Monday, January 22, 2018

23 January

Recipe for Success 
Carelessness and forgetfulness are two evil qualities that stand in the way of success for a man. A careless man cannot do any action in a proper manner. These qualities are born of tamas (inertia). Application and tenacity are unknown to a man of carelessness. His superiors soon get displeased with a man who is careless and forgetful. There is a lack of attention in him.
Develop a strong desire to remove these two defects and to develop carefulness and a good memory. This is important. Then the will and the subconscious mind will do the work for you. Tie the key in your handkerchief as soon as you lock the door. Keep your money in the inside pocket. Keep your spectacles in the side-pocket. Always count the packages whenever you go out. Keep accounts regularly. Daily make a small note of items you have to attend to.
Many people are always diffident. They have no self-confidence. They have energy, capacity and faculties but they have no confidence in their own powers and faculties, in their ability to attain success. This is a kind of weakness that brings failures in all attempts.
A man appears on the platform to deliver a lecture. He is a capable man and he is well learned, but he is diffident. He foolishly thinks that he cannot produce an impressive speech. The moment this negative thought occupies his mind, he becomes nervous - he stutters and stammers. This failure is only due to his lack of self-confidence.
You may have little capacity and yet you must have full confidence that you will succeed in your attempt. There are people who have very little material and little capacity, and yet they thrill the audience. This is due to their confidence. "I will succeed", they say, or, "I am fully confident of my success".
Never leave room for the negative quality of diffidence to enter your mind. Know what your real worth is. A man of confidence is always successful in all his attempts.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

22 January

Don't Be Weak
Shyness is a great hindrance in life. It is a form of timidity or low fear. Almost all boys have got this weakness - and yet this is a feminine quality. Shyness manifests when one is in the wrong path. Every woman knows that the goal of life is God-realisation, and yet she engages herself in sexual matters. This wrong action makes her shy when she appears before any man.
A shy boy or man cannot express his thoughts boldly. He cannot look directly into the eyes of another man. He cannot freely approach any stranger. A shy man does not get on well in business or in the office.
Modesty is not shyness. It is decency or chastity. This comes from politeness and polish of character. Those who are shy should try to talk with others boldly. They should look directly at the face of others. Shyness is a great weakness. It should be eradicated quickly by cultivating courage.
Timidity is another weakness, due to faintheartedness. It is a form of fear, akin to shyness. A timid man has a chicken-heart. He is unfit for any public activity and for any kind of adventurous work.
A timid man cannot become successful in life, he cannot deal boldly with his customers in business. A timid man is afraid of losing his life. He is much attached to his wife, children and property. He is afraid of public opinion.
A timid man cannot talk even a few words with force and emphasis. So eradicate timidity. Eradicate it by developing courage. For timidity is a curse - and it weakens a man.
Pessimism is a temper of mind that looks too much on the dark side of things. It is the doctrine in which the whole world is bad rather than good. This is very depressing. Vedantins are wonderful optimists. Though they say that the world is unreal and they talk on dispassion, this is to create a distaste for the worthless life of this world, and to create a taste for the immortal, blissful life in Brahman.
The opposite of pessimism is optimism, which always looks on the bright side.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

21 January

Imaginary Obstacles
Many people develop worries by falsely imagining that they are inferior to others. The idea of inferiority or superiority brings trouble and worries. Ideas of superiority and inferiority are mental creations only they are illusory.
Differences are unreal. Never think that you are inferior to anybody. Never think that you are superior to anybody. You will begin to treat others with contempt when you think that you are superior to them. Remove these ideas from your mind. They are the cause of useless worry.
By constant meditation and concentration, you will have to divert the mind from worry. If you have contentment then worry can be easily destroyed. Get rid of all sorts of mental weaknesses, superstitions, false and wrong imaginings; fear and other wrong samskaras (mental impressions).
When desires arise in the mind, try not to fulfil them. Gradually, by constant practice, desires can be reduced. Then, if you stop all the desires, you can also destroy worry. In this way you will conserve your energy.
Now come imaginary phobias and fears of all sorts. Energy leaks out in these directions also. Man thinks: "I will develop pneumonia. I have already got a fever and a cough." He gets unnecessary fear in this way. Any disease is intensified by thinking about it. An ordinary ailment becomes severe by entertaining unnecessary fear.
Another man is afraid of criticism. If any man calls you a dog, why do you become furious? You do not develop four legs straight away, do you? But now you begin to fight him. Your eyes become red, you retaliate. You call him a donkey. Then he gets irritated. He fights back and you both end up deadly enemies. This is not good. Practise vichara (enquiry) and you will find that all this is nothing.

Friday, January 19, 2018

20 January

Be Courageous
Man creates trouble and misery for himself. Give up all sorts of fears. Stand up like a lion. Draw courage from within. There are many people who are so timid that they will not move around at night. Even when they see a cat at night, they tremble. What a shame.
They are embodiments of timidity. They are 'moustache ladies'. There are some sanyasins (monks) who repeat: "SHIVOHAM SHIVOHAM" ("I am Siva") - but they tremble with fear when they are put to a little test. They perspire and quiver when there is any impending danger!
They are poor, miserable specimens. I always say that a dacoit can become a good vedantin if his energy is turned in a spiritual direction, because he is absolutely fearless and has no deha adhyasa, (feeling "I am the body"); but not a timid man.
Fearlessness is the greatest qualification for a spiritual aspirant. All fears are imaginary. They have no real basis. When you think seriously they will melt away like snow before the sun. Think a tiger or a lion has come in front of you, and you will have to face it. Think that you are placed in front of a machine gun, and that you will be blown up right now. Draw courage now. Think of the verses of the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. They deal with the immortality of the soul. Again and again think of the divine verses of the Avadhut Gita. You will become courageous - though perhaps not all at once. Gradually you will find that you are gaining courage.
Constantly think that you are the Atman, the Self. You will gradually develop great courage. Worry and fear are fearful forces within us. They poison the sources of life; they destroy all harmony, vitality and vigour. Thoughts of cheerfulness, joy, and courage are healing and soothing. Always be cheerful. Always laugh and smile.
Just as darkness cannot exist in the presence of light, so also fear cannot exist in the presence of self-denial or Self-realisation or courage. Exhibit undaunted spirit, intrepidity and manliness. Make a strong resolve: "I will die or realise the Self". Give up the idea that you are the body. Fearlessness is one important sign of a liberated being.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

