the face and the bending of the body will remind you of the warrant.
29. FAITH—THE INDEX OF CHARACTER
Lord Krishna says in the Gita, "Threefold is by nature the inborn faith of the embodied—pure, passionate and dark (Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic). The faith of each is shaped according to his own nature, O Bharata. The man consists of his faith; that which his faith is, he is even that."
Faith indicates what man’s character is. Have true perfect, living, unswerving faith in God, in His grace, in the power of His Name. Meditate and open yourself to the Divine Light. You will be transmuted into Divinity. Faith can move mountains and can give you peace, inner spiritual strength, joy, freedom, immortality and bliss.
30. HAIL! O LORD OF LORDS!
O hidden Love that pervades all objects! O power that sustains this vast universe! O Self-luminous Light that gives light to the sun, the moon, the stars and the intellect! O adorable Lord of this universe! O Deva of the Devas! O Lord of the Lords; Thou art the womb of the Vedas! Thou art the Director or Governor of this universe. Thou art the life of my life, the Soul of my soul, Prana of Pranas, the Mind of my mind, the Eye of my eyes; the Ear of my ears. Thou art the beauty in flowers and landscapes. Thou art the charm in the face and skin. Thou art the Pranava of the Vedas. Thou art the sweet silence. Thou art the Peace that dwells in the heart. Thou art Eternal Bliss. Thou art the destroyer of Avidya or ignorance. Thou art the bestower of immortality.
31. PRAYER TO THE SUPREME BEING
O Beauty! O Spiritual Imperishable Inexhaustible Wealth! O Sweet Honey! O the light of Heavens! O the light of Devas or celestial beings, O my dear relative. Thou art my body. Thou art the Ovum. Thou art the germinal cell. Thou art the very life-element.
Thou art my eye. Thou art the black portion of the eye. Thou art the inner pupil that moves within the eyes. Protect me. Let not evil touch me. Let me forget this world. Let me remember Thee always. Take me to Thy sweet bosom. Make me dwell in Thee for ever.
OM TAT SAT
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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25-Mar-2008 00:58:30 EDT
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