Thursday, July 31, 2014
Benefits of Non-Covetousness
Aparigraha is the fifth limb of yama (self-restraint). Parigraha is covetousness or greed, to possess and enjoy objects of the senses. Aparigraha is the opposite of parigraha. This is non-covetousness or non-acceptance of gifts; it is the absence of craving to possess and enjoy sensual objects. It is a mental state (bhava), wherein the sensual craving is dead. Parigraha leads to anxiety to preserve, to fear of loss, to sorrow in loss, to hatred, anger, untruthfulness, stealing, etc. Aparigraha puts an end to all these defects and bestows peace, contentment and satisfaction.
Aparigraha is indeed an aid to the practice of ahimsa (non-violence), satyam (truth), asteyam (non-stealing). When the craving is not satisfied you become angry, you hate the man who stands in your way of attaining and possessing things. You harm him in different ways; you speak untruth; you begin to steal things. The mind is ever in a state of agitation, restlessness, dissatisfaction and discontentment. Aparigraha removes all these defects. Mithya-drishti (the seeing of falsehood in objects), dosha drishti (the seeing of defects in them), vairagya (dispassion), discrimination, dama (control of the senses) and pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses) are aids to the practice of aparigraha. Aparigraha is the common foundation for all yogas, just as dhyana (meditation) is the common meeting point of all yogas. It is a virtue to be practised not only by aspirants but by all persons of the world.
He who has no faith in the grace of the Lord and in the utterance of Lord Krishna in the Gita, "I ensure the welfare of the devotees who constantly think of me", will not practise aparigraha. The practice of aparigraha has wonderful benefits. It removes at one stroke, fear, attachment, disappointment, anxiety, agitation, restlessness, hatred, jealousy, anger, lust, greed, cares, worries, despair, and depression. Therefore practise aparigraha and become a dynamic yogi.
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Pure love is bliss. Speak forgivingly, act lovingly, serve lovingly. You will soon enter the kingdom of heaven or supreme peace. Hatred ceases not by hatred, but by love. Love is absolute goodness, honour, peace, and purity.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Steps to Celibacy
There are four processes in the practice of brahmacharya (celibacy). First control the sex impulse and sex vasana (habit) through dama (control of senses) and pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), then practise conservation of sex-energy. Shut all holes through which energy leaks; then divert the conserved energy into the proper spiritual channels through japa (repetition of God's name), kirtan (chanting), selfless service, pranayama (yoga breathing) and study, vigilance, self-analysis, introspection and vichara (enquiry). Then have conversion or sublimation of the sex energy. Let it be converted into ojas (spiritual energy) or brahma tejas (Brahmic radiance) through constant meditation (brahmachintana) and Lord's grace.
A vedantin diverts his mind through asserting, "I am all purity. I am sexless Atman (Self). Om. Om. Om." A bhakta (devotee) diverts his mind through japa, kirtan, service of guru (preceptor), service in temple, study of Bhagavatam, Ramayana, etc. A karma (active) yogi diverts his mind. He is ever occupied in some kind of useful service or other. A hatha yogi converts the sex energy through kriya yoga and dharana (concentration) and pratipaksha bhavana (meditation on the opposite) method.
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In common parlance brahmacharya is single life. In yogic parlance it is restraint of not only sex indriya (sense), but all senses. All senses contribute their own share to sexual excitement, sexual urge. The sight raises impure thoughts. Food strengthens the sex-indriya, as tongue and genitals are born from the same source. Hearing of love, talks, touch, smell - all excite passion. Therefore all senses must be controlled. Repression or suppression of sex energy will not help much in the practice of brahmacharya. What is wanted is sublimation. Sex energy must be entirely converted into ojas shakti or spiritual force. In transformation the gross form assumes a subtle form. The gross semen becomes a subtle force; this is also not enough. Sublimation only gives full protection.
Lustful gazing at women, talking on love matters and about women, gluttony, too much sleep, shaking of body and aimless wandering, a desire to be in the company of women, are all forms of lust. Abandon all these. Practise purity in thought, word and deed and get established in satchidananda svarupa (essential nature as existence-consciousness bliss absolute).
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Asteya is non-stealing. This is one of the five limbs of yama (self-restraint). This is also another form of self-restraint. Why does a man steal? He wants something. When he cannot get it by legitimate ways of earning, he begins to steal things. Desire (trishna) or want is the root cause for stealing. This is a deep rooted, evil trait in man.
Control desires or (trishnas) and cravings. Reduce your wants. Reflect and do vichara. Think of the evil result of stealing, namely, killing of conscience, dishonour, pin-pricks, guilty conscience, unfitness for yoga, bad name in society, punishment through the law of karma and penal code. Think of the advantages of non-theft (asteya) - honour, clean conscience, reward in heaven, fitness for the practice of yoga. You will at once stop this stealing habit.
Man removes a thing secretly without the knowledge of the owner; he does not like that his act may be known by others. This is stealing. Taking blotting paper, pins, paper, pencil, etc., from the office is stealing. Hoarding money too much is stealing. Eating too much or gluttony is stealing. Ever thinking of objects by increasing the wants is also stealing in a comprehensive sense. Keeping more things than are actually necessary is also stealing. A yogic student must be free from all these forms of theft. He must have a very clean mind like the pure white cloth or crystal. Then alone Atman (Self) will shine in his heart.
Man is not very careful and conscientious. His mind brings up very clever arguments. Some secretly take away some old journals which contain some pictures or useful matter and say: "This is nothing. It is only an old copy. It will go into the hands of a shop keeper for packing." But the thing is, he has removed it without the knowledge of the librarian, so it is theft.
Even a sensitive mind becomes blunt gradually by continuous stealing, by jumping from stealing small things to big articles. Even a little dirt, a little theft affects the mind of a yogic student seriously. He will have to be very careful and vigilant. He must keep the mind as clean as a polished mirror. He must avoid even very little thefts in any form. Then alone will he have success in yoga.
Monday, July 28, 2014
What is Satyam?
God is truth. He can be realised only by speaking truth and observing truth in thought, word and deed. Truthfulness, equal vision, self-control, absence of envious emulation, forgiveness, modesty, endurance, absence of jealousy, charity, thoughtfulness, disinterested philanthropy, self-possession and unceasing and compassionate harmlessness are the thirteen forms of truth. Your thoughts should agree with your words and your words should agree with your actions. To think of one thing, say another and do a third is horrible - it is nothing but crookedness. By telling lies you pollute your conscience and infect your subconscious mind. The habit of telling lies will be carried on to your next birth and you will suffer in birth after birth. Have you ever thought of this?
If you are established in truth, all other virtues will cling to you. Penetrate more deeply into the kingdom of truth. Sacrifice your all for the truth. Die for the truth. Speak the truth. Truth is life and power. Truth is existence. Truth is knowledge. Truth is bliss. Truth is silence. Truth is peace. Truth is light. Truth is love. Live to realise the truth.
Truth is the law of life. Truth means the strength of will to abide by positive principles a sense of justice, an unbiased mind and recognition of its subtle essence in all life. Truth is like a ladder leading to heaven, or a boat enabling one to cross the ocean of misery. Speak the truth, but let it not be unpleasant and speak not of any pleasing falsehood - this is eternal religion.
Fire burns everything; it is true to its nature. Water flows from a higher level; the seed sprouts and becomes a tree; the scorpion stings; these are all true to their nature. This is satyam. But man violates truth; he is ungrateful. He is not true to his essential nature. Wife poisons the husband; sons are not filial towards their fathers; sons murder their parents; this is not truth. To manifest one's essential divine nature, to manifest divine virtues is satyam or truth. To be true to one's own Self is satyam.
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A truthful man is free from worry and anxiety, he has a calm mind. He is respected by society. If you speak the truth for twelve years you will get vak siddhi - then whatever you speak will come to pass. There will be great power in your speech - you will be able to influence thousands.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Ahimsa is Supreme Virtue
That work which gives elevation, joy and peace to the mind, is right. That which brings depression, pain and restlessness to the mind is wrong. This is an easy way to find out what is right and what is wrong.
Selfishness clouds understanding. Therefore if a man has got even a tinge of selfishness, he cannot detect what is right and what is wrong. A very pure, subtle, sharp intellect is needed for this purpose.
The Gita describes the nature of satva (purity), rajas (dynamism) and tamas (inertia in relation to reason) in chapter eighteen. It says:
"That which knoweth energy and abstinence, what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, fear and fearlessness, bondage and liberation - that reason is pure, O Partha. That by which one understandeth right from wrong and also what ought to be done, and what ought not to be done - that reason, O Partha, is passionate. That which, enwrapped in darkness, thinketh wrong to be right, and which seeth all things subverted - that reason, O Partha, is of darkness."
Various other definitions are given by wise men to help the students in the path of righteousness. In the Bible it is said: "Do unto others as you would be done by".
This is a very good maxim. The whole gist of right conduct is here. If one practises this very carefully, he will not commit any wrong action.
"Ahimsa paramo dharmah". Ahimsa is non-injuring in thought and word and deed. "This is the highest of all virtues". If one is well established in ahimsa of thought and word and deed, one can never do any wrong action.
Ahimsa comes first in the practice of yama or self-restraint. To give pleasure to others is right. To spread misery and pain, is wrong. One can follow this in one's daily conduct towards others and can evolve in one's spiritual path.
Do not perform any act that brings you shame or fear. You will be quite safe if you follow this rule. Stick to any rule that appeals to your reason and conscience and follow it with faith and attention. You will soon evolve and reach the abode of eternal happiness.
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Blessing of Ahimsa
Ahimsa (non-violence) is one of the foremost vows of good life. It is a supreme duty of man - ahimsa paramo dharmah - thus scripture declares. In the regeneration and divinisation of man, the first step is to eliminate the beastly nature. The predominant trait in beasts is cruelty; therefore wise sages prescribed ahimsa. This is a most effective master method to counteract and eradicate completely the brutal, cruel nature in man. O earnest aspirant: Ponder the great significance, and immense importance, value and blessings of ahimsa and start its practice now - this moment.
Ahimsa is not merely non-killing as some think. Ahimsa is perfect harmlessness and positive love also. It is to abstain even from the slightest thought of harm to any living creature mentally, verbally, or by deed. There is no excuse nor exception to the above rule. Harsh words to beggars, servants or inferiors is himsa (cruelty). To fail to relieve pain or trouble in another is negative himsa. To approve of another's harsh actions is against ahimsa. Avoid strictly all forms of harshness, direct or indirect, positive or negative, immediate or delayed. Practise ahimsa in its purest form, O Saumya, and become divine. Ahimsa and divinity are one.
Ahimsa is a weapon of the strong. It cannot be practised by weaklings. Ahimsa is supreme love. He who embraces ahimsa embraces all, loves all. To begin with, stop all physical violence, stop speaking vulgar and harsh words. Then attack the mind directly. There will be inner agitation. You may think of doing violence. Check this thought wave through prayer, worship, meditation, enquiry, pranayama (yoga breathing), satvic (pure) food, and study of sacred books. Generate again and again currents of love by cultivating the feeling that 'everything is the Self' (atma bhava), or 'everything is the Lord' (Narayana-bhava).
You will fail one hundred times, but it does not matter. Stand up again. Make fresh resolves and stick to them tenaciously. March on boldly with steady steps, O knower of thyself: Never despair. Study the lives of the apostles of non-violence - Lord Buddha, Lord Jesus, Mahatma Gandhi and others, again and again. Keep their mental picture and ideals before your mind's eye and draw inspiration from them. Carefully watch your conduct, thought and speech and deeds daily and you will grow steadily in the practice of non-violence.
Inspiring Talks of Gurudev Sivananda
3rd July, 1950
ARE JIVANMUKTAS REBORN?
Today is the Yoga-Vedanta Forest University anniversary. It is celebrated during the morning class with special Kirtan, decoration, discourses etc. Chidanandaji presented the second annual report of the University.
After the class, Siva and Sri Tirumal Rao were talking to each other. One of the most interesting points, and the one that reflects Siva’s attitude to Moksha, is this:
Sri T. asked: ‘Swamiji, I find in a few places like Nagore, Shirdi, Tiruvannamalai, and the Andhra village where a boy-saint is sunk in Samadhi, and Rishikesh, ever full of Santi and a kind of spiritual bliss. May it be, Swamiji, that these places which have had the impress of the saint’s personality, his Tapasya and Siddhi, on the very atmosphere, retain that sanctity for a long time?’
‘Yes, yes,’ was Siva’s reply: ‘And not only that, the saint himself may live in those places. The liberated sage has the option to merge in Brahman or to live in a subtle form and carry on the work of Lokasamgraha, guiding aspirants, awakening in people a religious fervour and so on. This motive is manifested in some Jivanmuktas in accordance with God’s Supreme Will. Therefore, the places in which the saint practised Tapas and attained Siddhi, which might again be chosen by the Invisible Spirit of the saint as its permanent abode, becomes the abode of the saint’s divine qualities—peace, bliss and wisdom.’
8th July, 1950
SIVANANDA YATRA MANDALI GOES FARTHER
Nature, who keeps Siva’s cosmic house, has sent a welcome shower in the morning, sprinkling water on the roads between Rishikesh and Hardwar, imparting to the whole landscape a freshness—a smile of joyous greeting—and to the whole atmosphere, a coolness. When the house had thus been cleaned, she lit the bright lamp, the Sun, which had temporarily been put out during the cleaning-ceremony. At 2 p.m. the sky cleared, and the vast blue canopy had just a few silk-cotton clouds hanging here and there. The sun shone brightly, but his heat had been already counteracted by the morning shower.
Suspense everywhere; what is afoot? For which God’s sake is all this preparation?
Two heavily decorated buses stood at the entrance to Sivanandanagar. So much had been done so silently by Swami Paramanandaji, that Siva himself was surprised to hear at 3.15 the Anandavani Loudspeaker singing his recorded songs.
‘Paramanandaji is working wonders,’ said Siva as he got into the bus; and to the accompaniment of ‘Sivananda Maharaj ki Jai’ the vehicle leapt forward. The bus sped forward, but faster than the car was the soul-stirring Kirtan Dhwanis that emanated from the Anandavani which travelled in the car.
We reached the Gita Mandir at Hardwar. A significant point is that Siva, though he had not been informed about the day’s programme, did not ask one question about the arrangements. He was content to take things as they came: the attitude of a true Sanyasin. And, P. had seen to the minutest details of the entire celebration so that the maximum service is rendered to the citizens of Rishikesh and Hardwar. The entire day’s function was carried through to success with clock-like precision.
Siva roared ‘OM’, and the entire audience joined him—an audience of more than 500. The building shook and responded. Then followed Kirtan. I held up the loudspeaker, but Siva brushed it aside saying: ‘I don’t need it.’ Nor did he need it, for his voice could be heard by all even at the farthest end of the hall.
How he made them sing the Lord’s names! The hall was resounding with His names. ‘Kirtan is the easiest and surest way to God.’ said Siva. ‘It is difficult to practise Hatha Yoga, and awaken the Kundalini through Asans and Pranayama. It is difficult to study Vedanta, understand its secrets and enter into deep meditation. But it is easy to repeat the Lord’s names. Kirtan cools down the three fires. Kirtan destroys the five Kleshas. Kirtan alone removes the three kinds of great obstacles—Mala, Vikshepa and Avarana—to the perception of the splendour of the Atman. Three kinds of Sadhanas are prescribed for the removal of these obstacles: Karma Yoga for the removal of Mala, Bhakti Yoga for steadying the mind and removal of Vikshepa, and Jnana Yoga for tearing the veil (Avarana) of ignorance. Kirtan alone can do all these. Sing the Lord’s names with Bhav and Sraddha-Mala, Vikshepa and Avarana. All the three will be removed. You will have Sakshatkara of the Supreme Lord.
‘How easy it is. You can repeat the Lord’s name after or before taking bath. Wherever you are you can sing His names. Even when you prepare bread, you can sing His names.’
So saying, Siva began his Kirtan (at the same time clapping his hands—as you do when you prepare bread.)
Jaya Siya Ram Jaya Jaya Siya Ram
The audience, which consisted of a large number of Punjabi women, rose up to Sivas’ expectations: all the women at once understood Siva, were thankful to him for this great Upadesha which they could translate into daily and hourly practice, and they repeated the Kirtan-Dhwani—most of them visibly moved—‘Sadhana can be so easy!’
