Table of Contents

 

About This Book (Back Cover)

Dedication

Publishers’ Note

Preface

Prayers

INTRODUCTORY

A Survey of the Evolution of the Ancient Indian Spiritual Techniques

CHAPTER ONE
FOUNDATIONS OF SADHANA

Prerequisites of Spiritual Sadhana

The Three Governing Factors of Sadhana

Primary Principles of Sadhana and Their Perversions

Abhyasa: The First Phase of Sadhana

Four Points for Memory in Sadhana

Bases of Spiritual Sadhana

Aspects of Spiritual Sadhana

Sadhana: Its Techniques of Applied Psychology

Easy Method of Sadhana in Worldly Environment

Some Secrets of Sadhana

The Essence of Sadhana

CHAPTER TWO
SIGNIFICANT PROCESSES IN SADHANA

The Movement of Vasanas in Sadhana

Role of Restraint in Sadhana

Repression in Sadhana and Its Effects

Triple Withdrawal in Sadhana

Patience in Sadhana

Perseverance in Sadhana

Continuity in Sadhana

Four Progressive Stages in Sadhana

CHAPTER THREE

TYPES OF SADHANA

Fourfold Sadhana

The Simple Sadhana

Most Important Sadhana

A Dynamic Sadhana

Antaranga Sadhana

Ethical Sadhana

Mouna Sadhana

Brahmacharya Sadhana

Sadhana of the Antarmukha Vritti

Sadhana by Circumspection

Sadhana in Self-analysis

Sadhana of Pratipaksha Bhavana

Sadhana of Spiritual Vision

The Disciplines of Universal Love

CHAPTER FOUR
SADHANA IN THE PRASTHANATRAYA

The Sadhana of the Veda

Sadhana in the Brahma Sutras

Sadhana of the Upanishads

Sadhana of the Bhagavad-Gita

CHAPTER FIVE
SADHANA IN THE SMRITIS, EPICS AND PURANAS

Sadhana in the Manusmriti

Sadhana in the Ramayana

Sadhana in the Mahabharata

Sadhana in the Bhagavata Purana

Vishnupurana: Sadhana for Liberation

Sadhana in Garuda Purana

The Sadhana of the Yogavasishtha

CHAPTER SIX
SADHANA IN THE VARIOUS SCHOOLS

Sadhana in Veerasaivism

Sakti Yoga Sadhana

Sadhana in Saivasiddhanta

Sadhana in Kashmir Saivism

Sadhana in Pasupata Yoga

CHAPTER SEVEN
SADHANA IN SIVANANDA SUTRAS

Sadhana of Sivananda Upadesamritam

Sivananda Mano-Vijnana Sadhana Sutras

Sivananda Hatha Yoga Sadhana Sutras

Sivananda Karma Yoga Sadhana Sutras

Sivananda Bhakti Yoga Sadhana Sutras

Sivananda Yoga Sadhana Sutras

Sivananda Vedanta Sadhana Sutras

Integral Yoga Sadhana

CHAPTER EIGHT
SARVA-SADHANA-SANGRAHA

Triplets in the Four Main Paths of Sadhana

Svara Sadhana

Laya Yoga Sadhana

Pranava Sadhana

Soham Sadhana

Vichara Sadhana

Dhyana Yoga Sadhana

Japa Yoga Sadhana

Gayatri Sadhana

Mantra Yoga Sadhana

Sankirtan Sadhana

Tantra Yoga Sadhana

Sava Sadhana

Kriya Yoga Sadhana

Sangita Sadhana

Sadhana by Prayer

Sadhana of the Yoga of Synthesis

CHAPTER NINE
IMPORTANCE OF SADHANA

Spiritualisation of Human Nature

Life’s Supreme Purpose

The Struggle for Perfection

Need for Sadhana

Outgoing Tendencies of the Senses and the Need for Self-control

Qualification for Sadhana

Sadhana–The Main Purpose of Life

Brahmamuhurta: The Best for Sadhana

A Sermon on Sadhana

CHAPTER TEN
SADHANA FOR THE CONQUEST OF LOWER NATURE

Sadhana for Mastering the Mind

Various Methods of Mind-control

Sadhana for Controlling the Ten Senses

Sadhana for Developing Vairagya

Sadhana for Elimination of Egoism

Six Sadhanas for Eradicating Jealousy

Sadhana for Annihilation of Arrogance

Sadhana for the Subjugation of Hatred

Sadhana for Controlling Anger

Sadhana for the Conquest of Fear

CHAPTER ELEVEN
SADHANAS FOR VARIOUS SIDDHIS

Four Sadhanas for God-realisation

Sadhana for Developing Will-power

Sadhana for Sense-control

Sadhana for Conquest of Raga-Dvesha

Sadhana for Freedom from Accidents

Sadhana for Success, Prosperity and Enlightenment

The Nineteen Factors of Sadhana for Peace

Sadhana for Samadhi in Six Months

Sadhana for Awakening Kundalini

Sadhana for Realisation of Oneness

CHAPTER TWELVE
OBSTACLES TO PROGRESS IN SADHANA

The Mind of the Aspirant: A Psychological Study

Sadhana and the Vagaries of the Practitioner

Temptations in Sadhana

The Difficulty of Progress in Sadhana

Main Impediments to Sadhana

CHAPTER THIRTEEN
KARMA YOGA SADHANA

Service Is Essential

Karma Can Be Transformed into Yoga

Results of Karma Yoga Sadhana

CHAPTER FOURTEEN
BHAKTI YOGA SADHANA

Outlines of Bhakti Yoga Sadhana

A Few Facets of Bhakti Yoga Sadhana

Faith, Aspiration and Self-surrender

Nine Modes of Bhakti Yoga Sadhana

Essentials in Bhakti Yoga Sadhana

The Role of Faith in Bhakti Sadhana

Important Sadhana in Bhakti Yoga

The Gist of Bhakti Yoga Sadhana

CHAPTER FIFTEEN
YOGA SADHANA

Yoga Sadhana: Introductory

Yoga Sadhana Explained

Yoga Sadhana: Its Eight Fundamentals

Mental Purification: An Essential Condition

Need for Yoga Sadhana

Structure of Yoga Sadhana

Practice of Yoga Sadhana

Practical Yogic Instructions

Inner Yogic Discipline

Light on Yoga Sadhana

Main Obstacles in Yoga Sadhana

CHAPTER SIXTEEN
VEDANTIC SADHANA

Vedantic Sadhana: Introductory          

Aspects of Jnana Sadhana

The Seven Stages of Jnana

Methods of Vedantic Sadhana

Obstacles in Vedantic Sadhana

The Nature of the Jnani

Hints on Vedantic Sadhana

Vedantic Aphorisms

Essence of Vedantic Sadhana

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
COURSES OF PRACTICAL SADHANA

Twelve Aspects of Saguna Dhyana Sadhana

A Programme of Sadhana

Practical Sadhana: A Discussion

Sadhana for Ten Days

Sadhana for Forty Days

Daily Routine

Ten Minutes Sadhana on Twelve Virtues

Twenty Important Spiritual Instructions

The Science of Seven Cultures

Everyday Guide to Sadhakas

Importance of Spiritual Diary

Resolves for Quick Spiritual Progress

The Resolve Form

Secret of Success in Sadhana

An Ideal Grihastha Sadhana

Some Hints on Sadhana

Kabir’s Method of Sadhana

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON SADHANA

Religion, Saint and Yogi

Prerequisites for Realisation

The Science of Mantra Repetition

Japa Yoga

Problems of Sadhana

What should Be Our Goal?

Methods of Mental Purification

Problems of Self-realisation

Hatha Yoga

The Need for a Spiritual Guide

Definition of Faith and Development of Devotion

Questions in Bhakti Yoga

Questions in Vedanta

Questions in Raja Yoga

Yoga and the Life Divine

World and Renunciation

CHAPTER NINETEEN
INTIMATE ADVICE TO ASPIRANTS

Aspirants–A Distinct Class by Themselves

Advice to Sadhakas

Instructions to Sannyasins

Guiding Lights

Sweetness in Sadhakas

Spiritual Guidance for Aspirants

Need for Great Vigilance

The Voice of Spiritual Aid

Sadhana and Samadhi

Some Spiritual Don’ts

Sadhana and the Guide

Guidance from the Scriptures

Sadhana Panchakam of Sri Sankaracharya

CHAPTER TWENTY
INSPIRING SVADHYAYA FOR ASPIRANTS

Physical Body and Life Divine

Repetition of Divine Name

Man and His Stepping Stones

Peace, Salt of Life and Sankirtan

The Sage, Happiness and Power

Life, The Melting Heart and Divine Grace

Humanity, Love and Goodness

Purity, Aspiration, Realisation

Sadhana and Sakti

Anger, Mind and Self-conquest

Compassion, Satsanga and Discrimination

Truth, Vedanta and Human Imagination

Inner Happiness and Omnipresence of the Lord

God and His Name

The Body and the Blessing of Human Birth

The Main Supports in Sadhana

The Demands of Yoga and the Worldly-minded

Difficulties in Life and the Messages of the Saint

God-consciousness and Sat-Chit-Ananda

Patience, Contentment and Divine Light

Love and Secret of God-realisation

Wisdom and Perfection

The Lord, His Form and His Presence

Analogies and Some Forms of Blessing

Life on Earth and the Liberated Sage

Self-control and Brahma Jnana

Virtues and Bhakti

Rewards of Japa and Upanishadic Study

Vairagya, Abhyasa and Meditation

Ignorance and the Corroding Human Passion

Representatives of the Divine Beauty

Pathway to Purity

The Sage and Equal Vision

Thoughtfulness and Sweet Dispostion

Cheerfulness and the Oneness with the Divine

Man, The Architect of Circumstances

Yoga, The Epitome of Religious Experience

The Origin of Desire and Brahmic Realisation

Good Conduct and Obstacles on the Path

The Pervasive Brahman, the Astral Body

Vedanta, The Path of Wisdom

Faith and the Love of God

The Inner Light and the Truly Wise

Definition of Religion and a Life in the Lord

Obstacles to Spiritual Progress and the Value of Suffering

World, Mind and Prayer

Attributes of the Divine Consciousness

Indiscrimination, Anger and the Language of the Heart

Saintliness and the Tender in Heart

Art, Life and Bhakti

A Rational Knowledge of the Divine

The Search for Immortality

Gauranga and the Miracles of Name

Ethical Life and Control of Emotions

Ideals in Nature

Importance of Virtue and Prem

Silence, Its Meaning and Its Place

The Middle Path

Steps of Aspiration

Byways of Blessedness

Manasic Puja Sloka by Sri Sanakaracharya

Excellent Slokas from Avadhuta Gita for Meditation

The Life Triumphant

The Tree of Self, Sadhana and Samadhi

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE
SONGS OF SADHANA

The Gist of Sadhana

Practice of Real Sadhana

Intimate Advice

Song of Sadhana Week

Song of a Sadhaka

Phases of Sadhana

Twenty Precepts for Practice

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO
SOME EXPERIENCES OF ASPIRANTS

Purpose of Sadhana

Experiences of Sadhakas

Instructions to Sadhakas

APPENDIX–I

A DRAMA IN SADHANA

The Path of a Sadhaka

APPENDIX–II
A GARLAND OF PRECEPTS IN SADHANA

Foundations of the Life Divine

The Discipline of Detachment

Practice of Yoga Sadhana

The Easiest Form of Sadhana

Qualifications of Aspirants

Sense-control and Self-purification

Obstacles in Sadhana

Egoism–The Seed for Birth and Death

Desire–The Root-cause of All Miseries

The Three Principal Enemies

Selfishness–A Deadly Vice

Cardinal Principles of Practical Sadhana

The Inner Spiritual Discipline

Jnana Yoga Sadhana

Light on the Path

Special Spiritual Instructions

Nivritti Sadhana

Science of Yoga Sadhana

Self-effort and Destiny

Brahmacharya–The Basis of All Sadhana

Goodness, Purity and Truthfulness

Charity–An Aspect of Sadhana

Suffering–A Stepping-stone to Success

Sadhana and Self-realisation

Essentials of Spiritual Life

Importance of Spiritual Practice

Important Sadhanas

Secret of Success in Sadhana

Overcome Temptations

Meditate and Realise       

The Ideal Aspirant

Light on Sadhana

Advice to Aspirants

Realisation of the Self

The Way to Kaivalya

Progress on the Path

Sadhana–The Only Purpose of Life

Concentration and Meditation

Brahmic Consciousness

The Key to Blessedness

Sadhana and Some Experiences

APPENDIX-III
SIVANANDA SADHANA SARA

Fundamental Aspects of Sadhana

The Nature and Processes of Sadhana

Concentration and Need for Vigilance

Conditions for Yoga Sadhana

Sadhana, The Divine Name and Equanimity

The Results of Real Love

Formula in Higher Sadhana

Sadhana and the Spiritual Destiny

Sadhana and the Mind

Requisites for Spiritual Progress

Guidance in Sadhana

The Principles of Spiritual Progress

Elements of Sadhana

Background of Thought

Sadhana and Samadhi

Phases of Spiritual Practice

APPENDIX–IV

Only with an Invincible and Powerful Arrow of Yogic Concentration Can You Kill the

Seven Faculties that Trouble You

APPENDIX–V

Sivananda’s Synthesis of Sadhanas (Sri K. S. Ramaswami Sastri)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About This Book

To inspire, to awaken and to guide the seekers after Truth and God-realisation, has been the unique life-work of the great sage, Swami Sivananda. He has given us certain working methods, in as much as practical ways and means are more to be attended to, rather than mere theory. The spiritual life is to be built upon and sustained by three important supports, i.e., a well-conceived ideal, a definite programme of life and a background of thought.

 

For any of us, to proceed upon the spiritual life, the first requisite naturally goes without saying is that the individual should have an ideal. He should want something definite, he should aim at getting something concrete.

 

The second requisite is a well-laid and well-regulated plan of procedure or programme. After having conceived of the ideal which the aspirant wants to reach, as haphazard procedure will not only take him nowhere but will also mean a fruitless waste of his precious energies, he should chalk out a definite and well-marked programme.

 

A well-conceived ideal and a definite programme of life and then a concrete background of thought to sustain him in his struggle to work out that programme–these are the three requisites which Swami Sivananda has advocated.

 

To sum up, in order to tread the path of spiritual life: (I) let the aspirant conceive of an ideal; (2) let him put up a general programme of life; (3) let him have Abhyasa and Vairagya and (4) let him take to a background of thought into which he can take refuge at times of external stress. And for all this, the help of this book is most invaluable; it is in fact, the greatest boon that we could offer to the aspirant-world. There is no aspect of Sadhana which has not been dealt with, no path which has not been presented, and no point of guidance that the aspirant’s peculiar difficulties need, which has not been elaborately dealt with.

 

Dedication

 

 

 

 

 

Dedicated

to the

Seekers of Truth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Publishers’ Note

Outlines of Sadhana in Sivananda Literature

 

To inspire, to awaken and to guide the seekers after Truth and God-realisation, has been the unique life-work of the great sage, Swami Sivananda. In this Note, let us gain a grasp of the broad outlines upon which Swami Sivananda would have us proceed, if we make God-realisation or search after Truth, the main aim and goal of life. He has given us certain working methods, in as much as practical ways and means are more to be attended to, rather than mere theory. The spiritual life is to be built upon and sustained by three important supports, i.e., a well-conceived ideal, a definite programme of life and a background of thought.

