Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah!
Om Namo Bhagavate Sivanandaya!
Om Namo Bhagavate Chidanandaya!
Om Namo Bhagavate Krishnanandaya!
The Mind of The Aspirant: A Psychological Study
by Sri Swami Sivananda
One who seriously takes to the spiritual path and begins to do systematic Sadhana finds himself face to face with certain peculiar difficulties and disappointing experiences that at first tend to dismay and discourage the beginner. These problems and obstacles are common to the generality of aspirants and therefore it is important to know about them and to have a proper understanding of the methods of overcoming them.
The first is this. The Sadhaka or an aspirant starts upon his spiritual life with certain definite self-formed ideas about Sadhana, realisation, Guru, Upadesa and the like. Such cherished conceptions unconsciously get crystallised into firmly rooted bias. But actually true spiritual life is quite different from what individual imagination fondly pictures it to be. Very many things are found to be quite at variance with his mental picture of them. Realities turn out to be not merely contrary but at times absolutely contradictory to his old ideas that he had so fondly hugged to himself. All his preconceived notions receive a rude shock. What happens? More often than not the neophyte is unable to reconcile himself to these unexpected eye-openers and usually retraces his steps to land once again into the former deluded sensual life. This is the greatest blunder he would be committing. A peerless gem is grasped in the hand and then foolishly thrown away. A priceless opportunity is lost. The mind will once again pursue with vigour the same sensual grooves. What takes place is that the aspirant does not wish to let go off the long-cherished conceptions. His ego clings to them. He has for instance a certain idea of what constitutes Sadhana. He imagines that the one whom he accepts as his Guru would prescribe such Sadhana to him as will fit in with his idea. If not dissatisfaction makes its appearance. He thinks that a Guru should behave in such and such a manner. If the latter does not, then his loyalty wanes. To surrender to the feet of the Guru and then begin to doubt or dislike his conduct is the most awful and colossal error that an aspirant can ever commit. By this he lays a knife at the very root of Sadhana and spiritual life. And again the Sadhaka enters the path with a particular estimation of his own spiritual progress and the stage he has reached. But in fact God alone really knows where exactly he stands. Yet he will act according to his previous notion. When later events prove that he is wrong then he becomes disappointed and loses all enthusiasm. All this is totally harmful. To be preyed upon by a series of disillusionments and disappointments at the very start of spiritual life is a terrible handicap. It will cripple your capacity and urge for Sadhana. You will lose heart and be disgusted with spiritual life. Sadhana should be based and backed upon keen enthusiasm and joy.
The following article has been posted at Sri Swami Krishnanandaji's site:
Yours in the service of Gurudev,
by Swami Sivananda
Salutations to Lord Yama, son of Vivasvan (Surya)!
The Kathopanishad is divided into six Vallis. Valli literally means a creeper. A Valli, like a creeper, is attached to the Sakhas or Branches of the Veda. Valli is used in the same sense as Parvam, joint, shoot, branch, i.e., a division. This Upanishad is also divided into two Adhyayas (chapters) of three Vallis each.
This is one of the most beautiful Upanishads in which the eternal truths are given in the form of a narrative. The narrative is taken from Taittiriya Brahmana (3-11-8) with some variation. The same story is told in the Taittiriya Brahmana, only with this difference, that in the Brahmana, freedom from death and birth is obtained by a peculiar performance of a sacrifice, while in the Upanishad, it is obtained by knowledge only.
This Upanishad has become very popular not only in India but everywhere in the world. It has been translated into many languages. It is a branch or recension of the Krishna Yajurveda. It forms part of the Katha-Sakha Brahmana of the Krishna Yajurveda. A few verses from this Upanishad occur in the Bhagavad Gita. It deserves the most careful consideration of all who are interested in the growth of religious and philosophical ideas. The sublime doctrines of Vedanta are presented in this Upanishad in a very attractive and charming manner.
The Katha Upanishad has always been considered as one of the best Upanishads. It has won the appreciation of many English, French and German writers also. They regard this Upanishad as the best book on philosophy and poetry of ancient Hindus. In elevation of thought, depth of expression, beauty of its imagery, no Upanishad is equal to the Kathopanishad.
This Upanishad was first introduced to the knowledge of European scholars by Raja Ram Mohan Roy. It has been translated into the German by Windischmann, by Poley. Dr. Weber has also written a commentary. Swami Ananda Giri has written a gloss on the commentary of Sri Sankara. Muir, Rignaud, Gough and many others have translated this Upanishad.
May the truths of the Upanishads be revealed unto you all! May you all be endowed with right understanding, discrimination and pure subtle intellect! May you all be freed from the knots of ignorance and ties of Samsara, and the trammels of birth and death! May you all be blessed with a Srotriya Brahma-Nishtha Guru to lead you on in the spiritual path! May you all shine as Jivanmuktas or Brahma-Jnanis in this very birth!
For more information, please see: Kathopanishad
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VEDANTA AND SERVICE: A Swami who was a student of Vedanta came for the Master’s Darshan.
The Master greeted him and asked, “Have you studied the Panchadasi?”
“And the Brahma Sutras?”
The Master gave him a book and then asked another disciple, “Are people like these useful to the world?” The disciple kept silent.
“Do some service and practise Bhakti also,” the Master advised the Vedantic student, who bowed and departed.
“A great deal of good will accrue to that human individual who makes up one’s mind that henceforward I will always look upon the brighter side of things and never for a moment continue the habit of looking on the darker side of things. In short, be optimistic. Never say, I cannot do it. Never say, this is not possible. Never say, this is never meant to happen to a wretched person like me.” – Swami Chidananda
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