ESSENCE OF YOGA

By

SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA

 

A DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY PUBLICATION

 

Thirteenth Edition: 1988
(5000 Copies)
World Wide Web (WWW) Edition : 1998

WWW site: http://www.dlshq.org/

 

This WWW reprint is for free distribution

The Divine Life Trust Society

ISBN 81-7052-024-x

Published By
THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY
P.O. Shivanandanagar249 192
Distt. Tehri-Garhwal, Uttar Pradesh,
Himalayas, India.


CONTENTS


Publishers' Note

Even among the inspiring books of Sri Gurudev, this is a unique book. It was written with the special intention of having the entire matter recorded on the gramophone disc. For this purpose Gurudev had given in this book the very essence of his own teachings.

Hence, this book was chosen for being sent to every new member of the Divine Life Society on enrolment. It is, as it were, the 'Beginner's Guide to Divine Life'.

Members of the Divine Life Society and spiritual aspirants have added this precious volume to the scriptures which they study daily as Svadhyaya and have derived incalculable benefit by the assimilation of these teachings into their daily life.

This text containing, a valuable treasure of wisdom is placed in the hands of aspirants all over the world in the fervent hope that it will guide them to the great goal of human life, viz., God-realisation.

-THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY


Universal Prayer

Thou art, O Lord! The creator of this universe. Thou art the protector of this world. Thou art in the grass and the rose. Thou art in the sun and the stars. Salutations unto Thee! O bestower of joy and bliss!

O Sweet Lord! Let me be free from the clutches of death. Let me be able to look upon all beings with equal vision. Let me be free from impurity and sin. Give me strength to control the mind. Give me strength to serve Thee and the humanity untiringly. Make me Thy fit instrument for Thy work. Make me pure and strong.

I bow to Thee, O Indweller of many hearts! O Secret of secrets! Remove my weaknesses, defects and evil thoughts. Make me pure so that I may be able to receive Thy grace and blessings. O Lord! Thou art the thread-soul that connects all beings. Thou pervadest all, permeatest and interpenetratest all things of this universe.

Thou art light divine. Thou art the dispeller of ignorance. Thou art All-merciful Lord. Give me a life without disease. Let me remember Thee always. Let me develop all sublime virtues.

Thou art Self-luminous. Thou art my father, mother, brother, friend, relative and guide. Let me realise the Truth. Let me be free from greed, lust, egoism, jealousy and hatred. Prepare me as Thy sweet messenger on this earth so that I may radiate joy, peace and bliss to the whole world. Let me utilise this body, mind and senses in Thy service and the service of Thy creatures. Breathe into me Thy breath of Immortality. Let me recognise the universal brotherhood of man. Let me love all as my own self. Salutations unto Thee, O Lord of compassion.


Prayer To The Mother

Salutations to the Divine Mother who exists in all beings in the form of intelligence, mercy and beauty. Salutations, O Sweet Mother the consort of Lord Siva! O Mother Parvati! Thou art Lakshmi. Thou art Sarasvati. Thou art Kali, Durga and Kundalini. Thou art the embodiment of all power. Thou art Para Sakti. Thou art in the form of all objects. Thou art the sole refuge of all. Thou hast enchanted the world. The whole universe is the play of Thy three Gunas. How can I praise Thee? Thy glory is indescribable. Thy splendour is ineffable. Protect me. Guide me, O Loving Mother!

O Adorable Mother! Thou hast generated this great illusion by which all people walk deluded in this world. All sciences have come from Thee. Without Thy grace no one can get success in spiritual Sadhana and salvation in the end. Thou art the seed for this world. Thou hast two aspects, viz., the unmanifested aspect or Avyaktam and the manifested aspect or the gross universe. The whole world gets dissolved in Avyaktam during Pralaya. Give me the divine eye. Let me behold Thy real majestic form. Help me to cross over this illusion, O Kind Mother!

O Compassionate Mother! I bow to Thee. Thou art my saviour. Thou art my goal. Thou art my sole support. Thou art my guide and the remover of all afflictions, troubles and miseries. Thou art the embodiment of auspiciousness. Thou pervadeth the whole universe. The whole universe is filled with Thee. Thou art the storehouse of all qualities. Do Thou protect me. I again and again salute Thee; O glorious Mother! Salutations to Thee. All women are Thy parts. Mind, egoism, intellect, body, Prana and senses are Thy forms. Thou art Para-Prakriti and Apara-Prakriti. Thou art electricity, magnetism, force, energy, power and will. All forms are Thy forms only. Reveal to me the mystery of creation. Bestow on me the divine knowledge.

O Loving Mother! Thou art the primal energy, Thou hast two aspects, viz., the terrible and the peaceful. Thou art modesty, gentleness, shyness, generosity, courage, forbearance and patience. Thou art faith in the heart of devotees and nobility in noble people, chivalry in warriors and ferocity in tigers. Give me strength to control the mind and the Indriyas. Make me worthy to dwell in Thee! Salutation unto Thee!

O Mother Supreme! When shall I have equal vision and a placid state of mind? When shall I be established in Ahimsa, Satyam and Brahmacharya? When shall I get deep abiding peace and perennial joy? When shall I enter in deep meditation and Samadhi?

O Radiant Mother! I have not done any spiritual Sadhana or service of teachers. I have not practised any Vrata, pilgrimage, charity, Japa and meditation or worship. I have not studied religious scriptures. I have neither purity nor a burning yearning for liberation. Thou art my only refuge. Thou art my only support. My silent adoration unto Thee! I am Thy meek supplicant. Remove the veil of ignorance.

Gracious Mother! Prostrations unto Thee. Where art Thou? Do not forsake me. I am Thy child. Take me to the other shore of fearlessness and joy. When shall I behold Thy lotus-feet with my own eyes? Thou art the boundless ocean of mercy. When the philosopher's stone turns iron into gold by contact, when the Ganga turns impure water into pure water, can'st Thou not turn me, O Mother Divine, into a pure Soul? May my tongue repeat Thy Name always!


Purpose Of Life

The life of man is an indication of what is beyond him and what determines the course of his thoughts, feelings and actions. The wider life is invisible, and the visible is a shadow cast by the invisible which is the real. The shadow gives an idea of the substance, and one can pursue the path to the true substance by the perception of the shadow. Human existence, by the fact of its limitations, wants and various forms of restlessness, discontent and sorrow, points to a higher desired end, incomprehensible though the nature of this end be.

As life on this earth is characterised by incessant change, and nothing here seems to have the character of reality, nothing here can satisfy man completely. The Bhagavad Gita has referred to this world as anityam, asukham, duhkhalayam, ashashvatam-"Impermanent, unhappy, the abode of sorrow, transient". The sages of yore declared with immediate realisation that "Truth is One" and that the goal of human life is the realisation and the experience of this Truth.

The universe is inconstant, and it is only a field of experience provided to the individuals so that they may evolve towards the experience of the Highest Truth. It is the glory of the people of Bharatavarsha (India) that to them the visible universe is not real and the invisible Eternal alone is real.  They have no faith in what they perceive with the senses. They have faith only in that which is the ground of all experience, beyond the senses, beyond even the individual mind.

Earnest seekers used to seek shelter under great sages who purified the holy region of the Himalayas with their mighty presence, and lived the austere life of Yogis in order to attain freedom from the trammels of earth-bound life and rest in the beatitude of the Absolute, Brahman. This they considered the true life, and thus the way of fulfilling the law of the Eternal.

The great law-giver Manu, after describing the various tenets of Dharma, finally asserts: "Of all these Dharmas, the Knowledge of the Self is the highest; it is verily the foremost of all sciences; for, by it, one attains immortality." The pursuit of Dharma, Artha and Kama has its meaning in the attainment of Moksha which is the greatest of all the Purusharthas (end of human life).  Dharma is the ethical and moral value of life; Artha is its material value; and Kama is its vital value; but Moksha is the infinite value of existence which covers all the others and is itself far greater than all these. Others exist as aids or preparations for Moksha. Without Moksha, they have no value and convey no meaning. Their value is conditioned by the law of the Infinite, which is the same as Moksha.

The Vedas and the Upanishads are the exhalations of the Divine Being, and they give an exhaustive commentary on spiritual life. They are expositions of the significance and the import of human life and of the method of the transmutation of the mortal appearance into the Immortal Essence. The instance of the great Nachiketas and the story of his adventurous search for Truth narrated in the thrilling Kathopanishad serve as exemplars to all men capable of thought and reflection.

Nothing of the world of sensibility can be of real value-this is what Nachiketas taught through his memorable act of renunciation. Not even the longest life and the immense wealth offered to him could tempt him. He persevered in his quest for the Highest, and in the end achieved the Highest. Nothing short of it could satisfy him. Such are the true heroes. A real hero is not he who stands against bullets or risks his life in hazardous attempts, fights battles, dives into oceans and climbs high cliffs, but he who subdues his senses and overcomes his mind, recognises the supreme unity of life and casts aside dualities and desires. To achieve this is the duty of man; this is the immortal message of the sages of the Upanishads.

The tangle of sense-experience in which man is caught is most vexing, and hard it is to free oneself from it.  Man is deluded by the notion of the reality of the so-called external relations of things and thus he comes to grief. The Mahabharata says that the contact of beings in this universe is like the contact of logs of wood in a flowing river, temporary. Yet the attachment to sense-percepts is so strong that phantoms are mistaken for facts, the impure is mistaken for the pure, the painful for the pleasant, and the not-self for the Self.

The message of the ancient sages is that the life one lives in the sense-world is deceptive, for it hides the Existence underlying all things and makes one feel that the particular presentation of forms before the senses alone is real. "Children run after external pleasures and fall into the net of wide-spread death. The heroes, however, knowing the Immortal, seek not the Eternal among things unstable here," says the Upanishad.  The call of the ancient sages to man is: "O son of the Immortal! Know yourself as the Infinite! become the All. This is the supreme blessing. This is the supreme bliss." This is the undying message to man.

The sages have again and again stressed: "If one knows It (i.e., the Immortal Being) here, then there is the true end of all aspirations! If one does not know It here, great is the loss for him." (Kenopanishad). And sage Yajnavalkya says that all great deeds done in this world, without the knowledge of the One Imperishable Being, are not worth anything. Humanitarian services; fasts and charity; one's political, national, social and individual life; should all be based on the feeling of universal brotherhood which is the eternal expression of the Reality of universal Selfhood.

Humanity can hope for peace when this condition, discovered and laid down by the Rishis, viz., abiding by the law of the Divine is fulfilled. Peace can be had only to the extent that the system of the Divine is adhered to in life. And this peace is inversely proportional to the love of body, individuality and its relations in the world, in which humanity is generally steeped. An 'awakening' of a higher consciousness is necessary so that disorder and discontent may be abolished.

Education of humanity in the right direction is the precondition of world peace. Materialism, atheism, scepticism and agnosticism which are rampant in these days and which have robbed man of his reverence for the Supreme Absolute are mainly responsible for the increasing selfishness, craving, confusion, violence and agitation of mind that are seething in the world.  Man should learn that behind the appearance of materiality, discreteness, externality, doubt and impermanence, there is the reality of spirituality, unity and infinity.

Without the recognition of this reality, life loses life and becomes an emptiness, devoid of meaning and purpose, dead, as it were. To live in the divine is to die to the narrowness of the sense world; and to be confined to the latter is to 'destroy oneself' (in the words of the Isavasyopanishad). The present trend of life has to be overhauled, and a reorientation in it brought about in the light of morality, ethics and spirituality. The change that is required is not merely in the outward form but in the very perspective and the inner constitution of the system of living.

This can be done when man's ideals are based on the truths of the spirituality of Oneness, lifted above blind beliefs, differences and materiality. When this is achieved, man would have fulfilled his great duty here. For the man scorched in the waterless desert of worldliness, the only hope is in the cool waters of the Ganga of wisdom, flowing from the Himalayan heights of the sages of the Upanishads.  Drink from this perennial fount, and refresh yourself.


The Spirit Of Indian Spiritual Inheritance

The true greatness of Indian spiritual inheritance consists in the secret and glorious methods it has delivered to us for allaying life's sorrow and human unhappiness and for acquiring for the circumstance of human existence, the infinite peace and perfection of the Divine Being. Human grief cannot be alleviated as long as the human individual is immured in ignorance and strives merely for his individual pleasure and good. The genius of India has, to its immortal honour, soared above the conventional ties and the bonds of society, grasped the spiritual truth, realised it and proclaimed to the world, for the welfare of all mankind, that "Life is One" and not many. Apart from the petty disharmonies between one person and another, the nations of the world seem to be separated from each other and this virulent notion of division and separation is the mother of war and destruction. Deceived by the spectacular advancement of scientific knowledge, modern mind in all countries and continents has not cared to understand the fundamental meaning of life, and sought its satisfaction in a sensational floating upon the apparently attractive scum of Existence. Such has been the spirit in which science has taken its marvellous strides in progress, that it has nothing in its constitution to drive it towards a grasp of the deep and significant changes that man undergoes beneath his scalp, towards understanding the potentialities of man as a mind, as a heart, as a spirit, as a creative entity, towards directing his aspirations, towards aiding the blossoming of the noblest forces that lie buried and latent in his bosom. Redounding to the eternal credit of the genius of India, there lies the momentous fact that at the very dawn of civilisations, it has raised the deepest issues of life, questioned the limitations of human existence, ventured forth for a solution into the realms of that Infinite Power that is found 'feebly' interpenetrating this world of physics, physical experience, materialistic philosophy and 'sputniks,' discovered that guiding, governing and sustaining Permanent Ground upon which is played the tragi-comic drama of life and the pride of men that are dressed in brief authority. If there is anything valuable in life as a whole, it is the knowledge of the solution of the apparent riddle of existence, the knowledge of the essential nature and the real destiny of man, the knowledge of man's real relations to the other men, to the universe, to the Transcendence, and this knowledge is the glorious heritage of India. The men of India who are also the men of God, men who have imposed upon themselves the disciplines that lead them to Perfection, to living the good life, the ideal life, the divine life, the life in the inner Reality and for the happiness of mankind, for the solidarity of the world, have discovered the road to Success and Achievement, discerned the clues to progress and perfection, in a strict adherence to the rhythms of the universal laws and the eternal verities that guide in accordance to the genius inherent in them, humanity as a whole and all manifestation to the final denouement in a Divine Existence.

The attitude of life which the Indians developed was based upon the nature of the End or the Goal to be attained through the instrumentality of the phenomenon of life-life which is a step, a stage, and not the end in itself. This attitude ensouls the righteous law, the Dharma, and to it, the universe becomes what it intrinsically is, the Dharma-Kshetra, or the arena for the display and the justification of the prowess of the right action, the action whose whole spirit moves towards the realisation of the absolute Good that is the nature of the Infinite Being. The ideal of Dharma forms the substratum upon which is built the structure of the whole life of man who wishes to resolve the riddle of his personal life, win victory over the struggle of existence, be crowned with a strange and ethereal joy even while he is living in the environment of the world, of this imperfect earth that is the heir to change, sorrow, and death. Dharma is virtue and virtue is that which leads one to the most perfect condition, the condition that is identical with the ultimate success constituted of the joy of life, unlimited, unfettered and unalloyed, complete beyond expression. As the highest virtue that man may practise, Ahimsa is both a negative withdrawal and a positive assertion of the 'mind'. It is refraining from doing, speaking and thinking anything which will cause pain and sorrow to any other individual, to any living being. This represents the negative aspect of the discipline of Ahimsa. Its positive aspect is brought out by an expression of universal love, love that has no partiality, love that excludes nothing, love that cares not for the effect of love! The ideal of universal love is a spontaneous self-fulfilment in the delight of a discovery of Oneself, of the universally self-same, our own inner consciousness in all. Until this is done, no civilization is genuine, no culture is true, nothing is perfect and lasting. In one word, it is in the light of absolute Conciousness which is undifferentiated that Ahimsa which is more a matter of spirit than an effect of a mere act, is practised.

Immediately succeeding the devotion to the principle of Ahimsa, comes the practice of the excellence of truth. To the spiritual genius, Truth is more than truth-speaking; it is God or the Absolute; it is that which triumphs, not untruth. Again, Truth is right; untruth is wrong; that which elevates one and takes one nearer to God is right, that which brings one down and takes one away from God is wrong. And that God towards which our whole inner being must rise, in the indivisible unity of conscious existence, the infinity of delight and awareness. Control over passions constitutes the essence of truth; self-denial or refraining from greedy indulgence is truth; to permit the spiritual element in us triumph is truth. Truth is a life in the eternal. Untruth is change, decay and death. Love is truth; hatred is untruth; harmony is truth; disharmony is untruth. There is no greater sin than hatred and battle-the pungent word and the insolent action, the arrogance and the uncharitableness, the egoistic self-assertion and vehement action of the selfish impulse. Relative truths are valid only insofar as they do not run against the grain of absolute truth which is the Eternal in the highest sense.

The third canon is the self-control which is the holding in check of the instinctive urges that try to drag the individual away from the experience of the truth. Self-control is a universal rule unexceptionally applicable to all men and all women, at all places and at all times. It is the very key to beatitude. Indulgence in externalities, in sensuous objects, in physical pleasures is the effect of the failure of the individual to discriminate the spiritual value from the material chaff, the Truth from the untruth. Desire to have contact with and enjoy outward things is the outcome of the ignorance of the Truth that is God, the Truth that is the Infinite Existence. Self-control is the restraint of the outgoing tendencies of the senses and the mind and to centre the same in the active participation of Truth-existence, the Universal One. This self-control, this energization of consciousness, this Tapas, this restraining of one's externalising, self-diffusing energies and founding oneself upon that one Cosmic Being is Dharma that supports the life and law of the universe, integrates the being of man, and spreads before the vision of man the creative God-centred life. Adharma is selfishness and egoism of nature which leads to self-imprisonment, suffering and failure in life. Absolute righteousness means the sacrifice of the self for universal well-being, the well-being pertaining not merely to the earth but to the highest spiritual reality, the well-being of keeping the Consciousness in its poise liberated from the distraction engendered by the darkness of ignorance, separativencss, division, limitedness. It is the opposite of "I"-ness and "mine"-ness which belong to the nature of the world of bondage.

Life on earth is not self-sufficient and, hence, there is perpetual flux of states to reach other states of superior knowledge and happiness. Life in this world and in this body is only a preparation, a step for the higher life. That which we see and hear of is not the real; the Real is beyond this. To reach the Real, the present life acts as a ladder, a field of activity that affords the conditions and the scope for the individual to establish its relations with the most exalted Divine Life. Wrong it is to restrict the outlook of our life to the perceptible phenomena and to judge our sense of values in relation to the objective worth of things. The grandeur and greatness of our life rests upon the measure to which we have raised ourselves into the law of inmost life in general, in the Supreme Being. Dealings with one another are justified only so long as they do not deviate from the eternal law of the Spiritual Nature. Neither social welfare nor national betterment is possible by mere clinging to shadows and forgetting the essential Substance. The substance of Truth does not belong to any particular person for it is the being and life of whatever that is. That which is One and Common can only be divisionless and all-inclusive in a self-identical existence. This is the fulness of attainment and the culmination of all the aspirations and ideals of life.

In this integral spiritual view of life is rooted the ethical basis of social and domestic relationship. Society is the collective body of individuals determined to pierce the veils and enter the realms of Immortal Being with the power of a unified and common aspiration and struggle to grasp the Highest. Unified we live; divided we cease to live. Human relationship is not meant to signify anything less than the attempt to live in everyday life the spiritual egoless love that is at the background of all existent beings. The love of the Self means the love of everything of the universe. The Indian genius would complete the teaching "Love thy neighbour as thyself" by adding "because thy neighbour is thy own Self". Altruistic love is the expression of eternal unison of the Infinite Life that lies at the depth of the universe. If family or society or nation is understood as a means to separate one from another, however much large the scope of its inclusion of human beings may be, such a family, such a society, such a nation, cannot triumph. All relationship is expected to end in the absolute unity of existence excluding nothing from itself. This goal of life should be borne in mind in the process of daily activities if our actions are to be free from selfishness, at one with the universal movement of Nature. Life is a divine worship. The proper conduct of family, the administration of the country and the society is a part of the Universal Government which looks at the entirety of beings with a strictly impartial eye. We live because God exists and our life is to be perfect and just even as God is perfect and just. We exist in God's Being, we breathe and move in Him.

The knowledge of this unity of life and the proper moral and the ethical attitude required to start the process of realising it are achieved through being directly instructed by the teacher who is truly advanced in knowledge and has attained Self-perfection.

The psychology of Gurukulavasa is inseparably connected with the science of self-discipline and Self-knowledge. It is not the mechanical education of the present day that is meant by real education in the Gurukula, but the means of erasing out the propensities that cloud the awareness of the Truth and controlling the distractive nature of the psyche. Self-mastery is the effect of the protracted checking of the ego-sense and centring of it in the General God-Being which is egoless, free from the sense of individual existence. The religion, the philosophy, the code of ethical and social law of India are all universal in their character. Universality is the expression of the nature of the Reality. The highest universal science of the Truth is the Vedanta in which are blended together the different existent views of life. The Vedanta is neither a sect nor a creed, but the science of the Absolute Reality, the only life-giving science, the only solace to the intelligent mankind.

The boldest proclamation of Vedanta is that man is in essence infinitely Divine, that everyone is bound to succeed sooner or later, that all are bound to recover themselves in the Infinite Life Divine. The ideal of the Vedanta is not merely a universal brotherhood nor merely living a united and happy social life in the world of differentiated individuals, but the being of the Absolute Essence of the Highest Divinity which is the Life, Source and End of the Universe. The Vedanta is the master-technique of transmuting the many into the Undivided One. It means Experience Whole and existing as the birthless and deathless Infinite. This is the greatest heritage of India, this is the greatest treasure that India has and this is the greatest gift that India can offer to the world. This is the zenith of culture and civilization, this is the highest knowledge that man can ever attempt to acquire, this is the final fruition of the best of human aspiration.

The awe-inspiring greatness of India rests mainly upon the bedrock of Absolute-Experience, of Truth-realisation, or a poised awareness of the Infinite here on earth, in this life, in the environment of the dance and pageantry of finitude, relativity, objectivity. As the dwelling place of the Rishis, the Sages, the Men of God-Vision, India enjoys in the estimation of the world a unique prerogative.

All the grand ideals of world's great religions that have moulded the characters of men, the loftiest tenets of ethics and morality that have raised human beings to the magnanimous height of supreme perfection and all the sublime truths of spirituality that have made man divine and have shaped the spiritual life of nations and of the saviours of mankind, first took their origins in India, the land of those daring spiritual individuals who entered into the heart of the Absolute and proclaimed truths which have eternal values. With its spiritual horizons lit up with the deathless light of the Upanishadic wisdom, India is essentially a land of spiritual wealth, and its history is the history of religious experience. The Goal of India is Self-realisation or the attainment of God-Consciousness through the express manifestation of a spirit of renunciative detachment and through a dynamic divine knowledge. If men are but to understand the significance and the richness of this spiritual inheritance of India, and make the spirit of this heritage part and parcel of their daily awareness, they all would be veritable gods on earth.


Chapter I

Yoga

Yoga

Yoga is a perfect practical system of self-culture. Yoga is an exact science. It aims at the harmonious development of the body, the mind and the soul. Yoga is the turning away of the senses from the objective universe and the concentration of the mind within. Yoga is eternal life in the soul or spirit. Yoga aims at controlling the mind and its modifications. The path of Yoga is an inner path whose gateway is your heart.

Yoga is the discipline of the mind, senses and physical body. Yoga helps in the co-ordination and control of the subtle forces within the body. Yoga brings in perfection, peace and everlasting happiness. Yoga can help you in your business and in your daily life. You can have calmness of mind at all times by the practice of Yoga. You can have restful sleep. You can have increased energy, vigour, vitality, longevity and a high standard of health. Yoga transmutes animal nature into divine nature and raises you to the pinnacle of divine glory and splendour.

The practice of Yoga will help you to control the emotions and passions and will give you power to resist temptations and to remove the disturbing elements form mind. It will enable you to keep a balanced mind always and remove fatigue. It will confer on you serenity, calmness and wonderful concentration. It will enable you to hold communion with the Lord and thus attain the summum bonum of existence.

If you want to attain success in Yoga, you will have to abandon all worldly enjoyments and practise Tapas and Brahmacharya. You will have to control the mind skilfully and tactfully. You will have to use judicious and intelligent methods to curb it. If you use force, it will become more turbulent and mischievous. It cannot be controlled by force. It will jump and drift away more and more. Those who attempt to control the mind by force are like those who endeavour to bind a furious elephant with a thin silken thread.

A Guru or preceptor is indispensable for the practice of Yoga. The aspirant in the path of Yoga should be humble, simple, gentle, refined, tolerant, merciful and kind. If you have a curiosity to get psychic powers, you cannot have success in Yoga. Yoga does not consist in sitting cross-legged for six hours or stopping the pulse or beatings of the heart or getting oneself buried underneath the ground for a week or a month.

Self-sufficiency, impertinence, pride, luxury, name, fame, self-assertive nature, obstinacy, idea of superiority, sensual desires, evil company, laziness, overeating, overwork, too much mixing and too much talking are some of the obstacles in the path of Yoga. Admit your faults freely. When you are free from all these evil traits, Samadhi or union will come by itself.

Practise Yama and Niyama. Sit comfortably in Padma or Siddhasana. Restrain the breath. Withdraw the senses. Control the thoughts. Concentrate. Meditate and attain Asamprajnata or Nirvikalpa Samadhi (union with the Supreme Self).

May you shine as a brilliant Yogi by the practice of Yoga! May you enjoy the bliss of the Eternal!

Essence of Karma Yoga

Karma Yoga is selfless service unto humanity. "Your duty is to work incessantly but not to expect the fruits thereof." This is the central teaching of the Gita.

Repeat your Ishtamantra mentally even when you work in office. God is the Inner Ruler. He directs the body, mind and senses to work. Become an instrument in the hands of the Lord. Do not expect thanks or appreciation for your work. Do actions as your duty and offer them and their fruits to the Lord. You will be freed from the bonds of Karma. It is not the Karma but the selfish motive that binds the man.

Never, never say, "I have helped that man." Feel and think, "That man gave me an opportunity to serve. This piece of service has helped me to purify my mind. I am extremely grateful to him." If you see a poor man clad in rags standing in front of your door, feel that the Lord is before you in the form of a poor man. Serve him with Narayana Bhava.

Never grumble when you do service to others. Take delight in service. Watch for opportunities, to serve. Never miss even a single opportunity. Work is worship of the Lord.

A Karma Yogi should have an amiable, loving, social nature. He should have sympathy, adaptability, self-restraint, tolerance, love and mercy. He should adjust himself to the ways and habits of others. He should be able to bear insult, harsh words, criticism, pleasure and pain, heat and cold.

You can do selfless service according to your ability and station in life. An advocate can plead for poor people without accepting fees. A doctor can treat the poor free of charge. A teacher or professor can give free tution to poor boys. He can supply them books for study.

Have a medicine-chest of 12 tissue remedies or some allopathic medicines or homoeopathic medicines. Serve the poor and sick with Atma Bhava. Give one-tenth of your income in charity. This is the highest Yoga.

