Friday, August 31, 2018

1 September


If you want to get rid of the pains and afflictions of this samsara (worldly life) you must practise meditation. Meditation is the pathway to divinity. It is the royal road to the kingdom of Brahman. It is a mysterious ladder which reaches from error to truth, from darkness to light, from pain to bliss, from restlessness to abiding peace, from ignorance to wisdom, from mortality to immortality. Meditation leads to knowledge of the self, to eternal peace, supreme bliss. Meditation prepares you for direct intuitive knowledge.

Truth is Brahman. Truth is self. You cannot realise the truth without reflection and meditation. Be silent. Know thyself. Melt the mind in that. Without meditation you cannot liberate yourself from the trammels of the mind and attain immortality. Tear the veils that cover the soul. Rend asunder the five sheaths that screen the Atman (Self) by constant meditation. You will find final beatitude.

Meditation is a powerful tonic. The holy vibrations penetrate all the cells of the body and cure all its diseases. The powerful soothing waves that arise during meditation exercise a benign influence over the mind and the nerves. If you meditate for half hour you will be able to engage yourself with peace and spiritual strength in the daily battle of life, for a week. You do this just through the force of this one meditation.

A yogi who meditates regularly has a magnetic, charming personality. Those who come in contact with him are much influenced by his sweet voice, his powerful speech, his lustrous eyes, his brilliant complexion, his strong healthy body, his good behaviour, his virtuous qualities and divine nature. People draw peace and joy and strength from him.

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Close your lips. Shut the doors of the senses. Meditate on Atman (Self). You will enjoy peace and bliss. The more you grow in aspiration and meditation, the more you grow God-like. For in meditation is the light of the Lord.

Meditate and charge your battery by contact with God. Dive deep in the chambers of your heart through profound and silent meditation, and bring up the pearl of truth.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

31 August


You must have a pure mind if you want to realise the self. Unless the mind is set free, unless the mind casts away all desire, craving, worry, delusion, pride, lust, attachment, likes and dislikes, it cannot enter the domain of supreme peace.

Mind is compared to a garden. Just as you can cultivate good flowers and fruits in a garden, by ploughing and manuring the land, by removing the weeds and thorns, and by watering the plants and trees - so too you can cultivate the flower of devotion in the garden of your mind, by removing the impurities of the mind (such as lust, anger, greed, delusion, pride, etc.), and watering it with divine thoughts.

Weeds and thorns grow in the rainy season and then disappear in summer. But their seeds remain underneath the ground and as soon as there is a shower, the seeds germinate and sprout. Even so, the vrittis (modifications of the mind), manifest on the surface of the conscious mind, then disappear and assume a subtle seed-state in the form of samskaras or impressions. The samskaras again become vrittis, either through internal or external stimuli.

If you want to keep the garden clean you will have to remove not only the weeds but also the seeds that lie underneath the ground, which will eventually germinate otherwise. Even so, you have to destroy not only the big waves of the mind, but also the impressions which are the seeds for birth and death, if you want to enter the super-conscious state.

Those who have removed the impurities of their minds by japa (repetition of God's name), service, charity, pranayama (yoga breathing), etc., will enter into meditation as soon as they sit for meditation. The pure, ripe mind at once burns with the fire of meditation.

Without the help of meditation you cannot obtain knowledge of the self. Without its aid you cannot grow into the divine state. Without it you cannot liberate yourself from the trammels of the mind and attain immortality. Tear the veil that covers the soul, by practising regular meditation.

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Self-realisation is the aim of life. The means to it are living an ethical life and ceaseless meditation. Spiritual duty is far more important than worldly duty. Live to seek God. Live to serve humanity. Fulfil God's will. You will be blessed. You will be happy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

30 August

Develop Your Perception

Organs deteriorate if you do not use them properly - just as hands and legs are atrophied by disuse and are developed by muscular exercise, etc. There is intimate connection between sight and memory, and between hearing and memory.

He who has acute sight, keen perception, good powers of observation and hearing - he will have a good memory. In the internal astral body there are counterparts of these. They are called astral senses. A yogi hears through astral ears and sees through astral eyes. Thus he can hear sounds from distant lands, he can see objects in distant localities. This is called clairvoyance and clairaudience.

Generally people are very careless. They have no wish to learn higher things and have a fund of knowledge. Keep a watch very close to the ear; hear the sound attentively. On the second day put the watch a little further away. Listen to the tick-tick sound. Every day increase the distance, training yourself to hear the sound. Then plug one ear with the index finger of your hand. Train the ears alternately.

Here is another exercise. Close both ears through yonimudra; try to hear the anahata sounds that emanate from the heart lotus. You will hear ten varieties of sounds, such as: flute, mridanga, veena, conch, bells, thunder, humming of a bee, drum, etc. Allow the organ of hearing (ear) to shift from one sound to another and carefully differentiate the various sounds.  Eventually fix the ear on one sound. Try the gross sounds first and then go to the subtle sounds.

