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by Swami Sivananda
Table of Contents
Chapter INECTAR DROPS
Chapter IVESSENCE OF RELIGION
TO THE FIRST EDITION
His Holiness Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj is a world teacher. He standstoday as an embodiment of a synthesis of different faiths and religions of theworld. Under the inspiration of his forceful and eminent practical teaching, menand women have come to feel religion as a positive, constructive and redeemingforce in their lives elevating them from dejection and weakness to fresh hopeand inner strength.
The pearls of wisdom Swamiji has gathered during his spiritual dives into theocean of wisdom are scattered amongst his innumerable books which the busy manof the world would not be able to compass with his limited time andunderstanding. With this point in view, this small collection of the choicestsayings of His Holiness has been brought out in his inimitable way by Sri SwamiSatchidanandaji, his Private Secretary.
This great little book is a real boon to mankind. It is your Guru, handyfriend, invigorating tonic and soft goad. The flaming words of Sage Sivanandaare stored in this unique treasure-trove for every man and woman to take thefullest advantage of. In moments of difficulty, doubt or despair turn to anypage and the light that emanates from it. It is sure to dispel the darkness ofgloom and despair. It is hoped that this book will serve as a constant companionto all seekers after Truth, as it throws much light on the intricate problems oflife and clearly indicates the various ways to attain the Life Immortal.
This booklet is fit to be daily read and re-read by young and old alike, inall schools and colleges, in the houses and institutions and kept as a book ofregular Svadhyaya and study.
KNOW THYSELF, from the pen of Maharshi Sivananda, the Sage of PracticalWisdom, is at once practical and sublime, awakening and illuminating.
KNOW THYSELF is a boon to seekers after Truth. It fulfils the long-felt needof spiritual aspirants who were eager to have in a nutshell the essentials ofYoga Sadhana, the fundamentals of spiritual life, the very cream of the ancientscriptures for daily reading and recitation. Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj has,in his inimitable characteristic style, summarised the very essence of allreligious teachings that will at once elevate and inspire the reader. Thisspiritual tonic, if daily taken, will strengthen and develop brain-power, powerof endurance and make the man fit to fight the battle of life.
May KNOW THYSELF, the gems of Sri Gurudev’s teachings, lead you to theHighest Realms of Immortality, Eternal and Supreme Bliss.
1st July, 1958
THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY
1. In this formidable ocean of Samsara, you have only one boat to voyage tothe other shore of Immortality–the company of Sages.
2. When you are assailed by temptations and surging waves of turbulent mind,you have only one refuge here–the lotus feet of Saints.
3. In this peaceless world, men and nations can rediscover peace and blissonly at the fountain source of Eternal Wisdom–the Men of God.
4. In the dark wilderness of the daily battle of life, only the light of aSelf-realised Mahapurusha can show you the path to love, light and peace.
5. If you want to enjoy peace and happiness, practise this simple Sadhana.Adapt, adjust and accommodate. Lack of this divine quality of adaptability isthe cause for disharmony, quarrels, riots and wars.
6. It is not so easy as it looks outwardly. You should crush and powder yourego if you wish to develop adaptability. It is this Rajasic self-assertivenature that disturbs the equilibrium and creates disharmony.
7. Only if you bend, can you drink water from the tap. Only if you arehumble, will you be able to drink the water of peace, bliss and harmony.
8. A humble man alone can conquer the whole world.
9. Only a man who is humble will be able to adapt, adjust and accommodate.
10. There is infinite Sakti in Ram Nam. Ram Nam is the solution for all thetroubles that have beset the mankind of this Atomic Bomb Age.
11. A disciplined man achieves success in all undertakings.
12. But, for success in the spiritual life, self-discipline is mostessential. Without discipline you cannot make any progress in the path.
13. Even if you are poor and have no food to eat, even at the point of abayonet, sing Chidananda Hum and feel that you are the Immortal, InfiniteAtman. You will derive fresh energy, great divine power.
14. Divine Life will descend only when there is serenity.
15. Just as you remove a pebble from the shoe and thus relieve yourself, youwill have to drive off the Vritti which is disturbing you. Then only will youreally reach the Realm of Peace and Bliss.
16. If you are established in one virtue, others will come by themselves.
17. He who wants to attain God-realisation should discipline his tongue, takesimple Sattvic food and fast on Ekadasi.
18. If you eat a good dinner, only sleep will come, not the prayerful mood.Therefore, discipline the tongue.
19. It is no use meditating for half an hour and then spending the rest ofthe day in gossip. All the Sattva that you generate during meditation will bewiped out.
20. To overcome hatred, the best thing to do is to substitute it by love;hatred will die by itself. Positive always overcomes the negative.
21. Death is ever waiting to devour you all. That tomorrow will never come;wake up now, friends.
22. Real education is that which makes you realise your Self or Atman.
23. Real education is that which helps you to control the mind and the sensesand to lead the Divine Life and realise the Satchidananda state.
