Page sized inspirational teaching from the writings of Swami Sivananda, compiled by Swami Venkatesananda. These teachings are content progressive and cover the entire width of Yoga and Vedanta in a practical and easy to follow format. Messages are sent daily for the next day to accommodate different time zones.
the 87th Birthday of Sri Raghavacharyaji, the founder of Sri Darshana
Mahavidyalaya, near the Ashram. Siva had been invited and he went up to the
Vidyalaya with fruits, etc.
As he was
nearing the Vidyalaya, Sri Raghavacharyaji, Sri Vishnu Dutt Sastriji and others
were hurrying towards him to welcome him. Noticing this, Siva remarked: ‘Do not
trouble yourself, Maharaj, I belong to you all. This honour is, therefore,
DUTY OF DISCIPLES
then delivered an inspiring talk. After describing in detail Sri R.’s services,
to the cause of the spread of Sanskrit knowledge and a knowledge of the
Darshanas, Siva felt that Sri Acharyaji’s disciples should join hands with one
another and bring out a short life-sketch of Sri R. ‘It is your duty, the duty
of all the disciples of Sri Acharyaji Maharaj. Where there is a will, there is
a way. You should all at once set about the task.’
SAGUNA vs. NIRGUNA
the gathering to the famous RAM chant. He demonstrated to them how his RAM
chant, in some respects, even excelled OM chanting. ‘OM is Nirguna and RAM is
Saguna. Chant RAM. It is even more inspiring. You will quickly get into Bhava
Samadhi. It will bestow on you peace and joy.’
THE DESTOYER OF EVILS
Siva taught them the loud RAM Japa-Kirtan. It is unique. You have to quickly
repeat Ram Ram Ram. ‘This is wonderful,’ said Siva. ‘It is very efficacious
when you wish to counteract evil thoughts. You can gain peace very quickly. Not
only this, this quick chanting of RAM automatically brings about Kevala-Kumbhak
and thus goes a long way in stilling the thoughts. It is a powerful form of
exercise also. It increases the gastric fire. You will be able to digest your
food properly. This is an all-round exercise, very suitable to you all, the
disciples of Acharyaji, who is a Samuchaya Vadin.’
LIFE OF MY LIFE
noticed some books lying stacked in a corner. He quickly pointed out to one of
the inmates of the Vidyalaya (and this effectively proves the truth of the
earlier remark ‘I belong to you’): ‘Please keep these books nicely. They are
very precious. They are more valuable than our life itself. Tie them nicely in
a good wrapping paper and keep them safely. I will ask Kesavji to assist you in
this work.’ Who else will do this? Divine Life is dissemination of spiritual
knowledge: and whoever does this, Siva is at-one with him.
BLESSED IRON FILINGS
just passing along the verandah outside the dining hall when I heard this very
interesting conversation between Sri Balanji and a visitor. I reproduce the
gist of it: it gives you an idea of what Siva did silently, months ago.
I heard your wonderful lecture this morning and last evening. How long have you
been here?’ The visitor obviously was unaware of the fact that Sri Balan is an
M.A. and a prosperous free-lance journalist.
here a little over a year ago on just a casual visit. I stayed for a couple of
days and felt irresistibly like staying on. On and on I have stayed, granting
myself piece-meal extensions, until at
last I feel that I have, as you would say, come to stay.’
visitor was deeply interested. With just an exclamation, ‘Achcha?’ that
involuntarily escaped him, he listened, eyes gleaming in curiosity.
see,’ continued B: ‘there is the rare blessing of Ganges here. You might say
that there are other places where the Ganga flows. There are the Himalayas. I
know you would again say that there are other places in the Himalayas. You have
a Society here that has its numerous departments to cater to the needs of
aspirants of all temperaments. Here, again, you might suggest that there are
other institutions approximating to this, or at least with departments enough
to suit MY temperament. But, then, you do not have one thing anywhere else.
And, that is the closest proximity to a living sage and Jnani (and, what is
extra-ordinary) who would talk freely with you, mix with you, crack jokes with
you, at the same time clear all your doubts by his mere glance and elevates you
by his mere thought. He is truly your father, mother, friend, all.
only I: but quite a few there are like me who just came for a day and then
decided to spend their whole life here. Do you know our Sivanarayanji who
delivers inspiring Hindi lectures? He, too, came three years ago just to attend
the Birthday celebrations. He used to deliver Hindi lectures during the
celebrations. His talks were highly interesting, full of educative humour, of
stories and anecdotes which produced side-splitting laughter among the hearers.
