Saturday, November 30, 2013

1 December

Perfect Renunciation

Vedanta does not want you to renounce the world. It wants you to change your mental attitude and give up this false, illusory 'I-ness' and 'mine-ness'. The snake charmer removes only the two poisonous fangs of the cobra. The snake remains the same. It hisses, raises its hood and shows its fangs. In fact, it does everything as before. The snake charmer has changed his mental attitude towards the snake. He has a feeling now that it has no poisonous fangs. Even so, you must remove the two poisonous fangs of the mind, namely, 'I-ness' and 'mine-ness' only. Then you can allow the mind to go wherever it likes. Then you will always have the feeling of the presence of God.
You must also renounce the attachment to renunciation, which is very deep-rooted. You must renounce the idea: "I have renounced everything; I am a great renunciate". This attachment of aspirants is a greater evil than that of the householders: "I am a landlord; I am a brahmana, etc."  
Not by shaving the head, not by dress, not by egoistic action is liberation to be attained. He who possesses wisdom is a real sanyasin (monk). Wisdom is the sign of a sanyasin. The wooden staff does not make a sanyasin. He is the real sanyasin of wisdom who is conscious of his absolute nature even in his dreams just as he is during the waking period. He is the greatest knower of Brahman. He is the greatest of sanyasins.
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Perfect renunciation is born of discrimination. Dispassion should not be mild and half-hearted. It should be a burning flame of disgust for everything that is seen and that is not seen. Nothing but the state of final liberation is to be the ideal for attainment. There should be no desire for wife, husband, children and worldly activity. The aspirant must be encircled by the fence of dispassion on all sides.
Action is for the man of the world, the wisdom is for the sanyasin who has risen above worldliness. Only the man of renunciation with knowledge attains Brahman, and none else. Without perfect renunciation, it is impossible to pursue the path of the knowledge of Brahman.

Inspiring Talks, Message 13

INSPIRING TALKS OF GURUDEV SIVANANDA – MESSAGE 13

13th October, 1948
ROOT TO BRANCH: ALL SAME
It started raining today early in the morning. Everyone thought there would be no morning class. The Ashramite deputed to ring the bell thought there was no use doing so: no one to start the class: no lecturers: nor any students.
Siva was in the Bhajan Hall, all alone.
Sri Araamudan was walking majestically along with a small bucket in his hand: when he noticed Siva, at once he put away the bucket and bowed.
‘No class, today?’ queried Siva.
‘I am just now coming out of the Bhajan Hall, Swamiji. No one has come this morning.’
Quickly, two or three students were collected. They started Kirtan. Some more joined: and the professors also came in.
LAZINESS
Siva had kept silent over the incident, till he came into the office. Quietly he introduced the topic, intending to instruct.
‘I looked out of my Kutir at 5 a.m. It was raining. Then, I waited a little. The rain stopped. Then, I went to the Bhajan Hall to find none there. Everyone thought that I could not come. Then when they all saw me, they started gathering. It is all due to inborn laziness.
‘Even if one man went there, he should start doing Kirtan. The story is told of Swami Ramakrishnanandaji who founded the Madras Ramakrishna Mission that he would deliver his lectures at the appointed time and place whether there were people to listen to him or not. It is because he had such indomitable will that his Satsankalpa is working even now.’
HEAD AND HEART
On Siva’s way back from the Bhajan Hall, S.D. met him and had a few words regarding the attitude towards him of his room-mate, who was disturbing his books and belongings, upsetting his clothes, etc.
‘Masterji, you are daily reading Brahma Sutras and Vedanta. If at the same time, you develop a heart of love also, if it it be the smallest worth – a pie - ) he would very carefully clean it and then hand it over to me. We should learn these principles.’
SIVA’S ESTATE
A visitor evinced a keen interest in a bulky volume on Siva’s table.
‘This is my Address Book,’ said Siva, ‘in which I note down the addresses of all those who come into the divine life fold: editors of journals, professors, headmasters of schools, European and American Sadhakas, etc. It serves me a lot. Whenever a new book is published, it is this book that helps me to send it to various persons who will be benefited by it. These twenty-five years I have gone on maintaining this register. This is the fifth volume.
‘Writing addresses of all Sadhakas is to me a greater form of Sadhana than meditation. This is a form of meditation in which not only we, but others, are also benefited. Meditation is necessary: but, along with that, service also is necessary.
‘Sadhakas there are all over the world who correspond with me regularly. To them a book or a pamphlet or a leaflet sent occasionally will act as a tonic. It will rouse them up to greater effort. I am always fond of reading. And, I advocate reading of spiritual books to everyone. Do not think that it is a waste of time. You keep a thermometer to measure the degree of the cave-dweller’s meditation: no doubt, with the help of Asans, Pranayam, etc., they will try to keep up the meditative mood. But there will be a certain amount of Tamas: and the meditation will not be so vigorous as it would be if they occasionally read a good book: this will rouse up sublime thoughts in them. Nobody should renounce books: no one should give up study of religious books. This is very important. You should no doubt read the Gita, Upanishads, etc., daily: but even these alone will not do, though they contain the essence of all Yogas. They will become stale and monotonous. Besides these, you should study all religious literature that you come across. It is this register that gives such spiritual food to thousands of Sadhakas’.
Apart from Siva’s point of view of helping the individual Sadhaks in their onward march to the goal, we can readily see how very useful such an Address Book is to a huge organisation. In fact, the Address Book is the foundation on which the Divine Life Society has been built. It is Siva’s unceasing endeavour to keep track of everyone who has come into contact with him that has enabled his message to spread throughout the world today. In this the Address Book has acted as a proof of Siva’s patient perseverance: this principle he has kept these twenty-five years: and this ‘ceremony’ he has performed day in and day out for quarter of a century. It is his estate which he has looked after with great care.
INSPECTOR-GENERAL
Not only this: everyday before the packets containing the precious treasure of Siva’s books leave the office, Siva would insist on his checking the addressed himself. New-comers to the Ashram not yet acquainted with certain names of persons and towns are apt to make mistakes. A lot of postage is wasted: more than this, time! And, the risk involved in these packets being lost in transit. All these are obviated by Siva himself perusing the packets.
‘All these are necessary for the organisation,’ Siva would say. ‘And, what is more: when I read the address and handle the packets myself, I feel that I am myself personally handling the books to the addressee. I also read the name of the addressee (Lord’s name) thus it becomes a Japa-Sadhana also.’
Siva does not behave like a few other God-realised souls who neglect to give a proper shape to their noble work. He has seen to it that the mission is firmly established in his own life-time thus enabling thousands of aspiring souls to be benefited.
JNANA YAJNA
Even in building this organisation, however, Siva has the only motive of spreading the knowledge of divine life throughout the world. He does not aim at enriching the organisation with massive structures or properties or estates.
Just imagine this for a moment: the amount which the free gifts of books to Sadhakas by Siva far exceeds the sale proceeds during the same period. One who is commercially interested in building the organisation would have seldom resorted to this: he would naturally have considered the money-value of it all. But, to Siva it is just the other way: he takes the Jnana Yajna value of it. Thousands of aspirants are benefited by the books. What does it matter if we lose financially? God will give us. But, Siva’s mission is to spread spiritual knowledge as widely as possible.
But the Westerners find in this a novel approach. Writes Janis Blazgis of Germany:
‘I am much obliged to you for your suggestive books: ‘Yoga in Daily Life’ and ‘Psychic Influence’ which I received on 5th September. Indeed I am full of joy for such a rich present, because for a long time I have been thirsting for spiritual food, for practical guide books. Above all, I am deeply surprised in receiving from your Divine Life Society so useful books without any payment from my side. Here, in Europe, nobody will do so.’
Of course, nobody with a material outlook on life will do so: but Siva has the only aim of satisfying the aspirants’ spiritual hunger. These books are, to him, not valued in rupees, annas and pies but in terms of ‘spiritual food’ for appeasing the hunger of Sadhaks.
14th October, 1948
ASANS ADVERTISEMENT
There were a few visitors, some of them aged, whom Siva wanted to interest in Yoga Asana practice. Quietly he started a sweet Kirtan: the Mittai Kirtan (in Hindi, Mittai means sweet-meats).
As a hint at the Thars, he started with the Mattai Kirtan, as the sweet-meat vendor on the road would sing:
Paisa paisa mitta hai                                                                                              
garam garam mittai hai                                                                                                          
thaja thaja mittai hai
(The tune is the same as: ‘God is Truth, Govinda’)
The song started with Sirasasan: Vishnuji demonstrated the Asan and Siva sang its glory.
King of Asans              
Sirasasan                                                                                       
Jawahar roj                            
Kartha Hai                                                                                                                                     
Gandhiji                                
Liked it much

