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.
6. Four Kinds of Consciousness / 7. The
Philosophy of Life and Death / 8. Become Bodiless
6. FOUR KINDS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
There are four types of
consciousness—consciousness, sub-consciousness, super-consciousness and double
Consciousness means prajna. There is
physical consciousness. One is consciousness of his body and his
surroundings—the visible objects of this universe. In mental consciousness one
feels the operations of the mind, his sentiments, thoughts and feelings. Very
few people have got mental consciousness. They have got only consciousness of
the body. It is only those who have got subtle intellect, who have got a
knowledge of psychology, who are practising a little bit of concentration,
meditation and introspection will be able to know about mental consciousness.
Then comes the sub-consciousness wherein
all the samskaras are stored up. It is like a lumbar room. From the
subconsciousness through memory ideas come to the surface of the mind, to the
conscious. Subconscious is called chitta. In vedanta 'chit' is pure
consciousness, absolute consciousness, Brahmic consciousness, supreme
consciousness. 'Chittam' is subconscious, and chit is Parabrahman. You do an
action. You desire an object and experience it. The experience goes to
subconscious mind. It remains there until you get a stimulus from the external
world or from within through memory. Then the ideas and samskaras come to the
surface of the mind. Vasana becomes a samskara and samskara becomes a vasana.
Action produces an impression and impression goad you to repeat an action
again. This is a vicious circle. There is no end for it. It is the samskaras
imprinted on the subconscious mind that force you to take rebirth again and
again. These samskaras can only be destroyed by knowledge of Brahman. Then
alone you are free from births and deaths and you have become a jivanmukta or
mukta purusha. You will have to be careful in producing impressions in the
subconscious mind. Do good deeds. Have sublime divine thoughts. Do japa and
kirtan. This will produce good samskaras and destroy the evil impressions. Be
good and do good and practise meditation. You can generate good samskaras in
the subconscious mind.
Then we have got super-conscious state.
That is Parabrahman where there are neither names nor forms, neither darkness
nor light, neither east nor west, no visible objects. It is pure Absolute
consciousness, consciousness per se. The goal of life is attainment of the
super conscious state. It is called nirvikalpa samadhi, asamprajnata samadhi.
We have to transcend the body and the mind and enter into the super-conscious
state through meditation. After equipping oneself with the four means one
should practise hearing, reflection and nididhyasan. Then he will get atma
Below the super-conscious state according
to raja yoga there are various kinds of savikalpa samadhis. In vedanta also
there are savikalpa samadhis. Savitarka, nirvitarka, savichara, nirvichara,
sa-ananda, and asmita, are savikalpa samadhis according to raja yoga: antar
drishyanuvid, antar sabdanuvid, bahya drishyanuvid, bahya sabdanuvid are forms
of svikalpa samadhis according to vedanta. These are lower stages. There are
triputi or triad—the knower, knowledge and the known, the seer, sight and the
seen—and above these stages there is asampprajnata samadhi or nirvikalpa
samadhi or nirbija samadhi. There are no vrittis, no vasanas, no imagination,
no sankalpas, in that state. There is only pure consciousness. That is our
goal. That is Parabrahman.
In double consciousness the sage is resting
in his own swarupa enjoying the supreme bliss, and at the same time he works in
this world like janaka. He has double consciousness. He has not forgotten his
own pure, Brahmic state, and at the same time he has consciousness of the
world. Just as a crow has got only one eye, but it turns here and there its
socket, even so, the jivanmukta resting in his own swarupa, utilises the mind
for serving humanity. If the mind is completely destroyed as in a videha mukta,
he cannot work in this world. Then we will have no jivanmuktas to teach the
aspirants. A certain portion of avidya remains, satwic vasana remains, called
lesha avidya where there is swarupa manonasa of the mind. In a jivanmukta the
whole mind is not destroyed. Rajas and tamas are destroyed, but sattwic egoism
remains. It is through this that he beholds the world within himself. In a
videha mukta the whole mind is destroyed. He is absorbed in Parabrahman
Through sadhana the aspirant raises the
Brahmakara vritti. He thinks, "I am akhanda-ekarasa-chinmatra Brahman, (I
am one indivisible, homogeneous essence), I am nitya-suddha-swaroopa, I am
nitya-bodha-swaroopa, I am nitya-tripti swaroopa (I am ever pure, I am pure
consciousness, I am eternal satisfaction), I am sat-chit-ananda swaroopa (I am
an embodiment of existence-knowledge-bliss)." There is achintya sakti
(unthinkable power) in these words. These thoughts destroy all vishyakara
vrittis and raises the Brahma vritti. Thought of Brahman alone remains. This
brahmakara vritti destroys the original avidya, and the aspirant rests in his
In western philosophy they use the word
intuition. The understanding of the western philosophers of the word
'intuition' is different from the understanding of intuition by the eastern
philosophers. Their intuition is not the same intuition conceived of by the
eastern philosophers. Intuition is a faculty, higher wisdom, jnana-chakshus,
which sanjaya and arjuna had. Intuition sometimes refers to Parabrahman
Himself, the experience whole. Intuition does not contradict reason. It fulfils
it, and it is above reason. It is the door or gateway to Parabrahman, to
knowledge of Brahman.