19 January

Fear
Fear is a great human curse. It is your worst enemy. Fear assumes many forms and blights many lives. But a calm mind brings courage. Then you will face the trials and difficulties of the spiritual path without fear. Fearlessness is a divine quality. What is fear? It is an imaginary zero; it is maya's deception. It is a mental delusion. It is a negative modification that arises in the mind-lake when one forgets his real, divine nature. It is a whirlpool that emanates from the chitta (mind) when one has lost his power of vichara (enquiry) and discrimination. It is the dark wave that proceeds from the ocean of antahkarana (mind) when one has intense attachment to the body.
Friends, there is nothing to fear really. Fear is due to acceptance of suggestion. Victory over fear really means victory over the thing that we fear. We attract to ourselves the very things we are afraid of. That is the universal law of nature. You need not be afraid of anything else in this world save fear itself.
Auto-suggestion helps a lot in removing fear. Assert the truth of being. Assert, "Nothing in the three worlds can make me afraid. I am absolutely fearless. My will is strong and irresistible." Make friends with the threatened experience, or the things you do not like. The raja yoga method is to repeat the formula: "I am courageous" or  "OM courage". In the morning meditate on the virtue of courage.
The devotee's method is to pray to God with faith and sincerity and to make perfect self-surrender: "O God, make me fearless. Grant me the virtue of courage. O Mother, take thy son in thy lap. Thou art fear; thou art courage. Let me see thee alone in all these forms". Feel the invisible helping hand of the ishta devata (your own deity). Have strong faith. Real strength lies in fearlessness. Remove fear of all sorts.
The vedantic method is to enquire: "Who am I?". Identify yourself with the inner Self. Assert: "I am the embodiment of courage - I am immortal Atman - I am not this perishable body. Who is to fear whom when all this is the Self?" This will destroy fear to its very root. How peaceful and strong are they who have victory over fear. May we all shine in divine glory, radiating courage all around. May the divine splendour, the brahmic aura shine in all faces and remove the darkness of fear, ignorance and terror. May we all attain that state of absolute fearlessness - brahmi sthiti (the state of Brahman). May we become one with the fearless Brahman.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

18 January

Observe Silence
Use measured words in talking. Do not talk much. Try to finish a conversation within a few minutes. Understand the nature of the man rightly. When he enters your office or house for an interview, speak politely and with great respect for the man. Then send him away immediately and conserve your energy.
Do not indulge in long unnecessary talks and discussions. Man is a social animal. He is prone to much talking. He is very garrulous. This talkative habit is ingrained in him and he is much troubled when he cannot get any company. He does not want to go in for seclusion.
The observance of mauna (silence) is death and capital punishment for him. Ladies are still more garrulous. They always create some kind of unnecessary quarrels in the house.
I always prescribe the practice of mauna for one and all, as this helps in the preservation of energy, development of will and enjoyment of peace. All sorts of quarrels, misunderstandings, anger, etc., can be easily avoided by mauna for two hours daily and for six hours on Sundays, and for a full week on long holidays.
Even during other periods talk very few words. When you speak, speak gently and sweetly. During mauna you must live alone. Do not mix with other people. Do not even express your ideas with gestures.
The other channel by which energy is wasted, is the mind. This wastage is due to loose thinking, worrying, anger and fear. Just as energy is wasted in too much talk, so also energy is wasted in loose thinking.
If this mental energy is conserved, you will have at your disposal a tremendous store of energy. This you can utilise for various other purposes and sadhana (spiritual practice). If this energy is conserved you will feel that you are very powerful. You will feel no exhaustion even if you turn out tremendous work.
To do this you have to watch your thoughts very carefully, by introspection and meditation. You will have to divert the mental energy to useful thinking. There will be some struggle in the beginning. But after some time the mind will naturally think of auspicious and useful items.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

17 January

Discipline of Speech
Tame your tongue - it is an unruly devil. Sacrifice, gift, austerity, the study of the sacred scriptures, truthfulness - all these will help you to develop virtuous conduct. Practise austerity of speech. Whatever you speak must be truthful and beneficent.
Do not utter anything that will give annoyance to anybody. A thoughtless man who has not controlled his organ of speech and who speaks at random, is entangled in the foolishness of his own words. Therefore be very careful when you speak.
Speak little. Think twice, think ten times before you speak. Weigh the words carefully, before they come out of your mouth. Speak only words which can do good to others. Always be polite and courteous. Never speak in a harsh tone, never hurt the feelings of others.
Do not talk much. Become a man of measured words. God has given you two ears and two eyes. But He only gave you one tongue, so that you may hear and see more than you speak. Lingual diarrhoea is a terrible disease.
Words exist for the transmission of ideas. Words and ideas are inseparable; they are like fire and its heat, or like ice and its coldness. Be careful in the selection of your words. They can produce violent disturbance in the feelings of others. Speak only those words which give happiness and comfort to others.
Think more. Do much. Speak measured words. Let your tongue never utter an unkind word, or a harsh word. Let it never speak sharp criticism. An undisciplined tongue is a sword that cuts others' hearts. It produces a wound that will never heal, even in a lifetime.
Observe silence. You will have abundant energy. You will conserve your energy this way. You will enjoy peace of mind and good health. You will be able to turn out more work. Silence is soothing for brain and nerves.
- - -
Your goal is God. Your centre is God. Your ideal is God. Turn back to God and realise everlasting bliss. Resting on Him you will be saved. As the lamp cannot burn without oil, so too, you cannot live without God. God is within you all the time, inspiring you, lifting you up. Withdraw. Aspire. Meditate. Realise.