Do not make any difference between menial and respectable work. If any one is suffering from acute-pain in any part of the body, at once shampoo the affected part very gently. Feel that you are serving the Lord in the body of the patient. Repeat your Ishtamantra also. If you see a man or animal bleeding on the roadside, never hesitate to tear your upper cloth or shirt and use it for bandaging, in the absence of any other means of bandage. Do not bargain with the poor porters at the railway station. Be liberal and generous. Keep always some small coins in your pocket and distribute them to the poor and the decrepit.

Karma Yoga prepares the mind for the reception of light and knowledge. It expands the heart and breaks all barriers that stand in the way of oneness or unity. Karma Yoga is an effective Sadhana for Chitta Suddhi or purity of heart. Therefore, do selfless service constantly.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga relates to the restraint of breath (Pranayama), Asanas, Bandhas and Mudras. 'Ha' and 'tha' mean the union of the sun and the moon, union of Prana and Apana Vayus. 'Hatha' means any tenacious practice till the object or end is achieved. Trataka, standing on one leg, (a kind of Tapas) and similar poses are all Hatha Yoga practices. Hatha Yoga is inseparable from Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga begins where Hatha Yoga ends. Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga are interdependent. Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga are the necessary counterparts of each other. No one can become a perfect Yogi without a knowledge and practice of both the Yogas. Hatha Yoga prepares the student to take up Raja Yoga.

A Hatha Yogi starts his Sadhana with body and Prana; a Raja Yogi starts his Sadhana with his mind; a Jnana Yogi starts his Sadhana with Buddhi or intellect and will.

A Hatha Yogi gets Siddhis (psychic powers) by uniting Prana and Apana and by taking the united Prana-Apana through the six Chakras (centres of spiritual energy) to Sahasrara at the crown of the head. A Raja Yogi gets Siddhis by Samyama, i.e., combined practice of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi at one time. A Jnana Yogi exhibits Siddhis through pure will or Sat-Sankalpa. A Bhakta gets Siddhis through self-surrender and the consequent descent of grace. Kriyas, viz., Neti, Dhauti, Nauli, Basti, Tratak and Kapalabhati belong to Hatha Yoga. All need not practise these Kriyas. Those who have got much phlegm in the body should practise these Kriyas. Learn these under an expert Hatha Yogi. Hatha Yoga is not the goal. It is only a means to an end. Take to Raja Yoga after possessing good health.

Do Asana, Kumbhaka, Mudra and shake the Kundalini. Then take it to Sahasrara through Chakras in the Sushumna. O children of light! Will you drink not, will you drink not, the nectar of immortality?

Brother! Attain good health. Without health how can you live? Without health, how can you earn? Without health how can you get success in Yoga or any undertaking? Possess wonderful health through the practice of Hatha Yoga. Drink the nectar in Sahasrara and live in the immortal abode of Siva.

Yoga Asanas

Health is wealth. Health is indeed a covetable possession. Good health is a valuable asset to one and all. It can be achieved by the regular practice of Yoga Asanas.

The practice of Asanas controls the emotions, produces mental peace, distributes Prana evenly throughout the body and different systems, helps in maintaining healthy functioning of the internal organs, gives internal massage to the various abdominal organs. Physical exercises draw the Prana (energy) out but the Asanas send the Prana in. The practice of Asanas cures many diseases and awakens Kundalini Sakti. These are the chief advantages in the Yogic system of exercises which no other systems have.

Practise a few Asanas daily at least for a period of fifteen minutes. You will possess wonderful health. Be regular in your practice. Regularity is of paramount importance. Practise Bhujang, Salabh, Dhanur, Sarvang, Hala and Paschimottasan Asanas. Bhujang, Salabh and Dhanur will remove constipation and muscular pain of the back. Sirsh, Sarvang and Hala will help you in maintaining Brahmacharya, rendering the spine elastic and curing all diseases. Paschimottasan will reduce fat in the belly and help digestion. Relax all muscles in Savasana in the end.

Asanas should be done on empty stomach in the morning or at least three hours after food. Morning time is best for doing Asanas. Do not wear spectacles when you do Asanas. Wear a singlet if necessary and a Langotee. Be moderate in your diet. Practice of Brahmacharya is very important for success in Yoga Asanas. Start with minimum time for each Asana and then gradually increase the period. Answer the calls of nature before you start the practice. Boys and girls over ten years of age as well as women can practise Asanas.

The world needs good, healthy, strong boys and girls. What do we find in these days in India? India, the land of Rishis and sages, the land which produced Bhishma, Bhima, Arjuna, Drona, Asvatthama, Kripa, Parasurama and countless other chivalrous warriors, the soil which contained numberless Rajput chiefs of undaunted courage and matchless strength, now abounds in weak and timid persons. Children beget children. The laws of health are ignored and neglected. The nation is suffering and dying. The world requires numberless brave, moral, Adhyatmic soldiers who are equipped with the five virtues, viz., Ahimsa, Satyam, Asteya, Brahmacharya and Aparigraha.

Pranayama

Pranayama is an exact science. It is the fourth Anga or limb of Ashtanga Yoga. It is the regulation of breath or control of Prana.

Pranayama steadies the mind, augments the gastric fire, energises digestion, invigorates the nerves, destroys the Rajas, destroys all diseases, removes all laziness, makes the body light and healthy and awakens Kundalini.

Pranayama should be practised when the stomach is empty. Be regular in your practice. Do not take bath immediately after the practice. Do not practise Kumbhaka or retention of breath in the beginning. Have only slow and mild Puraka (inhalation) and Rechaka (exhalation). Do not strain the breath beyond your capacity. Keep the ratio for Puraka, Kumbhaka and Rechaka as 1:4:2. Exhale very very slowly.

Sit on Padma, Siddha or Sukha Asana. Keep the head, neck and trunk in a straight line. Inhale slowly through the left nostril and retain the breath according to the ratio, then exhale slowly through the right nostril. This is half process of Pranayama. Then inhale through the right nostril, retain and exhale through the left nostril. Do not retain the breath for more than one or two minutes.

Do ten or twenty Pranayamas according to your capacity. Do not fatigue yourself. Increase the number gradually. You can go up to 16:64:32. This is Sukhapurvaka or easy comfortable Pranayama.

Practise Sitali in summer. This will purify your blood and cool the system too. Practise Bhastrika in winter. This will cure asthma and consumption. Repeat 'Om' or 'Rama' mentally during the practice. Observe Brahmacharya and diet-control. You will derive maximum benefits and will quickly purify the Nadis or nerves.

Prana and mind are intimately related to each other. If you control Prana, the mind will also be controlled. If you control the mind, the Prana will be automatically controlled. Prana is related to mind, and through it to will and through will to the individual soul and through individual soul to the Supreme Soul.

Start the practice this very second in right earnest. Control the breath and calm the mind. Steady the breath and enter Samadhi. Restrain the breath and lengthen the life. Subdue the breath and become a Yogi, a dynamo of power, peace, bliss and happiness.

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Sakti is the coiled-up, dormant, cosmic power that underlies all organic as well as inorganic matter. It is the primordial energy that lies at the basal Muladhara Chakra in a dormant, potential state. Kundalini Yoga is that Yoga which treats of Kundalini Sakti, the seven Chakras or centres of spiritual energy, the arousing of the sleeping Kundalini Sakti and its union with Lord Siva in Sahasrara Chakra at the crown of the head. The seven Chakras are pierced by the passing of Kundalini Sakti to the top of the head.

The seven Chakras are: Muladhara (at the anus), Svadhishthana (at the root of the organ of generation), Manipura (at the navel), Anahata (in the heart), Visuddha (in the neck), Ajna (in the space between the two eyebrows) and Sahasrara (at the crown of the head).

Nadis are the astral tubes that carry Pranic currents. They cannot be seen by naked eyes. They are not the ordinary nerves, arteries and veins. There are 72,000 Nadis. Among them three are important. They are Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. Sushumna is the most important one, because Kundalini passes through this Nadi only. The first step in Kundalini Yoga is the purification of Nadis. When Sushumna is pure then only Kundalini will pass through it. Purification of Nadis is done by the practice of Pranayama.

The Yogi opens the mouth of Sushumna Nadi through Pranayama, Bandhas and Mudras and awakens the sleeping Kundalini and takes Her to Sahasrara at the crown of the head through the lower six Chakras. Kundalini sleeps in the Muladhara in 31/2 coils. The three coils represent the three Gunas and half coil represents the Vikritis.

Kundalini is awakened through Pranayama, Asanas and Mudras by Hatha Yogins, through concentration by Raja Yogins, through devotion and perfect self-surrender by Bhaktas or devotees; through analytical will, by the Jnanis; by Japa of Mantra and by the grace of the Guru.

If you are pure and free from all desires, Kundalini will awaken by itself and you will be benefited. If you awaken Kundalini by violent methods, forcibly, when your heart is impure, when desires lurk in your mind, you will come across temptations of various sorts, when you move from plane to plane, you will have a downfall. You will have no strength of will to resist these temptations.

That aspirant who has firm faith in Yogic Sastras, who is courageous, devotional, humble, generous, merciful, pure and dispassionate, can easily awaken Kundalini and attain success in Samadhi. He should also be equipped with right conduct and self-restraint; he should constantly engage himself in the service of his Guru and be free from lust, anger, Moha, greed and vanity.

When Kundalini is taken to the Sahasrara, when She is united with Lord Siva, perfect Samadhi (super-conscious blissful state) ensues. The Yogi drinks the nectar of immortality.

May Mother Kundalini guide you all in your Yogic practices ! May Her blessings be upon you all!

Raja Yoga

Raja Yoga is an exact science. It aims at controlling all thought-waves or mental modifications. It concerns with the mind, its purification and control. Hence it is called Raja Yoga, i.e., king of all Yogas. It is otherwise known as Ashtanga Yoga i.e., Yoga with eight limbs.

The eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga are: Yama (self-restraint), Niyama (religious observances), Asana (posture), Pranayama (restraint of breath), Pratyahara (abstraction of senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (super-conscious state). Yama is practice of Ahimsa (non-injury), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (celibacy) and Aparigraha (non-covetousness) in thought, word and deed. This is the foundation of Yoga. Niyama is observance of the five canons viz., Saucha (internal and external purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (austerity). Svadhyaya (study of religious books and repetition of Mantras) and Ishvara-Pranidhana (worship of God and self-surrender). Cultivate Maitri (friendship with equals), Karuna (mercy towards inferiors), Mudita (complaisancy towards superiors), Upeksha (indifference towards wicked people). You can eradicate jealousy and hatred and attain peace of mind. Ascend the ladder of Yoga patiently through its different rungs and attain the highest summit of the ladder, i.e., Asamprajnata Samadhi, wherein all Samskaras (impressions) which bring about successive births are absolutely fried up.

If you really aspire to unfold the lurking divinity within, if you really want to get rid of the meshes of this Samsara, you must know the technique of thought-control which is embodied in the system of Raja Yoga. You must know the ways of right living, right thinking, right speaking and right acting. You must practise the five rules of Yama or right conduct or Sadachara. You must know how to withdraw the mind from external objects and fix it on one point. You must know the right method of concentration and meditation. Then alone you can be really happy. Then and then alone, you will have power, independence and suzerainty. Then and then alone, you will attain immortality, freedom and perfection. A knowledge of the ways and habits of the mind, its operations, the laws of the mind and the methods of mind-control and mental discipline is very necessary if you want to enjoy real happiness and peace of an unruffled and abiding nature.

Practise Raja Yoga, control the thoughts, discipline the mind, meditate regularly and attain independence, immortality, freedom and perfection.

Control of Mind

Mind is Atma Sakti. It is through mind only that Brahman or the Supreme Self manifests as the differentiated universe with heterogeneous objects.

Mind is nothing but a collection of Samskaras or impressions. It is nothing but a bundle of habits. The true nature of the mind consists in the Vasanas or subtle desires. The idea of 'I' or egoism is the seed of the tree of mind. The sprout which springs up from this seed egoism is Buddhi or intellect. From this sprout the ramifying branches called Sankalpas take their origin.

Mind is made up of subtle Sattvic matter. According to Chhandogya Upanishad, mind is formed out of the subtlest portion of food.

Mind is of two kinds, viz., the Asuddha or impure mind and the Suddha or pure mind. The former leads to bondage while the latter helps the aspirant to attain liberation.

Manolaya or temporary absorption of the mind in the object of meditation will not help you to attain liberation. Manonasa or annihilation of the mind only will enable you to achieve the final emancipation or Moksha.

Have no longing for objects. Reduce your wants. Cultivate Vairagya or dispassion. Vairagya thins out the mind.

Do not mix much. Do not talk much. Do not walk much. Do not eat much. Do not sleep much.

Control your emotion. Abandon desires and Vasanas. Control irritability and lust. Slay the impure mind through the pure mind and transcend the pure mind through meditation. Practise perfect Brahmacharya. There is no half measure in the spiritual path.

Never wrestle with the mind. Do not use any violent effort in concentration. When the mind is jumping and wandering much, make no violent effort to control it but rather allow it to run along for a while and exhaust its efforts. It will take advantage of the opportunity and will jump around like an unchained monkey at first. Then it will gradually become quiet and look to you for orders.

If evil thoughts enter your mind, do not use your will-force in driving them. You will lose energy. You will tax your will. You will fatigue yourself. The greater the efforts you make, the more the evil thoughts will return with redoubled force. They will return more quickly also. The thoughts will become more powerful. Be indifferent. Keep quiet. Become a silent witness of those thoughts. Do not identify yourself with them. They will vanish soon. Substitute good thoughts. Pray and sing the Lord's name.

Never miss for a day your meditation. Regularity is of paramount importance. When the mind is tired do not concentrate. Give a little rest. Do not take heavy food at night. This will interfere with your morning meditation.

Japa, Kirtan, Pranayama, Satsanga (association with the sages), practice of Sama (serenity), Dama (self-restraint), Yama (right conduct), Sattvic or pure food, study of scriptures, meditation, Vichara or Atmic enquiry-all these will help you to control the mind and attain eternal bliss and immortality.

Nada Yoga

Sit in Padmasana or Siddhasana or Sukhasana. Close the ears with the thumbs. This is Shanmukhi Mudra or Vaishnavi Mudra. Hear the music of Anahata sounds. You will have wonderful concentration.

Do Japa (Ajapa Japa) of Soham with breath or Japa of any Mantra. Practise Pranayama for one or two months. You will hear the ten sounds clearly and enjoy the music of the soul. The sound that you hear will make you deaf to all external sounds.

Abandon all worldly thoughts. Control your passion. Become indifferent to all objects. Practise Yama (self-restraint), or Sadachara (right conduct). Concentrate your attention on the sound which annihilates the mind.

The sound serves the purpose of a sharp goad to control the elephant-mind which roams in the pleasure garden of sensual objects. It serves the purpose of a snare for binding the deer-Chitta. Just as the bee which drinks the honey does not care for the odour, so the mind which is absorbed in sound does not long for sensual objects.

The first sound is Chini, the second is Chinichini. The third is the sound of a bell. The fourth is like that of a conch. The fifth is like that of a lute. The sixth is like that of a cymbal. The seventh is like that of a flute. The eighth is like that of a drum. The ninth is like that of a Mridanga. The tenth is like that of thunder. Hear the internal sound through the right ear. Change your concentration from the gross sound to the subtle. The mind will soon be absorbed in the sound.

You will get knowledge of hidden things in the seventh. In the eighth stage you will hear Paravak. In the ninth you will develop divine eye. In the tenth you will attain Para Brahman.

The sound entraps the mind. The mind becomes one with the sound as milk with water. It becomes absorbed in Brahman or the Absolute. You will then attain the seat of Eternal Bliss.


Chapter II

Karma Yoga

Karma Yoga

Haft-hearted service is no service at all. Give your whole heart, mind and soul when you serve. This is very important when you practise Karma Yoga.

Some people have their body in one place, mind in another place, and soul in another place. That is the reason why they do not realise any substantial progress in the path.

Forget not the goal of life amidst selfish activities. The goal of life is Self-realisation. Are you attempting to reach the end and aim of life? Are you doing Japa, Pranayama and Meditation? Have you kept up the ideal before the mind's eye? That day in which you do not practise any spiritual Sadhana is wasted. Give the mind to God and the hands to work. You will have to analyse and scrutinise your motives. It is the selfish motive and not the work itself that binds a man to Samsara. Prepare the mind for Karma Yoga. Mere selfish work cannot be taken as Yogic activity. The mind is so framed that it always expects something for a small piece of work. When you smile you expect a return of smile from your friend. When you raise your hand in salutation, you will expect a salute from other people. Even when you give a cup of water to another man, you expect him to be grateful to you. When such is the case, how can you perform Nishkama Karma Yoga?

Life is very precious. Live in the spirit of the Gita teaching and work without expectation of fruits and egoism. Think you are Nimitta in the hands of Lord Narayana. If you work with this mental attitude you will become a Yogi soon. Work never degrades a man. Unselfish work is Puja of Narayana. Work is worship. All works are sacred. There is no menial work from the highest view-point of the absolute, from the view-point of Karma Yoga. Even scavenging when done with the right spirit and mental attitude is Yogic action. Even a scavenger can realise God in his own station of life by service. The famous butcher-Sadhaka of the Mahahharata realised God in his meat-shop (through serving his parents). You have got inside all materials for wisdom. There is a vast magazine of power and knowledge within you. It wants kindling. Now wake up, O Saumya!

When you work disinterestedly without any agency and when you surrender the works and fruits as Ishvararpana, all Karmas are transformed into Yogic Kriyas. Walking, eating, sleeping, answering the calls of nature, talking, etc., become offering unto the Lord. Every bit of work is Yoga for you. Think that Lord Siva is working through your hands, and is eating through your mouth. Think that your hands are the hands of Lord Siva. In the beginning some of your actions may be selfish and some may be unselfish. In the long run you can do all actions in an unselfish manner. Scrutinise your motives always. This is the key-note for Nishkama Karma Yoga. Every act can be spiritualised when the motive becomes pure. Work is meditation. Serve everyone with intense love, without any idea of agency, without expectation of fruits or reward. If you adopt the path of Jnana, feel you are a silent Sakshi and the Prakriti does everything.

It is selfishness that has deplorably contracted your heart. Selfishness is the bane of society. Selfishness clouds understanding. Selfishness is petty-mindedness. Bhoga increases selfishness and selfish Pravritti. It is the root-cause for human sufferings. Real spiritual progress starts in selfless service. Serve the Sadhus, Sannyasins, Bhaktas and poor and sick persons with Bhava, Prema and Bhakti. The Lord is seated in the hearts of all.

The spirit of service must deeply enter into your very bones, cells, tissues, nerves, etc. The reward is invaluable. Practise and feel the cosmic expansion and infinite Ananda. Tall tales and idle gossip will not do, my dear friends! Evince intense zeal and enthusiasm in work. Be fiery in the spirit of service.

Have Nishtha with God and Cheshta with hands like the Bahurupi who has the Nishtha of a male and the Cheshta of a female. You will be able to do two things at a time by practice. The manual work will become automatic, mechanical or intuitive. You will have two minds. A portion of the mind will be at work; three quarters of the mind will be in the service of the Lord, in meditation, in Japa. Karma Yoga is generally combined with Bhakti Yoga. A Karma Yogin offers to the Lord as an oblation whatever he does through the Karma-Indriyas. This is Ishvara Pranidhana.

Training of Karma Yoga

A raw untrained aspirant feels, "My preceptor is treating me like a servant or a peon. He is using me for petty jobs." He who has understood the right significance of Karma Yoga will take every work as Yogic activity or worship of the Lord. There is no menial work in his vision. Every work is Puja of Narayana. In the light of Karma Yoga all actions are sacred. That aspirant who always takes immense delight in doing works which are considered by the worldly man as menial services, and who always does willingly such acts only will become a dynamic Yogi. He will be absolutely free from conceit and egoism. He will have no downfall. The canker of pride cannot touch him.

Study the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhiji. He never made any difference between menial service and dignified work. Scavenging and cleaning of the latrine was the highest Yoga for him. This was the highest Puja for him. He himself did the cleaning of latrines. He annihilated the illusory little 'I' through service of various sorts. Many highly educated persons joined his Ashram for learning Yoga under him. They thought that Gandhiji would teach them Yoga in some mysterious manner in a private room and would give lessons on Pranayama, meditation, abstration, awakening of Kundalini, etc. They were disappointed when they were asked to clean the latrine first. They left the Ashram immediately. Gandhiji himself repaired his shoes. He himself used to grind flour and take upon his shoulders the work of others also when they were unable to do their allotted portion of work for the day in the Ashram. When an educated person, a new Ashramite, felt shy to do the grinding work, Gandhiji himself would do his work in front of him and then the man would do the work himself from the next day willingly.

In the West, cobblers and peasants have risen to a very great position in society. Every work is a respectable work for them. A boy applies polish to the boots in the streets of London for a penny, carries newspapers and journals in the afternoon for sale and works as an apprentice under a journalist during his leisure hours at night. He studies books, works hard, never wastes a minute and in a few years becomes a journalist of great repute and international fame. In Punjab some graduates have taken to hair-dressing work. They have understood the dignity of labour.

A real Yogi does not make any difference between menial and respectable work. It is only an ignorant man who makes such a difference. Some aspirants are humble in the beginning of their spiritual career. When they get some name and fame, some followers, admirers, devotees and disciples, they become victims to pride.

They cannot do any service. They cannot carry anything on their heads or hands. That Yogi who carries the trunk on his head without the slightest feeling in the railway platform amidst a multitude of his admirers, disciples and devotees, without making any outward show of humility must be adored. Sage Jada Bharata carried the palanquin of King Rahugana on his shoulders without murmuring. Lord Krishna shampooed the legs of a Raja when his barber devotee was on leave. Sri Rama carried a pot of water for the ablution of one of his devotees. Sri Krishna took the form of a menial servant as Vithoo and paid the money to the Nawab on behalf of his devotee, Dhamaji. If you really want to grow in the spiritual path you must do all sorts of service daily till the end of life. Then only you are safe. Do not stop doing service when you have become a famous Yogi. The spirit of service must enter every nerve, cell, tissue and bone of your body. It must be ingrained in you. Then only you will become a real fullblown practical Vedantin.

Is there any greater Vedantin or Karma Yogi than Lord Buddha? He still lives in our hearts, because the spirit of service was ingrained in him and he spent his whole life in serving others in a variety of ways. A magnanimous soul, one without a second! You can also become a Buddha if you apply yourself diligently to selfless service with the right mental attitude.

Attain Nirlipta State

Lord Krishna says in His Gita: 'Tasmat Sarveshu kaleshu mam anusmara yudhya cha". "Therefore at all times think of Me and fight." Give the mind to God and the hand to work. The typist works at the machine and talks with his friends. The player on the harmonium plays on the organ and talks and jokes with his friends. The lady knits and talks with her comrades. The mind of the girl who has a water-pot on her head is on the water-pot, though she is talking and joking with her companions while she is walking on the road. A nurse while she is nursing the baby of another lady has her mind rivetted on her own baby. A cowherd while he is looking after the cows of other people has his mind fixed on his own cow. Even so, have your mind fixed at the lotus feet of the Lord, while you are doing your household duties and office work. You will realise Self-consciousness quickly. Just as the water remains unaffected in the lotus leaf, just as the oil floats upon the surface of the water without being affected in any way, so also you should remain in the world amidst troubles, pleasures and difficulties.

Just as the tongue is not affected by taking ghee, so also you should remain unaffected even amidst worldly activities and troubles. You must keep up the Nirlipta state. This is Jnana. This is balance (Samata). You may fail to keep the balance and Nirlipta state in thousand and one times. But in the long run you are bound to succeed if you persist in your practice and if you discipline the mind properly. Every failure is a pillar for future success. Remember this point well.

A Karma Yogin should not expect even return of love, appreciation, gratitude, and admiration from the people whom he is serving.

Only he who has reduced his wants and controlled the Indriyas can do Karma Yoga. How can a luxurious man with revolting Indriyas serve others?

He wants everything for himself and wants to exploit and domineer others.

Another qualification is that you must be balanced in success or failure, gain or loss, victory or defeat. You must be free from Raga and Dvesha. "An action which is ordained, done by one undesirous of fruit, devoid of attachment, without love or hate, is called pure". (Gita XVIII-23).

What is Karma

Karma means work or action. According to Jaimini, rituals like Agnihotra, Yajnas, etc., are termed Karmas. There is a hidden power in Karma termed Adrishta which brings in fruits of Karmas for the individual. Karma is all for Jaimini. Karma is everything for a student of Mimamsa school of thought. Jaimini is the founder of Purva Mimamsa. He was a student of Maharshi Vyasa, the founder of Uttara Mimamsa or Vedanta. The Mimamsa school denies the existence of Ishvara who awards the fruits of works.

According to the Gita, any action is Karma. Charity, sacrifice, Tapas are all Karmas. In a philosophical sense, breathing, seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, smelling, walking, talking, etc., are all Karmas. Thinking is the real Karma. Raga-Dvesha constitute the real Karma.

How to Find Right or Wrong Action

Have right thinking. Use your reason and commonsense. Follow the injunctions of the Sastras. Consult the code of Manu or Yajnavalkya Smriti whenever you have doubts. You will be able to find out whether you are doing right or wrong action. If you say, 'Sastras are countless. They are like ocean. I can hardly understand the truths that are inculcated. I cannot fathom and gauge their depths. There are contradictions. I am puzzled and bewildered.' Then strictly follow the words of a Guru on whom you have absolute faith and confidence. The third way is: Have fear in God. Consult your conscience. The shrill, inner voice will guide you. As soon as you hear the voice, do not delay even a moment. Start the action diligently without consulting anybody. Practise to hear the inner voice in the morning at four. If there is fear, shame, doubt or pricking of conscience, know that you are doing a wrong action. If there is joy, exhilaration or satisfaction, understand that you are doing the right action.

Inner Voice

When the diverse, confining sheaths of the Atma have been dissolved by Sadhana, when the different Vrittis of the mind have been controlled by mental drill or gymnastic, when the conscious mind is not active, you enter the realm of spirit life, the super-conscious mind where Buddhi and pure reason and intuition, the faculty of direct cognition of Truth, manifest. You pass into the kingdom of peace where there is none to speak, you will hear the voice of God which is very clear and pure and has an upward tendency. Listen to the voice with attention and interest. It will guide you. It is the voice of God.

Prayer for a Karma Yogin

(By Sri Sankaracharya)

Atma tvam girija mitih sahacharah pranah sareeram griham.

Puja te vishyopabhogarachana nidra samadhisthitih,

Sancharah padoyoh pradakshinavidhih stotrani sarva giro;

Yadyat karma karomi tat tad akhilam sambhotavaradhanam.

Repeat the Sloka at the end of your meditation.

"Thou art Atma: Buddhi is thy consort, Parvati (who is born of mountain); the Pranas are thy attendants; this body is thy house; the action of sensual enjoyment is thy worship; deep sleep is the establishment of Samadhi; walking by my feet is the perambulation around Thee; all my speeches are thy praises; whatever actions I perform, are all Thy worship; Oh Sambho!"


Chapter III

Bhakti Yoga

Brahman or God Exists

Para Brahman cannot be demonstrated. But it is possible to infer the existence from certain empirical factors. The existence of Brahman is known from the fact of its being the SELF of everyone. For everyone is conscious of the existence of his self and never thinks "I am not." If the existence of his self were not known, everyone would think: "I am not." This self, of whose existence all are conscious, is Brahman. There is an inherent feeling in everybody: "I exist-Aham Asmi."