Immediately after, Siva sought out the usual Katha-Vachak at the Mandir who used to read the Bhagavatha, and to the astonishment of the crowd, reverently touched his feet!
A similar function at the famous Hari-ki-Pauri (the bathing ghat at Hardwar), on the bank of the holy Ganga.
After the function at the ghat, we went to the water-front. Siva visited the spacious ghat after a long time. Like a child, he admired the tower, the other newer constructions and dived into his memory to recollect the older ones: ‘Yes, that temple was there previously. This is a new construction.
‘I have slept on this platform underneath the clock tower when I was in Swarg Ashram and when I used to come here with Chand Narayan Harkuli. Even when I first came to Hardwar in 1923, I had to sleep here one night, strange as it was then. I went to a Dharmashala, but someone in the Dharmashala objected to my staying there. I could not understand what the objection was as I did not know Hindi, and I quietly left the place and slept here.’
We returned to the Ashram at 11 p.m.
11th July, 1950
DO IT NOW
‘Not tomorrow or the day after, but now itself! They may change their mind later on and go away. We may not then have the opportunity of rendering our service to them. Bring the books now. I will sign them and you should hand them over to Sri Rao immediately,’ said Siva when Nityanandaji told him that a visitor (Sri Ramachandra Rao) would be staying at the Ashram for a few days and that Siva might give him some books ‘tomorrow or the day after.’
This is not a motto or an ideal with Siva. It is his inborn trait. He cannot put a thing off to ‘tomorrow. His life itself is one long illustration of this principle. Often his disciples are unable to keep pace with him. They sometimes find him a very hard taskmaster. But no one can fail to recognise that he does not tell others alone to do-it-now. He himself is zealous in his desire to do-it-now.
Siva then explained: ‘This is one of the most important rules in Karma Yoga. Opportunities come and go. A Karma Yogi should take time by the forelock and do-it-now. He should be ever alert and vigilant and utilise every opportunity for service. When one thing is put off for ‘tomorrow’, then other similar works accumulate around it and then the opportunity is lost. Procrastination is the greatest enemy of a Karma Yogi.’
The books were brought and Siva autographed them immediately, saying at the same time: ‘What you wish to do tomorrow, do today. What you wish to do in the afternoon, do in the forenoon. Then you will grow into a real Karma Yogi.’
BANI BAI DOES KALAKSHEPAM
The Lord provided an opportunity almost immediately for the demonstration by Siva of this unique trait in him.
Sri Ramachandra Rao introduced a lady who had accompanied him to Badrinath. ‘This is Bani Bai, Swamiji. For the past twenty years she has been doing Hari Katha Kalakshepam in South India. In fact, she wanted to conduct a Katha-Kalakshepam here also….’
Without a moment’s hesitation, Siva said: ‘Then I will have it arranged now itself. Oh Rajagopalji, ring the bell. Call Palji for Tabla. Get the harmonium and the Tanpur. Call everybody.
Purushottham, bring some sugar-candy and black-pepper. Keep some water here. Vishwanath, spread the carpets. Call the neighbours also. Nityanandji, get some Prasad for distribution after the Katha.’ In five minutes, Bani Bai had already commenced the Katha Kalakshepam.’
He said to her: ‘You are a versatile scholar, too, besides being a first-rate musician. What a fund of knowledge and wisdom you have put into the Katha. There was ample humour, educative humour also. It was wonderful. You have Saraswati’s grace.’
20th July, 1950
A TEST OF TRUE SANYAS
‘How is Sri S. at the Viswanath Bhag? Have you sent him all the provisions necessary for his maintenance there?’
‘Swamiji, I offered to do so, but S. prefers to take Bhiksha from the Kshetra and do some Seva at the garden,’ replied Chidanandaji.
‘It is good as a measure of training. But, why does he do so now? Is it because he had a petty quarrel with Sri P.?’
‘Yes, Swamiji. Even when S. was here after the incident, he did not feel quite at home and was only waiting for the garden work to be started.’
‘That is not good,’ said Siva. ‘The true Sanyas spirit is not properly understood even by very many Sanyasins themselves. Of course, Virakthi, solitude, observance of Mowna, living on Bhiksha, constantly chanting OM may all be some of the external characteristics of a monk, but quite apart from all this is the real inner Bhav which constitutes the basic essence of the Sanyas-spirit. This is the absolute dispassionate sameness to all the pairs of opposites: heat and cold, pain and pleasure, grief and joy, failure and success, insult and honour. The Sanyasin receives and regards them all with the same Bhav and with calm forbearance. A Sanyasin is Dwandwa-atita. To him, friend and foe are alike, and praise and blame have no difference. How is this so? Why is this so? Because the true Sanyasin is above body. His Drishti should not be based upon Dehatma-Bhavana. No, the Sanyasin always ceaselessly tries to live in the thought that he is Pure Spirit. ‘Dehonaham, Jeevo Naham’ is his attitude. ‘Nitya Suddha Buddha Satchidanandoham’ is his constant Bhavana. When he performs the Viraja Homa at the time of taking Sanyas he offers up his everything into the Kunda, including his Pancha-Koshas with the Karma and Jnana Indriyas, Pranas, Antahkarana, and Aham-Bhavana. Thus, from that moment onward, he is pure Chit. Thus he comes to regard all things that are said of, done to, or experienced by the body as having absolutely no concern with him. The Sanyasin should by all means be unshakably established in the serene tranquillity of his essential blissful spiritual nature.
‘If a Sanyasin does not strive to manifest spiritual Bhav, then who else is supposed to do this? Moving with people of diverse temperaments and simultaneously endeavouring to keep up this inner Bhav will alone help him make this Bhav pucca within him. To get easily offended by adverse criticism, a little harsh treatment or unpopularity and become agitated and to leave the place and go away is a sign that he has failed in sticking to his Sanyas-Bhav. His ego is still grounded in the physical body only. He has been at once affected and upset by something done to the body. A Sanyasin has no body. How absurd to get upset by something said to this mere temporary garment that you are wearing, which is only to be thrown away at a moment’s notice.
‘A Sanyasin should have no Abhiman. It is Abhiman which makes one get offended easily at every trifle. Too much touchiness shows that one has not at all got rid of the idea of self-importance, the Ahamta or superior ego-sense. This is real death to a Sanyasin. Maana-Abhimana is rampant inside. Keen self-analysis alone will help sever a Sanyasin from the self-delusion that he is established in Sanyasa.
‘What to say of a little disrespect or insult. Even if anyone is to beat a Sanyasin with shoe or slipper, or cut his throat with a knife—even then he should remain peaceful and perfectly unperturbed. A garland or rose flowers put around his neck or a dirty shoe hurled at his head should both mean the same to him as a Sanyasin. Of course, the perfect Bhav does not come in its fullness all at once. But even then, every Sanyasin worth the name should strive every minute towards the attainment of this Atma-Bhavana. Under certain circumstances there may be a little agitation in the beginning. A sudden insult, an extreme experience, some harshness or disrespect, may no doubt agitate a Sanyasin somewhat for a little time. Perhaps for a whole day or even two days in some cases. Perhaps more if he was of a very sensitive nature. But ultimately, the Sanyas-spirit must prevail. Viveka and Vichara must set working at once. ‘Who am I? What is insult or honour to me—the Pure Atman that I am? What is all this transitory experience of this perishable body? It is unreal, petty, of no account and as such not worth my consideration. I am in truth blissful nameless formless infinity.’ Moreover, for what happens to the external body, who is to blame? Everything comes to this body according to its Prarabdha Karma. It is simply getting its due. How foolish to seek to put the blame upon someone else for this! Thus analyses the earnest Sanyasin and keeps his peace.
‘Such actual test in the field of active service helps to indicate one’s inner progress towards the ideal of Sanyas. They afford an invaluable training ground for the Sanyasin to perfect himself. To the Nivritti-Sanyasin also, Vyavahara (not Loukika or secular Vyavahara, but Paramarthika, unattached selfless Vyavahara) gives much-needed scope for practical spirituality.
