Precepts for Practice
Sri Swami Sivananda
This article is a chapter from the book Yoga And Realisation.
Worldly life is a bed of roses till a thorn pricks yon in your feet. When the thorn starts pricking you, then realise that the world is a bed of thorns. The man then awakens to the reality. The world is an illusion. Friends are hypocritical cheats. Relatives are selfish bugs. There is none on whom you can depend except God.
Beloved aspirants! Awake! Arise! Realise! Resort to the feet of the Lord. Practise Yoga. Come, start today. Follow my Twenty Instructions. I will serve you nicely and guide you. Waste not a minute.
In spiritual Sadhana nothing is of so much importance as regularity. Whatever you do, even though it is very little, do it regularly. The mind will tempt you in various ways. It will try to keep you away from Sadhana but never yield.
Mind is a crooked mechanism, agitated, wavering and wandering. It is always unsteady. Control the wandering nature of the mind. Sadhana is the means to control the mind. Withdraw yourself from the external world. Control your emotions, sensations, activities. Constantly dwell in the Atman. Give up external show. Do not be attached to the flesh.
Develop the eye of wisdom. Look with your inner third eye. The aspirant realises immense joy when his third eye is opened. Fear, sorrow, doubt and delusion take leave of you. Unfold all the latent faculties and powers. They are lying hidden within you.
Keep the ideal always before you. Do not forget it even for a second. Examine within yourself how far you have progressed at the end of the day. Make fresh resolves the next day for better progress. Repent for the mistakes you have committed.
Diabolical forces are within and never outside you. It is only the mind that is reflected in front of you. Change the angle of vision. Everything will be good. You will see only His hand in everything.
Do not blame God for your having failed in maintaining the Spiritual Diary. Give your mind a good shoe-beating. Resolutely start the practices once again from today.
Do not strain yourself beyond your capacity. Relax completely the moment you feel that there has been something wrong with the normal movement of the Prana. Dash cold water on your face when you feel sleepy.
The breathing gets controlled during meditation. It becomes very thin. Merge the mind in the Atman. Take it away from the body and its associates. The goal of life is Self-realisation. Mere seeing of some lights and hearing of sounds during meditation is not the final state of Self-realisation. They are, no doubt, encouragement to the Sadhaka.
You have had your rebirth in God. By gradual degrees try to forget the past, its successes and failures, its sins and virtues. You are not concerned with any of them now. You are a new man altogether. Bury the past deep and cover it up nicely with the Lord’s Names and Yoga Sadhana. Develop self-surrender to the Lord.
Asanas are as necessary as Pranayamas. One goes with the other. Please practise Asanas at least for fifteen minutes daily. This is the best insurance for good health.
All energy must be conserved and utilised for purposes of spiritual Sadhana. All the time that you have should be spent for spiritual practices and Nishkama Seva. If you use your time nicely in spiritual pursuits, you will be able to achieve the goal of life in this very birth.
I shall be pleased to accept you as my disciple. The ‘fees’ I demand are very costly. They are Vairagya, Viveka and Mumukshutva. If you have these, you can be my disciple.
Go to the temple daily and pray to the Lord to give you more and more devotion to His Lotus Feet. Pray to Him to enable you to remain perfect Brahmchari. Go to a secluded place daily and introspect. Intensify your Sadhana and Vairagya.
Do not take onions. You need not object to tamarind, salt and sugar now. Fast on Ekadasi. Take milk and fruits. Take saltless diet on Sundays.
If you want to know God then know yourself. Find out who is the seeker. Then you have known everything. You are that Eternal Self. For this you have to put up a course of Sadhana but a strenuous one. Then you will be able to clear all the doubts. Nothing will satisfy you by the explanations.
Only when you taste the sweetness of the sugar you are satisfied. So also till you have realised God you cannot have any satisfaction. Doubts after doubts will be mounting over your already heavy shoulders.
The western psychologists start and work from the physical and go to the mental plane and stop there, whereas the Eastern philosophy proceeds from the top and then looks at the bottom with the knowledge of the highest. Knowing the One Imperishable, you know everything else. This is the gist of our philosophy.
You can have your godhead through your physical mechanism provided you acknowledge its perishable nature. Look at the perishable nature of the body and all that we see around us. Just see how within a few years great wars were fought. Thousands perished. What does it show?
You must go in after that Imperishable–that is God. The Lord permeates everything. To realise this Imperishable it is not enough if you simply sit quiet expecting a miracle from Him or the Guru. You should strive for yourself, by incessant practice of Sadhana.
By one strong determination of the will, get rid of all evil qualities like smoking, taking tea and meat-eating. These weaken your nerves. You will be easily irritated. You will not be able to control your emotions. Tea is stimulating no doubt, but does harm ultimately.
When you are harassed by the tea habit, it will be difficult to leave it in the beginning. Use milk as a substitute for some time. You are simply alarmed. You imagine that you will have headache without it. All these are mere hallucinations.