You dream sometimes that you are dead and that your relatives are weeping. Even in that supposed death state, you see and hear them weeping. This clearly indicates that, even after the apparent death, life really persists. You exist even after the physical sheath is thrown out. That existence is Atman or Brahman or the Supreme Self.

Close your eyes and imagine for a moment that you are dead. You can never do so. You can never think that you will not exist after death. You will imagine that your dead body is lying flat and that you are witnessing the dead body. This definitely proves that you are always the witnessing subject or Sakshi.

When you are in the dark, when you are behind a veil, if anybody enquires: 'Who is there?', you will unhesitatingly answer: 'It is I'. If he again asks you: 'Who is there?' you will say: 'I am So and So.' This 'I am So and So' is a mental Kalpnana or false superimposition on account of ignorance. At first you have expressed spontaneously your inherent feeling of existence, the big infinite 'I'. Nothing can resist this innate feeling of 'Aham Asmi.'

By whose command are the earth and the sky, the sun and the moon, upheld in their places? By whose command do the seas not overstep their limits? By whose command does the sun rise punctually in the morning and set in the evening? By whose command do the seasons, solstices and the years not transgress? By whose command do Karmas and their performers and their fruits not likewise go beyond their appointed time? It is by the command of Brahman-the Inner Ruler, Controller and Governor.

What is common in trees, ants, birds, stones and man? Existence. A tree exists. A bird exists. A stone exists. A man exists. Existence is Brahman.

Some are rich, some are poor. Some are healthy, some are born blind. Some die at eighty, some die at ten. What is the cause for this variation? This clearly proves the theory of Karma that there is one Omniscient Lord, who is the dispenser of fruits of actions of human beings, who fixes the span of life in accordance with the nature of their actions, who knows the exact relation between Karmas and their fruits. Karma is Jada or insentient. It certainly cannot dispense the fruits of the actions.

In sleep there are no senses, no objects, no mind and yet you experience the highest bliss. Wherefrom have you derived the bliss? The mind rests in Brahman during sleep and it is from Brahman that this Bliss is derived.

Cogito, ergo sum-"I think, therefore, I am." This is Descartes's fundamental basis of philosophy. Sri Sankara says: "This Atman cannot be illusive, for, he who would deny it, witnesses its reality even in denying it."

Power of Prayer

Prayer elevates the mind. It fills the mind with purity. It is associated with praise of God. It keeps the mind in tune with God. Prayer can reach a realm where reason dare not enter. Prayer can move mountains. It can work miracles. It frees the devotee from the fear of death, brings him nearer to God and makes him feel the divine presence everywhere. It awakens in him the divine consciousness and makes him feel his essential immortal and blissful nature.

It was the prayer of Prahlada that rendered cool the burning oil when it was poured on his head. It was the prayer of Mira that converted the bed of nails into a bed of roses and the cobra into a flower-garland.

Prayer has tremendous influence. Mahatma Gandhi was a great votary of prayer. If the prayer is sincere and if it proceeds from the bottom of your heart (Antarika), it will at once melt the heart of the Lord. Sri Krishna had to run bare-footed from Dvaraka on hearing the heart-felt prayer of Draupadi. You all know this. Lord Hari, the mighty ruler of this universe, apologised before Prahlada for coming a little late when the latter prayed. How merciful and loving is the Lord!

Say even once from the bottom of your heart: "O Lord, I am thine. Thy will be done. Have mercy on me. I am Thy servant and devotee. Forgive. Guide. Protect. Enlighten. Trahi. Prachodayat." Have a meek, receptive attitude of mind. Have Bhava in your heart. The prayer is at once heard and responded to. Do this in the daily battle of life and realise yourself the high efficacy of prayer. You must have strong Astikya-Buddhi (strong conviction in the existence of God).

Christians have different prayers for getting various gifts and bounties from God. Mohammedans and all religionists have daily prayers at sunrise, noon, sunset, just before retiring to bed, just before taking food. Prayer is the beginning of Yoga. Prayer is the first important Anga (limb) of Yoga. Preliminary spiritual Sadhana or practice is prayer.

God helps even a dacoit when he prays. Pray to God for purity, devotion, light and knowledge. You will get these things. Get up early in the morning and repeat some prayers for getting mental and physical Brahmacharya. Pray in any manner you like. Become as simple as a child. Open freely the chambers of your heart. Sincere Bhaktas know pretty well about the high efficacy of prayers. Narada Muni is still praying. Nama Deva prayed and Vittal came out of the image to eat his food. Ekanath prayed. Lord Hari showed His Chaturbhuj form. Sri Krishna served Damaji as a servant when he prayed; He played the part of a menial in paying his dues to the Badshah. What more do you want? Pray fervently right now from this very second. Do not delay, friend. That 'to-morrow' will never come.

The power of prayer is indescribable. Its glory is ineffable. Only sincere devotees realise its usefulness and splendour. It should be done with reverence, faith and Nishkama-Bhava (non-expectation of fruits), and with a heart wet with devotion. O ignorant man! Do not argue about the efficacy of prayer. You will be deluded. There is no arguing in spiritual matters. Intellect is a finite and a frail instrument. Do not trust this. Remove now the darkness of your ignorance through the light of prayer.

Bhakti Yoga

The term 'Bhakti' comes from the root 'Bhaj' which means 'to be attached to God.' Bhakti is the form of supreme love towards God. It is love for love's sake. The devotee wants God and God alone. There is no selfish expectation here. Bhakti is of the nature of nectar. It is the spontaneous outpouring of love towards God. It is pure unselfish love or Suddha Prem. It is the sacred higher emotion with sublime sentiments that unites the devotee with the Lord. It has to be experienced by the devotees.

Bhakti is the basis of all religious life. Bhakti destroys Vasanas and egoism. Bhakti elevates the mind to magnanimous heights. Bhakti is the master-key to open the chambers of wisdom. Bhakti culminates in Jnana. Bhakti begins in two and ends in one. Para Bhakti and Jnana are one.

There is no virtue higher than love; there is no treasure higher than love; there is no Dharma higher than love; there is no religion higher than love; because, love is Truth and love is God. Love, Prem and Bhakti are synonymous terms. This world has come out of love. This world exists in love and this world ultimately dissolves in love. God is an embodiment of love. In every inch of His creation, you can verily understand His love.

A life without love, faith and devotion is a dreary waste. It is a real death. Love is divine. Love is the greatest power on earth. It is irresistible. It is love alone that can really conquer the heart of a man. Love subdues an enemy. Love can tame wild ferocious animals. Its power is infinite. Its depth is unfathomable. Its nature is ineffable. Its glory is indescribable. The essence of religion is love. Therefore, develop pure love.

Do you really want God? Do you really thirst for His Darshan? Have you got real spiritual hunger? Only he who thirsts for the Darshan of God will develop love. Unto him alone, He will reveal Himself. God is a question of supply and demand. If there is a sincere demand for God, the supply will come at once.

Develop the nine modes of Bhakti gradually. Hear the Lilas of the Lord: this is Sravana. Sing His praise: this is Kirtana. Remember His Names: this is Smarana. Worship His lotus-feet: this is Pada-seva. Offer flowers: this is Archana. Prostrate yourself before Him: this is Vandana. Do service unto Him: this is Dasya-Bhava. Make friendship with Him: this is Sakhya-Bhava. Do total unreserved self-surrender unto Him: this is Atma-Nivedana.

Sit not idly praying to God to help thee, but be up and doing as God helps only those who help themselves. Do the best you can and leave the rest to God. Serve the devotees. Remain in their company. Do Japa and Kirtan. Study Ramayana and Bhagavata. Live in Brindavan or Ayodhya for some time. You will soon develop devotion.

Pray fervently like Prahlada. Sing like Radha. Repeat His names as Valmiki, Tukaram and Tulsidas did. Do Kirtan like Gauranga. Weep in solitude like Mira for the separation from the Lord. You will have Darshan of the Lord this very second.

Kindle the light of love in your heart. Love all. Include all creatures in the warm embrace of your love. Cultivate Visva Prem or all-embracing, all-inclusive cosmic love. Love is a mysterious divine glue that unites the hearts of all. It is a divine magical healing balm of very high potency. Charge every action with pure love. Kill cunningness, greed, crookedness and selfishness. Immortality can be attained only by performing acts of kindness continuously. Hatred, anger and jealousy are removed by continuous service with loving heart. You will get more strength, more joy, more satisfaction by doing kind acts. Practice of compassion, charitable acts, kind services purify and soften the heart, turn the heart-lotus upwards and prepare the aspirant for the reception of divine light.

The Sastras are endless. There is much to be known. Time is short. Obstacles are many. That which is essence should be grasped, just as the swan takes the essence of milk alone from a mixture of water and milk. That essence is love or Bhakti. Drink this essence and attain the everlasting abode of Peace and Immortality.

Live in love. Breathe in love. Sing in love. Eat in love. Drink in love. Walk in love. Talk in love. Pray in love. Meditate in love. Think in love. Move in love. Write in love. Die in love. Taste the honey of divine love and become an embodiment of love (Prema-Vigraha of Prema-Murti).

May the fire of devotion grow brighter in you all! May your heart be filled with devotion! May you all live drowned in the ocean of love in an illumined state! May the blessings of Bhagavatas be upon you all! Peace be with you all!

Japa Yoga

Japa is the repetition of any Mantra or name of the Lord. In this Iron Age, Japa is an easy way for God-realisation. Tukaram, Prahlada, Valmiki, Dhruva and several others attained salvation by Japa alone. Sri Krishna says in the Gita, "Yajnanam Japa-Yajnosmi". Among the Yajnas, I am Japa Yajna (Yaga)".

There are three kinds of Japa, viz., verbal or loud Japa (Vaikhari), semi-verbal Japa or humming (Upamsu), and mental Japa or silent repetition through mind (Mansic). Mental Japa is more powerful. It gives a reward ten thousand times more than the loud Japa. When the mind wanders aimlessly take to loud Japa.

Japa must become habitual. It must be done with Sattvic or divine Bhava or feeling, purity, Prema and Sraddha. There is an indescribable power or Achintya Sakti in the names of God or Mantra. Every name is filled with countless Saktis or potencies.

Practice of Japa removes the impurities of the mind, just as soap cleanses the cloth of its impurities. Be regular in your Japa. Japa destroys the sins and brings the devotee face to face with God.

The name of God chanted correctly or incorrectly, knowingly or unknowingly, carefully or carelessly, with Bhava or without Bhava is sure to give the desired fruit. The Bhava will come by itself after some time. Get up at 4 a.m. and do the Japa for two hours. You will get the maximum benefits.

The glory of the name of God cannot be established through reasoning and intellect. It can certainly be experienced or realised only through devotion, faith and constant repetition of the Name. Have reverence and faith for the name of God. Do not argue. Devotees of Lord Hari can repeat the Mantras 'Hari Om' or 'Om Namo Narayanaya'. Devotees of Sri Ram can repeat 'Sri Rama', or 'Sitaram', or 'Om Sri Ram, Jaya Ram, Jaya Jaya Ram.' Devotees of Sri Krishna can repeat 'Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.' Devotees of Lord Siva can repeat 'Om Namah Sivaya.' Perform 200 Malas of Japa daily. Wear a Mala on your neck. Mala is a whip to goad the mind towards God.

O man! Take refuge in the Name. Name and Nami are inseparable. In this Iron Age, Japa is the easiest, quickest, safest and surest way to reach God and attain immortality and perennial joy. Glory to the Lord! Glory to His Name!

Sankirtan Yoga

Sankirtan is singing God's name with feeling (Bhava), love (Prema) and faith (Sraddha). In Sankirtan people join together and sing God's name collectively in a common place. Sankirtan is one of the nine modes of Bhakti. You can realise God through Kirtan alone. This is the easiest method for attaining God-consciousness in Kali Yuga or the Iron Age "Kalau Kesava-Kirtanat".

When several people join together and practise Sankirtan, a huge spiritual current or Mahasakti is generated. This purifies the heart of the aspirants and elevates them to the sublime heights of divine ecstasy or Samadhi. The powerful vibrations are carried to distant places. They bring elevation of mind, solace, strength to all people and work as a harbinger of peace, harmony and concord. They annihilate hostile forces and quickly bring peace and bliss to the whole world.

Lord Hari says to Narada, "Naham Vasami Vaikunthe Yoginam Hridaye na cha, Mad-Bhakta Yatra Gayanti Tatra Tishthami Narada", i.e., "I dwell not in Vaikuntha nor in the hearts of the Yogins, but I dwell where my devotees sing my name, O Narada."

Kirtan destroys sins, Vasanas and Samskaras, fills the heart with Prem and devotion and brings the devotee face to face with God.

Akhanda Kirtan is very powerful. It purifies the heart. The Mahamantra: 'Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare-Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare' or 'Om Namah Sivaya' should be sung continuously for 3 hours or 24 hours, three days or a week, by forming batches. One will lead and others will follow. Do Akhanda Kirtan on Sundays or holidays. Do Prabhat-Pheri Kirtan in the morning around the streets. Kirtan in the early morning is more effective than at night.

At night, sit before the picture of the Lord along with your children, family-members and servants. Do Kirtan for one or two hours. Be regular in the practice. You will derive immense peace and strength.

Sing the Lord's Name from the bottom of your heart. Be wholly and solely devoted to Him. Delay in God-realisation is extremely painful. Merge in Him. Live in Him. Be established in Him.

May peace and prosperity abide in you all!

Kalisantarana Upanishad

At the end of Dvapara Yuga, Narada went to Brahma and said: "O Lord! How can I cross Kali or mundane existence easily?" Brahma replied. "Well asked. Hearken to that which all Vedas keep secret and hidden, through which one may cross the Samsara or mundane existence. He destroys the evil effects of Kali through the mere uttering of the word 'Lord Narayana,' who is the primeval Purusha!"

Narada asked Brahma: "O venerable Lord! What is the name?" Brahma replied: "The names are: Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.

These sixteen names destroy the evil effects of Kali or sins. There is no better means than this in all the Vedas. These sixteen names destroy the Avarana or veil of ignorance that has enveloped the Jivas or the human beings. Then just as the sun shines fully after the clouds are dispersed, so also, Para Brahman or Supreme Self alone shines after the veil is removed."

Narada asked. "O Lord! What are the rules to be observed when one utters these names?" Brahma replied:" O Rishi Narada! There are no rules. Whoever repeats these names three and a half crores or 35 millions in a pure or an impure state, is freed at once from all sins. He is at once released from all bondages. He merges himself in the Lord and attains Eternal Bliss and Immortality".

The Jiva has sixteen Kalas, corresponding to which sixteen words or names are given in this Mahamantra. This is very good for repetition during Akhanda Kirtan. If you repeat this Mantra 20,000 times per day you will finish three and a half crores within 5 years. You can sing this Mantra and can do Japa also. You can write this Mantra in a notebook as Likhita Japa.

The names of God, chanted in any way correctly or incorrectly, knowingly or unknowingly, carefully or carelessly, is sure to give the desired result. The glory of the Name of God cannot be established through reasoning and intellect. It can certainly be experienced or realised through devotion, faith and constant repetition of the name only. The power of name is ineffable. Its glory is indescribable. The efficacy and inherent Sakti of the name of God is unfathomable.

May you attain God-consciousness by repetition of the names of God as described above. May you have real taste for the names of the Lord!


Chapter IV

Raja Yoga

Mind is a mysterious something which is really nothing but does everything.

It is born of Maya. It is a product of ignorance. It is a compound of Vasana and Sankalpa. It is a mixture of worry and fear. It is a solution of Ahamkara. It is a confection.

Absolute and relative Manifestations.

ATMA
    or                        Absolute
SPIRIT

INTUITIONAL     Plane

WILL

MIND

PRANA                  Relative manifestations

MATTER

Matter, Prana and Mind are the three relative manifestations of the Absolute. Prana is really a modification or manifestation of Mind. Prana is Kriya Sakti or faculty of actions. Matter emanates from Prana. Prana proceeds from mind. Matter is below Prana. Prana is above matter but below mind. Prana is positive to matter but negative to mind. Mind is positive to both Prana and matter but negative to will. Will is the centre of the ego. Will is the General-in-chief which directs the mind and Prana to all parts and in all directions. Intuition is above reason and is the channel of communication between man and spirit. Development of the Will-power by autosuggestion is the basic principle of Raja Yoga or Vedanta. Superconscious Mind is the realm or Spirit of Life.

Metaphysics of the Inner Man

The Physical body, the astral body, Prana, intellect or Buddhi, the instinctive mind, the spiritual mind and the spirit are the seven principles of man. Buddhi is pure reason. The seat of Buddhi is just below the crown of the head in the pineal gland of the brain. Buddhi is manifested only in those persons who have developed right intuitive discrimination or Viveka. The ordinary reason of the worldly people is termed practical reason, which is dense and has limitations.

Prana is the vital force, life-energy or Jiva-Sakti. It is the eternal symbol of God or Brahman. It is Hiranyagarbha or Golden Son of God. It is the link between the astral and physical bodies. Prana is divided into physical Prana and psychic Prana. Breathing is external manifestation of physical Prana. All thoughts are due to the vibrations of psychic Prana in the Chitta.

The causal body or Karana Sarira is the support for the astral and physical bodies. Will is Para Sakti. Get this Sakti-you will get Sat or Existence.

Chitta is the subconscious mind. It has two layers. One layer for emotion and the other for passive memory. The instinctive mind is the lower nature of human beings. It is the desire mind or Kama Manas. The Spiritual mind is the higher Manas. The seat of the mind is the heart. The mind connected to the Somachakra of the lowermost portion or undersurface of the brain is termed the organ of understanding. By Manonasa or annihilation of the mind is meant the destruction or dissolution of the lower nature, desire-mind. Sankhya Buddhi or Buddhi in the light of Sankhya philosophy is will and intellect combined. Mind is microcosm. Mind is Maya. Mind occupies an intermediate state between Prakriti and Purusha, matter and Spirit.

Tame the Six Wild Beasts

You have a whole menagerie within, with the lion, the tiger, the serpent, the elephant, the ape, and the peacock. Bring them to subjection. The beauty of the flesh is really due to the life-giving principle Prana. The beauty is attributable to the light that emanates from Atman. The nasty body with oozing discharges from nine gutters is composed of five elements, is Jada-Vastu and Apavitra. Always entertain this idea. Have a clear-cut, well-defined image-picture like this. You will conquer lust by such a mental drill. If you understand the doctrine of unity in variety, if you know there is only one Matter, one Energy, one Mind-substance, one Life, one Existence, Sat, one Reality, and if you entertain always such a thought, you can control Krodha. If you remember that you are only an instrument in the hands of God, that God is everything, God does everything, God is just, then you can get rid of Ahamkara. You can annihilate Dvesha by Pratipaksha Bhavana. Look to the brighter side of persons. Ignore the dark aspect.

Emotion is a motive power like the steam of an engine. It helps you in your evolution. Had it not been for the presence of emotion you would have passed into a state of passivity or inertia. It gives a push for action or motion. It is a blessing. But you must not become a prey to emotions. You must not allow the emotions to rule over you. You must not allow them to bubble out. You must purify and calm the surging emotions. You must allow it to rise slowly and subside quietly from the mind-ocean. You must keep the emotion under perfect control. Do not mistake physical sensations for higher sublime emotions. Do not be carried away by emotions. There are certain people who like to hear some new sensational events just to arouse their emotions. They live on emotions, otherwise they feel quite dull. This is a great weakness. This must be eradicated if they like to have a calm, quiet life.

All evil qualities proceed from anger. If you control anger, all evil qualities will vanish by themselves.

Ahamkara, Sankalpa, Vasana, Prana have intimate connection with the mind. There cannot be any mind without these four. Prana is the life of the mind. Ahamkara is the root of the mind. Sankalpas are the branches of the tree mind. Vasana is the seed of mind. This deep-rooted tree of Samsara of dire Ajnana which ramifies in various directions with branches full of flowers, tendrils, fruits, etc., has the mind as its root. If this root-mind is destroyed, the tree of Samsara, this tree of birth and death will be destroyed. Cut this root-mind with the axe of Brahma-Jnana. Chop off the branches-the Sankalpas-with the knife of Vichara-Viveka.

The ever-restless mind becomes quiescent when all desires vanish. Desire raises Sankalpas (thoughts). Man performs actions for acquiring the desired objects. Thus he is caught up in the wheel of Samsara. The wheel stops when the Vasanas perish.

Just as there are doors in a bungalow between the outer and inner rooms, so also there are doors between the lower and higher minds. When the mind is purified by the practice of Karma Yoga, Tapas, right conduct or the practice of Yama, Niyama, Japa, meditation, etc., the doors between the lower and the higher mind are opened. Discrimination between the real and the unreal dawns. The eye of intuition is opened. The practitioner gets inspiration, revelation and higher Divine Knowledge.

It is extremely difficult to have a calm and pure mind. But you must have such a mind, if you want to have progress in meditation, if you desire to do Nishkama Karma Yoga. Then only you will have a perfect instrument, a well-controlled mind at your disposal. This is one of the most important qualifications for the aspirant, you will have to struggle hard for a long time with patience and perseverance. Nothing is impossible for a Sadhaka who has iron-will and strong determination.

Just as soap cleanses the physical body so also Japa of a Mantra, Dhyana, Kirtan and practice of Yama cleanse the mind of its impurities.

Chitta

The subconscious mind is termed "Chitta" in Vedanta. Much of your subconsciousness consists of submerged experiences, memories-thrown into the background but recoverable.

When you show symptoms of losing your memory, as you grow old, the first symptom is that you find it difficult to remember the names of persons. The reason is not far to seek. All the names are arbitrary. They are like labels. There are no associations along with the names. The mind generally remembers through associations, as the impressions become deep thereby. You can remember in old age some passages that you have read in schools and colleges. But you find it difficult to remember in the evening a passage you have read in the morning. The reason is that the mind has lost its Dharana-Sakti (power of grasping ideas). The cells have been degenerated. Those who overwork mentally, who do not observe the rules of Brahmacharya and who are afflicted with much cares, worries and anxieties, lose their power of memory soon. Even in old age you can remember old events as there are associations with events.

The mental processes are limited to the field of consciousness alone. The field of subconscious mentation is of a much greater extent than that of conscious mentation. Messages when ready, come out like a flash from the subconscious mind or Chitta of the Vedantins. Only ten per cent of mental activities come into the field of the consciousness. At least ninety per cent or our mental life is subconscious. We sit and try to solve a problem, and fail. We look around, try again and again but fail. Suddenly an idea dawns and leads to the solution of the problem. The subconscious processes were at work.

Sometimes you go to sleep at night with the thought "I must get up very early in the morning to catch a train". This message is taken up by the subconscious mind and it is this subconscious mind that wakes you up unfailingly at the exact hour. Subconscious mind is your constant companion and sincere friend. You repeatedly fail at night to get a solution for a problem in Arithmetic or Geometry. In the morning when you wake up you get a clear answer. This answer comes like a flash from the subconscious mind. Even in sleep it works incessantly without any rest. It arranges, classifies, compares, sorts all facts and works out a proper satisfactory solution. This is all due to subconscious mind.

With the help of the subconscious mind you can change your vicious nature by cultivating healthy, virtuous qualities that are opposed to the undesirable ones. If you want to overcome fear mentally deny that you have fear and concentrate your attention upon the opposite quality, the ideal of courage. When this is developed fear vanishes by itself. The positive always overpowers the negative. This is an infallible law of nature. This is Pratipaksha Bhavana of the Raja Yogins. You can acquire a liking for distasteful tasks and duties by cultivating a desire and taste for them. You can establish new habits, new ideals, new ideas and new tastes and new character in the subconscious mind by changing the old ones.

The functions of Chitta are Smriti or Smarana, Dharana (retention) and Anusandhana (inquiry or investigation). When you repeat a Mantra it is the Chitta that does the Smarana. It does a lot of work. It turns out better work than the mind or Buddhi.

All actions, enjoyments and experiences leave their impressions in the subconscious mind in the form of subtle impressions or residual potencies. The Samskaras are the root of causing again Jati, life and experiences of pleasure and pain. Revival of Samskaras induces memory. The Yogi dives deep inside and comes in direct contact with these Samskaras. He directly perceives them through the inner Yogic Vision. By Samyama (concentration, meditation and Samadhi) on these Samskaras, he acquires knowledge of previous lives. By doing Samyama on the Samskaras of others, the Yogi gets the knowledge of their past lives also.

When you desire to remember a thing you will have to make a psychic exertion. You will have to go up and down the depths of the different levels of the subconscious mind and then pick up the right thing from a curious mixture of multifarious irrelevant matter. Just as the mail sorter in the Railway Mail Service takes up the right letter by moving the hand up and down along the different pigeon-holes, so also the sorter in the subconscious mind goes up and down along the pigeon-holes in the subconscious mind and brings the right thing to the level of normal consciousness. The subconscious mind can pick the right thing out from a heap of various matters.

A Samskara of an experience is formed or developed in the Chitta the very moment the mind is experiencing something. There is no gap between the present experience and the formation of a Samskara in the subconscious mind.

Smriti of memory is the function of Chitta (subconscious mind). It is a separate faculty or category in Vedanta. Sometimes it is Antarangata (comes under the mind). In Sankhya philosophy it is included in Buddhi or Mahat Tattva. The Chitta of Patanjali Rishi's philosophy of Raja Yoga (Yogas Chittavritti-Nirodhah) corresponds to the Antahkarana of Vedanta.

Mind and Its Mysteries

Just as a busy officer works alone in a room by closing all the doors, so also the busy mind works alone in a dream by shutting out all the doors of the senses.

Mind is a power born of the soul. It is through mind that the Lord manifests Himself as the differentiated universe with heterogeneous objects.

Mind is merely a bundle of thoughts. Of all thoughts the thought 'I' is the root. Therefore, mind is only the thought "I".

Mind is nothing but a collection of Samskaras or impressions. It is nothing but a bundle of habits. It is nothing but a collection of desires arising from contact with different objects. It is also a collection of feelings aroused by worldly botherations. It is a collection of ideas gathered from different objects. Now these desires, ideas and feelings constantly change. Some of the old desires are constantly departing from their storehouse of the mind, and new ones are replacing them.

In the waking state, the seat of the mind is the brain; in the dreaming state the seat of the mind is the cerebellum; in the deep sleep state it rests in the heart.

Mind always attaches itself to something objective. It cannot stand by itself. It is only this mind that asserts itself as 'I' in this body.

The things that we perceive all round us are only mind in form of substance. Manomatram-Jagat Manah-Kalpitam Jagat. Mind creates. Mind destroys.

The occult phenomena that take place in the mental world are all based on scientific laws. Occultists and Raja Yogins should have a comprehensive intelligent understanding of these laws. Then only will they be able to control the psychic forces easily.

Practice of telepathy, thought-reading, hypnotism, mesmerism, distant healing, psychic healing, etc., clearly proves that mind exists and that a higher developed mind can influence and subjugate the lower minds. From the automatic writing and the experiences of a hypnotised person, we can clearly infer the existence of subconscious mind which operates throughout the twenty-four hours.