‘Accept all experiences in a spirit of joy. Meet all difficulties and trials with serenity and fortitude. Remember that to you there is neither trouble nor trial, for you are the Pure Atman. Sometimes some Karma may affect the mind a little. But it is a mere passing cloud only. Brush it aside, and shine again with all the effulgence of your true spiritual splendour. Let daily Vyavahara mean for you so many welcome opportunities to manifest and to give expression to your true inner spiritual nature. Learn the secret of regarding everything only from this Atmic Viewpoint. Dehatma Buddhi will vanish and nothing will affect you in the least for you will never forget that you are the Pure Atman and Atman alone. Jai Ho!’
21st July, 1950
B.A. AT ANANDA KUTIR
‘First, you should give up the B.A. Abhiman. You have good learning; you are intelligent; you have very high qualifications. But, this Big Abhiman will hinder your progress. Therefore, renounce it,’ said Siva to a young graduate and journalist who sought admission to the Ashram but showed his willingness to do only (or mainly) literary work.
‘In the case of a spiritual aspirant, B.A. should denote Be Alert, and Bow to All. You should be ever vigilant and be ever-ready to do every kind of work. You should take part in all the activities of the Ashram. Literary work alone will not do. You should help in wrapper-writing. You should learn the magazine work. You should be able to type articles for journals. You should at the same time be prepared to carry water to the kitchen, or sweep the road. Then you will shine as a true B.A. (Best Adhikari), as a pillar of the institution.’
HOW TO SERVE GOD
‘I was studying this book, Swamiji, so, I could not attend the Satsang at night.’ Sri K. said this when he was questioned by Siva why he was absent for the night Satsang.
‘The other day you said that you had diarrhoea and so could not attend the Satsang. Now you say you were reading, so you did not attend. Tomorrow you will have some other excuse.
‘You should question yourself. If you don’t like it, then I will not question you any more. But, you should question yourself and ask yourself: ‘What for have I come here? Am I doing what is necessary to achieve my aim?
‘If you work in an office and earn Rs. 50 a month, you are ever-ready to serve the petty master there. You are ever-ready to obey him. ‘Yes, Sir’ you say for everything. You have renounced the whole world and come here to attain the highest wisdom. Here you should not expect a master who would bully you and extract work (Sadhaha) from you. You should be your own master. You should question yourself rigorously and even punish yourself if you are not doing all that you can to evolve.
‘Obedience, adhering to the discipline of the Ashram, humility—all these Sadhu-qualities you have to develop yourself. No one will enforce them on you. You should find out the daily routine of the place where you are staying and automatically fall in line with it. That shows you are a good aspirant. If you do not conform to the discipline of the Ashram and go your own self-willed way, then it means you have not disciplined yourself.
‘No one need impose discipline upon you. For a moment put yourself in the other man’s position. Just think for a moment that you are yourself conducting the Ashram, and that you yourself have instituted the daily Satsang. There are several Ashramites. Would you or would you not expect all of them to attend the Satsang?’
‘I will, Swamiji.’
‘Then, is it not your duty to attend the Satsang without even being told to do so? When there is a common function if all the people attend the function, there is a special charm in it. It would be glorious.’
29th July, 1950
THE GURU TEACHES BY EXAMPLE
Today is the sacred Guru Purnima.
Since early morning several Sadhakis, Sanyasins and householders who had come from far and near to pay their homage to the great Guru on this sacred day, have been streaming in and out of Siva’s Kutir.
Today Siva’s ever-blissful countenance shone with a glow of That Inexpressible Something which magnetises the atmosphere, draws everyone near, removes the birth-and-death fear, and makes the path clear. There is peace, and the peace permeates his entire being and overflows and floods all who bow to him. There is bliss, and this bliss is infectious, and the infection is life-long. There is depth in his eyes, and the near Siva appears to be far away, and this far-away seems to be within oneself.
Everyone went in and stretched himself on the ground before the August Presence, in one long prostration. ‘I am thine, Oh Siva,’ spake the heart. ‘I am Thou: That thou art,’ glittered the radiant message on Siva’s face. Hardly a word was exchanged. Occasionally a ‘May God bless you’ was heard. We talked to him in the most sacred language: he blessed us in the same divine tongue. Silence was the word: a silence that was at once pregnant with the utterance of the Vedas and the Upanishads and all Sastras.
Adwaita Para Brahma Sastrigal was initiated into Sanyas with the name Adwaitananda. The economist in Siva does not permit the new recruit’s old clothes to be thrown into the Ganges, as it is done in some other Maths. When these clothes can be given to someone who could wear them, why throw them into the Ganges? ‘Oh Dayanandaji, give these to the health officer,’ says Siva. Health Officer is what Siva calls the scavenger by. ‘The clothes are dirty. They are not clean. First wash them with soap and then give them to the health officer.’
That is our Guru Siva. The gift is not an act of charity, but an offering to the Lord seated in the heart of the receiver. The instruction reflects this Bhavana. Follow his glorious example and achieve the Liberation that he has achieved. That, by the way, was the gist of the inspiring discourse which Chidanandaji delivered on the sacred occasion. He said that a disciple, like the full moon, should faithfully and completely reflect the rays of Guru, the sun.
Guru Maharaj Guru Jaya Jaya
Sivananda Sat Guru
OM TAT SAT
Here ends 'Inspiring Talks of Gurudev Sivananda'. Next Saturday, we will begin another series from 'Satsang Bhavan Lectures of Swami Sivananda'.
Friday, July 25, 2014
Order in Yama and Niyama
There is a deliberate order in the five parts or limbs of yama (self-control). Ahimsa (non-violence) comes first, because man must remove his brutal nature first. He must become non-violent; he must develop cosmic love. Only then does he become fit for the practice of yoga. Then comes satyam or truthfulness. Because the whole phenomenon of maya (illusion) is asat or unreal, the aspirant should be aware of this fact. He should ever remember the truth or Brahman. Then comes asteya or non-stealing. Because he must develop moral consciousness, he must know right from wrong, righteousness from unrighteousness; and he must know that all are one. Brahmacharya is a divine attribute. The aspirant is now becoming a superman by the practice of brahmacharya or celibacy. The fifth is aparigraha. The yogic student is free now from desires, cravings, unnecessary wants, luxuries, desire to possess and enjoy. He has a very expanded heart.
Yama is "taking of vow". Niyama is "religious observance". Yama is not a policy or company manners or courtesy, it is sticking to ideals and principles; it is development of divine traits that will transform human nature into divine nature; it annihilates desires, cravings, evil qualities; it eradicates brutal instinct and brutal nature; it removes harshness, violence, cruelty and covetousness; it fills the heart with cosmic love, kindness, mercy, goodness, purity and divine light. It is the foundation of divine life or yoga, on which the super structure of samadhi is built. It is the corner stone of yoga, on which the edifice of super-consciousness is built.
Niyama is canon or religious observance. It consists of five limbs; namely, saucha, santosha, tapas, svadhyaya and Ishvara pranidhana. Saucha is purity, internal and external. Santosha is contentment. Tapas is austerity or control of senses or meditation. Svadhyaya is study of scriptures. It means also chanting of mantra (name of God) or enquiry. Ishvara-pranidhana is self-surrender to the Lord. It is consecration of one's work as an offering to the Lord.
There is an intimate relation between yama and niyama. Niyama safeguards yama. If one has internal purity one can get established in brahmacharya. If you have contentment, you will not steal or hurt others or tell lies. It will be easy for you to practise aparigraha.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Brave All Trials
Trials, difficulties, troubles and sufferings are necessary for your purification and to strengthen your will and power of endurance. Face them bravely and come out triumphantly. Press on. Strive on with all your will; only then is the grace of God bestowed.
God helps those who help themselves. If bad thoughts enter your mind, simply ignore them. Offer a prayer to the Lord and substitute divine thoughts by studying the sacred books. The spiritual fire should be generated day after day. Hold fast to the ideal. Keep the flame of aspiration ever bright. Scorn mundane delights and strife.
Dedicate your life to God. Meditate. Scale the spirit's steepest height and reach the peak of eternal wisdom and bliss divine. Nothing is able to daunt the firm and resolute aspirant or turn him from a course which he considers to be right, or which he holds to be his duty.
Be brave and courageous. You must pass with one breath over the mountain of difficulties. The Atman cannot be attained by a life of weakness and error.
You have infinite strength within you. Be strong. Look within. Meditate. Tap the source. Have an indomitable will, backed by an abiding faith. You are bound to succeed in everything.