There is another exercise. Fix the ears on the pranava dhvani (Om sound) that emanates from a river, ocean or wind. It will be heard like 'bhum' or a long 'Om'. Train your ears to hear this sound. Do this exercise at 4 a.m. or at 9 p.m. when the noise of the town has died down.

Keep your ears keen. Differentiate the sounds of various kinds of birds, beasts, children, factories, motor cars, aeroplanes, cycles, shrieks, yells, snores, sobbing, crying, laughing, mocking, joking, etc.

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The mind may be there, the instrument may be perfect, but if the mind is not functioning perfectly, you cannot see or hear properly. Perception is possible only when the mind is linked with the external instrument (ear, eye, etc.).

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

29 August


Trataka is steady gazing. Write the word Om in black on the wall. Concentrate on it with open eyes till tears come in the eyes. Then close the eyes; visualise the picture of Om. Then open the eyes and again gaze till lachrymation manifests. Gradually increase the period. There are students who can gaze for one hour. Trataka is one of the sad-kriyas (six exercises) in hatha yoga. Trataka steadies the wandering mind and removes vikshepa (tossing of the mind). Instead of gazing at Om you may gaze at a big black dot on the wall. The walls will present a golden colour during trataka.

You can do trataka on any picture of the Lord, either of Krishna, Rama, or Shiva or on Saligrama. You can sit on the chair also. Fix the picture on the wall in front of your eyes. Trataka is the alpha-beta of concentration. It is the first exercise for yogic students in concentration.

Trataka with open eyes is followed by visualisation. Visualisation is calling up of a clear mental image of anything.

Practise trataka for one minute on the first day. Then gradually increase the period every week. Do it gently with ease and comfort, as long as you can. Repeat your mantra during trataka. In some people who have weak capillaries, the eyes may become red. They need not be alarmed unnecessarily. The redness of the eyes will pass quickly.

Practise trataka for six months - then you can take up advanced lessons in concentration and meditation. Be regular and systematic in your sadhana (practice). If there is a break, make up the deficiency or loss on the next day. Trataka removes many eye diseases and ultimately brings in siddhis (psychic powers).

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Place a picture of Lord Jesus in front of you. Sit in your favourite meditative pose. Concentrate gently with open eyes on the picture till tears trickle down the cheeks. Rotate the mind on the cross, on the chest, long hair, beautiful beard, round eyes, and the various other limbs of his body, and fine spiritual aura emanating from his head, and so on. Think of his divine attributes, various phases of his interesting life and the 'miracles' he performed and the various extraordinary powers he possessed. Then close the eyes and try to visualise the picture. Repeat the same process again and again.

Monday, August 27, 2018

28 August

The Power of Concentration

If you focus the rays of the sun through a lens, they can burn cotton or a piece of paper; but the scattered rays cannot do this. If you want to talk to a man at a distance, you make a funnel of your hand and speak; the sound waves are collected at one point and then directed towards the man. He can hear your speech very clearly. When water is converted into steam and the steam is concentrated at a point, the railway engine moves. The steam in the cooking vessels moves the lid and produces a put-put sound. All these are instances of concentrated waves. Even so, if you collect the dissipated rays of the mind and focus them at a point, you will have wonderful concentration. The concentrated mind will serve is a potent search-light to find out the treasures of the soul and attain the supreme wealth of Atman, eternal bliss, immortality and perennial joy. Therefore practise concentration and meditation regularly.

Kumbhaka (retention of breath) helps concentration. It checks the velocity of the mind and makes it move in smaller circles and ultimately curbs all its wanderings. Trataka (gazing) is a potent aid to concentration. Fix the mind on the candle flame, or a black dot, or shivalinga (symbol of Siva), or saligrama (symbol of Vishnu). Brahmacharya (celibacy) helps concentration.  Without brahmacharya you cannot have definite progress. Satvic (pure) food is another aid to concentration. Seclusion, mouna (silence), satsanga (holy company), asana (yoga posture), japa (repetition of God's name), practice of yama, niyama, fasting, moderation in diet, non-mixing with persons, little talking, little walking, little exertion - are all aids to concentration.

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The mind can be controlled by continuous practice. You must always keep it occupied in divine contemplation. If you slacken your efforts, idle thoughts will at once occur. Continuous practice only can bring the mind under control.

If you wish to attain success in yoga you will have to abandon all worldly enjoyments. You will have to practise brahmacharya and tapas (austerity). These will help you in the attainment of concentration and samadhi (super-consciousness).

Sunday, August 26, 2018

27 August

The Fruits of Concentration

Now hear about the fruits that one gains from this practice. Supreme joy is for the yogi whose mind is peaceful, whose passionate nature is calmed, who is sinless and of the nature of the eternal.

When one advances in the practice of concentration, when one takes a real interest in it and when one has realised some benefits, then he cannot leave the practice. Concentration brings supreme joy, spiritual inner strength, unalloyed felicity and infinite, eternal peace. It brings profound knowledge and deep inner sight, intuition and communion with God.

The vital point in concentration is to bring the mind to the same point or object, again and again, by limiting its movements. Limit it to a small circle to begin with - that is the main aim. A time will come when the mind will stick to one point alone. This is the fruit of protracted sadhana (practice). Now your joy will be indescribable.