Then Sarvangasan:
Thyroid gland ko                 
Achcha Hai                                                                                  
Long life dene
Vala Hai

Then again he reverted to his Mittai song:
Achcha achcha mittai hai                                                                                    
helath-waia mittai hai
Dr. J.R. Sood slipped into the group: he has a physique equal to that of Siva himself. Seeing him do Sirasasan and Sarvangasan, others (old and young) joined. In a few minutes everyone present had girded up their loins.
From there the party came down to the terrace opposite the Diamond Jubilee Hall.
Padmanabhanji was ready with the still and movie cameras. Miss Annabella ran about here and there finding out her mother’s dress for an Asan demonstration. And, Srimathi Liliane first performed alongside Siva himself all the Asans. Then came a group drill, with Dr. Sood in the middle. Siva stood on one side giving the ‘commands’:
OM OM OM
This corresponds to the 1 2 3. At the third OM everyone will be steady in the particular Asan: ‘click’ —there they are ‘immortalised’.
Siva gazed at Dr. Sood’s massive frame: a flash, an idea!
‘Come on: Doctor Saheb. We shall both wrestle!’
Dr. Sood is a very old child of Siva: and he was au fait with Siva’s divine simplicity. The doctor was ready. They stood facing each other: Siva stroked his thighs, in the manner of professional wrestlers and they joined hands. The ‘wrestling’ continued for quite a few minutes: Siva in a masterly way applied the scissor-cross to Dr. Sood who gave in.
In such a jolly way Siva taught us that every form of exercise had its own benefits provided the motive in every case was the maintenance of perfect health to serve humanity, to do Sadhana for God-realisation.
SIVA! THOU ART RUDRA!
A boy had come all the way from South India just to see Siva. Fasting, the tedium of the journey overwhelmed him and he fainted when his object had been fulfilled.
The world slowly vanished before his eyes: a storm raged in his brain and he fell flat beside the chair on which he was sitting.
Siva who had completely identified himself with the boy was moved out of his chair by the storm: and he was instantly by the side of the boy, fanning him with tender affection.
‘Run out immediately,’ Vji was told: ‘Fetch water at once.’ Vji ran out.
‘How many times have I told the people here to keep a bucket of water always ready at hand?
What sort of people these are? I have to go on telling them: but there is none to hear me here.’
Not when you insult him on his face, not when you commit heinous crimes: not when you wreck his work: not when you scandalise him: not when you throw dung on his face or pelt stones at him: no, not even if you threaten to trust a dagger into his breast will Siva show the least sign of annoyance or irritability. Service of the Lord in the sick, if you are negligent in this one respect, there the Rudra in Siva manifests himself. We had from Siva’s own lips on this occasion, a glimpse of his own early life, his departure from India and arrival in Malaya, when he, too, felt similarly exhausted. I have detailed this in my book, ‘Gurudev Sivananda’.
We thought the boy had fits: but Siva was sure that it was nothing but exhaustion. Soon milk was brought, water, etc., and Siva went on fanning the boy with his own hands and the boy recovered soon after, to tell his story.
CALLED
The boy belongs to Pattamadai. When he was on the banks of a canal near Pattamadai, Kanadiankanal, he heard someone whisper into his ears ‘Hardwar’. From that time his mind was in a whirl: he did not have conscious control over his actions: and as though driven by an automation, he took away Rs. 70 from the purse of his father who was away: and entrained for Hardwar. At Hardwar he saw the same man whom he had seen in the vision, obstructing the way: but he evaded him and came to Ananda Kutir, the blissful abode of Siva.
Siva had a heart-to-heart talk with him after he had taken his Ganges-bath and refreshed himself with a good meal. The boy had by this time completely recovered, not only from the exhaustion, but from the effect of the hallucination he had. And, he revealed that he had to answer an examination in a couple of months: and so wanted to go back immediately.
But Siva persuaded him to stay at Ananda Kutir for a couple of days more. ‘Having come here, do Japa on Ganges-bank for at least a couple of days. All this has been for your good only: you have had Ganges bath, and you will do Japa on the banks of the sacred river, too.’
And, the boy had no money to go back. He asked Siva to loan him Rs. 80: readily Siva agreed (to loan to a stranger) and further assured the boy that his father need repay the amount only if he can do so without upsetting the family budget in any way. This is a subtle way of doing charity: for the middle class people would feign reluctance to accept charity, as they would consider it beneath their dignity to do so: and the best way to help them out of their own self-made cage is to offer it as a long and assure them that we do not expect repayment.
DESTINY vs. FREE-WILL
Siva was paying a glowing tribute to Sri Swami Sivaswarupji’s musical talents, Bhav, powers of entertainment, devotion, etc.
‘Swamiji, if you wish you can become a big Katha Vachak: you can build a big Ashram and work wonders. Start doing Kirtan and Katha: then slowly go about on Kirtan Prachar. So many will be thirsting to hear you: you will begin to have many admirers—and gradually a huge organisation will come to be built around you. You have the Kesari Yoga. If you only make a little effort Kesari Yoga will be yours.’
‘No, no Swamiji,’ replied Sivaswarupji: ‘Kesari Yoga is only for you.’ This has reference to Sivaswarupji’s prediction that Siva alone had Kesari Yoga or the luck of building up huge organisations and work miracles.
