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This article is the introduction to Swamiji's book "Bliss Divine".

GOAL OF LIFE IS GOD-REALISATION

By

SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA

The Atman
What Moksha Implies
Reason and Intuition
The Meditational Process
The Bliss of Samadhi
Maya and Mind
Matter and Spirit
Is the World Unreal?
The Riddle of Evil
Unity of Existence
Yoga and the Practice of Religion
The Path of Selfless Service
The Goal of Life

THE ATMAN

Bliss is the essential nature of man. The central fact of man's being is his inherent divinity.

Man's essential nature is divine, the awareness of which he has lost because of his animal propensities and the veil of ignorance. Man, in his ignorance, identifies himself with the body, mind, Prana and the senses. Transcending these, he becomes one with Brahman or the Absolute who is pure bliss.

Brahman or the Absolute is the fullest reality, the completest consciousness. That beyond which there is nothing, that which is the innermost Self of all is Atman or Brahman. The Atman is the common Consciousness in all beings. A thief, a prostitute, a scavenger, a king, a rogue, a saint, a dog, a cat, a rat-all have the same common Atman.

There is apparent, fictitious difference in bodies and minds only. There are differences in colours and opinions. But, the Atman is the same in all.

If you are very rich, you can have a steamer, a train, an airship of your own for your own selfish interests. But, you cannot have an Atman of your own. The Atman is common to all. It is not an individual's sole registered property.

The Atman is the one amidst the many. It is constant amidst the forms which come and go. It is the pure, absolute, essential Consciousness of all the conscious beings.

The source of all life, the source of all knowledge is the Atman, thy innermost Self. This Atman or Supreme Soul is transcendent, inexpressible, uninferable, unthinkable, indescribable, the ever-peaceful, all-blissful.

There is no difference between the Atman and bliss. The Atman is bliss itself. God, perfection, peace, immortality, bliss are one. The goal of life is to attain perfection, immortality or God. The nearer one approaches the Truth, the happier one becomes. For, the essential nature of Truth is positive, absolute bliss.

There is no bliss in the finite. Bliss is only in the Infinite. Eternal bliss can be had only from the eternal Self.

To know the Self is to enjoy eternal bliss and everlasting peace. Self-realisation bestows eternal existence, absolute knowledge, and perennial bliss.

None can be saved without Self-realisation. The quest for the Absolute should be undertaken even sacrificing the dearest object, even life, even courting all pain.

Study philosophical books as much as you like, deliver lectures and lectures throughout your global tour, remain in a Himalayan cave for one hundred years, practise Pranayama for fifty years, you cannot attain emancipation without the realisation of the oneness of the Self.

WHAT MOKSHA IMPLIES

Oneness of Self or oneness of Existence is Reality, and the realisation of this Reality is Moksha.

Moksha is the breaking down of the barriers that constitute separate existence. Moksha is the absolute state of Being, where the unity of all-pervading and all-permeating consciousness is realised with certainty, like that of an orange which we see in our palm.

Moksha is not an attainment of liberation from an actual state of bondage, but is the realisation of the liberation which already exists. It is freedom from the false notion of bondage.

The individual soul feels itself to be in bondage on account of ignorance caused by the power of Avidya. When the false belief caused by delusion is removed by Knowledge of Atman, the state of Moksha is realised then and there, in this very life. It is not to follow after death.

The cause of delusion is the desire in man. The desires generate the thought-waves, and the thought-waves veil the real nature of the Soul which is blissful, immortal, and eternal. When the desires are annihilated, Knowledge of Brahman dawns on the individual.

Knowledge of Brahman is not an action. You cannot reach Brahman even as you cannot reach yourself except by knowing yourself. Knowledge of Brahman is absolute and direct. It is intuitive experience.

REASON AND INTUITION

Intuition dawns like a flash. It does not grow bit by bit. The immediate knowledge through intuition unites the individual soul with the Supreme Soul. Intuition merges the subject and the object of knowledge, together with the process of knowing, into the Absolute where there is no duality. In intuition, time becomes eternity, space becomes infinity.

Intuitive knowledge alone is the highest knowledge. It is the imperishable, infinite knowledge of Truth. Sense-knowledge is a knowledge of appearance, and not of Truth.

Sensing is false knowledge and intuition is right knowledge. You can attain Atma-Jnana or Knowledge of the Self through intuition and intuition alone.