 

For any of us, to proceed upon the spiritual life, the first requisite naturally goes without saying is that the individual should have an ideal. He should want something definite, he should aim at getting something concrete. There are ideas and ideals. One makes up his mind to develop extraordinary physique, to be the perfect figure; the second has the ideal of going round the world as many times as possible; the third to amass a million. At the back of every human effort, there is some unconsciously accepted ideal. For the aspirant, there is the spiritual ideal which he has set before himself to achieve and realise. This setting of some definite ideal before oneself, is the first requisite.

 

The second requisite is a well-laid and well-regulated plan of procedure or programme. After having conceived of the ideal which the aspirant wants to reach, as haphazard procedure will not only take him nowhere but will also mean a fruitless waste of his precious energies, he should chalk out a definite and well-marked programme. Without such a programme it is difficult to achieve any progress. The whole process of working out this programme will be experienced to be one not smooth-sailing but very rough-going. Many a time the aspirant will be compelled by overwhelming adverse forces to seek temporary refuge just as a ship when caught up in a terrible storm has to seek some port as an escape from the storm.

 

There is a way by which the aspirant may, while struggling hard to realise the ideal, and when faced with danger, seek the refuge. It is as Swami Sivananda has advocated, to cultivate what is termed as a concrete background of thought, because the aspirant’s struggles are endless and he should have a background of thought into which he can immediately take refuge whenever occasion arises and these occasions are many, many not merely during the course of his spiritual Sadhana but many every day, every minute, even in a moment he will have to take refuge four or five times.

 

A well-conceived ideal and a definite programme of life and then a concrete background of thought to sustain him in his struggle to work out that programme–these are the three requisites which Swami Sivananda has advocated. While working out this programme of life there are certain facts which are worth remembering, i.e., spiritual progress is very gradual and it is in the nature of a twofold conflict. As Swamiji has said that though physical wars have ended on earth between nations, the war which has caused these external wars–man’s struggle against his lower nature–has not been concluded properly. If man were to attain victory over his lower nature then he should have possession of himself and he will not be the slave of his passions which lead him to external war. This inner war has two aspects: one, of offence and the other of defence. Many a time a spiritual aspirant has got to carry on his fight against these two positive and negative sides. While he progresses on the path, he has consistently to protect himself from forces which assail him from inside. There is a class of insects called the coleoptera. They have two sets of wings. The external wings will be stiff like thick parchment. They are not fit for flying. There are two film-like wings inside, which are used for flying. They serve the beetle wonderfully well. They take the beetle up and forward, but they are so delicate that these external wings are the protecting armour–protecting these internal wings. That set of wings which takes the Sadhaka forward on the path is intense aspiration and constant Sadhana. Unless real fire of aspiration is maintained, one cannot progress. And to protect this aspiration against temptations, one must have the other set of wings in the shape of Vairagya and Satsanga and constantly keep up the current of Vichara or discrimination. Vichara is the chief anchor of protection for the aspirant. It is only discrimination which can protect the aspirant against temptations. With aspiration and the protective covering of Vairagya and Satsanga, you will have to work out the programme of life. While working out the programme of life, you should have a background of thought. Unless the aspirant is established in this background, he will not be able to habituate his mind to slip back automatically into this background.

 

In the case of the Bhakti Yogi, this background thought will be the Lord; in the case of a Jnana Yogi it may be Mahavakya that he is the Soul; for the Japa Yogi, it may be the Name. Thus to habituate himself to become established in the background of thought he should have what the Lord has prescribed in the Gita–constant Abhyasa. Without constant Abhyasa you cannot expect to have any success in spiritual life. This constant Abhyasa is necessary for marching forward and yet forward. In order to console the aspirant, sometimes Swamiji may say, “If you cannot progress much do not be depressed. It does not matter much.” That is but only a consolation because the mind should never be depressed. An aspirant should always be wary to see that he always proceeds upwards, and has the protecting armour of Vichara, Vairagya and Satsanga to achieve the ideal, while working out the programme of life, in order to protect himself. There is the tortoise. The moment an enemy approaches to harm it, it withdraws itself into the shell. This is the exact purpose which the background of thought serves the aspirant. He has to withdraw himself into it. There is one difference in this particular case–the tortoise goes into the shell and comes out in the same condition as when it went, but every time as the aspirant takes refuge in the background he comes out with added strength.

 

To sum up, in order to tread the path of spiritual life: (I) let the aspirant conceive of an ideal; (2) let him put up a general programme of life; (3) let him have Abhyasa and Vairagya and (4) let him take to a background of thought into which he can take refuge at times of external stress. And for all this, the help of this book is most invaluable; it is in fact, the greatest boon that we could offer to the aspirant-world. There is no aspect of Sadhana which has not been dealt with, no path which has not been presented, and no point of guidance that the aspirant’s peculiar difficulties need, which has not been elaborately dealt with.

 

–THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preface

 

Om! Salutations to that adorable Lord Hari, than Whom there is nothing greater, and Who is above all this universe. The term “Sadhana” comes from the root “Sadh,” which means to “exert,” “to endeavour to get a particular result or Siddhi.” He who does the practices or attempts is called a Sadhaka. If he achieves the desired result, Siddhi, he is called Siddha. A fully-developed Siddha is one who has attained full knowledge of Brahman. Self-realisation or Darshan of God is not possible without Sadhana. Any spiritual practice is called Sadhana. Sadhana and Abhyasa are synonymous terms. That which is obtained through Sadhana is Sadhya or Goal-the realisation of God or Brahman. Most comprehensive in its scope, this book presents almost every known form of Sadhana for the Experience of the Divine or Brahman.

 

If you want to evolve quickly you must have the right kind of Sadhana. If you are a student of the path of Self-reliance, you can yourself select the Sadhana for your daily practice. If you are a student of the path of self-surrender, you should get the right kind of Sadhana from a Guru and practise the same with intense faith.

 

Why should you prolong the bondage unnecessarily? Why should you not claim your divine birthright right now? Why should you not break your bondage now? Delay means prolongation of your sufferings. You can break it at any moment. This is in our power. Do it now. Stand up. Gird up your loins. Do rigorous and vigorous Sadhana and attain freedom, which is immortality or eternal bliss.

 

Make the lower nature the servant of the higher through discipline, Tapas, self-restraint and meditation. This is the beginning of your freedom.

 

The divine within you is stronger than anything that is without you. Therefore, be not afraid of anything. Rely on your own Inner Self, the Divinity within you. Tap the source through looking within.

 

Without renunciation you can never be happy. Without renunciation you can never be at your ease. Therefore renounce everything. Make happiness your own. Hold renunciation as the foremost of things.

 

Improve yourself. Build your character. Purify your heart. Develop divine virtues. Eradicate evil traits. Conquer all that is worthy and noble.

 

Only when you have purified the heart, silenced the mind, stilled the thoughts and surging emotions, withdrawn the outgoing senses, thinned out the Vasanas, you can behold the glorious Atman during deep meditation.

 

There are five means by which perfect tranquility or emancipation can be attained. These form the highest happiness. They are Satsanga or association with the wise, discrimination between the real and unreal, dispassion, enquiry of ‘Who am I?’ and meditation. These are called heaven. These are religion. These form the highest happiness.

 

Become a good man first. Then control the senses. Then subdue the lower mind by the higher mind. Then the divine light will descend. Only then the vessel will be able to receive and hold the divine light.

 

Practise meditation persistently and calmly without haste. You will soon attain Samadhi or the Nirvikalpa state.

 

Spiritual life is toilsome and laborious. It demands constant vigilance and long perseverance before substantial progress is made.

 

You have yourself built the walls of your prison-house through ignorance. You can demolish the walls through discrimination and enquiry of ‘Who am I?’

 

Sufferings purify the soul. They burn up the gross material, sins and impurities. The Divinity becomes more and more manifest. They give inner spiritual strength and develop the will-force, the power of endurance. Hence sufferings are blessings in disguise.

 

Even a ray of inner light during meditation will lighten your path. It will give you great deal of encouragement and inner strength. It will goad you to do more Sadhana. You will experience this ray of light when the meditation becomes more deep and when you rise above body-consciousness.

 

Life is the unfolding of the latent capacities of the soul. Lead the divine life. Generate sublime divine thoughts in your mind through meditation, Japa, Kirtan and study of sacred scriptures.

 

Bathe in the river of life everlasting. Plunge in it. Take a dip in it. Swim in it. Float in it. Rejoice.

 

Bask the body in the physical sunlight. Bask the soul in the sunlight of the Eternal. You will have good health and everlasting life.

 

Worship is the unfolding of the bud of the flower of the soul. Worship is life. Worship bestows life eternal. You may conquer millions of persons in a battle, but you will become the greatest conqueror only if you can conquer your own lower self or mind.

 

So long as your senses are not subdued or weakened, you will have to practise Tapas or self-restraint, Dama or Pratyahara.

 

When the electric lamp is covered by many wrappings of cloth, there will be no bright light. When the cloth is removed one by one, the light grows brighter and brighter. Even so, when the self-resplendent Atman which is covered by the five sheaths is stripped off the sheaths by meditation on the pure Self and the practice of ‘Neti Neti’ doctrine, the Self-luminous Atman reveals Itself to the meditator.

 

Sit down with a composed mind. Assert your mastery over the body and mind. Plunge deep into the chambers of your heart, and enter into the stupendous ocean of Silence. Listen to the voice which is soundless.

 

Purify the heart first and then climb the ladder of Yoga steadily with courage and undaunted spirit. Climb onwards swiftly. Attain Ritambhara Prajna and reach the summit of the ladder, the temple of wisdom, where the cloud of virtue or nectar dribbles from Dharmamegha Samadhi.

 

Build your spiritual life on a sure foundation, on the rock of the divine grace and strength of character. Take refuge in the Lord and His eternal law. There is no power in heaven or on earth that can bar your path now. Success in Self-realisation is certain. Failure exists not for you. There is light on your path. All is brilliant.

 

Sadhana means any spiritual practice that helps the Sadhaka to realise God. Abhyasa and Sadhana are synonymous terms. Sadhana is a means to attain the Goal of human life. Without Sadhana no one can achieve the purpose of life. Sadhana differs in different individuals according to the capacity, temperament and taste. Every one must take to some kind of Sadhana to attain the state of final beatitude. Sadhya is that which is attained through Sadhana. It is God or Atman or Purusha. If you want to evolve quickly you must have the right kind of Sadhana. If you are a student of the path of self-reliance, you can yourself select the Sadhana for your daily practice. If you are a student of the path of self-surrender, you should get right kind of Sadhana from a Guru and practise the same with intense faith.

 

Those who follow the path of devotion should do Japa, read the holy scriptures such as the Bhagavata or the Ramayana. By the practice of Nava Vidha Bhakti, the Bhakta should develop Bhakti to a very high degree. Sravana, Smarana, Kirtana, Vandana, Archana, Padasevana, Sakhya, Dasya and Atma-Nivedana are the nine methods to develop Bhakti. Bhaktas should observe Vrata, Anushthana and do prayers and Manasic Puja. They should serve others, realising that the Lord resides in the hearts of all. This is the Sadhana for those who tread the path of Bhakti Yoga.

 

Those who follow the path of Karma Yoga should do disinterested selfless service to the suffering humanity and society in various ways. They should surrender the fruits of action to the Lord as Isvararpana. They should give up agency by realising that they are the instruments in the hands of God. They should get rid of their selfishness and control their Indriyas. They should completely consecrate their lives in the service of humanity. They should consider that the whole world is a manifestation of the Lord. If they serve people with such a Bhava, their hearts get purified in the long run. Eventually they get knowledge of the Self through Chitta Suddhi. This is the Sadhana for the Karma Yogins. This is very important for all beginners in the spiritual path. This is not the goal itself. Many erroneously think so and neglect the higher courses of Sadhana. They should advance still further and through Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi reach the highest goal.

 

A Raja Yogi slowly ascends the Yogic ladder through the eight steps. He gets ethical training in the beginning to purify himself by the practice of Yama and Niyama. Then he steadies his posture. Then he practises Pranayama to steady his mind and to purify the Nadis. Then by the practice of Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana, he gets Samadhi. Through Samyama, he gets different Siddhis. He restrains all the mental modifications that arise from the mind.

 

Those who take up the path of Vedanta or Jnana Yoga should acquire first the four means of salvation (Sadhana Chatushtaya)–Viveka, Vairagya, Shat-Sampat and Mumukshutva. Viveka is discrimination between the real and unreal. Vairagya is indifference to sensual enjoyments. Shat-Shampat is the sixfold virtues, Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha and Samadhana. Then they approach a Brahma-Nishtha guru who has realised the Supreme Self and hear the Srutis from him. Then they reflect and meditate on the Self and attain eventually Atma-Sakshatkara. Then the Jnani exclaims with joy: “The Atman alone is, one without a second. Atman alone is the one Reality. I am Brahman, Aham Brahma Asmi. Sivoham. Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma.” The liberated Jivanmukta sees the Self in all beings and all beings in the Self.

 

The students of Hatha Yoga should try to awaken the Kundalini Sakti that lies dormant in the Muladhara Chakra by Mudras, Bandhas, Asanas and Pranayamas. They should try to unite the Prana and Apana and send the united Prana-Apana through the Sushumna Nadi. Heat is increased by retention of breath and Vayu ascends up along with Kundalini to the Sahasrara Chakra through the different Chakras. When Kundalini is united with Lord Siva at the Sahasrara Chakra, the Yogi attains supreme peace, bliss and immortality.

 

 

 

 

Prayers

 

I

 

O All-pervading, hidden and homogeneous Essence! O adorable Lord of the Universe! Thou art witnessing the drama of this world from behind the screen. Thou art self-luminous. Thou art the basis of all these names and forms. Thou art one without a second. Thy glory is ineffable. Thou art the source of all sciences, knowledge and beauty.

 

I do not know how to worship Thee. I have no strength to do any kind of Sadhana. I am full of weaknesses and Doshas. My mind is wavering. Indriyas are powerful and restless. Some say: “Thou art Nirakara and Nirguna.” I don’t want to indulge in fighting, discussions and debates. Give me peace and devotion. Give me strength to resist temptations and to control this enemy and thief, the mind. Let me utilise my body in Thy service. Let me remember Thee always. Let me be ever looking at Thy sweet, loving face. Grant me this prayer, O ocean of Love!

 

Give me true Viveka and lasting Vairagya. The Vairagya cometh and goeth. Let me be established in Para Vairagya. My self-surrender is not perfect and sincere, too. I admit my faults. Not a drop of tear comes out of my eyes. Make me weep in solitude, when I am alone. Let me not shed crocodile tears. Then only I can see Thee in my tears. My heart is harder than flint, steel and diamond. How can I make it as soft as butter? Give me the heart of Prahlada or Gouranga. This is my fervent prayer. O Lord of Love! Grant me this humble prayer of mine. I am suppliant to Thee. I am Thy disciple. Thou art my Guru.

 

 

II

 

O Preceptor of Wisdom Infinite, grant me the boon to serve untiringly the sick, the poor and the afflicted, not to associate with evil, never to tell lies and not to succumb to the love of sense-objects.

 

O Lord! I am in You and You are in me.

I am He whom I love, and He whom I Love is I.

O Light, illumine my intellect.

O Love, fill my heart.

O Power, give me strength.

O Lord, Thou art Courage! Fill me with courage.

 

Thou art mercy, fill me with mercy. Thou art Peace, fill me with peace. Thou art Effulgence, fill me with effulgence.

 

O Lord, Thou art the river. Thou art the cloud. Thou art the Ocean. Thou art the plant. Thou art the patient. Thou art the doctor. Thou art the disease. Thou art the medicine.

 

All belong to the Lord! I am doing His work. I am an instrument in His hands. His Will be done.