‘I am of a different type altogether.’ Sivaswarupji concluded.
‘No, Swamiji, you have made a mistake. There is Kesari Yoga for you also: but you have not utilised it.’
‘It is not so, Swamiji. I do not have the Sahana Shakti (power of endurance) that you have. I cannot tolerate criticism. I do not like to be spoken ill of: nor to be scandalised. I want always to be quiet and I avoid the thick of the battle of life. Physically also, I am always ill.’
I could at once see that Sivaswarupji was a seasoned and well-developed Sadhu. He has correctly analysed and found out the one superhuman, nay—superdivine quality in Siva. Superdivine because it is said in the scriptures that even Lord Siva got upset when Rishi Bhrigu insulted Him.
Then Siva explained the secret of his own success.
‘I always keep the body in working order. Maharaji, I am not satisfied with walking even: I run for a few minutes daily. I cannot but practise Asans and Pranayam for at least a few minutes daily. These keep my body fit: in spite of several chronic ailments that reside in the body.
‘When you compare me to the other Mahants of several other Ashrams, I am nothing before their learning. Compared to their vast erudition, I am like a shop-keeper compared to a Limited Company.
‘But, it is only God’s Grace that has enabled me to spread the message of divine life so widely today. It is this God’s Grace that has instilled in me the spirit of service. When Sadhus and Sanyasins and devotees of the Lord come to see them, the Mahants will put on saintly airs and remain on their Gaddis: but I will clean their shoes. When a patient is lying sick on the roadside, the Mahant will not even look at him: I will carry him on my shoulders, nurse him and clean his bed-pan. When a needy man comes to my Ashram, I will at once give him some money to satisfy his needs: the Mahant will not even look at him. It is all due to God’s Grace.’
Then Sivaswarupji recollected many past incidents (he has been with Siva since the latter’s advent into Rishikesh.)
‘I remember, Swamiji,’ he said: ‘When you used to serve in Kalikananda Giri’s dispensary and established it as a pucca hospital. I remember how those days you used to sleep on a damp verandah without even a blanket underneath. The Kutir was a dilapidated one and it was renovated several years later. Who could have endured all that and still served like you?’
And, Siva himself recollected an incident which happened during his Swarg Ashram days.
He had been invited by Maharani Sri Sri Sri Devi to her palace. Siva went there: he sang his inspiring Kirtans and stirred their hearts and infused joy in them all. ‘Then the Maharani was trying to persuade me to stay in the palace itself. I did not like the idea: so I quietly slipped out with just two pieces of cloth. It was winter. I wended my way along the Ganges-canal to Meerut, and thence to Rishikesh. On the way at Parikshitgarh I received a money order from Sri Satyanandaji asking me to take a photograph of myself for being printed in a book. I returned to Meerut. On my way back again I could not reach Parikshitgarh before sunset. It was dark: and I noticed a few small huts near the roadside. It had been raining all the time: and I was simply soaked in the rain. I found a cot lying outside and without much ado I made myself comfortable on it. Soon someone woke me up and sympathetically told me that that place was not suitable for human beings to sleep (it was perhaps a cattle-shed) and offered to put me up in a cottage, filled with straw. I slept there in the night and ran back to Rishikesh the next day.’
16th October, 1948
GO ON WITH IT
Dr. Sood has a genuine difficulty: the very recognition of this difficulty raises him high in the esteem of fellow-Sadhaks, for hundreds of even Sadhakas are oblivious to join word of any such difficulty.
‘Swamiji, this time I want to learn from you the practical method of self-surrender. You have told me several times to surrender myself to the Lord, and to take everything as His will. I do so. But some terrible occurrence shakes the faith: after some time I regain my faith, to lose it again in another calamity. That creates a lot of mental restlessness. Swamiji, kindly let me know the secret which will enable me to get established in Atma-Nivedan.’
‘Practice!’ replied Siva, then kept silent for a considerable time. There was a studied suspense when Dr. Sood and all of us around were deep in thought: ‘Repeat the surrender frequently. Pity yourself when you betray faithlessness. Try to live always in Him, by constant remembrance and Japa. Try to check the impulse to swerve from the faith, before it can arise.
Gradually, it will vanish altogether: you will be established in total self-surrender.’
MR. A B C DEE
Sri T.A. Sankara Sastri calls himself T.A.S. Sastry in his letter. This amused Siva, who wrote:
‘Kindly always use your full name: abandon this modern craze to shorten it, dropping out the most essential part. Even if you go on signing your full name a hundred times, you repeat your own name a hundred times, that will tantamount to Japa. Sankara! T.A.S. Sastri has just the same significance as A.B.C. DEE! Whereas T.A. Sankara Sastri is an elevating name.’
Then Siva said smilingly:
‘I told Sri M. Srinivasan so. He was signing himself as M.S. Vasan. I pointed out to him that Srinivisan is the Lord’s name, sacred and elevating. And, by cutting it shorter, it loses all its glory. He at once caught up with the idea. But there are even now many V. Iyers and N. Iyers and B. Menons, who have yet to learn the glory of the name that their parents have bestowed upon them.
‘Our ancients were very wise. They called the children by Lord’s names, so that simply by calling out the children they would have several times repeated the Lord’s name. But modern wise men would run away from a most pleasant form of Sadhana, too. What a pity. They want to run away from God.