Swamiji found good spiritual Samskaras in him and suggested he might stay on
for some time more. S. actually renounced the world and has stayed on. The
miraculous thing: this has saved his life, so to say, because he was living in
what is now Pakistan. S. attributes all this to Swamiji’s grace and timely
suggestion. What else do you call a person who gives you life, than father and
mother in one?’
look suggestive of an inward envy at the happy and glorious lot of these
ironfilings who were without any effort on their own part drawn to the Great
Magnet Siva, the visitor left the spot. He must have reflected within himself:
‘Has this iron-filing, myself, reached that level of rustless purity that would
enable it to be drawn to the magnet?’
SCALE OF VALUES
Seth, the Society’s auditor, expresses profound gratitude at having been able
to stay in the Ashram.
said: ‘This is your own home. You can come here as often as you can. You are,
after all, so near. Make it a point to spend all your holidays here and attend
all important functions here.’
the world is such that if, instead of saying all this, you had said: ‘Come to
such and such a chance of your acquiring ten thousand rupees.’ I would have
rushed to Rishikesh any number of times. It is very difficult to gauge the
value that one derives from this Satsang, seclusion and Tirtha Yatra. Very few
people can even understand that there is a lot of good in them.’
OLD MAN’S SONG
Omkaranandaji and myself had been deputed by Siva to represent him at the
Tehri-Garhwal Constituent Assembly to be inaugurated at Tahri tomorrow.
breeds contempt: is a proverb in which I had cent per cent belief. For once I
had to experience an exception.
Rishikesh, we ran into a tea-shop for a cup of tea. The shop-keeper is an old
resident of Rishikesh.
been here for the past forty years. I have been watching all the Sadhus and
Mahatmas. But I have never seen anyone approach Swami Sivanandaji’s greatness.’
yes, he has written a number of books,’ explained someone else.
all right. Of course, he is a great learned man, too. But my point is not that.
I have never met anyone who has got his heart. Swami Sivanandaji’s is a divine
heart. I remember how he used to serve all sick Sadhus and Sanyasins, poor
people and lepers here. I shudder to think: he used often to sleep with
dangerously sick patients suffering from cholera and typhoid. No, no: there is
no one in the world with Sivanandaji’s heart.’
SIVA THANKS YOU
crowded Sadhana Week programme had almost come to an end. The drama, ‘Four
Letters of Yama’, had been staged under the direction of Sri Swami Chidanandaji.
Many were the interludes to the play: there was the humorous Doctors’ Parade
conducted by Sri Kesavji with his discourse on Namopathy and its uniqueness;
there was the formal opening of the Anand Kutir Brahma Jnana Research Pharmacy
with Swami Chidanandaji as the doctor-in-charge (Dr. Brahman), and with
sparking humour C. explained his Adhyatmic prescription for the root-maladies
of man: lust, anger, greed, etc.; and there was Siva’s dialogue between meat
and milk which, Chidanandaji explained, actually meant Rajas vs. Satwa;
dialogue between Astika and Nastika; and discussion among the senses regarding
their superiority. The boys taking part in the ‘Four Letters’ had given a very
good account of themselves especially in the tense death-scene.
stood up on the platform, and spoke in fluent Hindi. Below is the gist of his
you all for coming here on this occasion, for sitting through this performance
in this cold. I am deeply indebted to you all for this.’
Siva’s attitude: surely, the entire audience is grateful to him for taking all
this trouble for their sake! But, no: HE is grateful, and HE thanks you for
giving him an opportunity to serve you. Let us all learn this Yoga attitude
MORAL OF THE DRAMA
Yamma sends four letters to man. But, every time he is misguided by his worldly
friends, and he ignores these letters. Hairs turn grey: but he paints them
black. Teeth fall: he takes on false teeth. Eye-sight fails: he puts on
spectacles. His vitality is exhausted: he resorts to tonics. He does not see
that death is inevitable; and that only God’s Name will really help him in the
end. In the end he repents. But it is too late. He cries for help. But who can
help him? There is only ‘matlab’ (selfish) friendship in the world. Note this
point well. No one but the Lord Himself is your real friend. Every one else
loves you for his or her own purpose. Understand this moral very well.
repeat the Name of the Lord. Merely doing one or two Malas of Japa will not do.
All the day you should repeat His name. Then only will His grace descend upon
you and save you. This is a very easy form of Sadhana. This is the safest, too.
Even if you don’t realise God in this birth, if you go on repeating His name, you
will continue the thread in the next birth: the Samskaras will be there and you
will soon realise Him.’
‘Sunaja’ Kirtan (Siva’s favourite), he continued:
Love Give Purify Meditate Realise
Do good, Be kind, Be compassionate
the essence of all the Vedas, of all Sastras, Puranas, not only of the Hindu
religion, but of all the religions of the world. Always aspire to purify the
Antahkarana. Service alone can purify the heart. Service will give you
opportunities of analysing yourself and finding out the impurities that lurk in
you. Gradually you should develop all the Daivi Sampath or divine qualities.
Idam Sarvam—the Lord pervades the entire creation. Realise this well. Feel
this. Bow to all. Be kind to all. When you have some sweetmeats, distribute
them to others’ children first, before giving them to your children. This is
the way to develop the heart. Give to the health officer (scavenger, in Siva’s
dictionary!) the fruits that you take yourself: do not give him stale plantain
fit only to be thrown away. Analyse yourself. See how many good Samskaras you
have developed. Look at the Auditor’s wife. Even in this cold, she daily goes
to the Ganga for her bath in the morning. Find out how many good Samskaras you
have implanted in yourself. Perfection is not an easy thing: but you need not
despair, you will surely attain perfection if you purify yourself every moment.
ONENESS OF GOD
instituted the two-party Kirtan with Krishna Dhwanis. After some time, he said:
is Uma Raniji: she is a devotee of Lord Siva, and she would like Siva-Dhwanis.’
So saying, he started Siva-Dhwanis.
names are one. God is one. He is called variously. Particularly, in the case of
Rama Bhaktas, they are asked to repeat the Panchakshari for six months in the
beginning, and worship Siva. It is said that only then will they get Rama’s
Darshan. There is a secret behind this: ‘Sivasya Hridayam Vishnur, Vishnoscha
Hridayam Sivah’. Both are one. Do not act like the silly devotee of Siva who
plugged the Vishnu-side nostril of a combined image lest the fumes from the
incense which he was waving before the image should enter Vishnu’s nostril.
Know that all forms of the Lord are one: all names of the Lord are one and have
equal effect. Some people foolishly imagine that one name is superior to
another. Soham is the best they will say. What do they understand by Soham?
They think that the body is the Atman. What else can they understand? Their
minds are full of dirt. Without cleansing their minds, they cannot understand
the Mahavakyas. They do not practise Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. They speak
derisively of these: they jump to Jnana Yoga. Finally, they achieve nothing at
Siva sang his other favourite Kirtan in the Maha Mantra tune:
little, drink a little, talk a little, sleep a little
little, move a little, work a little, rest a little.
drink in moderation. You will have health and long life. It does not mean that
you should starve. You should be moderate. Have one good meal at noon. Take a
light diet of milk and fruits at night: that, too, before night-fall. In this
respect the Jain custom of finishing their supper before sunset is very
healthy. When you go to bed, you should have digested your food. Then you will
have a refreshing sleep: and you will be able to’ get up at 4 o’clock next
what people generally do is just the reverse. They run hither and thither
during the day: and at night—that, too, very late, they take a heavy diet. They
do not have proper digestion. They suffer from Dyspepsia. They do not enjoy
sound sleep. And, on top of it all, they get up at 8 a.m. A day’s programme is
before them. They do not know what to do. They get bewildered. Their mind is
with all sorts of people is very bad. That does not mean that you should be
gloomy and secluded. Talk to people: be cheerful: but be moderate in this. Too
much of talking will only result in fights and quarrels.’
sang the song.
the ‘Song of A Little’. You will be able to remember this very easily. The
moment you think of ‘A Little’, you will remember the instructions, too. This
is the Law of Association which governs the mind. Have you not heard of the
famous ‘tion’ sentence? Examina‘tion’ is a great bothera‘tion’ to the Hindu
nation whose sole occupa‘tion’ is cultiva‘tion’.
you will make many pious resolves. But the next morning you will forget all
about them. Get these small songs by heart. Sing them every morning and
evening. They will inspire you.
will not allow you to slumber again.’
stage Siva noticed that some people were feeling drowsy, while some people were
slightly inattentive (the time was nearly 12 midnight.)
got a medicine which will revive you marvellously. You will get new vitality
without having recourse to tea.
