Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Good and Evil
The universe contains two dynamic forces. They are good and evil. Good and evil are twin forces, born of the same father. They are called dvandvas or the pairs of opposites. They have no independent existence. Evil exists to glorify good. This is its only raison d'être. Evil is negative good!
Evil is a destructive force. Good is a constructive force. There is neither absolute good nor absolute evil in this universe. Evil has no independent existence apart from good. Wherever there is good, there is evil. You cannot expect absolute good in this relative world.
You can find absolute good in Brahman alone. From the viewpoint of the basic reality which lies at the back of evil and good, evil and good dwindle into an airy nothing. Evil and good are only mental creations. Transcend good and evil and reach the abode of supreme peace and immortality.
For a jnani, who has knowledge of the self, there is neither good nor bad. The 'why' of evil can only be understood when you get atma jnana (self-knowledge). Do not rack your brain now. This is a transcendental mystery which only Brahman knows. Finite intellect that is conditioned in time, space and causation cannot find out a solution to this problem of evil. When you are fully established in your self, then evil and good both vanish altogether.
Transmute evil into good by changing your mental attitude, or angle of vision. Out of evil good often cometh. Destruction is necessary for regeneration, for renovation and for reconstruction.
Tamas (inertia) is evil. Satva (purity) is good. So convert tamas into satva. Then evil is transmuted into good. Selfishness is evil and selflessness is good. Lust is evil, brahmacharya (celibacy) is good. Greed is evil. Generosity, integrity, disinterestedness - all these are good. Pride is evil and humility is good.
Monday, January 30, 2017
Right and Wrong
'Right' and 'wrong' are relative terms. They vary according to time, special circumstances, varna (caste), and ashrama (stage of life). Morality is a changing and relative term. The passionate man who molests his wife frequently to gratify his own passion is more immoral than man who visits the house of a woman of ill-fame once in six months. The man who dwells constantly on immoral thoughts is the most immoral man of all.
Do you clearly note the subtle difference? To kill an enemy is right for a king, but a brahmana (priest) or a sanyasin (monk) should not kill anybody, even to protect himself in times of danger. He should practise strict forbearance and forgiveness. To speak an untruth to save the life of a mahatma (holy one), or one's guru who has been unjustly charged by an unjust officer of state, is right. In this particular case untruth has become truth. To speak a truth which brings harm to many is untruth only. To kill a robber who murders wayfarers is ahimsa only. Himsa (violence) becomes ahimsa (non-violence) under certain circumstances.
Even great sages are bewildered sometimes in finding out what is right and what is wrong. That is why Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: "What is action and what is inaction? Even the wise are herein perplexed. Therefore I will declare to thee the action by knowing which thou shalt be liberated from evil. It is needful to discriminate action, to discriminate unlawful action and to discriminate inaction. Mysterious is the path of action. He who seeth inaction in action, and action in inaction, he is wise among men. He is harmonious even while performing all actions." (Chapter IV, Verse 16-18).
Rishi Kanada, author of Vaishesika Philosophy, says in the opening verse: "That which brings supreme bliss and exaltation is right. That which elevates and brings you nearer to God, is right. That which brings you down and takes you away from God, is wrong. That which is done in strict accordance with the injunctions of the scriptures is right. That which is done against the injunctions of the scriptures is wrong. To work in accordance with divine will is right. To work in opposition to the divine will is wrong." This is one way of defining right and wrong.
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Dharma or righteousness is the gateway to God-vision. Righteousness is a means of climbing the difficult steps of the spiritual path. Dharma presupposes the knowledge of the truth. Divine life is dharma.
A perfectly moral and ethical life is dharma. Dharma is that which leads to the bliss of nirvana (the immortal being). Dharma is the way in which you have to divert your spiritual life to the supreme spiritual end.
Dharma controls the pulse of a nation and of the world. Dharma is what sustains a being in his evolution. Dharma or righteousness is religion in the highest sense of the term.
Dharma is the eternal law on which the universe rests, and by which the universe is governed. Welfare of mankind ultimately rests upon dharma. Righteousness is the highest wealth. It is the rule of life. In righteousness everything is established or rooted.
The main feature of dharma lies in refraining from doing unto others what one would not do unto oneself. Compassion, liberality, truthfulness, purity, self-restraint and tolerance are the ingredients of dharma. Tread the path of dharma and you will get happiness along with freedom. You can secure the real joy and glory of life.
That which helps you in your spiritual evolution is right. That which obstructs and hinders your spiritual evolution is wrong. That which leads to unity of Self is right. That which leads to separation is wrong. To do good to others, to serve and to help others, to give joy to others, is right. To give pain to others, to injure others, is wrong.
Do not do any act which injures another and makes you feel ashamed to do it. Do as you would be done by. Do unto others as you wish others to do unto you. This is the secret of dharma. This is the secret essence of karma yoga. This will lead you to the attainment of eternal bliss.
Saturday, January 28, 2017
The Law of Being
Dharma (righteousness) is what a man ought to be. It is the law that man must follow for his own spiritual evolution. Sanatana Dharma - is the law of being and it is the religion of humanity. It is not a special privilege of the Hindu only.
Righteousness opens the way for God-realisation. The treasure of dharma is accumulated by plain living and high thinking.
Truth, austerity, knowledge, sacrifice and consecration are the pillars on which dharma rests. These are the great, eternal laws that uphold the earth.
There are ten attributes of dharma. They are: patience or courage, forgiveness, self-restraint, non-stealing, purity, control of the senses, thoughtfulness, knowledge, truthfulness and angerlessness.
Dharma assumes the shape of the moral law that differentiates between good and evil, that impels right action and not wrong action. The rightness or wrongness depends only on what will help or hinder a man's spiritual progress. Human existence has four values. They are: dharma - the ethical value of life; artha - the material value; kama - the vital value; moksha - the infinite value.
No one can lead a life of adharma (unrighteousness) and be happy. This is because happiness is the nature of the Atman, and dharma too is an expression of the law of the self.
That which elevates you is virtue (dharma) and that which pulls you down is vice (adharma) or sin. That which makes you worldly is sin. That which helps you to attain Godhead is virtue. That which hurls you into the dark abyss of ignorance is sin and that which leads you to illumination is virtue.