Friday, November 29, 2013

30 November

External Renunciation Is Necessary

Renunciation of family life is the beginning of self-surrender. He who is endowed with burning vairagya (dispassion) and discrimination, one who is really earnest for his spiritual rejuvenation, can also do complete self-surrender even though he is living in the world.
In and through the world he realises the Lord by complete surrender of his whole being to Him. But it is only very few who are capable of doing this. This is because worldly life is beset with innumerable obstacles and temptations. And it is hard for the aspirant to attain complete dispassion in the midst of so many dissipations and distractions.
Therefore renunciation of family life makes the path easier for the aspirant. It also makes it smoother. The seed is now sown. The aspirant then goes to his preceptor and falls at his feet. Now the seed germinates.
The aspirant now starts the service of the guru. As he advances in his devotion and sincere service, his surrender becomes more and more perfect and complete. His heart becomes purer and purer and gradually the light of knowledge dawns in him. Now he cognises the supreme Atman which pervades all, everywhere.
The actions performed by the sadhaka (seeker) after renunciation do not bind him, because he has offered all his actions unto his preceptor or God. He does not do any action which can be considered selfish.
Thus, through service of one's preceptor, with utter self-dedication, his heart becomes purified and, ultimately, the Lord becomes his preceptor. Now he is completely surrendered to the Lord and he attains the highest intuition.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

29 November

What To Renounce

Mere outward giving up of things is nothing. It is not real renunciation. Real tyaga or sanyas (renunciation) consists in absolute renunciation of all vasanas (tendencies) and the destruction of the heart-knot of ignorance, the cit-jada-granthi (confusion between the conscious subject and inert object).
What is to be renounced is the bheda buddhi (divisive intellect) which says, "I am superior to that man." "I am the body." And the kartrutva abhimana which thinks, "I am the doer". There is no use in your renouncing your home, wife and children. You must destroy moha (attachment) for the body, children, money, house, propertythen you will get that state of immortality from which you will never return.
He who has merely withdrawn himself from worldly possessions cannot be regarded as having renounced the world altogether; but he who is living in actual contact with the world finds out its faults. He who is freed from every passion and whose soul depends on nothing may be said to have truly renounced the world. Read the story of Raja Sikhidhwaja and Queen Chudala in the Yoga Vasishta.
The spirit cometh and goeth. Therefore you will have to be careful always in nourishing and protecting your spiritual samskaras (impressions) with burning vairagya (dispassion), intense and constant sadhana (practice) and burning mumukshutva (desire for liberation). Increase your good samskaras. Develop them. Multiply them.
People do not want to remove mala (impurity) by selfless service and vikshepa (restlessness of mind) with upasana (devotion). They think that bhakti and service are nothing. They at once jump to open the kundalini and raise the brahmakara vritti (the feeling of Brahmin is the all). They will only break down their legs.
Serve and worship; jnana and yoga will come by themselves; kundalini will be awakened by itself.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

28 November

The World Needs Sannyasins

Every religion has a band of anchorites who lead a life of seclusion and meditation. There are bhikkus in Buddhism, fakirs in Islam, sufistic fakirs in Sufism, fathers and brothers in Christianity. The glory of a religion will be absolutely lost if you remove the hermits or sannyasins or those who lead the life of renunciation and divine contemplation. It is these people who maintain and preserve the religions of the world. It is these people who give solace to the householders when they are in trouble and distress. They bring hope to the hopeless, joy to the depressed, strength to the weak and courage to the timid by imparting the knowledge of yoga and vedanta, and the significance of, "That thou art".
True renunciation is the renunciation of all passions, desires and egoism. If you have a stainless mind, a mind free from attachment, egoism and passion, you are a sannyasin - no matter whether you live in a forest or in the bustle of a city, whether you wear white cloth or an orange coloured robe, whether you shave your head or keep a long tuft of hair.
Shave the mind. Someone asked Guru Nanak, "O saint, why have you not shaved your head? You are a sanyasin." Guru Nanak replied: "My dear friend, I have shaved my mind." In fact, the mind should be cleanly shaved. Shaving the mind consists of getting rid of all attachments, egoism, infatuation, lust, greed and anger. That is real shaving. External shaving of the head has no meaning so long as there is internal craving.
Many have not understood what true renunciation is. Renunciation of physical objects is no renunciation at all. True renunciation lies in the abnegation of the mind. It consists of renouncing all desires and egoism, and not world-existence. The real renunciation is the renunciation of the ego. If you can renounce this, you have renounced everything in the world. If the subtle egoism is given up, identification with the body goes away automatically.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

27 November

Perfection Awaits You

The circle of darkness and degeneracy has reached its climax. Come now, arise victorious and step up towards the zenith of perfection that awaits you. Live with a definite purposedo not roam about aimlessly. Walk with a definite aim. Climb the hill of knowledge steadily and reach the summit of the temple of Brahman, the grand abode of the life immortal.
In the spiritual path there are constant failures and setbacks. Repeated endeavour, constant vigilance and undaunted perseverance are needed. When the heart's knots are gradually loosened, when the vasanas (tendencies) are gradually thinned out, when the bonds of karma are gradually loosened, when ignorance is dispelled, when weakness vanishes, you will become more and more peaceful, strong and serene. You will get more and more light from within. You will become more and more divine.
Hard enough is it to purify the lower nature, difficult enough is it to practise concentration and meditation, but vigilance, perseverance, constant practise, steady and persistent effort, company of sages, resolute will and strong determination, will obviate all difficulties and render the path easy, pleasant and attractive. Fight with the mind bravely. Go on fighting with an undaunted heart. At the end of your battle you will attain the illimitable dominion of eternal bliss, the sweet abode of immortality, the immaculate, imperishable Self or Brahman.
Despair not; light is on the path. Serve all. Love truth. Be serene. Meditate regularly. You will soon attain the life beatitude, the silence, the supreme peace. Even when you get a glimpse of the truth, of the supreme, your whole life will be changed. You will be a changed being. You will have a new heart and a new wisdom. A new thrill of spiritual current will pass through your entire being. A wave of spiritual bliss will sweep over you. This state is indescribable.