Without developing intuition, the intellectual man remains imperfect. Intellect has not got that power to get into the inner chamber of Truth. Intellect functions in the realm of duality, but is powerless in the realm of non-duality.

Mind and intellect are finite instruments. Reason is finite. It cannot penetrate the Infinite. Intuition alone can penetrate the Infinite.

The scientific attempts to prove the Infinite are futile. The only scientific method here is the intuitional.

Meditation leads to intuition. Meditation is the key to unfold the divinity or Atman hidden in all names and forms.

THE MEDITATIONAL PROCESS

There is no Knowledge without Meditation. The aspirant churns his own soul. Truth becomes manifest.

Through regular meditation, you gradually grow in spirituality. The divine flame grows brighter and brighter.

Meditation gradually offers you the eternal light and intuition. By constant practice of concentration and meditation, the mind becomes as transparent and pure as a crystal. The din of the strife for things mundane becomes smaller and smaller as one recedes inside.

There are laws on the new plane. The music is different. The notes are very sweet. There is a perpetual pervading of something better.

The lustre of spiritual awakening changes the perspective and one seeks devotedly that which will bring him real lasting joy and peace in the long run. Therefore, the seeking of material and immediate advantages becomes less urgent.

Meditation leads you more and more inward, from the gross to the subtle, from the subtle to the subtler, from the subtler to the subtlest, the Supreme Spirit.

Going beyond the consciousness of the body by meditating on the Lord, one attains the universal lordship. All his desires are satisfied.

Meditation is the only right royal way for attaining immortality and eternal bliss. Peace and bliss are not to be found in books, churches, or monasteries. It is realised when Knowledge of Atman dawns.

Why do you read many books? It is of no use. The great book is within your heart. Open the pages of this inexhaustible book, the source of all knowledge. You will know everything. All names and forms vanish in deep meditation. There is consciousness of infinite space. This also disappears. There is a state of nothingness. Suddenly dawns illumination, Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

THE BLISS OF SAMADHI

Nirvlkalpa Samadhi is the realisation of the highest value. During Nirvikalpa Samadhi, the Reality is intuited in all its wholeness. It is the experience of oneness with the Absolute. You have Brahmic superconsciousness, in place of the stilled Jiva-consciousness.

Experience of fullness is called Samadhi. It is freedom from misery. It is bliss absolute.

Samadhi is not the abolition of personality. It is the completion of personality. In that state of supreme illumination, you feel the oneness of subject and object. You see nothing else, hear nothing else, know nothing else.

The knowledge simply illumines. It does not require you to do something after that illumination.

To know is to be. Knowing and being cannot be separated. Chit and Sat are one and the same. Where absolute knowledge and absolute existence prevail, there is also absolute bliss.

The bliss of Self-realisation cannot be described in words. Tranquillity which nothing can touch, supreme peace without a ruffle, light and bliss unalloyed-such is the glimpse of Self-realisation.

Sensual pleasure is nothing when compared with the bliss of meditation and Samadhi. Rise from the sense-life. Awake and realise that you are the pure, immortal Atman. Behold the one Atman in all beings and attain immortality and bliss eternal.

Hear all about Atman or Soul. Then understand the Atman. Then reflect on the Atman. Then meditate on the Atman. Then realise the Atman. Tat Tvam Asi. That Thou Art.

Thou art Atman! Atman art Thou. Realise this and be free. Nothing can hinder thee from the realisation of thy essential nature.

Self-realisation is not an invention. It is only discovery of the Self. It is knowing one's Self. It is awareness.

Self-realisation is nothing to be attained afresh. You need not reach or attain the Atman or the Self. You are, indeed, the Atman or Supreme Self. Only, you will have to open your inner eyes.

The Vedanta philosophy summons the individual to his own freedom, glory, and dignity. Know this source of freedom, the root of bliss, and be free.

Bliss is, indeed, thy essential nature. Bliss is your birthright. You are a glorious heir to bliss infinite. Realise this bliss right now, in this very second.

Look not outside for light, peace, joy, and bliss, but look within. Moksha or salvation is neither in heaven nor in Mt. Kailas. The inexhaustible, supreme divine treasure, the Atmic pearl, is locked up in the chambers of your own heart, in the casket of silence. Discover the true Reality in the very heart of your own subjectivity, in the very depth of your own being.

MAYA AND MIND

There is no duality in Reality. All modification is illusory. Multiplicity is an illusion.

Maya projects multiplicity. Maya creates division, division between the individual soul and the Supreme Soul.

Maya is a tremendous, delusive power of God. Maya is the material stuff of this world. Maya is the source of the physical universe. This world of names and forms is a false show kept up by the jugglery of Maya.

Just as a stick burning at one end, when waved round quickly, produces an illusion of a circle of fire, Alata Chakra, so is it with the multiplicity of the world. Maya deludes us. Maya havocs through the mind. The things that we perceive all round us are only mind in form or substance.

The world is a product of the mind. The whole world is an expansion of the mind. The entire universe arises and exists in the mind.

Nothing of the world is outside the mind. Earth, mountains, and rivers-all are fragments of the mind, appearing as it were to exist outside.

The world does not exist by itself. It is not seen without the aid of the mind. It disappears when the mind ceases to function.

It is imagination alone that assumes the forms of time, space, and motion. Space and time have no independent status apart from Brahman or the Self, which is Awareness.

There is no space without time, and there is no time without space. Space and time go together. Space and time are interdependent. They are unreal.

Time and space are mental creations. Time and space are mental projections, unreal as dreams. However real they may seem to be, they are not ultimately real. Timeless, spaceless Brahman is the only Reality.

Brahman alone is. It is Brahman alone that shines as the world of variegated objects, like waves differentiating the water into many kinds of foam, bubbles, etc. Brahman appears as the world when cognised through the mind and the senses.

MATTER AND SPIRIT

This whole universe is the body of God. This entire world is God or Virat Svarupa. This world is not a world of dead matter, but a living Presence. This world is a manifestation of the Spirit. The fundamental error of all ages is the belief that the spiritual world and the material are separate. Spirit and matter are neither different nor separable.

Matter is Spirit cognised through the senses. Matter is spirit in manifestation. Matter is Spirit in motion. Matter is power of the Lord. Matter is dynamic aspect of the static Lord. The world is an expression of Brahman, the Absolute.

This world is a shadow of Brahman. It is an overflow of the bliss of Brahman. It is an emanation of God. It is a manifestation of God. It is a reflection of God. The world is charged with the splendour, glory, and grandeur of God.

God is the one light that shines in various forms. He is the one voice that speaks in various languages. He is the one life that thrills through every atom in the universe.

God fills everywhere. God is equally and fully contained in all things.

The world is a play of God. God, the warp and the woof, is blended with the world.

As there is no difference between gold and ornaments, so there is no difference between God and the universe. God is the relisher. He Himself is the relish.

The world is not different from God. God is within and without everything. There is no place where God is not. Everything is God, and there is nothing but God.

IS THE WORLD UNREAL?

In reality, there is no world. It is a mere appearance, like the snake in the rope. All names and forms are unreal like the shadow, like water in the mirage, blueness in the sky.

The unreality of the world is the truth in the ultimate analysis. But, in relative existence, one cannot deny it. It is quite real from the empirical standpoint.

This world is not absolutely unreal, because you experience it, you feel it. It is not absolutely real also, because it vanishes when you attain wisdom.

This world is unreal: for whom? and when? For a liberated sage alone, this world is unreal. It is a solid reality for a worldly man. When you wake up alone, the dream becomes unreal. When you are dreaming, the dream is quite real to you.

This world is unreal. But in what sense? Is it as unreal as the horn of a hare or a barren woman's son or the lotus in the sky? No. It is not as much solid or reality as Brahman is. When compared with Brahman, It is unreal. It Is mere appearance.

Creation is the appearance of the Lord, who is one, as many. Atman, who is one and immutable by nature, seems to have assumed innumerable forms. Brahman or the Absolute manifests Itself as the universe through forms.

THE RIDDLE OF EVIL

This world is God's revelation of Himself. His bliss or joy assumes all these forms.

All life is alike. The universal heart beats in the minutest life. The Lord breathes in all life.

Just as one thread penetrates all flowers in a garland, so also, one Self penetrates all these living beings. Behold this one Self in all. Serve all. Love all. Be kind to all. Give up the idea of diversity.

The world is neither good nor bad. The mind creates good and evil. Thinking makes it so.

To the good, the world is full of good; but to the bad, the world is full of evil.

The evil is not in the world. It is in the mind. Man sees only the reflection of his mind. If you become perfect, the world will appear good.

Behold the Lord always, in everything. You will see no evil. You will see good everywhere. You will find peace.

UNITY OF EXISTENCE

One Soul abides in all. There is one humanity. There is one brotherhood. There is one Atmahood. None is high. None is low. All are equal. Vain are the distinctions. Man-made barriers should be ruthlessly broken down. Then alone there will be peace in this world.