If you decide to meditate on the form of a chair, bring all thoughts connected with that chair together and dwell on these ideas. Do not allow thoughts of other objects to enter your mind. Thought should flow steadily, like oil flowing steadily from one vessel to another. Gradually reduce the number of ideas related to the object of concentration. When all these ideas die, you get the super-conscious state (samadhi).

When this last idea dies out and when there is not even a single idea, the mind becomes blank or void. There is mental vacuity. This is the stage of thoughtlessness referred to by Patanjali in his Raja Yoga philosophy. You must rise above this blank vritti (thought-form) and identify yourself with the Supreme Purusha or Brahman, the silent witness of the mind who gives power and light to the mind. Then and then alone you will reach the highest goal of life.

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Prolonged meditation on the Absolute leads to Perfection. One of the greatest needs in spiritual life is meditation. Meditate and listen to the voice of God. This will give you strength and power and peace.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

26 August

The Practice of Concentration

Fix the mind on some object, within the body or without. Keep it there, steadily, for some time. This is concentration. Practise this daily.

Ethical perfection is a matter of paramount importance. You can concentrate internally on any of the seven centres of spiritual energy. A man who is filled with passion and fantastic desires can hardly concentrate at all, even for a second. His mind jumps around like a monkey.

Sit in the lotus pose. Gaze gently at the tip of the nose. Practise this for one minute in the beginning, gradually increasing it to half an hour. This steadies the mind and develops the power of concentration. Keep this up even as you walk about.

Or, sit in the lotus pose, fixing the mind between the eyebrows. Do this gently for half a minute. Gradually increase to half an hour or more. This removes tossing of the mind and develops concentration. Select either of these methods.

If you want to increase your power of concentration, you will have to reduce your worldly activities. You will have to observe the vow of silence every day for two hours or more.
When the mind runs from an object, bring it back again and again. When concentration is deep and intense, the senses cannot operate. He who practises concentration for three hours a day will have tremendous psychic power and will power.

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You should steadily direct your gaze towards the tip of the nose (nasikagra drshti) and keep the mind fixed on the Self only. In chapter five, verse 25 of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says: "Having made the mind abide in the self, let him not think of anything." Another gaze is gazing between the eyebrows. Do not strain the eyes; practise gently.

When you practise concentration on the end of the nose, you will experience various sorts of fragrance. When you concentrate on the ajna chakra (eyebrow centre), you will experience divya jyoti (divine light). This will give you encouragement. It will push you up the spiritual path and convince you of the existence of transcendental things. Do not stop your sadhana (practice) now.

Friday, August 24, 2018

25 August

Your Foremost Duty - Concentration

Sri Shankara writes that a man's duty consists in the control of the senses and the concentration of the mind. As long as one's thoughts are not thoroughly destroyed, through persistent practice, a man should ever be concentrating his mind on one truth at a time. Through such unremitting practice, one-pointedness will accrue and instantly all the hosts of thoughts will vanish. Concentration is opposed to sensuous desires, bliss to flurry and worry, sustained thinking to perplexity, applied thinking to sloth, and torpor and rapture to ill-will.

You are born to concentrate the mind on God after collecting the mental rays that are dissipated on various objects. This is your foremost duty, but you forget it on account of delusion for family, money, power, position, name and fame. Concentration of the mind on God after purification can give you real happiness and knowledge. You are born for this purpose only. Fix the mind on Atman, the all-pervading, pure intelligence and self-luminous effulgence. Stand firm in Brahman, then you will become established in Brahman.

Attention plays a great part in concentration. It is the basis of will. The force with which anything strikes the mind is generally in proportion to the degree of attention bestowed on it. Attention on any object may be either subjective (internal) or objective (external). Practise concentrating your attention on unpleasant tasks, upon uninteresting objects and ideas. Then many mental weaknesses will vanish and the mind will become stronger and stronger.

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Do a thing that the mind does not want to do. Do not do a thing that the mind wants to do. Don't fulfil your desires; don't hope; don't expect. Destroy vicious desires through virtuous desires and then destroy the virtuous desires also, through one strong desire for liberation. Practice of pranayama destroys rajas (activity) and tamas (dullness) and makes the mind steady and one-pointed.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

24 August

Withdraw the Mind

Pratyahara is abstraction or withdrawal of the senses. From it starts the real inner spiritual life and the external world is shut out. Yama, niyama, asana, pranayama all prepare the aspirant for the practice of pratyahara. The mind is rendered calm by the practice of brahmacharya (celibacy) and aparigraha (non-covetousness). Asana and pranayama squeeze out the rajas (restlessness). Pranayama checks the out-going tendencies of the mind. Now the mind can easily be detached.

Pratyahara gives inner spiritual strength and great peace of mind. It develops will power and removes all sorts of distractions. An unsteady asana (posture), too much talking, too much mixing, too much work, too much food, too much walking, too much of activity (vyavahara) and poking one's nose into the affairs of others, all produce much distraction of the mind and stand in the way of the practice of pratyahara.