Monday, November 25, 2013

26 November

Glory Of The Self

Believe in the Self. Draw power from within. Dive deep into the source and come back quite refreshed and invigorated. Have unshakeable faith that nothing can ever overpower these. Chant Om Om Om when gloom tries to overpower these. Rejoice in thy own Self. Have contentment in thy own Self. Never seek happiness from outside.
A timid man is unfit for the attainment of Self-realisation. Have no attachment for this mortal body of flesh and bone. Cast it off like slough, just as the snake throws away its skin. Be prepared to give up the body at any moment. Make a strong resolve: I will die or realise the Self.
Do not lose heart when you are in adverse circumstances. Become a real hero and fight your enemies withinthe mind, indriyas (senses), vasanas (tendencies), samskaras (mental impressions) and trishnas (cravings) which have robbed you of your atmic jewel. The spiritual battlefield demands great valour, patience, perseverance, strength, courage and skill.
Temptations will manifest without a moment's noticeyou will be bewildered. There may be no time to detect them, so always be on the alert.
You came alone, naked and weeping. You will go alone, naked and weeping. Then why are you proud of your false wealth and false knowledge? Become humble, meek. You will conquer the world with humility. Become pure in thought, word and deed. This is the secret of spiritual life.
Birth and death, bondage and freedom, pleasure and pain, gain and lossall are mental creations. Transcend the pairs of opposites. You were never born; you will never die. Thou art the immortal Self always. Thou art ever free in the three periods of time. It is the physical body that comes and goes. The Self is all-full, all-pervading, infinite and part-less.
Recognise that you are the living truth, that you are inseparable from that one essence, the substratum of all these illusory names and forms, these false, shadowy appearances. Get firmly established in Brahman. Now you are invulnerable.
Rely on your own self, your inner spiritual strength. Do not depend on money, friends or anyone. Friends, when put to the test, will desert you. Lord Buddha never even trusted his own disciples. Become absolutely free.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

25 November

Helpers On The Spiritual Path

The spiritual path may in the beginning appear to be very hard, thorny, precipitous and slippery. Renunciation of objects gives pain at the outset. If you struggle hard to tread the path, if you once make a strong determination and firm resolve, then it becomes very easy. You get interest and a new joy. Your heart expands and you have a broad outlook on life; you have a new wide vision. You feel the help from the invisible hands of the indweller of your heart. Your doubts are cleared by themselves, by getting the answer from within - you hear the still, sweet voice of God. There is an indescribable thrill of divine ecstasy from within. There is ineffable, unabating, undiminishing, undecaying spiritual bliss. This gives new strength and the footing on the path becomes firmer and firmer. The jivanmuktas (liberated sages), yogis, nitya­siddhas (eternally perfect ones), amara-purushas (immortal souls) and chiranjivas (deathless souls) lend their helping hands to the struggling aspirants. The aspirants feel this actuallythe feeling of loneliness and of being neglected and forsaken vanishes entirely.
Doubt or uncertainty is a great obstacle in the path of Self-realisation. It must be removed by study of religious books, satsanga (holy company), vichara (enquiry) and reasoning. Again and again it will raise its head to mislead the aspirant. It should be killed beyond resurrection by certainty of conviction and firm unshakeable faith based on reasoning.
An aspirant should always watch whether the sight of an unpleasant object or any unpleasant sound causes irritation or agitation in his mind. He should try to eradicate this irritation - he should have perfect control of temper. A weak aspirant, though strong in concentration, is over­come by idleness; and a strong aspirant, if weak in concentration, is overcome by tossing of the mind. Concentration and energy should therefore be well balanced.
Stick to your ideas, convictions and principles - whether you become popular or unpopular, even if the whole world opposes you. Dig a deep pit in one place. Centralise all your efforts. Even so try to imbibe the spiritual teachings of one spiritual preceptor alone. Drink deeply from one mansit at his feet for some years. For the preliminary practices of japa (repetition of God's name), ahimsa (non-violence), truth and to develop mercy, devotion, love, tolerance etc., you do not need a guru. You have to do all these things yourself. When you are ready, the guru will appear before you of his own accord.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

24 November

Most Important Sadhana
Man is a mixture of three ingredients. These are the human element, the brutal  instinct and the divine ray. He is endowed with a finite intellect, a perishable body, a little knowledge and a little power. This makes him distinctly human. Lust, anger and hatred belong to his brutal nature.
The reflection of cosmic intelligence is at the back of his intellect. So he is an image of God. When the brutal instincts die, when this ignorance is rent asunder, when he is able to bear insult and injury, then he becomes one with the divine.
A thirsting aspirant is one who practises self-denial. He always tries to feel that the body does not belong to him. If anyone beats or cuts him, either his hand or throat, he should remain quiet. He should not speak even one single harsh wordbecause the body is not his. He starts his sadhana (practice) saying: "I am not this body. I am not this mind. Chidananda Rupa Sivoham."
One harsh word throws a man off balance and a little disrespect upsets him. How weak he has become, despite his boasted intellect, his high position in society, his degrees, his diplomas and titles.
Bear insult; bear injury. This is the essence of all sadhana. This is the most important sadhana. If you succeed in this, you can very easily enter the illimitable domain of eternal bliss. Nirvikalpa samadhi (super-conscious state) will come by itself. This is the most difficult sadhana. But it is easy for those who have burning vairagya (dispassion) and true yearning for liberation.
First you must become like a block of stone. Only then you will be established in this sadhana. Now nothing can affect you. Abuse, ridicule, mockery, insult, persecutionnone of these can have any influence on you.
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Life is God in expression.
Life is joy.
Life is the flooding bliss of the spirit.
Life is the fight for fullness and perfection.
Life is a battle for attaining supreme independence.

Inspiring Talks, Message 12

INSPIRING TALKS OF GURUDEV SIVANANDA – MESSAGE 12

8th October, 1948
THE EASY CLOAK
‘OM Namo Narayanaya, Master Saheb. You are not attending the class nowadays? You do not feel it interesting, I think. And, these boards here—they are yet to be painted. I see them in the same condition for the past so many days.’
‘Swamiji, I like always to be in a meditative mood, engrossed in Brahma-Chintan. This study and the lectures and hearing of so many different subjects confuses me. I want to be established in Brahman alone. This work is sometimes a hindrance, too. They all distract my mind.’ S.D. had just returned from a Brahma Chintan class which he had attended, not in the Ashram.
Siva walked a few steps away: then, when he was just in front of S.D.’s room, said: ‘Then why not throw away all these watches and clocks? They are no hindrances to your Brahma-Chintan?’ S.D. had no answer for this.
Through this simple remark Siva had pointed out to all of us, how easily we dupe ourselves and mistake the Preyas for the Sreyas. We often wilfully distort the facts about true Sadhana: look at things from a wrong angle and deceive ourselves and others.
TAMARIND-CURE
An aged Madrassi Sadhu guest was sick. He had been provided with all comforts, a room, medicines and ‘diet’ etc. It was about 11 a.m. and a light aroma from the kitchen which was near the room attracted him out of his Kutir. Venugopalji was requesting him to take rest in the room and not to stir out too much.
Siva was in the office: so was Dr. Sundari who is on a visit to the Ashram. They both heard what was going on outside.
V. came into the office to take Siva’s instructions regarding the Sadhu’s diet.
‘Give him whatever he asks for.’
V. was surprised. This, to a patient who has been down with fever for the past four days?
‘Swamiji, he is feeling restless just at present because he wants to eat all sorts of things.’
Dr. Sundari took her eyes off the book she had in hand and fixed them on Siva curiously awaiting Siva’s reactions.
‘If you give him good Sambhar, he will be all right.’
People around laughed.
‘I am not joking,’ continued Siva: ‘He is a Madrassi Sadhu. He has long been deprived of his favourite tamarind. When the mind gets its satisfaction, the fever will also subside.’
Dr. Sundari agreed with the wisdom of Siva.
CENT PER CENT PURE IS CENT PER CENT FALSEHOOD
Siva was examining, with Dr. Sundari, some chemicals in the dispensary. ‘Is this good stuff?’ asked Siva of Venugopalji, pointing to a bottle.
‘Yes, Swamiji, it is written on the bottle itself ‘Cent Per Cent Pure.’
‘H’m? Cent per cent pure is cent per cent falsehood.’
What a mystic utterance! Nothing is pure to perfection, to the absolute degree. Only God or Brahman is cent per cent pure, rather purity itself. All else is tainted by Maya or ignorance.
Therefore, to say that an object is cent per cent pure is to utter a cent per cent falsehood.
TRANSCENDENTAL EDUCATIONIST
None to approach Siva in this respect.  
Sri T.K. Srinivasan, M.A., of Pudukotaah, had written to Siva that he had been appointed professor in the Rajah’s College there and had asked for his blessings. Siva wrote out the letter in his own hand:
Sri Professor Srinivasan, M.A.,
OM Namo Narayanaya.
Glorious Immortal Atman.
Adorations and salutations.
Tat Twam Asi.
Thy kind letter and flowers.
Immensely delighted to know you have become a Professor now. It is all Lord’s Grace.
In your class, in the end always talk kindly to the students on the importance of spiritual life, ethical life, ethical discipline, study of Gita, or religious books, service of poor and country and the sick with Atma Bhav or Narayan Bhav. Give a slight, spiritual colouring in your lectures, a little link with Lord, and Adhyatmic matters.
Professors are certainly responsible for the spiritual moulding of students. Make them Adhyatmic soldiers to fight bravely in the battle of life. You can do that. You are spiritually inclined. You are already treading the path of Truth. You are full of spiritual samskaras.
May Lord bless you with health, long life, peace, prosperity and Kaivalya. May you shine as a dynamic Yogi. May you be filled with knowledge and power to raise the students ethically and spiritually.
               With regards, Prem and OM,
                                       —Sivananda
The letter more than amply explains itself.
MY ‘SADANGU’
One particularly remarkable feature in the above letter is the ‘salutations’ portion. Even if the letter proper contains just three lines of ‘what happened to that’ business, it is invariably prefixed with all these: OM Namo Narayanaya, Glorious Immortal Atman, Adorations and Salutations, Tat Twam Asi, Harih OM, etc.
What a curious combination, one wonders. First a Saguna Mantra: then a sudden leap into the Absolute, again, a merciless slaughter of the little ego which is compelled to lie prostrate on the ground, then the lion roars the Mahavakya. First, Siva engenders in himself the Narayana Bhav towards the addressee. Then awakens the addressee to his own real Swaroopa, incidentally meditating himself on the nature of the Atman. Then, Siva’s humility overpowers him: incidentally teaching the addressee also to be humble. Then….an electric current passes through every nerve-fibre of the addressee—Tat Twam Asi. And, it provides a daily repetition for Siva himself. As many letters are written this way, so much of Japa is done, of these great Saguna and Nirguna Mantras: so often has the writer humbled himself and prostrated to the living and walking Narayanas.
SIVA DINES WITH HIS DISCIPLES
The heading would have made you exclaim, especially if you have had the knowledge of orthodox Sanyasin Mutts, ‘Unthinkable’.
The 8th of each month had been declared to be a gala-day at Ananda Kutir, the monthly birthdate of Gurudev. Swami Sankaranandaji and Swami Visweswaranandaji conspired to make history. They requested Siva to take his food in the Dining Hall today. To everyone’s surprise, Siva readily agreed.
NOR WILL I
The bell had gone. Leaves were spread. The dining hall was already full. A place had been reserved for Siva. The office block remained vacant. Along with Siva was an Engineer from Dehra Dun who had just come. The Engineer’s party consisted of a few more boys and girls, too. The Swami posted at the gate of the dining hall politely requested the Engineer to wait for the second batch: ‘There is no place in this.’
‘Nor will there be place for me in this. I shall also take food in the second batch with Engineer Saheb.’
The Swami raised himself on his toes to see where this remark came from.
Siva was standing behind the Engineer group. If the Engineer is not given a place to sit, Siva, too, would not sit. Then the Engineer’s group was asked to occupy the ‘Secretariat Block’.
GURU KIRTAN
After the meals were over, Siva sang beautifully the Guru Stothra ‘Brahmanandam Paramasukhadam’. Then others began, too—in the manner adopted at Feasts.
A subtle truth is hidden in this. We were celebrating this as our Guru Jayanthi: and we were thinking that we were paying our homage to our Gurudev. And, in the midst of all this, Siva himself started singing the Guru Stothra.
This visible name and form Sivananda sings the glory of that nameless and formless Truth ‘Sivananda’, the Guru of all. So, Siva feels justified, even from the layman’s point of view, to sit with Sivananda’s disciples on Sivananda’s birthday.
Incidentally, I might mention that I have noticed Siva faithfully following the Kirtan Dhwani:
‘Guru Majaraj Guru Jai Jai, Sivananda Sat Guru Jai Jai’. The Sa-Upadhika Sivananda singing the name of the Nirupadhika Sivananda.
It is difficult for us even to understand this: words, too, fail to describe Siva’s glory. So, let us meditate on Him.
JNANA YAJNA FUND
As soon as the Engineer entered the office, Siva greeted Him: ‘Avoji, Engineer Saheb, Om Namo Narayanaya.’
The stalwart Engineer bowed to Siva: then shouted at his children: ‘You better go up, see the Mandir and then come back.’
When they had been despatched, he place a hundred-rupee note at Siva’s feet: ‘This is for your grand Jnana Yajna, Swamiji.’
At once Siva called out to Padmanabhanji in Tamil: ‘Bring a lot of books for him.’
After handing over a lot of books to him, Siva said: ‘Take your food here itself. Oh, Vishnuji, arrange for their food immediately.’
‘Swamiji,’ pleaded the Engineer, ‘do not bother about this food. I would like to receive from you some other kind of food—food for my soul. I am still a Grihastha. And, I would like to have from you Upadesh as to how I can lead a perfect Grihasthi life.’
‘Do Japa. Read Gita. Have some Vratas. Observe moderation in everything. Do Kirtan with all your children.’
‘I am already doing Japa and am reading Ramayan. As you have ordered me to do so, I will read Gita also.’
Visibly pleased, Siva exclaimed: ‘Oh! You have already got the key to Moksha. You have only to open it. God’s grace is also with you in full measure.’
Afterwards, the Engineer purchased a number of gramophone records, books, photographs, etc. Handing a picture of Siva to each of his little children, the Engineer said: ‘Swamiji, these are all your future disciples.’ What devotion. And, he is from the aristocracy.
PERFECT MEMORY
‘Swamiji, you might not recognise me,’ started a Sadhu as he met Siva near the dispensary.
‘Oho, how can I forget you? I met you twelve years ago in Naimissaranya: is it not?’
How can he deny? Tongue-tied with amazement, he simply kept quiet. Siva turned to me: ‘That was long ago and I had gone to Naimissaranya on a lecture-tour. And, when I was to lecture at Lakhimpore, this Swami was also there.’
The Sadhu had to brush up his memory.
‘He was eager to lecture,’ continued Siva: ‘and, I took great interest in him and made him deliver a short lecture.’ Turning to the Sadhu: ‘You remember that?’
Still dazed, he replied: ‘Yes, Swamiji. What a wonderful memory you have got!’
Both came in. Then, Siva asked Vishnudevji to give the Sadhu a copy of the Magazine, leaflets, etc. And, he asked him to take the Sadhu and show him round. The guileless Sadhu expressed wonderment at the meteoric growth of the Ashram: he had seen it long ago when it had hardly  a couple of rooms.
In the meantime, a few smart gentlemen had walked in. With an air of that bureaucratic superiority, one of them said: ‘Swamiji, we came to have your Darshan here. I am an information office. I had my friends at Hardwar….’
‘Oh, yes, you have previously come here: I remember.’
‘Yes, Swamiji, that was long ago when I was working in a newspaper office in Lahore.’
‘Oh yes: you saw me in Lahore also.’ Then he mentioned a few names – one of which was the information officer’s!
11th October, 1948
THE CHILD KNOWS
In the Bhajan Hall, the Kanyakas (young girls) were being worshipped in the traditional fashion. It was a sight to see Siva himself doing the ‘Arati’ to these children, placing reverently flowers on their heads and singing hymns in praise of the Mother whose embodiments they are.
A small baby was also in the group. An Ashramite tried to cajole this baby to eat a pinch of ‘Halva’ from his hands. The child stoutly refused the offer, and actually brushed the proffered hand aside. Only from her own sister she would accept it.
A little while later, when all of us had forgotten about this incident, Siva was enquiring of each child what she wanted. And, the baby’s turn came. Siva knelt before the baby and took a pinch of Halva, smiled at it and took his hand near its mouth, which automatically opened for the Prasad.
MY NIRVIKALPA SAMADHI
In the afternoon we had performed the Ayudha Puja by assembling the typewriters, cameras, movie equipment and projectors, etc., near the Diamond Jubilee Hall. Siva also joined us in the worship. After the function was over, Siva stood near the entrance visibly admiring the grand array of machines.
‘Very impressive, is it not?’ Siva was seen saying to Srimathi Liliane: ‘A hundred typewriters here means Nirvikalpa Samadhi to me.’
Oh, Lord. What a queer Samadhi is this. Siva’s realisation consists only of more and more service to humanity. His inner zeal for service manifests itself in the expansion of the organisation. A kow-peen-wallah Sadhu who recorded his thoughts on the inside of used envelopes in 1930 is not in command of an office with ten typewriters rattling his messages fifteen hours a day each. Hundred? Of course, what is impossible for God?
12th October, 1948
MODERN RAMANUJA
‘This will create a Samskara in them: and it may take deeper root now itself or at least in the next birth. Let them all hear the great Mantras. Why make a great fuss about it: say that the initiation will cost the Sadhaka a couple of thousands of rupees, great austerities, etc.?’ said Siva as we were leaving the Bhajan Hall after this morning’s Vijayadasami celebrations.
Suddenly Suva took it into his head to repeat, for all those assembled to follow, the Mahavakhyas, Sri Vidya Mantra, Navavarna Mantra of Durga and many others. Siva had introduced this ‘initiation’ that anyone who had a liking for any one of the Mantras may treat it as a sacred initiation ceremony and start repeating the Mantra.
Exactly what Ramanuja did: shouting the Ashtakshara from the top of a temple tower.
ASWAMEDHA SACRIFICE
The Sastriji who was in charge of the ritual Durga Puja gave us all the Prasad, Palika, and sprinkled the Kalasa-water on us all. Siva called out everyone around to receive the holy Prasad.
‘This is equal to one Aswamedha Sacrifice nowadays. This is the greatest ritualistic Yajna that can be performed in these days,’ remarked Siva.
Friends! Take this as gospel-truth. For, as the trusted messenger of God, Narada, says in his Bhakti Sutras, these great ones (like our Siva) alone give Sastra its authority: in other words, they are the progenitors of Sastra, and whatever they say is the truth. The moment the above words came out of Siva’s sacred lips, Durga Puja, in our eyes, assumed the role of Aswamedha Yajna.
NO ELECTRIC-SHOCKISM BUT EVOLUTIONISM
Three pieces of westernised Indian civilisation walked in. In the proud arrogance which the late bureaucracy had left as a scar on the body of this great nation, they forgot even to bow to the great sage.
Of course, respect they had for Siva: for they had brought with them a basketful of fruits, as an offering: only folding the palms and bowing the head in reverence were all unknown to them, by nature.
But, Siva quickly taught them: by his own example. One looked at the other, as Siva folded his palms and welcomed them: and decided the best way is to reciprocate it.
‘You are coming from….?’
‘Yes, Swamiji.’
‘You talk Tamil like a Mangalorian.’
‘Maybe you are right. We have been living away from our own province for quite a long time now: and so have almost forgotten our mother-tongue.’ The accent, diction, and delivery of English were chaste.
Siva asked Vishnuji to bring tea and fruits.
‘Oh, no, don’t bother.’ The young lady exhibited a bit of ‘manners’. Nor did she mind when it was brought.
Siva then initiated a mild discussion about the language, accents, education, tours of countries, etc.
‘We are just coming from Dehra Dun. We went there to see a relative of ours. Accidentally, we dropped in at the School there: and to our astonishment we found that the Principal there was one of our cousins. Our family is so large, in fact, that wherever we go, we find we have a cousin.’
‘You might claim me as a cousin, also.’ Siva gave a hearty laugh as he said this. ‘In fact, the whole world consists of your cousins. All are your cousins only. We are all children of the same God.’
The young lady looked up, somewhat taken aback at this remark.
And, the discussion went on: all about the world. And, Siva soon found out that the elder lady was doing some social service through an organisation.
‘Please give me your prospectus. You see: many young girls come to me for advice. For instance, yesterday one young girl from Dehra Dun came to me with her mother. She wanted to prosecute her studies in America: to get foreign degrees and then to become a preacher in philosophy. She does not want to marry. She is of a pushing nature, very good in demeanour and of good character. But the conservative mother stands in her way. She is impatient: and in such cases I thought that if there was a good women’s organisation it might take charge of the girls, look after them till they are able to stand on their own legs. S.B. can be sent to America and she will be very useful to the country, too. And this organisation should also build an Ashram for ladies. At present there are no good Ashrams exclusively for ladies. This is a great necessity.’
They all sat spell-bound. Siva later asked V. to entertain them with gramophone records.
Then the gentleman was gradually drawn out of himself: when Siva found there was a little space, he thrust his wisdom-sword deep into this officer. The latent desire in this young officer to learn about Yoga was at once roused up by Siva.
‘Yoga does not mean you should run away from home. Real renunciation means renunciation of the ego and the desires. We must have spiritually educated men and women in this land. This education of arts and sciences will take you nowhere. You see: I have started a Forest University here. Yoga, Vedanta, Karma, Bhakti and Hatha Yogas are all taught here. But very few people would want to join this University for some considerable time to come: no doubt after a real spiritual awakening in India this would become one of the biggest Universities: but it is run on a modest scale, because young men now are eager to become I.C.S. officers.
‘What is there in this ICS? Only slavery. You should desire to become free. That can only be done through the practice of Yoga. You should try to learn Gita, Upanishads, etc.’
‘But, Swamiji, we are unable to understand the A.B.C. of these.’
‘For your sake only I have written these in short poems, in simple books. The essence of all philosophies is contained in the Gita. What you do not find in the Gita, you cannot find anywhere else. Gita is a universal scripture for all times.
‘You should practise Sadhana. Only when you are young can you do all this. After sixty or seventy, when all the senses have worn out, you will want God. When you can hear nothing, you will thirst for Bhagavatha Katha: when the eye-sight has failed, you will want to look at good pictures of God or go to temples. Now is the time. Do not lose this.’ And, turning to the elder lady, he said:
‘Social service is very good. But unless it has a spiritual background it will not satisfy your soul. Even after hundred years of social service, you will feel dissatisfied. Practice of Yoga will make you perfect: and it will give you the key to making all social service really a divine service.’
Then Siva asked Radha to sing some English songs. Thus was a slight interest created in the trio for Sadhana. Siva at once gave the spiritual diary, presented many books and pamphlets—there, they were fully convinced of Siva’s doctrines. I was watching the whole process with irrepressible amazement.
As they were leaving (after having been shown round the temple, Guha, etc.) Siva bowed and said: ‘Do come again and stay here for some time. I will teach you how to sing all these songs. (He presented a copy of the Inspiring Songs and Kirtans.) I will also teach you Asana, Pranayama, etc.’
Now, they actually prostrated before Siva!
Enrolled!!
All this life-transformation within the short span of a half-hour. Imperceptibly, without making them feel self-conscious. Siva had taken to the very core of their unbelieving heart, the message of divine life, of Sadhana, of the Lord’s name and of the glory of selfless service.
DAUGHTER PARTS FROM FATHER
‘She has a tender heart. She is very pious also. And, what is more: in spite of her education and her service in the hospital for twenty years, she still preserves her modesty. See: she will not travel alone,’ Siva remarked as Dr. Sundari had taken leave of him to return to her place. 
As she stood before Siva, tears welling up in her eyes, with a lump in her throat, she presented the spectacle of a daughter leaving her dearly loved father.