Jaya Radhe Shyaaaammm.... Jaya
Jaya Sita Raaaaaaaammmmmm….
words are shot out with force.)
effect of these on the audience was miraculous. Siva continued:
the moral of today’s drama always. The more you reflect on it, the more
strength you will get. Vairagya alone is the priceless treasure. Turn away from
the world and direct your gaze towards the Lord in the heart. Do not run after
worldly pleasures. You can never get any satisfaction in them. Even a
millionaire is only a poor man. A crorepathy is more worried than an ordinary
man. When the bank fails, the crorepathy’s heart also fails. He sleeps over the
concealed iron-safe in which he has stored his wealth. He is afraid of thieves.
Even his sons hate him: everyone is jealous of him. He has hardly a true
friend. Throw away worldly riches and acquire the priceless treasure of God’s
name. No one can rob you of this wealth.’
Siva sang his Vedantic song:
Brahmamayam re re
Pitha Brahmam Ladka
Lemonade Brahmam Tablavala
Brahmam Harmoniumvala Brahmam
with little understanding cannot realise the significance of this great truth:
Sarvam Brahmamayam. But, when you have real Vairagya and Viveka, then you will
understand the real meaning. People who try to understand and interpret the
utterances of the sages with the help of their own finite intellect are deluded
and they are led astray. They are like Virochana in the Upanishads.’
Brahmamayam means that the Adhishthana or support for all is Brahman. The name
and form are illusory. You will have to negate them and take the essence, the
substratum of everything, which is Brahman.’
understanding will come only when the mind is purified of its dross through
selfless service and Upasana. Therefore, I say again: serve, love, purify,
meditate and realise.’
Sudarshan Sareen specially requested Siva to sing his ‘Govind song’. Siva
poured forth his precious instructions in the form of this famous song. ‘The
nature of God, ethical teachings, essence of Yoga—all are given in the form of
this beautiful song. Siva concluded the song with:
bless you Govinda
health and long life Govinda
and Prosperity Govinda And
Kaivalya Moksha Govinda May you
all become Govinda Jivanmuktas Govinda In this
very birth Govinda
the Viswanath Mandir Pratishtha Anniversary Day. A programme of Ekadasha Rudra
Abhishekam and Laksharchana is being put through in the temple. The Abhishekam
is over and several Sadhus and Sadhaks are sitting inside the Mandir
worshipping the Lord with flowers and bael leaves. The Laksharchana had already
progressed well and the Lord (Siva Lingam) had been fully covered over with a
thick shawl of flowers: a wonderful sight.
circumambulating around the temple. Suddenly he appeared at the threshold of
the shrine. One of the Sadhaks offered Siva some flowers and bael leaves to
worship the Lord with. And, as the Sanyasin outside was going on with his
recitation of the Mantras, Siva also joined us in offering flowers to the Lord.
This went on for a few minutes.
Lo! In a
mood of complete self-forgetfulness, Siva had turned on the Sadhus and Sadhaks
sitting around the Lingam and is worshipping them with the flowers intended for
the Lord. I looked up: but there was not a trace on Siva’s countenance or eyes
that would indicate his recognition of who exactly we were. The eyes gazed on:
they looked at us—but what can anyone say what he saw?
and Sanyasins had vanished: Grihasthas and disciples had vanished: boys and old
men had vanished: man and woman had vanished: all distinctions melted away
before his purified gaze. Lord Siva alone remained. Siva in the Linga being
worshipped by Siva in the human garb. And, Siva worships Siva in the Lingam and
in all: Sarvam Siva-mayam—asilent
JAPA YOGA SADHANA
visitor wanted Purascharana-rules. He desired to perform a Purascharana of the
explained to him the essential points.