When you mix with people, again and again, fix the mind on your lakshya (point of concentration). Rest in your background of thought - whether saguna (form) or abstract vedantic image. This serves as a strong fortress to protect you from the onslaught of worldly thoughts.

Keep a steady pose, be regular in the practice of pranayama, cultivate vairagya (dispassion), vichara (enquiry) and viveka (wisdom). Always look at the defects of a sensual life. Develop serenity, contentment, patience. Be persevering, tenacious and ever-vigilant. Pray to the Lord. Sing. Do japa (repetition of God's name). Obtain divine grace. Observe mouna (silence), moderation in diet, and seclusion. Practise celibacy. Stick to resolves. Live in seclusion. Be bold. Be pure. Be wise. Have satsanga (holy company). Give up evil company. Then you will have success in pratyahara.

Concentration is the direct method to get success in pratyahara. Sit in a quiet room and withdraw the senses. Have a spiritual background of thought and the mind will rest in this when released from work. Japa is another method. Divide the mind. Fix one portion on God and let the other portion work. Sightless gaze is also another aid. Feel that this world is the manifestation of the Lord. Understand that lasting happiness can only be had in the Atman within.

It is difficult to say where pratyahara ends and concentration begins. Concentration for twenty seconds makes one meditation and twenty such meditations make one samadhi (super-conscious state). But this is only for beginners.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

23 August

Develop Will-Power

Attention, power of endurance, overcoming aversion, dislikes and irritations, fortitude in suffering, tapas, fasting, patience, command of temper, forbearance, clemency, mental power of endurance, firmness in meeting danger, power of resistance in attack, keeping up daily diary - all pave a long way towards developing the will. You should patiently hear the words of others even though they are not interesting and charming. You should not fret and fume. Patient hearing develops will and wins the hearts of others. Do actions or tasks that are uninteresting - this also develops will power. The actions that are uninteresting will become interesting after some time.

Never complain against bad environments. Create your own mental world wherever you remain, wherever you go. The mind deludes you, at every moment, at every step. Try to overcome the obstacles and difficulties by suitable means. Do not try to run from bad, unfavourable environments. God has placed you there to make you grow quickly.

Man must learn to separate himself from the vehicles in which he thinks, feels, acts, desires. He must know them to be part of the not-Self - as material, external to life. Thus the energy that went out to objects of lower desires becomes a higher desire, guided by the mind, and is then prepared to be transmuted into will.

As the lower mind merges into the higher will and into that which is wisdom, the aspect of pure will emerges as the power of the spirit, self-determined, self-ruled, in perfect harmony with the supreme will and therefore free. Then only, all the bonds are broken and the spirit is unconstrained by anything outside itself. Then and then alone can the will be said to be free.
If a calamity occurs, your mind should not be upset. Keep the mind cool and calm. Have presence of mind. Do not cry over spilt milk - it has come to pass, so face it with a cheerful countenance. Make the best of things. "What cannot be cured must be endured." Keep an unruffled mind. Do not be carried away by undue sentiments and bubbling emotions. Control the mind. Reflect how the calamity has come about.

There is always scope for suitable, effective, easy methods to tide over the crisis. Allow the turban to pass off when your head is on the point of being knocked down. This is sagacity. This is prudence. This is wisdom. Develop foresight, wisdom - many obstacles and calamities will be obviated. Do not brood over failures, defects, mistakes. This will weaken your will-power. Let the defects remain there. They will be removed quickly when the will grows and when the will becomes purer and purer, stronger and stronger.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

22 August

Memory Culture

Take up memory culture. Take to any exercise that suits you best and put it into daily practice. Keep a daily record - this is very important. Mere skipping over the pages will not do. You will not be benefited. If you really want rapid improvement, if you want to become a real man, put the lessons into practice and take down notes. You can watch your progress and correct your mistakes.

Learn the art of extracting work from the subconscious mind. If you want to remember a forgotten passage, give a definite message to the subconscious mind just before you retire to bed. Talk to the subconscious mind, just as you would talk to a friend. Give the order in clear terms. The following morning it will place the words before you. If this fails, wait with a calm mind till the answer comes from the subconscious mind itself.

After you are well up in memory culture, you can take up will culture. Success in memory culture will give you a great impetus in will culture. You will rejoice now. You will train every nerve in the practice of will culture. You have started the current and it will keep up your zeal and enthusiasm.

Practise the assertions boldly and calmly. Fully understand the meaning of every assertion. Try to feel it. This feeling will slowly manifest. Do not be discouraged. You will have to fight your old enemies, the old samskaras. Try to develop patience, attention, power of endurance, balance of mind, presence of mind and so on.

Pay great attention to this; you will derive great benefit from it. Will is dynamic soul-force. If rendered pure and irresistible, it can work wonders. There is nothing you cannot achieve with a strong will. The majority of persons have no consciousness of will or mind or intellect, though they talk much of 'will' and 'mind'.