- - - - -
God is the Light of lights. He is knowledge. He is the knower. God is the same from age to age. God never changes; he is ageless. God has no opposite.
God is truth, beauty, goodness. God has no religion; He is the source of all religion. God is one. God is peace. God is universal harmony. God is love and law. As a lamp cannot burn without oil, so man cannot live without God.
Creation reveals that God is dharma (righteousness). God is the bestower of grace which is boundless and inexhaustible.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Depression and Devotion
Every aspirant in the spiritual path becomes a victim to the mood of depression in the beginning. You have to overcome this mood through discrimination, reflection, singing God's name, prayer, etc. This mood is like a passing cloud. It will pass off if you are vigilant. Do not mistake emotion for devotion.
Whenever you get into a mood of depression, sing God's name vigorously; sitting alone in your room, sing with a melting heart. You may sing silently if you wish. This is an easy way to drive away this undesirable mood.
Try to control all wild outbursts of weeping. This is a weakness, a negative state. But do allow the pearl drops of divine love or ecstasy to trickle down your face occasionally, when you are in a profoundly prayerful or meditative mood.
Shed the tears of pure, divine love when you are alone, when you are in communion with the Lord. Do not weep in the presence of others. The rare pearl drops of divine love are the outcome of the melting of the heart by the fire of devotion and the fire of painful separation from the Lord.
Sometimes a man feigns to be a devotee. He sheds false tears to make his neighbours think he is a great devotee. On account of sympathetic action, his neighbours also begin to weep but there will not be one iota of devotion in their hearts.
Devotion is a very rare gift from God. Weeping itself is not a criterion by which to judge the devotional nature of a man or a woman. Do not mistake the crocodile tears of a hypocrite bhakta (devotee) for the genuine pearl drops of divine love which inspire and elevate bystanders. One may not weep outwardly and yet he may be a genuine, silent devotee.
- - - - -
Identify yourself with the emotionless state or Brahman, and rest peacefully for ever.
Satvic (peaceful) emotion is quiet. Rajasic (passionate) emotion is terrible. Tamasic (dull) emotion is confused. Rajasic and tamasic emotions are of a turbid nature and therefore cannot receive a reflection of the blissful nature of Atman. Rajasic and tamasic emotions present a reflection of intelligence but not of bliss. Satvic emotions present a reflection of both blissfulness and intelligence.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Consequences of Anger
A terrible fit of anger shatters the physical nervous system. It produces a lasting impression on the inner astral body. Although the effects of a fit of anger may seem to subside in a short time, the vibration or wave, continues to exist for days in the astral body. A slight unpleasant feeling that lasts in the mind for five minutes may produce a deep inflammation of the astral body. It may take several weeks or months even for this ulcer to heal.
Now, have you realised the disastrous consequences of anger? Do not be victims of anger. Control it by love, mercy, sympathy, vichara (enquiry) and consideration for others. Even slight annoyance, or irritability, affects the mind and the astral body.
Aspirants should not allow these vrittis (thought waves) to manifest in the mind lake, as they may burst out as big waves of anger at any moment, if you are careless or weak. There should not be the least disturbance in the mind lake - it should be perfectly calm and serene. Then only you will find meditation possible.
It is difficult to control anger. Anger is a manifestation of shakti (energy). At first, try to reduce its force and its frequency of duration. Endeavour to attenuate or thin out this formidable modification of the mind.
Do not allow this modification to assume the form of a big wave on the surface of the conscious mind. Nip it in the bud when it is in the form of irritability. Divert the mind. Entertain divine thoughts. Do vigorous japa (repetition of God's name) and kirtan (chanting). Repeat some prayers or slokas (verses) from the scriptures.
Develop the opposite, divine qualities. Develop patience, love, forgiveness - anger will die by itself, gradually. Blessed are those high souled people who can control their anger by pure, strong will and intellect.
Be serene. Serenity is like a rock. Waves may dash on it but they cannot affect it. Waves of irritation may break on this rock of serenity but they cannot affect it. Meditate daily on the ever tranquil Atman (Self). You will attain this sublime virtue of serenity gradually.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Training of the Mind
If a pebble in our shoe torments us, we expel it. Once the matter is understood, it is just as easy to expel an intruding and obnoxious thought from the mind. Thoughts are the sources of all actions - they are real karma, real action. If, right at the beginning, you can root out all evil thoughts, you will not do any evil actions. You will be free from misery and anxiety.
Watch the thoughts with vigilance. Once the tossing of the mind vanishes, the mind will be very calm and you will get good meditation. Free yourself from the clutches of the mind, and liberation will come by itself. Those who have even a little control over their thoughts and speech will have a calm, serene, beautiful face, a sweet voice and brilliant, lustrous eyes.
Conserve all mental energy. Use it for spiritual purposes. Do not store useless information in your brain. Learn to unmind the mind. Then only you can fill the mind with divine thoughts. As all the dissipated mental rays are collected you will gain new mental strength. Useless thoughts impede your spiritual growth; obnoxious thoughts are stumbling blocks to spiritual advancement.
In untrained persons four or five kinds of thoughts occupy the mind at one time. These may be thoughts of the household, of business, of the office, of the body and so on. If you watch carefully you will see that many thoughts are inconsistent and that the mind wanders aimlessly.
Entertain only thoughts that are useful and helpful. These are the stepping stones to all spiritual progress. Every thought must be of a constructive nature; it must be positive and definite. Mental images must be well-defined. Every thought must bring peace and comfort to others and never bring pain or unhappiness. Then, you are a blessed soul on earth.
- - - - -
Always watch your mind. Be vigilant. Be alert. Do not allow waves of irritability, jealousy, anger, hatred and lust to arise in the mind. These are the enemies of meditation, peace and wisdom. Suppress them at once by entertaining sublime thoughts. Evil thoughts which have already arisen may be destroyed by originating and maintaining good thoughts, by repeating any mantra, by doing any good actions, by abstracting the mind and by enquiring, "Who am I?", or by will force.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Discipline of the Mind
You must have a pure mind if you want to realise the self. Unless the mind is free and it casts away all desires, cravings, worries, delusion, pride, lust, attachment, likes and dislikes, it cannot enter into the domain of supreme peace and unalloyed felicity, the immortal abode.
A glutton or a sensualist, a dullard or a lazy man, cannot practise meditation. He who has controlled the tongue and other organs, who has an acute acumen, who eats, drinks and sleeps in moderation, who has destroyed selfishness, lust, greed and anger, can practise meditation and attain success in samadhi (super-consciousness).
You cannot enjoy peace of mind, you cannot practise meditation if there is vikshepa in your mind. Vikshepa is tossing of mind. Vikshepa is rajas (passion); vikshepa and desires co-exist in the mind. If you really want to destroy vikshepa, you must destroy all mundane cravings through dispassion and self-surrender to the Lord.
If you apply fire to green wood, it will not burn; if you apply fire to a piece of dried wood, it will at once catch fire and burn. Even so, those who have not purified their minds will not be able to start the fire of meditation. They will be sleeping or dreaming building castles in the air - when they sit for meditation.
But those who have removed the impurities of the mind by japa (repetition of God's name), service, charity, pranayama (yoga breathing), etc., will enter into deep meditation as soon as they sit for meditation. The pure ripe mind will at once burn with the fire of meditation.
- - - - -
Clarify your idea again and again. Think clearly. Have deep concentration and right thinking. Introspect in solitude. Purify your thoughts. Still the thoughts. Silence the bubbling mind. Allow one thought wave only to rise from the mind and settle down calmly. Then allow another thought to enter. Drive off all extraneous thoughts that have nothing to do with the subject matter on hand. An efficient control over thoughts, through long practice, is a great help in meditation.
Watch every thought very carefully. Shut out all useless thoughts from the mind. Your life must tally with your meditation. You keep up your meditation during work also. Do not give new strength to evil thoughts by constantly thinking. Restrain them. Substitute sublime thoughts.
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Cure for Mental Defects
There are three defects of the mind. They are: impurity, tossing of the mind, and the veil of ignorance. The mind is tossed about among objects of love and hatred like a light feather in a stormy wind. It whirls far and wide among sensual objects, far away from the association of the wise. It is like a strolling city dog. This baneful mind whirls at the sight of immense wealth and it follows its mate, desire, and ever preys upon ignorant worldlings as it would on a carcass.