If an idea is planted in the mind, it grows at night through the operation of the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind never takes any rest. It works vigorously throughout the twenty-four hours. Those who know how to manipulate this subconscious mind can turn out tremendous mental work. All geniuses have control over their subconscious mind. You must understand the ways of extracting work from the subconscious mind. Subconscious mind is a wonderful underground mental factory.

Mind is the greatest force on this earth. He who has controlled his mind is full of powers. He can bring all minds under his influence. All diseases can be cured by psychic healing. One is struck with awe and wonder at the marvellous and mysterious powers of the mind of a man. The source or home or support of this mysterious mind is God or Atman.

Any action that is done by the physical body is the outcome of a preconceived idea. The mind thinks, plans and schemes at first. Then the action manifests itself. He who invented a watch at first had all ideas in his mind about the construction of the lever, various wheels, dial, minute-hand, second-hand, hour-hand, etc. These ideas materialised later on into actuality.

A spark of light presents the appearance of a continuous circle of light if it is made to rotate quickly. Even so, though the mind can attend but to one thing at a time, either hearing or smelling, though it can admit of but one kind of sensation at a time, we are led to believe that it does several actions at a time, because it moves from one object to another with tremendous velocity, so rapidly that its successive attention and preception appear as a simultaneous activity.

The best philosophers and seers (Rishis and sages) are unanimously agreed that the mind cannot actually attend to more than one thing at a time, but it only appears to be doing so when it is shifting with prodigious rapidity backward and forward from one end to the other.

Change of thought, relaxation of mind by dwelling on thoughts of pleasant objects, cheerfulness, Sattvic food, mental recreation of Sattvic nature are necessary for mental health.

The mind assumes the shape of any object it intently thinks of. If it thinks of an orange it assumes the shape of an orange. If it thinks of Lord Jesus on the Cross it assumes the shape of Lord Jesus on the Cross. You must train the mind properly and give it proper pure food for assimilation. Have a Divine background of thought or mental image.

If all the thoughts are eliminated, then there remains nothing which can be called mind. So thoughts are the mind. Again there is no such thing as world, independent of and apart from thoughts. Two thoughts, however, closely related to one another, cannot exist at the same time.

The mind becomes that on which it dwells. This is an immutable psychological law. If you begin to think about the Dosha or defects of a man, for the time being at least your mind dwells on the bad qualities and becomes charged with these qualities, whether the man possesses these bad qualities or not. This may be your vain imagination only through your wrong thinking, wrong Samskaras or wrong (bad) habits of the mind. He may not possess even a bit of the bad qualities which you have superimposed on him through ill-will or some form of jealousy or petty-mindedness or habitual Dosha-Drishti or fault-finding nature. Therefore, give up the dangerous habit of censuring others and finding fault in others. Praise others. Develop the power or vision of finding only good in others. Do not bark like a wild dog about the bad qualities of others. Glorify others. You will grow spiritually. You will be liked, honoured and respected by others.

Deep sleep (Sushupti) is not merely a state of inactivity or passive repose. It has deep philosophical significance. Vedantins study this state very deeply and carefully. It gives the clue for non-dual philosophers to trace, search and find out the hidden, silent witness.

Atman is ever awake, although all the minds are at rest. Mother of this world, Rajesvari, takes the Jivas back to Her and Her Lord during deep sleep, hugs them to Her bosom, bestows on them refreshing peace, new vigour, vitality and strength and makes them quite fit for the ensuing battle of life on the following day. But for this sleep, life would have been absolutely impossible in this physical plane when miseries, diseases, cares, worries, fears and anxieties of various kinds trouble men every second. If a man does not get sound sleep even for one night, if he loses his sleep one night for three hours by keeping watch over a sick patient or attending the cinema, how miserable, gloomy, depressed he feels the next day!

Mind is atomic according to the Indian school of logic. It is all-pervading according to Raja Yoga school of Patanjali Maharshi; it is of the middling size (same size as that of the body) according to the Vedantic school.

Mind is material. Mind is made up of subtle matter. This discrimination is made on the principle that the soul is the only source of intelligence: it is self-evident; it shines by its own light. Mind is formed out of the subtlest portion of the food.

Mind can be compared to water. Water exists in four states, viz., causal state, in the form of hydrogen and oxygen; subtle state, in the form of water; gross state, in the form of ice: and gaseous state, in the form of vaporised steam. Even so the mind is in a gross state during Jagrat state when it enjoys sensual objects, is in a subtle state when it functions in the dream state, is in a causal state when it gets involved into its cause, Mula-Avidya, during deep sleep and it evaporates as gas when it melts or dissolves in Brahman during Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

Just as the physical body is composed of solid, liquid and gaseous matter, so also the mind is made up of subtle matter of various grades of density with different rates of vibration. A Raja Yogi penetrates through the different layers of the mind by intense practice.

Just as you nourish the physical body with food, so also will you have to give food for the mind and spiritual food for the soul.

When your business fails, or when you are in heavy grief by the death of your only son, you get emaciation of body even though you eat nourishing, substantial food. You feel tremendous internal weakness. This clearly proves that mind exists and cheerfulness is a good mental food.

When a lady is deeply engaged in the management of the affairs of her daughter's marriage, she forgets to take her food. She is always happy. Her heart is full of joy. The joy and cheerfulness are powerful tonics for her mind. She gets inner mental strength although she does not take any food.

Control of Mind

Life in this physical plane is a mere preparation for the eternal life of everlasting sunshine and joy which is to come when one gets knowledge of the Self through intense and constant meditation after purifying the mind. This immortal life of supreme joy is described as the 'Kingdom of Heaven' in the Bible. That Kingdom of Heaven is within you, in your heart. Realise this Immortal Life, O Susil! by controlling the mind, and enjoy the Supreme Bliss of the Self.

The secrets of Yoga Sastra can only be imparted to that student who is Jita-Indriya and Abhyasa-sura, who has devotion to Guru, who has Vairagya, discrimination, who is firm in his determination and who has strong conviction in the existence of God.

The mind is single, but it appears dual in dreaming state as the perceiver and the perceived, through the power of Maya or illusion. The mind itself takes the forms of rose, mountain, elephant, rivers, ocean, enemy, etc. Just as heat is inseparable from fire, so also fluctuation is inseparable from mind. It makes the mind restless. The fluctuation is caused by the power of Rajas. It is the fluctuation that causes Asanti (absence of peace of mind). The Bhaktas remove this tossing by Japa, Upasana and worship of Ishtadevata.

The power of fluctuation is itself the mind. This fluctuating mind alone is this world. The mind becomes no mind if fluctuation disappears. The mind ceases to exist, if it becomes destitute of this fluctuation. What is called Maya is this fluctuating potency of the mind. Mind does havocs through the power of fluctuation. Fluctuation is Mara or Satan or Vasana or Eshana or Trishna. It was this fluctuation that tempted Visvamitra. It is this fluctuation that brings about the downfall of a struggling aspirant. Destroy this fluctuation through strong Viveka, constant meditation and ceaseless Brahma-Vichara.

As soon as fluctuation manifests itself various sorts of imaginations crop up. Imagination co-exists with fluctuation. Imagination is as much dangerous as fluctuation. Fluctuation moves the mind. Imagination fattens the mind. Mind minus fluctuation and imagination is a mere zero. Fluctuation and imagination are the two wings of the mind-bird. Cut the right wing through Atmic enquiry and the left wing through the practice of thoughtlessness. The great bird-mind-will fall dead on the spot immediately.

The one dividing wall between the soul and body is mind. If this wall is broken by ceaseless Atmic enquiry, then the Jiva mixes with the Supreme Soul just as the river mixes with the ocean.

Close your eyes. Meditate. Open your heart to the inflow of the invisible power. You will find in the Bible "Empty thyself, I will fill thee". Then you will have abundant, superintuitional knowledge which is beyond the reach of intellect. Just as water freely flows when the tap is turned so also Divine Wisdom will flow freely when the obstacles of ignorance that stand in the way of knowledge are removed. You will get flashes, glimpses of the Divine inspiration, revelation and intuition. You will have to put yourself in a state of quietude by silencing all bubbling thoughts and emotions and connect the mind with the source by withdrawing the mind from sensual objects, just as you do in telephone by turning the switch off and connecting the two persons who want to speak.

All duality is of mind. The whole of duality is caused by the imagination of the mind. If all imaginations are withdrawn into the mind itself by constant practice of discrimination, Vairagya (dispassion), Sama, Dama, and Samadhana, you will not experience the dual universe. The mind will become no mind. As it has nothing to cognise, it will rest in the source, the Atman.

"My mind was elsewhere, I did not see". "My mind was elsewhere, I did not hear"; for a man sees with his mind and hears with his mind.

The attraction for objects and the ties of various sorts make the man bound to this world. Renunciation of all attractions for objects and breaking up the ties constitute real Sannyasa. That Sannyasi or Yogi who is free from attraction and ties enjoys the infinite bliss, supreme joy and eternal bliss.

The mind should be absorbed in the word Om (Pranava). That Yogi or Jnani whose mind is absorbed in Om has no fear whatever. He has reached the goal of life.

The fire of meditation rapidly consumes all evils and sins. Then there follows that knowledge of Truth which confers perfections, everlasting peace and immortality.

Stop the Vrittis through constant and steady practice. The mind will become no mind. You will attain Yogarudha State (the Absolute state). The seeds of Avidya in the form of potential tendencies which are embedded in the mind are all burnt to ashes when the mind rests in the Truth during Samadhi. The fire that burns is the fire of knowledge of Atman (Jnana-Agni, Yoga-Agni).

When the Yogi has attained the last stage of meditation, when he has entered into Asamprajnata Samadhi, he becomes a Jivanmukta in this very life.

The fire of Yogic Samadhi burns all Samskaras in toto. There are now no seeds for rebirth.

Siddhis

A powerful occultist hypnotises the whole audience collectively through his power of concentration and will, and performs the rope-trick. He throws a red rope in the air, gives the suggestion to the onlookers that he will climb in the air through this rope and disappears from the platform, in the twinkling of an eye. But, when a photograph is taken, nothing is recorded.

Yogins of olden times, like Sri Jnana Deva, Bhartrihari, Patanjali Maharshi, used to send and receive messages to and from distant persons through mind-telepathy and thought-transference. Telepathy was the first wireless telegraph and telephone service in the world. Even now there are Yogins who are versed in telepathy. Thought travels with tremendous velocity through space. Thought moves. Thought is as much a solid matter as a piece of stone is. It can hit a man against whom it is directed.

Understand and realise the powers of the mind. Unfold the hidden powers or occult faculties. Close the eyes. Concentrate. Explore the higher regions of the mind. You can see distant objects, hear distant voices, send messages to distant parts, heal persons who are at a distance, and move about to a distant place in the twinkling of an eye. Believe in the powers of the mind. If you have interest, attention, will-power, faith you are bound to succeed. The source for the mind is Atman or the Higher Self. This mind is born of Atman through His Maya or illusory power. Cosmic mind is universal mind. Cosmic mind is the sum total of all individual minds. Cosmic mind is the Hiranyagarbha or Ishvara or Karya-Brahman. Man's mind is just a fragment of the universal mind. A Raja Yogi becomes one with the cosmic mind and knows the workings of all minds. The Yogi gets omniscience through the cosmic mind. The Yogi experiences cosmic consciousness through the cosmic mind.

Tap the universal mind. You will get higher supersensuous knowledge. You will experience cosmic consciousness. You will get knowledge of the past, present and future. You will acquire knowledge of the Tanmatras (root elements) and mental plane. You will experience clairvoyance and clairaudience. You can know what is going on in the minds of others. You will get Divine Aisvarya or Vibhutis of God. There are scientific means to tap this universal mind. Purity, concentration, dispassion, right living, right thinking, right conduct, right action, devotion, moderation in eating and sleeping, purity in food, truthfulness, continence, non-injury, austerities have to be regularly practised for a protracted time.

Look at the marvels of mind! One is struck with awe and wonder when he witnesses a hypnotised person in trance and hears his narratives. The hypnotised person narrates very lucidly the life-history and incidents of a person whom he has not seen in his life.

A maid servant (a Jew) who was attending on a Hebrew Priest used to hear the Hebrew verses during her service. She suddenly developed a double-personality when she was sick in the hospital and repeated Hebrew verses. She did not know the Hebrew language. All the Samskaras (of hearing from the priest) were in the subconscious mind, and she repeated the verses. No Samskaras are lost. They are indelibly recorded in the gramophonic machine of Chitta.

A priest used to forget his old personality and assume a new personality, a new name, a new avocation for six months. When he developed a double-personality he could leave his old house, entirely forget all about his old life and would return to his native place after six months and would entirely forget all about the second personality he assumed for six months.


Chapter V

Spiritual Sadhana

Twenty Spiritual Instructions

1. Get up at 4 a.m. daily. This is Brahma Muhurta which is extremely favourable for meditation on God.

2. ASANA: Sit on Padma, Siddha or Sukha Asana for Japa and Meditation for half an hour, facing the east or the north. Increase the period gradually to three hours. Do Sirshasana and Sarvangasana for keeping up Brahmacharya and health. Take light physical exercises as walking, etc., regularly. Do twenty Pranayamas.

3. JAPA: Repeat any Mantra as pure Om or Om Namo Narayanaya, Om Namah Sivaya, Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya, Om Saravanabhavaya Namah, Sita Ram, Sri Ram, Hari Om, or Gayatri, according to your taste or inclination, from 108 to 21,600 times daily.

4. DIETETIC DISCIPLINE: Take Sattvic food, Suddha Ahara. Give up chillies, tamarind, garlic, onion, sour articles, oil, mustard and asafoetida. Observe moderation in diet (Mitahara). Do not overload the stomach. Give up those things which the mind likes best for a fortnight in a year. Eat simple food. Milk and fruits help concentration. Take food as medicine, to keep life going. Eating for enjoyment is sin. Give up salt and sugar for a month. You must be able to live on rice, dhall and bread without any chutni. Do not ask for extra salt for dhall and sugar for tea, coffee, or milk.

5. Have a separate meditation-room under lock and key.

6. Do charity regularly, every month, or even daily, according to your means, say six paisa per rupee.

7. SVADHYAYA: Study systematically the Gita, Ramayana, Bhagavata, Vishnu-Sahasranama, Lalita Sahasranama, Aditya Hridaya, Upanishads, Yoga-Vasishtha, the Bible, Zend Avesta, the Koran, the Tripitakas, the Granth Sahib, etc., from half an hour to one hour daily and have Suddha-Vichara.

8. Preserve the vital force (Veerya) very very carefully. Veerya is God in motion or manifestation, Vibhuti. Veerya is all power. Veerya is money. Veerya is the essence of life, thought and intelligence.

9. Get by heart some prayer, Slokas, Stotras, and repeat them as soon as you sit on the Asana before starting Japa or meditation. This will elevate the mind quickly.

10. Have Satsanga. Give up bad company, smoking, meat and alcoholic liquors entirely. Do not develop any evil habits.

11. Fast on Ekadasi day or live on milk and fruits only.

12. Have a Japa Mala (rosary) round your neck or in your pocket or underneath your pillow at night.

13. Observe Mouna for a couple of hours daily.

14. Speak the truth at all cost. Speak a little. Speak sweetly.

15. Reduce your wants. If you have four shirts reduce the number to three or two. Lead a happy contented life. Avoid unnecessary worry. Have plain living and high thinking.

16. Never hurt anybody. Control anger by love, Kshama (forgiveness) and Daya (compassion).

17. Do not depend upon servants. Self-reliance is the highest of all virtues.

18. Think of the mistakes you have committed during the course of the day, just before retiring to bed (self-analysis). Keep daily diary and self-correction register. Do not brood over past mistakes.

19. Remember that death is awaiting you every moment. Never fail to fulfil your duties. Have pure conduct (Sadachara).

20. Think of God as soon as you wake up and just before you go to sleep. Surrender yourself completely to God (Saranagati).

This is the essence of all spiritual Sadhanas. This will lead you to Moksha. All these Niyamas or spiritual canons must be rigidly observed. You must not give leniency to the mind.

Resolves

The spiritual path is thorny, precipitous and rugged. Temptations will assail you. Your will, sometimes, will become weak. Sometimes, there will be downfall or a backward pull by the dark Asuric antagonistic forces. In order to strengthen your will and resist the unfavourable currents, you will have to make, again and again, fresh resolves. This will help you to ascend the ladder of Yoga, vigorously and quickly. Here are some resolves. Stick to them tenaciously. Watch the mind carefully and keep a daily spiritual record.

1. I must get up at 4 a.m. today for practising meditation. (I will have an alarm time-piece).

2. I will certainly observe Brahmacharya for a month.

3. I will, at any cost, speak the truth today.

4. I will not speak harsh or vulgar words today.

5. I will do 21,600 (200 Mala) Japa this Sunday.

6. I will observe complete Mouna this Sunday.

7. I will live on milk and fruits this Ekadasi.

8. I will finish the study of the whole of Gita on this Sunday (Svadhyaya) and write my Ishta Mantra or Guru Mantra for 2 hours.

9. I will spend one-tenth of my income on charity this month.

10. I will take only three things today-dhall and bread in the noon and milk at night.

11. I will not use shoes and bed-stead today.

12. I will not become angry today.

I will give up night meals and do 10 Malas of Japa if I break any of my resolves.

When you make these resolves, stand before the Lord's picture with folded hands and pray devoutly for His grace and mercy. You will doubtless get immense strength to carry out these resolves.

Even if you fail in your attempt, do not be discouraged. Every failure is a stepping-stone for success. Make a fresh resolve again with more firm and fiery determination. You are bound to succeed. Conquest over one weakness will give you additional strength and will-force to get over another weakness or defect. The baby tries to walk, gets up and falls down. Again it makes another attempt. Eventually it walks steadily. Even so, you will have to fall down and get up, again and again, when you walk in the spiritual path. In the long run, you will steadily climb up to the summit of the hill of Yoga and reach the pinnacle of Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

May the Lord give you strength of will to carry out your resolves!

Messages of Vairagya

There is not even an iota of bliss in this world. Every thing is illusory in this universe. All worldly things are generative of pain only and fraught with all dangers. This life is ephemeral. There is nothing so baneful as this life which is perishable in its nature. What beauty is there to be enjoyed in this body which is composed of blood and flesh and which has a tendency to rot? Even the most virulent poison is no poison but the sensual object is truly so. The former kills only one body, whereas, the latter destroys many bodies in successive births.

Fie on this uneven life which is attended with pains, sorrows, diseases and death. You cannot find one object in this universe which is sweet and beneficial for one twinkling of the eye at least. Even the greatest of persons will, in course of time, become dust-the lowest of the low. Emperors, poets, scientists, orators and intellectual giants have come and gone.

It is very difficult to get a human birth. This precious life is meant for attaining Self-realisation. Ignorant persons, like innocent children that do taste again and again sweetmeats which give sweetness for the time being, indulge themselves in illusory, transient, sensual pleasures and are caught, again and again, in the wheel of births and deaths. They are not ashamed to repeat the same sensual act. What a miserable life they lead! How pitiable is their lot. !

You are elated when you get a son, when you get married, when you get some sudden fortune or increase in salary; but you feel sorry when your wife dies, when you lose your money, when you are thrown out of employment, when you suffer from some acute pain.

Now tell me, friend, what do you really find in this illusory world-happiness or pain? Have you now understood the illusory nature of this world? This world is a mere show. The mind and the senses are deceiving you at every moment. You have mistaken pain for pleasure. There is not even an iota of happiness in this universe.

Will your son, or daughter, or friend, or relative, help you when you are about to die? Have you got one, sincere, unselfish friend in this world? All are selfish. There is no pure love. But that Lord, your real immortal friend and father who dwells in your heart, will never forsake you though you may forget Him. Adore Him in silence, that God of gods, that Divinity of divinities, Highest of the most high. May He bless you with His love, wisdom, power and peace!

By indiscriminate clinging to wife, children, house, wealth and property, you have forgotten all about your essential divine nature. In youth you are enveloped in ignorance; in adult age you are entangled in the meshes of women; in old age you are groaning under the burden of Samsara. When you will find time, friend, to do virtuous actions and worship God?

Sensual pleasure is momentary, deceptive, illusory and imaginary. A grain of pleasure is mixed with a mountain of pain. Enjoyment cannot bring satisfaction of desires. On the contrary, it makes the mind more restless through intense craving. Sensual pleasure is the cause of births and deaths. It is an enemy of peace and knowledge.

Abandon these selfish struggles and schemes for amassing wealth. Do all actions with Nishkama Bhava. March directly to that wire-puller (God), who is moving these toys of fleshy human bodies, who is keeping up this big show, who is behind this pageant. In Him only you will find everlasting happiness and perennial joy. Merge in Him by practising daily Japa and Meditation.

Give up clinging to this illusory life. Take refuge in God. Develop lasting, sustained dispassion (Vairagya) or indifference to sensual enjoyments herein and hereafter. You have had countless fathers, mothers, wives and children in the past. You came alone. You will go alone. No one will follow you save your own actions. Worship God. Realise Him. All miseries will come to an end.

O Ram! Do you not wish to attain the illimitable kingdom of eternal bliss and perennial joy? Do you not long to attain everlasting peace and immortality? Do you not desire to dwell in that sweet abode of Brahman where there is neither pain nor sorrow, neither hunger nor thirst, neither fear nor grief, neither doubt nor delusion?

Then come, my beloved Ram! Develop, real, lasting Vairagya (dispassion or mental non-attachment) by looking into the defects of sensual life (Dosha Drishti) and through association with Sages, Sadhus and Sannyasins (Satsanga). Serve. Love. Give. Be kind. Be good. Do good. Practise vigorous Japa and meditation and attain God-consciousness or Self-realisation (Brahma jnana) in this very birth.

May you all possess that master-key, Vairagya to open the realms of Brahmic bliss!

May you all attain Kaivalya or Atma-Svarajya or independence! May you all dwell in the immaculate Brahmic seat of ineffable splendour and glory!

Live Wisely

Minus skin, minus dress, minus ornaments, physical beauty is nothing. Just imagine for a moment that the outer skin is removed. You will have to stand 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 beauties, the Everlasting beauty.

If your hairs become grey, that is the first warrant from Lord Yama, the God of Death. You must get yourself ready to meet him. The wrinkles on the face and the bending of the body will remind you of the warrant. When the teeth fall and the eyesight becomes dim, you must be fully prepared to greet him. You will get three hiccups or final passing of breaths lying on the bed. When the last hiccup comes, all your possession will be taken away by your sons and partners. One will run after the savings bank pass-book, another will take hold of the cash chest, the third, of your provident fund papers and insurance claims, the fourth, of the ornaments that lie on your person and so on. Such is life on this earth-plane. Why can't you see that the money is well spent for your spiritual progress and the service of the poor and the Mahatmas? Friends! Try to attain immortality through devotion, meditation, purity, service, Japa, prayer and enquiry. All troubles and miseries will come to an end.

O Nectar's sons! Enough of this mundane life. Enough of this life of passion in this earth-plane. You have spent your whole life, energy and time in obtaining material wealth, power, name and fame. All your efforts have gone in vain. All your wealth is only a broken shell when compared with the inexhaustible or supreme wealth of Atman. Obtain this spiritual wealth. Give up this vain selfish struggle. You have walked too long with passionate eyes in this universe. Give up this lustful look. Meditate. Look within now and behold the marvellous Self and be free.

Atman or Brahman or Supreme Self is the hidden treasure. It is the pearl of incalculable value. It is the jewel of jewels. It is the gem of gems. It is the imperishable, inexhaustible, supreme wealth which no dacoit can rob. It is Chintamani of Chintamanis that will give man whatever he wishes.

Brahman is beyond speech, time and causation. It is limitless. It is tranquil and It shines with equal effulgence in all bodies. It cannot be a particular thing. It is Chaitanya or pure consciousness. It is Vastu. It is Sat-Chit-Ananda.

Knowing the nature of Brahman or Atman as such, attain freedom or perfection. Think yourself bodiless. Identify yourself with the Supreme. Achieve peace and eternal bliss of your all-pervading soul.

May you all lead the divine life sharing what you have with others, singing the Lord's name, rejoicing in Him alone and melting the mind in the Supreme Self!

Message of Brahmacharya

Brahmacharya is purity in thought, word and deed. Brahmacharya includes the control of not only the sex or reproductive Indriya but also other Indriyas. This is the definition of Brahmacharya in a broad sense. Brahmacharya is of two kinds viz., physical and mental. Physical is control of the body and mental is the control of evil thoughts. In mental Brahmacharya even a lustful thought will never enter the mind. Freedom from all sexual thoughts in waking as well as dreaming states is strict Brahmacharya.

The vital energy, the Veerya, which supports your life, is a great treasure for you. It is the quintessence of blood. Brahmacharya is truly a precious jewel. It is the most effective medicine or nectar which destroys diseases, decay and death. This Atma or immortal soul is verily the nature of Brahmacharya. Atma resides in Brahmacharya.

Veerya is the essence of life, thought, intelligence and consciousness. When the Veerya is once lost, it can never be recouped in your lifetime by your taking any amount of Badam, nervine tonics, milk, cream, Makaradhvaja, etc. This fluid, when preserved carefully, serves as a master-key for you to open the doors of elysian bliss or the realms of God or Atma and for all sorts of higher achievements in life. By Brahmacharya alone the Rishis of yore have conquered death and attained the immortal abode of joy and bliss.

You cannot have health and spiritual life without Brahmacharya. Brahmacharya is the key-note of success in every walk of life. Brahmacharya serves as a gateway for bliss beyond. It opens the door of Moksha (emancipation). Siddhis and Riddhis (psychic powers) roll under the feet of a Brahmacharin. Who can describe the majesty and glory of a Brahmachari? Brahmacharya or spotless chastity is the best of panaceas. There is nothing in this world that cannot be attained by a celibate. He can move the whole world.

Sensuality destroys life, lustre, strength, vitality, memory, wealth, fame, holiness and devotion to the Supreme. Death is hastened by letting out vital energy from the body. Life is saved and prolonged by preserving it. Those who have lost much of their Veerya or the vital energy become easily irritable and lazy. They easily succumb to any disease. They meet with premature death.

Have you realised, my dear friend, the importance and glory of Brahmacharya? Have you recognised the true significance of Brahmacharya? How can you expect to be strong and healthy if the precious energy that is acquired through various means with great difficulty is wasted daily?

What do we find in these days? Men, women, boys and girls are drowned in the ocean of impure thoughts, lustful desires and little sensual pleasures. It is highly deplorable indeed. Many college students have personally come to me and narrated their pitiable lives of gloom and depression brought about by heavy loss of semen through unnatural means. Persons are physically, mentally and morally debilitated because of the want of Brahmacharya or because of wasting the seminal power. Such persons become easily irritable for little things. They fall a victim to various diseases and premature death. I appeal to the parents, the teachers and the professors to instruct and guide their children in Brahmacharya at the proper time and save them. Through them the country is saved. Youths are the future hope of the country. If they are inspired the whole nation is inspired and elevated.

It is quite possible for a man to practise celibacy albeit there are various sorts of temptations and distractions. A well-disciplined life, study of Scriptures, Satsanga, Japa, Dhyana, Sattvic diet, daily self-analysis, practice of sadachara, and the three kinds of Tapas and such other spiritual discipline, pave a long way in the attainment of this end.