The will has become impure and weak through vasanas (desires). When a desire is controlled it becomes changed into will. Sexual energy, muscular energy, anger, etc., are all transmuted into will-force when they are controlled. The fewer the desires, the stronger the will.

The force of brahmacharya is at the back of will. No will culture is possible without brahmacharya. Will is another name for the force of celibacy. Satsankalpa is the pure willing of jnanis. They can do anything through satsankalpa.

Monday, August 20, 2018

21 August

Develop Your Sight

Whenever you meet a person, look at his figure carefully from top to bottom. Mentally note his peculiar features - the condition of his eyes, eyebrows, teeth, arms etc., the sort of dress he is wearing, what kind of cap he wears, whether he has a moustache or not. Notice his behaviour, his looks, his gait, whether he seems to be kind-hearted or cruel, whether he is intelligent or dull, polite or impolite, his colour, etc.

Many people cannot give a clear description of the faces of their own friends, their own parents! The obvious reason is that they have not developed the power of memory. Enter your friend's room; notice carefully all the things you see there. Then close your eyes and reflect. Come out of the room and note mentally all the things which the room contains, in order. Then re-enter the room and verify what you noticed. Practise this for some months - you will develop a wonderful power of sight.

Memory culture is very, very important. It brings success in God-realisation as well. A forgetful man always fails in his endeavours - he commits serious mistakes again and again. A man with a strong and retentive memory gets sanguine success in all his ventures and undertakings. He who has memory can conduct his business affairs very successfully. A student who has a retentive memory will get success in all his examinations. Intelligence is only one-tenth of memory.

The Sanskrit term for memory is smirti. Smarana is remembering. This is the function of the subconscious mind or chitta. The samskaras (habits) of thinking and acting are deeply impressed in the chitta, which is like the sensitive plate of a camera. All impressions are indelibly recorded there. Whenever you attempt to remember past events or things, they come to the surface of the mind through the trapdoor. They come out in the form of big waves of thought or as mental images.

He who dwells in the subconscious mind (chitta) and in memory, he who is within this memory, whom the chitta and the memory do not know, whose body is the memory (and subconscious mind), who rules the memory and chitta from within - he is thy self, the inner ruler, immortal Atman, antaryami, amritam. My silent adorations and prostrations to this inner ruler!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

20 August

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini shakti is the coiled up, dormant, cosmic power that underlies all organic and inorganic matter. It is the primordial energy that lies at the basal centre (muladhara chakra) in a dormant, potential state. Kundalini yoga treats of kundalini shakti, the seven chakras (centres of spiritual energy), and the arousing of this sleeping kundalini.

Nadis are astral tubes that carry pranic currents. They cannot be seen with the naked eye. They are not the ordinary nerves, arteries and veins. There are 72,000 nadis. Three are important. They are the ida, the pingala, and the sushumna. Sushumna is the most important because kundalini passes through this nadi only.

The first step in kundalini yoga is the purification of the nadis. When sushumna is pure, then only will the kundalini pass through it. Kundalini is awakened by pranayama, asana and mudras by hatha yogins; through concentration by raja yogins; through devotion and perfect self-surrender by devotees; through analytical will by the jnanis; by japa (repetition) of mantra (God's name) and the grace of the guru (preceptor).

That aspirant who has firm faith in the scriptures, who is courageous, devotional, humble, generously merciful, pure and dispassionate, can easily awaken the kundalini and attain success in samadhi (super-consciousness). He should also be equipped with right conduct and self-restraint. He should constantly engage himself in the service of his guru, and he should be free from lust, anger, delusion, greed and vanity.

When kundalini is taken to the sahasrara (the crown of the head), when she is united with Lord Siva, perfect samadhi (the super-conscious, blissful state) ensues. Now the yogi drinks the nectar of immortality. May mother kundalini guide you all in your yogic practices! May her blessings be upon you all!

This world is a mass of energy or electrons,
This is the view of scientists.
This world is all shakti,
This is the view of the shaktas.
The essence of the world is Brahman, the Absolute,
This is the view of vedantins.
-Thus sayeth Sivananda

Saturday, August 18, 2018

19 August

Prana Control

Prana is expended by thinking, willing, acting, moving, talking, writing, etc. A healthy and strong man has an abundance of prana, nerve force, vitality. Prana is supplied in water, in food, in air and in solar energy. Excess prana is stored in the brain and nerve centres. Seminal energy, when sublimated or transformed, supplies an abundance of prana to the system. It is stored in the brain in the form of 'ojas'.

The yogi stores abundant prana by regular practice of pranayama. The yogi who has stored up a large supply of prana radiates strength and vitality. Those who come in close contact with him imbibe prana from him and get strength, vigour, vitality and exhilaration of spirits. Just as water flows from one vessel to another, prana flows, like a steady current, from a developed yogi to a weaker person. This may actually be seen by one who has developed his inner, psychic vision.

Breath is the external manifestation of gross prana. Correct habits of breathing must be established by the regular practice of pranayama. If you can control prana, you can completely control all the forces of the universe, mental and physical. The yogi can also control the omnipresent, manifesting power out of which all energies take their origin. He can control magnetism, electricity, gravitation, cohesion, nerve-currents, vital forces or thought vibrations. In fact he can control the total forces of the universe, both physical and mental.