 

 

III

 

O Lord! Make my will strong to resist all temptations, to control my Indriyas and lower nature, to change my old evil habits, to make my surrender complete and real. Enthrone Thyself in my heart. Do not leave this place even for a second. Use my body, mind and organs as instruments. Make me fit to dwell in Thee for ever.

 

 

IV

 

THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER

 

O Adorable Lord of Mercy and Love!

Salutations and prostrations unto Thee.

Thou art Satchidananda (Existence-Knowledge-Bliss).

Thou art Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient.

Thou art the Indweller of all beings.

 

Grant us an understanding heart,

Equal vision, balanced mind,

Faith, devotion and wisdom.

Grant us inner spiritual strength

To resist temptations and to control the mind.

Free us from egoism, lust, greed, anger and hatred.

Fill our hearts with divine virtues.

 

Let us behold Thee in all these names and forms.

Let us serve Thee in all these names and forms.

Let us ever remember Thee.

Let us ever sing Thy glories.

Let Thy Name be ever on our lips.

Let us abide in Thee for ever and ever.

 

 

 

 

श्रीसद्गुरुपरमात्मने नमः

SADHANA

असतो मा सद्गमय

तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय

मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTORY

 

A SURVEY OF THE EVOLUTION OF THE ANCIENT

INDIAN SPIRITUAL TECHNIQUES

 

Hinduism, through the passage of several centuries, has come in for diverse criticisms and been subject to a wide range of different opinions. It has had praise in plenty and disparagement in plenty, too. There are those who praise its wisdom and there are quite as many, too, who would regard Hinduism as a mast of out-dated superstition accumulated by a race of illiterate and uncultured people. And religion being the main governing influence with the Hindu, he is superstition bound and has consequently remained backward when other people have progressed by leaps and bounds. The above charge is supported by statistics on literacy, knowledge of hygiene, sanitation, science, psychology, etc. The Hindu race gets 'fail marks in such ultra-modernistic 'efficiency test that scientific minds of today would conduct. It seems as though centuries of culture, development, study and research have not gained much for the Hindu in the shape of knowledge of this grand universe of countless things which are visible before us. Yes, to a great extent this is so, and more wonder, the true Hindu does not seem to regret greatly that it is so. This is so far a special reason, and this reason it is that forms the distinctive quality of the Hindu genius, marking it out as completely different from the enlightened scientific hierarchy of the Twentieth Century. The reason is this:

The Hindu mind is assured that the invisible is the real. His scientific curiosity and thirst for knowledge (he has his full measure of this) is diverted towards the realm of invisible things. The grosser and the more external the things, the lesser is its value to the seeking Hindu. The Hindu may be seriously suffering from the baneful results of 'blind-faith', yet he had no such faith in wasting his precious life and faculties in research into things which he was convinced are absolutely transitory, evanescent. But, on the other hand the Hindu has spared himself no pains to get at the thing that is permanent, imperishable; that is true. He has brought to bear all his wisdom, his keen observation, his powerful logic, deep research and searching analysis and scientific calculation in his all out attempt to pierce beyond the veil of passing appearance and to come face to face with the Truth, the Eternal Fact. The Hindu lavished his genius upon this field which he regarded as worth his while, as it was concerned with eternal values. All other territory he considered it idle to waste too much effort upon; for to him it seemed absurd to run too seriously after shadows. Such labours of our ancient stalwarts resulted in the evolution of the marvellous system of Yoga for realising the Truth. The Yoga Sadhanas constitute the practical methodology for the great attainment. These Sadhanas are the outcome of the deepest psychological research. This psychology is not merely that of the mind but is something more. It is a supramental psychology. Spiritual psychology is the term by which I would prefer to refer to it.

To get an insight into this spiritual psychology let us sum up shortly the basic conception of the Indian Philosophy. The very core and essence of it all has been presented in a nutshell by the greatest of philosophers, Sri Sankara in the couplet, "Sloka-ardhena pravakshyami yaduktam granthakotibhih; Brahma satyam jaganmithyaa jivo brahmaiva naaparah." The Transcendent Being alone is real, phenomena are false, the (apparently separate) individual self is the Transcendent alone, and none other. Then, whence arose this feeling of being something different from That which is one Transcendent Being? Whence this sense of a limited finite existence, with its resultant deluded perception of the manifold variety of phenomena? Whence this little limited individuality with its distant separatist consciousness? This indeed is Maya. This sense of human individuality it is that obstructs the experience of Truth. This Ahankara or ego-sense is the outcome of nescience and is the root-cause of all bondage at the root of this deluded perception of passing phenomena. Ahankara or egoism is the chief bar to the experience of the inner Reality.

The thought of "T" is the cause of destructive bondage, declares the Yoga-Vasishtha. Then again,

अहमित्येव संकल्पो बन्धायातिविनाशिने

Then again,

द्वे पदे बन्धमोक्षस्य ममेति ममेति च।

ममेति बध्यते जन्तुर्न ममेति विमुच्यते।।

Says the Mahabharata, "Two words indicate Freedom and Bondage. They are 'not mine' and 'mine'. Through 'mineness'a creature is bound and through 'not-mineness' it is freed." This is powerfully expressed in the Mahopanishad wherein we find:

अहकारवशादापदहकारबुराधयः।

अहंकारवशादीहा नाहंकारात्परो रिपुः ।।

"Calamity is due to being subject to Ahankara, bad agonies are due to Ahankara, desire is due to subjection to Ahankara, there is no greater enemy than Ahankara.

In alluding to this, the root-cause of Samsara, and the main obstacle to Self-knowledge, the Great Sri Sankara, in the "Vivekachudamani', states repeatedly that the arch-enemy of the seeker is the "EGO".

तेषामेव मूलं प्रथमविकारो भवत्यहंकारः।

The root of them all (i.e. obstacles) is the first modification (of nescience), called egoism. Freed from the clutches of egoism, man attains his real nature. The precious treasure of the Brahmic Bliss is closely guarded by the powerful deadly serpent of egoism. The aspirant is advised to kill this ego-serpent first if he desires to obtain the treasure of transcendent bliss.

This being the case, methods had to be evolved to annihilate this arch-enemy of Self-realisation. But, this ego-principle by itself is totally abstract and subtle beyond comprehension. It is too elusive a factor to be got at easily. This set the Hindu mind thinking, observing, probing, searching out and determining all its ramifications, its modifications, its manifestations and its grosser by-products. The Hindus found these rampant everywhere in the human personality. They found the ego leering with innumerable faces through one's thoughts, one's feelings one's behaving, speaking and acting. In fact man was a monument of egoism. He was filled with ego-sense from the top of his head to the tip of his toe-nails. A tough task it seems to root out the ego. The discovery set the Hindu genius working still further. One by one the different aspects of man, the intellectual, the mental, the emotional, the physical were taken up and the play of the ego in each of the planes was studied, classified and tabulated.

This done, they next started formulating effective methods, direct as well as indirect, for dealing with each one of all these numerous ego-aspects in the individual, which were as so many formidable hurdles and barriers in the path of the Jiva’s self-perfection. These constituted the numerous items of the Hindu Sadhakas that have come in for so much of ridicule at the hands of uncomprehending alien observers, and what is more deplorable, at the hands of its own narrow-visioned inheritors.

Now to start with a consideration of the methods evolved for dealing with the ego-barrier as expressed on the intellect plane, the Buddhi. This cognising principle, the Hindu found, was at the bottom of an endless chain of erroneous cognitions due to a fundamental error or wrong identification. He gave to it the name ‘Adhyasa’. This Adhyasa was, he found in the nature of the basic error of identification with the body. This identification of I am such and such” gave rise to a whole host of consequent identifications such as “I am Brahmin” or “I am non Brahmin,” “I am an aristocrat” or “I am a commoner,” I am rich’ or “I am poor.” “I am learned” or “I am ignorant,” “I am healthy” or “I am unhealthy”; “fair or dark, lean or fat, handsome or ugly, clever or dull, tall or short, old or young,” etc., etc. By a careful observation of the typical ‘man-in-delusion,’ the Hindu genius discovered that these Adhyasas had so insidiously woven themselves into the man’s consciousness that they had got themselves established as a fundamental part of the normal awareness of the being. They are part and parcel of his personality and consciousness. This was due to the fact that the identification commenced right from the moment of birth and was present there already even before the intelligence had commenced functioning in the infant. Thus starting life itself with this false consciousness, the individual grew up into this self-hypnotism. The Hindu genius perceived now that powerful, persistent ‘counter-hypnotism’, if this term may be used, could alone effectively dehypnotise the individual of his deluded identification and clear up the way for the manifestation of his true consciousness. To this end, he was made to start the Sadhana with a regular, systematic, Continuous reception of the counter-ideas that were to serve as the vanguard to the forces that were to be got ready to storm and to break up the bastion of the delusive Adhyasa. This continuous reception thus formed the first Anga of Jnana Yoga Sadhana, namely Sravana. Day after day, the seeker was made to sit by his preceptor and constantly hear such declarations as:

शुद्धोऽसि बुद्धोऽसि निरञ्जनोऽसि संसारमायापरिवर्जितोऽसि। नामरूपं ते मे। कथं रोदिषि रे वत्स। वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि। तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णान्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही ।। जायते म्रियते वा कदाचित्॥

“Thou art not this body; thou art not this mind; thou art neither the sleeping, waking, nor the slumbering self; thou art That which continues even during deep sleep and wakes up at dawn; thou art the innermost consciousness.”

The prescription of this constant Sravana as the first step in Jnana Yoga Sadhana was based upon the sound psychology that is behind the principle of auto-suggestion. These ideas were constantly hammered again and again into the mind of the aspirant. This repetition through constant Sravana constituted the main secret of the working of this Sadhana and has been practised with unfailing success for centuries upon centuries by the Indian seeker long before the world had even dreamt about any being like Emile Coue. When the mind was thus being saturated with these spiritual counter-suggestions, the seeker was led on to the next stage of Jnana Sadhana which again was based upon the sound psychological knowledge of the principle, “as a man thinketh, so he becometh.” “Mana eva manushyanam karanam bandhamokshayoh” declared the ancient sage. “What the mind is, that man is—this is the eternal secret” (Panchadasi II-13). Thus we have Manana or constant reflection over and over again upon the truths continuously being heard during Sravana. Now the de-hypnotisation is well under way. On the constant reception of counter-ideas, they begin to make themselves felt and the Adhyasa begins to weaken. Continued Manana further thins out the false Adhyasa and all its resultant by-products. The aspirant begins now to feel gradually that he is something distinct from the body and mind and feelings, etc. He begins to tell himself “Manobuddhi-ahankara-Chittani na aham.” To keep up this thought-current well boosted, the seeker is given an Upasadhana, i.e., an auxiliary or a complementary practice (still another tribute to the masterly psychology of the ancient Hindu genius) of Svadhyaya or daily compulsory reading of Vedantic scriptures. This daily Svadhyaya works as a powerful fresh-up of the Adhyatmic counter-thought current that is being generated to exterminate Adhyasa. When this work has progressed the seeker arrives at Nididhyasana, the ultimate stage in Jnana Sadhana which means deep and intense meditation upon a single Truth. The Sadhana of Nididhyasana was based upon the full knowledge of the mighty power of a concentrated mind. The continuous and intense holding on to a single thought to the exclusion of all else resulted in the crystallisation of the thought into actual fact. The ancients had reduced it to a law to which they gave the name ‘Bhramarakita Nyaya’. For this Sadhana they picked out a handful of terse and pithy formulae from the most inspiring portion of the Vedas, viz., the Upanishads. These are the Mahavakyas, to be intensely meditated upon. Call it wisdom or superstition; yet these Sadhanas based upon the soundest psychological knowledge have proved to be effective enough for bestowing Self-knowledge and Cosmic Consciousness to the practitioner. In knowing this process the ancients perceived that man’s ego was being continuously stimulated and excited into expression by innumerable factors that operated upon the individual externally. These were the Upadhis, such as profess ion, wealth, dress, habits, physical appetites, indulgences like smoking, gambling, fashion, talent, praise, authority, his environments, company etc. These further augmented the identification by further limiting the consciousness of the individual. To inhibit these countless limiting adjuncts or Upadhis a series of auxiliary disciplines were shrewdly and carefully thought out and laid down for the seeker. The seeker should give up all sensuality (Vairagya), control his senses (Dama). control his mind (Sama), give up gross physical comforts (Titiksha), ignore wealth, give up all physical adornments, by wearing simple apparel, shave his head, give up flowers, scents, dancing, music, and live a simple, hard life in humble submission to the preceptor before whom he had to bow down his ego. Despite this, the old Adhyasas cropped up through the force of habit; and they were summarily dealt with by yet another shrewd method developed by the Hindu genius, the method of sharp denial. Such ideas, if they cropped up, were denied out of existence through the method of Neti-Neti Sadhana. These Upa-sadhanas effectively safeguard the progress of the mainstream through its stages of Sravana, Manana, Nididhyasana, leading from Adhyasa to Svarupa Jnana, when the seeker would declare “Chidananda-Rupah Sivoham,” “Svarupoham,” “Sivoham,” “Soham.”

Next we have the fruit of research into the modes that the ego-principle takes in man’s emotional part. Here it was found as deep attachments, multifarious sentiments, infatuation. Here we find that due to its play and through the field of emotion the ego-principle tends to express itself more and more as affections, attachments and feelings of love to human personalities and things of this physical world. There is a never-ceasing succession of manifestation of ‘Mamata’ or ego as ‘Mineness’. It works havoc through the power of Moha. Sentiment plays a great part in holding the Jiva in bondage in this manner. By far the greater majority of mankind is enslaved in the snare of such earthly sentiments and deluded attachment. Hence, there is the universal need for a technique by which one could effectively deal with the individual ego-consciousness caught up in the meshes of Moha, Maya and Mamata. The methodology for the control of attachments and affections to discipline and training of sentiments and emotions, and their diversion and channellisation towards a supramundane ideal (by whose positive force alone the individual would be successful in withdrawing his strong Mayaic attachments to earthly objects) and the total refinement and the sublimation of his love was indispensable if this was to be achieved. This need is most adequately met by what is well-known as the Bhakti Yoga. It is the Prema Marga of the Vaishnavites and the path of mystical love and ecstasy of the Sufis, the western mystics and the lovers of God, and others of their elk. In India the earliest origin of this path of devotion may be traced back to Narada and Sandilya Sutras. From thence it has progressed through the centuries and through the hands of successive God-intoxicated and love-maddened saints and mystics who appeared in various parts of India in different periods. It has now developed in a very thorough, scientific and highly evolved system of the spiritualisatjon and divinisation of human emotion and love. The emotional temperament forming a vast majority of mankind, the path of Bhakti Yoga provides a masterly, psychological process to suit their need.

Now, here the problem presented was not so much one of the driving out certain erroneous ideas and substituting them by right thought; but it was one of diverting attachments, sublimating sentiments, affection and emotions and in diverting the flow of the heart’s love from mundane objects to a supramundane ideal. For this purpose the method of lshta-Upasana was formulated through which was achieved a complete and comprehensive change-over of the individual’s emotional allegiance from the human plane to the divine realm. In trying to work out this method the formulators of this system did not fail to reckon with the limitation and common weakness of the human nature and therefore provided that this change-over was not abrupt, violent or revolutionary. It was made gradual, natural and evolutionary. How was this done? By a very unique method of first initiating the individual to conceiving of the lshta upon a purely normal human basis, thus for instance the neophyte Bhakta was trained to look upon the lshta as a being related to him in a human way. According to the person’s object of love upon the human plane the Ishta is to be regarded as a master (the Bhakta being His servant or slave), as a friend, as a child, or again as the beloved (the Bhakta being the pining lover). Through these attitudes or Bhavas as they are termed, which in the beginning are purely human to start with, the Bhakta progresses up to such a degree of intensification of his devotion that at a point it becomes supra-physical and culminates in an experience where even the sense of separation between the Bhakta and his love’s ideal becomes dissolved in ecstatic union. Para Bhakti merges into Jnana.

