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 mind is ever hankering after eternal
bliss and everlasting peace, perennial joy, because the mind is born of
Brahman, whose nature is satchidananda, existence-knowledge-bliss. But we try
to get the supreme happiness from all these objects in the world, which are
conditioned in time, space and causation. We fail, and so we become
disappointed. We are attached to sensual objects. So we are not able to get
eternal bliss and perennial joy. But there is one supreme principle,
Parabrahman, which is birthless, deathless, timeless, spaceless. We can have
this supreme bliss in the Parabrahman alone. It dwells in the chambers of your
It dwells in the chambers of your heart—it
is the Light of lights. It transcends darkness. It transcends inertia. It
should be known or realised through sravan, manan and nidhidhyasan. It is our
foremost duty, our goal. But man is under the influence of maya, raga-dwesha.
So he is not attempting. He is satisfied. He does not have the subtle intellect
to understand what is real happiness. He is satisfied with a little
Parabrahman is hidden in all these names
and forms. But it does not shine. It does not come within our intellectual
reach. But those who have got subtle intellect, sharp intellect, pure
intellect, free from jealousy, selfishness, greed and disciplines by developing
the four means of salvation—viveka, vairagya, shad sampat (sama or serenity,
dama or self-restraint, uparati or non-thinking of sensual objects, sraddha
titiksha or endurance and samadhana or concentration) and mumukshatwa (intense
yearning for liberation) behold the self. After acquiring the fourfold
qualification, one should take to the study of the Upanishads, Brahma Sutra,
Yoga Vasishta, where the nature of Brahman is given. Akhanda (indivisible),
paripoorna (all-full), satchidananda (existence-knowledge-bliss absolute).
These we should know. In fact, we know them, but very few people qualify
themselves with the four means of salvation, because they have not got the
subtle intellect. You may have the brightest intellect to attain all
qualifications like M.Sc., Ph.D., D.Litt. etc., but it is only a gross
intellect, which runs for gross, sensual enjoyments. We have to cultivate a
subha—manas—(pure mind). Most people have absubha—manas—(impure mind), with
various sorts of petty-mindedness. We think we are very big people. But let us
analyse, introspect. If a room is locked for six months, and then if you open
it and try to clean it, how much dust will come? Like that is the mind, full of
impurities. People do not know what is introspection, what is self-analysis. As
soon as they put on dress and get into a car and think that they are the greatest
people in the world, next to Ishwara. When the bank balance fails, they become
miserable. They depend upon external objects, for getting permanent happiness,
and they fail. But he enjoys peace who is endowed with samata, who is free from
likes and dislikes (raga-dwesha), and exhilaration and depression
(harsha-soka). Only when man is free from likes and dislikes, harsha and soka,
he will have peace, he will have an unagitated, unperturbed mind. Samata is
supreme wealth. Vairagya is supreme wealth. Man tries to amass wealth, but
vairagya is the supreme wealth which blows out all other wealth. All other
wealth is a straw for a man of vairagya. You should acquire the supreme
inexhaustible wealth which no dacoit can plunder. That wealth you can have by
singing kirtan. Sri Susila Achyutaraman sang various songs. There was no world
for her. She was fully absorbed through laya yoga in Krishna Bhagawan. There is
no need for her to practise sravan, manan and nidhidhyasan. Those who have got
higher emotions can take to kirtan and prayer.
People study many spiritual books, but they
have no aspiration, real burning aspiration. They have no renunciation.
Immortality is attained not by works,
progeny or wealth, but by renunciation. Renounce your ego. Bear insult. Bear
Brahmajnana is the highest wealth. Even if
you possess the wealth of the three worlds, it is nothing. You will be afraid
of other things. Fear should go. Worry should go. For that you should have
knowledge of the self.
The root cause for diseases is selfishness.
The root cause is anger. The root cause is malice. When you are angry,
impurities are thrown in the blood. Hatred bacilli, malice bacilli, jealousy bacilli
enter your system and produce diseases.
Our foremost duty is to attain the supreme,
ancient wisdom. One may deliver lectures; he may be a learned man. But his
learning is useless if he has no dispassion, if he has no detachment. He who
detached himself from the objects of the world is a real yogi, a sage of
supreme wisdom. What is needed is detachment. Do not allow the mind to think of
objects. Detach the mind from the senses. Then only you will have tranquillity
of mind. This is sanyas.
asaya badhyate loke karmana bahu chintaya,
ayuksheenam na janati, tasmat jagrata,
People are bound by hopes, expectations,
works, anxieties. So they do not know that their life is passing away. All the
hairs may have grown grey. Many teeth may have fallen. Only a few years of life
may be left. But it does not matter. Even in a muhoortha, one can attain
self-realisation, through devotion, dedication, discrimination, dispassion,
aspiration, renunciation. You must develop these virtues. Sanyasa is necessary.