The practice of celibacy is not attended with any danger or any disease or any undesirable result, such as the various sorts of 'complex' which are wrongly attributed by the Western psychologists to it. They have no practical knowledge of the subject on hand. They have got a wrong ill-founded imagination that the ungratified sex-energy assumes various forms of complexes in disguise, such as, touch-phobia, etc. It is a morbid state of mind due to excessive anger, hatred, jealousy, worry and depression brought about by various causes.

Householders who are moderate in their sexual enjoyment, who are free from animal passion, who are desirous of progeny to keep up the line only, are also Brahmacharins. This is also Brahmacharya Vrata. As soon as a son or daughter is born, the wife becomes his mother.

Do not look at obscene pictures. Do not speak vulgar words. Do not read novels that excite passion and produce ignoble, undesirable sentiments in the mind. Shun bad company. Do not go to Cinemas. Give up onions, garlic, hot curries, chutnies and spiced dishes. Take wholesome, bland Sattvic food. Transmute the sex-energy into spiritual energy (Ojas) by sublime thoughts, practice of Japa, Kirtan (singing God's Name), Vichara or Atmic enquiry, Pranayama (restraint of breath), Sirshasana, Sarvangasana, study of Gita, Upanishads and other religious books. Have Satsanga-association with Mahatmas, Yogins and Sadhus. You will be established in Brahmacharya. There will be sublimation of sex-energy.

Glory to Brahmacharya! Glory to Brahmacharins who are veritable gods on earth! May you all attain immortality by leading a life of Brahmacharya or ideal divine life while remaining in the world!!

Upadesamritam

In the name of Tapascharya (austerities) do not spoil your health. Constant repetition of "Vairagya Dindima" of Sri Sankara, with feeling, study of "Vairagya Sataka" of Bhartrihari and "Vairagya Prakarana" of Yoga-Vasishtha, reflection on the Slokas of Gita which treat of Vairagya, and finding out the defects in the sensual life will surely intensify your Vairagya.

Spiritual growth is gradual. There is progressive evolution. You should not be in a feverish hurry to accomplish great Yogic feats or enter into Nirvikalpa Samadhi (superconscious state) in two or three months. You will have to ascend the ladder of Yoga step by step. You will have to march in the spiritual path stage by stage.

This world is your best teacher. You will have yet to learn many lessons from this world. The worldly duties are not ties when done in the spirit of Nishkama Karma Yoga (selfless service). You are not required to renounce the world and take shelter in the Himalayan caves to claim back your lost divinity. The secret of renunciation is renunciation of egoism and desires. Live in the world but be not worldly-minded. He who, living in the midst of the temptations of this world, attains perfection, is a true hero indeed.

Guru's grace is needed by the disciple. This does not mean that the disciple should sit idle and expect a miracle from the Guru to push him directly into Samadhi. The Guru cannot do Sadhana or the spiritual practice for the student. He can guide the aspirant, clear his doubts, pave the way, remove snares, pitfalls and obstacles and throw light on the path. The disciple himself will have to place each footstep in the spiritual path. He will himself have to place his footstep in each rung of the ladder of Yoga.

Know things in their proper light. Do not be deluded. Emotion is mistaken for devotion; violent jumping in the air during Sankirtan for divine ecstasy; falling down in swoon on account of exhaustion from too much jumping for Bhava Samadhi; Rajasic restlessness and motion for divine activities and Karma Yoga; Tamasic man for Sattvic man; movement of air in the back due to rheumatism for ascent of Kundalini; Tandri and deep sleep for Samadhi; Manorajya or building castles in the air for meditation; physical nudity for the Jivanmukti state.

Understand the laws of the universe. Move tactfully in this world. Learn the secrets of Nature. Try to know the best ways to control the mind. Conquer the mind. Conquest of mind is really conquest of nature and the world. Conquest of mind will enable you to go to the source of Brahman and you can realise: "I am the all-pervading Sat-Chit-Ananda Atman or the Self".

Learn to discriminate and become wise. Fight out the inner battle, again and again, and come out victorious, O Sushil!

May you all become dynamic Yogins and radiate joy and peace to all corners of the world!

Practical Spiritual Instructions

Thou art divine. Live up to it. Feel and realise thy divine nature. Do not murmur when you get difficulties, troubles, tribulations and diseases. Every difficulty is an opportunity for you to develop your will and power of endurance and to grow strong. Conquer the difficulties one by one. This is the beginning of a new life, a life of expansion, glory and divine splendour. Aspire and draw. Grow. Expand. Build up all positive qualities, the Daiva-Sampatti, viz., fortitude, patience and courage, that are dormant in you. Tread the spiritual path and realise: 'I am the Immortal Self."

Never weep even if you lose your near and dear relations. Births and deaths are the two illusory scenes in the marvellous drama of this world. They are all the jugglery of Maya. In reality nobody comes and nobody goes. Atman alone exists. Atman is Brahman or the Immortal Soul.

Be hopeful always. Face all difficulties, tribulations and anxieties in life with a smile. Always repeat the formula "Even this will pass away." You will then be always beyond grief and sorrow.

Pain is a blessing in disguise. Pain is an eye-opener. Pain is your silent teacher. Pain will turn your mind towards God. Many old Karmas have to be purged out quickly by the thirsting aspirant before he attains the blissful Samadhi (superconscious state). Therefore, the thirsting aspirant only will get more troubles. Become a spiritual warrior and chop off the thoughts and subtle forms of secret desires for enjoyment. A glorious brilliant future is awaiting you.

Conquer difficulties one by one. Stand adamant. Root yourself in the immortal Sat-Chit-Ananda Atman or Self within. Develop a magnanimous, serene, calm and poised mental state. Sing "Anandoham, Anandoham-I am all bliss. I am all bliss."

To live is to fight for the ideal and goal. Life is conquest. Life is a series of awakenings. Conquer your mind and the senses. These are your real enemies. Live under lifelong vows. Conquer your internal and external nature. Fight against the antagonistic dark evil forces through Japa and meditation.

If you are firm in your resolves to reach the highest goal of Yoga, if you have firm determination to attain the aim of spiritual life, you will rise up again and march forward even if you have a temporary fall. Feel the divine within you. Open yourself fully to the divine influence. Develop burning desire for the attainment of God-consciousness and burning dispassion (Vairagya) for worldly enjoyments. Abandon all worldly ambitions and mundane desires. Soar high always in the realms of higher spiritual knowledge. Show your manliness, moral courage and spiritual strength now, O Ram!

Spiritual life is not mere idle talk. It is not mere sensation. It is actual living in Atman. It is a transcendental experience of unalloyed bliss.

May you all become immortal and drink deep the divine nectar of perennial joy and eternal bliss!

Live in God

Immortal Self.

There is a maker for a pot or a table. So, there must be a creator for this marvellous world also. That creator is GOD.

God is the wire-puller (Sutradhara) standing behind the machine of this world. He is the indweller of your heart. He presides over all actions (Karma-dhyaksha). He is the dispenser of the fruits of your actions. Live in God by singing His name, repeating His Mantra and surrendering the fruits of your actions unto Him.

The Lord abides in every creature. Behold the Lord in all objects, in all manifestations. He is in the breath, in the voice, in the eyes. He is the Life of your life, Soul of your soul. Make no distinction between a Hindu and a Mussalman, a Protestant and a Catholic, a Saivite and a Vaishnavite.

Within you is the hidden God. Within you is the immortal soul. Within you is the inexhaustible spiritual treasure. Within you is the fountain of joy and happiness. Within you is the ocean of bliss. Look within for the happiness you have sought in vain in the perishable sensual objects. Rest peacefully in your own Atma and drink the nectar of Immortality.

Insure your life with God. Depend upon Him alone. All other insurance companies will fail, but this Divine Company will never fail. You need not pay any premium to this Divine Company. You will have to love God only. You will have to give Him your heart.

Satyam (truth) is the seed. Brahmacharya (celibacy) is the root. Meditation is the shower. Santi (peace) is the flower. Moksha (salvation) is the fruit. Therefore, speak truth. Practise Brahmacharya and meditation. Cultivate Santi. You will surely attain the final emancipation or freedom from the trammels of births and deaths and enjoy eternal bliss, supreme peace, perennial joy and immortality.

Surrender everything unto Him. Place your ego at His feet and be at ease. He will take complete charge of you. Let Him mould you in any way He likes. Let Him do exactly as He wills. He will remove all defects and weaknesses. He will play beautifully in this body flute. Hear the marvellous music of the flute of the Lord-the mysterious music of the soul-and rejoice.

Peace is a divine attribute. It is a quality of the soul. It cannot remain with greedy persons. It fills the pure heart. It is a sweet companion of sages and Yogins. It deserts the lustful. It runs away from the selfish. It is an ornament of a Paramahamsa.

"As you think, so you become." This is the immutable psychological law. Your thoughts make your life. You can choose your thoughts. You can choose your mode of thinking. You can make your life as you choose. If you entertain evil thoughts, you will lead a miserable life. If you cultivate sublime thoughts, you will attain Godhead.

May you all prosper gloriously! May you all lead the divine life singing Hari's Name, serving the poor and the sick with Atma Bhava, sharing what you have with others and melting the mind in the Lord through silent meditation!

Universal Love

The only Sara Vastu in this world is Prema or love. It is eternal, infinite and undecaying. Physical love is passion or Moha or infatuation. Universal love is divine love. Cosmic love, Visva Prema, universal love are synonymous terms. God is Love. Love is God. Selfishness, greed, egoism, vanity, pride and hatred contract the heart and stand in the way of developing universal love.

Develop universal love gradually through selfless service, Satsanga (association with Mahatmas), prayer, recitation of Guru Mantra, etc. When the heart is contracted through selfishness, man loves his wife, children, a few friends and relations only, in the beginning. As he evolves, he loves the people of his own district, then the people of his own province. Later on, he develops love for men of his own country. Eventually he begins to love people of different countries. In the long run, he begins to love all. He develops universal love. All the barriers are broken now. Heart expands infinitely.

It is very easy to talk of universal love. But when you want to put it in actual practice, it becomes extremely difficult. Petty-mindedness of all sorts comes in the way. Old, wrong Samskaras (impressions) which you have created by your wrong mode of life in past, act as stumbling blocks. Through iron determination, strong will-power, patience, perseverance and Vichara (right enquiry), you can conquer all obstacles quite easily. The grace of the Lord will descend on you if you are sincere, my dear friends!

Universal love terminates in Advaitic unity or oneness or Upanishadic consciousness of Seers and Sages. Pure love is a great leveller. It brings equality. Hafiz, Kabir, Mira, Gouranga, Tukaram, Ramdas, all have tasted this universal love. What others have achieved, you can also attain.

Feel that the whole world is your body, your own home. Melt or destroy all barriers that separate man from man. Idea of superiority is ignorance or delusion. Develop Visvaprema, all-embracing love. Unite with all. Separation is death. Unite in eternal life. Feel that the whole world is Visvabrindavan. Feel that this body is a moving temple of God. Wherever you are, whether at home, office, railway station or market, feel that you are in the temple. Consecrate every act as an offering unto the Lord. Transmute every work into Yoga by offering its fruits to God. Have Akartri-Sakshi Bhava, if you are a student of Vedanta. Have Nimitta Bhava, if you are a student of Bhakti Marga. Feel that all beings are images of God. Isa-Vasyamidam Sarvam-this world is indwelt by the Lord. Feel that one power or God works through all hands, sees through all eyes, hears through all ears. You will become a changed being. You will enjoy the highest peace and bliss.

May Lord Hari take you all to His bosom and bathe you with the waters of sweet love!

May your heart be filled with cosmic love!

Practice of Meditation

Meditation is the only royal road to the attainment of salvation or Moksha. Meditation kills all pains, sufferings, the three kinds of Taapas (fevers) and the five Kleshas (sorrows). Meditation gives the vision of unity. Meditation produces sense of oneness. Meditation is an aeroplane that helps the aspirant to soar high in the realms of eternal bliss and everlasting peace. It is a mysterious ladder that connects earth and heaven and takes the aspirant to the immortal abode of Brahman.

Meditation is the continuous flow of one thought of God or Atman, like the continuous flow of oil from one vessel to another (Tailadharavat). Meditation follows Concentration.

Practise meditation in the early morning from 4 to 6 (Brahma-Muhurta). This is the best time for the practice of meditation.

Sit on Padma or Siddha or Sukha Asana. Keep the head, neck and the trunk in a straight line. Concentrate either on the Trikuti-the space between the two eyebrows-or in the heart, with closed eyes.

Meditation is of two kinds, viz., Saguna Dhyana (concrete meditation) and Nirguna Dhyana (abstract meditation). In concrete meditation the Yogi student meditates on the form of Sri Krishna, Rama, Sita, Vishnu, Siva, Gayatri or Devi. In abstract meditation, he meditates on his own Self or Atman.

Place the picture of Lord Hari with Chaturbhuja in front of you. Gaze at this picture steadily for five minutes, then close the eyes and visualise the picture. During visualisation move the mind on the various parts of Vishnu. See with the mind His feet first, then in the following order: His legs, His yellow silk cloth, His golden necklace set with Kaustubha gem on the breast, the earring Makara Kundala, then the face, then the crown on the head, then the disc in the right upper hand, then the conch in the left upper hand, then the mace in the lower right hand, then the lotus in the lower left hand. Then come down to the feet and repeat the process again and again. Finally fix the mind either at the feet or the face. Repeat the Mantra mentally: "Hari Om" or "Om Namo Narayanaya". Think of the attributes of the Lord such as Omnipotence, Omnipresence, Purity, etc.

Meditate on Om and its meaning with feeling. This is Nirguna Dhyana. Repeat Om mentally. Identify yourself with Atman. Feel, "I am the all-pervading immortal Self or Atman. I am Sat-Chit-Ananda Brahman. I am Sakshi or silent witness of three states and all modifications of the mind. I am pure consciousness. I am distinct from the body, mind, Prana and senses. I am the self-luminous Light of lights. I am the Eternal Supreme Soul.

If you have contentment, cheerfulness, patience, unruffled state of mind, sweet voice, one-pointedness of mind, light body, fearlessness, desirelessness, disgust for worldly things, know that you are advancing in the spiritual path and that you are nearing God.

Be regular in your meditation. Regularity is the key to success. Regularity is of paramount importance. May you all be established in Samadhi (superconscious state of bliss) through regular meditation!

Thy Real Nature

Religion is faith for knowing and worshipping God. It is not a matter for discussion at a club table. It is the perception and realisation of the True Self. It is the fulfilment of the deepest craving in man. Therefore, hold religion as the goal of your life. Live every second of your life for its realisation. Life without religion is real death.

Analyse your thoughts. Scrutinize your motives. Remove selfishness. Calm the passions. Control the Indriyas. Destroy egoism. Serve and love all. Purify your heart. Cleanse the dross of your mind. Hear and reflect. Concentrate and meditate. Attain Self-realisation.

There is something dearer than wealth. There is something dearer than your wife. There is something dearer than your children. There is something dearer than your life itself. That dearest something is thy own Self (Atman)-Inner Ruler (Antaryamin), Immortal (Amritam). This Immortal Self can be realised by incessant practice of meditation.

O Saumya! Dear Immortal Self! Be bold: Be cheerful, even though you are unemployed, though you have nothing to eat, though you are clad in rags. Thy essential nature is Sat-Chit-Ananda. The outer cloak, this mortal physical sheath is an illusory production of Maya. Smile, whistle, laugh, jump, dance in joy and ecstasy. Sing Om Om Om! Ram Ram Ram! Come out of this cage of flesh. Thou art sexless Atma. Thou art that Atma who dwells in the chambers of your heart. Act as such. Feel as such. Claim your birthright, not from tomorrow or the day after, but right now from this very second. "Tat Tvam Asi-Thou art That". Feel, Assert, Recognise, Realise, my beloved Ram!

Find out your centre. Dwell always in this centre. This centre is the abode of Supreme Bliss and Eternal Sunshine. This centre is the Param Dham or Paramagati or Supreme Goal. This centre is your sweet original home, the abode of immortality and fearlessness. This centre is Atma or Brahman. This is the Imperishable Brahmic seat of ineffable splendour and glory!

Divine Life

Divine life is life in God or the Immortal Soul. He who leads the divine life is free from cares, worries, anxieties, miseries, sufferings and tribulations. He attains immortality, perfection, freedom, independence, eternal peace, supreme bliss and perennial joy. He radiates joy, peace and light everywhere.

To lead the divine life, you need not retire into forests. You can lead the divine life, while remaining in the world. What is wanted is renunciation of egoism, mineness, attachment, Vasanas and Trishnas. Give the mind to God and the hands to the service of humanity.

Serve humanity with Atma Bhava. Serve the poor. Serve the sick with Narayana Bhava. Serve the society. Serve the country. Selfless service is the highest Yoga. Samadhi will come by itself without any effort for one, who is solely absorbed in service, when his heart is purified. Service is worship of the Lord. Never forget this. He who sees Brahman or the Immortal Soul in the spoon, Brahman in the medicine, Brahman in the patient, Brahman in the doctor, Brahman in service, he who thinks or meditates thus, while doing service, verily reaches Brahman or the Eternal.

The practice of Brahmacharya is very important for spiritual progress. Brahmacharya is the basis for acquiring immortality. It is itself divine life. Brahmacharya brings material progress and psychic advancement. It is a substratum for a life of peace in Atma. It is a potent weapon for controlling the internal Rajasic forces, viz., Kama, Krodha, Lobha, etc. It gives tremendous energy and gigantic will power and good Vichara Sakti.

Japa is an important Anga of Yoga or divine life. A Mantra is divinity. Japa is the repetition of the Mantra or the names of the Lord. In Kali Yuga, practice of Japa alone can give eternal peace, bliss and immortality. Japa ultimately results in Samadhi or communion with the Lord.

Sankirtan is the singing of Lord's names with faith and devotion. When you sing His names, feel that Lord Hari or Ishta Devata is seated in your heart, that every name of the Lord is filled with divine potencies, that the old vicious Samskaras and Vasanas are burnt by the power of the name and that the mind is filled with Sattva or purity, that Rajas and Tamas are completely destroyed, and that the veil of ignorance is torn down. This kind of mental attitude brings the maximum benefit of Sankirtan. It is not the number of Japa or the length of time of Kirtan that counts for spiritual growth but it is the intensity of Bhava with which the Lord's names are sung.

Divine Message

Pure as the snow of the Himalayas, bright as sunlight, expansive as the sky, all-pervading as the ether; unfathomable as the ocean, cool as the waters of the Ganges, is the Immortal Atman-the substratum for this world, body, mind and Prana. Nothing is sweeter than this Atman.

Purify your heart and meditate. Plunge deep in your heart. Dive deep into the innermost recess. You will find it. Only if you search in deep water, you will find the pearl of Atman. If you keep to the shore, you will find broken shells only.

The best flower that can be offered to the Lord is your heart. Penetrate more deeply into the infinite domain of Kailas, the kingdom of illimitable bliss and boundless joy and peace within.

Just as the light is burning within the hurricane lantern, so also, the divine light is burning within the heart. You can behold the divine light through your inner third eye or the eye of intuition by withdrawing the senses and stilling the mind.

It takes a long time for charcoal to catch fire but gunpowder can be ignited within the twinkling of an eye. Even so, it takes a long time for igniting the fire of knowledge for a man whose heart is impure. But an aspirant with great purity of heart gets knowledge of the Self, within the twinkling of an eye with the time taken to squeeze a flower by the fingers.

Armed with patience, perseverance, tranquillity and courage, slowly ascend, peak after peak, subdue the Indriyas one by one, control the thoughts one by one, eradicate the Vasanas one by one and eventually reach the summit of Self-realisation or Divine Glory.

O friend! Wake up. Sleep no more. Meditate. It is Brahmamuhurta now. Open the gate of the temple of the Lord in your heart with the key of love. Hear the music of the soul. Sing the song of Prema to your beloved. Play the melody of the Infinite. Melt your mind in His contemplation. Unite with Him. Immerse yourself in the ocean of Love and Bliss.

Self-Analysis

Daily self-analysis or self-examination is an indispensable requisite. Then alone can you remove your defects and can grow rapidly in spirituality. A gardener watches the young plants very carefully. He removes the weeds daily. He puts a strong fence around them. He waters them at the proper time. Then alone they grow beautifully and yield fruits quickly. Even so, you should find out your defects through daily introspection and self-analysis and then eradicate them through suitable methods. If one method fails, you must adopt a combined method. If prayer fails, you should take recourse to Satsanga or association with the wise, Pranayama, meditation, dietetic regulation, enquiry, etc. You should destroy not only big waves of pride, hypocrisy, lust, anger, etc., that manifest on the surface of the conscious mind, but also their subtle impressions which lurk in the corners of the subconscious mind. Then only are you perfectly safe.

These subtle impressions are very dangerous. They lurk like thieves and attack you when you are napping, when you are not vigilant, when your dispassion wanes, when you slacken a bit your daily spiritual practice, and when you are provoked. If these defects do not manifest even under extreme provocation on several occasions, even when you are not practising daily introspection and self-analysis, you can be rest assured that the subtle impressions also are obliterated. Now you are safe. The practice of introspection and self-analysis demands patience, perseverance, leech-like tenacity, application, iron will, iron determination, subtle intellect, courage, etc. But you will gain a fruit of incalculable value. The precious fruit is immortality, Supreme Peace and Infinite Bliss. You will have to pay a heavy price for this. Therefore you should not murmur when you do daily practice. You should apply your full mind, heart, intellect and soul to spiritual practice. Then only rapid success is possible.

Keep daily spiritual diary and practise self-analysis (self-examination) at night. Note down how many good actions you have done, what mistakes you have committed during the course of the day. In the morning resolve: "I will not yield to anger today. I will practise celibacy today. I will speak truth today."

Importance of Keeping a Spiritual Diary

The keeping up of a daily spiritual diary is an indispensable requisite and of paramount importance. Those who are already in the habit of keeping it know its incalculable advantages. Diary is a whip for goading the mind towards God. It shows the way to freedom and eternal bliss. It is your Guru. It is the eye-opener. It develops the Manana-Sakti or the power of reflection. It will help you to destroy all your evil qualities and to be regular in your spiritual practices. If you regularly maintain a diary, you will get solace, peace of mind and quick progress in the spiritual path. Those who desire to grow in morality and spirituality, those who wish to evolve rapidly must keep a daily record of their actions.

All great men of the world keep diaries. The life of Benjamin Franklin is known to you all. He kept a daily diary. He noted down the number of untruths and wrong actions for which he was responsible during the course of the day. In course of time, he became a perfect man. He had perfect control over his mind. Mahatma Gandhi used to advise the students to keep a daily diary always.

A big thief is hiding himself in your brain. He has snatched away your Atmic pearl. He is giving you immense worries and troubles. He is deluding you. The thief is your mind. You must not be lenient towards him. You must kill him ruthlessly. There is no other sword sharper than this diary to kill him. It checks his happy-go-lucky ways and destroys him eventually. All your daily mistakes will be corrected. A good time will come when you will be entirely free from anger, untruth, lust, etc. You will become a perfect Yogi.

Your father and mother gave you this body. They gave you food and clothing. But this diary is superior to your parents. It shows the way to freedom and eternal bliss. It gives you solace, satisfaction and peace of mind. Turn the pages of your diary carefully once a week. If you can record your actions every hour, your growth will be rapid. Happy is the man who keeps a daily diary for he is very near to God. He has a strong will and he is free from defects and mistakes.

By keeping a spiritual diary you can then and there rectify your mistakes. You can do more Sadhana and evolve quickly. There is no other best friend and faithful teacher or Guru than your diary. It will teach you the value of time. At the end of every month calculate the total number of hours you spent in Japa, study of religious books, Pranayama, Asanas, sleep, etc. Then you will be able to know how much time You are spending for religious purposes. You have got every chance to increase the period of Japa, meditation, etc., gradually. If you maintain a daily diary properly, without any fault in any of the items, you will not like to waste even a single minute unnecessarily. Then alone will you understand the value of time and how it slips away.

Compare the total of the last month with those of the previous months. Find out whether you have progressed in your Sadhana or not. If you have not progressed, increase your practice daily. You can do more Sadhana and evolve quickly.

In maintaining a diary, you should not utter any falsehood anywhere. You are keeping it only for your own benefit. It is the diary of a religious aspirant who is treading the path of truth to realise Truth. Acknowledge your faults openly and endeavour to rectify yourself in future. You should not neglect to record everything in your diary. It is better if you compare the progress of your work of the present week with that of the previous week. If you are not able to do so once a week, you must at any cost compare it once a month. Then you will be able to make various adjustments in different items, increase the period of Japa and meditation and decrease the time of sleep.

Self-punishment consists in giving up the night meals and in doing fifty Malas of Japa more than the usual number. The filling in of the form should not be a mere routine work. The annexed form is only a specimen for guidance. These items should be copied on a foolscap size paper neatly with columns drawn for all the days of the month.

Do not be ashamed to mention your mistakes, vices and failures. This is meant only for your own progress. Do not waste your precious hours. It is enough that you have wasted so many years in idle gossiping. Enough, enough of the troubles you had all these days in satisfying your senses. Do not say, "From tomorrow, I will be regular." That "tomorrow" will never come. Be sincere and start doing Sadhana from this moment. If you are really sincere, He is ever ready to help you and give you a push in your spiritual march.

He who regulates his life on the above lines is sure to become a Jivanmukta or a Yogi in this very birth. Do it practically and see how you grow. Start maintaining a spiritual diary from this moment itself and realise the marvellous results.

Spiritual Diary

1. When did you get up from bed?

"Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." You must get up at 4 a.m., and practise Japa and meditation. The meditative state of the mind will come by itself without exertion at this period.

2. How many hours did you sleep?

Sleep for six hours is quite sufficient for every individual. Go to bed at 10 p.m., and get up at 4 a.m. Napoleon Bonaparte believed in only four hours of sleep. Too much sleep makes a man dull and lethargic. Too much sleep causes premature decay and weakens the brain-power. Those spiritual aspirants who want to do rigorous Sadhana should reduce the sleep gradually. For three months reduce the sleep by half an hour. During the next three months go to bed at 11 p.m., and get up at 4 a.m. In this way you can conquer sleep and become one like Arjuna or Lakshmana.

3. How many Malas of Japa?

Japa is an important limb of Yoga. In this Kali Yuga, Japa and Kirtan are effective Sadhanas for God-realisation. Japa results in Samadhi or communion with God. Japa is the repetition of the name of the Lord. There are three varieties of Japa, viz., Vaikhari (verbal), Upamsu (whispering), and Manasic (mental). Have a Japa Mala (rosary) round your neck or in your pocket or underneath your pillow at night. Use a Mala of 108 beads. A Mala is a whip to goad the mind towards God. The fruits of Manasic Japa are ten thousand times more than Vaikhari or Upamsu. Always try to do mental Japa when you are busy in daily activities. Make it a point to repeat the Mantra some thousand times and record the number in the diary.

4. How long in Kirtan?

Repetition of God's name enables the devotee to feel the divine presence, the divine glory and the divine consciousness within himself and also everywhere. How powerful is God's name! When one sings His name or hears its sound, he is unconsciously raised to sublime spiritual heights. He loses his body-consciousness. He is immersed in joy and drinks deep the divine nectar of immortality. Sankirtan is singing God's name with Bhava and Prema or divine feeling. Sankirtan brings Darshan of God or attainment of divine consciousness easily in this Kali Yuga.