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A yogi can withdraw prana from any area. That area then becomes numb; it becomes impervious to heat and cold. He can send prana also to any area, and make it oversensitive. He can send prana to the eyes and see distant objects. He can send prana to the nose and can experience divya gandha (supernatural scent). He can send prana to the tongue and can experience supersensuous taste.

There is great significance in the order of the angas (limbs) of raja yoga. Practice of asana (posture) controls rajas (restlessness). Brahmacharya (celibacy) purifies the prana. Pranayama purifies the nadis (astral tubes). Pranayama it steadies the mind and makes it fit for concentration. It removes rajas and tamas (dullness). The practice of yama (self-restraint), niyama (discipline), asana and pranayama are all auxiliaries in the practice of concentration. Pranayama reduces the velocity of the mind. It makes it run and smaller and smaller circles.

Friday, August 17, 2018

18 August

Prana and Pranayama

Breath is external manifestation of prana, the vital force. Breath, like electricity, is gross prana. Breath is sthula (gross) and prana is sukshma (subtle). By exercising control over this breathing you can control the subtle prana inside. Control of prana means control of mind. Mind cannot operate without the help of prana.

The vibrations of prana produce thought in the mind. It is prana that moves the mind. It is prana that sets the mind in motion. It is the sukshma prana or psychic prana that is intimately connected with the mind.

Breath represents the important flywheel of an engine. Just as other wheels stop when the driver stops the flywheel, all other organs stop working when the yogi stops the breath. If you can control the flywheel you can easily control the other wheels.

Likewise, if you can control the breath, the external breath, then you can easily control the inner vital force, the prana. The process by which the prana is controlled, by the regulation of external breath, is termed pranayama.

Just as the goldsmith removes the impurities from gold, by heating it in the hot furnace and by strongly blowing the blow-pipe, so also the yogic method removes the impurities of the body and the indriyas (senses), by blowing the lungs - that is, by practising pranayama.

The chief aim of pranayama is to unite the prana with the apana and to take the united pranapana slowly towards the head. The effects, or fruit, of pranayama is the awakening of the sleeping kundalini.

"He who knows prana knows the veda," is the important declaration of the shrutis. In the Vedanta Sutras you will find: "For the same reason, breath is Brahman." Prana is the sum total of all energy that is manifest in the universe. It is the sum total of all the forces in nature.

Prana is the sum total of all latent forces and powers which are hidden in men and which lie everywhere around us. Heat, light, electricity and magnetism are all manifestations of prana. All forces, all powers, and prana, spring from the fountain or common source - the Atman.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

17 August

See the Results

For those who have poorly developed chests, respiratory exercises are necessary. For those who have excess fat in the abdomen, abdominal exercises are essential. Exercises that are best calculated to improve the function of vital inner organs of the body and tone them up to counteract the tendency towards disease, are also indispensable.

The lungs can be developed through the practice of deep breathing exercises. By pranayama (yoga breathing), the apices of the lungs will get a proper supply of oxygen. There will be an improvement in the quality and the quantity of the blood. All the tissues and cells will be nourished with pure blood and lymph. The process of metabolism will be carried out in an efficient manner.

If the joints move freely, the ligaments and the surrounding tissues will be in a proper, healthy condition. Free movement of the spine will prevent stiffening and contraction of the spine. Ossification and degeneration of the bones of the spinal column (merudanda) will also be checked. A thickened and immovable joint gives a great deal of discomfort and uneasiness.

By the practice of asanas free movement is given to the elbow, wrist, ankle, shoulder and spinal joints. Muscles of the cervical, dorsal and lumbar regions are stretched and relaxed. There is dorsal and lumbar lifting and the body is kept in a fit condition.

Asanas are the system of yogic exercises of the Indian rishis (sages) of yore, based on exact principles. These are adapted for both men and women, for people of the East and West. You can keep up meditation while performing the asanas. This is accompanied by pranayama or regulation of the breath.

These exercises are preventative and curative. Some of them twist the body forwards and backwards. Others help the lateral movement of the spine. Thus the body as a whole is developed, toned and strengthened. The whole course can be finished in fifteen minutes. Within this short period you can realise the maximum benefit. This system is simple, exact, efficacious, economical of time and capable of being self-practised.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

16 August

Benefits of Yoga Asanas

The practice of Asanas develops the body and the practitioner himself is kept agile and nimble. He has an elastic spine and a supple body. He has a keen and vigorous appetite. Any trouble is removed at its starting point by the practice of Asanas.

The three important organs, that is, the heart, the lungs, and the brain and cerebro-spinal system, are kept in a healthy condition. The vital forces are preserved and increased. The circulation of the blood in the arteries and veins is kept in proper order by the practice of Asanas. There is no stagnation of the blood in any part of the body.