Your pension should go to the poor people. Distribute your wealth to the poor
and then follow me. You have children and bank balance. At the same time
renunciation or aspiration is not possible, even in hundreds of births. You
must become dhiras.
Lord Brahma has put a little rajas in the
mind. Therefore, man sees only the objects of the universe, and not the
internal self. But some dhira, wise man, who turns away from sensual objects,
seeking immortality, beholds the self within.
You should discipline the mind. You must
remain in solitude. You must take sanyas. Then only you can cut off moha
completely. Why did Sankara become a sanyasi? Why did Mandanmishra become a
sanyasi? You may talk of Lord Rama or Krishna. But it is mere infatuation. The
supreme wealth is dispassion, detachment. Detach, attach. Detach the mind and
attach the mind. Do constant selfless service in the hospital. Bed-pan yoga is
very necessary. You must do bed-pan yoga. You must crush your egoism. Through
self-surrender you can attain God. But egoism and desire assert at every step.
These are obstacles for doing self-surrender. But the dhira, desirous of
immortality, renounces the sensual pleasure. You should withdraw the mind, and
the senses (indriyas), just as a tortoise withdraws its limbs. How many of you
have got a program of life? Many are moral and spiritual bankrupts.
Japa of a mantra is wealth. Yoga is control
of the mind. Yoga does not mean going to Vasishta Guha. Do 'OM' japa if you are
a vedantin, or 'Sri Ram' if you are a devotee. There is infinite potency in
every name. 'Om Namah Sivaya'. He who does two hundred malas of japa daily has
got abundant wealth. The whole wealth of the Lord belongs to him who has
renounced the world. A sanyasi has no purse of his own, but he operates through
all the purses. He has no bungalow of his own, but he dwells in all bungalows.
Sanyasa is detachment. It is not colouring of the cloth. If you have firm
belief in the existence of Parabrahman, discrimination will come. Simple,
parrot like repetition of vedantic formulas is not enough. You must have a
strong conviction, strong belief that there is one existence, satchidananda.
Then only discrimination will come. Dispassion will come. We believe in the
five elements only. We go to Geneva, but we find the same five elements
everywhere. Discrimination is the greatest wealth. If you do meritorious
services, in millions of births, a grain of discrimination dawns in you. He who
has discrimination acquired through virtuous deeds done in countless births,
alone will be able to understand the vedantic truths. In him alone, vedanta
will enter. In others it will not enter; it will only be tall talks. Examine
what virtuous actions you have done. At least try to do some good actions in
You must develop vairagya. The whole world
you must blow as straw. Samata is wealth. You are upset by little things. If
your son is sick, you are upset. If someone calls you a donkey, you are upset.
Have you developed four legs and a tail? Then why do you get angry? Spiritual
strength is required, Do japa, constant nama-smaran. You should increase the
wealth of japa. If a man abuses you, if a man wants to stab you, be serene and
unaffected. Bless him who persecutes you. Tread the noble eightfold path—right
living, right aspiration etc. The fundamentals of all religions are the same.
Ahimsa, satyam and brahmacharya are common to all religions. Every religion
wants us to be obedient. But who wants to obey others? Obedience is better than
Amanitwam, adambitwam, ahimsa, kshanti,
arjavam—you must cultivate all these virtues. Simply reading the Gita is not
sufficient. Through pratipaksha bhavana (the method of substitution), all vices
can be eradicated. Impurity should be eradicated by brahmacharya, anger by
kshama (patience) or love, miserliness through generosity. It is very difficult
to attack anger directly. Substitute patience or love. Anger will disappear.
This is an eternal law.
Do Kirtan. Kirtan is wealth, kirtan only
will help you to became a real vedantin. Many people like to call themselves as
raja yogins and vedantins. Karma yoga and bhakti yoga are nothing for them.
Vedanta teaches that you must share what you have with others. When others are
suffering from poverty, you must not strive to add to your wealth—one lakh,
four lakhs and so on. You want that your wealth should go only to your sons and
grandsons. Even birds give a little food to their young ones and then leave
them to their own lot. But man thinks "My grandson should be fixed up,
then only I will retire." In old age you can do no sadhana.
Do japa daily, 'Sri Ram' 'Om Namah Sivaya',
or any other mantra. Change the angle of vision. Consider the family as God.
Spiritualise politics. Spiritualise business. Spiritualise office work. Try to
practice love, devotion, discipline. Every month give something for spiritual
institutions, something for poor people. Give blankets to the poor in winter.
Such acts purify your mind. Fight not with porters in the station for four
annas or two annas.
Atmaiva sarvam—'Everything is atma alone'.
Vasudeva sarvamiti—'All is Vasudeva'. Evil exists to glorify good. Evil is
another form of good. So, see good everywhere. Cultivate bhakti. Have satsang.