5. How many Pranayamas?

Pranayama is 'control of breath'. Sit in Padmasana, Sukhasana, or any other comfortable pose, with an empty stomach. Close your eyes. Close the right nostril with the thumb. Draw in the air very very slowly through the left nostril. Now close your left nostril with the little and right fingers, and retain the breath as long as you can comfortably keep. Then very very slowly exhale through the right nostril after removing the thumb. Again draw in the air through the right nostril retain it as long as you can and exhale through the left nostril very slowly. This is one Pranayama. To start with, do five Pranayamas in the morning and evening and gradually increase to 10 or 20. This is Sukhapurvaka-easy, comfortable Pranayama.

6. How long did you perform Asanas?

Asana is the first stage of Ashtanga Yoga. Padmasana and Siddhasana are intended for doing Japa and meditation. Do not often change the Asana. Stick to one and gradually increase the period to even three hours. Sirshasana, Sarvangasana and other exercises are intended for maintaining good health. They remove various diseases. These Asanas will awaken the Kundalini Sakti. Perform the Asanas when the stomach is empty or light. Early morning and evening are very good for the practice of Asanas. Practise the Asanas in well-ventilated room or on the sandy beds of rivers, open airy places, or seaside. During the practice repeat your Ishta or Guru Mantra.

7. How long did you meditate in one Asana?

Sit in Padmasana or Sukhasana in your meditation room. Early morning between 4 and 6 is the best period for contemplation and Japa. You can have another sitting in the night also. Take your seat before the picture of your Ishta Devata. Look at the picture steadily for a few minutes. Repeat some Stotras mentally. Then close your eyes and visualise the picture. Repeat the Ishta Mantra mentally. Sit for meditation for half an hour in the beginning and try to increase the period to three hours by gradual daily practice. When you sit on your Asana for meditation, do not shake the body. Try to keep up one current of thought of God.

8. How many Gita Slokas did you read or get by heart?

Study of scriptures is Kriya Yoga or Niyama. It purifies the heart and fills the mind with sublime and elevating thoughts. Gita is a unique book for Svadhyaya. It contains the essence of all the Yogas and the cream of the Vedas. You can devote half an hour to three hours for this purpose according to the time at your disposal.

9. How long in the company of the wise (Satsanga)?

The glory and power of Satsanga or association with the wise, Saints, Yogins, Sannyasins and Mahatmas, is described in detail in Bhagavata, Ramayana, and other holy scriptures. Even a moment's company is quite sufficient to overhaul the old vicious Samskaras of the people. Service to Mahatmas purifies the mind of passionate men rapidly. Satsanga elevates the mind to magnanimous heights. Study of books written by realised persons will also be tantamount to Satsanga.

10. How many hours did you observe Mouna?

Monna means vow of silence. Energy is wasted in idle talking and gossiping. Mouna develops will-power. Mouna checks the impulse of speech. It is a great help for the observance of truth and control of anger. Emotions are controlled and irritability vanishes. Observe Mouna at least for one hour or two hours a day. During Mouna, sublime thoughts should replace worldly thoughts and Japa should be done.

11. How long in disinterested selfless service?

The practice of Nishkama Karma Yoga destroys sins and impurities of the mind and causes Chitta Suddhi or purity of Antahkarana. Knowledge of Self dawns in a pure mind. Knowledge of Self is the only direct means to freedom. Nishkama Karma Yoga is selfless service to humanity. The important point is to serve humanity without any attachment or egoism. The central teaching of the Gita is non-attachment to work. Sri Krishna says: "Work incessantly. Your duty is to work but not to expect the fruits thereof." Do vigorous service for some time. You will grasp the spirit of Nishkama Karma.

12. How much did you give in charity?

When you walk along the road or street, keep always some loose coins in your pocket and distribute them to the poor. Be liberal. Feel that you are enjoying in all the bodies. Your heart will expand. You will begin to realise unity or oneness. You will become more generous. Do regular charity of one tenth of your income. Performance of virtuous actions is the beginning of spiritual life.

13. How many Mantras did you write?

Maintain a Mantra notebook. Write your Ishta Mantra, Guru Mantra or Maha Mantra for half an hour in this notebook. You should preferably do this item of Sadhana just before the commencement of the household duties. You should observe Mouna or silence while writing the Mantra. There should be perfect calm and quietude. You should concentrate on the writing alone. In Mantra writing, the eyes, the hands and the mind are all engaged. There is no restriction of language. If this practice is continued with sincerity, the aspirant gets concentration easily and much internal peace and happiness.

14. How long did you practise physical exercise?

Physical culture or the development of the body is as much important as the development of the mind, will, or memory. If the body is not kept strong and healthy, vigorous and active, no culture is possible. "Mens sana in corpore sano" is a wise saying which means-a sound mind in a sound body. There are different kinds of physical culture. You will have to select one according to your capacity, taste and temperament.

15. How many lies did you tell and with what Self-punishment?

Srutis emphatically declare: "Satyam Vada-Speak the Truth". "Satyameva Jayate Nanritam-Truth alone triumphs but not falsehood". A truthful man is absolutely free from worries and anxieties. He has a calm mind. He is respected by all. If you observe speaking the truth for twelve years, you will have Vak-Siddhi. Then whatever you speak will come to pass. Speak the truth. Truth is Knowledge. Truth is Bliss. Truth guides you in all your actions. Write in bold types the words: "Speak Truth" on cardboards and hang them in different places in your house. This will remind you when you speak a lie. You will check yourself at once. Punish yourself by fasting if you tell a lie and record the lies in the diary. Gradually the number of lies will decrease and you will become a truthful man.

16. How many times and how long of anger and with what self-punishment?

Anger is an enemy to peace. It is a modification of lust. When a desire is not gratified, a man becomes angry. He loses his memory and understanding. Control anger by the practice of Kshama, love and killing egoism. Drink a little water when you become angry. It will cool the brain and calm the excited nerves. Repeat "Om Santi" several times. If you find it extremely difficult to control anger, leave the place immediately and take a walk for half an hour. Pray to God. Do Japa. Meditation gives immense strength to destroy anger and other obstacles.

17. How many hours did you spend in useless company?

The so-called friends are real enemies. You cannot find even a single unselfish friend in this universe. Be careful. Friends come to have idle talks with you and they waste your time. They want to pull you down and make you also worldly. Do not be carried away by the flowery speech of such friends. Cut off connections ruthlessly. Live alone at all times. Trust in that immortal friend who dwells in your heart. If you cannot have positive Satsanga of Mahatmas, have indirect Satsanga with books written by realised Sages, Saints and Bhagavatas.

18. How many times did you fail in Brahmacharya?

No spiritual progress is possible without the practice of celibacy. Veerya is a dynamic force. It should be converted into Ojas-Sakti. Those who are very eager to have God-realisation should observe unbroken celibacy strictly. Observe the vow of Brahmacharya strictly.

19. How long in study of religious books?

Be regular in the study of religious books, Ramayana, Bhagavata, Yoga Vasishtha and other good books, for Svadhyaya. If you reflect on the ideas of Gita and fix the mind on these ideas, this itself is a form of lower Samadhi. Svadhyaya is an auxiliary for concentration. Svadhyaya will check mind-wandering also.

20. How many times did you fail in the control of evil habits and with what self-punishment?

There are some who are unconscious of their bad habits and many who do not recognise them as bad. If they recognise them to be bad, then the correction is very simple. Alcohol is a strong devil, which if once enters the system of a man will never leave him. Then comes, smoking. Another evil habit is betel-chewing. Drinking of strong tea and coffee often develops a bad habit. Novel reading, visiting cinemas, sleeping in the daytime, using slang terms and abuses, etc., are some of the evil habits. First realise that you have got an evil habit and intensely desire that you should give it up at any cost. Then your success has already come. Giving up any bad habit at once is better. Use your subconscious mind for eradication. Establish new healthy habits and develop your will. There is nothing impossible under the Sun.

21. How long you did concentrate on your Ishta Devata (Saguna or Nirguna Dhyana)?

Concentration can be done only if you are free from all distractions. Concentrate on anything that appeals to you as good or anything which the mind likes best. The mind should be trained to concentrate on gross objects in the beginning and, later on, you can successfully concentrate on subtle objects and abstract ideas. Regularity in the practice is of paramount importance.

Gross Forms: Concentrate on a black dot on the wall or a candle-flame, a bright star, moon, on the picture of Om, Lord Siva, Rama, Krishna, Devi, or your Ishta Devata in front of you with open eyes.

Subtle Forms: Sit before the picture of your Ishta Devata and close your eyes. Keep a mental picture of your Ishta Devata at the space between the two eyebrows, or heart (Anahata Chakra); concentrate on Muladhara, Anahata, Ajna or any other internal Chakra; concentrate on the divine qualities such as love, mercy, or any other abstract ideas, Sat Chit Ananda, purity, perfection, peace.

22. How many days did you observe fast and vigil?

Keeping wide awake throughout the night is called vigil. You will derive incalculable benefit if you practise vigil on Vaikuntha-Ekadasi, Sivaratri, Gokulashtami day (the birthday of Sri Krishna). Complete fasting helps to control the sleep. Control of sleep by taking recourse to tea is not desirable. You will not gain spiritual strength as you depend upon an extraneous drug. During fasting avoid company. Live alone. Utilise your time in Yogic Sadhana. After a fast, do not take any heavy food. Milk or some fruit-juice is beneficial.

23. Were you regular in your meditation?

Never miss a day in meditation. Be regular and systematic. Regularity in meditation is of paramount importance. The meditative state will come by itself at the appointed time. Take Sattvic food. Fruits and milk will help mental focussing. When the mind is tired, do not concentrate. Give it a little rest.

24. What virtues are you developing?

Develop that virtue in which you are hopelessly lacking. Courage, mercy, universal love, nobility, Kshama, contentment, frankness and honesty must be developed one by one. Take up one virtue every month and meditate on that virtue regularly. You will manifest that virtue in your character. If you develop one important virtue, all other virtues will cling to you. If you have humility and courage, all other virtues will come of their own accord. You should spend daily some time, say half an hour, for development of virtues.

25. What evil quality are you trying to eradicate?

The development of virtuous qualities will itself remove the negative qualities. But it is better to make a positive attempt also in the eradication of the evil qualities. Then the progress will be rapid. It is a double attack on the enemy. If you remove lust or anger or egoism, all other evil qualities will disappear by themselves. All evil qualities are the attendants of egoism. All vices originate from anger. If these are destroyed, all sorts of vices will vanish. Therefore, concentrate your attention in killing egoism or anger.

26. Which Indriya is troubling you most?

Discipline of the Indriyas is a very important point. If the Indriyas are turbulent, you cannot have concentration. Watch every Indriya carefully and curb it by suitable methods, such as fasting, Mouna, Tratak, celibacy, renunciation of articles, Dama and Pratyahara. Curbing of Indriyas means curbing of mind. They cannot do any independent work without the direct help of the mind. Celibacy checks the genitals; Mouna will control the organ of speech; Tratak controls the eyes. Sufficient practice for a long time is necessary. Then the Indriyas become emaciated and thin and are starved to death.

27. When did you go to bed?

Sleep is nature's tonic, for healthy living. The more sound sleep one has, the more healthy he would be. Hours of sleep depend upon your physical or mental capacity for resisting fatigue. Without a sufficiency of sleep, you will not have efficiency. The amount of sleep required varies with age, temperament and amount of work. According to an old adage there should be six hours' sleep for a man, seven for a woman and eight for a fool. As age advances, people require more sleep. Avoid going late to bed. Do not take drugs to induce sleep. If you do not get sleep, take a brisk walk in the open air for fifteen minutes and then go to bed. You will have refreshing sleep.

The Spiritual Diary

The Spiritual Diary is a whip for goading the mind towards righteousness and God. If you regularly maintain this diary you will get solace, peace of mind and make quick progress in the spiritual path. Maintain a daily diary and realise the marvellous results.

Spiritual Diary

Month : ________________

Questions

Date

 

           
1. When did you get up from bed ?

 

           
2. How many hours did you sleep ?

 

           
3. How many Malas of Japa ?

 

           
4. How long in Kirtan ?

 

           
5. How many Pranayamas ?

 

           
6. How long did you perform Asanas ?

 

           
7. How long did you meditate in one Asana?

 

           
8. How many Gita Slokas did you read or get by heart ?

 

           
9. How long in the company of the wise (Satsanga) ?

 

           
10. How many hours did you observe Mouna ?

 

           
11. How long in disinterested selfless service ?

 

           
12. How much did you give in charity ?

 

           
13. How many Mantras you wrote ?

 

           
14. How long did you practice physical exercise ?

 

           
15. How many lies did you tell and with what self-punishment ?

 

           
16. How many times and how long of anger and with what self-punishment ?

 

           
17. How many hours you spent in useless company ?

 

           
18. How many times you failed in Brahmacharya ?

 

           
19. How long in study of religious books ?

 

           
20. How many times you failed in the control of evil habits and with what self-punishment ?

 

           
21. How long you concentrated on your Ishta Devata (Saguna or Nirguna Dhyana) ?

 

           
22. How many days did you observe fast and vigil ?

 

           
23. Were you regular in your meditation ?

 

           
24. What virtue are you developing ?

 

           
25. What evil quality are you trying to eradicate ?

 

           
26. What Indriya is troubling you most ?

 

           
27. When did you go to bed ?

 

           

Chapter VI

Philosophy And Vedanta

You are the Master of your Destiny

Courage is thy birthright, but not fear; peace is thy divine heritage, but not restlessness. Immortality is thy birthright, but not mortality; strength, but not weakness; health, but not disease; bliss, but not sorrow; knowledge, but not ignorance.

Pain, sorrow and ignorance are illusory; these cannot live. Bliss, joy and knowledge are true; these cannot die.

You are the architect of your own fate. You are the master of your own destiny. You can do and undo things. You sow an action and reap a tendency. You sow a tendency and reap a habit. You sow a habit and reap your character. You sow your character and reap your destiny. Therefore, destiny is your own creation. You can undo it if you like-destiny is a bundle of habits.

Purushartha is self-exertion. Purushartha can give you anything. Change your habits. Change the mode of thinking. You can conquer destiny. You are now thinking: "I am the body." Start the spiritual anti-current and think: "I am immortal, diseaseless, sexless Atman." You can conquer death and attain the immortal seat of supreme splendour.

By virtuous deeds and right thoughts you can disarm destiny. You have a free-will to act. By self-exertion, Ratnakar became Valmiki. By self-exertion, Markandeya conquered death. By self-exertion alone did Uddalaka attain Nirvikalpa Samadhi (higher realisation). By self-exertion, Savitri brought back her husband (Satyavan) to life.

Therefore, apply yourself tenaciously, O Prema, to Atmic enquiry and meditation. Be vigilant and diligent. Kill the thoughts and desires. Overcome tomorrow's evil by today's self-exertion. Destroy unholy desires (Asubha Vasanas) through holy desires (Subha Vasanas). Slay unholy thoughts by holy thoughts, and gain victory over your destiny.

Do not yield to fatalism. Do not become impotent. Stand like a lion. Exert and attain independence or Atma Svarajya. There is a magazine of power within you. There is a vast ocean of knowledge within you. All faculties are latent in you. Unfold them and become a Jivanmukta (liberated soul).

Positive overcomes the negative. This is the immutable law of nature. Purushartha (self-exertion) is a mightier power. Purushartha is the lion or the elephant. Prarabdha (destiny) is the cat or the jackal. God helps those who help themselves. Vasishtha asked Rama to do Purushartha. Fatalism will certainly induce inertia and laziness. Therefore, gird up your loins and exert yourself to the utmost, O Prema.

May you all attain Self-realisation or Brahma Jnana in this very birth! May you all live immersed in the ocean of bliss in an illumined state! May you shine as liberated sages!

Know Thyself

That 'Being' who is described in the Upanishads is Brahman or Atman or the Absolute. He is the fountain-head of all scriptural knowledge. He is the source or womb for everything. He is Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute and Bliss Absolute. He is indivisible, all-pervading, self-contained, eternal and immortal. He is beyond time, space and causation. He is beginningless and endless. He is the indweller of all beings. He is the witness of the activities of all the minds.

What on earth can cause fear in you when you have realised identity with Brahman? What on earth can generate hatred, delusion, difference and sorrow in you when you behold one in all, and all in one? What on earth can cause agitation in you when you have transcended the mind and when you rest peacefully in your own Sat Chit Ananda Svarupa-that magnanimous ocean of bliss and stupendous silence?

You experience disharmony and discord when Rajas (passion) and Tamas (inertia) prevail in the mind. Annihilate Tamas by increasing Rajas and destroy Rajas increasing Sattva. There will be harmony and concord when Sattva prevails in the mind. Go beyond Sattva and hear the celestial music of the Soul-music that you never heard before. It is the music of the meeting of the soul with Soul. It is the wonderful music that transcends all Ragas and Raginis. It is the unstruck music of the Infinite-that celestial melody which helps the aspirant to merge himself in Brahman. It is the music of Om or Pranava Dhvani. It is transcendental Anahata sound. It is the divine music of Krishna's flute. It is silence itself. Drown yourself in the bliss of the inner music of the soul. Its melody and sweetness are beyond description. You should experience it yourself.

You are the real master or governor of the universe. You are bound to none. Feel the majesty of yourself. Whatever your circumstances and environments may be, keep peaceful and happy. Abandon all anxiety, fear and worry. Rest in your centre. Be self-poised, self-pleased and self-contained. Sing Om. Chant Om. Meditate on Om. Realise the Self. Know the Self and be free. Now the whole world will be a heaven or a paradise for you. You are the Lord of lords, the God of all gods, the Emperor of emperors. You are in possession of the inexhaustible spiritual wealth. The sum total of the pleasures of the whole world is but a mere drop when compared to the bliss you enjoy now. You are the ocean of bliss now. What a magnificent state! Even the thousand-tongued Adisesha cannot describe it.

Message of Amrita

Amrita Putra!

Are you always peaceful? Are you noble? Do you possess self-restraint? Are you endowed with divine virtues? Are you free from ignorance? Do you possess knowledge of the Self? Have you got illumination? Have you realised the immortal, pure Self? How do you stand before these questions? If you have not got these things, then come, sit down and listen! Here is the message of Amrita for you all! Even if you practise a particle of this, you will go beyond death, sorrow and pain.

Meditate always: "I am pure consciousness, I am Sat-Chit-Ananda Brahman. I am immutable, self-effulgent, immortal Self. I am the silent witness of the three states, viz., waking state, dream state and deep sleep state. I am distinct from the body, mind, Prana and senses. I am distinct from the five sheaths". You will soon attain Self-realisation. You will attain knowledge of the Self (Brahma Jnana).

It is bondage when you are attached to your wife, son, property or body, when you take the body as the pure Self. It is liberation when you are not attached to any object of this world, when you identify yourself with the pure, immortal Atman.

Whenever there is Kama (desire), there is no Rama; whenever there is Rama there is no Kama. Whenever there is desire there is the world. Therefore, go beyond desire by cultivating discrimination (Viveka) and dispassion (Vairagya) and meditating on Brahman or the Supreme Self and be happy.

Live without the feeling of 'I-ness,' and 'mine-ness' and attachment. Restrain the senses. Observe the rules of right conduct. Get purity of heart. Hear the truth. Abide in the Self. Be happy.

As soon as you realise that you are not this body, you become free from sorrow and death. You are free from the bondage of Karma, from the fetters of desires, from the mirage of this mundane life and its concomitant evils and miseries.

'Soul' or 'Supreme Self' or 'Atma' or 'Brahman' is that abiding, constantly existing and imperishable entity which is the basis of the world, which is indivisible, self-luminous, unchanging and all-pervading, which is the silent witness or SakShi of the three states, viz., waking, dream and deep sleep. The knower of this soul or Atma attains immortality and enters the abode of bliss and nectar.

Brahman is real and eternal. This body is unreal and perishable. From the knowledge of Self (Atma) and not-self (Anatma) springs the stream of immortality or the ancient wisdom of the seers of the Upanishads.

Atma is the immortal substance or essence in man. Atma is the origin of thoughts, desires and reasonings. Atma is spiritual because it is beyond matter and mind. It must be immortal because it is spiritual. It is beyond time, space and causation. It is beginningless, endless, causeless and infinite.

If you realise this immortal soul which is hidden in your heart and all these forms, if the knots of Avidya (ignorance), Kama (desire) and Karma (action) are rent asunder, if the chain of ignorance, viz., ignorance, non-discrimination, egoism, likes and dislikes, Karma, body, etc., is broken, you will be freed from the rounds of births and deaths and enter the city of deathlessness.

The ignorant man only runs after sensual objects and falls into the mortal coils spread round him. He lives in the midst of darkness. He falls again and again under the sway of the Lord of Death (Yama). The way to Moksha is not apparent to him. He is deluded by the sensual pleasures of this world. But the patient, thoughtful man of discrimination and dispassion does not crave for the illusory pleasures of this world. He meditates on the Supreme Self and attains eternal bliss and immortality.

Moksha is the summum bonum of life. Moksha is the fulfilment of the life's purpose. Life ends in the earth plane when you attain Moksha, or liberation from births and deaths. The realisation of your real object in life is freedom or Moksha. Moksha bestows on you eternal life of undecaying bliss and perennial joy. Moksha is not annihilation. Moksha is the annihilation of this little, self-arrogating ego only. Moksha is realisation of the identity of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul. By annihilating this little self, you possess the whole of true universality. You attain life eternal-a fuller life.

If you have purity of mind and concentration, you can make the mind assume any Bhava you like. If you think of mercy, your whole being will be saturated with mercy. If you think of peace, the whole being will be filled with peace.

The spiritual path is doubtless beset with various difficulties. It is a razor path. The walk in this path is like walking on the edge of a sharp razor. You will fall down several times, but you will have to rise up quickly and walk again with more zeal, boldness and cheerfulness. Every stumbling block will become a stepping-stone to success or ascent in the hill of spiritual knowledge. Every fall will give you additional strength to rise up to a great height in the ladder of Yoga. Do not lose sight of the goal. Do not miss the ideal. Do not be discouraged. You will soon get spiritual strength from within. The Indweller will guide you and push you up. All saints and sages, all prophets and seers had to pass through tremendous struggles and severe ordeals before they reached the goal. March boldly, O fair youth, and reach the goal.

It is not true that only one attained Moksha or liberation, and none else can. History bears evidence of many a Sankara having come into this world. If the past could produce Sankaras, why not the future also? What one has achieved, can be achieved by others, also. This is the immutable law of nature. Whosoever would attain the knowledge of Self like Yajnavalkya of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, like Uddalaka of Chhandogya Upanishad, will also attain Moksha or Immortality.

The way of the enlightened sages is sinless. The way to liberation or freedom or perfect happiness and peace is through perfect purity of mind and heart, of every act, of character and life, through self-restraint and control of mind, and through regular meditation on the pure self-luminous, indivisible, all-pervading Self or Atman.

If you attain Self-realisation, all doubts will be rent asunder. Supreme contentment will ever dwell in your heart. You will be purged of Rajas and Tamas. You will be ever peaceful and happy. Therefore struggle hard to attain this rare state of supreme blessedness in this very birth.

The flame of a lamp destroys immense darkness. Even so knowledge of Self destroys ignorance or Avidya-the root-cause of human sufferings and tribulations. Therefore, attain the knowledge of the Self, get illumination and go about happily.

What is that by knowing which everything else will be known? What is that by attaining which there will be no hankering after any other thing? What is that by realising which one becomes immortal, fearless, desireless and rests in everlasting peace and happiness? It is Brahman or Atma or the ultimate Truth which is the summum bonum of life. It is the Bhuma or intelligence or the unconditioned. You can get real happiness, only by attaining this Bhuma or the Highest Self.

May you all live in the spirit of this message of Amrita! May you all be equipped with the four means of salvation through the grace of the Lord! May you all attain Self-realisation in this very birth!

Vedanta

The term Veda is derived from the Sanskrit root. 'Vid'-to know. 'Anta' means end. Thus Vedanta literally signifies "end of wisdom." Philosophy is called Vedanta, because, it explains what that end is and how to achieve it. Vedanta is the religion of the Vedas or the Upanishads. It is the only universal, eternal religion. It is the essence of the teachings of the Srutis.

Vedanta is that bold philosophy which teaches unity of life or oneness of consciousness. It is that supreme philosophy which boldly proclaims, with emphasis and force, that this little Jiva or human being is identical with the Supreme Soul or the Eternal. It is that sublime philosophy which elevates the mind at once to the magnificent heights of Brahmanhood, divine splendour and glory, which makes you absolutely fearless, which destroys all barriers that separate man from man, and which brings concord, unruffled peace and harmony to the suffering humanity at large. It is the only philosophy that can really unite, on the basis of the one common Self in all, a Hindu and a Mohammedan, Catholic and a Protestant, a Vaishnavite and a Saivite, an Irishman and an Englishman, a European and an American, on a common platform, and in the core of their hearts also. It is the only philosophy that, when properly understood and practised, can put a definite stop to the world war, dissensions, splits, communal fights, skirmishes, etc., that exist in different nations and communities.

Vedanta is a magnetic healing balm for the wounded and afflicted in the dreadful battle-field of this dire Samsara. It is the divine collyrium which removes the cataract of ignorance and gives a new inner eye of intuition or wisdom. It is the direct royal road to the domain of unalloyed felicity and the Supreme Abode of Immortality and Eternal Bliss.

It eradicates ignorance-the root-cause of human sufferings-puts an end to the ever-revolving wheel of births and deaths and confers immortality, infinite knowledge and bliss. It gives hope to the hopeless, power to the powerless, vigour to the vigourless and joy to the joyless.

Vedanta speaks of one Atma or Brahman which is beginningless, endless, timeless, spaceless, immortal, self-luminous, indivisible and all-pervading, who is Sat-Chit-Ananda.

Vedanta gives freedom for all. It embraces or includes one and all. Vedanta is neither theory nor dry philosophy for contention and argumentation. It is actual life of perennial bliss in Brahman or Truth. Equip yourself with four means. Enquire, "Who am I?" Meditate on Brahman. Know "Thou art That." O aspirants bold! Say Om Tat Sat; Om-Sat-Chit-Ananda-rupah, Sivoham, Sivoham; Sat-Chit-Ananda-Svarupoham."

Message of Gita

The Atma is not born nor does He ever die. He is unborn, eternal, changeless, ancient and inexhaustible. He is not killed when the body is killed. He slays not, nor is he slain.

A Sthitaprajna or Jivanmukta is free from desires, longings, fears, mineness, 'I-ness' and attachment. He is satisfied in his own self. He is indifferent amidst sensual pleasures. He is not elated by getting desirable objects. He has a poised mind at all times and under all conditions. He is centred in his own self.

Work incessantly without egoism and without expectation of fruits. Have a balanced mind in success and failure. You will not be bound by Karmas or actions.

The senses move among sense-objects. Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, going, sleeping, breathing, speaking, sneezing, opening and closing the eyes are the functions or Dharmas of the organs only. In reality thou art the silent witness of the activities of the senses and the modifications of the mind. Prakriti or Svabhava does everything. The Atma is actionless (Nishkriya). In essence, thou-art the Atma.

With the mind harmonised in Yoga, he who sees the Self in all beings and all beings in the Self sees the same everywhere.

