Sri Swami Sivananda
This article is from the book Self-Realisation.
OM! Salutations to that adorable Hari, than whom there is nothing greater, and who is above all this universe!
Why should you prolong your bondage unnecessarily? Why should you not attain your divine birthright now? Why should you not break your bondage now? Delay means prolongation of your sufferings. You can break it at any moment. This is in your power. Do it now. Stand up. Gird up your loins. Do rigorous and vigorous Sadhana and attain freedom, which is immortality or eternal bliss.
The divine within you is stronger than anything that is without you. Therefore, be not afraid of anything. Rely on your own Inner Self, the Divinity within you. Tap the source through looking within. Improve yourself. Build your character. Purify the heart. Develop the divine virtues. Eradicate evil traits. Conquer all that is base in you. Endeavour to attain all that is worthy and noble. Make the lower nature the servant of the higher through discipline, Tapas, self-restraint and meditation. This is the beginning of your freedom.
Without renunciation you can never be happy. Without renunciation you can never be successful in gaining the highest good, i.e. Moksha. Without renunciation you can never be at your ease. Therefore renounce everything. Make happiness your own. Hold renunciation as the foremost of things. Become a good man first. Then control the senses. Then subdue the lower mind by the higher mind. Then the divine light will descend. Only then vessel will be able to receive and hold the divine light.
So long as your senses are not subdued or weakened, you will have to practise Tapas or self-restraint, Dama or Pratyahara. You may conquer millions of persons in a battle, but you will become the greatest conqueror only if you can conquer your own lower self or mind.
Build your spiritual life on a sure foundation, on the rock of the divine grace and strength of character. Take refuge in the Lord and His eternal Law. There is no power in heaven or in earth that can bar your path now. Success in Self-realisation is certain. Failure exists not for you. There is light on your path. All is brilliant.
Purify the heart first and then climb the ladder of Yoga steadily with courage and undaunted spirit. Climb onwards swiftly. Attain Ritambara Prajna and reach the summit of the ladder, the temple of wisdom, where the cloud of virtue or nectar drizzles from Dharmamegha Samadhi.
Sufferings purify the soul. They burn up the gross material, sins and impurities. The Divinity becomes more and more manifest. They give inner spiritual strength and develop the will force, the power of endurance. Hence sufferings are blessings in disguise. Spiritual life is toilsome and labourious. It demands constant vigilance and strong perseverance before substantial progress is made.
Meditation and worship are the means of evolving your potentialities and seeking a higher level of consciousness or existence. Practise meditation persistently and calmly without haste. You will soon attain Samadhi or the Nirvikalpa state. Only when you have purified your heart, silenced the mind, stilled the thoughts and surging emotions, withdrawn the outgoing senses, thinned out the Vasanas, you can behold the glorious Atman during deep meditation. Even a ray of your light during meditation will lighten your path. It will give you great deal of encouragement and inner strength. It will goad you to do more Sadhana. You will experience this ray of light when the meditation becomes more deep and when you rise above body-consciousness.
You have yourself built the walls of your prison-house through ignorance. You can demolish the walls through discrimination and enquiry of ‘Who am I’? When the electric lamp is covered by many wrappings of cloth, there will be no bright light. When the cloth is removed one by one, the light grows brighter and brighter. Even so, when the self-resplendent Atman which is covered by the five sheaths, by meditation on the pure Self and the practice of ‘neti-neti’ doctrine, the Self-luminous Atman reveals itself to the meditator.
There are five means by which perfect tranquillity or emancipation can be attained. These form the highest happiness. They are Satsanga or association with the wise, discrimination between the real and the unreal, dispassion, enquiry of ‘Who am I?’, and meditation. These are called Heaven. These are religion. These form the highest happiness.
Life is unfolding of the latent capacities of the soul. Lead the divine life. Generate sublime divine thoughts in your mind through meditation, Japa-Kirtan and study of sacred scriptures. Worship is the unfolding of the bud of the flower of the soul. Worship bestows life eternal. Bask the body in the physical sunlight. Bask the soul in the sunlight of the Eternal. You will have good health and ever-lasting life. Bathe in the river of life everlasting. Plunge into it. Take a dip in it, Float in it. Rejoice!