That which causes intoxication is sin and that which purifies the heart is virtue. That which gives you peace, joy, satisfaction, exhilaration, expansion of the heart is virtue and that which brings restlessness, dissatisfaction, depression and contraction is vice.
Friday, January 27, 2017
There are three ways to destroy jealousy. One is by thinking - "The whole world, with all its enjoyments, wealth and luxury is illusory. What do I possibly gain by being jealous of another?" When anyone thinks seriously about this, several times a day, the vritti (thought or feeling) of jealousy slowly dies. This vritti of jealousy is deep-rooted. It is the root of all miseries.
The second way is to have the feeling of universal brotherhood. You are not jealous of your intimate friend or loving brother - because you have become one with them, and so you feel that all that belongs to them is yours. Do this with everybody. Love everybody as your own brother or friend. Then you will have no jealousy.
The third way to destroy jealousy is a developed stage. Just repeat the formula, "I am the all" - "I am the all-in-all". Think that there is nothing but Atman, your own Self, everywhere. Jealousy will slowly vanish. You will experience infinite joy.
Man sees his own reflection in all people but foolishly imagines that they are different from him and he fights with them. He fights on account of feelings of jealousy and hatred.
Spiritual discernment is what is most needed. Where there is duality, by virtue of ignorance, one sees all things as distinct from the Self, the Atman. When everything is seen as the Self, then there is not even an atom other than Self. Duality is the root of misery. Realise non-dual consciousness and you will attain bliss everlasting.
Your attitude to the universe should be the same as your attitude to yourself. Man is a member of a great fraternity. Woman is the counterpart of man. Without self-control the new world order can have no lasting strength of character. He who is pure and self-controlled is always peaceful. His life is always successful.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
When you become angry, leave the place immediately. Take a long walk; stay away for a half hour. Repeat the sacred mantra OM SHANTI one hundred and eight times. You will find that your anger subsides. Another way is to count from one to thirty - your anger will subside. When anger tries to show itself, observe silence. Never utter a harsh word. Try to nip it off before it emerges from the subconscious mind.
You will have to be alert. It tries to come out so suddenly. But, before anger manifests in the mind, there is agitation in the mind. If you strive to subdue anger, then hatred subsides - but even then there may be slight impatience lingering there. Eschew this slight disturbance also. For a man who is leading a divine life, this is a serious drawback. Irritability is a weakness of the mind. Remove it by practising tolerance, mercy and love. Calmness is a direct means to the realisation of Brahman.
Keep the mind always in balance, in tune. Close the eyes. Dive deep into the divine source. Feel God's presence. Repeat His name and remember Him at all times. You will gain immense spiritual strength. Meditate early in the morning, before you mix with people. Then rise above the thousand and one things which might irritate you in your daily life. Then only you will live in harmony and concord. Then only you will turn out wonderful work.
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Man wastes much energy by becoming angry, very often over little things. The whole nervous system is shattered and agitated. If this anger is controlled, by brahmacharya (purity), forbearance, love and vichara (enquiry), a man can move the whole world. Anger manifests so suddenly that it is difficult to check it. The impulses it generates are so powerful that he is swayed by them. Control anger. Control the mind.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
The Golden Medium
Some people are over-credulous. This is bad, as they are easily cheated by others. You must fully understand man. You must know his nature, his qualities and his antecedents. You must know his behaviour. Test him on several occasions and only place your confidence in him when you are fully satisfied.
He may be a deep man who puts on a false appearance and who turns out to be quite the reverse. Watch him closely, move with him closely and hear about him from several other people. Man cannot hide his nature for long. You will see that his face registers all his inner feelings and thoughts.
Too much suspicion is also bad. It is the opposite of over-credulousness. Mind always moves in extremes. The husband suspects the wife and the wife suspects the husband. There is always trouble in the house.
If the proprietor suspects his servants, then how can business go on? It cannot. The world runs on perfect faith. Business too runs on faith. If people are too suspicious there is always friction and rupture. Do not be over-credulous or over-suspicious. Keep the golden medium always.
Another undesirable quality is intolerance, or petty-mindedness. All the restlessness and fighting in this world takes its origin from intolerance. An Englishman is intolerant towards an Irishman or a German. A Hindu is intolerant to a Mohammedan and vice versa. Arya Samajist is intolerant towards a Sanatanist and vice versa. All this is due to perfect ignorance.
How can a man, who sees the one Atman in all, be intolerant? All these small differences are purely mental creations. Expand. Embrace all. Include all. Love all. Serve all. Behold the Lord in all.
See God in every face. Feel his indwelling presence in all. Be liberal and catholic in your views. Destroy the barriers that separate man from man. Drink the eternal atmic bliss. Become perfectly tolerant. Forget and forgive.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Destroy the Roots of Suffering
Determination and self-reliance are very necessary for success in Self-realisation. In the Mundaka Upanishad you will find: "This Atman cannot be obtained by one who is destitute of strength, or without earnestness, or by penance without mark. But if a wise man strives after it by those means, then his Self enters into Brahman."
Fearlessness is an important qualification for the aspirant. You should be prepared to renounce your life at any moment. Without renunciation of the little sensual life, the eternal spiritual life cannot be attained. Every difficulty that comes in the spiritual path is an opportunity to grow stronger and to develop will-power.
When you have once decided to take up the spiritual path, stick to it at any cost, nay, at the risk of your life. Thou art the immortal Self. Be bold. Stand up. Gird up your loins. Realise the truth. Proclaim it everywhere.
Wrong thinking is the root cause of human suffering. Cultivate right thinking and right action. Think always: "I am the immortal Self". This is right thinking. Work unselfishly for the poor, but work only in terms of unity, with atma bhava (seeing the one Self in all). This is right acting.
There is no such thing as sin. Sin is only a mistake. Sin is a mental creation. The baby soul must commit some mistakes during the process of evolution. Mistakes are your best teachers. Think always: "I am pure Atman". Then the idea of sin will be blown in the air.
Do not say, "Oh it is karma, my karma. It is my karma (fate) that has brought me to this". No. Exert. Do tapas (penance). Concentrate. Meditate. Purify. Do not be a fatalist. Do not yield to inertia. Do not bleat like a lamb. Roar "OM OM OM" like a lion.
Adhere to the daily spiritual routine. Apply yourself with zeal and enthusiasm to sadhana (spiritual practice). Become a naistic brahmachari (lifelong celibate). Be steady and systematic in your yoga abhyasa (practice of yoga).
Shine in your native, pristine glory. Become a jivanmukta (liberated sage). You are the children of immortality and light. "TAT TWAM ASI" - Thou Art That, my dear children.
Monday, January 23, 2017
Aids to Success
Develop equal-vision. Live in the true spirit of the Bhagavad Gita: "Sages look equally on a brahmana (holy one) adorned with learning and humility, a cow, an elephant, a dog and even an outcast." Where is superiority and inferiority when you behold the Self everywhere? Change your angle of vision and rest in peace.
The heart must be beautiful. Face the storm and triumph over it. Do not shrink from the battle of life, but fight it and come out victorious. Face abuse, insult, dishonour, disgrace, malice with a smile on your face. Be calm and serene. Take up all events in life as though you are a silent witness, never being perturbed at all.
Depression is an evil quality. People have plenty of money, and yet they are always depressed. They put on a morose, peevish appearance. They are always gloomy. This is a dangerous epidemic disease. The gloomy man spreads gloom and depression everywhere. He cannot apply himself to any kind of work. He is idle and lethargic.
Depression will deplete all energy. Think of the virtue of cheerfulness. Have a mental picture of joy and the habit of cheerfulness will develop around this mental picture. Smile and laugh. Give a smile to everybody you meet on the road. That man who always keeps a cheerful countenance radiates joy to others.
Some are not able to decide anything definite in certain important matters. They have not got independent power of judgement. They simply prolong the matter. They do not come to a definite positive decision. A man who has indecision will never succeed. He will be full of doubts and fears.
Procrastination is the friend of indecision. The opportunity will slip away. It will be too late to gather honey when the winter comes! You must think over the matter for some time. Then come to a definite decision. At once you must apply your will and try to put the matter into execution. Then only you will succeed.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Recipe for Success
Carelessness and forgetfulness are two evil qualities that stand in the way of success for a man. A careless man cannot do any action in a proper manner. These qualities are born of tamas (inertia). Application and tenacity are unknown to a man of carelessness. His superiors soon get displeased with a man who is careless and forgetful. There is a lack of attention in him.
Develop a strong desire to remove these two defects and to develop carefulness and a good memory. This is important. Then the will and the subconscious mind will do the work for you. Tie the key in your handkerchief as soon as you lock the door. Keep your money in the inside pocket. Keep your spectacles in the side-pocket. Always count the packages whenever you go out. Keep accounts regularly. Daily make a small note of items you have to attend to.
Many people are always diffident. They have no self-confidence. They have energy, capacity and faculties but they have no confidence in their own powers and faculties, in their ability to attain success. This is a kind of weakness that brings failures in all attempts.
A man appears on the platform to deliver a lecture. He is a capable man and he is well learned, but he is diffident. He foolishly thinks that he cannot produce an impressive speech. The moment this negative thought occupies his mind, he becomes nervous - he stutters and stammers. This failure is only due to his lack of self-confidence.
You may have little capacity and yet you must have full confidence that you will succeed in your attempt. There are people who have very little material and little capacity, and yet they thrill the audience. This is due to their confidence. "I will succeed", they say, or, "I am fully confident of my success".
Never leave room for the negative quality of diffidence to enter your mind. Know what your real worth is. A man of confidence is always successful in all his attempts.
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Don't Be Weak
Shyness is a great hindrance in life. It is a form of timidity or low fear. Almost all boys have got this weakness - and yet this is a feminine quality. Shyness manifests when one is in the wrong path. Every woman knows that the goal of life is God-realisation, and yet she engages herself in sexual matters. This wrong action makes her shy when she appears before any man.
A shy boy or man cannot express his thoughts boldly. He cannot look directly into the eyes of another man. He cannot freely approach any stranger. A shy man does not get on well in business or in the office.
Modesty is not shyness. It is decency or chastity. This comes from politeness and polish of character. Those who are shy should try to talk with others boldly. They should look directly at the face of others. Shyness is a great weakness. It should be eradicated quickly by cultivating courage.
Timidity is another weakness, due to faintheartedness. It is a form of fear, akin to shyness. A timid man has a chicken-heart. He is unfit for any public activity and for any kind of adventurous work.
A timid man cannot become successful in life, he cannot deal boldly with his customers in business. A timid man is afraid of losing his life. He is much attached to his wife, children and property. He is afraid of public opinion.
A timid man cannot talk even a few words with force and emphasis. So eradicate timidity. Eradicate it by developing courage. For timidity is a curse - and it weakens a man.
Pessimism is a temper of mind that looks too much on the dark side of things. It is the doctrine in which the whole world is bad rather than good. This is very depressing. Vedantins are wonderful optimists. Though they say that the world is unreal and they talk on dispassion, this is to create a distaste for the worthless life of this world, and to create a taste for the immortal, blissful life in Brahman.
The opposite of pessimism is optimism, which always looks on the bright side.
Friday, January 20, 2017
Many people develop worries by falsely imagining that they are inferior to others. The idea of inferiority or superiority brings trouble and worries. Ideas of superiority and inferiority are mental creations only they are illusory.
Differences are unreal. Never think that you are inferior to anybody. Never think that you are superior to anybody. You will begin to treat others with contempt when you think that you are superior to them. Remove these ideas from your mind. They are the cause of useless worry.
By constant meditation and concentration, you will have to divert the mind from worry. If you have contentment then worry can be easily destroyed. Get rid of all sorts of mental weaknesses, superstitions, false and wrong imaginings; fear and other wrong samskaras (mental impressions).
When desires arise in the mind, try not to fulfil them. Gradually, by constant practice, desires can be reduced. Then, if you stop all the desires, you can also destroy worry. In this way you will conserve your energy.
Now come imaginary phobias and fears of all sorts. Energy leaks out in these directions also. Man thinks: "I will develop pneumonia. I have already got a fever and a cough." He gets unnecessary fear in this way. Any disease is intensified by thinking about it. An ordinary ailment becomes severe by entertaining unnecessary fear.