He who hates no creature, who is friendly and compassionate to all, who is free from attachment and egoism, balanced in pleasure and pain, forgiving, ever-content, steady in meditation, self-controlled, possessed of firm conviction with mind and intellect dedicated to the Lord, who neither rejoices nor hates, neither grieves nor desires, who is full of devotion, who is the same to a foe and a friend in honour and dishonour, who is the same in cold and heat, in pleasure and pain, who is balanced in censure and praise, is a great devotee or Gunatita. He is very dear to the Lord.

Doubtless the mind is fleeting like the air, impetuous and restless. It is hard to be controlled. But by practice (Abhyasa) and dispassion (Vairagya) it can be controlled.

Fix your mind on the Lord. Become His devotee. Sacrifice everything unto the Lord. Bow down to Him. Surely you will attain Him. Abandon the fruits of all works. Take refuge in the Lord alone. He will liberate you from all sins.

Wherever is Krishna, the Lord of Yoga; wherever is Partha, the archer; there is prosperity, victory, happiness and sound policy.

Essence of Yoga-Vasishtha

If the four sentinels that wait at the gates of Moksha (salvation), viz., Santi (peace), Vichara (Atmic enquiry), Santosha (contentment), and Satsanga (association with the wise), are befriended, then there will be no obstacle in the attainment of the final emancipation. Even if one of them is befriended, then he will introduce you to the rest of his companions.

If you attain knowledge of the Self or Brahma Jnana, you will be freed from the trammels of births and deaths. All doubts will vanish; all Karmas will perish. It is through one's own efforts alone that the immortal, all-blissful Brahmic seat can be attained.

The slayer of Atma is the mind only. The form of the mind is Sankalpas. The true nature of the mind consists in the Vasanas. The actions of the mind alone are truly termed Karmas or actions. The universe is nothing but the mind, manifesting as such only through the potency of Brahman. The mind contemplating on the body becomes the body itself and then enmeshed in it, is afflicted by it.

The mind manifests itself as the external world in the shape of pains or pleasures. The mind subjectively is consciousness; objectively it is this universe. The mind attains, through its enemy of discrimination, the quiescent state of Para-Brahman. The real bliss is that one which arises when the mind, diverted of all desires through the eternal Jnana, destroys its subtle form. The Sankalpas and Vasanas (subtle desires), which you generate, enmesh you as in a net. The self-light of Para-Brahman alone is appearing as the mind or this universe.

Persons without Atmic enquiry will see as real this world which is nothing but of the nature of Sankalpa. The expansion of this mind alone is Sankalpa. Sankalpa, through its power of differentiation, generates this universe. Extinction of Sankalpas alone is Moksha.

The enemy of Atma is this impure mind only which is filled with excessive delusion and hosts of worldly thoughts. There is no other vessel of this earth to wade through the ocean of rebirth than the mastery of the antagonistic mind.

The original sprout of the painful Ahamkara (egoism) with its tender stem of rebirths at length ramifies itself everywhere with its long branches of 'mine' and 'thine' and yields its unripe fruits of death, disease, old age, pains and sorrows. This tree can be destroyed to its root by the fire of Jnana only.

All the heterogeneous visibles perceived through the organs of sense are only unreal but that which is real is Para Brahman or the Supreme Soul.

If all objects which have an enchanting appearance become eye-sores and present the very reverse of the former feelings, then the mind is destroyed. All your properties are useless. All wealth land you in dangers. Desirelessness will take you to the eternal blissful abode.

Destroy Vasanas and Sankalpas. Kill egoism. Annihilate this mind. Equip yourself with the four means. Meditate on the pure, immortal, all-pervading Self or Atma. Get knowledge of the Self and attain immortality, everlasting peace, eternal bliss, freedom and perfection.

Message of Wisdom

The desire to know the Brahman springs only in the person whose mind is pure, who is free from desires and who is free from the deeds done in this birth and in the previous ones, becomes disgusted with the external, ephemeral perishable objects.

Even when Brahman is explained, those who have not been purged of their faults and impurities, either disbelieve or misbelieve it as was the case with Indra, Virochana, etc. Therefore, knowledge as inculcated arises only in him who has, by Tapas, etc., performed either in this birth or in many previous births purified himself. The Sruti says: "To that high-souled man whose devotion to the Lord is great and whose devotion to his preceptor is as great as that to the Lord, these secrets explained become illuminated."

Just as the coloured water penetrates freely and nicely a piece of cloth when it is pure white, so also, the instructions of a sage can penetrate and settle down in the hearts of aspirants only when their minds are calm, when there are no desires for enjoyments and when the impurities of their minds are destroyed.

"But I assure you, on the authority of my own intuitional knowledge as well as that of other illumined souls, that the Reality can be realised by man. But one who has known it cannot communicate it to others for want of means."

-Sage Vasishtha.

Even the knowledge acquired by the five senses which are common to all cannot be communicated to others. You cannot tell the taste of butter to a man who has never tasted it or even communicate the idea of colour to one born blind.

All that a teacher can do is to tell his disciple the method of knowing the Truth or the path that leads to the disclosure of intuitional faculty.

Hold the magnificent torch of faith. Fly high the unique banner of peace. Wear the magnificent shield of dispassion. Put on the marvellous coat-of-arms of discrimination. Sing the immortal song of 'Soham'. March boldly with the banner of Pranava-Om Om Om. Blow the wonderful conch of courage. Kill the enemies-doubt, ignorance, passion and egoism-and enter the illimitable kingdom of Atma. Possess the imperishable wealth of Atma. Taste the divine immortal essence. Drink the nectar of Immortality.

Message of Peace

The kingdom of peace is beyond all speech and thought. Peace is not merely the absence of noise, tumult, strife or quarrels, controversies or disputes. It is not a condition or environment from which all undesirable elements are removed. This peace is not an inert passive state. It is not a hypnotic trance. It is not a negative physical condition. It is a positive state of spiritual attainment. It is your centre, ideal and goal. It is perfect awareness. It is a magnificent, indescribable state in which the pure soul enjoys the highest divine bliss and transcendental divine knowledge. You will become absolutely fearless and desireless by drinking this divine nectar of peace. You will be in communion with the Supreme Soul or Atma by attaining this peace. In this state of peace there are no yesterdays or tomorrows, no sunset or daybreak-there is eternal sunshine. It can hardly be acquired from external sources. It can be reached only by patient spiritual practices.

You may be in quite adverse circumstances. You may remain in the midst of calamities, troubles, tribulations, difficulties and sorrows, and yet, you may enjoy the inward harmony and peace if you rest in God by withdrawing the senses, by stilling the mind and eradicating its impurities. Lord Jesus was persecuted in a variety of ways. He was put to death on the cross and yet what did he say? He said, "O Lord, forgive them! They know not what they are doing." How peaceful He was even when His life was at stake! He was enjoying the inner peace.

The goal of life is attainment of self-realisation or God-consciousness. There is one supreme, undying, intelligent principle or essence or Atma or the Supreme Self who dwells in the chambers of your heart. He exists in the past, present and future. He is Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute and Bliss Absolute. The ignorant may vainly search for their happiness in perishable external objects that are conditioned in time, space and causation. He has no peace of mind. His desires are not gratified. He amasses wealth, begets children, gets titles, honours, name and fame and yet his mind is restless. He has no abiding joy and lasting happiness. He is still in want of something. He has no feeling of fulness. This feeling of fulness and eternal satisfaction can only be obtained by realising one's own Self through self-restraint, purity and meditation.

How long do you want to lead a life of duality, restlessness, discontentment and dissatisfaction? How long do you wish to lead a life of ignorance, bitterness, hatred and separation? How long do you wish to continue your selfish struggles? How long do you wish to behold differences and distinctions? How long do you wish to keep the barrier between man and man?

You cry for peace or Santi. But where to get it and through whom? You can realise peace in your own heart through association with the sages and by meditation. You can find this peace only in stillness. Peace can be found only within. You certainly cannot find it in external objects. Look within. Sit silently in a quiet room for one or two hours. Close your eyes. Concentrate on a point between the two eyebrows. Withdraw the senses and the mind from the external objects. Be still. Silence the surging emotions and bubbling thoughts. Forget the body and the world. Enter into the great calm. Get deep down into the innermost recesses of your heart. Plunge in the ocean of peace. Realise your oneness with the one Supreme Self that dwells in the chambers of your heart. Have four daily sittings in winter and two in summer. Be regular in your practice. Regularity is of paramount importance.

It is useless to talk of the cessation of war while you are all full of petty jealousy and private hatred. Remove your discordant, inharmonious vibrations first. There will be no more war between nations. Individuals only go to constitute a nation. Lead an ideal life of peace. Ruthlessly kill suspicion, prejudice of all sorts, envy, selfishness, greed for power and possessions. Lead a simple life. Practise daily meditation and establish peace in your own heart. Then radiate it to your neighbours and all who come in contact with you. Disseminate it far and wide.

Mysterious is this peace. If you yourself enjoy this peace, you can contribute peace to the world. Realise this Peace that passeth all understanding and be free. May this Peace guide you all! May this Peace be your centre, ideal and goal!

Philosophy and Meditation on 'Om'

Brahman or the Supreme Being is the highest of all. Om is His name. So, Om is to be adored. Om is everything. Om is the symbol of Brahman. It is the word of power. It is the sacred monosyllable. It is the essence of the Vedas. It is the boat to take you to the other chore of fearlessness and immortality.

Pranava or Om is the greatest of all Mantras. It bestows liberation directly. All Mantras begin with Om. Every hymn begins with Om. Every Upanishad begins with Om. Gayatri begins with Om. The oblations that are offered to the various gods are preceded by the chanting of Om. The greatness of Om cannot be adequately described by anybody.

That place where all speech stops, all thoughts cease, where the function of the intellect and all organs stop, is Om. The goal or word which all Vedas praise, which all scriptures proclaim and wishing for which the aspirants lead the life of Brahmacharya is Om. Om is verily the highest. It is the best support. It is the highest Truth. He who knows Om is worshipped in the world of Brahman. He obtains verily whatever he desires.

Om is formed by adoring the letters A, U and M. 'A' represents the beginning of the range of sound. 'U' represents the middle. 'M' represents the end. Thus Om covers the whole range of sound and words.

All triplets, such as, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva; Virat, Hiranyagarbha, Ishvara; Sattva, Rajas, Tamas; waking state, dream state, deep sleep state; creation, preservation and destruction, etc., are represented by Om.

Chanting of Om, Japa or silent repetition of Om, singing of Om, meditation on Om, purify the mind, remove the tossing of the mind, destroy the evil of ignorance and help the aspirant to merge in Brahman or the Supreme Self.

Om is the bow, mind is the arrow, Brahman or the Supreme Self is its aim. Hit at Brahman with a pure and one-pointed mind. Just as the arrow becomes one with the target, you will become one with Brahman.

Know this one syllable only. You will know everything. You will attain the highest knowledge.

Sit in Padma, Siddha or any comfortable pose. Concentrate on the spot midway between the two eyebrows (Trikuta). Meditate on the significance of the following formulae with Bhava or feeling. Repeat them mentally also.

Sat-Chit-Ananda-Svarupoham

I am Sat-Chit-Ananda Svarupa            Om Om Om
Aham Brahmasmi-I am Brahman        Om Om Om
I am All-pervading consciousness        Om Om Om
I am Sakshi (silent witness)                   Om Om Om
Soham, Sivoham: I am He, I am Siva   Om Om Om
I am distinct from body and mind         Om Om Om
I am Immortal. All-pervading Soul       Om Om Om

You will soon realise your identity with the Supreme Self and shine in your pristine Brahmic glory.

Jivanmukta

A Jivanmukta or liberated sage is absolutely free from desires, fear, selfishness, egoism, mineness, attachment, greed and hatred. He is full of pure love, compassion and mercy.

He has mastery over the mind and senses. He does not identify himself with the body. He always dwells in his own Inner Self. He is ever contented and happy.

He does not offend anybody in thought, word and deed. He is not hurt even a bit by taunts, censures, insults and persecutions. He keeps equanimity of mind in censure and praise, honour and dishonour, pleasure and pain.

He lives in the world but he is not of the world. He has no idea of enjoyment or enjoyer. This state is indescribable. He is Brahman himself.

He is a power-house of spiritual energy. Sit before him. Your doubts will be cleared by themselves. You will feel a peculiar thrill of joy and peace in his presence. He may not speak and yet may teach the aspirants through the language of silence.

He sleeps wherever he likes and eats anything from anybody's hands. He is above injunctions and prohibitions but he will not violate the rules of the scriptures. He is above good and evil, virtue and vice. He finds no faults with others. He never becomes angry even under extreme provocations. He is ever gentle and mild. He always speaks sweetly. He never utters harsh words. He has no dislike or hatred for any creature in this world in thought, word or deed. He blesses those who persecute him.

He speaks a few words but these words produce a tremendous impression on the minds of the hearers. They give a new life and joy to all who hear his message.

The liberated sage (the prince of ascetics) has conquered the enemy of ignorance. He has known the secret of true bliss. He has reached the imperishable seat of Brahman. He always rests in his own Sat-Chit-Ananda-Svarupa.

He has realised that he is distinct from the three bodies and five sheaths and that he is the witness of the three states. He is free from the distinctions of I, he and you.

A Jivanmukta inspired with the divine spirit, intoxicated with the immortal nectar, filled with the infinite Atma, endowed with an equal vision and balanced mind, beholds only the Self or Atma everywhere and embraces all with pure love. Glory to such awakened inspired high souls! May their blessings be upon you forever!


Chapter VII

Dialogues From Scriptures

Rama-Vasishtha-Samvada

(Yoga-Vasishtha)

Sri Rama asked: "Venerable Guru! What is attraction? What is non-attraction? What is that attraction which leads one to bondage? What is that non-attraction which tends to freedom? How can I destroy this bondage? Please enlighten me on the above points."

Vasishtha replied: "If any one believes that this body is permanent, if he fails to discriminate between the body and its presider or indweller or inner ruler who is eternal and if he thinks always of body only he is a slave to attraction and he is bound by attraction. This is attraction. This will undoubtedly lead to bondage. The belief that everything is Brahman or Atma only, and that there is nothing for one to love or hate in this universe is non-attraction. This non-attraction will lead to Moksha or final emancipation.

Jivanmuktas are endowed with non-attraction. When there is non-attraction, the mind abandons the pleasures of the world, egoism vanishes and attachment for everything perishes. The state of non-attraction leads to Moksha. Those who have attained the state of non-attraction relinquish the fruits of actions. They seek neither action nor inaction. Attraction entails one in rebirths.

This attraction is of two kinds, viz., Bandhya (binding) and Abandhya (non-binding). The former belongs to the ignorant, while the latter is the ornament of those who have attained self-realisation. The former produces rebirths through attachment to objects while the latter generates discrimination and knowledge of the Self. Lord Vishnu and the hosts of Siddhas protect this earth by performing various actions through the Abandhya attraction.

A Jivanmukta is not attached to actions though he performs manifold actions for the well-being of the world. He is quite indifferent though he associates himself with objects. He has no attraction for the objects. His mind is ever fixed in the Supreme Self only. He regards this world as an unreality. He does neither live in future expectation nor does he rely on his present possession. He does not live on the pleasure of his past memory. Sleeping, he is awake in his vision of supreme light; and waking, he is plunged in the deep, sleepless sleep of Nirvikalpa Samadhi. He does actions and remains as if he has done nothing. He does all actions without the error of believing himself as the actor. He neither rejoices nor grieves at anything. He behaves himself as a boy with boys and as a veteran with old people. He is youthful in the society of young men and is grave in the company of the wise. He rejoices at the happiness of others. He is sympathetic with the people who are in distress. O Ram! Conduct yourself in such a manner when you rule your kingdom. You will never lose sight of the Reality."

Deva-Yaksha-Samvada

(Kena Upanishad)

In the fight with the Asuras, the Devas were victorious. The Devas thought that they did so with their own power and prowess and forgot that it was divine help which brought victory to them. Lord Brahma wanted to teach them a lesson. He knew their idea of being puffed up with vanity and appeared before them in the form of a Yaksha (Great spirit) the beginning and end of which were not visible. They did not know Him. They spoke to Agni thus: "O Jataveda! Find out what this great spirit is". He said "Yes". Agni ran up to Brahma and Brahma said: "Who art thou"? He replied: "I am verily Agni, I am verily Jatavedas". Brahma asked Agni: "What power hast thou?" Agni replied: "I can even burn whatsoever there is on the earth". Brahma placed a blade of grass before Agni and said: 'Burn this'. Agni approached it with all its power. He could not burn it. Next came Vayu (the god of wind). Brahma asked Vayu: "What power hast thou?" Vayu replied: "I can blow away all the universe and all that is on the earth". Brahma placed a blade of grass before Vayu and said: "Blow this away". Vayu approached it with all his power and was not able to make it move an inch from its place. Last of all the chief of the Devas, Indra himself came. But when he reached the spot he found that the Yaksha had vanished. Indra was in a state of great dilemma. He was confused and perplexed. When he was thus standing there, bewildered and ashamed at their defeat, Uma (Haimavati)-the daughter of Himavan (Himalayas) and the consort of Lord Siva-appeared before him and revealed to him the real identity of the Yaksha. Then only Indra knew the 'spirit' to be Brahma. He verily became excellent before the other gods on account of the grace of the Mother Uma.

On account of egoism, you think that you do everything and so you are bound. Feel that you are an instrument in the hands of God. God works through your hands, beholds through your eyes, hears through your ears, smells through your nose. You will be freed from egoism and the bondage of Karma. You will attain peace and become one with God. This is the secret of Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga.

Yajnavalkya-Maitreyi-Samvada

Yajnavalkya, the greatest seer and sage, said: "Maitreyi, verily, I am going away from this house into the forest to enter another order of life (Sannyasa); therefore let me divide my property between you and Katyayani".

Maitreyi said: "My venerable lord, if this whole world with all its wealth belongs to me, tell me truly, could I attain immortality".

"No," replied Yajnavalkya, "Like the life of rich people will be your life; but there is no hope of obtaining immortality by wealth".

Maitreyi: "Of what use would be wealth to me, if I do not become thereby immortal? Tell me, O venerable lord, any means of attaining immortality of which thou knowest".

Yajnavalkya replied: "Come, sit down, my beloved Maitreyi, I will explain it to thee. Try to understand well what I say".

Yajnavalkya said: "Verily, not indeed for the husband's sake the husband is dear, but for the sake Of the Self the husband is dear. Verily, not indeed for the wife's sake the wife is dear, but for the sake of the Self the wife is dear. Verily, not indeed for the sake of the son the son is dear, but for the sake of the Self the son is dear. Verily, this immortal all-pervading Atman or Brahman is to be seen, heard, reflected and meditated upon, O Maitreyi: Atma Vaare Drashtavyah Srotavyo Mantayo Nididhyasitavyah".

O Maitreyi! When there is duality, one sees the other, one smells the other, one tastes the other, one salutes the other, one speaks to the other, one touches the other, one knows the other, but when the Self or Atma only is all this, how could one see the other, how could he smell the other, touch the other, know the other? How could he know Him by whom he knows all this? That Self is to be described by "No, no" (Neti, Neti). Atma nor the Supreme Self is imperishable. He is free and unattached. He is not subject to pain or destruction. How could one know the knower? Thus, O beloved Maitreyi, thou hast been instructed".

Having said this, Yajnavalkya went to the forest.

Nachiketo-Yama-Samvada

(Katha Upanishad)

Nachiketas said: "That which thou seest as other than virtue and vice, other than cause and effect, other than the past and future, tell me that, O Lord Yama. This is my third boon from thee".

Yama replied: "The goal which all the Vedas speak of, which all penances proclaim and wishing for which the aspirants lead the life of a Brahmacharin or celibate, that goal I will briefly tell thee. It is Om".

This word is verily Brahman; this word is verily the highest; he who knows this word, obtains, verily whatever he wishes-he attains Immortality and Eternal Bliss.

This Atman is beginningless, endless, birthless, deathless, changeless, formless, attributeless, and colourless. He is without sound, touch, smell and taste. He is eternal, immortal, all-pervading, self-luminous, indivisible, one without a second. He is beyond, Avyaktam or the unmanifested. He dwells in the intellect or the cave of the heart. He is the inner Self of all beings.

He who is free from desires, whose mind is concentrated and peaceful, whose senses are subdued, beholds this mysterious Atman through meditation and intuition in his own intellect and enjoys immortality and everlasting peace and bliss.

This Atman is hidden in all beings. It is realised by subtle seers through their sharp and subtle intellect, with eyes and other senses turned from sensual objects.

When all desires are destroyed, when the three knots of the heart, i.e., Avidya (ignorance), Kama (desire), Karma (work) are rent asunder, when, the five organs of knowledge are at rest together with the mind and when the intellect ceases functioning or becomes calm, you will attain immortality or Parama Gati or the highest state.

Just as you draw the pith or stalk from a reed, so also, you will have to draw or take out this essence of Atma from the body or the five sheaths patiently and boldly through meditation, Vichara or enquiry and Viveka (discrimination)".

Nachiketas got clear instructions on Brahma Vidya from Lord Yama through the third boon granted by Yama, practised meditation and attained Brahman, i.e., became immortal through knowledge of the Self. Any qualified student like Nachiketas who knows the Atman can surely attain immortality.

"Om Saha navavatu, Saha nau bhunaktu,
Saha viryam Karavavahai'; Tejasvi navadhitamastu,

Ma vidvishavahai."

Om Santih! Santih! Santih!

"Om! May He protect us both (teacher and pupil). May He cause us both to enjoy the bliss of Mukti. May we both exert together to find out the true meaning of the scriptures. May our studies be fruitful. May we never quarrel with each other".

Om Peace ! Peace ! Peace !

Kausalya-Pippalada-Samvada

(Prasna Upanishad)

Kausalya, son of Asvala, questioned Pippalada: "O Bhagavan Pippalada: Whence is this Prana born? How does it come into this body? How does it abide after it has divided itself? How does it go out? How does it support what is without? How does it support all within the body?"

He replied: "You ask questions about transcendental matters. I will explain to thee because you are a great enquirer of Brahman.

This Prana is born of the Atman. As is this shadow in the man, so is this Prana in the Atman. By the action of the mind this enters into this body.

As a king commands his officers, saying to them: 'Govern these or those villages', so does this Prana dispose the other Pranas, each for their separate allotted work.

The Apana dwells in the organs of excretion and generation: the Prana itself abides in the eye, ear, mouth and nose. In the middle is Samana. It distributes the food supplied equally and the seven flames proceed from it.

This Atman is in the heart. Here there are a hundred and one nerves (arteries). Each of them has a hundred branches; again every one of these has seventy-two thousand sub-branches. In these the Vyana moves.

Again, through one other, the Udana ascending, leads us upwards to the virtuous world by good work; to sinful worlds by sin: and to the world of men by virtue and sin combined.

The sun verily is the external Prana. He rises and assists the Prana in the eye. The goddess of the earth attracts Apana downwards. The other (between the sun and the earth) is Samana. The wind is Vyana.

The external fire indeed is Udana. Therefore, he whose fire has gone out, enters another body with his senses absorbed in the mind.

Whatever his thought (at the time of death), with that he attains Prana: and the Prana united with Udana together with the Jivatma, leads on to the world thought of. The learned man who knows Prana thus-his offspring does not perish and he becomes immortal.

He who knows the origin, the entry, the seat, the fivefold distribution of Prana and its internal state in the body, obtains immortality, yea, obtains immortality".

Uddalaka-Svetaketu-Samvada

(Chhandogya Upanishad)

Uddalaka said: "Svetaketu! Have you ever asked your teacher for that instruction by which we hear what cannot be heard, by which we perceive what cannot be perceived, by which we know what cannot be known?"

Svetaketu said: "What is that instruction, Sir?"

The father replied, "My dear, just as by a single lump of clay, all that is made of clay is known, all modifications being only a name based upon words, (the difference being only a name arising from speech) but the truth being that all is clay-thus, my dear, is that instruction".

"Please Sir, explain to me further" said Svetaketu.

Uddalaka: "Bring me a fruit of that Nyagrodha tree (banyan tree)".

Svetaketu: "Here is one, Sir."

Uddalaka: "Break it."

Svetaketu: "It is broken, Sir."

Uddalaka: "What do you see there?"

Svetaketu: "Those extremely small seeds, Sir."

Uddalaka: "Break one of them, my dear."

Svetaketu: "It is broken, Sir."

Uddalaka: "What do you see there?"

Svetaketu: "Nothing, Sir."

The father said: "My son, that subtle essence which you do not perceive there, of that very essence this great Nyagrodha tree grows (exists). Believe me, my son."

"Now, that which is the subtle essence (the root of all) in That all that exists has its Self; that is the Self; That is the Truth; That thou art, O Svetaketu!"

"Please, Sir, explain to me further," said the son. "Be it so, my child," replied the father.

Uddalaka: "Place this salt in the water and come to me in the morning."

Svetaketu, the son, did as he was commanded.

The father said to him: "Bring the salt, my dear, which you put in the water last night."

The son looked for it and did not find it, for it had become dissolved.

The father said: "My child, taste it from the surface of the water. How is it?"

The son replied: "It is salt."

Uddalaka: "Taste it from the middle. How is it?"

The son replied: "It is salt."

Uddalaka: "Taste it from the bottom. How is it?"

The son replied: "It is salt."

The father said: "Throw it away and come to me."

The son did so; 'It exists for ever.'

Then the father said to him: "Here also in this body, forsooth, you do not perceive the Truth (Sat or Pure Being), my son, but there it is indeed."

The father said: "Now that which is the subtle essence (the root of all), in That all that exists has its Self: That is the Self; that is the Truth; That thou art; O Svetaketu."

Yajnavalkya-Gargi-Samvada

(Brihadaranyaka Upanishad)

Gargi, daughter of Vachuknu said: "I shall ask thee two questions. Will you answer me, O venerable sage?"

Yajnavalkya said: "Ask, O Gargi."

Gargi said: "O Yajnavalkya, that of which they say that is above the heavens, beneath the earth, embracing heaven and earth, past, present and future, tell me in what is it woven, like the warp and the woof."

Yajnavalkya replied: "In ether or Akasa."

Gargi said: "I bow to thee, O Yajnavalkya. Be prepared for the second question,"

Yajnavalkya said: "Ask, O Gargi."

Gargi said: "In what is the ether woven and rewoven like the warp and the woof?"

Yajnavalkya replied: "O Gargi, in Brahman is the ether woven and rewoven like the warp and the woof. Sages call this the Akshara (the imperishable). It is neither coarse, nor subtle, neither short nor long, neither red nor white. It is neither shadow nor darkness. It is without ears, eyes, or mind, or breath, without speech, without smell, without mouth. It has no within and no without."

"By the command of this Indestructible Being, O Gargi, sun and moon, heaven and earth, stand upheld in their places. By the command of this Akshara, O Gargi, minutes, hours, days, nights, weeks, months, seasons and years stand apart."

"Whosoever, O Gargi, without knowing the Akshara, departs from this world, becomes a miser. But he, O Gargi, who departs from this world, knowing this Indestructible Being, is a true Brahman or liberated sage."

