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.
30. Girhasta Ashrama / 31. Advice to Householders / 32. Divorce - Not Fit for Indian People
30. GRIHASTHA ASHRAMA OR MARRIED LIFE
There are four stages in life. All these
stages are necessary for man's evolution and attainment of the final goal of
The first stage is brahmacharya. A brahmachari
studies religious books. He conserves energy. He undergoes discipline sitting
at the feet of guru.
Then he enters the second stage of life,
the life of a grihastha or householder. It is a stage where he cultivates
various kinds of virtues—compassion, tolerance, charity, generosity—which are
aids for the attainment of God-realisation. The second stage is the best stage.
Herein he can help the brahmachari, he can help the vanaprasthi and he can help
the sanyasin. All religious institutions are maintained by the kindness and
generosity of the householders. This institution, the Divine Life Society, is
helped by householders only by their generous donation and loving kindness.
After finishing the grihasthashrama, man
enters vanaprasthashrama. Really there are no vanaprasthas now, and there are
really no ideal sanyasins also. We cannot find ideal sanyasins now who observe
the disciplines mentioned in the Narada Parivrajaka Upanishad. There are
sanyasins enjoying comforts, which are necessary in this iron age.
If a man is endowed with religious
samskaras, and if due to some obstacles he was not able to realise the summum
bonum of life, he is again born in this world with good samskaras and in good
environments with God's and Guru's grace, and without entering the order of
grihastha, he can enter into sanyas. There have been many such instances, and
even now there are such instances. Only when there are vasanas, one has to
enter into grishasthashrama. If he has discrimination, dispassion, shad sampat
and mumukshatwa, he will never enter the householder's life, but he will have
double-promotion. He will at once take a sanyas even while he is a brahmachari.
Grihasthashrama is also good, it helps all
other ashramas. If one leads a well regulated grihastha life, there is no need
for sanyasashrama. Most sanyasins are failures in their grihastha life, and
therefore, they had to take to sanyas. A disciplined householder is better than
a sanyasin. Living in this world with all responsibilities, he lives a religious
life, like our Malaviyaji and various other men.
So, remaining as a householder, one should
help the sanyasins, help the poor, nurse the sick. These are the virtues that
householders should practise. One-tenth of income should be set apart for
helping the poor. Thus you can grow in spirituality and attain God-realisation
in your own house.
Eknath and Guru Nanak were householders.
Lord Rama and Lord Krishna were householders. Therefore, marriage is no
hindrance to spirituality. Marriage is no hindrance to God-realisation. You
must live a life of detachment, a life of prayerfulness, worshipfulness,
meditation, realisation, aspiration and renunciation. You should not think that
when you retire, you come to Hardwar and do sadhana. But you must start your quest
for God-realisation even now. When you are young, the mind is very pliable.
Samskaras can be easily formed. A little meditation, a little japa, a little
pranayama, a little asans—all these will help you to attain God-realisation.
May all householders lead an exemplary
life, entertaining the sanyasins, helping the poor and nursing the sick. May
they all keep before them the ideals of Sita and Rama, Radha and Krishna and
Uma and Sankar. May the abode of every householder become a powerful, spiritual
centre! May all householders be endowed with dispassion and discrimination and
shine as beacon lights in this very life! May they all attain God-realisation
in their own houses in this very birth.
31. ADVICE TO HOUSEHOLDERS
Swamiji's speech on the occasion of the
marriage of Lt. N.V. Deshpande and Sri Padma, on 26th December, 1956.
Today is a most glorious day, because two
pious souls are united for attaining God-realisation. By practising purity,
generosity, self-restraint, by serving the sadhus, brahmacharins and
vanaprasthis, they can easily attain God-realisation.
The marriage has been performed in a pure
land, Uttarakhand, where rishis, saints and savants lived. Once Suka Deva
started from Uttarakhand for Delhi. When he was moving in Uttarakhand, he never
washed even his teeth. On reaching Delhi he asked for tooth stick, or whatever
material was used in those days for cleansing the teeth. His disciples asked,
"Maharaj, you never washed your teeth in Uttarakhand and Rishikesh, but
how are you now asking for tooth-stick and neem stick?" He said,
"Uttarakhand is a land of purity. One need not take bath also." It is
in such a pure land that the marriage has taken place.
Padma is lotus, Padma is Lakshmi. Deshpande
is one who is devoted to the service of the country. He is Vishnu. So Vishnu
and Lakshmi are united together. Deshpande is a lieutenant. Military people
have the spirit of sacrifice. At any moment they may be called for any place.
They possess abhayam, fearlessness. This is the most important virtue. In Gita
fearlessness comes first. This, an aspirant has to cultivate and develop in
order to attain God-realisation. Virtues like abhayam, humility, compassion
make a man divine. Do not argue whether God exists or not. Develop virtues.
