Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah!
Om Namo Bhagavate Sivanandaya!
Om Namo Bhagavate Chidanandaya!
Om Namo Bhagavate Krishnanandaya!
Prerequisites of Spiritual Sadhana
by Sri Swami Sivananda
I will dwell here upon the main qualifications necessary for launching upon the actual Sadhana. All the ancient saints, seers, men of God that have had intuitive experience of the Truth have been declaring to all mankind the great bliss, the vast power and knowledge that can be experienced if only man would turn from sensual sinful life and strive for the higher divine life. Yet we see today that man is as much immersed—if not more—in worldliness as he was centuries ago and the state of mankind is as apathetic and lethargic towards these questions of a life in the spirit as it was at the beginning of creation. Why is it that in spite of the clarion call of very many great seers, the confident assurance of the scriptures, the repeated experiences of man himself in failing miserably to attain happiness amidst external physical world, man is again and again being deceived? Why is it that man has not yet learnt to take to Sadhana? We read hundreds of spiritual books; we attend discourses; we convene gatherings as during the Sadhana Week. After years of intense study of spiritual hooks, contact with saints, after hearing these things again and again, yet man does not actually do anything. Because he does not have a deep and abiding faith in the admonitions of saints, in the scriptures, in the words of those who have trodden the path and attained bliss. His faith in external objects is something more real to him. If only man did really believe in these great ones he would certainly be induced to act up to their words. It is this basic lack of faith in man that is at the root of his failure to do Sadhana. Sadhana is necessary; but man will not do it because he does not really believe in its necessity. Man believes that for his happiness money is required. Man believes that if only he will get a good job he will get money. Man believes that if he has good college education he will get this job; and through that money; and through that, happiness that he desires. Believing in it every parent sends his child to school and from a young age he is taught to believe that if he passes his examinations creditably he will get a good job, salary, motor cars, etc. The child believes in the words; he studies, passes the examinations and the remuneration he expects comes. Because he had a feeling, because he thought all these things were necessary he desired them. But ultimately, of course, it is the unfortunate experience of all men that this happiness they get is mixed up more than tenfold with pain. Man gets an anna of happiness and with it fifteen annas of pain, suffering, for which he did not bargain when he first set about searching for this happiness. Thus if man has faith in spiritual course of action he will act up to it. Lacking this faith he does not do Sadhana. If a man has to take up to Sadhana, if he really wants to obtain this bliss which is not mixed with pain, he will certainly have to repose faith. It may be called blind faith; but there is nothing like blind faith because all things on this earth go upon faith only and if man lives today it is on account of mutual trust and faith. A ten rupee note is a piece of paper and it is because you have the Asoka Chakra ensign on it, it will immediately get you whatever you want if presented at the bazaar. Because you have the faith in this piece of paper. If you do not have faith upon this paper, you would not have the confidence to start from the house; you would never be sure of reaching your destination.
The following articles have been posted at Sri Swami Krishnanandaji's site:
- Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1996: There is No In and Out
- Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1996: Ekadashi, the Universal Being, Consciousness
- Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1996: Sending Love
- Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1996: Repentance and Pride
Yours in the service of Gurudev,
by Sri Swami Sivananda
To inspire, to awaken and to guide the seekers after Truth and God-realisation, has been the unique life-work of the great sage, Swami Sivananda. He has given us certain working methods, in as much as practical ways and means are more to be attended to, rather than mere theory. The spiritual life is to be built upon and sustained by three important supports, i.e., a well-conceived ideal, a definite programme of life and a background of thought.
For any of us, to proceed upon the spiritual life, the first requisite naturally goes without saying is that the individual should have an ideal. He should want something definite, he should aim at getting something concrete.
The second requisite is a well-laid and well-regulated plan of procedure or programme. After having conceived of the ideal which the aspirant wants to reach, as haphazard procedure will not only take him nowhere but will also mean a fruitless waste of his precious energies, he should chalk out a definite and well-marked programme.
A well-conceived ideal and a definite programme of life and then a concrete background of thought to sustain him in his struggle to work out that programme—these are the three requisites which Swami Sivananda has advocated.
To sum up, in order to tread the path of spiritual life: (1) let the aspirant conceive of an ideal; (2) let him put up a general programme of life; (3) let him have Abhyasa and Vairagya (practice and dispassion) and (4) let him take to a background of thought into which he can take refuge at times of external stress. And for all this, the help of this book is most invaluable; it is in fact, the greatest boon that we could offer to the aspirant-world. There is no aspect of Sadhana which has not been dealt with, no path which has not been presented, and no point of guidance that the aspirant’s peculiar difficulties need, which has not been elaborately dealt with.
For more information, please see: Sadhana
The discount on publications is as follows:
20% on Orders Above Rs. 300/-
30% on Orders Above Rs. 3,000/-
40% on Orders Above Rs. 25,000/-
40% Special Discount on the following Pictorial Volumes of Worshipful Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji and Worshipful Sri Swami Chidanandaji:
Please visit our online bookstore for further details.
THIS WORLD OF OPPOSITES: The moment the Master occupied his seat in the office one morning, he made the following observations:
“I was thinking this morning of the problem of peace and the problem of evil in this world. It is agitating the minds of people and leaders all over the world.
“Is it possible to have a war-less condition in this world of phenomena? Is it possible to have happiness alone in this world of opposites?