"That Brahman, O Gargi, although unseen, but He sees; although unheard, but He hears; although unthought, but He thinks; although unknown, but He knows. There is none that sees but He, there is none that hears but He, there is none that thinks but He, there is none that knows but He. In that Akshara, then, O Gargi, the ether is woven and rewoven like the warp and the woof."

On hearing these words of wisdom from the mouth of Yajnavalkya, Gargi became silent.

Prajapati-Indra-Samvada

(Chhandogya Upauishad)

Prajapati said: "One must search out and must try to understand the Self or Atman which is free from sin, old age, death, grief, hunger and thirst, with true desires (Sat-Kama), and true will (Sat-Sankalpa). Then only he will obtain eternal bliss and immortality."

Indra said: "O Venerable Lord! I want to know the Atman. Please instruct me."

Prajapati said: "Adorn yourself well; dress yourself well; clean yourself well and then look at yourself in the basin of water."

Indra did so.

Prajapati said: "O Indra ! What do you see?"

He replied: "I behold myself in the basin of water well-adorned, well-dressed and clean."

Prajapati said: "That is the Self, the Immortal, the Fearless-that is Brahman."

Indra was not satisfied with this instruction. He reflected within himself: "The Atman also will be blind, if the body is blind; lame, if the body is lame; one-eyed, if the body is one-eyed; crippled, if the body is crippled; and will perish if the body perishes. Therefore I see no good in this doctrine."

He again went to Prajapati.

Prajapati Said: "The Self that dreams is the Immortal, Fearless, Brahman."

Indra was not satisfied with this doctrine also. He reflected: "Though the dream self is not blind when the body is blind, not one-eyed when the body is one-eyed, is not destroyed when the body is destroyed yet it becomes conscious of pain and sheds tears even in dream. Therefore I see no good in this".

Indra again went to Prajapati.

Prajapati said: "The Self that enjoys deep sleep is the Immortal, Fearless, Brahman."

Indra reflected: "In deep sleep there is utter annihilation. I do not get any intuitional knowledge, I see no good in this doctrine also."

Indra again went to Prajapati.

Prajapati said: "O Indra, this body is mortal. The embodied self is subject to pleasure and pain. The eye is the instrument of seeing. The nose is the instrument of smelling. The ear is the instrument of hearing. But the Atman or Brahman is the silent witness (Sakshi). He is immortal, fearless. He is distinct from the three bodies, the three Avasthas or states of consciousness the mind, body and senses."

Indra meditated on Brahman and attained Eternal Bliss and Immortality through Brahma-Jnana or knowledge of the Brahman.


Chapter VIII

Self-Realisation

Behind this world-show, behind these physical phenomena, behind these names and forms, behind the feelings, thoughts, emotions and sentiments there dwells the silent witness thy immortal friend and real well-wisher-the Purusha or world teacher, the unseen governor or master, the unknown Yogi, the indivisible power of consciousness or hidden sage. That is the only permanent reality and living truth. That is Brahman or the Supreme Being or the Absolute. That is Atma. That is Self. The goal of human life is to realise the reality behind the changing phenomena. The summum bonum of human aspiration is to attain Self-realisation. Self-realisation alone can make you absolutely free and independent. Trust not your body, mind and senses. Have inner spiritual life. Attain knowledge of the Self through steady devotion and discipline. Drink the nectar of immortality, quench the flames of Samsara and allay its tortures, miseries and sorrows.

Friends! Is there not a higher mission in life besides eating, sleeping and talking? Is there not any higher form of eternal bliss than these transitory and illusory pleasures? Is there not a dignified life than the sensual life? How uncertain is life here! How insecure is our existence in this earth-plane with various kinds of fear! How painful is this mundane life? Should we not attempt diligently now to reach a place-the immortal abode, our original sweet home of pristine purity and divine splendour-where there is eternal sunshine, absolute security, perfect peace and where there is neither disease, nor death, nor war?

Come, come! Become a Yogi. Come out of your narrow holes or ruts. Crush all sorts of superstitions. Aim high. To become an advocate, or a doctor, or an engineer, or a professor, is the height of your ambition. Can this give you freedom? Can this give you eternal bliss? Can this give you everlasting peace? Can this make you immortal? Do you not like to attain perfection or immortality? Do you not wish to achieve the summum bonum of existence-Kaivalya or independence-Atma Svarajya? Then come, struggle for higher things. Be bold! Look not back. March forward! Enquire: "Who am I?" Hear, reflect, meditate and realise the Atmic splendour!

Om is Sat-Chit-Ananda. Om is Infinite. Om is Eternal. Om is Immortality. Sing Om. Chant Om. Feel Om.

Santi! Santi! Santi!

Peace! Peace! Peace!


Chapter IX

Messages

New Year Message

By the command of the Indestructible Being, minutes, hours, days and nights, stand apart. By the command of the Immortal Brahman, months, years, seasons and solstices stand apart. He who knows this Indestructible Being is a liberated sage or Jivanmukta.

Time rolls on. New becomes old and old becomes new again. Today is the most auspicious New Year's day. God has given you another chance this year to enable you to strive for your salvation. Today man is. Tomorrow he is not. Therefore avail yourself of this golden opportunity, struggle hard and reach the goal of life. Make the best use of every moment of this New Year. Unfold all latent faculties. Here is a chance to begin life anew, to grow and evolve and become a superhuman or a great dynamic Yogi.

On this glorious New Year's day make a strong resolve to wipe away all the old worldly Vasanas or tendencies and bad impressions and to control the senses and the mind.

Know the value of time. Time is most precious. Utilise every second profitably. Live every moment of your life for the realisation of your ideal and goal. Do not procrastinate. That "tomorrow" will never come. Now or never. Abandon idle gossiping. Kill egoism, laziness and inertia. Forget the past. A glorious and brilliant future is awaiting you.

Equal vision is the touchstone of knowledge. Unselfishness is the touchstone of virtue. Brahmacharya is the touchstone of ethics. Oneness is the touchstone of Self-realisation. Humility is the touchstone of devotion. Therefore, be unselfish, humble and pure. Develop equal vision. Be in tune with the Infinite.

Satyam (truth) is the seed. Ahimsa is the root. Meditation is the shower. Santi (peace) is the flower. Moksha (salvation) is the fruit. Therefore, speak the truth, practise Ahimsa and meditation. Cultivate Santi. You will attain the final emancipation or freedom from the trammels of births and deaths, and enjoy Eternal bliss.

Be thou a spiritual warrior of Truth. Put on the armour of discrimination. Wear the shield of dispassion. Hold the flag of Dharma. Sing the song of Soham or Sivoham. March boldly with the band of Pranava-Om Om Om. Blow the conch of courage. Kill the enemies of doubt, ignorance, passion and egoism and enter the illimitable kingdom of blissful Brahman. Possess the imperishable wealth of Atma. Taste the divine immortal essence. Drink the nectar of Immortality.

May this bright New Year's day and all the succeeding days of this year and all the future years also bring you all success, peace, prosperity and happiness. May you all tread the path of Truth and righteousness! May you enjoy the eternal bliss of the Absolute, leading a divine life, singing Lord's name, sharing what you have with others, serving the poor and the sick with Atma Bhava and melting the mind in silent meditation in the Supreme Self.

Guru Purnima Message

Guru Purnima is a very auspicious day for doing vigorous Sadhana or Yogic practice and for starting any spiritual Sadhana also. This is the Ashadha Purnima day. This is also known by the name Vyasa Puja day. Sri Vyasa and the Brahma Vidya Gurus are worshipped on this day.

On this memorable day, Sri Vyasa, one of the Chiranjeevis, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, began to write his unique Brahma Sutras or Vedanta Sutras and Mahabharata. Chaturmasa for Sannyasins begins from this day. Sannyasins stay in one place during rainy season for four months, study Brahma Sutras and practise meditation.

Live on milk and fruits on this day, practise rigorous Japa and Dhyana. Worship your Guru and feed the Mahatmas. Sadhus and the poor. Study the Brahma Sutras and do some lakhs of Japa (Anushthana or Purascharana) of your Guru Mantra or Ishta Mantra during the Chaturmasa. You will be highly benefited.

Guru is Brahman or Isvara Himself. Guru is your real father, mother, friend, guide and saviour. The Grace of the Guru is indispensable for the spiritual progress of the aspirants. The Sruti says, "To that high-souled aspirant whose devotion to the Lord is great and whose devotion to his Guru is as great as that to the Lord, these secrets explained become illuminated."

Brahman or the Supreme Self alone is real. He is the Soul of all. He is All in all. He is the Essence of this universe. He is the Unity that never admits of a duality under all the varieties and diversities of nature. Thou art this Immortal, All-pervading, All-blissful Brahman. Thou art That. Realise this and be free-Tat Tvam Asi.

Remember the four important verses of the Brahma Sutras. (1) "Athato Brahmajijnasa-now therefore, the enquiry of Brahman." (2) "Janmadyasya Yatah-From which proceed the origin, etc." (3) "Sastra-Yonitvat-The scriptures being the means of right knowledge." (4) Tat Tu Samanvayat-But That, because It is the main support."

Now sing: "Jaya Guru Siva Guru Hari Guru Ram, Jagad Guru Param Guru Sat Guru Syam."

Remember and adore Sri Vyasa and the Brahma Vidya Gurus. May their blessings be upon you all.

Dussera Message

Salutations to Sri Durga (Mother Divine) Who exists in all beings in the form of intelligence, mercy, beauty; Who is the consort of Lord Siva; who creates, sustains and destroys the universe.

Dussera is the greatest Hindu festival of adoring God as Mother. Durga represents the Divine Mother. She is the energy aspect of the Lord. Without Durga, Siva has no expression and without Siva, Durga has no existence. Siva is the soul of Durga. Durga is identical with Siva. Lord Siva is only the silent witness. He is motionless, absolutely changeless. He is not affected by the cosmic play. Durga does everything.

Mother-worship is the worship of God as the Divine Mother-Sri Mata. Sakti is the power of the Lord or the cosmic energy. The Divine Mother in Her aspect of Durga is represented as having ten different weapons in her hands. She is sitting on a lion. She keeps up the Lila of the Lord through the three Gunas-Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Vidya, Santi, lust, anger, greed, egoism and pride are all Her forms.

The Upasana or worship of Devi or Universal Mother leads to the attainment of knowledge of the Self. The story of the Kena Upanishad known as the "Yaksha Prasna" supports this view. Uma taught the Truth to the Devas. Goddess Sakti sheds wisdom on Her devotees.

A child is more familiar with the mother than with the father, because she is very kind, loving, tender, affectionate and looks after the wants of the child. In the spiritual field also the aspirant or the devotee-the spiritual child-has intimate relationship with the Mother Durga than with the Father Siva. It behoves, therefore, that the aspirant should approach the Mother first and She will introduce Her spiritual child to the Father for his illumination or Self-realisation.

Mother's grace is boundless. Her mercy is illimitable. Her knowledge is infinite. Her power is immeasurable. Her glory is ineffable. Her splendour is indescribable. She gives you Bhukti or material prosperity and Mukti (liberation) also.

Approach Her with an open heart. Lay bare your heart to Her with frankness and humility. Be as simple as a child. Kill ruthlessly egoism, cunningness, selfishness and crookedness. Make total, unreserved, ungrudging surrender to Her. Sing Her praise. Repeat Her name. Worship Her with faith and unflinching devotion. Do special Puja on Navaratri days. Navaratri or Dussera is the most suitable occasion for doing intense Sadhana. These nine days are very sacred to Devi. Plunge yourself in Her worship. Do Anushthana. Devi fought with Bhandasura and his forces for nine days and nine nights. The war ended in the evening of the tenth day known as Vijaya Dasami day or the day of victory. Aspirants are initiated on this day. Akshara Abhyasa for children is done on Vijaya Dasami day. The beginning of learning of any science is done on this most auspicious day. It was on this day that Arjuna worshipped the Devi before starting the fight against the Kauravas on the field of Kurukshetra.

May Durga give the milk of divine wisdom to Her children and lift them to the magnificent heights of divine splendour and glory, the imperishable state of Kaivalya and eternal Sunshine!

Deepavali Message

Deepavali is the festival of lamps. It is observed almost throughout India with great pomp and show. It is a time of great rejoicing and worshipping among the Hindus and lasts for two days. This is held at the beginning of the Hindu commercial year in honour of the Goddess Lakshmi.

It commemorates that blessed day when Sri Rama returned to Ayodhya after killing Ravana. On this day Sri Krishna killed the demon Narakasura.

In South India all take oil-bath in the morning and wear new clothes. At this festival, Hindu merchants in North India begin their new account books and pray for success and prosperity during the coming year. The houses of the Hindus are cleaned and decorated by day and illuminated by night with earthen lamps. The best and finest illuminations are to be seen in Bombay and Amritsar. The famous Golden Temple at Amritsar is lit in the evening with thousands of lamps which are placed all over the steps on the sides of the big tank. Vaishnavites celebrate Govardhana Puja and feed the people on a large scale  Annakoot or Samashti Bhandara).

O Ram! The Light of lights, the self-luminous inner light of Atman is ever burning steadily in the chambers of your heart. Sit quietly. Close your eyes. Withdraw the senses. Fix the mind on this supreme light (Param Jyoti) and enjoy the real Deepavali, by attaining illumination of the soul.

Egoism or Ahamkara is the real Narakasura. Kill this egoism through the sword of Atma-Jnana or knowledge of the Self, merge in Sri Krishna, the supreme light of the world, and enjoy the spiritual Deepavali of inner illumination.

He who Himself sees all, whom no one beholds, who illumines the intellect, the sun, moon and stars and the whole universe, but whom they cannot illumine-That is Brahman. That is Atma. Celebrate the real Deepavali by living in Brahman and enjoy the eternal bliss of the soul.

The sun does not shine there, nor do the moon and the stars, nor do these lightnings shine and much less this fire. All the lights of the world cannot be compared even to a ray of the inner light of the soul. Merge yourself in this Light of lights and enjoy the supreme Deepavali.

Many Deepavali festivals have come and gone. Yet the hearts of the vast majority of persons are as dark as the new-moon night. The house is lit with the lamps but the heart is full of darkness of ignorance. O man! Wake up from the slumber of ignorance. Realise the constant and eternal light of the soul which has neither rising nor setting through meditation and Vichara or enquiry and dispel the darkness of ignorance.

May you all attain full inner illumination! May the Supreme Light of lights enlighten your understanding! May you all get the inexhaustible spiritual wealth of Atma! May you all prosper gloriously in the material and spiritual planes?

Advice to Students

Om! Friends, you are the future hope of the motherland. You are the citizens of tomorrow. You should always think over the goal of life and live to attain it. The goal of life is the attainment of freedom from all sorts of misery or the state of Kaivalya or liberation from the cycle of births and deaths. Lead a well-regulated moral life. Moral strength is the backbone of spiritual progress. Ethical culture is part and parcel of spiritual Sadhana. Keep up Brahmacharya or the vow of celibacy. By the observance of Brahmacharya many of the sages of yore have attained immortality. Brahmacharya is the source of new strength, vigour, vitality and success in life, and eternal happiness hereafter. Loss of this vital energy is the cause of disease, miseries and premature death. Therefore, take particular care to preserve this vital energy. Practice of Brahmacharya gives good health, inner strength, peace of mind and long life. It invigorates the mind and the nerves and helps to conserve physical and mental energy. It augments the strength and courage. It gives power to face the difficulties in the daily battle of life. A perfect Brahmachari can, like Jnanadeva, move the world, can command nature and the five elements. Develop faith in the Vedas and the power of Mantra. Practise meditation daily. Take Sattvic food. Do not overload the stomach. Repent for your mistakes. Admit your faults freely. Never try to hide your faults by lame excuses or by uttering falsehoods. Obey the laws of nature. Take plenty of physical exercise daily. Perform the prescribed duties at the appointed time. Develop simple living and high thinking. Give up vile imitation. Get thorough overhauling of your wrong-Samskaras you have created through bad association. Study the Upanishads, the Yoga-Vasishtha, the Brahma Sutras and Sri Sankara's Select Works and other scriptures. Therein you will find real solace and peace. Some Western philosophers have declared: "We are Christians by birth and faith but we can find the peace which the mind wants and the satisfaction the soul needs only in the Upanishads of the seers of East." Move amicably with all. Love all. Serve all. Develop adaptability and the spirit of selfless service and penetrate into the hearts of all through untiring service. This is verily Advaitic realisation of unity or oneness.

Message of Freedom

Om, Children of immortality! The Lord is within you. He is seated in the hearts of all beings. Whatever you see, hear, touch or feel is God. Therefore, hate not anybody, cheat not anybody, harm not anybody. Love all and be one with all. You will soon attain eternal bliss and perennial joy. Be self-disciplined. Be simple and harmonious in thought, feeling, diet and dress. Love all. Fear none. Shake off lethargy, laziness, fear. Lead the Divine Life. Be a seeker after truth or reality. Understand sorrow and conflict through enquiry and reflection. Move towards freedom, perfection and eternal bliss every second. Is there any one among you who can say with emphasis and force: "Now I am a deserving aspirant. I am yearning for Moksha. I have equipped myself with the four means. I have purified my heart through selfless service, Kirtan and Japa. I have served the Guru with faith and devotion and I have attained his grace and blessings." That man can save the world. He will soon become a cosmic beacon-light, a unique torch-bearer of wisdom, a dynamic Yogi. O man! Get yourself ready now. It is a shameful thing that you have lived in vain till now and spent the life in eating, drinking, sleeping, idle gossiping and worthless pursuits. You have not done any meritorious act. The hour draws nearer. It is not too late even now. Start Namasmaran, or the repetition of the Lord's Name from this second. Be sincere and earnest. Love all. You can make yourself worthy of His Grace. You can cross the formidable ocean of births and deaths and attain eternal bliss and immortality. Never miss a day in meditation. Regularity is of paramount importance. When the mind is tired, do not concentrate. Give it a little rest. Do not take heavy food at night. It will disturb your morning meditation. Japa, Kirtan, Pranayama, Satsanga or association with sages, practice of Sama (serenity), Dama (self-restraint), Yama (right conduct), Sattvic or pure food, study of scriptures, meditation, Vichara (Atmic enquiry) all will help you to control the mind and attain eternal bliss and immortality. If evil thoughts enter your mind, do not use your will-force to drive them away. You will lose your energy. Om.


Chapter X

Questions And Answers

Viveka Prasnottari

Q: Where can you find eternal happiness?
A: In your own Atman within.

Q: Which is the most troublesome organ?
A: Tongue.

Q: Who is your terrible enemy?
A: Mind.

Q: Who is your best friend?
A: Satsanga or association with the wise.

Q: Who is your real father?
A: Guru.

Q: Which is the best language?
A: Language of the heart.

Q: Which is the best virtue?
A: Brahmacharya.

Q: Which is the worst intoxicant?
A: Lust.

Q: Which is the sacred river?
A: Brahma Jnana.

Q: Who is the real king?
A: A Jivanmukta or liberated sage.

Q: Which is the best Dharma?
A: Selfless service.

Q: Which is the worst quality?
A: Anger.

Q: Which is the best thing in this world?
A: Pain (because it is the eye-opener, it goads you to seek liberation.)

Q: Which is the best food?
A: Hearing of the Srutis or Upanishads.

Q: Who is the best man?
A: A kind-hearted man.

Q: Who is the worst man?
A: A selfish man.

Q: Where is the worst hell?
A: In the mind filled with jealousy, crookedness and hatred.

Q: Where is the best heaven?
A: In the heart filled with love, mercy and generosity.

Q: Which is the best science?
A: Brahma-Vidya or the science of Atman.

Q: Which is the most precious thing in this world?
A: Vairagya or dispassion.

Q: Who is the strongest man?
A: He who practises Ahimsa, he who can bear insults, injuries and persecutions with a smiling face.

Q: Who is a weak man?
A: An irritable man.

Q: Who is the happiest man?
A: A Tyagi or a man of renunciation.

Q: Who is the most miserable man?
A: A rich man.

Q: Who is the most beautiful man?
A: A Yogi.

Q: Who is the ugliest man?
A: A greedy man.

Q: Who is a beggar?
A: He who has desires.

Q: Which is the biggest ocean?
A: Ocean of Bliss (Brahman or Atman).

Q: Which is the most dangerous thing in this world?
A: Company of a worldly man.

Q: Which is the greatest temptation?
A: Woman for a man, man for a woman.

Q: Which is the most desirable thing?
A: Brahma Jnana.

Q: Who is the best engine driver?
A: God.

Q: Which is the most wonderful machine or engine?
A: Mind.

Q: Which is the biggest factory in this world?
A: Mental factory.

Q: Who is a real drunkard?
A: He who is intoxicated with the pride of wealth and learning.

Q: Who is a real blind man?
A: He who has no inner divine eye or the eye of intuition.

Q: Who is the real cobbler?
A: He who thinks that the body is Atman and talks always of matters concerning the body.

Q: What is your foremost duty?
A: To find out this hidden driver of this body-engine to love Him, to live for Him, to serve Him, to know Him, to realise Him, to live in Him and merge in Him.

Q: Why did the All-merciful God create pain in this world?
A: Pain is the only blessing in this world. It is an eye-opener. Man would never attempt to attain salvation if there had not been any pain in this world.

Q: How can I know whether I have purity of mind or not?
A: If you have Vairagya (dispassion or indifference to sensual enjoyments), that is a sign of Chitta Suddhi or purity of mind. No sensual desires or Vasanas will arise in the mind.

Q: What is the purpose of God creating the world?
A: This is a transcendental question or Atiprasna. You will know the purpose when you attain Self-realisation or Brahma Jnana. The finite mind that is conditioned in time, space and causation cannot get an answer to a question that relates to transcendental matters.

Q: What is the use of repeating the Mantra again and again?
A: It gives force. It intensifies the spiritual Samskaras.

Q: When I concentrate, so many thoughts arise in my mind. How can I avoid them? Can I suppress them?
A: Do not try to suppress them with force. The thoughts will manifest with redoubled force. They will rise up frequently also. You will tax your will and waste your energy. Be a silent witness of these thoughts. Say unto yourself: "I have no concern with these thoughts." Be indifferent. All useless worldly thoughts will die by themselves.

Q: How to prevent bad dreams?
A: Study any religious book. Meditate for half an hour just before retiring to bed. You will have no bad dreams.

Q: What are the signs of a person who has no Ahamkara or egoism?
A: He will not identify himself with his body. He will be free from pride, likes, dislikes, jealousy, anger and hypocrisy.

Q: Why does evil exist in the world?
A: Change the angle of vision or Drishti. All evils will disappear. Evil is negative good. Evil exists to glorify good. It has a raison d'etre, reason for its existence. Evil and good are relative terms. What is good at one time is evil at another time. What is good for one is evil for another. Understand this and become wise. Behold the one Atman in all forms and beings. Evil and good are mental creations. Transmute evil into good by Atma-Drishti. There is good in evil also.

Q: How to lead the life of unity?
A: This is attained by service, charity, sharing what you have with others, cultivating cosmic love and realising the one Atman seated in the hearts of all, through constant Brahmachintana or meditation on Atman.

How to Live a Divine Life

1. Nitya Sukha, Parama Santi, eternal satisfaction, Infinite Bliss, knowledge and Immortality can be had only in God or Atman who gives light to the intellect and the Sun. Therefore, realise the Sat-Chit-Ananda Atma through meditation right now, this very second, by purifying the mind.

2. Samsara (world) is Mithya, Asara, Apadramaniya, evanescent, impermanent, full of miseries, untruth, hatred and selfishness, disease and pain. It is a long dream. Be not worldly.

3. Time is most precious. Utilise every second profitably.

4. Serve Sadhus, Sannyasins, the sick, the poor and the country. This is Pada-Sevan of God.

5. Whenever your friend is annoyed with you, speak to him first, with a smile, and apologise sincerely with tears in your eyes even though you may be in the right. Serve him nicely with Prema. Vindictive spirit is a deadly enemy of peace, devotion and Jnana.

6. Observe Mouna (silent) during eating. Observe Mouna for six hours on Sundays.

7. Keep the pictures of Saints and Sages in your bedroom and the front room. Do not keep any obscene pictures in the house.

8. Speak the truth, preserve Veerya and control anger by Kshama, love and service. Repeat 'Om Santih' twelve times mentally and drink some cold water when you detect the least symptom of irritation in your mind.

9. Sleep always alone. Take one meal and some milk at night on Sundays. Do one lakh of Rama-Nama Japa on Sundays.

10. Write daily for half an hour in a notebook the Mantra of your Ishta Devata or "Rama Rama." Write down in bold types on slips of paper "Speak Truth." "Om Courage," "Om Purity," "I am immortal Atman," "I must realise God now," "Time is most precious," "I will be a true Brahmachari" and "Brahmacharya is Divine Life" and fix them in the bedroom, front rooms and verandah. Keep some slips in your pocket.

11. Keep always a few pies in your pocket and distribute them daily to the poor and the decrepit.

12. Do Hari-Kirtan at night. Sing "Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare-Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare" along with the members of your family and servants of your house for one hour.

13. Study Gita or Upanishads, Ramayana, Bhagavata or Yoga Vasishtha for one hour in the evening with some of your friends. The ladies of the household should also do this.

Epilogue

The beginning of saintliness is killing of egoism or Ahamkara. The end of saintliness is Eternal Life. The key to saintliness is humility and self-mortification. The light of saintliness is silent meditation. The garb of saintliness is virtue and tolerance, not the Gerua cloth alone.

Pravritti and Nivritti are not two different paths. They are two aspects of one and the same path. There is Pravritti in Nivritti and Nivritti in Pravritti. It is the mental state that counts. Look at Janaka, the king of Videhas. In him, there was absolute Nivritti in Pravritti. Always remember: "Yogasthah Kuru Karmani Sangam Tyaktva Dhananjaya."

Man is the master of his own destiny. He sows an action and reaps a habit; sows a habit and reaps a character; sows a character and reaps a destiny. So he is entirely responsible for his Prarabdha Karma. Prarabdha is under his Adheenata or control. He will become an absolute fatalist and a slothful, inactive man, if he attributes everything to a preordained destiny or Prarabdha. Let him awaken his free will. Let him avail himself of his Paramartha (Will). God has endowed man with Buddhi, independent, free thinking principle, rational reasoning and all sorts of faculties. He can control atoms; he can control elements; he can fly in the air, he can forward a thought from one corner to another corner of the world; he can command electricity to pump out water from a well; he can walk over water; he can sit on fire: he can pass from one body to another; he can roam about the world without being seen by any one.

In fact there is nothing impossible for him under the sun. Instead of realising his real nature by introspection within himself or Atmic enquiry, he dwells in an instinctive plane, wanders about in vain here and there in this phenomenal world of mere mental creation and forgets the magnificence of his real Self. He worships man instead of worshipping God. He is a man-worshipper. He signs "I beg to remain. Your obedient servant", instead of asserting his divine nature as a centre of consciousness in the ocean of life, instead of styling as a Director, controller and supporter of Universe. Wake up immediately to rectify this lamentable condition; otherwise it will be too late to gather honey in winter! Awake! Arise, Dear Reader!

For sincere spiritual aspirants, marching boldly in the Adhyatmic field, this handy publication provides, succinctly, innumerable PRACTICAL hints. Every page abounds in much valuable information in a condensed form. The laconic lessons contained in this book should speak for themselves. If this proves in any way useful to the ardent Mumukshus, the author's sincere endeavour to help them will be more than amply fulfilled.