The mind is characterised by excessive fluctuation. It is fluctuating and confused. It rejoices in vain. It is intoxicated with egoism. Through this fluctuation the mind becomes a prey to fear. Remove these three dosa (defects).
To do this you should study the mind. Analyse the mind. Purify the mind. Dissolve the mind in God, by constant and intense thinking about God. Practise the sadhana (endeavour) of destruction of the mind. Rise above deceptions of the mind. Rise above the temptations of the mind. This is your duty. You are born for this only. All other duties are self-imposed, self-created through ignorance.
Mind is made pure through true, pure and virtuous actions, by constant association with the wise. Mantra, repeated with the right feeling, produces a wonderful effect on the mind. Right thinking, noble emotions, prayers, regular and strenuous meditation are the means to improve the mind.
As a result of purification of the mind, the mind becomes more sensitive. It is easily disturbed by sound or shock. It feels any pressure acutely. The aspirant must be sensitive and yet have the body and nerves completely under his control. He must get over this sensitivity.
- - - - -
O mind, you cannot be my friend now - I know your worth and nature. Till now I was deluded by your tricks. But now we move in diametrically opposite poles. You want fleeting sensual pleasure from objects. I want immortal bliss of the soul inside. You are ever restless and worried. I am peaceful and tranquil. You are full of passion, fear and attachment. I am dispassionate, fearless and unattached. You want woman, wealth, property. I am full of renunciation. We cannot agree at all. Therefore leave me quickly and quietly. Goodbye, friend.
Inspiring Talks of Gurudev Sivananda
3rd June, 1950
IN THE ASHRAM OF THE INFINITE?
‘You are coming after a long time. Ten years?’ said Siva as Major-General A.N. Sharma bowed to him.
‘Physically yes, Swamiji. I came here in 1942 last time. But, you are always with me. I see you daily. I am never separate from you, Swamiji. This I have actually experienced through your unbounded grace.’
‘You are very busy in the service of the nation. That is also good. It is also service of the Lord.’
‘But, Swamiji, that is no service at all. Service in the Government is like machines working when the switch is put on. There is no life in such service. These people who are near you are luckier than I. I envy them. They are doing real service to humanity and to the Lord, under your saintly guidance. This is my last year of service, Swamiji. Next April I will surely be here.’
‘Such a good officer like you, the Government would like to retain. They cannot always find an officer with your integrity, nobility, sincerity, spirit of service, and God-fearing nature. An honest officer like you is an asset to the Government of the country.’
‘No, no Swamiji. I am only trying in my humble way to follow your teachings. I am trying to adopt your teachings in my work and daily life. I can be completely satisfied only if I come here and dedicate my life to your holy cause.’
Then Siva introduced several Ashramites, one by one, and described how each one was an expert in his own way, young men of great intelligence, education and culture.
‘You are a mighty magnet, Swamiji. So, it is no wonder that you have attracted so many needles to you. You are the All here. You are the Spirit or the soul of the Ashram. They are all inspired by your rays only. To me only you exist in the Ashram.’
The General said to his daughter: ‘Kamala, look, what a single man has been able to do—and that, too, in such a short time. Many people complain, ‘I am alone. What can a lonely man do? Look at Swamiji. He came to Rishikesh alone. He had to take his Bhiksha from the Kshetra and work. Look how he has converted a jungle into a city. Look what a lot of service is being rendered by him to humanity through this institution. You can also do that, Kamala, if you apply yourself to the task.’
We were coming round the temple. Several Yatris and Sadhus were lying on the temple verandah.
‘Who are these?’ ask Siva.
‘All sorts of people come here. Sadhus, Yatris, young boys who renounce the world; people who wish to take Sanyas; who wish to practise Yoga; people who have had failures in the world; people with incurable diseases—literally all sorts of people come here. I think this is more an asylum than an Ashram.’
‘This is a real Ashram, Swamiji, in every sense of the term,’ said the General.
‘Everyone comes here and takes food in the kitchen. I do not even ask from where the man is coming. He is free to remain here as long as he likes. During his stay here, whatever be the reason for his coming here, he is trained in service, Kirtan, Yoga Asanas, etc. And even if he leaves the Ashram later, he is a transformed personality. All people requiring mental solace and peace come here.’
Then Siva said: ‘You should see Swami Chidanandaji. He is a saint He is a genius. He is a powerful speaker, writer, and there is no one like him in service. Lepers and cholera patients, even dogs and birds receive the kindest treatment at his hands. He takes the greatest delight in service. He is an able doctor by experience. I saw one day an aged Sadhu who was suffering from leprosy, lying on the roadside. I had some milk and food given to him. A little later C. personally went to the patient, led him to the Ashram, and is attending on him day in and day out. The case is so advanced that all his fingers and toes have been eaten away by the disease. The bones are sticking out in the hands. The sores are raw. No one would even dare to go near him. But C. daily dresses him, feeds him and takes motherly care of the patient. I will show you the patient.
‘There was a dog here which was suffering from an ulcer. It emitted an unbearable foul smell. C. dressed the dog daily without feeling the least Ghrina or discomfort. He found a parrot lying paralysed in the jungle. He picked it up and provided a beautiful bed, pillow and cover, and fed it and nursed it nicely. It is very rare to find a heart like his. He is a saint truly.’
They all went into the studio. The General and his daughter were wonderstruck. Kamala asked: ‘How many photos have you taken so far?’ And, even before Padmanabhanji could reply, the General said: ‘Infinite number. In the Ashram of the Infinite, everything is infinite.’ P. then showed them the albums containing some of the photographs taken by him so far. When they had finished with one album, the General exclaimed: ‘It is enough for someone to write a book of the history of the institution.’ And, he looked aghast when six more albums were produced before him: ‘No no, you can write seven books of the history of the Society. Marvellous.’
4th June, 1950
This I.A.S. probationers accompanied Siva when he took General Sharma round the Ashram this morning. Afterwards they said: ‘Swamiji, we shall take leave of you now. We are going to Garuda Chatty now, and on our return we shall leave for Delhi.’
‘Come here again,’ began Siva, ‘and spend a week or a month. Recharge yourself with fresh spiritual energy. That will stand you in good stead in your work, nay in your entire life.
‘Here is General Sharma who makes a Yoga of his office work. He has understood the secret of Karma Yoga. He has studied Gita, Upanishads and Ramayana. He takes a real interest in his official duties. He discharges them well. He thereby earns great merit here, purifies his mind and qualifies himself for the descent of divine knowledge, too.
‘You should all follow his noble example. Do not take your office work as a mere routine work imposed upon you by the government. Do not work merely in order to earn your living. Feel all the time that in your way and within your allotted sphere of work, you are serving the Lord’s children.
‘You are the embodiments of wisdom. You will, each one of you, rule over your district for the protection of whose population you are responsible. You are, therefore, the Amsa of Vishnu. Remember this point very well when you discharge your normal official duties. Therefore, feel that you are but an instrument in the hands of Lord Vishnu, and that He is doing His work of Preservation through you. That is the proper attitude of a Karma Yogi.
‘To be a perfect Karma Yogi, you should develop in yourself many virtues—the Deivi Sampath enumerated by the Lord in the Gita: Amanitwam, Adeambhitwam, Ahimsa, etc. You must be honest, truthful, loving, forgiving, humble and simple. You must be ideal citizens. You must set an example to the people over whose destinies you preside. Then and then alone will you have really justified the Lord’s choice of you for this distinguished service.
‘Please be regular in your study of the Gita. Try diligently to put into practice the Lord’s teachings in the Gita. Then you will not only win the love of the people and the government, but you will also become a saint revered and respected all over the world. You will attain Moksha in this very birth.
General Sharma added a few words: ‘India needs honest administrators. That is what she lacks now. You remember the beautiful song in English which Swamiji sang last night—the ‘Song of Eighteen Ities’? If you bear that in mind always and strive in every way to practise the Eighteen Ities in your daily life, you would have achieved what Swamiji wants you to achieve.’
When, later, we went to the Gita Bhavan, Siva himself (in the fashion of a guide!) explained the main features of the Gita Bhavan to General Sharma.