The adoption of the particular Bhava becomes the starting point for the Bhakti Yoga Sadhana. This Bhava or relative attitude is taken up spontaneously and instinctively in accord ance with the basic temperament of the devotee. The laying down of the Pancha-Bhavas of Santal Dasya, Sakhya, Vatsalya and Madhurya is clearly indicative of a careful observation and study of the main types of human temperament. They indicate the extent of psychological insight into the predominant attachments, the attraction centres of love, loyalty and allied emotions that hold in sway the vast majority of individuals in this world of human relationship. They were found to be classifiable into the calm and composed state of emotional balance, the element of admiring hero-worship, the strong ties of companionship between friend and friend, the maternal instinct (doting) or motherly love and the erotic element expressed as all-absorbing, intense Prema or the passion of pure love between the lover and the beloved. It will be found that with the shrewdest and most unerring insight they had isolated the main and strongest of the emotional trends in the human nature. Each one of these is such a force under the strong impelling power of which the individual goes to the extent of readily sacrificing his or her very life itself. It is an observed phenomenon that the loyal servitor is ever ready to give up his life in his duty of carrying out the behests of his master and leader whom he worships. The mother regards her own life as of no importance before that of her beloved child. A friend will sacrifice himself with joy for the sake of his friend. As for the true lover and the beloved they are indeed as one soul in two bodies. The extent of their self-effacement, self-sacrifice and the intensity of their love has been immortalised by many an ancient classical both of East and West.

In summing up these five main emotion-patterns these ancient propounders of the Bhakti Marga have covered, as it were, all mankind. One or the other of these five Bhavas or emotion-patterns will be found present in greater or lesser degree in the human individual the world over. Thus this analysis and classification of the “emotional-man” is universal in scope. The human being is instinct with love. Upon this earthly plane, in this externalised gross physical life, the human individual, the eternal lover, manifests love as the expectant, confident and trusting supplicant or as admiring, adoring, self-dedicating hero-worship or again as the sweet and intense attachment of friendship. Love is expressed also as doting parent or the all-consuming, self-offering passion of the lover.

In Bhakti Yoga, we find formulated the admirable technique for gradually transferring this emotional adhesion from an outward physical object to an inward spiritual ideal. To this end, for an effective concentration of the emotional flow, proper and satisfactory focus is provided in the institution of the lshta Devata. It is the tutelary deity or one’s favourite chosen ideal. To ensure a full and perfect switch over and concentralisation of your emotional content, the factor of NISHTHA was insisted upon as one of the indispensable desiderata in Bhakti Yoga. Nishtha is a sine qua non. Bhakti Yoga thus envisages a well-conceived process of the diversion and transference of the love of man from the physical to the spiritual, from the outward to the inward, from the mundane to the Supra-Mundane. It may be tersely summarised in the two terms of “detach” and “attach.” It is the detaching of the emotional adherence from the earthly objects and attaching the same to the spiritual personality of the lshta. This s neither to be abrupt nor in any way unnatural and forced but through a rationally designed method where the emotional structure of the individual is not injured or shocked by any sudden breakaway from its habitual emotional mode, but rather on the contrary, the habitual emotion-pattern of the being is itself made use of as the special medium and the means of an extension of the emotional field into a hitherto untouched inward realm. The more you progress into this inward realm of love, the more complete does your detachment to the evanescent, perishable physical love-object becomes until it reaches the state of a total severance of this gross attachment and the all-consuming, whole-soul, passionate adoration of pure Prema or intense love, self-forgetting and self-dedicative in its nature, to the Divine Ideal or the lshta. The emotional being is thus purified and sublimated, spiritualised and advanced, culminating in the supervention of the highest superconsciousness. To initiate, nurture and perfect this transformation and guide it through its gradual development from the earlier external stages to its later subtle inward fruition, the practice of the ninefold mode of devotional Sadhana was laid down. Sravana or delighting in daily listening to the Divine Lilas and the glorification of one’s chosen deity is one mode. For this purpose various Puranas and Epics have been provided, chief among them being the Srimad Bhagavata, the Ramayana, the Siva Purana, the Vishnu Purana, the Skanda Purana and the Devi Bhagavata and Mahatmya. Through the constant listening to the Lilas and the glories of the Lord, keen admiration is evoked. Satsanga or the company of the wise is another means by which the devotee is enabled to Converse on the glories of the Lord with persons with similar devotional temperament. Through Satsanga and Svadhyaya or study of devotional books, comes admiration for the Lord. From admiration comes Sraddha or faith. From Sraddha comes devotion to the Lord. Then the devotee practises Sadhana Bhakti viz., Japa, Smarana and Kirtana. He burns the sins and obstacles to his devotion by the above practices. From Sadhana Bhakti he develops Nishtha (devoutness). From Nishtha comes Ruchi or taste for hearing and chanting themes about the Lord. Then comes Rati or intense attachment. Rati softens the heart. When Rati Is intensified it is called Sthayi Bhava or steadiness or perm anent form of Bhakti Rasa. When Sthayi Bhava is intensified. It is called Maha Bhava or Prema-Maya. Now the devotee drinks the Prema Rasa and lives in the Lord.

The second mode, Kirtan or the singing of hymns and devotional songs embodying sweet and touching sentiments of adoration, prayerfulness, supplication and the like serves to make the devotee’s relation more Intimate with the lshta Devata and to intensify the bond of gradually progressive affect ion and love. The third mode of Smarana connoting a constant recollection of and dwelling upon God’s Lilas serves to further deepen the Yogi’s attachment to the chosen ideal, thus helping to further fulfil the requirement of Nishtha. The above two serve to saturate the mind with ideas of the lshta and a wealth of associated thoughts. Their work is augmented by regular formalistic worship (Sakara Upasana) like Padasevana, Archana, etc., that leads on to the culminating stages of Bhakti when the devotee’s life blooms out into a constant, intense and practical living of one or the other of the attitudes which takes up the entire emotional field of the seeker’s personality and fully dominates his consciousness entering into and colouring every one of even its minutest phases and fluctuations. A vital transformation is wrought in the life and personality of the devotee in all its parts. A whole-soul dedication characterises the Sadhana at this stage. The seeker lives in a beatific world of his own, entirely made up of his all-absorbing, all-consuming love for his heart’s ideal. He attains an exalted consciousness where all selfish love is extinct, the emotional personality is tot ally sublimated and with the consequent absolute self-evanescence, the seeker’s consciousness soars high into the empyrean of Cosmic Consciousness at once transcendent and perfect, sublime, glorious, all-blissful and everlasting.

But however, in the case of by far the vast majority of mankind the combating of the ego as expressed in and through the realm of the intellect was found to be impracticable. The vast major section of human beings were too deeply immersed and too inextricably enmeshed and bound up in the snares and toils of deluding nescience In its extremely gross form, so that in them the ego-consciousness rarely rose up and made itself felt to any effect upon the intellect plane at all. They were fully bound up and absorbed in their purely physical and sensual rounds of life and in them the ego found its play in far grosser forms like gross clinging to the body and its creature comforts, constant anxiety and fear for its safety and animal well-being, rank selfishness and intense attachment arising out of the former. At this stage the unregenerate individual is selfishness personified, the being of overweening vanity, who thirsts for self-recognition, self-satisfaction and self-adulation. His ego swells with each and every feather added on to his cap of vanity. A thorough overhauling of his unregenerate, self-bound, egocentric personality is indicated here as a first concern to one who would seek redemption from this state.

Accordingly a practical course of vigorous “personality overhaul” was outlined. This is Karma Yoga, the path of selfless, humble, self-abnegating. motiveless service of all beings. This is an active disciplined work-out through the external day-to-day life and activities of the individual where he is trained to set aside self and put service before self. He is taught to deny his personal pleasure and work for the happiness of others. He is made to shed off all Abhimana or personal vanity arising out of circumstances incidental to his birth and environment. The Abhimanas of man are truly legionary. They are fetters that bind him down to his limited individuality. Ego is their substratum and main support. Pride of high birth, pride of learning, vanity of good looks and accomplishments, arrogance of status or of wealth, the sense of superiority due to innumerable factors connected with the body, consequent sense of false prestige and dignity, sense of shame, are some of the commonest forms of Abhimana present in the average individual. To cast out such vain Abhimana of birth, rank, wealth, learning. etc., is the task behind the Sadhanas of the Karma Yoga. The seeker is first asked to forget his notions of superiority and to consider himself a humble servant. But the idea is not sufficient. He must start to work. He starts to do the most menial manual work without the least repugnance or unwillingness. He is taught work as worship. Serve all. Behold the Lord in all. Serve them with the feeling that you are worshipping the Lord in and through such service. Give up selfishness. Control your senses. Trample over all sense of superiority. Be humble. Be simple. Be selfless. Sacrifice your comforts. Share with others what you have. Give, give, give. Love all. Work ceaselessly for the happiness and the good of all. Offer up your body, mind, wealth and everything fl this process. In this way, the gross egoism immersed in Tamas and filled with unnatural Abhimana, pride, arrogance, selfishness, greed, shame, fear and superiority is put into the furnace of Karma Yoga Sadhana and it emerges as a purified, refined principle full of humility, sweet with selflessness, compassion and spirit of worshipful service devoid of vanity and arrogance, simple and loving. This refinement of the ego and change from Tamoguna to Sattvaguna makes it fit for the taking up of other higher modes of Yoga for total perfection.

It must be noted that in the case of Karma Yoga we cannot trace back its origin to any specific treatise or scripture which could be regarded as an exclusive and authoritative textbook upon which this Yoga has its basis. But, however we find that there is a general tendency to regard Karma Yoga as owing its genesis in the Gospel of the Gita as expounded to Arjuna by Bhagavan Sri Krishna. It is acknowledged that the gospel of selfless, unattached dynamism as found in certain parts of the Bhagavad Gita supplies the fundamentals upon which the system of Nishkama Karma Yoga in the form that we find it today has been built up. Therefore, it is usual to refer to the Gita as the scripture which expounds the doctrine of selfless, worshipful activity, worshipful because of the Lord’s injunction “to offer up all actions unto Me,” even as all worship is naturally offered at the feet of the deity. Without entering into the relative merits of the conflicting claims upon the philosophy of the Gita by Jnanis, Bhaktas, Yogis, philanthropists and altruistic social workers alike, the main point to be grasped here is that there was a vital need for a doctrine of vigorous activism, having for its basis utter selflessness, calm detachment and a total absence of personal passion and desire. The Gita has supplied the nucleus for such a doctrine. The passage of centuries, the advent of numerous God-men and compassionate saint- reformers did the rest.

The great need of such a doctrine was discovered by the men of wisdom from their researches into the nature of man. The knowledge of the operation of the three Gunas in the individual nature is something unique and distinctive to the spiritual psychology known to the Hindu sages. In the course of their observation and practical study of man they had found out that these Gunas had to be transcended one after another in their order of progression. Tamoguna did not easily allow of conversion and transformation directly into the Pure Sattvaguna. It had necessarily to be first converted from the gross Tamas into active Rajas. From Rajas it could be later transformed into the purity of Sattva. Herein is found the need for a system of Sadhana that could in the first instance assail and break down the gross Tamasic aspects of the ego-sense in the individual. The Asuric ego of the Tamoguna Prakriti was found to have strong hold and play in the individual in the form of Sthula Abhimana or a gross self-arrogating sense of doership which would insist upon vaingloriously taking the credit (in its deep ignorance) for all movements of the cosmic Prakriti expressing itself in and through the instrumentality of the human monad. it is I who did this,” “By me alone was done that,” “All this I have done.” Thus asserts the strong Abhimana of the extremely unregenerate Tamasic ego in man in his early days of darkness and constricted ego-centered living. The gradual renunciation of this strong, vain, self-arrogating sense of doership or Asuric Kartritva Abhimana forms the rock-bottom of Karma Yoga psychology.

Abhimana is a fattened state assumed by the ego due to its association and unconscious Identification (through nescience) with factors distinct from or external to its native state of simple self-awareness. This associated factor or limiting Upadhi may be anything from some subjective inborn talent to a purely objective possession. I am aristocratic,” “I am wealthy,” l am handsome,’ “I am learned,” I am clever,”I am accomplished,” “I am strong,” “I am influential,” “I am a collector,” “I am a political leader,” I am a great philanthropist,” “I am intellectual,” “I am highly cultured. In such and other similar ways does Abhimana exist in the individual? “I am nothing,” l am a servant of servants,” “I am a humble instrument, I want no praise,” ‘I seek no gain,” “I wish for neither name nor fame,” “I know nothing,” ‘I live to learn”. With such Bhava or mentalcum-emotional attitude held persistently and practised actively, the Karma Yogi is trained to batter down the citadel of Abhimana.

Karma Yoga constitutes a masterly system of self-purification and preliminary preparation which lays the sure foundation for all Yoga and spiritual life. The ancient seers well knew that Without purification of the heart no divine experience is ever possible. In the absence of such purification of man’s nature, the forced adoption and practice of other techniques of Yoga are seen to be ineffective and powerless to lead to any lasting good: whereas with the nature thoroughly purified and regenerated by the practice of Karma Yoga, the other higher aspects of Yoga when taken up and practised yield gratifying results very quickly and rapidly lead to higher spiritual unfoldment.

It has been said already that extreme selfishness, greed and the desire for personal gain and selfish enjoyment characterise the lowest self of man. Karma Yoga is an effective attempt to bring out an ‘about-turn’ in this disposition of the human mentality. The laws of Karma Yoga lay down that the Yogi casts aside all desires for selfish enjoyment and personal gain. He is made to simplify his life and to control his senses. Strict discipline is the keynote of Karma Yoga. He is trained to think and feel that he does nothing but he is merely an instrument in the hands of the Divine. In humility he worships the Divine Spirit enshrined in all beings as the Antaryamin through his selfless, motiveless, loving services. He has to shed his superiority complex and move about with equal vision amongst all people. His angularities are to be rounded off once and for all. He must learn to subserve his personal notions in all matters and develop adaptability with others. He should control anger for he should ever remember that he is the servant of humanity. While thus moving constantly in the midst of multifarious natures and individuals, the Karma Yogi shall not take any offence, at any injury or insult done to him by antagonistic people. He must ever readily forgive and forget. The Karma Yogi is made to be devoid of vengeful spirit. He shall not retaliate.

This training, these rules and discipline, are the psychological machinery brought into operation in working out the technique of Karma Yoga. Gradually his nature is chastened. His ego is purified. This ceaseless activity in the spirit of pure worshipfulness effectively shakes him up and out from the sloth of gross Tamas. It fits him to take up one or other of the higher Yogas for the further unfoldment of the now comparatively purified ego. Karma Yoga, as it were, is a well-conceived psychophysical, all-out direct attack upon a wide front against the entire Series of soul-constricting and limiting Adhyasas (psychophysical identifications) present in and binding down the individual through his contact and association with the innumerable Upadhis (psycho-Physical adjuncts) that constitute the world around him. In the arsenal supplying this attack the most prominent items of the ‘sinews of war’ to be borne in mind are, Nishkama Karma, or selfless action, Abhimana Tyaga or renunciation of egoism, Akarta-Abhokta, Nimitta Bhava or the feeling of non-doership, non-enjoyershiP and being an instrument merely, Raga-dvesha Rahita Karma or action freed from attachment and hatred, Anaasakti or non-attachment, Karmaphala Tyaga or renunciation of the fruit of action, Puja Bhava, Bhagavadarpana.