Sell your intellect and buy intuition. Intellect is a hindrance. But a pure
hindrance is a help. Knowledge dawns in a purified intellect. Be humble.
Do not forget the goal. But every second
you forget it. You know that selfishness is not good, yet you are selfish. You
know speaking untruth is not good, yet you speak untruth. Cultivate virtues.
Feel that all children are yours. Do not give your money to your grandsons
alone. Distribute it to the poor. Develop a broad heart, spontaneous
generosity. Nobody will come and ask you. Wherever there is necessity, give.
Spontaneous generosity is necessary. Many have a sin-hardened heart on account
selfishness, on account of money, greed. What is there in position and bank
balance? The Lord is ever ready to give you whatever you want. The whole of his
vibhuti depends upon Him. In winter give up everything. Walk for fifteen days
on the roadside. You will learn very beautiful lessons. You will see God
everywhere. Whenever you see a hungry man, at one you will run to feed him.
Whenever you see a poor man, you will run and give him help. Such a heart you
must have. A purified and soft heart is necessary for spiritual unfoldment,
spiritual attainment, spiritual progress. Spirituality has become nothing now.
Money has become God. Titles have become God. You are satisfied with a little
money and a little comfortable living. But when old age comes, one becomes a
widow or widower and cannot bear the loss, because there is no spiritual
strength. Spiritual strength comes through japa and meditation. These are real
wealth. They will give you supreme joy. Even now you can start japa and
meditation. Even old people can come here. If you find it difficult to take
sanyas, have a servant. Come and live in Rishikesh. When your throat is choked
at the time of death, who will help you? Your grandsons, etc., will be waiting
to remove the golden waist-thread from your person. They will be waiting like
vultures. You must become like lions, full of strength and joy, radiating
strength and joy. For that we have taken birth. For that we have given promise
to God when we were in the divine air-conditioned chamber (womb). We have
prayed, "Relieve me, O Lord, from this place. I will ever remember you. I
will try to attain you." But when the moustache comes, egoism springs up.
You quarrel with others; "You know who I am? I will break your jaw."
This is called egoism. So let us be humble, simple, gentle, compassionate,
tolerant. These are the things that will give peace, eternal bliss, everlasting
joy. These will free you from the wheel of birth and death.
Ignorance is the root cause of human
sufferings. You identify yourself with the body. You think, "I am Dr.
So-and-so." Simply reading the Gita is not sufficient. Feel: Ayamatma
nirakarah, sarvavyapi swabhavatah—'This Atman is formless, all-pervading by
nature'. Contemplation on this formula will take you to the goal. You should
start the anticurrent, soham sivoham. It will cut off all births and deaths,
egoism, raga-dwesh. From ignorance is born egoism. From egoism is born
raga-dwesh. From raga-dwesha, karma is born. Thought is real karma. Raga-Dwesha
is karma. You should become bodiless. Then only egoism will die. Homogeneous is
your real nature. This is your goal. Let me remind you of the last word of the
Upanishads, 'Tatwamasi', 'Thou are That'. You are the Light of lights that is
ever burning. Wisdom, peace, is your real nature. You will have to meditate on
that. That is the vedantic meditation. For saguna meditation, sing inspiring
kirtans like 'Susila Devi'. Kramamukti (progressive emancipation), sadyomukti
(immediate emancipation)—everything it will give. Vasanakshaya, manonasa,
tatwajnana—destruction of vasanas, destruction of mind, and then comes
knowledge of the self. Vasanas must be destroyed. The nature of the mind is
only vasanas—vasana for coffee, vasana for name and fame, book vasanas, vasana
for study, etc. In deep sleep there is no world. There is only a homogeneous,
blissful experience. Some people like tea, some people like coffee, but during
sleep there is homogeneous experience. You say, "How nicely I have slept!
I knew nothing." You did not have knowledge, because of mula avidya. Deep
sleep gives us the clue to our real nature.
In the morning when you wake up, again
raga-dwesh troubles you. You should conquer raga through vairagya and dwesha
through love. Vasana kshaya, manonas, tatwajnana, samadhi, superconscious
state. All vasanas die through japa. Do plenty of japa. Do not do japa for five
months and then stop. Continuous, protracted japa will change your mental
stuff, make you feel one with the Lord. All desires will die. You should strive
to develop faith. You do japa for six months and expect money order and
promotion. You should have intense love for the Lord, selfless love, love for
love's sake. Then you can rest peacefully in your own satchidananda swaroop.
Nothing in this world can help you. You have come here weeping. You will go
weeping. But he who has samata (equanimity) will go laughing.
Yes, renunciation is difficult, but when
the aspiration is there, renunciation is easy. God's grace is there.
Kaupeenavantah khalu bhagyavantah—'He who wears only a kaupeen is the happiest
man'. He who has got detachment is a sanyasi. Detachment is sanyasa. Colouring
of the cloth is also necessary. It is ashramadharma.
Free yourself from the clutches of maya,
desires, raga-dwesha. Philosophy will help. Meditation will greatly help. Japa
will help. Yajnanam japayajnosmi. "Of all sacrifices, I am
japa-sacrifice," says the Lord. Every word in the Gita is full of
strength. But our intellect comes and asks, "Krishna is only a man; can we
call him a super-man?" Ajonitya saswatoyam purano na hanyate, hanyamane
sareere—'Unborn, eternal, imperishable, ancient is the self. It is not slain
when the body is slain'. What a beautiful formula this is! Is the body nitya?
No. Meditate on the nitya. Atma is anadi, ananta, beginningless and endless.
Atma is akhanda paripoorna, ayamatma nirakarah, sarvavyapi swabhavatah. This
formula will give you strength in adverse conditions. Om Namah Sivaya, Siva
Kevaloham—these are formulas, these are real wealth. Even if the whole world
has abandoned you, even if you have no cloth to wear, these formulas will give
you strength. Phenomenal is a help to the realisation of the Absolute. Ayamatma
santam. You should study Upanishads not for tarka (argument). A few formulas
are quite sufficient to enable you to attain self-realisation. A man will be
learned, but he has no dispassion. Detachment or dispassion is real strength.
Draw up cheques for poor people. Nature is ready to provide you with your
wants. Wherever you go, people will receive you with respect, will welcome you,
"Ayye, Maharaj." But with bank balance if you go for biksha, people
will say, "Get out."
Solitude, seclusion, renunciation,
aspiration, reorientation, rejuvenation, collaboration, coordination,
cooperation, revitalise, reenergise, regalvanise, rejuvenate. Practice
pranayama a little. This will give you strength.
By doing pranayam rajas and tamas are
destroyed. Then the mind becomes fit for concentration. People complain,
"I am doing meditation for the last fifteen years, but I have no
concentration. I have been thinking I should go to Los Angeles." Do
pranayam with renunciation, with reliance on God, God is the only reality,
supreme existence-knowledge-bliss. All the rest will die. Existence is
permanent. Dr. Chatterji exists. Dr. Lakshmi exists. Existence is common in
all. Existence is Brahman. Satchindananda is absolute knowledge, absolute
wisdom, absolute bliss. All our desires are gratified there, because it is
paripoorna. There is no craving in the Infinite. But here even if you take food
now, again after some time you feel hungry. In Brahman there is homogeneous
experience—no darkness, no food, no drink, because it is paripoorna. These are
apoorna, and so by depending on these objects, people attain misery. We should
attain akhanda paripoorna satchidananda. Kirtan will give you. Selfless service
will give you. These are various margas (paths). That which is suitable to you,
you can have.
When you have become aged, live on
upstairs. Food will come to you. You should not talk with grandsons. Even for
passing an examination you burn the midnight oil. Thousands of applications are
submitted for earning two hundred rupees a month. So for attaining immortality,
you must do intense purushartha—not doing for three months and leaving it. If
you allot ten minutes every day, you must do it daily without fail. Do not
complain of over-work and office duty. If you want immortality, very rigorous
discipline is necessary. But the fruit is immortality, freedom from the bondage
of karma. Moksha is release from individuality, release from birth and death
and the bonds of karma. Wake up. Do not aspire for principalship. Increase the
japakhajana (japa-treasury). Whether your mind is concentrated on not, do not
bother. Concentration will come by itself. There is a peculiar potency in the
divine names. There are achintya-sakti (unthinkable power), sarvasakti (all
power) and ananta-sakti (infinite powers). So do japa and kirtan. Even mere
japa is quite sufficient. But if you reflect upon its meaning, all the better.
Tat japah tadartha bhavanam. 'Om' is Satchidananda. Om is eternity,
immortality. Negate the body. Feel that you are gunatita, trigunatita (one who
has transcended the three gunas). Practice a little enquiry. Assert "I am
not the body. Brahman is real, the world is unreal, the individual soul is
identical with the supreme soul." Brahma satyam, jaganmitya, jivo
brahmaiva na aparah. This will give you great strength. Chidananda rupa
sivoham, sivoham. 'Nothing exists, nothing belongs to me, I am neither body nor
mind, immortal self I am'. Meditate on this. Ahamta (I-ness) and mamata
(mineness) will go away. Sometimes make double assertions: Hamsa soham, soham
hamsah—this is like 'God is love, love is God'. Then you will attain double
consciousness. You will know this world, at the same time you will be resting
on your own swaroop—just as a harmonium player plays on the harmonium and at
the same time talks, just as a lady knits and at the same time talks. You will
be able to withdraw your mind at any time and rest completely in the pure
consciousness. A sage can have single consciousness also when he wants, by
withdrawing himself in the pure consciousness.