I don’t know if I can every day spare so much time.’
not matter. Do Japa for about two hours in the morning and two hours in the
night, and if possible increase this period. But, on that account, do not miss
the morning and evening Satsang. Sit down on your Asan, pray to the Lord and
then commence your Japa. Repeat the Mantra slowly. Keep a watch by your side
one day and find out the rate at which you are repeating the Mantra. Then you
can give up counting beads. Supposing, you find that you are able to do 30
Malas in one hour, calculated the number of Malas that you daily perform
according to the time you have sat. This will prevent distraction in counting.’
NO CONTRACT WITH GOD
many Malas of Japa should I do, Swamiji?’
Lakhs. But, to be sure, continue till you reach six lakhs. You should not have
the contractor’s mentality with God. Do the Japa with Nishkamya Bhava. No rules
will worry you.’
MIGHTY INTELLECT, BUT?
Ramakrishna of Karachi (now at New Delhi) has come with a harmonium for the
narrated to Siva the gist of a thrilling lecture by an independent spiritual
leader (what a contradiction in terms—one cannot be independent and a leader at
the same time.)
Sri…. stresses on the immediate individual transformation to be brought about
by Self-awareness, and asserts that the awakened individual will then be able
to establish the right relationship with environments. His theme begins with an
intellectual analysis of one’s own emotions which, through the mental process
of naming them as such, become anger, lust, jealousy, etc.Then such feelings are recorded in memory.
This triple process of experiencing, naming and recording the emotions, is the
work of mind or self-projection, or thought-feeling. The separation of the
Thinker from his thought, which is a mental process leads to the cessation of
thought process. When the awakened individual is alive to the force behind his
emotions, it is a state of Being called LOVE in which the individual
experiences an inward richness and creative joy. He is face to face with the
Reality which has no end and which is never static and, viewed from the
relative standpoint of time, is ever new, ever fresh from moment to moment.
When he says this, Swamiji, it is so convincing and inspiring. He does not have
any organisation; and he actually condemns organisations, and also the
institution of Guru and disciple. He does not believe in, or quote from, any
scripture. He does not advocate any religion, but he says that he has arrived
at the Truth independently himself. He does not like Kirtan and speaks of them
derisively as the shouting-class.’
should not attend such lectures,’ instantly came Siva’s reply. ‘What a travesty
Krishna has clearly said in the Gita that one should not unsettle another’s
faith. That is why the Sastras emphatically declare the need for a Guru: the
Guru alone will be able to understand the aspirant’s state and prescribe the
proper Sadhana. The same instructions do not suit all: and if you enunciate
some general principles, they should not be antagonistic to anyone else’s
principles. These instructions are suitable only for the microscopic minority.
For advanced students who are well-versed in psychology. Those who have faith
in the Lord’s name, in Japa, Kirtan, and the Yoga of Synthesis, should not
attend such lectures. Their faith in their own Sadhana will be shaken: they
will not know exactly how to proceed on the new path: and torn between the two,
they will simply collapse midway.’
organisations are necessary if you want to do some real and substantial service
to humanity. Everyone has his own organisation. Take the case of this Sri….: is
he not being looked after by the public? Does he not have a following? That is
the organisation, though he may not call it so, and register it. If you have no
selfish motives, there is no harm in having an organisation.’
LITTLE THINGS MATTER A LOT
evening Satsang, Rampremji had concluded today’s portion of Vinaya Patrika.
Quietly, he folded the right-hand top corner of the particular leaf, to serve
as a book-mark, and closed the book. But, Siva, of all people there, had
Rampremji, don’t do that. If you go on doing so, the pages will start breaking.
The book will be spoiled. This is a little thing: but it matters a lot. These
little habits of carelessness and ease-loving nature you should try to
overcome. Place a proper book-mark—a piece of paper.’
not the only one. There are people who, when they find it difficult to turn a
leaf in the book, will bring their saliva to use. God did not intend saliva to
be used for this. To prevent this only have the Sastras prohibited such
practices as unholy. They are unhygienic, too.’
are several other practices which a Sadhaka especially should avoid. Cracking
the fingerjoints is one such thing. Spitting, especially when it is accompanied
with a roaring throat-clearing sound, is another. When you are in others’
company, disturbing others, specially when they are in meditation, with curious
noises is another. These little things go a long way in forming a Sadhaka’s