“Religion is supposed to be the dividing factor, the factor that creates wars. Differences in religious beliefs and in the approach to God are blamed for the present chaotic condition of the world. But supposing we do succeed in bringing about a ‘one religion humanity’ today. Will wars then cease? No. For, within this universal religion, within this world brotherhood, there would arise different schools of thought, castes and sub-castes. Hinduism at its base is such a world religion, a universal religion. But notice now how many schools of thought and how many sects have cropped up. The Brahmins dislike the non-Brahmins, and Vaishnavites do not dine with the Shaivites.
“Similarly, even if there is a universal religion, the bare-bodied devotees will dislike those worshipping God with an overcoat on; vegetarians will dislike non-vegetarians. Differences are mental creations only. So long as the mind rules man, so long as egoism forms the guiding light for human activity, so long will there be differences of opinion, differences in viewpoints, and thus differences in man’s concepts of God and approaches to Him.
“It is the duty of the pious aspirant to understand the other man. In Badrinath the priest has to wear an overcoat when he does worship. The very same man would like to throw away everything except for a cloth around his waist when he enters a temple at Trivandrum. Badrinath is icy cold while Trivandrum is scorching. These differences of habits are necessitated by inevitable factors, but the inner attitude of the worshippers at both the places is the same. We have to understand this.
“Different religions are necessary to suit different types of individuals. Different rituals are necessary to suit the different habits of people. Different dresses are necessary to suit different climatic conditions. Different castes are necessary to suit the different temperaments of people. All cannot think alike in this world of duality and multiplicity. If they think alike there will then be no need to think. People should develop tolerance and an understanding heart.
“To cultivate an understanding heart it is necessary to crush your own egoism, to give up this diabolical habit of imposing your opinions on others. You should identify yourself with the other man, appreciate his difficulties and the situations in which he is placed, and then feel for him. This is the duty of every aspirant. Only through this kind of Sadhana can the ego be killed and the heart expanded.
“There are certain demoniacal beings who cannot do this. They wish that everyone should obey them. They wish to dominate over all. They wish to rule over others. It is such people who create wars and riots. They are not at peace and harmony within themselves, hence they create disharmony.
“Such is the nature of the world that these demoniacal forces, too, continue to live side by side with the divine forces. That is what we learn from the Puranas and the history of nations. That is the essence of the Lord’s Lila. He can wipe out the demoniacal forces in an instant. But even in His Avataras, the Lord bestowed the highest wisdom on only a few, enlightened the intellect of quite a number, and left behind the illuminating accounts of His Lilas and teachings so that people in general for all time to come might be benefited to a certain extent and evolve to a certain degree. In short, the great Avataras—and in a lesser way the great saints and sages of all countries—have only increased the Sattwa in the world. They have not tried to wipe out evil from the face of the earth.
“Thus we find that the divine and the demoniacal forces will continue to exist side by side in this world. The divine forces will always try to unite people and bring about peace and harmony; the demoniacal forces will bring about wars, discords, fights and quarrels. Sometimes one will win and sometimes the other. Saints, sages and Avataras will come frequently and increase the divine forces in the world. They will add to the Sattwa in the world. They will give liberation to a few who are ripe for it. They will generally elevate a large number of people.
“You should always be on the divine side, for, that is the Lord’s side. You should all promote peace and harmony. By doing so you will express the Will of the Lord. You should be egoless and cultivate cosmic love in your heart, for that is the nature of God. You will attain Self-realisation quickly if you do this; and that will be the greatest service you can render to the world. As a sage you will radiate peace, love and harmony everywhere.”
“The highest truth is easy to understand. It doesn't have any complication about it. In the same way as you know yourself very well, you can also know the universe very well. It is made in the same way as you are made. There should not be any conflict between you and what you call the outer universe. Be a friend of all things – the whole Earth, the whole sky, the entire stars, the sun and moon, and the beautiful breeze. Be a friend of all these things. In a friendly way, the sun is shining upon you, giving you energy. In a friendly way, the air is blowing through your nose, keeping you alive. In a friendly way, the Earth is keeping you fixed on its surface. If the Earth resents your presence, if the sun does not shine, if there is no air at all, you know what will happen to you. Though you do not bother about these things, they are bothering about you. You are not kind to the Earth, not kind to the stars, sun, moon – nothing. You are concerned with your own self. But the universal God is so kind and compassionate and merciful that free air is given, free water, free heat, free light from the sun, and the surface of the Earth is given to you for your grounding. So the cosmic forces are very charitable in their nature. They have no selfishness. It is we who are uncharitable and full of selfishness. So you have to turn the tables round and try to think as the whole world, the whole universe thinks, and not merely you as somebody thinking. This art is very important to learn and very easy to understand, and you will be blessed even within a few minutes if only your mind can concentrate on this great truth of truths. There is nothing more for me to say. This is the whole sum and substance of the reality of existence.” – Swami Krishnananda
Please click here to subscribe to Sivananda Day-to-day mailing list.
Other Sivananda related lists:
This mailing list is announce-only.
Every week, I send information on updates at the web-site and little incidents from Swami Sivanandaji's life which are taken from the book Sivananda's Gospel of Divine Life. Previous e-mails have been archived at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sivananda/messages
Your e-mail address will not be shared with anyone.