Another man is afraid of criticism. If any man calls you a dog, why do you become furious? You do not develop four legs straight away, do you? But now you begin to fight him. Your eyes become red, you retaliate. You call him a donkey. Then he gets irritated. He fights back and you both end up deadly enemies. This is not good. Practise vichara (enquiry) and you will find that all this is nothing.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Man creates trouble and misery for himself. Give up all sorts of fears. Stand up like a lion. Draw courage from within. There are many people who are so timid that they will not move around at night. Even when they see a cat at night, they tremble. What a shame.
They are embodiments of timidity. They are 'moustache ladies'. There are some sanyasins (monks) who repeat: "SHIVOHAM SHIVOHAM" ("I am Siva") - but they tremble with fear when they are put to a little test. They perspire and quiver when there is any impending danger!
They are poor, miserable specimens. I always say that a dacoit can become a good vedantin if his energy is turned in a spiritual direction, because he is absolutely fearless and has no deha adhyasa, (feeling "I am the body"); but not a timid man.
Fearlessness is the greatest qualification for a spiritual aspirant. All fears are imaginary. They have no real basis. When you think seriously they will melt away like snow before the sun. Think a tiger or a lion has come in front of you, and you will have to face it. Think that you are placed in front of a machine gun, and that you will be blown up right now. Draw courage now. Think of the verses of the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. They deal with the immortality of the soul. Again and again think of the divine verses of the Avadhut Gita. You will become courageous - though perhaps not all at once. Gradually you will find that you are gaining courage.
Constantly think that you are the Atman, the Self. You will gradually develop great courage. Worry and fear are fearful forces within us. They poison the sources of life; they destroy all harmony, vitality and vigour. Thoughts of cheerfulness, joy, and courage are healing and soothing. Always be cheerful. Always laugh and smile.
Just as darkness cannot exist in the presence of light, so also fear cannot exist in the presence of self-denial or Self-realisation or courage. Exhibit undaunted spirit, intrepidity and manliness. Make a strong resolve: "I will die or realise the Self". Give up the idea that you are the body. Fearlessness is one important sign of a liberated being.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Fear is a great human curse. It is your worst enemy. Fear assumes many forms and blights many lives. But a calm mind brings courage. Then you will face the trials and difficulties of the spiritual path without fear. Fearlessness is a divine quality. What is fear? It is an imaginary zero; it is maya's deception. It is a mental delusion. It is a negative modification that arises in the mind-lake when one forgets his real, divine nature. It is a whirlpool that emanates from the chitta (mind) when one has lost his power of vichara (enquiry) and discrimination. It is the dark wave that proceeds from the ocean of antahkarana (mind) when one has intense attachment to the body.
Friends, there is nothing to fear really. Fear is due to acceptance of suggestion. Victory over fear really means victory over the thing that we fear. We attract to ourselves the very things we are afraid of. That is the universal law of nature. You need not be afraid of anything else in this world save fear itself.
Auto-suggestion helps a lot in removing fear. Assert the truth of being. Assert, "Nothing in the three worlds can make me afraid. I am absolutely fearless. My will is strong and irresistible." Make friends with the threatened experience, or the things you do not like. The raja yoga method is to repeat the formula: "I am courageous" or "OM courage". In the morning meditate on the virtue of courage.
The devotee's method is to pray to God with faith and sincerity and to make perfect self-surrender: "O God, make me fearless. Grant me the virtue of courage. O Mother, take thy son in thy lap. Thou art fear; thou art courage. Let me see thee alone in all these forms". Feel the invisible helping hand of the ishta devata (your own deity). Have strong faith. Real strength lies in fearlessness. Remove fear of all sorts.
The vedantic method is to enquire: "Who am I?". Identify yourself with the inner Self. Assert: "I am the embodiment of courage - I am immortal Atman - I am not this perishable body. Who is to fear whom when all this is the Self?" This will destroy fear to its very root. How peaceful and strong are they who have victory over fear. May we all shine in divine glory, radiating courage all around. May the divine splendour, the brahmic aura shine in all faces and remove the darkness of fear, ignorance and terror. May we all attain that state of absolute fearlessness - brahmi sthiti (the state of Brahman). May we become one with the fearless Brahman.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Use measured words in talking. Do not talk much. Try to finish a conversation within a few minutes. Understand the nature of the man rightly. When he enters your office or house for an interview, speak politely and with great respect for the man. Then send him away immediately and conserve your energy.
Do not indulge in long unnecessary talks and discussions. Man is a social animal. He is prone to much talking. He is very garrulous. This talkative habit is ingrained in him and he is much troubled when he cannot get any company. He does not want to go in for seclusion.
The observance of mauna (silence) is death and capital punishment for him. Ladies are still more garrulous. They always create some kind of unnecessary quarrels in the house.
I always prescribe the practice of mauna for one and all, as this helps in the preservation of energy, development of will and enjoyment of peace. All sorts of quarrels, misunderstandings, anger, etc., can be easily avoided by mauna for two hours daily and for six hours on Sundays, and for a full week on long holidays.
Even during other periods talk very few words. When you speak, speak gently and sweetly. During mauna you must live alone. Do not mix with other people. Do not even express your ideas with gestures.
The other channel by which energy is wasted, is the mind. This wastage is due to loose thinking, worrying, anger and fear. Just as energy is wasted in too much talk, so also energy is wasted in loose thinking.
If this mental energy is conserved, you will have at your disposal a tremendous store of energy. This you can utilise for various other purposes and sadhana (spiritual practice). If this energy is conserved you will feel that you are very powerful. You will feel no exhaustion even if you turn out tremendous work.
To do this you have to watch your thoughts very carefully, by introspection and meditation. You will have to divert the mental energy to useful thinking. There will be some struggle in the beginning. But after some time the mind will naturally think of auspicious and useful items.
Monday, January 16, 2017
Discipline of Speech
Tame your tongue - it is an unruly devil. Sacrifice, gift, austerity, the study of the sacred scriptures, truthfulness - all these will help you to develop virtuous conduct. Practise austerity of speech. Whatever you speak must be truthful and beneficent.
Do not utter anything that will give annoyance to anybody. A thoughtless man who has not controlled his organ of speech and who speaks at random, is entangled in the foolishness of his own words. Therefore be very careful when you speak.
Speak little. Think twice, think ten times before you speak. Weigh the words carefully, before they come out of your mouth. Speak only words which can do good to others. Always be polite and courteous. Never speak in a harsh tone, never hurt the feelings of others.
Do not talk much. Become a man of measured words. God has given you two ears and two eyes. But He only gave you one tongue, so that you may hear and see more than you speak. Lingual diarrhoea is a terrible disease.
Words exist for the transmission of ideas. Words and ideas are inseparable; they are like fire and its heat, or like ice and its coldness. Be careful in the selection of your words. They can produce violent disturbance in the feelings of others. Speak only those words which give happiness and comfort to others.
Think more. Do much. Speak measured words. Let your tongue never utter an unkind word, or a harsh word. Let it never speak sharp criticism. An undisciplined tongue is a sword that cuts others' hearts. It produces a wound that will never heal, even in a lifetime.
Observe silence. You will have abundant energy. You will conserve your energy this way. You will enjoy peace of mind and good health. You will be able to turn out more work. Silence is soothing for brain and nerves.
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Your goal is God. Your centre is God. Your ideal is God. Turn back to God and realise everlasting bliss. Resting on Him you will be saved. As the lamp cannot burn without oil, so too, you cannot live without God. God is within you all the time, inspiring you, lifting you up. Withdraw. Aspire. Meditate. Realise.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Man of Self-Control
Men of self-control become sinless and fearless. They acquire great results. Every sort of excitement is effortlessly controlled by self-control. The enemies of the self-controlled man are seen by him - they are lust, anger, desire - as if they dwell in a separate body.
The self-controlled man becomes desirous of liberation. He quietly bears present joys and sorrows and griefs; he is never overjoyed or depressed by prospective ones. He is devoid of all vindictiveness and guile. He is unaffected by praise or censure.
A self-controlled man is well-balanced. He has good manners, purity and fortitude. He is a perfect master of his passions. He is devoted to universal benevolence. He never feels animosity for anyone. He is tranquil, wise and cheerful.
A self-controlled man is endowed with intelligence. He gains universal reverence. He fears no creature and in return he is feared by no creature.
Overcoming lust and anger, practising the vow of brahmacharya (celibacy) and becoming a complete master of the senses, the holy one patiently waits. Practising the austerest of penances and observing the most rigid of restraints, he lives in the world and calmly waits the time. He is like somebody who has a body and yet seems to know that he is not subject to destruction.
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Meditation is freeing the mind from all objects and thoughts of sensual enjoyment. If this is done then God-realisation comes of itself. God will enthrone himself in your heart and meditation will come of itself. If you bring a light into a cave which has been dark for thousands of years, the darkness will vanish at once, by itself. You do not have to strive to drive the darkness away. If you attempt to put your hand into a pot which is filled with dust and dirt, you cannot. But if you empty it, then you can easily put your hand into the pot. Even so, if you empty the mind of all its dust and dirt, God will enter into it in the twinkling of an eye.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Pure reason urges a man to do what is the best. The asuric (lower) nature of man fights and struggles against the higher nature of the man. The impulses of a man who has not undergone the ethical disciplines run counter to his reason. All advice, all rebuke and exhortation, all admonition found in the scriptures of the world testify that the irrational part is not amenable to reason.
The basis of good manners is self-reliance. For this reason, the great founders and eminent teachers of all religions have repeatedly proclaimed the need for recognising the Godhead within and for self-reliance in the last resort, rather than texts, persons or customs.
Self-control is greatest in the man whose life is dominated by ideals and general principles of conduct. The final end of moral discipline is self-control. The whole nature of man must be disciplined. Each element requires its specific training. Discipline harmonises the opposing elements in him. Self-control will enable the aspirant to know the truth, to desire the good, and to win the right - and thus to realise the reality.
Discipline is the training of our faculties, through instructions and through exercise, in accordance with some settled principle of authority. You must discipline not only the intellect but also the will and the emotions.
A disciplined man controls his actions. He is no longer at the mercy of the moment. He ceases to be a slave of his impulses and senses (indriyas). Such mastery is not the result of one day's effort. It is acquired only by protracted practice and daily self-discipline. You must learn to refuse the demands and impulses of your lower nature. A self-controlled man is able to resist wrong actions, towards which a worldly man is most strongly impelled.
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Discipline yourself and grow strong. Stand unshaken. Rest in the Atman (the immortal blissful soul). Perfection is not impossible of achievement. It is within the easy reach of human endeavour. All desires are fulfilled after Self-realisation.
If you lack wisdom, ask God sincerely and he will give you wisdom. Physical health, intellectual understanding, moral integrity and spiritual wisdom lead to ultimate perfection.
Friday, January 13, 2017
Control Your Desires
In this ocean of samsara (worldly existence) desires are like crocodiles. Kill them as soon as they arise on the surface of the mind. Do not yield to them, do not become despondent about all the trials that beset you. Make friends with the pure (satvic) mind and destroy the impure mind with the help of the pure mind. Make the mind rest in the ever-blissful Atman.
When a desire arises in your mind, consult your discrimination. That will tell you, at once, that desire is attended with pain, that only vairagya (dispassion) and tyaga (renunciation) will bring you satisfaction and peace of mind. It will advise you to renounce desire immediately. It will advise you to take up the study of the Upanishads, to repeat OM and to meditate in a solitary place. Think deeply whether this new desire will give you happiness or spiritual gain. You must starve out the obnoxious desires by not allowing the mind to dwell on such desires.
You have no desire for a thing until you know what it is like. Only after you have seen it, tasted it, or touched it, will you know what it is like, will you have a longing for it. Therefore do not touch, taste or see anything that is likely to taint the imagination. Put down vicious desires through virtuous desires. Then give up virtuous desires, through one strong desire. And that is the desire for God. In the long run you will even have to abandon this desire for God. Kill the thoughts, practise thoughtlessness. In this way you destroy desire.
Free yourself from the crocodile of desires. Do not be disheartened. Cheer yourself up. Stand like a lion. Destroy the impure mind with the pure mind. Make friends with the satvic (pure) mind and rest peacefully in the Atman.
THE INNER BATTLE
The soldier fights for a few hours only,
But the aspirant's battle goes on day and night.
It is verily a hard battle, a fierce battle
And it lasts till the end of his life.