Then you yourself become divine. Angerlessness, desirelessness—these are the virtues that
make one divine. He has got these virtues. He has equipped himself with these
virtues, so necessary for God-realisation. Padma sings like Radha.
Householder's life is very suitable for
God-realisation. They can develop all the virtues. If one leads the householder's
life virtuously and performs his duties righteously, according to Dharma
Sastras, according to Manusmriti, practising dasalakshana, such as
self-restraint, truthfulness, he can attain self-realisation easily. Those who
have become sanyasins, have not lived their house-holders' life properly. So
Padma and Deshpande will lead a virtuous life doing their duties well, and
practising nama-smaran. In kali yuga it is very easy to attain God-realisation,
because you need not do siras asan for six months at a stretch. It is more easy
to awaken kundalini by practising worship, namasmaran and kirtan. Everybody
likes to be born in kali yuga, because it is easy to attain God-realisation in
this yuga through nama-smaran and kirtan.
Yoga is not something that will fall from
heaven but namasmaran, either with bhav or without bhav. Even if you do not
have bhav, does not matter. Repeat the name with or without bhav. Nam has got
infinite potency to burn all the samskaras and purify the heart and make you
realise God in this birth. So let them lead a life of purity, generosity and a
little namasmaran. They will attain God-realisation. Let us pray to God to give
them health, long life, peace, prosperity.
Those who remaining in the world tread the
spiritual path are real heroes. By shutting yourself in a cave, you cannot
develop qualities like tolerance, compassion, selflessness. By remaining in
seclusion you become a victim to inertia. He is an adhyatmic hero, who remains
in the world facing the difficulties and adversities of life. Life in the world
develops will power, fills the heart with virtues. The world is a vast
university. The world is the best teacher. Nature is the best teacher. Therefore,
remaining in the world, try to advance on the spiritual path. I request Omji to
remain in Madras and do more work. He is thinking of sanyas. The world is the
best field for evolution. You can have chorus songs and bhajans. Eknath, a
Maharastra saint, was a householder. Eknath did wonderful work. Even devas used
to take food from him. Guru Nanak had two sons. Therefore, do not take to
nivritti marga. It is very difficult. You have to get licence from the
government! The best is to have mental sanyas. Remain in the world, cultivating
virtues. It is better to be mental sanyasins, developing virtues. Give gerua to
your heart. Sanyasa is not wearing gerua cloth. People wear gerua cloth so that
people will welcome them saying, "Aiye, Maharaj" and give them respect.
God only knows who is a real sanyasin. According to Gita, detachment,
dispassion is sanyasa. Sanyasa is a mental state, not merely showing the colour
of the cloth. Develop dispassion and viveka. The world is a straw for a man of
dispassion. Vairagya is the greatest wealth.
Kaupeenavantah khalu bhagyavantah. Money in
the bank cannot make you fearless. It is vairagya that makes you absolutely
fearless. Vairagya is the most inexhaustible spiritual wealth. vairagya and
abhyasa are the most important sadhana. The enjoyment of the fourteen worlds
becomes like a straw to a man of vairagya. Vairagya does not mean that one
should put on only a kowpeen and eat neem leaves. He who wears only a kowpeen
and eats neem leaves, may yet fight for kowpeen few annas. Vairagya,
renunciation, detachment is a mental state. Find out the effects of sensual
life. The world appears attractive, but there is cancer, there is tuberculosis,
there is paralysis. People become hopeless and helpless. Therefore, vairagya is
a state of absolute fearlessness. You should have vivekapurvaka vairagya,
vairagya born of discrimination, wisdom. That only will help you, but not the
vairagya that comes on account of difficulties. Therefore develop vivekapurvaka
vairgayad and virtues like kshama, serenity, titiksha, little by little. You
may fail a thousand times, but again you will rise up, if you have God's grace,
if you are eternally vigilant. Whatever may be your duties, keep Gita in your
pocket and mala around your neck. They will goad you to think of God. Mukh mem
ram, hat mem kam, Give the hands to work and the mind to God. Tasmat sarveshu
kaleshu mamanusmara yudhya cha—"Remember Me and fight." 'Fight' means
'Do your duty'. Always remember the important Gita slokas:
vihayakaman yah sarvan pumanscharati
nirmamo nirahamkarah sa santimadhigachchati
(Bhagavad Gita, II.71)
He who is free from all desires, free from
mineness and egoism, he will attain peace.
shraddhavan labhate jnanam, tat parah
He who has faith attains knowledge. He who
is devoted to the self, he who has controlled his indriyas attains knowledge.
Attaining knowledge, he enjoys supreme peace.
These two slokas you will have to remember,
whenever the world tempts you. Maya is so powerful, but it will not affect you
if you are regular in sadhana, if you become desireless, if you attend satsang
regularly, if you have understood the magnitude of human suffering.
Is this physical body the 'I'? No. The body
is perishable, ever changing. The self is immortal, unchanging. You should do
a little bit of enquiry, reflection and meditation. Then only you will be
utilising this life profitably. Whatever situation you may be placed in, God's
grace will come. You should have a little study, a little satsang. Every day
should be utilised. Every second should be utilised. You should not postpone
sadhana till retirement. When you are free even in office, do a little
nama-smaran, 'Ram, Ram'. Ram is full of potency. It means omnipotence,
omniscience. Ram means Atma. You will have to develop namaruchi. That is our
wealth. You should be desireless, angerless, mineless. You should make an
attempt. He who does this, while remaining in the world, is the hero, but not
he who fights in the battlefield. The real battlefield is within. To destroy
vasanas, to become desireless, I-less, to have no attraction for the world is
Desh Pande! You are a soldier. Look not
back. March forward. Have the ideal before you—God-realisation. You can have
eternal happiness in the chambers of your heart. Jyoishamapi tat jyotih—'He is
the Light of lights'. This you should never forget. You should feel this again
and again. The momentum of samskaras thus created is your real bank balance. Do
namasmaran, sing kirtan. Remember that the world is God. Share what you have
with others. When you find a sick man on the road-side, give him a tumbler of
milk. To a sadhu in winter give a blanket. Then only the heart will expand.
You will become one with the whole world. Cosmic consciousness will come. You
will have compassion, feeling of oneness. You put yourself in the position of
others. You share with others and thus expand. If you accumulate wealth for you
alone your heart gets constricted. Share what you have. The secret of abundance
is 'give, give, give'. The more you give, the more will flow to you.
May you attain union with the supreme soul.
That is the real marriage, the soul-marriage. Marriage is a contract. It is
holy sacrament. There is no divorce in India. Though the divorce bill has come,
it will die. The rishis' strength is there. Once you are united, both should
march forward. You are ardhanareeswara. You should share with each other. Your
talents are shared. The wife prepares food and tea for the husband when he
comes from meditation. He also serves. They mutually share their talents and
abilities. The husband reads Ramayana, the wife sings. Both should march
Real marriage is the marriage of the souls.
The individual soul merges with the supreme soul. That is the real meaning and
significance of marriage. The individual soul merges with the supreme soul, by
practising sensible asceticism, by cultivating virtues, by doing bhajan,
kirtan, convert your house into a vaikuntah. Vaikuntah is here only. So let
these two souls be merged in the supreme Parabrahman, in jivanmukti, and let
them serve humanity. Whatever things are blessed with by God, share with all
and march forward in this battlefield of this world and become jivanmuktas like
Meera, Chudalai. Chudalai sang the cradle song 'Suddhosi, Buddhosi Niranjanosi'
and converted all her children into Brahma jnanis. Remember Anusooya who is
noted for her chastity, and march forward.
The first marriage celebrated here was that
of Savitri, M. A., and Jasendranath M. A. The second marriage is between Padma
and Deshpande. She likes this place. Instead of going to towns for celebrating
marriage, she has come to the banks of Ganga Maharani and the Himavan and Lord
Viswanath, the universal father. She has got good samskaras. We have performed
several Upanayanam ceremonies also, and mundane ceremony, ear-boring ceremony.
All ceremonies I like to have done here, so that all people will have the
opportunity of coming here, where there are sanyasins wearing the gerua cloth,
and enjoy tremendous bless, strength and purity. This is the place where rishis
lived, where Vedavyasa divided the Vedas. We have got Vasishta Guha, and
Tapovan. The vibrations created by the rishis will never die. Akasic records
will never die.
So, May Lord bless Padma, Deshpande and the
whole family and the entire world at large with health, long life, peace,
bliss, prosperity and immortality.
32. DIVORCE NOT FIT FOR
India is a land of dharma. India abounds
with sages, seers and rishis. India is always the religious teacher for the
whole world. India alone can give peace and solace to the West and other
countries. India abounds with pativratas. India is the land where Nalayani and
Savitri lived. Savitri brought back her husband, Satyavan, to life. India is
the land of Sita, Radha and various other pativrata devis. In such a land a sad
thing has crept in. It is divorce.
Divorce court and divorce cases have
already crept in. Two divorces have been recorded in Madras. India is now aping
the West. In India marriage is a sacrament, is a sacred act, where the husband
and wife make a solemn promise before the fire, "I will be dutiful to you
and I will serve you to the last moment of my life." It is not a simple
contract as in the West. It is an unbreakable tie. In such a land this has
come. It cannot give peace. Divorce is not for Indian people.
Divorce comes on account of lack of
adaptability, lack of psychological unity. There is no real unity in heart.
Therefore, divorce cases occur. A young boy is attracted by the physical
beauty, by the nose and the skin. A girl may be a beautiful girl at heart, full
of divine virtues, she will be a very useful companion, but the boy is carried
away by his own fancies. A home will be happy only when husband and wife are
really united at heart. There are only very few happy homes. They are not
properly united at heart, therefore quarrels, occur in the house, there is no
peace despite all good possessions. A man is wealthy; he has got a car, a
bungalow and children. Yet, he is not happy. Girls and women complain "My
husband is not loving me now." So there are quarrels in the house. The
wife gets a nervous breakdown. She imagines or feels that her husband is ill
treating her. So, there should be proper, real union. They should love each
other. Then only there will be happiness at home.
Marriage is sometimes a luxury. There is no
real necessity for marriage, if there are subha vasanas, real good spiritual
samskaras as in Sri Ramana Maharshi, Swami Dayananda, Swami Vivekananda. They
led a life of brahmacharya, because there were no asubha vasanas in them.
Marriage is meant only for those who have got asubha vasanas. Otherwise a
brahmachari can take sanyasa. Yadaiva virajet, tadaiva parivrajet. Whenever
Vairagya comes, one should renounce. When there are no evil vasanas, when
there are good samskaras, viveka and vairagya, he is fit for nivritti.
Dayananda, Vivekananda, and there are many examples even now. There is Mr.
Srinivasan and there are ladies also who are leading a life of
brahmacharya—Pushpanand, Ananda Mohini, Brij Mohini, Doctor Kutty, Dr. Vasanta.
They are determined to lead the life of brahmacharya. They are not attracted by
Marriage is only for those who have no
discrimination. They get entangled by marriage and begin to quarrel and begin
to divorce. Why? Be careful, be vigilant in the beginning itself. The world is
an alluring tinsel, a glamour, for one of discrimination. It tempts, and man or
woman is attracted, and later on they begin to repent. A life of single
blessedness is more happy. He who is endowed with children cannot do selfless
service to the world. A single man, he who leads a single blessed life, can do
service. He has no dependants, no attachment. If his life is free for
service, he can dedicate himself to the service of humanity and attain
realisation quickly. But there are some really happy homes also. But they are
The divorce bill must vanish from the land.
A bill must be introduced only with the
help and aid of spiritual swamis and yogis who will be able to guide the law
ministers from their intuition, insight. From their revelation they can guide
these people properly and then laws can be introduced which will be useful for
It is a sad thing for us that divorce has
been introduced. Let us now pray for one soul who is not feeling happy, who is
not having a blessed happy home, who has got a little nervous breakdown. A good
remedy for hysteria is the husband must be more kind to the wife. More kindness
is the best remedy. It is more potent than any nervine tonic. Then only the
home will be happy. They should adapt themselves to each other. There is no
adaptability, so there is rub and friction at home. The husband thinks that the
wife should obey him cent percent; she should carry out all his wishes. The
wife thinks that the husband should be obedient to her. She thinks,
"Whatever I say he must carry out." That is not possible. They should
adapt. Then only it will be a happy home. Adaptability is a fundamental virtue.
One should bend when the time comes. Then only there will be happiness at home.
On account of lack of adaptability there is quarrel.
A man marries a girl. After six or seven years
he thinks, "My wife is not beautiful." Why? You cannot have always an
unfailing beauty in a face. Wrinkles come. Teeth lose their brilliance and
lustre. The same scarlet you cannot find. The front hairs become grey. You will
have to expect these. "She is S.S.L.C. She is not B.A. She does not know
music." These are the qualifications you expect. So one must be careful,
and remain as a brahmachari. Who asked you to marry, and later on resort to
fighting and shoe-beating? She also must be careful. Nobody has been profited
by marriage. Ask a man of fifty years. Nobody has been really profited by maya.
Study some religious books. Have satsang, and control the evil vrittis. There
is no necessity for marriage. Ramana Maharshi did not like to marry. Vivekananda
did not like to marry. Have a little satsang, a little discrimination,
dispassion, a little thinking whether all the people are benefited by
marriage. You may say that the world may come to extinction if people do not
marry. The Lord is there to create more worlds, or mental creation will come.
Through mental sankalpa children will be born. There will be no need for
husband-wife relationship. God is so great. The world will not come to an end
if people begin not to marry. So young boys and girls should be careful. Why
marry for the sake of a little pleasure? Can marriage give you lasting
satisfaction? Can it give you wisdom and peace? No. Then there is no necessity
for marriage institution. It is a social thing for people whose minds are
filled with lower impulses. It is not for people who are endowed with
discrimination and right thinking. Why do you entangle and worry later?
So let us pray for her who has got a little
nervous breakdown, because of false or unreal imagination that the husband is