Monday, January 15, 2018

16 January

Man of Self-Control
Men of self-control become sinless and fearless. They acquire great results. Every sort of excitement is effortlessly controlled by self-control. The enemies of the self-controlled man are seen by him - they are lust, anger, desire - as if they dwell in a separate body.
The self-controlled man becomes desirous of liberation. He quietly bears present joys and sorrows and griefs; he is never overjoyed or depressed by prospective ones. He is devoid of all vindictiveness and guile. He is unaffected by praise or censure.
A self-controlled man is well-balanced. He has good manners, purity and fortitude. He is a perfect master of his passions. He is devoted to universal benevolence. He never feels animosity for anyone. He is tranquil, wise and cheerful.
A self-controlled man is endowed with intelligence. He gains universal reverence. He fears no creature and in return he is feared by no creature.
Overcoming lust and anger, practising the vow of brahmacharya (celibacy) and becoming a complete master of the senses, the holy one patiently waits. Practising the austerest of penances and observing the most rigid of restraints, he lives in the world and calmly waits the time. He is like somebody who has a body and yet seems to know that he is not subject to destruction.
- - -
Meditation is freeing the mind from all objects and thoughts of sensual enjoyment. If this is done then God-realisation comes of itself. God will enthrone himself in your heart and meditation will come of itself. If you bring a light into a cave which has been dark for thousands of years, the darkness will vanish at once, by itself. You do not have to strive to drive the darkness away. If you attempt to put your hand into a pot which is filled with dust and dirt, you cannot. But if you empty it, then you can easily put your hand into the pot. Even so, if you empty the mind of all its dust and dirt, God will enter into it in the twinkling of an eye.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

15 January

Self-Reliance
Pure reason urges a man to do what is the best. The asuric (lower) nature of man fights and struggles against the higher nature of the man. The impulses of a man who has not undergone the ethical disciplines run counter to his reason. All advice, all rebuke and exhortation, all admonition found in the scriptures of the world testify that the irrational part is not amenable to reason.
The basis of good manners is self-reliance. For this reason, the great founders and eminent teachers of all religions have repeatedly proclaimed the need for recognising the Godhead within and for self-reliance in the last resort, rather than texts, persons or customs.
Self-control is greatest in the man whose life is dominated by ideals and general principles of conduct. The final end of moral discipline is self-control. The whole nature of man must be disciplined. Each element requires its specific training. Discipline harmonises the opposing elements in him. Self-control will enable the aspirant to know the truth, to desire the good, and to win the right - and thus to realise the reality.
Discipline is the training of our faculties, through instructions and through exercise, in accordance with some settled principle of authority. You must discipline not only the intellect but also the will and the emotions.
A disciplined man controls his actions. He is no longer at the mercy of the moment. He ceases to be a slave of his impulses and senses (indriyas). Such mastery is not the result of one day's effort. It is acquired only by protracted practice and daily self-discipline. You must learn to refuse the demands and impulses of your lower nature. A self-controlled man is able to resist wrong actions, towards which a worldly man is most strongly impelled.
- - -
Discipline yourself and grow strong. Stand unshaken. Rest in the Atman (the immortal blissful soul). Perfection is not impossible of achievement. It is within the easy reach of human endeavour. All desires are fulfilled after Self-realisation. 
If you lack wisdom, ask God sincerely and he will give you wisdom. Physical health, intellectual understanding, moral integrity and spiritual wisdom lead to ultimate perfection.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

14 January

Control Your Desires
In this ocean of samsara (worldly existence) desires are like crocodiles. Kill them as soon as they arise on the surface of the mind. Do not yield to them, do not become despondent about all the trials that beset you. Make friends with the pure (satvic) mind and destroy the impure mind with the help of the pure mind. Make the mind rest in the ever-blissful Atman.
When a desire arises in your mind, consult your discrimination. That will tell you, at once, that desire is attended with pain, that only vairagya (dispassion) and tyaga (renunciation) will bring you satisfaction and peace of mind. It will advise you to renounce desire immediately. It will advise you to take up the study of the Upanishads, to repeat OM and to meditate in a solitary place. Think deeply whether this new desire will give you happiness or spiritual gain. You must starve out the obnoxious desires by not allowing the mind to dwell on such desires.
You have no desire for a thing until you know what it is like. Only after you have seen it, tasted it, or touched it, will you know what it is like, will you have a longing for it. Therefore do not touch, taste or see anything that is likely to taint the imagination. Put down vicious desires through virtuous desires. Then give up virtuous desires, through one strong desire. And that is the desire for God. In the long run you will even have to abandon this desire for God. Kill the thoughts, practise thoughtlessness. In this way you destroy desire.
Free yourself from the crocodile of desires. Do not be disheartened. Cheer yourself up. Stand like a lion. Destroy the impure mind with the pure mind. Make friends with the satvic (pure) mind and rest peacefully in the Atman.

THE INNER BATTLE
The soldier fights for a few hours only, 
But the aspirant's battle goes on day and night. 
It is verily a hard battle, a fierce battle 
And it lasts till the end of his life. 
This battle is raging in the field of the mind. 
Satva (purity) fights with rajas (impurity) and tamas (inertia), 
Higher mind wages war with the lower mind. 
Contentment fights with greed, 
Patience fights with anger. 
Brahmacharya (celibacy) fights with lust, 
Humility fights with pride.  
Fight, my brother, valiantly. 
Raise the sword of Ram Nam (the divine name).
So says Sivananda.

Friday, January 12, 2018

13 January

Avoid Extremes
The mind always wants to be doing something. When it attaches itself to the objects it cherishes, the mind feels amused and happy. There can be attraction without attachment. You can be attracted to a beautiful rose, but you are not attached to it. Attachment comes after possession and enjoyment.
Attachment, love, ananda (bliss), all go together. You are attached to your wife and children and so on. You love them because they give you ananda. As this world is illusory and as, through this illusion, pain appears as pleasure, you must cut asunder all worldly attachments ruthlessly. Direct your love and attachment towards the reality, towards Brahman, towards the substratum which lies at the back of all objects, which is the witness of all activities taking place in the buddhi (intellect).
It is difficult to divert the mind which from early childhood has fallen into the pernicious habit of seeking external pleasures and which continues to do so unless you give it something superior to be amused with. Intellectual pleasure is far superior to sensual pleasure. So too, ananda (joy from meditation) is far superior to intellectual pleasure. Spiritual bliss gained from Self-realisation, is infinite, immeasurable, unbounded. It is anandaghana (a solid mass of bliss).
Keep the mind in a state of moderation. The mind likes always to run to extremes. It runs either to extreme joy or extreme depression. Extremes meet and bring about a reaction. In excessive joy the mind cannot be calmed. Hence let the mind always be calm and cheerful.
- - -
Ghee (clarified butter) has two states - solid and liquid. So it is with the mind. In the waking state it is solid and in the deep sleep state it is liquid. In the solid state it is limited and gross. This is why it has finite experiences. In the liquid state it is limitless and so the jiva (soul) experiences the homogeneous and limitless bliss. In the deep sleep state there is no ego, no desire, hence it experiences the limitless bliss of the Atman. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