‘In every room there is a painting of the Lord. Along the verandahs and everywhere in the building, you will find Gita Slokas inscribed in various forms on the walls. On this verandah, there are eighteen pictures on the walls, representing the most important theme of the eighteen chapters of the Gita. In the Hall upstairs you will find marble slabs on which the entire
Gita is inscribed, etc. etc.’
Jayadayalji wanted that Siva should give Darshan to an ailing devotee there. Siva let the General and his daughter examine him. ‘Diabetes,’ said the General: ‘He should take a course of insulin injections.’
‘Swamiji,’ said Sri Hanuman Prasad Poddar, ‘these orthodox people have strange sentiments about taking medicines. They think it is against the Sastras.’
‘No, no. That is wrong. Medicines are also God’s gifts to man. And, especially when they are not of animal-origin, why should he not take them? Human life is precious. Let him take insulin. It is not against the Sastras.’
The devotee, who was so adamant all throughout his illness which had already kept him in bed for the past nearly two months, now yielded and agreed to take the injection.
Siva at once closed his eyes and said: ‘Let us do Kirtan now,’ and sang the Maha Mantra thrice, and he was followed by the people around. The entire place was filled with the vibrations of the Maha Mantra. Then Siva repeated the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra also.
He then said to the patient: ‘Repeat the Maha Mantra and the Mrityunjaya Mantra also. You will be all right. You will be in a position to go to the Satsang tomorrow. The Lord’s Omnipotent Shakti fills these Mantras.’
In the afternoon, General Sharma had expressed the desire to meditate in Siva’s Kutir for a few minutes. He had promised to come at 2.30. At 2.25 Siva noticed that the General had not come and so got out of his Kutir, ready to wake up the General, if necessary. ‘When I have something to do, I cannot even take rest. I am anxious not to miss even a little opportunity to be of service. Please call Sharmaji.’ As Siva said this, he noticed Sharmaji coming down the hill. Siva gave the General a military salute which the General reciprocated in proper form.
A little later….the car’s engine hummed OM….or was it only the echo of Siva’s loud OM….and the General and his daughter took leave of Siva, Ganga and the Himalayas with folded palms, which they waved again and again.
12th June, 1950
BASTI AND VAMANA DHAUTI
Sri Somareswar of Muzafarnagar performed the Jala Basti this morning. S. got into the Ganges. When the water had reached his knees, he sat down. After a complete expulsion of the breath, he did Uddiyana Bandha. All the wind in the intestines is now expelled. He released the Bandha, and did the Nauli Kriya. A vacuum is automatically created in the colon. Naturally water is drawn into the colon. S. later expelled this water. He had been able to draw a couple of pints of water, and the expelled water, too, was clean, denoting that the large colon was already clean.
Siva explained the technique and the advantage of the Kriya, to the assembled Sadhaks. ‘This will keep your intestines clean and thus promote your general health. You will never suffer from constipation. You will be free from disease. You will enjoy radiant health. Not only this: all your Nadis will be purified. The Prana will pervade your entire body. You will have peace of mind and spiritual progress also. All of you should practise Basti and do it occasionally.’
S. said: ‘It is all due to your grace only, Swamiji. I learnt this from your book only. I used to practice Uddiyana. One day when I did Uddiyana while yet in the water, I found that I had automatically drawn some water also in. Then I regularised the practise with the help of your book.’
Then S. and Sri Swami Satchidanandaji performed the Jala Dhauti. They drank water—five or six glassfuls—and then tickled their throat with the help of their fingers. All the water was immediately vomited, and with it phlegm and bile, too. Swami S. was able to do the Dhauti without the help of the fingers.
Siva greatly eulogised the proficiency of the two adepts and described the glory of Jala Dhauti: ‘What Basti is for the lower parts of the alimentary canal, Dhauti is for the upper part. The stomach is cleaned with the help of the Dhauti. You do not need to use the stomach-tube. You will not suffer from indigestion or biliousness or from phlegm-trouble. You will have good digestion, and a clear brain. Initially you will have to take the help of your fingers to bring out the water from the stomach. By gradual practice the water will be ejected from the stomach merely by the practice of the Uddiyana Bandha.
‘Our ancients were practising these Kriyas as a matter of course. They used to cleanse their alimentary canal frequently through the Dhauti and the Basti. Therefore, they were healthy and they enjoyed long life. If you also regularly practise these exercises and Kriyas you will also enjoy radiant health and long life. May God bless you all.’
One remarkable feature during the whole performance was that when S., after performing Uddiyana inside the water, came out to eject the water from within, Siva encouraged him to perform the act, too, right in front of him, practically with his back to Siva; and Siva’s countenance did not register the least disgust to witness this none too pleasant a sight.
S. was shy in the beginning to pull his cloth up to his waist. But, Siva quickly encouraged him:
‘Why do you feel shy? Throw away the cloth. All are endowed with the same organs. Just because we have been hiding them for a long time, we feel shy to expose them now. If we had from childhood hidden our face also from public view, we would feel shy to expose it to the public.’
14th June, 1950
INTELLECT AND YOGA
Srimathi K. Saberwal, Professor of Philosophy in the Lucknow University, has come. As soon as she came in to have Siva’s Darshan, Siva handed her a copy of his commentary on the Brahma Sutras. A discussion ensued.
‘Swamiji, how was it possible for Sri Sankaracharya to have devotion to Sakara Murti when he was an Adwaitin and his philosophical treatises prove that he believed in the nameless and the formless?’
‘It was because Jnana and Bhakti are essentially the same. Look at the Stotras that he has composed. They indicate clearly that he had developed devotion to a very high degree. Atma-Nivedan or self-surrender leads to Jnana—and Jnana is synonymous with Para-Bhakti.
‘People nowadays condemn Bhakti and think that it is inferior to Jnana. They have no understanding of Bhakti. They think that they can jump at once to Jnana Yoga Sadhana. They have really no faith in God. They just acquire some intellectual conception of God. This does not serve them. Jnana Yoga without the necessary preparation is of no use.’
‘Then, Swamiji, who is fit for Jnana Yoga Sadhana?’
‘When there is only the veil of ignorance, when there is no Mala (impurity) in the mind and when there is no Vikshepa (vascillation) in the mind, then one can proceed to Jnana Yoga Sadhana. Mala can be removed only through Nishkamya Karma Yoga and Vikshepa through Bhakti. In the case of the vast majority of persons, all the three Yogas are necessary: Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga.’
‘That is perfectly true, Swamiji. Your Yoga of Synthesis alone can enable Sadhaks nowadays to advance on the spiritual path. But, nowadays we have unfortunately developed the intellect which proves a hindrance at every stage. It does not allow us to have faith in God or to practise devotion. It questions and doubts.’
‘Intellect ought not to be allowed to put obstacles in our way. Intellect ought to be trained in such a way that it should help us in our faith in God and Bhakti.’
‘Yes, Swamiji. That way I think our grandmothers were better off than we are.’
‘Meditate early in the morning and in the evening also. Do Vichar. Intellect may or may not believe in a thing which is beyond the senses and the mind. Intellect may not believe in bliss apart from objects. But, the state of deep sleep proves that bliss is, in reality, not in the objects or in the contact of senses with the objects.
‘By bliss is not meant pleasure! Pleasure is the other side of pain. Pleasure and pain are inseparable. Our goal is not this pleasure. Our goal is the Absolute Bliss. Brahmin or the Atman alone can be that Bliss. For in the Awareness of Brahman there is no duality; there is oneness. That is Truth. That is Consciousness also. And, in that Consciousness of Truth alone is there Bliss.
‘That Bliss is indescribable. Even the deep sleep bliss is indescribable. You wake up and say: ‘I had a delightful sleep.’ But, when you are asleep you are not able to describe the experience of sleep. It is like the state of a man who had lost a ring in a pond, dives into the pond, finds the ring, but is unable to say: ‘I have found the ring,’ and is able to say this only on coming to the surface of the water. Each one of us has to experience this bliss for oneself.’
‘What a blessed thing it would be for one to realise this, Swamiji. I am tired of theory, theory, theory. I have to teach philosophy to my students. I know Vedanta in theory only. I tell them what the books contain. But, I have no knowledge of the Reality. It is a miserable state. I feel like throwing away everything and coming here and spending the rest of my life in meditation.’