Arjuna had cosmic consciousness,
viswarupa-darshan. Above cosmic consciousness is super-cosmic state. Iswara has
got cosmic consciousness as well as super-cosmic consciousness. Bhaktas who go
to satyaloka and dwell with Hiranyagarbha experience cosmic consciousness. They
have got full knowledge of the process of creation of this world, of the
tanmatras, mind and mahat. They have got experience of cosmos. This is called
In vedanta you have the sapta bhumikas, the
seven stages of wisdom. They are subheccha, vicharana, tanumanasi, satvapatti,
asam-shakti, padartha-bhavana and turiya. The first three stages are the
preliminary stages. Desire for liberation is subheccha. Enquiry into the nature
of Brahman is vicharana. When with a little practice of sadhana the mind is
rendered like a thread, freed from attraction and repulsion, when the mind has
been thinned out, through viveka and vairagya, the state is called tanumanasi.
Satvapatti is the state when the mind is filled with satva. It is the state of
a jivanmukta. There are four kinds of jivanmuktas according to the degree of
satwic ego present in them. Satvapatti, asam-shakti, padartha-bhavana are the
progressive stages in which the mind melts more and more into Brahman. The
highest state is turiya. To some jivanmuktas the world appears like a dream. To
some jivanmuktas it appears like deep sleep—according to the satwic egoism
present in them. Gradually the sage ascends the ladder of wisdom. In the last
stage he has no knowledge of the world. He would not take food by himself. He
has to be fed. Mowni Swami of Kumbakonam was in the last stage. Akalkot Swami
had also this experience. They had no knowledge of this world. They were
completely absorbed in their selves. They had withdrawn themselves completely
from the world-consciousness, whereas sages like Janaka had a slight experience
of the world. So Janaka was able to rule the kingdom. Jnanis are of two
kinds—samadhi jnanis and vyavaharic jnanis. Those sages who work in this world
with a slight feeling of this world are called vyavaharic sages. Those sages
who are absorbed in samadhi, who cannot work for the well-being of this world
are called samadhi jnanis.
So let us get ourselves established in
Parabrahman and enjoy the bliss of the eternal and radiate joy and bliss to the
world and work for the solidarity of the world. Through sadhana, meditation,
discipline, constant abhyas and vairagya, may you all become jivanmuktas in
this very birth.
7. THE PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE
God is a mystery. Man is a mystery. This
world is a mystery. Life is a mystery.
Life is a pilgrimage to the shrine of God.
Life is a voyage to the other shore of fearlessness and immortality.
Life is a battle. You have to fight with
the mind and the indriyas, control the prana and then attain samadhi or
Life is a fragrant flower of which love is
the honey. Cultivate this love and drink the honey in abundance. Life is a
song. Life is a continuous poem. Life is a commentary on the scriptures.
Death is an aspect of life. Death is the
gateway to a higher life. So do not be afraid of death. Attain Immortality by
leading the life divine.
Death is only a change of body. Just as one
leaves away the torn cloth and puts on a new cloth, the soul leaves the old
body and takes a new body. When the body is unfit for further evolution, Lord,
Siva, the regenerator, gives a beautiful body for further evolution and
attainment of moksha. So death is only an aspect of life.
Nothing is dead. Everything is vibrant with
8. BECOME BODILESS
At the satsang Swamiji said: "Let us
do kirtan, prayer and Mrityunjaya japa for (1) Sri Janaki, (2) Chellamma's
brother and (3) Pushpa's neice, who all had accidents. Sri Janaki met with a
jadka-accident; Chellamma's brother with a buffalo-accident and Pushpa's neice
with a motor-accident. Let us pray for them and also for all those who have had
accidents at this time in the whole world.
This world is a world of accidents,
fractures, dislocation. So let us be careful. Let us become bodiless, so that
there will be no accidents. How to become bodiless? Turiyanandaji the other day
explained the cause of pain, dukhaparampara, the chain of pain. To become
bodiless, you should not do karma (action). How to avoid
karma? Give up raga-dwesha, likes and dislikes. How to avoid raga-dwesha? Do
not have egoism. How to give up egoism? Abandon aviveka, non-discrimination.
How to give up non-discrimination, get rid of ignorance. Ignorance is the first
cause for the chain of sorrows—dukhaparampara. How to get rid of ignorance?
Attain knowledge of the self. Then there will be no egoism, no raga-dwesha
(likes and dislikes), no karma, no body and no sorrow. You will merge yourself
in Parabrahman, existence-knowledge-bliss.
Just as rivers join the ocean, so also the
individual soul will join the universal existence—satchidananda Parabrahman.
Just as camphor melts in the fire and becomes identical with fire, even so our
mind melts in silence, its source, ananda. That is our duty. Everybody should
become bodiless through self-restraint, cultivation of virtues, concentration,
meditation, identification, illumination, salvation. Then there will be neither
mind nor body. That is the goal.
That is happiness, Brahmic seat of
splendour, immaculate seat of splendour.
Let us do kirtan. In doing kirtan for others
you do kirtan for yourself, because there is only one Existence. You have
become many. So when we pray for others, we are praying for ourselves."
Swamiji then conducted kirtan and