The practitioner of asanas always laughs heartily and radiates joy, strength and vigour wherever he moves. He always gets success in all his attempts. He looks very young even at the age of sixty. He is endowed with a peculiar glow in his face and eyes. He possesses a peculiar charm in his smile.

By practising the asanas regularly, men and women will acquire a figure which will enhance their beauty, and a suppleness which gives charm and elegance to every movement.
Health is thy birthright - not disease. Strength is thy heritage but not weakness; efficiency but not inefficiency; courage but not fear; bliss but not sorrow; peace but not restlessness; knowledge but not ignorance; immortality but not mortality.

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This body is the moving temple of God. It is an instrument for crossing the ocean of samsara or the round of birth and death. It is the instrument for attaining the supreme abode of immortality, eternal bliss and perennial joy. It is a horse that can take you to the destination, the goal of life. Therefore it must be kept healthy and strong.

Proper training and care of the body, on an intelligent basis, is necessary. There should be harmonious development of all the muscles of the body, organs, nerves and frame.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

15 August

Yoga Asanas

Health is wealth. Good health is a valuable asset for one and all. It can be achieved by the practice of yoga asanas, which control the emotions and produce mental peace. It also distributes prana evenly throughout the body and different systems. It helps in maintaining the healthy functioning of the internal organs. It gives internal massage to the various abdominal organs.

Physical exercises draw the prana out but asanas send the prana in. The practice of asanas cures many diseases and it awakens the kundalini shakti.  These are the chief advantages of the yogic system of exercises advantages which none of the other systems have.
Practise a few asanas daily - at least for fifteen minutes. Soon you will possess wonderful health. Be regular in your practice - this is of paramount importance.

Asanas should be done on an empty stomach in the morning or at least three hours after food. Morning is the best time to do the asanas. Do not wear your spectacles whilst doing them. Wear a langotee and a singlet if necessary.

Be moderate in your diet. Practise brahmacharya (celibacy). Begin with a minimum time and gradually increase it. Answer the calls of nature before you begin doing the asanas.
The endocrine glands play an important part in the economy of nature. The practice of sarvangasana keeps the thyroid healthy and this means a healthy functioning of all the organs and systems in the body.

The diaphragm, the muscular partition between the chest and the abdomen, is also developed by certain exercises such as - dhanurasana, mayurasana, and paschimottanasana. The movement of the diaphragm massages the abdominal viscera and organs. There will be daily evacuation of the bowels in the morning. Constipation, dyspepsia and a host of other ailments of the stomach and intestines will disappear. 

Four asanas are prescribed for the purposes of japa (repetition of God's name) and meditation. They are padma, siddha, svastika and sukha. Be able to sit in any of these for three hours without shaking. Then only you will be able to control the breath and do meditation. If you can be steady in the posture for even an hour you will acquire a one-pointed mind and feel infinite peace. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

14 August

Mental Health is Vital

Good health is the prerequisite for spiritual pursuits. The practice of yoga asanas for even fifteen minutes a day will help to keep good health. Become quite fit and you will be hale and hearty. Without good health you cannot wage war against the turbulent senses and the boisterous mind.

Body, mind and spirit constitute man. There is an intimate relation between body and mind. The body is the mould prepared by the mind, for its own enjoyment. Spirit is the substratum for the body and the mind. Mental health is even more vital than physical health. The spring of loveliness flows from health.

Every joy that enlivens your heart comes from health. Lack of cheerfulness contributes to physical ill-health. If one is always cheerful and entertains good and divine thoughts, he will not suffer from any disease. He will have perfect health at all times.

Allow your body to respond freely to the action of natural agents. Put yourself in tune with the source of all health, power and strength. The cosmic force for well-being will then in-fill you. This is the ultimate factor behind all therapeutics. This is the secret to bear in mind. Use it for the background for the treatment of your ills, both bodily and mental.

With your being harmonised with the all-pervading cosmic being, you will cross the ocean of worldly existence by vigorous spiritual sadhana (practice). And, through His abundant grace and blessing, may you attain health and long life.

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In one's endeavour to utilise one's power in the quest of truth, the health of the body is of great importance. Man always talks of good health but does little or nothing about it. You must have a body that is fit, strong and healthy - then alone you will have a mind that can work to the full capacity.

Health and strength can be yours with a little positive thinking, careful regulation of personal habits, observance of nature's laws and daily meditation. The source of all health and healing is thy self. The power to overcome all conditions lies in you. Persistently assert your ever perfect spiritual nature. Feel thyself to be an ocean of perfect health, strength and vigour. Allow the mind to dwell on this continuously. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

13 August

Develop the Body, Too

Physical culture or development of the body is as important as the development of the mind, will or memory. If the body is not kept strong and healthy, vigorous and active, no culture is possible. All cultures depend on a sound body. There is a wise saying: "A sound mind in a sound body". The body is the temple of God. It should be kept scrupulously clean by daily bath, a good scrub with a clean towel - this opens the pores which may have been clogged by sweat and sebum.