This battle is raging in the field of the mind.
Satva (purity) fights with rajas (impurity) and tamas (inertia),
Higher mind wages war with the lower mind.
Contentment fights with greed,
Patience fights with anger.
Brahmacharya (celibacy) fights with lust,
Humility fights with pride.
Fight, my brother, valiantly.
Raise the sword of Ram Nam (the divine name).
—So says Sivananda.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
The mind always wants to be doing something. When it attaches itself to the objects it cherishes, the mind feels amused and happy. There can be attraction without attachment. You can be attracted to a beautiful rose, but you are not attached to it. Attachment comes after possession and enjoyment.
Attachment, love, ananda (bliss), all go together. You are attached to your wife and children and so on. You love them because they give you ananda. As this world is illusory and as, through this illusion, pain appears as pleasure, you must cut asunder all worldly attachments ruthlessly. Direct your love and attachment towards the reality, towards Brahman, towards the substratum which lies at the back of all objects, which is the witness of all activities taking place in the buddhi (intellect).
It is difficult to divert the mind which from early childhood has fallen into the pernicious habit of seeking external pleasures and which continues to do so unless you give it something superior to be amused with. Intellectual pleasure is far superior to sensual pleasure. So too, ananda (joy from meditation) is far superior to intellectual pleasure. Spiritual bliss gained from Self-realisation, is infinite, immeasurable, unbounded. It is anandaghana (a solid mass of bliss).
Keep the mind in a state of moderation. The mind likes always to run to extremes. It runs either to extreme joy or extreme depression. Extremes meet and bring about a reaction. In excessive joy the mind cannot be calmed. Hence let the mind always be calm and cheerful.
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Ghee (clarified butter) has two states - solid and liquid. So it is with the mind. In the waking state it is solid and in the deep sleep state it is liquid. In the solid state it is limited and gross. This is why it has finite experiences. In the liquid state it is limitless and so the jiva (soul) experiences the homogeneous and limitless bliss. In the deep sleep state there is no ego, no desire, hence it experiences the limitless bliss of the Atman.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Man wants happiness. He tries to get it from money, from power, from woman, from son, from position and so on. He rushes from one thing to another trying to find happiness. He gets knocks, blows, failure and disappointment. He laughs, dances, weeps and mourns. His senses get exhausted. He gets disgust for objects. Eventually he experiences that sense objects are illusory and that real lasting happiness cannot be found in them.
Man feels the need for a particular object. He tries to get it. If he succeeds he is delighted for a moment. If he fails he is sunk in despair and sorrow; he is gloomy and depressed. If he loses an object he becomes very miserable.
As soon as one want is gratified, another new want crops up. There is no end to his wants. Cares, worries, anxieties and fear co-exist with wants and desires. Want is the product or offspring of ignorance. Brahman is all-full. All wants are satisfied in Brahman.
The restlessness of the mind is kept up by all these wants. He who wants nothing is a mighty emperor of the world. Sri Shankara says: "That carefree saint who moves about with a kowpeen or loincloth only, without possessions, without the idea of ownership, without any wants, is the most happy person in the world." Wants and desires can be eradicated by Self-realisation only.
Any number of zeros have no value unless you add a '1' before them. Similarly, even if you possess the wealth of the whole world, it is nothing if you do not lead a spiritual life, if you have no spiritual wealth, if you have no Self-realisation.
You will have to add the Atman to the life here. That is why the Lord Jesus says: "Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
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Mind is greater than the senses. Pure intellect is greater than the mind. Atman is greater than the intellect. There is nothing greater than Atman.
Brahman is without senses, mind, prana. He is within and without all beings. He is immovable; he is extremely subtle. He is the light of all lights.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Analects of Sivananda
Solitude is the soul's best friend. Silence is better than argument. He is really blessed who can suit his temper to any circumstances. Grief destroys strength, health, intellect and wisdom. Conquer grief through discrimination, enquiry, and the meditation on the Atman (Self).
Worry is a waste. Avoid it. Rather sing, pray, meditate, enquire, cogitate and discriminate. Dive into the Bhagavad Gita. You will become fearless. You will rise above all worries.
Idleness is the enemy of peace of the soul. Stop complaining. Be thankful that there is a perfect law of health to which everyone has access. Obey that law and be happy. Practise asanas - especially siddhasana, sarvangasana and sirshasana this will enable you to get control over the vital energy. If your mind is cool and your heart is full, then the entire world will be cool too.
Replace doubt, despair and hate, with faith, hope and love. Have plenty of common-sense. Think quickly and carry out your decisions resolutely in times of emergency. Change is painful but ever needful. God chooses the meek and the innocent to achieve his will.
Many talk like philosophers and sages - but they live like fools. Veil after veil has to be lifted. The illusions of life are to be torn away before life divine can be attained.
Life is a perpetual struggle. It is a perpetual dying until you are face to face with God. Man is verily the sacrifice. Nature is the ladder on which we climb up to the Lord. Do not have a sad face - you will affect others.
Be cheerful always. Rejoice. Radiate joy and cheer. Radiate health and light. Let your eyes ever shine with the light of supreme love. The reality of love-tears is not in the eyes but in the heart of love.
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"God is Truth. God is Love. God is Peace. God is Bliss.
God and God's law are one.
The Law and the Law-giver are one.
God is the law himself, he never breaks his laws.
God and his law abide everywhere and govern everything.
Glory to God. Glory to God."
Monday, January 9, 2017
The Foundation of Ethics
Put yourself in the place of others. Learn this great secret. What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others. The doctrine of unity of the Atman (the Self), is the foundation of morality.
No one tries to harm himself. How can one, who knows that each and every being is his own Self, harm anyone?
Share what you have with others. This is vedanta. Aparigraha (non-covetousness) is a very important item in the practice of yama or self-restraint, in Raja Yoga of Patanjali. Aparigraha is non-receiving of gifts, it is freedom from covetousness. This leads to purity of thought and independence.
The purer you are, the nearer to God you will be. A pure heart is the most essential thing required for good health of body and mind, and for attaining God-realisation. Religion resides only in the pure heart. Only the simple can be pure. He who is pure in heart attains God-realisation.
Humility is a fundamental virtue. It is the secret of the saints. He who lives the life of humility and simplicity earns the supreme bliss of eternity. Humility is freedom from self-conceit.
Obliterate the sense of 'I-ness'. Obliterate the idea of, "I am doing" or, "I will do". You are on the way to infinity. You will take the plunge into the ocean of divine wisdom and love.
You are not the doer. Do not think of the good deeds you have done and do not even expect any thanks for what you do. If you help a man, never remember it and if a man helps you, never forget it.
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Spiritual life and devotion to God are essential for preventing a feeling of frustration in life. In the realm of perfection, harmony, peace and freedom, is the abode of Brahman. Reach this abode through purity, love, and meditation. Go to the source of life itself. You will know everything.
Sunday, January 8, 2017
The Peak of Perfection
You can climb the peak of perfection through resolute will, intense dispassion, renunciation and rigorous meditation. Sublime divine thought is very powerful, it is a dynamic transmuting force. Diligently seek the path of truth; tread it carefully and vigilantly, for you may slip and fall. Love is harmlessness, kindness, compassion. Nothing can tempt you if you are regular in meditation. He who is pure at heart has already found divinity. Renunciation of egoism is the direct way to the eternal.
Knowledge of the imperishable bestows perfect freedom and independence. Where egoism is, immortality is not; where immortality is, egoism is not. Concentration will give you great power. Collect the scattered rays of the mind. Lust and greed make you a spiritual bankrupt. Purity and meditation bestow on you inexhaustible divine wealth.
A yogi becomes the master-builder of the temple of truth. Pass through the gate of wisdom - you will reach the illimitable domain of eternal bliss. He who is endowed with discrimination and power and concentration climbs rapidly to the peak of illumination. Your real guru (preceptor) is your own heart - he is the indweller, the inner ruler.
Longing for final liberation is the hunger for the spiritual food of knowledge of the eternal. Mind is the mirror through which the eternal appears as the universe of names and forms. Be in the world - not of the world. This is the highest yoga. This is the eternal wisdom. The wise man is ever eager to learn, he never poses as a teacher.
This visible world is the mirror of the invisible Brahman. You are a slave of circumstances because you do not meditate regularly. You will easily get illumination in solitude. Solitude has its own charms - prepare yourself for life in seclusion. Control and preserve energy through silence, brahmacharya (celibacy) and pranayama (yoga breathing), - you will have wonderful meditation. Love that man who dislikes you - you will grow strong. Money wasted can be restored, but time wasted is lost forever. Find out your centre - that centre is perfect harmony, eternal bliss, your own immortal soul.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
Sinner Today, Saint Tomorrow
Critical times test the faith of the devotee. He who has faith in the Lord must pass through the fire of suffering. Suffering is not misfortune; it helps one to grow. Suffering and pain open the door to wisdom. "Not to be hurt by others", is more difficult than, "not to hurt others". Blessed are those that suffer, because suffering helps them to evolve quickly - suffering is the substance of spiritual life.
The individual soul is a business man - his karmas (actions) are his commerce - good and bad fruits of his good and bad actions are his profit and loss. The world is his business house. Think well and judge what is right before you act. Involuntary, unintentional or unconscious actions do not constitute karma, because volition is the most important factor in determining karma, and here it is absent. Sin is only a mistake, misdirected energy. Mistakes are lessons in wisdom. The essence of evil and sin is belief in things that perish.
The essence of religion is truth and the essence of law is virtue. Two birds, inseparable friends, cling to the same tree. One of them eats sweet and bitter fruits and the other watches without eating. The tree is the body. One bird is the individual soul who enjoys the fruits of his actions - pleasure and pain. The other bird is the Lord who remains as a witness without eating.
Respect of the soul is praiseworthy. Respect of the body is despicable. A scientist conquers external nature but a yogi conquers the mind and internal nature. The sinner of today is the saint of tomorrow. Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.
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Your goal is God. Your centre is God. Your ideal is God. Turn back to God and realise everlasting bliss. Resting on him you will be saved. As the lamp cannot burn without oil, so too, you cannot live without God. God is within you all the time, inspiring you, lifting you up. Withdraw. Aspire. Meditate. Realise.
Friday, January 6, 2017
The Spiritual Path
Youth is the best time, the most fitting time in a man's life, to devote himself to spiritual aspiration and sadhana (spiritual practice). The spiritual life is practical from beginning to end. The love for the ideal should be single-minded and whole-hearted.
The spiritual path is an unknown path which is as straight and narrow as a razor. On it there is no other light than that of faith and divine grace to guide the aspirant. There is no other sustenance than devotion.
The track ahead cannot be seen. The going is uncertain. And many pitfalls await the unwary. The traveller, the aspirant, must travel in the dark. He must march courageously forward. He will reach great illumination at the journey's end.
The spiritual path demands complete mastery over the flesh. Proceed gradually. Intensify the aspiration you have. Have a keen thirst for the realisation of the supreme. Keep alive thy aspiration, undiminished and bright. Be thou firm in thy faith.
Empty thy heart of all earthly things. The spiritual life is a life of child-like simplicity. What is needed in spiritual life is a sincere aspiration for the life of the spirit. It needs an earnest dedication to it. And it needs a whole-souled devotion and application to the realisation of the ideal. Your heart must be solely and entirely centred on God. It must be centred on God alone - deeply, passionately and steadily.
Be sincere to thy very core. This is the most essential thing. Spiritual life is based on the complete conquest of the lower nature. Upon this pedestal of perfect self-mastery and right conduct, the edifice of godliness and divine life may be built. May thy spiritual life and example inspire one and all.
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Man wants a fuller life. He lives for a fuller life. That is life in eternal Brahman. Life is an endless series of awakenings. Understand life and the laws that govern it. Then you will lead a life of harmony and peace. Life holds the key. Unlock the mystery of your own being and attain life eternal.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
If a man feels even a little bit for his present deplorable condition; if he attempts even to show a slight improvement; if there is a little receptive attitude; then he can be corrected and he can make progress on the path of yoga. If he is obstinate and pigheaded, if he is absolutely self-willed, if he deliberately shuts his eyes or hardens his heart against the truth or divine light - then no one can help him.
The aspirant should give his full consent, he should consent with all his being (sarva bhava) for the change of his lower nature into divine nature. He must make total, unreserved, ungrudging self-surrender to the Lord or the guru. He must have the true spirit and he must have persistent endeavour. Then only the real change will come.
Yoga can be practised only by those who are very earnest about it and who are ready to annihilate their little ego and its demands. There are no half measures on the spiritual path. Rigid discipline of the senses, and the mind, rigorous tapas (penance) and constant meditation, are necessary for the attainment of God-realisation.
The hostile forces are ever ready to overwhelm you if you are not vigilant, if you give the least sanction, or the smallest opening for them. Yoga cannot be practised if you cling to your little self, your old habits, your old unregenerate and self-assertive lower nature.
You cannot lead a double life. Pure divine life, the life of yoga, cannot co-exist with a mundane life of passion and ignorance. Rise above the petty human level to the higher level of divine consciousness.
You cannot claim freedom for your petty mind and little ego if you want to become a yogi. The lower nature with its retinue of arrogance, ignorance, and turbulence, stands in the way of the descent of divine light.
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Know the truth, the Absolute. Then you are saved, you are liberated, you are enlightened, you are free. You can know Brahman only by becoming Brahman. To become Brahman is to identify yourself with the supreme soul which constitutes your divine nature. The river joins the ocean and becomes one with it. The drop mixes with the sea and becomes one with the sea.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Presence of Mind
Just reflect for a while when you have failed in an attempt. Try to be more careful in the next attempt. Try to remove those factors that led you to fail previously. Fortify yourself now. Be careful and vigilant. Be active and nimble as the squirrel. Be quick and at the same time be capable and efficient. Do not commit mistakes.
Call forth all your latent energies or dormant faculties. When the house is on fire - how alert you are. How skilfully and promptly you act at that particular moment. You do not know where the power and the energy are flowing from at that time. You are fully concentrated. You contrive by skilful methods, then and there, to save your property and the lives of those dwelling in the house. You do marvellous actions and then, when the difficulty is over you say that some mysterious 'power of God' has worked through you!
Always cut the Gordian knot at once. Do not waste time. When once you have resolved on a definite line of action, carry it out dexterously, with a cool and calculating deliberation and consideration. Procrastination is the thief of time. One who procrastinates can never succeed in life, or in any of his undertakings.
The vast majority of persons, even so-called 'educated' people, have no definite aim in life. They drift here and there like a log of wood on a restless ocean. They do not know what to do. After finishing their B.A. or M.A. courses students do not know how to proceed. They do not have power of judgment to select any good vocation that is suitable to their temperament, that will bring them prosperity in life. They become lazy. They are not suitable for any kind of speculative business or any kind of activity demanding knack, pluck and skill.
In persons of this sort, those who waste their time and energy, they finish their life's career in gloom, despair and sorrow. The energy, the intellect are there but they have no ideal, no clear-cut programme of life. Their life is a failure.
Clearly understand the purpose of life. Then chalk out the line of work that is congenial to your aim. Live up to your ideal. You can realise the ideal right now, this very second. But if you walk with faltering steps it will take ten years. The ideal must be there and then you can develop your will.
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Life is Artificial
Life has become very artificial. There is physical, mental and moral degeneration. You do not find robust, stalwart, healthy people. Longevity is unknown. Everywhere you see puny, stunted creatures with dilapidated frames and sickly appearance. They cannot even walk a short distance.
Children beget children. People die like moths. They have become weaklings, effeminate, impotent.
There is wholesale devastation by earthquake. Divorce courts are increasing. One nation is afraid of another nation. Each nation is suspecting the other nation of preparing for war. Life has become a matter of uncertainty. It has become a mass of confusion, chaos and bewilderment. It has become very stormy and boisterous. It is full of under-currents, cross-currents and mixed currents!
You can escape from these troubles and difficulties if you lead a life of dispassion, self-restraint, purity and selfless service; if you develop pure cosmic love; if you develop the habit of taking the right view, right thinking, right feeling, right acting, all with the right attitude - and if you practise devotion and meditation.
Dispassion must be of that type that is born of pure viveka (nitya-anitya vastu viveka - discrimination between the real and the unreal). This is a rare commodity, a rare virtue. Seek everlasting bliss and peace in the Atman or the soul within by purifying the mind and practising meditation. This is the only remedy to get rid of the pains of samsara (worldly existence).
Be quick in taking to spiritual pursuits. Hairs are becoming grey. Teeth are falling. The senses are getting cold. Practise meditation while you are young. After retirement from service you can do nothing.
Monday, January 2, 2017
Difficulties exist only that you may grow strong by overcoming them. So overcome all difficulties, one by one, patiently. If you fail ten times, do not despair. If you fail a hundred times, do not be disheartened. If you fail a thousand times, rise up and march on boldly. Failures are indeed stepping-stones to success.
Watch your speech. Watch every word. Speak no word that is impure or vulgar, or that can affect the feelings of others. Never allow an unclean thought to enter your mind. If it does enter your mind, drive it out at once. Purify your mind so that an impure thought may not be able to gain entrance. Strengthen your resolve. Patiently persist in your sadhana (spiritual practice).
Intensify your dispassion and yearning for liberation. Destroy your personal element. Forgive those who harm you. Give love for hatred. Overcome evil by good. Resist the promptings of the lower nature.
Make your body your obedient servant, your slave. Do not give up your sadhana simply because you do not make any progress. Struggle as long as you can each time. Each time you will be nearer to success.
Give, give, give. Giving is the very nature of love. Giving expands and purifies the heart. Ask for no return. Ask for no gratitude. Where there is no free giving, there is no room for God. Giving itself is the secret of abundance. Interest and attention will strengthen your will. Cultivate attention to a considerable degree. Constantly repeat some inspiring verses from the Gita or the Upanishads.
Constantly repeat some mantras such as: Om Satchidananda or Om Namo Narayanaya. This will be your divine background of thought: This will be a shield, to counteract the objectionable impure thoughts.
Follow these instructions carefully. You are sure to attain Self-realisation here and now.
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If you realise the one in all and the all in one, you are an illumined sage. Be serene in the oneness of things. All duality will disappear by itself. One alone is the living reality. All is illusory. All is maya's jugglery. One appears as the all. Reject, negate the all. Realise the one and be free.