The fourth technique that was perfected is the Raja Yoga, the Yoga of will, completely and lucidly expounded by Maharshi Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras. Raja Yoga is at once a most scientific, direct and summary “root technique.” It may be compared to attacking the lion in his very den or drying up the river at its very source. We have already seen that the ego-consciousness has its play through the medium of the mind. It can be said that it is primarily the mind movement that makes possible the manifestation of the Ahankara. This led on logically to the conclusion that if the very mind movement itself is totally arrested, this ought naturally to bring about a cessation of the play of Ahankara. Hence they argued, if the initial mind wave or Vritti is made the target of attack, then, the battle is taken, as it were, into the very camp of the enemy and it becomes direct and summary. Upon this firm premise was built up the technique of Raja Yoga. It constituted a process of nipping in the bud all ideation itself. It effectively stifled out and annihilated the primary movement of the very mentation itself. Thus we have as the first Sutra: “Yogas-chittavritti-nirodhah.”

But then the above process was indeed an extremely subtle one. It was purely an inner process carried on within the realm of the mind. Could anyone directly take to this process with any measure of success? This is the question. No. This was not possible. A careful preparation was necessary before the individual could become fit to take up this process of Vritti-Nirodha. Herein again they have displayed their deep knowledge of the nature and the behaviour of the mind and its relation and connection with the other aspects of the man’s being. They know of the existence of the threefold factor of Mala or gross impurity, Vikshepa or tossing of the mind and Avarana or the veil of ignorance within the consciousness of the human monad. Before one could assay to remove the Avarana he is to first overcome Mala and Vikshepa. The gross Tamoguna and Rajoguna supply is, as it were, the stuff for the fabric of Mala or psycho-VitaI impurity in the structure of man’s personality. The first four Angas of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga were therefore directed at the total elimination of Tamoguna and Rajoguna from the individual Prakriti. This effectively achieved the removal of Mala and Vikshepa. Observing that Tamoguna tyrannised the personality in the form of various impure and vicious tendencies, gross desire and disbeliefs, the first two steps in Raja Yoga, Yama and Niyama, were formed to counter this deficiency by the cultivation of the sublime virtues of truth, compass ion, purity, non-stealing, desirelessness and the like, together with the active observance of external and internal cleanliness, contentment and cheerfulness in all matters, austerity, daily scripture-study and worship.

Next, based upon the knowledge of the close interrelation between the mysterious Prana and the mental fluctuations (Vikshepa) they formulated the third and the fourth Angas of Raja Yoga, the steady Asana and the rhythmic Pranayama. The maintenance of steady, unshaken posture for a prolonged period of time was prescribed to achieve the marvellous result of controlling and toning down the vibratory tempo of the body cells from the Tamasic and Rajasic to a state of pure and harmonious Sattva. With Asana-jaya, Tamoguna is overcome, Rajoguna is controlled and Sattva supervenes in the system of the practicant. His whole nature is comparatively refined. The ancients knew that mind and Prana were the obverse and reverse of the self-same coin and they were interconnected. By the discipline of the one you could discipline the other. By the control of the one you would control the other. Upon this psychological fact was conceived the fourth part of the Raja Yoga Sadhana, i.e., Pranayama, the training and discipline of the mysterious vital force, Prana, through a system of breath-control. This went a long way in reducing the Vikshepa or the mind oscillation. These four steps are therefore the preparation leading up to the actual Yoga of “Vritti-Nirodha,” whereby you give battle to the mind in its own element. The higher Yogic processes of Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana comprising the fifth, sixth and the seventh stages in Raja Yoga, constitute a trip ie yet unitary process, a sort of three-in-one Sadhana by Which the Yogi rings the death knell to all Vrittis or mind movements. Mano-Nasa or Mano-Laya is the aim of the yogi, by which he cuts the very ground from under Ahankara. Devoid of support or stay. The ego consciousness has nothing to stand upon. Its sole support withdrawn, it meets its extinction. The extinction of the mind is a terrible prospect to the modern man who fears it as leading to the loss of personality. But this prospect did not worry the ancient Yogic Scientist who has assured that the transitory personality enabled by the mind (which was itself perishable) was a false and illusory personality and that its extinction would give rise to the awakening of the true and glorious spiritual personality of the being, with its exalted consciousness of immortality and supreme plenitude. With the annihilation of the mind, there is the dawn of supramental-supra- consciousness to which hitherto the mind, the ego, constituted the sole bar.

Mind is the breeding ground for the germ of Ahankara, wherein it grows and develops into legion. Mind is the soil as it were, for the seed of Ahankara, wherein it sprouts, grows and develops into countless million branches and offshoots. The principle of Ahankara or the separatist individualistic consciousness is supported by the mind. And vice versa; the mind is supported by Ahankara. They are inseparable companions. The one cannot exist without the other. Because the Ahankara is there the mind principle springs into functioning. Because the mind is there it becomes possible for Ahankara to manifest. Thus they are interdependent upon the mind the dancer Ahankara dances variously. The ego-mind combination finds expression In nescience in the form of ceaselessly recurring mental Vrittis, deluded Adhyasa, Mamata and Abhimana The technique of Yoga with its various processes (Sadhanas) liquidates this root-cause of all Samsara, i.e., the demon of in its manifold expressions as Adhyasa, Vritti, Mamata and Abhimana Though it is a fact that all the four Yogas are complementary to one another, and ultimately work Out One integral process yet Without having any watertight compartmentalisation,  they are, at the same time, found to direct their special attention and the attack, towards someone of these four prominent aspects in which the actively Operates in the field of the Individual’s Personality. The Originators of the science and technique of Yoga formulated the four broad methods of Jnana Marga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Marga and Karma Yoga as psychological-cum-spiritual processes for freeing the Jiva from the bonds of Adhyasa, Chittavritti. Mamata and Abhimana, all of which constitute different modes or variants of the root principles of nescience manifest as the individualistic ego-consciousness. In doing this they have demonstrated a deep and wonderful insight into even the obscurest operations of the fourfold mind and the three Gunas that sway it. They have based the technique upon a full awareness of the existence of the laws of auto-suggestion, ceaseless positive assertion (Sajatiya-Vritti-Pravaha) of association of ideas, of Pratipaksha Bhavana (interaction of thought and counter-thought), creative power of concentrated thought, annihilation through inhibition (Vijatiya-Vritti-Nirodha), sublimation through psycho-spiritual superimposition and of nullification of the world-experience through dissociation of ego-consciousness from all extra personal objective factors impinging upon it from the field of phenomenal existence, the operation of the three Gunas as also the interrelation between Prana and mind. These have become enduring techniques for the attainment of self-perfection and their scope has been found to be universal because of the fact that the sage-seers responsible for them based them upon their intuitive knowledge of the fundamental composition of the human being and his physical, mental, psychic and spiritual nature.

It is to be clearly borne in mind that the final attainment of Yoga is fully supramental and purely spiritual in content. But through its ultimate reaches the process culminates in a true and entirely unalloyed spiritual experience, yet in its basal anatomy the process of Yoga is doubtless psychological. There is no definite or sharp dividing line between its earlier phases that are well grounded in the field of psychology and its later evolution into a higher realm when with the advancement in spirituality the individual draws progressively closer to the experience of pure consciousness per se shorn and devoid of all the lower and lesser limiting modes of the Tamoguna-ridden and Rajoguna-ridden fourfold mind. The one gradually merges into the other smoothly and naturally at some stage in the spiritual life of the seeker, which stage may and does start differently from individual to individual and for which no arbitrary period can be laid down. And even here throughout the life of Yoga, elements of both phases, psychological, as well as spiritual are found to be present and encroaching upon each other in varying degrees all the while. Thus we may find a purely spiritual item of Yoga Sadhana form part of the routine Abhyasa of the raw neophyte. Similarly, too, it may be that a highly advanced spiritual practicant and Yogi makes use of a very ordinary and seemingly trifling psychological expedient to aid him in some advanced spiritual process. Thus it will be seen that the technique of the different systems of Yoga, far from being any superstitious process blindly followed by an unenlightened people, is in effect a well-conceived set of vital and psycho-spiritual practices based upon sound knowledge of the nature and workings of the mysterious human mind and the 'Gunas' in all the varied phases in which they have their play in the individual. The above is an attempt made to throw some light upon the inner anatomy of certain of the prominent aspects of Yoga, Bharatavarsha's ancient yet enduring system of spiritual perfection and Self-realisation. It is not claimed as being either final or exhaustive, but its main purpose is to bring to the modern man a correct estimation and the realisation of the true worth of the Great System of Yoga.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

FOUNDATIONS OF SADHANA

PREREQUISITES OF SPIRITUAL SADHANA

I

I will dwell here upon the main qualifications necessary for launching upon the actual Sadhana. All the ancient saints, seers, men of God that have had intuitive experience of the Truth have been declaring to all mankind the great bliss, the vast power and knowledge that can be experienced if only man would turn from sensual sinful life and strive for the higher divine life. Yet we see today that man is as much immersed if not more-in worldliness as he was centuries ago and the state of mankind is as apathetic and lethargic towards these questions of a life in the spirit as it was at the beginning of creation. Why is it that in spite of the clarion call of very many great seers, the confident assurance of the scriptures, the repeated experiences of man himself in failing miserably to attain happiness amidst external physical world, man is again and again being deceived? Why is it that man has not yet learnt to take to Sadhana? We read hundreds of spiritual books; we attend discourses; we convene gatherings as during the Sadhana Week. After years of intense study of spiritual books, contact with saints, after hearing these things again and again, yet man does not actually do anything. Because he does not have a deep and abiding faith in the admonitions of saints, in the scriptures, in the words of those who have trodden the path and attained bliss. His faith in external objects is something more real to him. If only man did really believe in these great ones he would certainly be induced to act up to their words. It is this basic lack of faith in man that is at the root of his failure to do Sadhana. Sadhana is necessary; but man will not do it because he does not really believe in its necessity. Man believes that for his happiness money is required. Man believes that if only he will get a good job he will get money. Man believes that if he has good college education he will get this job; and through that money; and through that, happiness that he desires. Believing in it every parent sends his child to school and from a young age he is taught to believe that if he passes his examinations creditably he will get a good job, salary, motor cars, etc. The child believes in the words; he studies, passes the examinations and the remuneration he expects comes. Because he had a feeling, because he thought all these things were necessary he desired them. But ultimately, of course, it is the unfortunate experience of all men that this happiness they get is mixed up more than tenfold with pain. Man gets an anna of happiness and with it fifteen annas of pain, suffering, for which he did not bargain when he first set about searching for this happiness. Thus if man has faith in spiritual course of action he will act up to it. Lacking this faith he does not do Sadhana. If a man has to take up to Sadhana, if he really wants to obtain this bliss which is not mixed with pain, he will certainly have to repose faith. It may be called blind faith; but there is nothing like blind faith because all things on this earth go upon faith only and if man lives today it is on account of mutual trust and faith. A ten rupee note is a piece of paper and it is because you have the Asoka Chakra ensign on it, it will immediately get you whatever you want if presented at the bazaar. Because you have the faith in this piece of paper. If you do not have faith upon this paper, you would not have the confidence to start from the house; you would never be sure of reaching your destination. The doctor gives you a prescription on a piece of paper. If you do not have faith you will not take it from him. But the faith upon which all society is based makes you take his word, pay him money for his advice, take it to the chemist, get the medicine and you are cured. The entire social structure and order upon which mankind smoothly runs is based upon faith and trust. When you are prepared to put faith in mankind which is but a passing phenomena-those in whom you put your faith are dying before your eyes—when you are prepared to put faith upon these passing entities like mankind, why should you not put faith upon the very Creator of these things? Having first of all full faith in the words of the seers and known the necessity of Sadhana, what is the procedure, what is to be done next? You may have faith. Thousands of well-wishers may suggest good lines of action for your welfare and you may believe in them fully. If you do not put them into practice—if you do not begin to translate them into function—they will ever remain plans in the blue-print stage. If you don't set about procuring money, cement, bricks, various other building materials and labour, the whole construction will remain in blue-print only. It will not see the light of the day. After faith in Sadhana comes practice. You must set about doing. No question of believing. A belief must become an act. One must set about doing. Having reposed faith in the words of sages, you begin doing Sadhana. Once you commence Sadhana, the next important thing you should bear in mind is you should not easily give it up. Perseverance is of the utmost importance. All processes in this universe are gradual. They have got stages. Agriculture is gradual; it takes twelve months. You have to sow, water the field, cut out the weeds, and in course of time you will be able to take the grain. If you are impatient-if you sow the seed and as soon as it sprouts forth, you take it out-it will perish. If you want to go through all the stages and attain the end you must have patience and perseverance. A man who wants to lift a vessel from the well-water when the vessel is full, he begins to draw up the water upon the wheel; suddenly if he stops pulling, the vessel will fall back into the well. He will have to proceed with the drawing motion until the vessel is at the top. Persevere till the ultimate fruit is obtained. You must not give up. There is another important point that in spiritual Sadhana, man does not merely have to contend with the positive force. There are active forces that oppose him, that actually assail him and pull him down. Herein comes the necessity of the fourth important weapon in the hand—that is fortitude. While persevering, man has to have a little courage not to be easily shaken by the obstacles that assail him. He will have to brave the storm and proceed in spite of the difficulties and adverse conditions trying to cow him down, to push him off from the path of Sadhana. It is with fortitude he refuses to be discouraged and, relying upon the inner Self, he proceeds with the Sadhana. Ultimately he will attain the ideal for which he has been born upon earth; and while going through this process he will have to see that he keeps in mind the necessity of giving minute attention to all the small details upon the path because in every process all such small details of the process are to be attended to carefully. If any small detail is left out, thinking that it is superfluous, he will find that ultimately he has lost valuable time and labour. This delays progress. It is the conglomeration of small things that go up to achieve high ideals.

Therefore with firm faith, practical application, perseverance, careful attention to even small details and fortitude in trials, you must set foot and proceed on the path of Sadhana.

