Saturday, February 29, 2020

1 March

Epistle of Swami Sivananda - 10

Now I will tell you what vichara is. Vichara means enquiry. It is an enquiry into the nature of Brahman or Atman. Enquiry of "Who am I?" is also vichara.

What is bondage? What is freedom? What is the relation between the jiva and Brahman? How was this Universe born? Who is the Creator? These constitute vichara.

Vichara leads to Brahma-jnana (realisation of the Infinite).

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You are imprisoned in this cage of flesh for a long time on account of your identification with the body. Cut this illusion with the sword of knowledge. "I am the all-pervading Sat Chit Ananda Brahman" - and be ever blissful.

Give up "I ness, mine ness", agency or doership. Become a silent witness. This is wisdom.

Brahman or the Absolute is the only reality. Mind and the universe are unreal. Mind alone is the universe. Action of the mind alone is karma.

Renunciation of egoism and desires constitutes real renunciation. This leads to atma jnana (self-knowledge). Practise Brahma vichara and you will soon attain Self-realisation.

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Identification with the body is bondage. Identification with the Atman or soul is liberation.
"I am body", "This is mine", "He is my son", "She is my wife" - this is bondage.

"I am all-pervading immortal soul", "Nothing belongs to me", "All is Brahman" - this is liberation.

If the mind is attached to objects, this is bondage. If it is unattached, this is liberation.

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Where there is no duality, there is immortality. When the three knots are cut, one attains immortality.

If your object in life is immortality, shun sense-objects as poison. Where there is nothing to be seen, or heard, or thought of, there is immortality.

Immortality is the very nature of Atman. The road to immortality is steep and thorny. The help of a realised sage is necessary - at every step.

Friday, February 28, 2020

29 February

Epistle of Swami Sivananda - 9

Jnana yoga is the yoga of wisdom. It is vedanta. It is the culmination of all the other yogas. It teaches that the individual soul is in essence identical with the supreme Soul. When avidya (ignorance) is destroyed the individual soul merges in the supreme soul.

The aspirant should equip himself with the four means of salvation, study the scriptures (Upanishad) under a guru and meditate. He will attain Self-realisation.

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The mind alone is the universe. The body with its organs, etc., is no other than mind.

The slayer of Atman (self) is the mind only. The actions of the mind alone are, indeed actions, but not so those of the body.

The mind contemplating upon the body becomes the body itself and then, enmeshed in it, is afflicted by it.

Slay the mind and attain eternal bliss.

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He who has a guru knows Brahman. A guru alone can remove doubts, pitfalls and snares. Guru is God Himself.

All that a guru can do is to tell his disciple the method of knowing the truth or the path that leads to the disclosure of the intuitional faculty.

He will clear your doubts, remove pitfalls and snares and inspire you. He cannot give you samadhi (super-conscious state). You will have to place each step yourself on the rung of the ladder of yoga. Do not expect a miracle from your guru, to put you into samadhi.

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Every man wants everlasting happiness. This is his innate feeling. This indicates that his soul is an embodiment of bliss.

Everybody wants full knowledge of everything. This gives the clue that Atman is a mass of knowledge.

Every man wants freedom. It gives the clue that his Atman is ever free.

Search within and attain the ever blissful and ever free Atman.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

28 February

Epistle of Swami Sivananda - 8 (continued)

Spiritual experiences differ in sadhakas (seekers) according to the nature of their sadhana (practice) and the yoga they are practising. Some hear anahat (mystic) sounds in the ear. Some see brilliant lights. Some have vision of rishis (sages), mountains, rivers, etc.

Some experience cosmic consciousness. This is a rare experience. It cannot be expressed in words.

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Maya is the illusory power of the Lord. Maya hides the real and makes the unreal appear as real. Maya is shuddha (pure) satva.

Do not enquire now into the origin of maya. Strive for its destruction. Maya is indescribable. It can be crossed - through the grace of God acquired by self-surrender. When jnana is attained, then you will know all about maya.

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Avidya is ignorance. It is the cause for bondage. Vidya is the cause for liberation.

Destroy the root of avidya through knowledge of Atman.

Avidya is the causal body of the individual soul. It is impure satva. It is mixed with rajas (activity) and tamas (inertia).

Avidya is the cause for births and deaths. Mind and body are the effects of avidya.

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Samadhi is union with God. It is a state of eternal bliss and eternal wisdom. It cannot be described in words. In savikalpa samadhi there is the triad, knower, knowledge, and knowable.

In samadhi mind, intellect and senses cease functioning. All dualities vanish in toto.

Meditate ceaselessly and enjoy the supreme bliss of nirvikalpa samadhi.

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Please note the difference between sleep and samadhi. Sleep is an inert state. But samadhi is a state of pure awareness or pure consciousness.

When a man returns from sleep, he is heavy and dull. He has no experience of wisdom of Atman. But when the yogi comes down from samadhi, he is full of wisdom of Atman.