There is only one caste, the caste of humanity. There is only one religion, the religion of love. There is only one commandment, the commandment of truthfulness. There is only one law, the law of cause and effect. There is only one God, the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient Lord. There is only one language, the language of the heart or the language of silence.

All life is one. The world is one home. All are members of one human family. All creation is an organic whole. No man is independent of that whole. Man makes himself miserable by separating himself from others. Separation is death. Unity is eternal life. Cultivate cosmic love. Include all. Embrace all. Recognise the worth of others. Destroy all barriers, racial, religious and natural prejudices that separate man from man. Recognise the non-dual principles, the immortal essence within all creatures. Protect animals. Let all life be sacred. Then this world will be a paradise of beauty, a heaven of peace and tranquillity.

When one Atman dwells in all living beings, then why do you hate others? Why do you sneer and frown at others? Why do you use harsh words? Why do you try to rule and domineer over others? Why do you exploit others? Why are you intolerant? Is this not the height of your folly? In this not sheer ignorance?

Learn to live as members of a single family. Champion the ideal of one humanity. Live in peace in one world. All are children of God. The whole world is one family of God. Feel this. Realise this. Be happy.

Behold the One-in-all and all-in-One. Feel: "I am the all" and "I am in all". Feel: "All bodies are mine. The whole world is my body, my sweet home". Feel: "I work in all hands. I eat in all mouths". Feel: "I am the immortal Self in all". Repeat these formulae mentally several times daily. Repeat Om mentally and feel oneness of life or unity of consciousness when you play football or tennis, when you drink and eat, when you talk and sing, when you sit and walk, when you bathe and dress, when you write a letter, when you do work in the office, when you answer calls of nature. Spiritualise every movement, action, thought, and feeling. Transmute them into Yoga.

YOGA AND THE PRACTICE OF RELIGION

Yoga is a conscious and sustained attempt towards self-perfection. The goal of Yoga is to calm the mind so that it may mirror without distortion the Atman that is behind the mind.

Restrain the senses. Control the mind. Meditate regularly. Be a Yogi, be a Yogi, be a Yogi. Live the Yogic life and spread the great doctrine.

You have forgotten to look within, to gaze within, to introspect, concentrate and meditate, and so you are ignorant, you are lost in darkness.

Introspect. Look within. Try to remove your defects. This is the real Sadhana. This is the most difficult Sadhana. You will have to do it at any cost. Intellectual development is nothing. It is more easy.

Sit at the Central Library, Baroda or Imperial Library, Calcutta for three to six years with a dictionary by your side. You can develop your intellect. But removal of defects needs a great deal of struggle for many years. Many vicious habits will have to be rent asunder.

There are big Mandalesvars (Hindu spiritual head) who can deliver lectures for a week on one Sloka of the Gita or the Upanishads. They command respect, and yet they are disliked by the public, because they still have great defects. They have not done much introspection. They have not done drastic Sadhana to remove their defects. They have developed only their intellect. What a great pity!

True religion begins where intellect ends. An impure heart, a conceited intellect, cannot understand the spirit of religion.

Religion is a manifestation of the eternal glow of the Spirit within man. The main purpose of religion is the unfoldment of the divinity within man.

Prayer and meditation are the chief pillars of religion. A life of selfless service and sacrifice, with regular prayer and meditation, is the highest religion.

Practice of religion is the practice of righteousness, goodness, justice, truth, love, and purity. The righteous man is the truly religious man.

The ringing notes of religion are: Be good. Do good. Be pure. Be kind. Be compassionate. Serve all. Love all. See God in all.

The practice of these precepts alone will awaken man to the consciousness of the unity of existence and the realisation of the Divine Spirit within and without.

Religion is life. Life is sacrifice. One may meticulously perform religious devotion, and yet be very irreligious at heart and conduct. Religion should be a living experience in the life of man.

Religion is living, not speaking or showing. Real religion is the religion of the heart. The heart must be purified first.

THE PATH OF SELFLESS SERVICE

Practise the religion of the heart. Build on the edifice of love.

Selfless service purifies the heart and opens it for the receipt of divine light. Plunge in selfless service.

Cheer up a man who is in distress. Encourage a man when he is dispirited. Wipe the tears of the afflicted. Remove the sorrow in a man by kind, loving words. Make a man smile when he is in despair.