II

When we consider any question, a number of different aspects of the same question will have to be thought over if we are dealing with the matter so as to be complete. Usually it is some one of the aspects that gets the emphasis and others are missed because, according to the particular disposition of those who take up the subject, they lay stress upon certain aspects. It is natural when so many different Rishis have dealt in general about life human life—what it constitutes, how it is impermanent, how its real goal is the achievement of Self-realisation or the vision of God, now, for instance, taking the Name of God, as the means to achieve this end, how Patanjali Maharshi has pointed out Yama, Niyama, Sama, Dama, etc., have to be practised, how we have to build the walls of Yama, Niyama, and the doors and windows of Sama, Dama to raise this mansion of Immortality. There is nothing you can call your own; everywhere life is impermanent; there is insecurity. Now these are all aspects; but then they have presented only the problem-side of the subject. There is the solution-aspect and here, too, the theory of the solution is one sub-aspect of this and the practice of the solution is yet another sub-aspect. When dealing with life, we put it as the problem of life, that is, sorrow, suffering, pain, and how to get rid of it, we should consider the solution, touch upon the various methods of Satsanga, taking His Name, Sama, Dama and Dharana. In the solution-aspect, the theory of the solution is present; but as spiritual aspirants, as sincere seekers, as all of you are, you want the practical side of the solution-aspect more than anything else. There are the two aspects. In books, for instance, there is the book that says, if you have got a certain trouble it can be cured by a course of such and such a medicine. This is like saying, "Vikshepa can be removed by Japa and Upasana." But there is another book which says-if you have got this trouble, procure so many grams of this medicine, purify it in this manner, mix it in this proportion, heat it up, let it be on the oven for so many minutes, mix it with such and such a thing tailed process of the solution is given so that anyone who reads it at once is able to act up to it. Information is different and complete explanation of the detail is different. Having now said that this practical aspect of the solution is all-important for earnest seekers, I shall put before you one or two points which are found to be most useful equipments for putting into practice this solution. When you actually start doing Sadhana, you find that various practical difficulties crop up. When you get the ingredients, supposing you grind them and find they do not mix properly, when you actually do certain things, some practical difficulties arise. These practical difficulties have to be dealt with on the spot. Thus, when we consider the aspect of Sadhana, we find one big difficulty for seekers, that is, they have to contend more with forces that are interior than forces that are exterior. For instance, among diseases we find that certain external conditions bring about certain diseases. We remove the external conditions by means of external forces—we clean the gutter, we spray the drain with anti-mosquito solution; we burn up refuse; we disinfect water; we inject people with anti-cholera vaccine; and we get over that disease. But here most of the forces you have to contend with are mental. Thus the big difficulty is that we cannot easily take the help of external agents to constantly keep a watch on these enemies as the Sanitary Department, for instance, and call them when they rise up. Therefore, while you carry on these spiritual practices like taking the Name of God, developing virtues, you have to develop a mental monitor; you have to train up a portion of the mind to act as a sort of ever vigilant guide. Immediately any forces come up to obstruct you; any bad thought, any anti-spiritual force; anything that is detrimental to your Sadhana crops up in your mental field; this mental monitor should be so trained that it should immediately strike and put down the adverse factor. This can come only through diligent cultivation and practice. Mind is so bad that every time you turn or direct it to a particular direction, the old Samskaras or Vrittis will ever be troubling you. Therefore, we have to put it down in a more severe manner. We have to get a mental monitor ready—which will at once check the anti-spiritual force that rises in him. If this mental monitor is kept, the process of Sadhana will be smoother; it will be greatly facilitated. This is like going through deep waters. This ship of a seeker is like the ship that goes into enemy waters which are sown with depth-charges and mines. These mines are under the surface of the water: they are potential destructive weapons. We have heard that early in the War the Germans used the magnetic mine. The enemy ship would at once attract it as the ship is constructed with metal—the mine would be drawn towards it and destroy the ship. There are magnetic mines without number in this deep ocean of Samsara where we have to steer the ship. For this the only method is we have to take the precautions as they did towards the magnetic mine. What they did was—they perfected a method of completely insulating the ship which rendered it safe against the magnetic mine. This insulation made the magnetic mine useless, it was not attracted, even though it was there and even though the ship passed near it. Thus, while going through the path of Sadhana, we have to see that we have insulated ourselves with the insulation of aspiration and trust in God. If ever your aspiration is always climbing upwards, these forces fail to be attracted towards you. Only when your aspiration is not upwards, when you are still in the plane of sensual pleasures and desires that it easily attracts the sense-objects towards you and the sense-objects destroy the spiritual progress that you are trying to make. Having insulated, there is another precaution we have to take. We should make that ideal the main interest of our life. The seeker may have a hundred interests according to the position in which he is placed, his family circumstances, the society, the environments; yet, if he will do what the military experts do—supposing they wished to direct the course of a certain apparatus—say a torpedo, rocket bomb—to a certain destination, they set its course before it starts. Thus, in whatever circumstances the seekers are placed, in whatever professions, in whatever society, family environments, by God, let them fix the purpose of their life as Moksha, to attain Self-realisation; let them so set up this dial, so strongly implant this idea into their mind and constantly remember it day and night as the setting of the compass in this machine. They will see even though here and there ups and downs may come, there may be temporary obstacles to the flight in that course, due to overwhelming external circumstances, this one being established in his ideal and constantly remembering it he is not shaken by the vicissitudes of life in his march towards the goal. While in this passing towards the goal, in spite of insulation against external forces we have to see through the whole process. Man has got to be constantly in the field of activity. Because circumstances are like that. Man has to work. While working naturally it is the tendency of the human mind to take the colouring of that thing with which it comes into contact--a man living in a smoky room will be affected by the smoke. He will have his clothing blackened. But there is one thing: even though the currents of Raga and Dvesha affect man, let us see that there is a constant force which will keep our inner state always divine, equipoised, spiritual, actions will be there and the forces will act upon you, but you must so develop the technique that you must not react. It is when the man reacts to the action of external forces that he fails. Therefore, trouble comes. You have the rapidity of the machine gun, an incredible number of shots are fired within the split-second and the barrel gets terribly heated. If there were no device to keep down the temperature of the barrel the machine gun would at once melt. They have perfected the technique of warfare-a flow of cold oil is made to circulate round the barrel and the temperature of the machine gun is kept down. While coming in contact with Raga, Dvesha, lust, anger and greed, we have to see the friction does not ignite us. Let us always keep handy the cooling balm of Bhagavan's Divine Name, and His reflection. Let us constantly keep this cooling balm ever close to us. Thus, it will ever keep our natures cool. It will not allow our natures to get heated. It will see that the spiritual equipoise is always kept. If there are certain vicious traits in man which he cannot escape, such things let him by a mere technique of transformation turn to his own use. During war the prisoners of war were caught; they were all enemies; but once they were caught as prisoners, they were made to work for our own benefit so that the soldiers of this nation may be fit. They were turned to the use of the victorious nation. We have got the nature of fault-finding. Everywhere we do not see the good. We always try to pick out defects. This is a great defect in spiritual aspirants; it retards spiritual progress. But this practice is there. Supposing the spiritual aspirant has it, let him not be very much upset about it. Supposing he turns this practice upon himself, he will see that this practice far from being an enemy, becomes his friend. He will have no time to think about the defects of others. He will be stunned in dealing with his own defects. Then he will see that even a mustard-seed of goodwill appear before his eyes because instituting a comparison with himself which is full of defects and shortcomings, he will find even small things in others a virtue.

THE THREE GOVERNING FACTORS OF SADHANA

Many people even after studying classic works on religion and philosophy do not know what they should do in practice to attain the goal of life, viz., God-realisation, and they seek enlightenment on this. The three things essential for God-realisation are: (1) constant remembrance of God, (2) cultivation of virtues and (3) spiritualisation of all activities.

(1) Constant remembrance of God: There may be breaks in the beginning, but by repeated practice, gradually you can have constant remembrance. Constant Namasmarana, mental repetition of God's Name, alone is possible for the vast majority of people. Awakening of Kundalini and raising of Brahmakara Vritti are very, very difficult, but when the mind is purified, they would come automatically.

(2) Cultivation of virtues: Of all virtues Ahimsa (noninjury), Satya (truthfulness) and Brahmacharya (celibacy) are the most important. If one is established in one virtue, all other virtues will cling to him. Watch the Vrittis. Introspect. Develop purity in thought, word and deed. In the beginning, practise at least physical purity. Then mental purity will come by itself.

(3) Spiritualisation of all activities: Feel you are an instrument in the Lord's hands and that all the Indriyas (senses) belong to Him. Repeat the formula: "I am Thine; all is Thine; Thy Will be done." It is a beautiful formula for self-surrender. You may forget this formula and egoism may assert itself. But introspect again and again and find out your weakness. Try to be established in the feeling, "I am an instrument in the hands of the Lord." Remember the Gita verse:

SELF-SURRENDER

Yat karoshi yadashasi yajjuhoshi dadasi yat;

Yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kurushva madarpanam.

(Whatever you do, or eat, or offer in sacrifice, or give, or practise as austerity, do it as an offering unto Me.)

Praseeda devesa jagannivasa: "O God of gods! Resort for the world, have mercy." It is a formula more potent than or as potent as pahi mam, palaya mam, prachodayat-these are all tremendous formulae. They are very powerful. So again and again remember them and their significance.

Sri Ramah saranam mama, Sri Krishnah saranam mama, Harih saranam—these are potent Saranagati Mantras.

Saranagati is taking refuge in the Lord, or self-surrender unto Him.

Karpanyadoshopahatasvabhavah

Prichchhami tvam dharmasammudhachetah;

Yat sreyah syat nischitam bruhi tanme

Sishyasteham sadhi mam tvam prapannam.

(My heart is overpowered by the taint of weakness; my mind is confused about duty. I ask Thee. Tell me decisively what is good for me. I am Thy disciple. Instruct me, who has taken refuge in Thee.-Gita Il-7). This is a Satguru-Saranagati Mantra.

Sarvadharman parityajya mamekam saranam vraja, Aham tva sarvapapebhyo mokshayishyami ma suchah.

(Abandoning all duties, take refuge in Me (the Lord) alone; I will liberate thee from all sins, grieve not.-Gita XVIII-66)

These are all Saranagati formulae. In the Eighteenth Chapter of the Gita there is a Sloka:

INSTRUMENTALITY

Yasya nahamkrito bhavo buddhiryasya na lipyate,

Hatvapi sa iman lokan na hanti na nibadhyate.

(He who has no egoism, whose intelligence is not tainted by (the obsession of) good or evil, even if he kills the whole world, he neither kills nor is bound by the action.-Gita XVIII-17) Krishna said this to Arjuna when the latter shied away from the battle to which he was duty-bound as a soldier when challenged by the aggressor.

Remember these Slokas. You will have the spirit of Saranagati. You will feel that the Lord is in you, and you are in the Lord.

After the day's work, offer whatever you have done to God. Do not identify yourself with actions. Feel that you are doing your duty as a detached instrument of the Lord's benevolence.

Kayena vacha manasendriyairva buddhyatmana va

prakritessvabhavat,

Karomi yadyat sakalam parasmai Narayanayeti

samarpayami.

Offer all actions and their fruits to God. Then you will not be bound. In this way you should spiritualise all your activities. Feel that the whole world is a manifestation of the Lord and you are serving the Lord in all names and forms, and whatever you do—your actions and the results thereof consecrate to the Lord. Then your heart will be purified and will be ready to receive the divine light and grace.

SUREST METHOD

Therefore, practise the three requisites-constant remembrance of God, spiritualising your activities and cultivating virtues.

These three are very important. Practise them. This is the easiest, the quickest and the surest method for attaining God-realisation.

Esha sarveshu bhuteshu qudhatma na prakasate;

Drisyate tvagryaya buddhya sukshmaya

sukshmadarsibhih.

(This Atman is hidden in all beings, but it is seen only by subtle seers through their sharp and subtle intellect.)

The intellect should be razor-sharp if you wish to understand the Brahma Sutras properly. All are not meant for it. Even then practical experience is essential. Therefore, to the vast majority, constant remembrance of the Lord, spiritualisation of all activities and cultivation of virtues-Ahimsa, Satya, Brahmacharya—form the most important part of Sadhana. These also constitute the noble eightfold path of Lord Buddha. These also correspond to the "Sermon on the Mount" of Lord Jesus. These are the essentials in all religions. So, kindly practise these, and attain God-relisation. Love all. Be good and do good. May Lord bless you all!

PRIMARY PRINCIPLES OF SADHANA

AND THEIR PERVERSIONS

The path of the spiritual aspirant verily lies through a bewildering jungle of difficulties and dilemmas of problems and paradoxes. One of such vexing paradoxes is that your mind is both your best friend as also your bitter enemy. Mind becomes a true friend only after being gradually trained to be so. Mind begins to be really helpful after the aspirant has progressed sufficiently in spiritual Sadhana. Until then it should be regarded as a troublesome and treacherous enemy inside us. It is extremely diplomatic, cunning and crooked. It is an archdeceiver. One of the master-strokes of the mind's artfulness is to make the aspirant feel and smugly imagine that he knows his mind perfectly well and cannot be led away by it and at the same time to delude him totally. The mind has the knack of making the unwary aspirant confidently think himself its master, while it makes a hopeless fool of him. Its deceptions are subtle.

You have heard the saying, "The devil can quote scriptures for its purpose." Similarly the mind can use a virtue to indulge in a vice. It has an inborn inclination to perversion. It can even take the support of a perfectly good principle seemingly to justify the most unprincipled sort of action. Unless it is scrutinised dispassionately its tricks are never fully discovered.

Certain of the perversions usually noticeable are described below. This will be valuable to sincere aspirants who are eager to study their minds and eliminate defects and shortcomings. These are extremely useful tips specially in the working field, for aspirants engaged in active Seva in the midst of other people.

Sadhakas are told, "Keep up Matri-bhava or Devi-bhava when you move with women." This is a grand principle to safeguard your purity and spiritual progress. But this does not tell you, "Move with women;" nor does this advice mean that if you try to have this attitude then you may go on freely mixing with the opposite sex without any limit or restraint. The mind will ask, "Why not? What if I do? To retreat from their presence is sheer timidity. No fear when you do so with Devi-Bhava!" Beware, O Aspirant, beware of this tendency! Divine Bhava is not a licence to throw away all restrictions of the Sadhaka's path. The permanent injunction for Sadhakas is to totally eschew all contact with the opposite sex. When unavoidably such contact becomes necessary, then, "Have Matri-bhava; have Devibhava" etc., are prescribed. Also this is to caution the aspirant not to hate women or become a misogynist. Women should be reverenced but from a safe distance. Let not Devi-bhava, etc., be taken to mean that you should be all the time in the midst of them. Watch your mind!

Then there is the advice which says, "You may hiss but not bite." This safe counsel was given to a fabulous snake which in a too extreme excess of piety became so totally docile and harmless that it got severely man-handled by a set of mischievous urchins. It was given as an example to over-timid householders and people struggling in the very midst of the harsh realities of competitive 'Vyavaharic life. Here an overdose of 'Avanty-brahmin'-like humility might well make life impossible amidst the Asuric elements abounding in the world. Therefore, just an outward show of pugnacity may be countenanced in so far as this does not affect your basic goodness and brotherhood. But this policy is not for the spiritual aspirant in the path of Sadhana and Nivritti. Definitely no. Let aspirants take heed of these words. The Sadhaka is neither to 'bite' nor is he to 'hiss' even. This 'hissing' business will soon become a part of your nature. You will soon find yourself hissing for everything, at everything, at everyone, in and out of season. This hiss will include every variety of rudeness ranging from hot argument, sharp retort, curt reply to angry glaring, shouting and abuse. Thus, short of physical violence and fight, every type of verbal brutality will be put into the "hissing" category. This will ultimately lead to spiritual ruin. The mind is ever waiting to take advantage of even the least concession shown to it. Its natural tendency is to go downward. O Aspirant, do not bite or even 'hiss.' Be humble, be sweet, be gentle. Be firm but be soft, polite and courteous. If you wish to 'hiss' then 'hiss' at your own mind. Thrash the ego. Fight the Shadripus. Watch the mind!

Another victim to perversion is the piece of advice: "Be resolute. Stick to your principles. Never budge an inch"—the best possible advice to a sincere Sadhaka, but unfortunately often made the basis for the worst possible trait, i.e., obstinacy. This is a Tamasic trait. But the mind will make believe that you are manifesting Atma-bala or a divine determination. This is its work to make him cling tightly to his ego. Hence this deception. But the careful aspirant must discern the difference between Sattvic Nishtha and sheer stubbornness. Atma-bala is not a cheap commodity to be got without a great deal of earnest struggle, discipline and will-culture. Determined adherence is advocated in respect of truly high and noble principles and not of self-conceited notions. By all means stick to spiritual Yogic Niyamas but avoid becoming obdurate in nature. Do not be deceived. Watch your mind!