24. Real education is that which helps you annihilate egoism, which enablesyou to attain immortality.
25. Real education is that which helps you to attain that final beatitudewhich is the summum bonum of your existence.
26. Merely hearing lectures or studying books will not help you in making youinto a Superman. You will have to practise.
27. In a pure heart which is serene, which is free from passions andsense-appetites, will the divine light descend.
28. You should know the science of controlling the Indriyas. On account ofRajas the Indriyas always move towards the objects.
29. A little bit of money and family will make you forget the real goal.
30. The mind is so framed and constituted that it does not believe intranscendental experience. It makes you feel that there is nothing beyond thissense-experience.
31. Let the mind wander. It does not matter. Go on doing Japa and Kirtan. TheLord is so gracious. Go on with your Kirtan. This added strength will help you.Peace will come gradually.
32. Renunciation of Vasanas, and egoism, renunciation of Katritva Buddhi,Bheda Buddhi that puts a barrier between man and man–alone constitutes realrenunciation.
33. The object which tantalises you now, loses its charm the moment you getit. So would every object in the world lose its charm the moment it is got.
34. When you get knocks and blows in the daily battle of life then the mindis duly turned towards the spiritual path.
35. Be regular in your Japa. Try to get up early in the morning. Practise alittle Pranayama. Meditate. You will attain Moksha.
36. Kirtan is the easiest, cheapest, quickest, surest and safest way toattain God-realisation. It will fill your heart with Prem and strength.
37. The Message of Vedanta is the Message of Unity, Oneness of Consciousness.
38. You must be established in the repetition of the Mantra to such an extentthat even in dream your mind will be repeating the Mantra.
39. Without the Grace of the Lord, anger, lust and greed can never bedestroyed by mere human effort.
40. You can thin them out; you can reduce their force through Sadhana. Butyou cannot destroy them, without His Grace.
41. Cultivate dispassion mentally towards things mundane and dwell ever inmeditation on the Atman. Then only will you grow in Bhakti.
42. Congregational prayer generates a mighty current. You will enter intoBhava Samadhi quickly.
43. Without newspapers you cannot live! And, what do you find in thenewspapers? They are filled with nothing but sensational news. They excite you.Study the Yoga-Vasishtha and the Gita. The mind is elevated.
44. Control the mind, control the senses and enquire into the nature of theAtman or your real Self. That is your primary duty.
45. You have an ill-regulated life and go on blindly from day to dayrepeating the same old actions.
46. Those who think that they are doing injustice to the world through theiraspirations for Self-realisation have not yet gone above the credulity ofchildhood.
47. If you find mercy and humility in a person, then alone can you know thatperson is a Sadhu. His Heart will melt at the suffering of others.
48. The Sadhu need not deliver lectures on Panchadasi. He need notnecessarily be able to deliver eloquent discourses on the Gita. He may not beable to comment for three hours upon a single (Brahma) Sutra. But a sweet aromawill emanate from him. This will attract everyone to him. This will give youSanti and an inner bliss when you approach him.
49. A man without mercy, love and humility cannot realise the Self.
50. The Lord cannot manifest Himself in a sin-hardened heart; it must meltlike butter before He can reveal Himself.
51. Without purification of the heart, no progress in Sadhana is possible.Therefore do Japa, sing Kirtan, do untiring selfless service, be generous; give,give, give.
SPARKS OF TRUTH
52. Maya assumes various forms. Ego assumes various shapes. Just as watertakes the form of the vessel into which it is poured, the ego adjusts itself toall circumstances and persists in its work.
53. This ego is your terrible enemy. It wages guerilla warfare with you.Beware. Beware. Beware.
54. You can eradicate this ego through Japa, Kirtan and selfless service, ifyou are sincere.
55. Sincerity! It is a very rare virtue. Sincerity is combination of severalvirtues. Truthfulness, straightforwardness, simplicity, absence of vanity,courage, fearlessness, tenacity of purpose, love and humility–all go to formsincerity.
56. Your money belongs to the Lord. You have no business to keep more thanwhat you need. How can you accumulate wealth, when your God in the form of thepoor man is starving? How can you take food four times and tiffin, when thebeggar-Narayana is starving outside the door? These are the tests of spiritualprogress.
57. You should remain under a Guru. Serve him. There is no greater Sadhanathan service of the Guru. The Guru will teach you the appropriate Sadhana forimproving you.
58. Life and death are both processes of more and more fresh experience inthe progress of evolution tending towards the fruition of the wishes of theexperiencer.
59. Life is a scene where the individual puts on the dress of the form of acertain amount of desires which can be fulfilled in the special environmentafforded by it.
60. Death is the time when the individual goes behind the screen and puts ona new dress to appear in another scene of life in order to fulfil anotherquality of desires which cannot find the required atmosphere for fruition in thepresent life, but demand a fresh suitable environment.
61. There is a science by knowing which the unseen becomes seen, the unheardbecomes heard, and the unknown becomes known, the untaught becomes taught. Thisis the science of sciences. When you learn that science alone shall you attainthe immortal abode of eternal bliss and perennial joy.
62. Real education is that which enables you to kill this little ego andpulverise this egoism.
63. The Atman is extremely subtle. The senses are subtle. Prana is subtlerthan the senses; mind is still subtler; even beyond this mind, and most subtle,is the Atman. That is your real nature. That education which enables you torealise this nature of your Self is real education.