12 January

Elusive Happiness
Man wants happiness. He tries to get it from money, from power, from woman, from son, from position and so on. He rushes from one thing to another trying to find happiness. He gets knocks, blows, failure and disappointment. He laughs, dances, weeps and mourns. His senses get exhausted. He gets disgust for objects. Eventually he experiences that sense objects are illusory and that real lasting happiness cannot be found in them.
Man feels the need for a particular object. He tries to get it. If he succeeds he is delighted for a moment. If he fails he is sunk in despair and sorrow; he is gloomy and depressed. If he loses an object he becomes very miserable.
As soon as one want is gratified, another new want crops up. There is no end to his wants. Cares, worries, anxieties and fear co-exist with wants and desires. Want is the product or offspring of ignorance. Brahman is all-full. All wants are satisfied in Brahman.
The restlessness of the mind is kept up by all these wants. He who wants nothing is a mighty emperor of the world. Sri Shankara says: "That carefree saint who moves about with a kowpeen or loincloth only, without possessions, without the idea of ownership, without any wants, is the most happy person in the world." Wants and desires can be eradicated by Self-realisation only.
Any number of zeros have no value unless you add a '1' before them. Similarly, even if you possess the wealth of the whole world, it is nothing if you do not lead a spiritual life, if you have no spiritual wealth, if you have no Self-realisation. 
You will have to add the Atman to the life here. That is why the Lord Jesus says: "Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
- - -
Mind is greater than the senses. Pure intellect is greater than the mind. Atman is greater than the intellect. There is nothing greater than Atman.
Brahman is without senses, mind, prana. He is within and without all beings. He is immovable; he is extremely subtle. He is the light of all lights.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

11 January

Analects of Sivananda
Solitude is the soul's best friend. Silence is better than argument. He is really blessed who can suit his temper to any circumstances. Grief destroys strength, health, intellect and wisdom. Conquer grief through discrimination, enquiry, and the meditation on the Atman (Self). 
Worry is a waste. Avoid it. Rather sing, pray, meditate, enquire, cogitate and discriminate. Dive into the Bhagavad Gita. You will become fearless. You will rise above all worries.
Idleness is the enemy of peace of the soul. Stop complaining. Be thankful that there is a perfect law of health to which everyone has access. Obey that law and be happy. Practise asanas - especially siddhasana, sarvangasana and sirshasana this will enable you to get control over the vital energy. If your mind is cool and your heart is full, then the entire world will be cool too.
Replace doubt, despair and hate, with faith, hope and love. Have plenty of commonsense. Think quickly and carry out your decisions resolutely in times of emergency. Change is painful but ever needful. God chooses the meek and the innocent to achieve his will.
Many talk like philosophers and sages - but they live like fools. Veil after veil has to be lifted. The illusions of life are to be torn away before life divine can be attained.
Life is a perpetual struggle. It is a perpetual dying until you are face to face with God. Man is verily the sacrifice. Nature is the ladder on which we climb up to the Lord. Do not have a sad face - you will affect others.
Be cheerful always. Rejoice. Radiate joy and cheer. Radiate health and light. Let your eyes ever shine with the light of supreme love. The reality of love-tears is not in the eyes but in the heart of love.
- - -
 
"God is Truth. God is Love. God is Peace. God is Bliss.
God and God's law are one. 
The Law and the Law-giver are one. 
God is the law himself, he never breaks his laws. 
God and his law abide everywhere and govern everything. 
Glory to God. Glory to God."

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

10 January

The Foundation of Ethics
Put yourself in the place of others. Learn this great secret. What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others. The doctrine of unity of the Atman (the Self), is the foundation of morality.
No one tries to harm himself. How can one, who knows that each and every being is his own Self, harm anyone?
Share what you have with others. This is vedanta. Aparigraha (non-covetousness) is a very important item in the practice of yama or self-restraint, in Raja Yoga of Patanjali. Aparigraha is non-receiving of gifts, it is freedom from covetousness. This leads to purity of thought and independence.
The purer you are, the nearer to God you will be. A pure heart is the most essential thing required for good health of body and mind, and for attaining God-realisation. Religion resides only in the pure heart. Only the simple can be pure. He who is pure in heart attains God-realisation.
Humility is a fundamental virtue. It is the secret of the saints. He who lives the life of humility and simplicity earns the supreme bliss of eternity. Humility is freedom from self-conceit.
Obliterate the sense of 'I-ness'. Obliterate the idea of, "I am doing" or, "I will do". You are on the way to infinity. You will take the plunge into the ocean of divine wisdom and love.
You are not the doer. Do not think of the good deeds you have done and do not even expect any thanks for what you do. If you help a man, never remember it and if a man helps you, never forget it.
- - -
Spiritual life and devotion to God are essential for preventing a feeling of frustration in life. In the realm of perfection, harmony, peace and freedom, is the abode of Brahman. Reach this abode through purity, love, and meditation. Go to the source of life itself. You will know everything.