"Speak the truth always. Be frank." Thus is the Upadesa. This means when you are required to talk then speak only the truth. It does not at all mean that you must go about telling everyone to his face what exactly you think of him or her. This is unwarranted behaviour. Under the garb of frankness to give free expression of opinions without caring for other peoples' feelings is not 'Arjava' or frankness or straightforwardness. At the least it is thoughtlessness; at its height it is sheer brutality. It does not bespeak well of an aspirant. The same teacher who tells you "Speak the truth; be frank!" also tells you to have "Mita Bhashana, Madhura Bhashana" moderate and sweet speech. Mind can even make you utilise frankness in order to express mild insult. An unpleasant truth is better left unsaid. If it becomes absolutely necessary and unavoidable then say it sweetly and with humility. "Not to hurt and wound others' feelings" is as equally important as speaking truth. Satya and Ahimsa must go together. Study thyself. Watch the mind!

Then there is the truism i.e., "Vairagya is really a mental state, mental detachment." The mind takes hold of this definition to justify a heedless sensual life without self-restraint or principle. The argument will always be, "Oh, I am not attached to all this. I can rise above it in a moment. I enjoy it as a master. Mentally I am detached." Contact with Vishayas has toppled down even Tapasvins like Visvamitra. Therefore, do not take Vairagya lightly. Cultivate Vairagya diligently. Safeguard your Vairagya carefully. Be vigilant. Watch the mind!

The caution not to go to extremes in Tapasya also gets a like fate. Man's normal nature is sensuous. The mind wants comforts and hates austerity. The indiscriminating aspirant conveniently ignores the qualifying adjective "extremes" in the advice quoted above and views all 'Tapasya' with disfavour. The result is to degenerate into luxury, lose even the minimum Titiksha and become a slave to a hundred wants. The warning is against foolish extremes but to a Sadhaka in the early stages a certain degree of austerity is essential for development. The mind will suggest so many justifications. It will bring the Gita to its side and show that Lord condemned Tapas. O aspirant, the Lord condemned 'Tamasic Tapas'. He recommended Sattvic austerity of body, speech and mind. Reflect carefully. Always watch the mind!

"Take care of essentials. Do not pay too much attention to non-essentials." The above too serves as a handle for the mind to deceive the aspirant. If you have to follow this advice, first try to understand what is essential and what is non-essential. The idle nature of man is to loath following any sort of Niyama and set-lines of Sadachara. Therefore, everything is dismissed at a stroke as 'non-essential'. Then what remains, God only can say. The only 'essential' would seem to be to do what the mind likes. The Sadhaka must think what a spiritual instruction really means and then why it is given. Moreover essentials and non-essentials vary according to the stage of development of the spiritual aspirant. What may be unnecessary for an aspirant at a later stage may well be essential to him now. Do not throw away precious grain with the chaff. Watch the mind!

Finally the most dangerous deception played by the mind is in connection with Sadhana itself. The very Sadhana that is adopted by the aspirant to transfigure and divinise his life is converted into a prop and a field for the play of ego and senses. It is very difficult to break out of this ensnaring net without great earnestness and sincere endeavour. It is this vitiation of Sadhana that keeps the Sadhaka 'struck', as it were, on the path, arresting progress for years together. For example a youthful Sadhaka with sweet voice and musical talent naturally takes to Kirtan and Bhajan as his Sadhana. Art always attracts admirers. He is in demand at all auspicious functions. He gets popular amongst Satsangas. The subtle mind now spreads the net. The Kirtan becomes sweeter day by day. New songs and tunes are added to his musical repertory. Without his being aware the Kirtan has become a means to attract others to himself and to maintain the popularity. Thus the Sadhana becomes double-purposed primarily for God's Darshan and side by side for worldly attraction. The result is the extraordinary phenomenon of the Sadhaka caught in his Sadhana and instead of Mochana (liberation) the quality of Sadhana becomes Bandhana (bondage). Maya is wonderful, indescribable. Her ways are mysterious and inscrutable.

Take Nishkamya Karma Yoga. Serving and helping others for no return is something unheard of in the purely Vyavaharic world. Naturally the disinterested Sevak is regarded as an exceptional being. All doors are open unto him. Many bring their troubles to him, open their hearts and freely confide even intimate problems. They, of course, take it for granted that the spiritual aspirant is perfectly pure in every respect. Here the Sadhaka walks upon the 'razor-edge' of life. The mind is the devil. Through the very intimacy of contacts in the Seva field, pleasure-centres are created and sensuousness gets scope in this Seva 'Sadhana'. Vanity and carnality get catered to and the aspirant appears to take a keen interest in the Nishkama Seva. But a ruthless search of the mind will reveal that the keenness and interest in the Karma Yoga Seva is as much for the sense-indulgence to be had in the Seva as for the Seva itself. So the mind destroys the Sadhana.

Aspirants practising Titiksha many a time stick on to the Titiksha for similar subconscious reasons. His endurance will earn for him a reputation. He will be regarded as extraordinary. So even after the Titiksha Sadhana has served its purpose he will keep on with it for continuing the status it has granted him. Another Sadhaka will under the idea of being indifferent towards the body and its needs, neglects to shave even. This will be quite sincere and bonafide in the beginning. But the long hair and beard that results out of this 'Udasinata' will prove the instrument for Maya to lay hold of the aspirant. The hair will be found to beautify his appearance. He loathes to part with it. Thus the former 'Udasinata' will be replaced by careful combing of the hair, application of oil, peeps into the mirror, dressing to suit the style of the hair, new mannerisms, etc. Thus in a trice will delusion spring upon you and overpower you like the tiger does its prey. Likewise Hatha Yogic exercises get misused to sustain gluttony; Vajroli is used for Vyabhichara and Yoga is made to serve Bhoga. All these perversions arise out of the mischief of the unregenerate mind. Therefore watch the mind.

The most extraordinary part of all this is that the mind will not allow you to take the above lessons seriously. It will still say, "O you are all right. This is not meant for you. Don't mind all this. Carry on as you are." O aspirant, do not listen to it. Non-cooperate with the rogue. Take the lessons to heart.

To know where exactly one stands on the path is very difficult. The tricks of the mind are most subtle, Only constant Vichara will keep you alert and safe. Deep introspection alone can reveal a little of the mysterious workings. Probe and probe into the mind. Do not be lenient to the mind. The mind will try to compromise with you. Relentlessly hunt out its hidden motives. Subject yourself to keen self-analysis every day without fail. Oust all sentiments in this process. Become an intelligent, serious and earnest self-C.I.D. Carry on a ceaseless search and a vigorous enquiry inwardly. Put your mind on the dissecting table of Vichara. Pray for the Grace of the Guru who alone can vanquish the mind and enable you to master it. Pray to the Lord to illumine your intellect with the light of knowledge. Watch the mind. Watch and pray. Thus alone, through introspection, analysis, discrimination, vigilance and prayer can you understand the subtle jugglery of this wonderful thing called 'mind' and transcend its deceptions and tricks.

ABHYASA: THE FIRST PHASE OF SADHANA

Abhyasa or practice is the effort to secure steadiness of the modifications of the mind. The effort to restrain all the Vrittis of the mind and to make the mind steady like the jet of a lamp in a windless place is called Abhyasa. To drive back the mind to its source-Hridaya Guha and get it absorbed in Atman is Abhyasa. To make the mind inward and to destroy all its outgoing tendencies is Abhyasa. And this practice should be done for a long time without any break and with perfect devotion.

Through Abhyasa you will have to change the outgoing Vishaya Vrittis of the mind. Without the Vrittis of the mind you cannot enjoy sensual objects, and if the Vrittis along with Samskaras are controlled, Manonasa or the annihilation of the mind follows.

Abhyasa becomes fixed and steady when practised for a long time without any break and with perfect devotion. Constant, steady application is indispensable for perfect control of the mind and attainment of Asamprajnata Samadhi which alone can fry all the seeds of Samskaras. Therefore, constant and intense practice is needed for a long time. Then alone the wandering mind will come under your perfect control. Then alone wherever it is directed it will be ever at rest. Without practice nothing can be achieved. The practice should be accompanied by perfect faith and devotion. If there is no faith and regularity, success is impossible. Abhyasa should be continued till you get perfection.

FOUR POINTS FOR MEMORY IN SADHANA

1. REMEMBER THE PAINS OF SAMSARA.

2. REMEMBER DEATH.

3. REMEMBER THE SAINTS.

4. REMEMBER GOD.

1 and 2 will produce Vairagya. 3 will bring inspiration. 4 will cause attainment of God-consciousness. Every aspirant should constantly bear these most important four points in memory.

BASES OF SPIRITUAL SADHANA

Aman abandoning society and activity as evil and shutting himself up in seclusion, isolated from mankind so that he might grow in virtue and into sainthood through meditation, will in all probability be found to be less ready to overlook the transgressions of an erring brother than a practical humanitarian earnestly exerting himself in the field of sincere selfless service. If a monkey or a stray dog happens to enter his Kutir and upset his water-pot or run away with his rottis, the Ekantavasi Virakta will perhaps shout and curse the animal and nurse a grudge against it to the end of his days! Then, again, the admirable virtue of adaptability comes only by mixing and moving among men in many moods and dealing with different peoples of diverse temperaments. It is through selfless activity and service that one acquires the ability to accommodate oneself to the peculiarities of personalities and of places. If, thinking to experience oneness of Self and to feel universal brotherhood, you confine yourself to a solitary cell and take to repeating Vedantic formulae, you run the risk of becoming Tamasic instead and turning eccentric and intolerant. Slowly you will lose what good traits you had previously. It is to guard against this risk that we have the wise counsel "Let not virtue wither for want of its exercise."

It is evident that the recluse in retreat and the Sannyasi in seclusion may well learn a useful point or two from the Nishkama Karma Yogi and the humble Svayam Sevak. No doubt through the method of meditation one may develop several virtues of a subjective type, subjective in that they centre round and concern the Sadhaka's own immediate personality. Through constant contemplation subjectively one may acquire non-attachment to one's body, and imperviousness to environment or a victory over the Rajasic urge to wander aimlessly, etc. Restraint and self-denial too could be acquired to some degree.

On the other hand, it is only through selfless activity, unattached work and loving service that one can acquire precious gems of purity, patience and humility. Humility especially comes through service alone. In this connection it is of a great profit to remember one point of immense practical value, i.e., of all virtues humility forms the basis. It is only when a man is humble and feels that there is much that he does not possess and has to acquire that, there arises in him the eager desire to grow into those noble qualities he is deficient in. Here begins his systematic endeavour and attempt to acquire and possess them. The proud and arrogant man has little scope for growth, because he feels he knows everything. There is that self-sufficiency in his pride which leads him to think that there remains nothing for him to strive for and to acquire. Therefore it is said that humility is the fruitful source of all virtues and that everything that is kind and good naturally grows from it.

Generosity and kindness too are the outcome of active contact with the suppliant and the needy, the helpless, the wretched and the distressed. Herein lies the unique distinctive quality of Nishkamya Karma, works reverently done as worship of the Almighty. Moreover, certain noble traits exist in man in dual aspects, latent and manifest. For example, the latent quality of purity is manifest as chastity in actual life. Fearlessness becomes manifest as positive courage when a sudden crisis calls it forth, when a dangerous emergency arises. A habitual state of self-restraint manifests itself as a deliberate act of self-control in the face of an actual temptation or trait. So far as complete and balanced development of both the aspects is concerned, Karma Yoga becomes indispensable.

Again subjective virtues developed by a life of seclusion and isolation, to attain to fullness and perfection should be actively exercised. One must not rest satisfied in merely eliminating evil, in being virtuous in a negative way. There must be a positive passion for putting into practice the good in us for the enhancement of the joy and welfare of all creatures. Then alone these virtues justify themselves; they become, as it were, ripe fruits, fully blossomed flowers.

They will then expand in their breadth and from the individual circle gradually extend to all humanity, then of the whole universe and finally become all-embracing and cosmic.

Development and progress if they are to extend thus into infinity must be dynamic. On the path of moral and spiritual happiness, a life of quiescence carries with it the danger of stagnation setting in at some stage or other. This is the reason why many fail to reach ethical perfection even after years of seclusion and meditation. Selfless activity and loving service should therefore never be underestimated and neglected.

Finally one would do well to bear in mind an important point. It has been seen how humility forms the fundamental basis of and good. Then, to the virtues that are acquired with great toil and patient effort, it Is humility, again, that acts as the sustainer and vigilant preserver. Humility is the shield and armour against the arch-enemy of the aspirant moral and spiritual pride. For having progressed considerably in the path of virtue, the virtuous man will unconsciously fall a prey to vanity. An insidious feeling of self-approbation will creep in unnoticed. This will later manifest itself in the form of a sort of indulgent attitude and a lofty contempt for those who are not following a similar life. A constant humility kept alive by a ceaseless exercise of it in service is the only sure armour against this foe. It vigilantly protects the striving seeker in his quest after true and abiding happiness. He who effaces his little ‘self’ through a life of motiveless. humble and loving service with Narayana Bhava obtains a unique happiness and bliss. Who can gauge the exquisite joy that he experiences! May all therefore realise the supreme importance of cultivating noble virtues.

May all clearly perceive the indispensable necessity of actively exercising them and readily and cheerfully become Nishkama Karma Yogins.

 

ASPECTS OF SPIRITUAL SADHANA

I

When your house is on fire how daringly you enter the house to take your child who is sleeping in the room! Even so you must be very courageous when you tread on the spiritual path. You must be absolutely fearless. You must not have the least attachment to your body. Then only you will have Seif-realisatlon quickly. Timid people are absolutely unfit for the spiritual line.

If there are mangoes on the top of a big tree you do not jump all at once to pluck them. It Is Impossible. You gradually climb up the tree by getting hold of different branches and then reach the top of the tree. Even so you cannot jump all at once to the Summit of the spiritual ladder. You will have to place your foot With caution in each rung of the ladder. You will have to practise Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana. Then only you will reach the highest rung of the ladder of Yoga viz., Samadhi. If you are a student of Vedanta you will have to equip yourself with the four means first. Then you will have to do Sravana, Manana and Nididhyasana. Then only you will attain Brahma-Sakshatkara. If you are a student of Bhakti Yoga, you will have to practise the nine modes of Bhakti viz., Sravana, Kirtana, Smarana, Padasevana, Archana, Vandana, Dasya, Sakhya and Atma-Nivedana. Then only you will attain the state of Para-Bhakti.

If the chicken and fowl run hither and thither to eat various sorts of rubbish, what does the owner of the poultry do? He gives a slight tap on their heads and throws before them some grains to eat. Gradually they leave their habit of eating filth. Even so this mind runs hither and thither to eat filthy things and enjoy the five kinds of sensual objects. Give a tap on its head and make it taste gradually the spiritual bliss by practice of Japa and Meditation.

A Jivanmukta or a Bhagavata has lustrous eyes. He has a protrusion on the top of the head and Trikuti, the space between the two eyebrows. Whatever he says will be indelibly impressed in your mind. You cannot forget it till the end of your life. He possesses tremendous power of attraction. He will clear all your doubts in a marvellous manner. You will enjoy a peculiar joy and peace in his presence. All your doubts will be cleared in his presence. Silence is his language. He is very compassionate and free from selfishness, anger, greed, egoism, lust and pride. He is an embodiment of truth, peace, knowledge and bliss.

It takes a long time for the charcoal to catch fire but gun-powder can be ignited within the twinkling of an eye. Even so it takes a long time for igniting the fire of knowledge for a man whose heart is impure. But an aspirant with great purity of heart gets knowledge of the Self within the twinkling of an eye, within the time taken to squeeze a flower by the fingers.

Maya is a very huge saw. Lust, anger, greed, delusion, pride, jealousy, hatred, egoism etc., are the teeth of this huge saw. All-worldly minded persons are caught up in the teeth of this saw and are crushed. Those who are endowed with purity, humility, love, dispassion, devotion and enquiry are not hurt.

They escape through the divine grace. They pass smoothly below the saw and reach the other side of immortality.