Be a lamp to those who have lost their way. Be a doctor and nurse to the ailing patients. Be a boat and bridge to those who want to reach the other shore of fearlessness and immortality.

Do your duty to the best of your ability and leave the rest to God. Do all your actions detachedly in a spirit of dedication to the Divine. Then actions will not bind you. Your heart will be purified.

Spiritualise all your activities. Let your eyes look with kindness, your tongue speak with sweetness, your hand touch with softness. Be thou as compassionate as Buddha, as pure as Bhishma, as truthful as Harischandra, as brave as Bhima.

Feed your mind with thoughts of God, your heart with purity, and your hands with selfless service. Remain soaked in the remembrance of God with one-pointed mind.

GOAL OF LIFE

God has a Master-plan. We have our parts to play.

Play out your part well in the worldly play. But, do not fetter yourself. Keep your mind steady on the lotus-feet of the Lord. You will swim in the ocean of divine bliss.

Have no attachment for this mortal body of flesh and bone. Cast it off like a slough anywhere, just as the snake throws away its skin. Make up your mind to give up the body at any moment. Become absolutely fearless.

As long as there is the least Deha-Adhyasa, identification with the body, so long you cannot expect Self-realisation. Exhibit undaunted spirit, intrepidity, and manliness. Make a strong resolve: "I will die or realise".

Birth and death, bondage and freedom, pleasure and pain, gain and loss, are mental creations. Transcend the pairs of opposites. You were never born. You will never die. Thou art the immortal Self always, O Prem! Thou art ever free in the three periods of time. It is the physical body that goes and comes.

Recognise, O Prem, that you are the living Truth. Realise that you are always inseparable from the one essence that is the substratum of all these illusory names and forms, these false shadowy appearances. Get yourself firmly established in the Brahman, the Light of lights. Nothing can disturb you now. You have become invulnerable. Feel this. Feel this through intuition when you enter into deep Samadhi or supreme silence, my child!

The god of death will tremble before you now. By your command the sun shines, the fire burns, and the wind blows. By your command Indra, Prajapati, Agni, and Varuna do their respective functions. Thou art beyond time, space, and causation.

You must not be afraid of Maya now. She is under your perfect control now. Stand firm like the yonder rock. Be adamantine. Move about in the world now like a lion and lift up the young, struggling souls out of the mire of Samsara. Disseminate Knowledge of the Self. Share it with others. Be catholic, liberal, universal, all-inclusive. Love all. Be kind to all. Expand thy heart. Have space in thy heart for all, even for that man who is planning to poison you, who is drawing the dagger to cut your throat. Become a practical Vedantin. Become a Kriya-Advaitin.

Rely on your own Self, your own inner spiritual strength. Stand on your own feet. Do not depend on money, friends, or anyone. When the friends are put to the test, they will desert you. Lord Buddha never trusted even his disciples. When he was seriously ailing, he himself jumped like a frog to drink water from the river. Be not bound to anybody, any place, or thing. Do not desire to possess. Possessions bring pain. Become absolutely free by identifying with the inner Self, thy Inner Ruler, immortal. Challenge the whole, world now.

Stand up, O Prem! Follow me. Enjoy the bliss of Atman. The river of Atmic joy is flowing all around. There is a deluge of Bliss of Self. Drink this nectar to your heart's content. Care not for the world. Go thy own way. Let others hoard up wealth and become multi-millionaires and mill-owners. They are misers only. Let others become barristers, high court judges, and ministers. They are still ignorant men. Mind not a bit. The wealth of the three worlds is nothing, mere straw, before the spiritual wealth, the wealth of Atma-Jnana. The joy of the three worlds is a mere drop when compared to the ocean of bliss of the Self. The knowledge of all secular sciences is mere husk when compared to the Knowledge of the Self. Here are the priceless treasures of Atman for thee. Here is the inexhaustible wealth of Brahma-Jnana. Enjoy these riches. No dacoit or robber can rob thee of this imperishable wealth of Tattva-Jnana. No insolvency, no failure of bank, no bankruptcy here. Take possession of this spiritual treasurer the splendour of Brahman, and enjoy for ever and ever. Thou art now a real King of kings, Shah of shahs, Emperor of emperors. Indra and Brahma will be jealous of thee now, O Prem! Go and distribute this imperishable wealth of Knowledge of Self far and wide. Glory unto thee! Peace be with thee for ever and ever!


Last Updated: Sunday, 17-Oct-2004 09:35:24 EDT
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