There are different types of physical culture. Select one according to your needs, taste, temperament and capacity. A man in poor health should take long brisk walks, morning and evening. Always walk alone; then you feel the presence of the Almighty everywhere and you can be in perfect harmony with nature. Morning walks are pleasant. The cool breeze is refreshing and the fragrance of the flowers is invigorating. Finish the walk before sunrise. The walking itself should be brisk; you should have good perspiration. Only then it is exercise. Walk at least three or four miles a day. Do pranayama whilst walking. Inhale for six steps, retain for six steps and then exhale for six steps. This is good practice.

Be strictly regular in the performance of the exercises - this is essential for rapid progress. Those doing vigorous exercise should take substantial, nutritious food - otherwise their muscles will waste. They should take plenty of ghee (clarified butter), milk, butter, nuts etc. Those who practise the head-stand should take a light meal about ten minutes after they have finished the asanas. Weigh your body once a month and keep a record. Do exercise both morning and evening. Then rest for half an hour before taking your bath.

Observe brahmacharya (celibacy) as much as you can. If you remain a strict celibate you will attain astonishing results. What is there in a woman? What is there in repeating the same old act again and again which is so disgraceful? Are you not ashamed of all that? Do you not realise that it is all the play of avidya (ignorance) and false moha (delusion)? Strengthen the body and then do spiritual sadhana (practice). You will enjoy real bliss. I beseech you - learn to be wise - at least from now on.

Treat this body as your servant and instrument. You are distinct from this physical body which is only made up of the five elements and is subject to decay and death. You are in essence the reality, the all-pervading, imperishable Atman (Self). Identification with the body is the root-cause for bondage, for human misery and suffering. Do not become the slave of the body.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

12 August

Yoga of Self-Surrender

Repeat this formula very often and with intense faith: "The Lord is my strength, my support and my stay." Thus you will derive strength, power and peace.

God knows what is best for you and He does what is best for you. His ways are mysterious - know His ways and become wise.

Slay egoism and desire, they are the enemies, the obstacles of self-surrender. You may accuse God and say: "He is not just; He is cruel.  Vicious persons are thriving I am virtuous and yet I suffer. There is no God." Later on you will realise that He has done the best thing for you.

Do not pray to the Lord for the removal of sufferings. Pray to Him to grant you power of endurance and patience to bear all calamities.

A devotee remains unaffected by adversities, trials and tribulations. He knows and feels that they are all karmic purgations and are the real messengers of God. He welcomes them calmly.

A devotee alone gets troubles and adversities; because this is his last birth, many karmas have to be worked out and he must be united with the Lord in this very birth.

God gives immense strength and patience to His devotee to bear troubles and calamities. The devotee is ever calm and cheerful - he is not affected by them as his mind ever dwells in the contemplation of the Lord. He is not body-conscious.

Murmur not. Grumble not. Even a leaf cannot fall without the will of God. What is destined to take place as willed by God, takes place. Face the difficulties, the battle of life with a smile. Become a brave soldier. Difficulties come to intensify your faith, to strengthen your will and power of endurance and to turn your mind more and more towards God.

Pain is the great eye-opener. It is your silent teacher. It will make you remember God. Kunti prayed: "O Lord Krishna, give me pain always so that I may ever remember you." The more troubles and adversities you get, the stronger and firmer will be your faith in God. They will mould you into a divine being. Welcome them.

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Seek God's grace through self-surrender and He will show you the way. Transient are all mundane things! Evanescent are all earthly forms! Seek the immortal and attain bliss eternal.

Friday, August 10, 2018

11 August

Self-Surrender - True and False

Self-surrender is a safe and sure means of God-realisation. Surrender yourself and all your belongings to the feet of the supreme. Live a life of godliness. Think that nothing is yours and that everything belongs to God - this is surrender to God. Give the power of attorney to God; let him do whatever he wants. You will have no worry and no anxiety. You will be peaceful.

Surrender contains intense love and faith. It must be complete - the entire being must be surrendered to the Lord - mind, intellect, chitta and egoism.  Desire and egoism are the two great obstacles to self-surrender.

If the mind says: "I am thine, O Lord"; if the ego says "I must become a High Court Judge"; if the intellect says: "I am a great devotee"; if the chitta says: "I must attain siddhis"; this will not constitute perfect, unreserved surrender. This is only cheating the Lord, the inner ruler and witness.

After surrendering to the Lord you should not grumble, fret and fume when any trouble comes. You should not complain to the Lord: "O Lord, you have no eyes. You have no compassion." If you complain, then there is no meaning in your surrender.

Through surrender the devotee immerses himself into the eternal essence. You can endear yourself to the Lord only by self-surrender. The more the surrender the more the grace.

In difficulties and struggles, God will give you the strength and inner peace to bear them - this is his grace. Constant remembrance of the Lord; constant recitation of His name will fill your heart with satva (purity) and immense strength and peace to face the most trying conditions with perfect calmness and serenity.

Have perfect trust in God. Surrender to Him. Place yourself in his loving care - do this with your whole heart and mind, with perfect confidence and faith. Worry not about your future, about money, about your health - He will take care of you. You will have plenty; you will have immense strength and wonderful health.