64. Mango is not sweet; it is the imagination that makes it sweet.
65. There is no real pleasure in the objects. You simply project your ownimagination on the objects and imagine that they are pleasure-giving.
66. The dog catches hold of a bone and starts biting it; blood oozes out ofits own palate; it imagines that the blood comes from the bone and bites itharder.
67. Even the pleasure of the whole world is a drop when compared to the blissthat you will get from within, from the Atman, through meditation, bywithdrawing the Indriyas and by fixing the mind on the Atman, by regularintrospection, reflection and meditation.
68. In deep sleep there were no objects. There were no likes and dislikes(Raga-Dvesha). Yet you enjoyed peace and happiness.
69. Do not be deluded by the senses and the body. They are your real enemies.
70. Death is waiting to devour you all. Try to do Sadhana now itself.
71. Sensual pleasures are like the pleasure derived from itching.
72. Wake up now. Open your eyes. Make yourself steady so that you will meetLord Yama with a cheerful face.
73. The whole world is suffering; but not one has the heart to share what hehas with others. Share. Give. The joy that you will get from such actions isindescribable.
74. Humility is a fundamental virtue. If you don’t find humility and mercyin a man, reject him; there is no saintliness in him.
75. The self-assertive Rajasic nature is so vehement. It will never allow youto be humble.
76. So many desires will affect your body. Don’t be proud of the hot bloodthat runs through your veins.
77. Be regular in your Japa and Kirtan. Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram. It will give youpower and strength. It will produce harmony in your mind. Rajas and Tamas willbe destroyed. Good-Samskaras will be embedded in your mind.
78. Don’t join the various ‘isms; let these ‘isms come and go. But youtake part in the ‘isms because you are carried away by emotion. Godless ‘ismscannot succeed. The foundation of society is God. Godless ‘isms cannot thrivefor a long time. God is the basis for everything.
79. He who has faith, he alone can be happy. He is the real man.
80. Self-restraint, Japa, Kirtan, Sattvic diet, getting up at 4 a.m., allthese things will make you a superman.
81. Don’t overload your stomach. Take your food when you are really hungry.Thus enjoy good health.
82. You must practise Asanas. Asanas have immense advantage over the otherforms of exercise. They tone up the internal organs and the nervous system.
83. Sannyasa is the stage of life when you can destroy Maya.
84. Only if you maintain a spiritual diary will you be able to regulate yourprogramme of life. Only then will you be able to eradicate the evil qualitieswithin you and cultivate noble virtues.
85. There is no need to listen to more and more lectures. You have heardenough. When will you practise? Listening to lectures is a mere intellectualamusement. Practice is difficult. Start practising today.
86. Listening to lectures has become a disease nowadays. When you listen to alecture, there is a little bit of nervous excitement and titillation. But unlessyou put the instructions into practice, the lessons will be lost upon you andyou will be the same person.
87. Peacefulness, fearlessness, contentment and cheerfulness–and not seeingsome lights in concentration and meditation–indicate your advancement in thespiritual path.
88. This is a world of Dvandvas. There will always be peace and war, good andevil, happiness and misery. You cannot have perfection in this imperfect world.
89. Study of scriptures is an indispensable and effective auxiliary inSadhana.
90. Vedanta prescribes Nishkamya Karma Yoga for the purification of the mind,and Jnana Sadhana for the removal of the veil of ignorance. Sankirtan does allthese; it is endowed with all these powers.
91. Samadhi will come by itself to a man whose heart is purified by constant,untiring selfless service.
92. You should not give up your Sadhana, your Japa, Kirtan, prayers, whetheror not there are indications of the descent of Lord’s Grace. Go on with yourSadhana.
93. Your prayers are bound to be heard by the Lord one day.
94. The Absolute or Brahman, Eternal or Infinite, Atman or theThing-in-itself, or the Substance or Essence, call it by any name you choose,cannot be demonstrated, because He is Infinite.
95. This little frail intellect cannot perceive Him who is infinite. How canthe finite “I” perceive the Infinite Self? The Bhuma, theUnconditioned, is beyond Time, Space and Causation.
96. You cannot see your own eye-lashes. You cannot see a thing which is at adistance. The eye, the Indriya of perception is a finite instrument, it can seeonly things which are very near. The mind, intellect and ego, as also thesenses, are effects. Effects cannot perceive the Cause, the Causeless cause, theSupreme Brahman, the Unconditioned, Bhuma, which is beyond time, Space andCausation, which is the Substratum of everything which is the basis of theworld.
97. Nobody denies his own existence. It is a logical absurdity to deny one’sown existence. You feel that you exist for ever; this clearly proves that theAtman or your self is Immortal and Eternal.
98. There is no pleasure in sense-objects. You can experience bliss only whenthe mind is turned inwards.
99. Your mind runs outside because of desires and because you have forgottenyour essential nature. Desires are imperfections; that is the reason why youexperience pain, through lack, through want. When there are desires in the mind,when there are imperfections, there is no sense of fullness.
100. He who is intelligent, who has got discrimination, searches within forthe joy of the soul.