‘Theory is good. For it elevates your thought and brings up the ideal again and again before you. It stimulates Atma-Vichara. Gradually, the Truth will dawn on you.
‘Meditate. Meditate regularly. You will understand everything.’
Then Srimathi Saberwal informed Siva that she was repeating Gayatri also.
‘That is wonderful. Gayatri is a great Mantra which nicely combines Saguna and Nirguna. Now you have yourself admitted that you do combine Jnana Yoga Sadhana with Bhakti. You cannot separate them. And, besides, you are working in the University and teaching philosophy to thousands of girls. That is very great service. You are moulding their character and you are placing before them the high ideals of Vedanta. That is Nishkamya Karma Yoga of a very high degree. At the same time try to feel, ‘I am Akarta. I am Abhokta. I am Sakshi. I am Satchidananda.’ Then you will progress rapidly on the path of practical Sadhana.’
‘That is the difficulty always, Swamiji. We do work, but we do not do it in the spirit of selfless service. We work for money or to fulfil our earthly ambitions.’
‘It is true. But, by repeatedly trying to raise up the Vedantic feeling, it will one day be possible to get established in the idea. You may fail a thousand times. That need not bother you. But after each failure, when you rise up, you will rise up stronger than you were before. Nothing is lost. Every effort takes you nearer the goal. When you get a few days’ leave, come here and spend the vacation in silent contemplation and intense Sadhana. Once the mind realises that there is bliss in Sadhana and meditation, it will not leave it. You will then be established in Yoga. May God bless you.’
15th June, 1950
NATURE CURE PROFESSOR
Sri Kameswara Sarma, son of the famous Sri K. Lakshmana Sarma of Pudukotah, the father of Nature Cure in India, has come. He was cordially received by Siva who quickly entered into a discussion with him on Naturopathy. This is Siva’s secret of success with men of all types, temperaments and talents: everyone becomes his at first sight, for Siva with his versatile personality is at once able to engage them in their own fond game, stimulate them in their own pet topic, and make them feel that ‘Here is an appreciative listener into whose ears I can pour my knowledge without being contradicted.’ This is a great consolation when they do not get a friendly ear anywhere else in the world where vanity rules.
At the conclusion of a series of lectures by Sri Sarma at the Ashram, today, Siva gave the following talk:
‘We are all thankful, not only thankful, but highly grateful to Sri Kameswara Sarmaji for delivering this series of lectures on the sacred science of naturopathy.
‘Nature is our kind and all-powerful mother. She protects us all in every way. She provides our food, and she gives us disease also to cleanse our system.
‘All the animals obey the laws of nature. It is only man with his little vain intellect, with his little knowledge, who violates the laws of nature and then suffers. Man is endowed with discrimination. He should be the first to obey the laws of nature and enjoy eternal life.
‘Health is most essential for a Sadhaka. Without good health, you cannot do Sadhana.
Therefore, it is all the more important that all of you should take the lessons that Sri Sarmaji has taught you to heart, and put them into practice. Then only will you realise its full benefit.
‘Sri Sarmaji has been good enough to deliver his most illuminating lectures during the past three days. It is a great service to you all. He has rendered a service which you cannot easily repay. The only way you can pay your homage to him is to follow his precepts, and derive the maximum benefit from his lectures.
‘I am his foremost disciple here. I have been keenly listening to his lectures with very great interest. I have taken notes of his talks. How many of you have done so? You must at once take notes of all the lectures that you attend. Then you should put all the good ideas into actual practice. Then only will you be benefited.
‘Sri Kameswara Sarma and his revered father Lakshmana Sarma, as also his brothers, are all doing great service to the humanity. Even though they are leading the household life, they are in fact Sanyasins only. Sri Lakshmana Sarma is rendering pure selfless service unto humanity. He does not demand fees from his patients. He effects a radical cure: and more than anything else, he leads the patients forever after along the path of life natural.
‘Only if all of you who live here practice naturopathy diligently will Sri Sarma be encouraged to come here again and again. You should take good naturopathic resolves, stick to them, and you should, when he comes here next time, show him that you have been true followers of naturopathy.
‘Be true to yourself. That is the most essential thing. All other forms of creation are true to themselves; the elements are true to themselves. But it is only this self-willed, egoistic man who falls an easy victim to cunningness, crookedness and falsehood. Habits like keeping a pinch of salt hidden in the pocket when there is saltless diet in the Ashram (on Ekadashi day) are dangerous. That shows that you have no control over your tongue. True spiritual progress is not possible without the strictest control over the senses.
‘The mind craves for certain kinds of Rajasic and Tamasic food only because you have not trained it to enjoy Satvic food. Once you experience the bliss of fasting, you will long for the day when you can fast. You will look eagerly forward to Ekadashi. You will look eagerly forward to the saltless diet on Sunday, if you realise what incalculable benefits such a diet bestows on you.
‘Fasting is, besides being a potent curative agent, a beautiful Sadhana also. Watch: what a peaceful mind you have on the fasting day. Real prayerful mood will come only when the stomach is empty. You will meditate more peacefully and for a longer period on the day you fast.
‘It is not possible for anyone to convince you of the efficacy of fasting, or of water-cure, or of the glory of Satvic diet. You will have to practise and experience the results for yourself.
‘May you all lead the life natural and attain health and longevity. May Lord bless Sri Lakshmana Sarma and Sri Kamesvara Sarma and brothers with health, long life, peace, prosperity and Atma-Jnana.’
22nd June, 1950
SIVANANDA MANDIR: FOUNDATION STONE LAID
At 10 a.m. we all assembled near the Viswanath Mandir. The happy function fixed for today then began. Chidanandaji led the Kirtan. Krishnanandaji chanted Shanti Patha. ‘Sat-Guru Maharaj ki Jai’—a powerful Jaya Jay kar rose from twelve feet beneath earth’s surface, where the devotees of Siva were witnessing Sri Narayanaswamiji lay the foundation stone for the Sivananda Mandir.
Sri Swami Chidanandaji then explained the significance of the great event in an eloquent speech full of divine emotion.
‘Every external ritual has got its corresponding inner significance. In what we are doing today the ritual is a very simple one: but the meaning that lies hidden in it is profound. We lay the foundation for a Mandir in which our revered Gurudev will be immortalised. At the same time, we take upon ourselves the vow that we shall perpetuate for all time to come the great mission which he has espoused, of which he has been the founder: the mission of Sadhana, the mission of awakening man to the purpose of life, the mission of awakening the latent divinity in man. We undertake that we shall, till the last breath lasts in us, devote our entire life to this great cause. Thus, we shall make our Gurudev live in our heart forever and ever.’
THE GREATER ASHRAM
The Parliament Member, Sri Tirumala Rao, is at Ananda Kutir again, on a flying visit. Sincere believers, once they taste the joy of a saint’s proximity, will never miss a chance of drinking again and again at the fountain-source of peace.
As Sri T. and party were taking their meals, Sri R. Ramakrishna of the New Delhi Secretariat, mentioned that he was acquainted with Siva since 1939, when he first visited the modest four-roomed tenement in a jungle. He admired this phenomenal growth of Siva’s work.
‘This is nothing,’ said Sri T. ‘Think of the world-wide spread of Swamiji’s teachings. Just think of the millions of people who have been brought nearer to God, in whom the moral-conscience has been awakened by Swamiji’s message. That is far more magnificent work than this one of building up a big Ashram, a great achievement though it is.’
Then T. turned to the several young Sanyasins who were serving him, and said: ‘Look at the number of young and able men that he has drawn towards himself, and whom he is leading along the holy path.’
ASHRAMS AND FOUNDERS
A devotee said that a certain Ashram, after the passing away of the founder, had lost its ‘spiritual atmosphere’.
Siva at once grew grim and serene. ‘The responsibility for placing his mission on sound basis lies with the saint who founds an Ashram or institution, as well as his disciples. The saint must so train his disciples that they will, on his departure from the earth-plane, be able to take over the mission from him and run it with equal efficiency.’
‘At the same time, it is the duty of every true disciple to follow the footsteps of his Guru, to endeavour to grow into his likeness—to become like the Guru. He should then develop a great zeal to carry on the Guru’s mission. Then and then alone will the mission be successfully carried on for all time. Look at the way the Ramakrishna Mission is organised and run.’