Monday, January 8, 2018

9 January

The Peak of Perfection
You can climb the peak of perfection through resolute will, intense dispassion, renunciation and rigorous Meditation. Sublime divine thought is very powerful, it is a dynamic transmuting force. Diligently seek the path of truth; tread it carefully and vigilantly, for you may slip and fall. Love is harmlessness, kindness, compassion. Nothing can tempt you if you are regular in meditation. He who is pure at heart has already found divinity. Renunciation of egoism is the direct way to the eternal.
Knowledge of the imperishable bestows perfect freedom and independence. Where egoism is, immortality is not; where immortality is, egoism is not. Concentration will give you great power. Collect the scattered rays of the mind. Lust and greed make you a spiritual bankrupt. Purity and meditation bestow on you inexhaustible divine wealth.
A yogi becomes the master-builder of the temple of truth. Pass through the gate of wisdom - you will reach the illimitable domain of eternal bliss. He who is endowed with discrimination and power and concentration climbs rapidly to the peak of illumination. Your real guru (preceptor) is your own heart - he is the indweller, the inner ruler.
Longing for final liberation is the hunger for the spiritual food of knowledge of the eternal. Mind is the mirror through which the eternal appears as the universe of names and forms. Be in the world - not of the world. This is the highest yoga. This is the eternal wisdom. The wise man is ever eager to learn, he never poses as a teacher.
This visible world is the mirror of the invisible Brahman. You are a slave of circumstances because you do not meditate regularly. You will easily get illumination in solitude. Solitude has its own charms - prepare yourself for life in seclusion. Control and preserve energy through silence, brahmacharya (celibacy) and pranayama (yoga breathing), - you will have wonderful meditation. Love that man who dislikes you - you will grow strong. Money wasted can be restored, but time wasted is lost forever. Find out your centre - that centre is perfect harmony, eternal bliss, your own immortal soul.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

8 January

Sinner Today, Saint Tomorrow
Critical times test the faith of the devotee. He who has faith in the Lord must pass through the fire of suffering. Suffering is not misfortune; it helps one to grow. Suffering and pain open the door to wisdom. "Not to be hurt by others", is more difficult than, "not to hurt others". Blessed are those that suffer, because suffering helps them to evolve quickly - suffering is the substance of spiritual life.
The individual soul is a business man - his karmas (actions) are his commerce - good and bad fruits of his good and bad actions are his profit and loss. The world is his business house. Think well and judge what is right before you act. Involuntary, unintentional or unconscious actions do not constitute karma, because volition is the most important factor in determining karma, and here it is absent. Sin is only a mistake, misdirected energy. Mistakes are lessons in wisdom. The essence of evil and sin is belief in things that perish.
The essence of religion is truth and the essence of law is virtue. Two birds, inseparable friends, cling to the same tree. One of them eats sweet and bitter fruits and the other watches without eating. The tree is the body. One bird is the individual soul who enjoys the fruits of his actions - pleasure and pain. The other bird is the Lord who remains as a witness without eating.
Respect of the soul is praiseworthy. Respect of the body is despicable. A scientist conquers external nature but a yogi conquers the mind and internal nature. The sinner of today is the saint of tomorrow. Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.
- - -
Your goal is God. Your centre is God. Your ideal is God. Turn back to God and realise everlasting bliss. Resting on him you will be saved. As the lamp cannot burn without oil, so too, you cannot live without God. God is within you all the time, inspiring you, lifting you up. Withdraw. Aspire. Meditate. Realise.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

7 January

The Spiritual Path
Youth is the best time, the most fitting time in a man's life, to devote himself to spiritual aspiration and sadhana (spiritual practice). The spiritual life is practical from beginning to end. The love for the ideal should be single-minded and whole-hearted.
The spiritual path is an unknown path which is as straight and narrow as a razor. On it there is no other light than that of faith and divine grace to guide the aspirant. There is no other sustenance than devotion.
The track ahead cannot be seen. The going is uncertain. And many pitfalls await the unwary. The traveller, the aspirant, must travel in the dark. He must march courageously forward. He will reach great illumination at the journey's end.
The spiritual path demands complete mastery over the flesh. Proceed gradually. Intensify the aspiration you have. Have a keen thirst for the realisation of the supreme. Keep alive thy aspiration, undiminished and bright. Be thou firm in thy faith.
Empty thy heart of all earthly things. The spiritual life is a life of child-like simplicity. What is needed in spiritual life is a sincere aspiration for the life of the spirit. It needs an earnest dedication to it. And it needs a whole-souled devotion and application to the realisation of the ideal. Your heart must be solely and entirely centred on God. It must be centred on God alone - deeply, passionately and steadily.
Be sincere to thy very core. This is the most essential thing. Spiritual life is based on the complete conquest of the lower nature. Upon this pedestal of perfect self-mastery and right conduct, the edifice of godliness and divine life may be built. May thy spiritual life and example inspire one and all.
- - -
Man wants a fuller life. He lives for a fuller life. That is life in eternal Brahman. Life is an endless series of awakenings. Understand life and the laws that govern it. Then you will lead a life of harmony and peace. Life holds the key. Unlock the mystery of your own being and attain life eternal.

Friday, January 5, 2018

6 January

Become Dynamic
If a man feels even a little bit for his present deplorable condition; if he attempts even to show a slight improvement; if there is a little receptive attitude; then he can be corrected and he can make progress on the path of yoga. If he is obstinate and pigheaded, if he is absolutely self-willed, if he deliberately shuts his eyes or hardens his heart against the truth or divine light - then no one can help him.
The aspirant should give his full consent, he should consent with all his being (sarva bhava) for the change of his lower nature into divine nature. He must make total, unreserved, ungrudging self-surrender to the Lord or the guru. He must have the true spirit and he must have persistent endeavour. Then only the real change will come.
Yoga can be practised only by those who are very earnest about it and who are ready to annihilate their little ego and its demands. There are no half measures on the spiritual path. Rigid discipline of the senses, and the mind, rigorous tapas (penance) and constant meditation, are necessary for the attainment of God-realisation.
The hostile forces are ever ready to overwhelm you if you are not vigilant, if you give the least sanction, or the smallest opening for them. Yoga cannot be practised if you cling to your little self, your old habits, your old unregenerate and self-assertive lower nature.
You cannot lead a double life. Pure divine life, the life of yoga, cannot co-exist with a mundane life of passion and ignorance. Rise above the petty human level to the higher level of divine consciousness.
You cannot claim freedom for your petty mind and little ego if you want to become a yogi. The lower nature with its retinue of arrogance, ignorance, and turbulence, stands in the way of the descent of divine light.
- - -
Know the truth, the Absolute. Then you are saved, you are liberated, you are enlightened, you are free. You can know Brahman only by becoming Brahman. To become Brahman is to identify yourself with the supreme soul which constitutes your divine nature. The river joins the ocean and becomes one with it. The drop mixes with the sea and becomes one with the sea.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