A piece of ordinary white paper or coloured paper has no value. You throw it away. But if there is the stamp or the picture of the Asoka Chakra on the paper (currency notes) you keep it safe in your money purse or trunk. Even so an ordinary piece of stone has no value for you. You throw it away. But if you behold the stone-Murthy of Lord Krishna at Pandharpur or any other Murthy in shrines, you bow your head with folded hands, because there is the stamp of the Lord in the stone. The devotee superimposes on the stone-Murthy, his own Beloved and all the attributes of the Lord. Image-worship is very necessary for beginners.
                                                                    II
Some Sadhakas do constant Sadhana in a mild manner; some do intense Sadhana for two hours in the morning and two hours at night. If you want to attain SeIf-realisation quickly you must do intense and constant Sadhana for a protracted period.

You may have Darshan of Lord Krishna face to face. You may talk to Him also several times. You may play and eat with Him also. But if you want to have final liberation you must have Atma-Sakshatkara. Nama Deva had Darshan of Lord Krishna several times and yet he was declared to be a half-baked saint by the potter-saint Gora Kumbhar. He had to go to Vishoba Khesar for attaining perfection and Kaivalya.

 
When you sit on an Asana for meditation you want to get up soon, not on account of pain in the legs but on account of impatience. Conquer this undesirable negative quality by dev eloping patience gradually. Then you will be able to sit for three or four hours at a stretch.

During meditation you will be frequently talking to somebody mentally. Stop this evil habit. Have a careful watch over the mind.

An aspirant writes to me: “Somebody tapped at my door at 3 a.m. I woke up and opened the door. I saw Lord Krishna with Crown on His head. He disappeared soon. I went through the lane in search of Him. I was not able to find Him out. Then I came back to my house and sat in front of my door till day-break to see Him again.” Cases of somnambulists or sleep-walkers are not uncommon. They dream even while standing and walking also. The above case might have been a pure case of somnambulism you will have to be very careful in ascertaining the true nature of your spiritual experiences, whether it is a dream or an actual reality. Darshan of Lord Krishna is not so very cheap. Aspirant makes mistakes in the beginning.

Just as you remove at once a pebble in your shoe that troubles you, so also you must be able to remove any torment. Ing thought from your mind at once. Then only you have gained sufficient strength in control of thought. Then only you have attained some real progress in the spiritual path.

An aspirant says: i am able to meditate on one Asana for three hours. In the end I become senseless but I do not fall down to the ground. If there is real meditation you will never become senseless. You will experience perfect awareness. This is a negative undesirable mental state. You will have to get over this state by keeping up perfect vigilance.

Suppose the mind runs outside during meditation forty times within one hour. If you can make it run only 38 times, it is a decided improvement You have gained some control over the mind. It demands strenuous practice for a long time to check the mind-wandering. Vikshepa Sakti is very powerful. But Sattva is more powerful than Vikshepa Sakti. Increase your Sattva. You can very easily control the oscillation of the mind.

When there is deep concentration, you will experience great joy and spiritual intoxication. You will forget the body and the surroundings. All the Prana will be taken up to your head.

If you find it difficult to concentrate your mind within a room come outside and sit in an open place or terrace or by the side of a river, or in a quiet corner of a garden. You will have good concentration. When you are lying down in your bed, sometimes a big light will pass along your forehead. As soon as you try to behold the light by meditating on the sitting posture it may disappear. You may ask “How is it that I fail to catch the light by exertion whereas it comes by itself when I am lying down without an effort. The reason is you lost the concentration as soon as you sat for meditation by entry of Rajas.

Find out your centre. Dwell always in the centre. The Centre Is Atman or Immortal Soul. This centre is the Garden of Eden. This is your original abode. This is Param Dhama. You can be above care, worry and fear now. How sweet is this home wherein there is eternal sunshine and perennial joy!

O friend! Wake up! Sleep no more. Meditate. It is Brahmamuhurta now! Open the gate of the temple of the Lord in your heart with the key of love. Hear the music of the soul. Sing the song of Prem to your Beloved. Play the melody of the Infinite. Melt your mind in His contemplation. Unite with Him. Immerse yourself in the ocean of Love and Bliss.

ІІI

The moment you think during meditation, "I am pure now. I do not get any evil thoughts as before," a whole battalion of evil thoughts will enter the conscious surface of the mind. But they will pass off soon. You are in the struggling stage now. A time will come when you will not entertain even a single evil thought. Meditation is a powerful enemy of evil thoughts. The evil thoughts think "We will be quelled soon. Our host has started the meditation. Let us pounce upon the man once more." Continue your meditation vigorously. Mists and clouds cannot stand before the sun.

It is difficult to fix your mind in the beginning on the whole picture of Lord Krishna, because all the rays of the mind are not collected. Sometimes you can visualise the face, sometimes the feet, sometimes the eyes. Fix the mind on any part of the picture which the mind likes best.

The mind has attraction for certain new words or names of towns or persons. Suppose you have come across certain new words or names of towns or persons such as "ecstasy." "Fyzabad." "John Herbert." If you sit for meditation the mind will repeat "ecstasy," "Fyzabad," "John Herbert." Sometimes it will sing some songs, repeat some old poems or Sanskrit Slokas which you got by heart during your boyhood. Watch the mind carefully and try to bring it back to the point or centre.

Winter is very congenial for vigorous meditation. You will not get tired even if you meditate for hours together, at a stretch. But in the morning hours laziness tries its level best to overpower you. If you cover yourself with one or two warm blankets you will feel quite comfortable. You do not want to get up in the early morning, even though the repeated alarm wakes you up again and again. You decide now "Let me sleep for fifteen minutes more and then let me start my meditation. Then you begin to cover nicely with the blanket certain exposed parts of the feet. You feel quite pleasant now. What is the net result? You begin to snore nicely and get up only after the sun has risen. Days, weeks and months will roll on like this. Every winter also passes away in this manner. Just at that time which is quite favourable for meditation, mind deceives you and overpowers you by sleep. Mind is a master-magician. He knows several tricks and illusions. Maya operates through mind. Mysterious is mind. Mysterious is Maya. Be on your alert. Be vigilant. You can control mind and Maya. Throw the blanket as soon as you hear the alarm. Sit on Vajra Asana. Do a few Pranayamas. Drowsiness will disappear.

When you meditate with open eyes you may see a friend in front of you and hear his voice also; but you may not be able to make out the person and his voice; because the mind is not attached to the ears or the eyes. If the mind is entirely withdrawn from the sensual objects, if the thoughts are annihilated, if likes and dislikes are destroyed, how can you perceive the world at all? You will become mindless. You will behold the Self only everywhere. All names and forms will vanish.

It is very difficult to fix the mind all at once on a point. The mind moves with a tremendous velocity. Just as the horse in a circus runs in a circle again and again, so also the mind runs in a circle again and again. Instead of allowing the mind to run in a big circle, make it run in smaller and smaller circles. Eventually it can be fixed on a point. You will have to catch hold of the mind through intelligent methods. Mere coercion and force will not do. It will make matters worse.

Sometimes you may become despondent and feel," have many weaknesses and defects. How can I eradicate them? How can I control this strong and impetuous mind? Will get liberation or Nirvikalpa Samadhi in this very birth? I have not gained much even though I have practised meditation for the last 8 years." Do not be disheartened. Even if you have controlled one or two Indriyas, even if you have controlled some thoughts, half the battle is won. Control of even one thought or destruction of even one Vasana will give you mental strength. Every thought that is controlled, every desire that is destroyed, every Indriya that is subdued, every defect or weakness that is eradicated will add strength to the mind, will develop your will and take you one step nearer to the goal. Friend! Why then lamentation and despair? Fight bravely in the Adhyatmic battle-field. Become a spiritual soldier. Come out victorious and wear the spiritual laurels of divine wisdom, eternal peace and supreme bliss.

IV

Sometimes the mind will be sluggish or slothful. You cannot concentrate. It will refuse to work. The same vigorous mind may become sluggish in the latter part of concentration, just as the horse that was running with good speed in the beginning of the journey becomes sluggish in the end. Just as the driver freshens the horse by giving a little grass and water, so also you will have to freshen the mind with some elevating thoughts and discipline with undistracted attention.

If the mind is restless or wandering, sit in a quiet room. Or lie down in Savasana like a dead man for 15 minutes and relax the body and mind completely. Entertain some pleasant thoughts. Think of some beautiful flowers, the glaciers of the Himalayas, the blue expansive sky, the vast ocean or some beautiful scenery in Himalayas, or Kashmir or in any other place. Now you can sit again for meditation.

Sometimes the mind will revolt seriously. You will feel, "I have not gained much through Tapas, discipline and meditation. Let me break the vow of Brahmacharya. Let me give up entirely all dietetic discipline. Let me revel in sensual objects. Let me eat sumptuously." Do not yield. Coax or cajole the mind. Do vigorous Japa and Kirtan. Study the book "How to get Vairagya" or "Bhartrihari's Vairagya Sataka" again and again. Remember the pains of Samsara and the defects of sensual life. Remember the saints and their teachings again and again. Stand adamant. Be cautious. Be vigilant. Watch and pray. The rebellious mind will cool down gradually.

Sometimes the mind will be in a total passive state. There will be diversion of attention. The mind will be in a perfect blank state. If this state is continued for a short time you will merge into sleep. This is the state called Laya. This is a serious obstacle in meditation. Do 10 or 20 Pranayamas vigorously. Then chant Om loudly for 10 minutes. This state will vanish rapidly.

Even a pure Brahmachari will be troubled in the beginning by curiosity. He will be curious to know and feel what sort of enjoyment will the sexual enjoyment be. He thinks sometimes, “Let me have the carnal knowledge of a woman once. Then will be able to root out this sexual impulse and desire completely. This sexual curiosity is troubling me very much." Mind wants to delude this Brahmachari. Maya havocs through curiosity. Curiosity is transmuted into a strong desire. Enjoyment cannot bring up satisfaction of a desire. Just as a tiger. man-eater, runs after human flesh even if it tastes once human blood, so also the mind which has once tasted sexual pleasure will be ever hankering after it. The wise way is to kill the wave of curiosity by Vichara or enquiry of that pure sexless Atman, renunciation of sexual desire totally and constant meditation, by thinking over the glory of Brahmacharya and the defects of an impure life.

Even in a blind man who is a celibate who has not seen the face of a woman, the sexual impulse is very strong. Why? This is due to the force of Samskaras or impressions of previous births which are embedded in the subconscious mind. Whatever you do, whatever you think, is lodged or printed or indelibly impressed in the layers of the Chitta or subconscious mind. These impressions can be burnt or obliterated only by the dawn of knowledge of Atman or the Supreme Self. When the sexual Vasana fills the whole mind and body the Samskaras assume the form of big Vrittis or waves and torment the poor blind man. This clearly proves that there is transmigration of soul.

Thought is the real action. But there is a great deal of difference between actually shooting a man and thinking to shoot a man, between actual copulation and thinking to have coitus with a woman.

Philosophically speaking, thinking to shoot a man, thinking to have copulation is the real act. Desire is more than the act. God gives fruits according to the motives of the man. Be pure in your thoughts. Then only you can enter the kingdom of God within. Then only the Lord will be enthroned in your heart.

The aspirant or Yogi in the cave in the Himalayas or a silent meditator in the plains thinks that he is very much advanced in spirituality. He looks with contempt at his brother who is plodding to reach the goal through untiring selfless service and meditation combined. The former may be rich in Vairagya and Titiksha. He may be proficient in the study of scriptures. He may be able to bear cold. He may be able to live on bread and dhal alone. He may be able to sit on one Asana at a stretch for a longer time. But he may be lacking in mercy, cosmic love, broad tolerance, generosity, courage, etc. He may not be able to bear heat; he may complain of strong Vikshepa, he may not be able to keep up a balanced mind when he comes to the plains. While the latter may possess his own special virtues and balanced mind and may excel the Yogi of Himalayas or the silent meditator of the plains in many respects. One should have excellence in all virtues. One should be able to bear heat and cold. Then only he will become a perfect sage. Equanimity is Yoga.

A worldly man has Abhimana for his wealth and position. He has great Moha for his children and wife. But a Sannyasi or a Yogi has very great spiritual and moral pride. He thinks and feels "I am superior to a householder. I am a great Yogi. I can meditate for 12 hours. I possess great purity, renunciation and dispassion." The Abhimana of a Sannyasi is more dangerous and powerful than the Abhimana of a worldly man and so more difficult for eradication.

The enquiry of 'Who am I?' is a difficult Sadhana. It can only be practised by one who has a strong, pure and subtle intellect, who is equipped with the fourfold means, who has a sound knowledge of the Vedantic Prakriyas, Pancheekarana, Neti-Neti doctrine, the processes of Anvaya-Vyatireka, BhagaTyaga Lakshana, Adhyaropa Apavada, Dharmas of the five Kosas, nature of Atman, etc. The qualified student only will get the proper answer for the question 'Who am I?' during meditation. Otherwise the mind will delude the aspirant.

V

Just as the light is burning within the hurricane lantern, so also the divine light is burning within the heart. You can behold the divine light through your inner third eye or the eye of intuition by withdrawing the senses and stilling the mind.

In a cage of nine doors there dwelleth the little bird Jiva, the little illusory T. He can come out of the cage of flesh if he annihilates T-ness and 'mine'-ness and the Vasanas.

Even the stone can melt sometimes. But the heart of an egoistic man cannot melt. It is harder than flint or diamond or granite. But it can melt sometimes. It can be rendered soft as butter by constant, untiring service of humanity. Satsanga, Japa of God's Name and meditation.

How sweet is the Name of the Lord! How soothing and elevating are the Names of Hari, Rama, Krishna, Siva! The Name drives away your fear, anguish, sorrow and pain, and fills your heart with joy, peace, strength and courage. The Name is a healing balm to your wounded heart and tired nerves. The Name is manna or panacea or divine elixir that confers immortality and eternal bliss. Remember the Name of the Lord always. Sing His Name and associate it with your breath; you will be freed from the round of births and deaths.

The fruit of concentration is meditation. The fruit of meditation is realisation. The fruit of realisation is liberation. In concentration you gather all thoughts and fix the mind on one point or one idea. In meditation you have a continuous flow of one idea.

He who provides for the frog that lives inside the rock will look after you. Why this lack of faith! Have living, unshakable faith in the Lord and His Grace and be at ease, O beloved Ram!

He who speaks does not know. He who knows does not speak. Empty vessels make much sound. He who talks much, thinks little, does little.

Be cautious. Study the nature of people. Move very carefully with people. Do not be deceived. Have a knowledge of psychology. Know people by their behaviour, talks, looks, smile, gait. Know them by the food they take, the books they study, and the companions they keep.

You can gauge your spiritual growth by the careful study of your dreams. If you have no evil thoughts in dreams, if you get frequent visions of your Ishta Devata in dreams, if you repeat your Ishta Mantra even in dreams, if you do worship or Puja even in dreams, you have made great advance in the spiritual path.

There is no mention of either Kundalini or will in Yoga Sutras by Patanjali Maharshi or in any Vedantic book. A Jnana Yogi enters into Nirvikalpa Samadhi by raising the Brahmakara Vritti through meditation on the significance of Maha Vakyas such as "Tat Tvam Asi," or "Aham Brahma Asmi." He never attempts to awaken the Kundalini Sakti. He can enter into Samadhi without awakening the Kundalini. But if he wants to manifest some physical Siddhis he awakens the Kundalini. By mere willing he awakens the Kundalini. He never practises Pranayama, Asanas, Bandhas, Mudras or any Hatha Yogic Kriyas for this purpose.

You can have perfect or absolute non-attachment only when you realise the Self. During the course of Sadhana the mind will try its best to cling to one form or the other. