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Paperback: 702 pages
ISBN: 81-7052-003-7
Book Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.7 x 1.70 inches
Shipping Weight: 920 grams

 

SADHANA

A TEXT-BOOK OF THE PSYCHOLOGY AND PRACTICE
OF THE TECHNIQUES TO SPIRITUAL PERFECTION

by Swami Sivananda

Table of Contents

About This Book (Back Cover)  
Dedication (5)
Publishers' Note (7)
Preface (10)
Prayers (15)
   

INTRODUCTORY

 

A Survey of the Evolution of the Ancient Indian Spiritual Techniques 31
   

CHAPTER ONE
FOUNDATIONS OF SADHANA

 

Prerequisites of Spiritual Sadhana

51
The Three Governing Factors of Sadhana 58
Primary Principles of Sadhana and Their Perversions 60
Abhyasa: The First Phase of Sadhana 66
Four Points for Memory in Sadhana 66
Bases of Spiritual Sadhana 67
Aspects of Spiritual Sadhana 69
Sadhana: Its Techniques of Applied Psychology 81
Easy Method of Sadhana in Worldly Environment 82
Some Secrets of Sadhana 83
The Essence of Sadhana 85
   

CHAPTER TWO
SIGNIFICANT PROCESSES IN SADHANA

 
The Movement of Vasanas in Sadhana 86
Role of Restraint in Sadhana 90
Repression in Sadhana and Its Effects 94
Triple Withdrawal in Sadhana 100
Patience in Sadhana 101
Perseverance in Sadhana 106
Continuity in Sadhana 108
Four Progressive Stages in Sadhana 108
   

CHAPTER THREE
TYPES OF SADHANA

 
Fourfold Sadhana 109
The Simple Sadhana 113
Most Important Sadhana 115
A Dynamic Sadhana 116
Antaranga Sadhana 118
Ethical Sadhana 118
Mouna Sadhana 120
Brahmacharya Sadhana 126
Sadhana of the Antarmukha Vritti 128
Sadhana by Circumspection 129
Sadhana in Self-analysis 129
Sadhana of Pratipaksha Bhavana 130
Sadhana of Spiritual Vision 131
The Disciplines of Universal Love 131
   

CHAPTER FOUR
SADHANA IN THE PRASTHANATRAYA

 
The Sadhana of the Veda 133
Sadhana in the Brahma Sutras 134
Sadhana of the Upanishads 139
Sadhana of the Bhagavad-Gita 145
   

CHAPTER FIVE
SADHANA IN THE SMRITIS, EPICS AND PURANAS

 
Sadhana in the Manusmriti 152
Sadhana in the Ramayana 153
Sadhana in the Mahabharata 157
Sadhana in the Bhagavata Purana 159
Vishnupurana: Sadhana for Liberation 171
Sadhana in Garuda Purana 173
The Sadhana of the Yogavasishtha 173
   

CHAPTER SIX
SADHANA IN THE VARIOUS SCHOOLS

 
Sadhana in Veerasaivism 177
Sakti Yoga Sadhana 177
Sadhana in Saivasiddhanta 179
Sadhana in Kashmir Saivism 180
Sadhana in Pasupata Yoga 181
   

CHAPTER SEVEN
SADHANA IN SIVANANDA SUTRAS

 
Sadhana of Sivananda Upadesamritam 182
Sivananda Mano-Vijnana Sadhana Sutras 187
Sivananda Hatha Yoga Sadhana Sutras 188
Sivananda Karma Yoga Sadhana Sutras 189
Sivananda Bhakti Yoga Sadhana Sutras 189
Sivananda Yoga Sadhana Sutras 190
Sivananda Vedanta Sadhana Sutras 190
Integral Yoga Sadhana 191
   

CHAPTER EIGHT
SARVA-SADHANA-SANGRAHA

 
Triplets in the Four Main Paths of Sadhana 194
Svara Sadhana 194
Laya Yoga Sadhana 198
Pranava Sadhana 201
Soham Sadhana 203
Vichara Sadhana 205
Dhyana Yoga Sadhana 211
Japa Yoga Sadhana 221
Gayatri Sadhana 226
Mantra Yoga Sadhana 230
Sankirtan Sadhana 236
Tantra Yoga Sadhana 237
Sava Sadhana 238
Kriya Yoga Sadhana 239
Sangita Sadhana 241

Sadhana by Prayer

246
Sadhana of the Yoga of Synthesis 248
   

CHAPTER NINE
IMPORTANCE OF SADHANA

 
Spiritualisation of Human Nature 254
Life’s Supreme Purpose 258
The Struggle for Perfection 260
Need for Sadhana 260
Outgoing Tendencies of the Senses and the Need for Self-control 263
Qualification for Sadhana 264
Sadhana—The Main Purpose of Life 267
Brahmamuhurta: The Best for Sadhana 269
A Sermon on Sadhana 270
   

CHAPTER TEN
SADHANA FOR THE CONQUEST OF LOWER NATURE

 
Sadhana for Mastering the Mind 272
Various Methods of Mind-control 277
Sadhana for Controlling the Ten Senses 278
Sadhana for Developing Vairagya 280
Sadhana for Elimination of Egoism 281
Six Sadhanas for Eradicating Jealousy 289
Sadhana for Annihilation of Arrogance 292
Sadhana for the Subjugation of Hatred 294
Sadhana for Controlling Anger 295
Sadhana for the Conquest of Fear 296
   

CHAPTER ELEVEN
SADHANAS FOR VARIOUS SIDDHIS

 
Four Sadhanas for God-realisation 299
Sadhana for Developing Will-power 299
Sadhana for Sense-control 302
Sadhana for Conquest of Raga-Dvesha 304
Sadhana for Freedom from Accidents 309
Sadhana for Success, Prosperity and Enlightenment 310
The Nineteen Factors of Sadhana for Peace 311
Sadhana for Samadhi in Six Months 314
Sadhana for Awakening Kundalini 315
Sadhana for Realisation of Oneness 315
   

CHAPTER TWELVE
OBSTACLES TO PROGRESS IN SADHANA

 
The Mind of the Aspirant: A Psychological Study 317
Sadhana and the Vagaries of the Practitioner 321
Temptations in Sadhana 321
The Difficulty of Progress in Sadhana 322
Main Impediments to Sadhana 324
   

CHAPTER THIRTEEN
KARMA YOGA SADHANA

 
Service Is Essential 327
Karma Can Be Transformed into Yoga 331
Results of Karma Yoga Sadhana 333
   

CHAPTER FOURTEEN
BHAKTI YOGA SADHANA

 
Outlines of Bhakti Yoga Sadhana 336
A Few Facets of Bhakti Yoga Sadhana 340
Faith, Aspiration and Self-surrender 343
Nine Modes of Bhakti Yoga Sadhana 344
Essentials in Bhakti Yoga Sadhana 349
The Role of Faith in Bhakti Sadhana 351
Important Sadhana in Bhakti Yoga 352
The Gist of Bhakti Yoga Sadhana 355
   

CHAPTER FIFTEEN
YOGA SADHANA

 
Yoga Sadhana: Introductory 357
Yoga Sadhana Explained 360
Yoga Sadhana: Its Eight Fundamentals 361
Mental Purification: An Essential Condition 365
Need for Yoga Sadhana 365
Structure of Yoga Sadhana 368
Practice of Yoga Sadhana 373
Practical Yogic Instructions 374
Inner Yogic Discipline 383
Light on Yoga Sadhana 393
Main Obstacles in Yoga Sadhana 394
   

CHAPTER SIXTEEN
VEDANTIC SADHANA

 
Vedantic Sadhana: Introductory 401
Aspects of Jnana Sadhana 402
The Seven Stages of Jnana 403
Methods of Vedantic Sadhana 405
Obstacles in Vedantic Sadhana 406
The Nature of the Jnani 407
Hints on Vedantic Sadhana 407
Vedantic Aphorisms 424
Essence of Vedantic Sadhana 429
   

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
COURSES OF PRACTICAL SADHANA

 
Twelve Aspects of Saguna Dhyana Sadhana 431
A Programme of Sadhana 431
Practical Sadhana: A Discussion 434
Sadhana for Ten Days 449
Sadhana for Forty Days 450
Daily Routine 450
Ten Minutes Sadhana on Twelve Virtues 454
Twenty Important Spiritual Instructions 455
The Science of Seven Cultures 457
Everyday Guide to Sadhakas 460
Importance of Spiritual Diary 463
Resolves for Quick Spiritual Progress 468
The Resolve Form 468
Secret of Success in Sadhana 470
An Ideal Grihastha Sadhana 470
Some Hints on Sadhana 471
Kabir’s Method of Sadhana 475
   

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON SADHANA

 
Religion, Saint and Yogi 476
Prerequisites for Realisation 477
The Science of Mantra Repetition 477
Japa Yoga 482
Problems of Sadhana 482
What should Be Our Goal? 484
Methods of Mental Purification 485
Problems of Self-realisation 486
Hatha Yoga 487
The Need for a Spiritual Guide 489
Definition of Faith and Development of Devotion 491
Questions in Bhakti Yoga 492
Questions in Vedanta 498
Questions in Raja Yoga 499
Yoga and the Life Divine 500
World and Renunciation 501
   

CHAPTER NINETEEN
INTIMATE ADVICE TO ASPIRANTS

 
Aspirants—A Distinct Class by Themselves 503
Advice to Sadhakas 506
Instructions to Sannyasins 512
Guiding Lights 518
Sweetness in Sadhakas 521
Spiritual Guidance for Aspirants 522
Need for Great Vigilance 524
The Voice of Spiritual Aid 526
Sadhana and Samadhi 528
Some Spiritual Don’ts 531
Sadhana and the Guide 531
Guidance from the Scriptures 536
Sadhana Panchakam of Sri Sankaracharya 542
   

CHAPTER TWENTY
INSPIRING SVADHYAYA FOR ASPIRANTS

 
Physical Body and Life Divine 543
Repetition of Divine Name 543
Man and His Stepping Stones 543
Peace, Salt of Life and Sankirtan 543
The Sage, Happiness and Power 544
Life, The Melting Heart and Divine Grace 544
Humanity, Love and Goodness 545
Purity, Aspiration, Realisation 545
Sadhana and Sakti 545
Anger, Mind and Self-conquest 546
Compassion, Satsanga and Discrimination 546
Truth, Vedanta and Human Imagination 547
Inner Happiness and Omnipresence of the Lord 547
God and His Name 548
The Body and the Blessing of Human Birth 549
The Main Supports in Sadhana 549
The Demands of Yoga and the Worldly-minded 550
Difficulties in Life and the Messages of the Saint 550
God-consciousness and Sat-Chit-Ananda 550
Patience, Contentment and Divine Light 551
Love and Secret of God-realisation 552
Wisdom and Perfection 553
The Lord, His Form and His Presence 554
Analogies and Some Forms of Blessing 555
Life on Earth and the Liberated Sage 556
Self-control and Brahma Jnana 556
Virtues and Bhakti 557
Rewards of Japa and Upanishadic Study 558
Vairagya, Abhyasa and Meditation 558
Ignorance and the Corroding Human Passion 559
Representatives of the Divine Beauty 560
Pathway to Purity 560
The Sage and Equal Vision 561
Thoughtfulness and Sweet Dispostion 561
Cheerfulness and the Oneness with the Divine 562
Man, The Architect of Circumstances 562
Yoga, The Epitome of Religious Experience 563
The Origin of Desire and Brahmic Realisation 563
Good Conduct and Obstacles on the Path 564
The Pervasive Brahman, the Astral Body 564
Vedanta, The Path of Wisdom 565
Faith and the Love of God 565
The Inner Light and the Truly Wise 566
Definition of Religion and a Life in the Lord 566
Obstacles to Spiritual Progress and the Value of Suffering 567
World, Mind and Prayer 568
Attributes of the Divine Consciousness 569
Indiscrimination, Anger and the Language of the Heart 570
Saintliness and the Tender in Heart 570
Art, Life and Bhakti 571
A Rational Knowledge of the Divine 572
The Search for Immortality 573
Gauranga and the Miracles of Name 573
Ethical Life and Control of Emotions 574
Ideals in Nature 575
Importance of Virtue and Prem 575
Silence, Its Meaning and Its Place 576
The Middle Path 576
Steps of Aspiration 577
Byways of Blessedness 577
Manasic Puja Sloka by Sri Sanakaracharya 578
Excellent Slokas from Avadhuta Gita for Meditation 578
The Life Triumphant 579
The Tree of Self, Sadhana and Samadhi 579
   

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE
SONGS OF SADHANA

 
The Gist of Sadhana 580
Practice of Real Sadhana 584
Intimate Advice 584
Song of Sadhana Week 584
Song of a Sadhaka 586
Phases of Sadhana 587
Twenty Precepts for Practice 587
   

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO
SOME EXPERIENCES OF ASPIRANTS

 
Purpose of Sadhana 590
Experiences of Sadhakas 593
Instructions to Sadhakas 594
  597

APPENDIX—I
A DRAMA IN SADHANA

 
The Path of a Sadhaka 603
   

APPENDIX—II
A GARLAND OF PRECEPTS IN SADHANA

 
Foundations of the Life Divine 614
The Discipline of Detachment 614
Practice of Yoga Sadhana 614
The Easiest Form of Sadhana 615
Qualifications of Aspirants 615
Sense-control and Self-purification 617
Obstacles in Sadhana 619
Egoism—The Seed for Birth and Death 619
Desire—The Root-cause of All Miseries 621
The Three Principal Enemies 622
Selfishness—A Deadly Vice 626
Cardinal Principles of Practical Sadhana 626
The Inner Spiritual Discipline 627
Jnana Yoga Sadhana 628
Light on the Path 633
Special Spiritual Instructions 635
Nivritti Sadhana 639
Science of Yoga Sadhana 641
Self-effort and Destiny 642
Brahmacharya—The Basis of All Sadhana 643
Goodness, Purity and Truthfulness 644
Charity—An Aspect of Sadhana 646
Suffering—A Stepping-stone to Success 647
Sadhana and Self-realisation 648
Essentials of Spiritual Life 648
Importance of Spiritual Practice 649
Important Sadhanas 650
Secret of Success in Sadhana 652
Overcome Temptations 653
Meditate and Realise 655
The Ideal Aspirant 656

Light on Sadhana

657
Advice to Aspirants 660
Realisation of the Self 661
The Way to Kaivalya 662
Progress on the Path 664
Sadhana—The Only Purpose of Life 666
Concentration and Meditation 667
Brahmic Consciousness 668
The Key to Blessedness 671
Sadhana and Some Experiences 672
   

APPENDIX-III
SIVANANDA SADHANA SARA

 
Fundamental Aspects of Sadhana 674
The Nature and Processes of Sadhana 675
Concentration and Need for Vigilance 676
Conditions for Yoga Sadhana 677
Sadhana, The Divine Name and Equanimity 678
The Results of Real Love 679
Formula in Higher Sadhana 680
Sadhana and the Spiritual Destiny 681
Sadhana and the Mind 681
Requisites for Spiritual Progress 682
Guidance in Sadhana 684
The Principles of Spiritual Progress 686
Elements of Sadhana 687
Background of Thought 688
Sadhana and Samadhi 689
Phases of Spiritual Practice 690
   

APPENDIX—IV

 
Only with an Invincible and Powerful Arrow of Yogic Concentration Can You Kill the Seven Faculties that Trouble You 692
   

APPENDIX—V

 
Sivananda’s Synthesis of Sadhanas (Sri K. S. Ramaswami Sastri) 695

About This Book

To inspire, to awaken and to guide the seekers after Truth and God-realisation, has been the unique life-work of the great sage, Swami Sivananda. He has given us certain working methods, in as much as practical ways and means are more to be attended to, rather than mere theory. The spiritual life is to be built upon and sustained by three important supports, i.e., a well-conceived ideal, a definite programme of life and a background of thought.

For any of us, to proceed upon the spiritual life, the first requisite naturally goes without saying is that the individual should have an ideal. He should want something definite, he should aim at getting something concrete.

The second requisite is a well-laid and well-regulated plan of procedure or programme. After having conceived of the ideal which the aspirant wants to reach, as haphazard procedure will not only take him nowhere but will also mean a fruitless waste of his precious energies, he should chalk out a definite and well-marked programme.

A well-conceived ideal and a definite programme of life and then a concrete background of thought to sustain him in his struggle to work out that programme—these are the three requisites which Swami Sivananda has advocated.

To sum up, in order to tread the path of spiritual life: (1) let the aspirant conceive of an ideal; (2) let him put up a general programme of life; (3) let him have Abhyasa and Vairagya and (4) let him take to a background of thought into which he can take refuge at times of external stress. And for all this, the help of this book is most invaluable; it is in fact, the greatest boon that we could offer to the aspirant-world. There is no aspect of Sadhana which has not been dealt with, no path which has not been presented, and no point of guidance that the aspirant’s peculiar difficulties need, which has not been elaborately dealt with.


Dedicated
to the
Seekers of Truth


Publishers’ Note

Outlines of Sadhana in Sivananda Literature

To inspire, to awaken and to guide the seekers after Truth and God-realisation, has been the unique life-work of the great sage, Swami Sivananda. In this Note, let us gain a grasp of the broad outlines upon which Swami Sivananda would have us proceed, if we make God-realisation or search after Truth, the main aim and goal of life. He has given us certain working methods, in as much as practical ways and means are more to be attended to, rather than mere theory. The spiritual life is to be built upon and sustained by three important supports, i.e., a well-conceived ideal, a definite programme of life and a background of thought.

For any of us, to proceed upon the spiritual life, the first requisite naturally goes without saying is that the individual should have an ideal. He should want something definite, he should aim at getting something concrete. There are ideas and ideals. One makes up his mind to develop extraordinary physique, to be the perfect figure; the second has the ideal of going round the world as many times as possible; the third to amass a million. At the back of every human effort, there is some unconsciously accepted ideal. For the aspirant, there is the spiritual ideal which he has set before himself to achieve and realise. This setting of some definite ideal before oneself, is the first requisite.

The second requisite is a well-laid and well-regulated plan of procedure or programme. After having conceived of the ideal which the aspirant wants to reach, as haphazard procedure will not only take him nowhere but will also mean a fruitless waste of his precious energies, he should chalk out a definite and well-marked programme. Without such a programme it is difficult to achieve any progress. The whole process of working out this programme will be experienced to be one not smooth-sailing but very rough-going. Many a time the aspirant will be compelled by overwhelming adverse forces to seek temporary refuge just as a ship when caught up in a terrible storm has to seek some port as an escape from the storm.

There is a way by which the aspirant may, while struggling hard to realise the ideal, and when faced with danger, seek the refuge. It is as Swami Sivananda has advocated, to cultivate what is termed as a concrete background of thought, because the aspirant’s struggles are endless and he should have a background of thought into which he can immediately take refuge whenever occasion arises and these occasions are many, many not merely during the course of his spiritual Sadhana but many every day, every minute, even in a moment he will have to take refuge four or five times.

A well-conceived ideal and a definite programme of life and then a concrete background of thought to sustain him in his struggle to work out that programme—these are the three requisites which Swami Sivananda has advocated. While working out this programme of life there are certain facts which are worth remembering, i.e., spiritual progress is very gradual and it is in the nature of a twofold conflict. As Swamiji has said that though physical wars have ended on earth between nations, the war which has caused these external wars—man’s struggle against his lower nature—has not been concluded properly. If man were to attain victory over his lower nature then he should have possession of himself and he will not be the slave of his passions which lead him to external war. This inner war has two aspects: one, of offence and the other of defence. Many a time a spiritual aspirant has got to carry on his fight against these two positive and negative sides. While he progresses on the path, he has consistently to protect himself from forces which assail him from inside. There is a class of insects called the coleoptera. They have two sets of wings. The external wings will be stiff like thick parchment. They are not fit for flying. There are two film-like wings inside, which are used for flying. They serve the beetle wonderfully well. They take the beetle up and forward, but they are so delicate that these external wings are the protecting armour—protecting these internal wings. That set of wings which takes the Sadhaka forward on the path is intense aspiration and constant Sadhana. Unless real fire of aspiration is maintained, one cannot progress. And to protect this aspiration against temptations, one must have the other set of wings in the shape of Vairagya and Satsanga and constantly keep up the current of Vichara or discrimination. Vichara is the chief anchor of protection for the aspirant. It is only discrimination which can protect the aspirant against temptations. With aspiration and the protective covering of Vairagya and Satsanga, you will have to work out the programme of life. While working out the programme of life, you should have a background of thought. Unless the aspirant is established in this background, he will not be able to habituate his mind to slip back automatically into this background.

In the case of the Bhakti Yogi, this background thought will be the Lord; in the case of a Jnana Yogi it may be Mahavakya that he is the Soul; for the Japa Yogi, it may be the Name. Thus to habituate himself to become established in the background of thought he should have what the Lord has prescribed in the Gita—constant Abhyasa. Without constant Abhyasa you cannot expect to have any success in spiritual life. This constant Abhyasa is necessary for marching forward and yet forward. In order to console the aspirant, sometimes Swamiji may say, "If you cannot progress much do not be depressed. It does not matter much." That is but only a consolation because the mind should never be depressed. An aspirant should always be wary to see that he always proceeds upwards, and has the protecting armour of Vichara, Vairagya and Satsanga to achieve the ideal, while working out the programme of life, in order to protect himself. There is the tortoise. The moment an enemy approaches to harm it, it withdraws itself into the shell. This is the exact purpose which the background of thought serves the aspirant. He has to withdraw himself into it. There is one difference in this particular case—the tortoise goes into the shell and comes out in the same condition as when it went, but every time as the aspirant takes refuge in the background he comes out with added strength.

To sum up, in order to tread the path of spiritual life: (1) let the aspirant conceive of an ideal; (2) let him put up a general programme of life; (3) let him have Abhyasa and Vairagya and (4) let him take to a background of thought into which he can take refuge at times of external stress. And for all this, the help of this book is most invaluable; it is in fact, the greatest boon that we could offer to the aspirant-world. There is no aspect of Sadhana which has not been dealt with, no path which has not been presented, and no point of guidance that the aspirant’s peculiar difficulties need, which has not been elaborately dealt with.

—THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY


Preface

Om! Salutations to that adorable Lord Hari, than Whom there is nothing greater, and Who is above all this universe. The term "Sadhana" comes from the root "Sadh," which means to "exert," "to endeavour to get a particular result or Siddhi." He who does the practices or attempts is called a Sadhaka. If he achieves the desired result, Siddhi, he is called Siddha. A fully-developed Siddha is one who has attained full knowledge of Brahman. Self-realisation or Darshan of God is not possible without Sadhana. Any spiritual practice is called Sadhana. Sadhana and Abhyasa are synonymous terms. That which is obtained through Sadhana is Sadhya or Goal-the realisation of God or Brahman. Most comprehensive in its scope, this book presents almost every known form of Sadhana for the Experience of the Divine or Brahman.

If you want to evolve quickly you must have the right kind of Sadhana. If you are a student of the path of Self-reliance, you can yourself select the Sadhana for your daily practice. If you are a student of the path of self-surrender, you should get the right kind of Sadhana from a Guru and practise the same with intense faith.

Why should you prolong the bondage unnecessarily? Why should you not claim your divine birthright right now? Why should you not break your bondage now? Delay means prolongation of your sufferings. You can break it at any moment. This is in our power. Do it now. Stand up. Gird up your loins. Do rigorous and vigorous Sadhana and attain freedom, which is immortality or eternal bliss.

Make the lower nature the servant of the higher through discipline, Tapas, self-restraint and meditation. This is the beginning of your freedom.

The divine within you is stronger than anything that is without you. Therefore, be not afraid of anything. Rely on your own Inner Self, the Divinity within you. Tap the source through looking within.

Without renunciation you can never be happy. Without renunciation you can never be at your ease. Therefore renounce everything. Make happiness your own. Hold renunciation as the foremost of things.

Improve yourself. Build your character. Purify your heart. Develop divine virtues. Eradicate evil traits. Conquer all that is worthy and noble.

Only when you have purified the heart, silenced the mind, stilled the thoughts and surging emotions, withdrawn the outgoing senses, thinned out the Vasanas, you can behold the glorious Atman during deep meditation.

There are five means by which perfect tranquility or emancipation can be attained. These form the highest happiness. They are Satsanga or association with the wise, discrimination between the real and unreal, dispassion, enquiry of ‘Who am I?’ and meditation. These are called heaven. These are religion. These form the highest happiness.

Become a good man first. Then control the senses. Then subdue the lower mind by the higher mind. Then the divine light will descend. Only then the vessel will be able to receive and hold the divine light.

Practise meditation persistently and calmly without haste. You will soon attain Samadhi or the Nirvikalpa state.

Spiritual life is toilsome and laborious. It demands constant vigilance and long perseverance before substantial progress is made.

You have yourself built the walls of your prison-house through ignorance. You can demolish the walls through discrimination and enquiry of ‘Who am I?’

Sufferings purify the soul. They burn up the gross material, sins and impurities. The Divinity becomes more and more manifest. They give inner spiritual strength and develop the will-force, the power of endurance. Hence sufferings are blessings in disguise.

Even a ray of inner light during meditation will lighten your path. It will give you great deal of encouragement and inner strength. It will goad you to do more Sadhana. You will experience this ray of light when the meditation becomes more deep and when you rise above body-consciousness.

Life is the unfolding of the latent capacities of the soul. Lead the divine life. Generate sublime divine thoughts in your mind through meditation, Japa, Kirtan and study of sacred scriptures.

Bathe in the river of life everlasting. Plunge in it. Take a dip in it. Swim in it. Float in it. Rejoice.

Bask the body in the physical sunlight. Bask the soul in the sunlight of the Eternal. You will have good health and everlasting life.

Worship is the unfolding of the bud of the flower of the soul. Worship is life. Worship bestows life eternal. You may conquer millions of persons in a battle, but you will become the greatest conqueror only if you can conquer your own lower self or mind.

So long as your senses are not subdued or weakened, you will have to practise Tapas or self-restraint, Dama or Pratyahara.

When the electric lamp is covered by many wrappings of cloth, there will be no bright light. When the cloth is removed one by one, the light grows brighter and brighter. Even so, when the self-resplendent Atman which is covered by the five sheaths is stripped off the sheaths by meditation on the pure Self and the practice of ‘Neti Neti’ doctrine, the Self-luminous Atman reveals Itself to the meditator.

Sit down with a composed mind. Assert your mastery over the body and mind. Plunge deep into the chambers of your heart, and enter into the stupendous ocean of Silence. Listen to the voice which is soundless.

Purify the heart first and then climb the ladder of Yoga steadily with courage and undaunted spirit. Climb onwards swiftly. Attain Ritambhara Prajna and reach the summit of the ladder, the temple of wisdom, where the cloud of virtue or nectar dribbles from Dharmamegha Samadhi.

Build your spiritual life on a sure foundation, on the rock of the divine grace and strength of character. Take refuge in the Lord and His eternal law. There is no power in heaven or on earth that can bar your path now. Success in Self-realisation is certain. Failure exists not for you. There is light on your path. All is brilliant.

Sadhana means any spiritual practice that helps the Sadhaka to realise God. Abhyasa and Sadhana are synonymous terms. Sadhana is a means to attain the Goal of human life. Without Sadhana no one can achieve the purpose of life. Sadhana differs in different individuals according to the capacity, temperament and taste. Every one must take to some kind of Sadhana to attain the state of final beatitude. Sadhya is that which is attained through Sadhana. It is God or Atman or Purusha. If you want to evolve quickly you must have the right kind of Sadhana. If you are a student of the path of self-reliance, you can yourself select the Sadhana for your daily practice. If you are a student of the path of self-surrender, you should get right kind of Sadhana from a Guru and practise the same with intense faith.

Those who follow the path of devotion should do Japa, read the holy scriptures such as the Bhagavata or the Ramayana. By the practice of Nava Vidha Bhakti, the Bhakta should develop Bhakti to a very high degree. Sravana, Smarana, Kirtana, Vandana, Archana, Padasevana, Sakhya, Dasya and Atma-Nivedana are the nine methods to develop Bhakti. Bhaktas should observe Vrata, Anushthana and do prayers and Manasic Puja. They should serve others, realising that the Lord resides in the hearts of all. This is the Sadhana for those who tread the path of Bhakti Yoga.

Those who follow the path of Karma Yoga should do disinterested selfless service to the suffering humanity and society in various ways. They should surrender the fruits of action to the Lord as Isvararpana. They should give up agency by realising that they are the instruments in the hands of God. They should get rid of their selfishness and control their Indriyas. They should completely consecrate their lives in the service of humanity. They should consider that the whole world is a manifestation of the Lord. If they serve people with such a Bhava, their hearts get purified in the long run. Eventually they get knowledge of the Self through Chitta Suddhi. This is the Sadhana for the Karma Yogins. This is very important for all beginners in the spiritual path. This is not the goal itself. Many erroneously think so and neglect the higher courses of Sadhana. They should advance still further and through Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi reach the highest goal.

A Raja Yogi slowly ascends the Yogic ladder through the eight steps. He gets ethical training in the beginning to purify himself by the practice of Yama and Niyama. Then he steadies his posture. Then he practises Pranayama to steady his mind and to purify the Nadis. Then by the practice of Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana, he gets Samadhi. Through Samyama, he gets different Siddhis. He restrains all the mental modifications that arise from the mind.

Those who take up the path of Vedanta or Jnana Yoga should acquire first the four means of salvation (Sadhana Chatushtaya)—Viveka, Vairagya, Shat-Sampat and Mumukshutva. Viveka is discrimination between the real and unreal. Vairagya is indifference to sensual enjoyments. Shat-Shampat is the sixfold virtues, Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha and Samadhana. Then they approach a Brahma-Nishtha guru who has realised the Supreme Self and hear the Srutis from him. Then they reflect and meditate on the Self and attain eventually Atma-Sakshatkara. Then the Jnani exclaims with joy: "The Atman alone is, one without a second. Atman alone is the one Reality. I am Brahman, Aham Brahma Asmi. Sivoham. Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma." The liberated Jivanmukta sees the Self in all beings and all beings in the Self.

The students of Hatha Yoga should try to awaken the Kundalini Sakti that lies dormant in the Muladhara Chakra by Mudras, Bandhas, Asanas and Pranayamas. They should try to unite the Prana and Apana and send the united Prana-Apana through the Sushumna Nadi. Heat is increased by retention of breath and Vayu ascends up along with Kundalini to the Sahasrara Chakra through the different Chakras. When Kundalini is united with Lord Siva at the Sahasrara Chakra, the Yogi attains supreme peace, bliss and immortality.


Prayers

I

O All-pervading, hidden and homogeneous Essence! O adorable Lord of the Universe! Thou art witnessing the drama of this world from behind the screen. Thou art self-luminous. Thou art the basis of all these names and forms. Thou art one without a second. Thy glory is ineffable. Thou art the source of all sciences, knowledge and beauty.

I do not know how to worship Thee. I have no strength to do any kind of Sadhana. I am full of weaknesses and Doshas. My mind is wavering. Indriyas are powerful and restless. Some say: "Thou art Nirakara and Nirguna." I don’t want to indulge in fighting, discussions and debates. Give me peace and devotion. Give me strength to resist temptations and to control this enemy and thief, the mind. Let me utilise my body in Thy service. Let me remember Thee always. Let me be ever looking at Thy sweet, loving face. Grant me this prayer, O ocean of Love!

Give me true Viveka and lasting Vairagya. The Vairagya cometh and goeth. Let me be established in Para Vairagya. My self-surrender is not perfect and sincere, too. I admit my faults. Not a drop of tear comes out of my eyes. Make me weep in solitude, when I am alone. Let me not shed crocodile tears. Then only I can see Thee in my tears. My heart is harder than flint, steel and diamond. How can I make it as soft as butter? Give me the heart of Prahlada or Gouranga. This is my fervent prayer. O Lord of Love! Grant me this humble prayer of mine. I am suppliant to Thee. I am Thy disciple. Thou art my Guru.

II

O Preceptor of Wisdom Infinite, grant me the boon to serve untiringly the sick, the poor and the afflicted, not to associate with evil, never to tell lies and not to succumb to the love of sense-objects.

O Lord! I am in You and You are in me.
I am He whom I love, and He whom I Love is I.
O Light, illumine my intellect.
O Love, fill my heart.
O Power, give me strength.
O Lord, Thou art Courage! Fill me with courage.

Thou art mercy, fill me with mercy. Thou art Peace, fill me with peace. Thou art Effulgence, fill me with effulgence.

O Lord, Thou art the river. Thou art the cloud. Thou art the Ocean. Thou art the plant. Thou art the patient. Thou art the doctor. Thou art the disease. Thou art the medicine.

All belong to the Lord! I am doing His work. I am an instrument in His hands. His Will be done.

III

O Lord! Make my will strong to resist all temptations, to control my Indriyas and lower nature, to change my old evil habits, to make my surrender complete and real. Enthrone Thyself in my heart. Do not leave this place even for a second. Use my body, mind and organs as instruments. Make me fit to dwell in Thee for ever.

IV

THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER

O Adorable Lord of Mercy and Love!
Salutations and prostrations unto Thee.
Thou art Satchidananda (Existence-Knowledge-Bliss).
Thou art Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient.
Thou art the Indweller of all beings.

Grant us an understanding heart,
Equal vision, balanced mind,
Faith, devotion and wisdom.
Grant us inner spiritual strength
To resist temptations and to control the mind.
Free us from egoism, lust, greed, anger and hatred.
Fill our hearts with divine virtues.

Let us behold Thee in all these names and forms.
Let us serve Thee in all these names and forms.
Let us ever remember Thee.
Let us ever sing Thy glories.
Let Thy Name be ever on our lips.
Let us abide in Thee for ever and ever.

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Last Updated: Thursday, 15-Jun-2017 22:33:43 EDT
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