5 January

Presence of Mind
Just reflect for a while when you have failed in an attempt. Try to be more careful in the next attempt. Try to remove those factors that led you to fail previously. Fortify yourself now. Be careful and vigilant. Be active and nimble as the squirrel. Be quick and at the same time be capable and efficient. Do not commit mistakes.
Call forth all your latent energies or dormant faculties. When the house is on fire - how alert you are. How skilfully and promptly you act at that particular moment. You do not know where the power and the energy are flowing from at that time. You are fully concentrated. You contrive by skilful methods, then and there, to save your property and the lives of those dwelling in the house. You do marvellous actions and then, when the difficulty is over you say that some mysterious 'power of God' has worked through you!
Always cut the Gordian Knot at once. Do not waste time. When once you have resolved on a definite line of action, carry it out dexterously, with a cool and calculating deliberation and consideration. Procrastination is the thief of time. One who procrastinates can never succeed in life, or in any of his undertakings.
The vast majority of persons, even so-called 'educated' people, have no definite aim in life. They drift here and there like a log of wood on a restless ocean. They do not know what to do. After finishing their B.A. or M.A. courses students do not know how to proceed. They do not have power of judgment to select any good vocation that is suitable to their temperament, that will bring them prosperity in life. They become lazy. They are not suitable for any kind of speculative business or any kind of activity demanding knack, pluck and skill.
In persons of this sort, those who waste their time and energy, they finish their life's career in gloom, despair and sorrow. The energy, the intellect are there but they have no ideal, no clearcut programme of life. Their life is a failure.
Clearly understand the purpose of life. Then chalk out the line of work that is congenial to your aim. Live up to your ideal. You can realise the ideal right now, this very second. But if you walk with faltering steps it will take ten years. The ideal must be there and then you can develop your will.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

4 January

Life is Artificial
Life has become very artificial. There is physical, mental and moral degeneration. You do not find robust, stalwart, healthy people. Longevity is unknown. Everywhere you see puny, stunted creatures with dilapidated frames and sickly appearance. They cannot even walk a short distance.
Children beget children. People die like moths. They have become weaklings, effeminate, impotent.
There is wholesale devastation by earthquake. Divorce courts are increasing. One nation is afraid of another nation. Each nation is suspecting the other nation of preparing for war. Life has become a matter of uncertainty. It has become a mass of confusion, chaos and bewilderment. It has become very stormy and boisterous. It is full of under-currents, cross-currents and mixed currents!
You can escape from these troubles and difficulties if you lead a life of dispassion, self-restraint, purity and selfless service; if you develop pure cosmic love; if you develop the habit of taking the right view, right thinking, right feeling, right acting, all with the right attitude - and if you practise devotion and meditation.
Dispassion must be of that type that is born of pure viveka (nitya-anitya vastu viveka - discrimination between the real and the unreal). This is a rare commodity, a rare virtue. Seek everlasting bliss and peace in the Atman or the soul within by purifying the mind and practising meditation. This is the only remedy to get rid of the pains of samsara (worldly existence).
Be quick in taking to spiritual pursuits. Hairs are becoming grey. Teeth are falling. The senses are getting cold. Practise meditation while you are young. After retirement from service you can do nothing.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

3 January

Practical Instructions
Difficulties exist only that you may grow strong by overcoming them. So overcome all difficulties, one by one, patiently. If you fail ten times, do not despair. If you fail a hundred times, do not be disheartened. If you fail a thousand times, rise up and march on boldly. Failures are indeed stepping-stones to success.
Watch your speech. Watch every word. Speak no word that is impure or vulgar, or that can affect the feelings of others. Never allow an unclean thought to enter your mind. If it does enter your mind, drive it out at once. Purify your mind so that an impure thought may not be able to gain entrance. Strengthen your resolve. Patiently persist in your sadhana (spiritual practice).
Intensify your dispassion and yearning for liberation. Destroy your personal element. Forgive those who harm you. Give love for hatred. Overcome evil by good. Resist the promptings of the lower nature.
Make your body your obedient servant, your slave. Do not give up your sadhana simply because you do not make any progress. Struggle as long as you can each time. Each time you will be nearer to success.
Give, give, give. Giving is the very nature of love. Giving expands and purifies the heart. Ask for no return. Ask for no gratitude. Where there is no free giving, there is no room for God. Giving itself is the secret of abundance. Interest and attention will strengthen your will. Cultivate attention to a considerable degree. Constantly repeat some inspiring verses from the Gita or the Upanishads.
Constantly repeat some mantras such as: Om Satchidananda or Om Namo Narayanaya. This will be your divine background of thought: This will be a shield, to counteract the objectionable impure thoughts.
Follow these instructions carefully. You are sure to attain Self-realisation here and now.
- - -
If you realise the one in all and the all in one, you are an illumined sage. Be serene in the oneness of things. All duality will disappear by itself. One alone is the living reality. All is illusory. All is maya's jugglery. One appears as the all. Reject, negate the all. Realise the one and be free.

Monday, January 1, 2018

2 January

Learn Learn Learn
The world is for your education. You learn several lessons daily. If you learn all you can, if you utilise all opportunities to the best advantage, in the spirit of yoga, then your capacities and will-power will develop. You grow, you evolve, you expand.
There is eternal development - you are moving forward towards the goal. All veils drop down. All limitations and barriers are annihilated. All shackles or fetters are rent asunder. You receive more and more divine light, knowledge, purity, peace and spiritual strength.
You are the author of your fate. You yourself have created this. You yourself are entirely responsible for this. You are the maker of suffering and joy. Just as a silkworm has created a cocoon for its own destruction, so also you have created this cage of flesh, by your own karma (action), by attraction and repulsion, and false egoism.
You have become a slave of the flesh. You have become a slave of body and mind, of countless desires. You are sunk deep in the quagmire of samsara (ignorance). Do not sleep any longer. Awake. Come out of this illusory mayaic cage, now.
Cast aside the erroneous idea: "I am the body". Develop the consciousness and the realisation of the real 'I' within you. Be aware of the Satchidananda Brahman, the Atma, the Supreme Self, the one consciousness - that which connects all hearts together by a common thread.
Awaken yourself to the conscious realisation of your actual identity with the Supreme Self. Think of the Self continuously. This will lead to Self-realisation. The struggle must be keen. The endeavour must be sincere. The motive must be pure.
There must be iron discipline, iron determination, iron will and constant sadhana (practice). Then there is not a bit of difficulty in the attainment of the final beatitude of life. This life is sublime in its nature. It is resplendent with spiritual light. It is radiant with splendour. It is vibrant with ecstasy. It is replete with peace.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

1 January

Universal Prayer

O adorable Lord of mercy and love!
Salutations and prostrations to thee.
Thou art satchidananda.
(Existence-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute)
Thou art omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient.
Thou art the indweller of all beings.

Grant us an understanding heart,
Equal vision, balanced mind,
Faith, devotion and wisdom.
Grant us inner spiritual strength
To resist temptations and to control the mind.
Free us from egoism, lust, anger, greed and hatred.
Fill our hearts with divine virtues.
 
Let us behold thee in all these names and forms.
Let us serve thee in all these names and forms.
Let us ever remember thee.
Let us ever sing thy glories.
Let thy name be ever on our lips.
Let us abide in thee for ever and ever.

                                                                            —Swami Sivananda

Real Peace
How long do you want to live a life of duality? A life of restlessness and discontentment? How long do you wish to lead a life of ignorance, hatred, bitterness, and separation? How long do you wish to continue your own selfish struggles? How long do you wish to behold differences and distinctions? How long do you wish to keep the barriers between man and man?
You cry for shanti, for peace. But where to get it? Through whom to get it? Realise peace in your own heart through association with sages and by meditation. You can find this peace only in the stillness, only within your own Self. You certainly cannot find it in objects. Look within.
Sit silently in a quiet room for one or two hours. Close your eyes and concentrate on the point between the eyebrows. Withdraw the mind and the senses from the external objects. Be still.
Silence the surging thoughts and the bubbling emotions. Forget the body. Forget the world. Enter into the great calm. Dive deep down into the recesses of your heart. Plunge into the ocean of peace. Now you can realise your oneness with the Supreme Self.
Be regular in your practice. This is of paramount importance. It is useless to talk of the cessation of war, whilst you are still full of petty hatred and jealousy. So first remove your own inharmonious vibrations. Then there will be no more war between nations. It is only the individuals that constitute a nation.
Lead a life of peace. Kill suspicion. Kill envy. Kill prejudice. Kill selfishness. Kill the greed for power and possession. Do this ruthlessly.
Lead a simple life. Practise daily meditation and establish peace in your own heart. Then you will radiate it to all who come in contact with you.
Mysterious is this peace. If you enjoy this peace, you will be contributing peace to the whole world. Realise the peace that passeth all understanding and be free.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

31 December

A Beacon-Light to the World
The liberated sage, like unto holy waters, purifies others by mere sight, touch and the utterance of his name. Sometimes he remains unnoticed, while sometimes he becomes known to those who desire welfare. He eats food offered to him by pious devotees and burns up their past and future evils and impurities. A liberated sage or a saint is the ultimate source of knowledge of the soul. To keep company with a jivanmukta (liberated sage) for even a minute is much better than to rule a kingdom - his very presence is so thrilling and inspiring. Seek his company and evolve. Serve him with faith and devotion.
A jivanmukta may give up his body in any place, at any time. Just as the falling leaves and fruits of a tree will not affect the tree itself, so also, the shedding of the body will not affect the Self which survives like the tree. His vital airs do not depart elsewhere for transmigration. They are absorbed in Brahman after the exhaustion of his destiny, the results of past actions that have already begun to bear fruit. He is freed from further births. The jivanmukta is freed from the trammels of mind and matter. He is absolutely free, perfect, independent. He is absolutely free from hatred, lust, cares, worries and anxieties. Everybody surely desires this state of beatitude or final emancipation. It is the final goal of life, the end of all human aspirations.
The state of a jivanmukta is the be-all and end-all of existence. There is fullness in this state. All desires are burnt. It is a state of absolute and perfect satisfaction. There is no gain greater than this; no bliss greater than this; no wisdom greater than this.
There, at the summit of the hill of eternal bliss, you can see the sage or jivanmukta or a full-blown yogi. He has climbed the stupendous heights through intense and constant struggle. He did severe, rigorous spiritual practices. He did profound meditation. He spent sleepless nights. He kept long vigils during several halting stages. He persevered with patience and diligence. He surmounted many obstacles, conquered despair, gloom and depression. He is a beacon-light to the world now. Remember that he was also rotting in those days in the quagmire of births and deaths, like yourself. You can also ascend to that summit if only you will.
OM TAT SAT

Friday, December 29, 2017

30 December

Sage's Behaviour
A liberated sage is not a whimsical man, neither is he bound by the rules of scripture or society. And yet, he will not deviate from righteousness. All that he does will be in strict accordance with the scriptures or sacred books. He spontaneously does only what is good. An expert dancer never makes a false step. So is a jivanmukta (liberated sage) when he works.
The sage works without effort, without agency, without egoism, desire and attachment. Like a child, his conduct is neither good nor evil. The sense of right and wrong will be natural in him independently of scriptural teachings. He has destroyed all egoism, is above all karma, and karmas cannot touch him. He may, for the instruction of the world, perform works or refrain from forbidden acts. The jivanmukta does not care for public criticism. He keeps a cool mind even when he is assaulted. He blesses those who persecute him. He beholds only his own Self everywhere.
His mark or characteristic is an internal mental state. It cannot be perceived or detected by others. The Lord uses him for His divine work.
A knower of Brahman or a liberated sage need not be a genius. He need not be an eloquent speaker, orator, lecturer or professor. But he is calm, serene and tranquil. His silence is superior eloquence. He has divine wisdom and intuitive knowledge. In his presence, all doubts are cleared.
Householders make a wrong judgement in deciding the nature of a jivanmukta. They take into consideration only the external conditions of a jivanmukta. Even educated people make mistakes in this regard.
He will sometimes appear like an 'all-knower'. He will sometimes appear like an ignorant man. He knows when to act like a knower of the self. Serve him with proper feeling and devotion, with spiritual thirst; he will impart the highest knowledge to you. If you approach him with a bad motive, he will behave like a madman and you will be deceived and great will be your loss.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

29 December

The Sage's View of the World
The man who stands up to his neck in water has a twofold experience. His head is exposed to the sun. He experiences both heat and cold. Such is the experience of a liberated sage. He has double consciousness. He enjoys the bliss of Brahman, but also has the experience of this world. He is like a man who knows two languages.
Just as the pot in which asafoetida or onion is kept emits a certain amount of smell even when it is cleaned several times, so also, a small trace of ignorance still remains in the mind of a sage. The jivanmukta (liberated sage) has a consciousness of the body in the form of an impression in the subconscious mind. That is the reason why he eats and drinks. Though the instinctive mind with low desires is destroyed, the pure mind does not perish in the liberated sage. How will he be able to engage himself in worldly activity without an instrument, namely, the mind?
The phenomenal universe does not vanish from the vision of the liberated sage. He sees the world as a dream within himself. Just as the mirage appears even after the illusory nature of the water is understood, so also, the world appears for a jivanmukta even after he has attained Self-realisation, even after he has clearly understood the illusory nature of the world. But, just as the man who has understood the nature of the mirage will not run after the mirage for drinking water, so also, the sage who is liberated will not pursue sensual objects like the worldly-minded people - though the world appears to him. That is the difference between a worldly man and a liberated sage.
The jivanmukta beholds the one reality or God everywhere and in all things. For him there is no distinction between a rogue and a saint, gold and stone, honour and dishonour. He actually feels that all is himself only - that snakes, scorpions, tigers, bears and lions are as much part of himself as his own eyes, nose, ears, hands and feet. He is one with the flower, sun, ether, ocean, mountain and sky. He has cosmic vision and cosmic feelings.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

28 December

Jivanmukta
A jivanmukta is a liberated sage. He is released even while living, He lives in the world, but he is not of the world. He always revels in the eternal bliss of the Supreme Self. He is the Lord himself, a God on earth.
The jivanmukta or full-blown sage is full of pure love, compassion, mercy, exquisite gentleness and hidden power and strength. Love and lustre shine through his brilliant eyes.
The jivanmukta has not a bit of selfish interest in him and is absolutely free from worries, difficulties, troubles, tribulations and sorrows under all circumstances. Even when pains and afflictions attach themselves to his body, exhibit themselves on his face, his mind never writhes under them or their antithesis. He is not a slave of his moods; he is ever cheerful and peaceful. His higher excellences have been perfectly unfolded; all divine attributes are fully awakened in him. Every one of his weaknesses and limitations is burnt in toto. He shines in his own pristine glory, in his own essential nature of divine consciousness. He radiates peace and joy everywhere. The true greatness of a realised yogi is indescribable. His eyes are inspiring and impressive. His nature is magnanimous, his touch purifying; his looks are merciful, gestures illuminating. He is omniscient; he has intuitive transcendental knowledge and clear insight into the very heart of all things and beings. You will experience a deep sense of peace and harmony, great elevation and inspiration, in his presence.
The jivanmukta or liberated sage is absolutely free from egoism, fear, doubt and grief. These are the four important signs that indicate that one has attained perfection. The liberated sage is perfectly content, has unruffled peace of mind, experiences deep abiding joy and bliss, possesses super-sensual spiritual knowledge and has the ability to clear any kind of doubt an aspirant may have. Doubts vanish when one remains in his company.
The jivanmukta does not even care for the wants of the body. He is not afraid of death and has no longing to live. Mother Nature is his obedient and sweet nurse, attending upon him carefully. Bodily wants come by themselves. Nature arranges everything for him beforehand, this being her responsibility. Balanced mind, equal vision, indifference to the pairs of opposites like pleasure and pain, censure and praise, heat and cold, success and failure - these are the marks of a jivanmukta.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

27 December

Key to Perfection
Meditate on the Atman; you will enjoy peace and bliss. The more you grow in aspiration and meditation the more God-like you grow, for in meditation is the light of the Lord. Meditate and charge your battery by contact with God. Dive deep into the chambers of your heart through profound and silent meditation and bring up the pearl of truth. Meditate and retire to your innermost centre. Abide now in perfect serenity and the peace that passeth all understanding.
Fear, distress, worry, temptation and despair will assail you during meditation. Repeat the Lord's name vigorously and sincerely - all will vanish. Meditate amidst noise, study amidst noise. Discipline and again discipline. There will be no tossing of the mind for you. You will have a strong unperturbed mind. If purity increases, the body becomes light and the mind becomes cheerful. One attains greater balance of mind and the power of concentration increases. You enter into deep meditation. If for one day you do not practise meditation, you will lose much; you will not be able to reach the original spiritual height the next day. Therefore always be regular in your meditation. Enquire, "Who am I?". Find the seer, find the knower. Meditate on satchidananda Atman, the inner ruler, the indweller.
Meditate on Brahman as support, greatness, wisdom, bliss and existence. The light which never fails is the light of meditation. You experience samadhi (the vision of truth) through the light of meditation. Moksha (emancipation) is very near to him who is perfect is meditation. Connect your mind with the mind of God through meditation or yoga. Your life will become divine, your life will be transformed.
- - -
Meditation is the means; knowledge is the end. Meditation is the process; knowledge is the culmination. In meditation there is struggle, striving or effort. In knowledge there is no striving. So long as there is meditation, the meditator is only an aspirant. When meditation ceases and the goal is reached, the meditator becomes the knower of truth - all meditation and effort cease. He is a jivanmukta (liberated sage). When you try to behold a tree, there is effort in the beginning of perception. Later it becomes a continuous stream of consciousness of the tree. So is knowledge of Brahman.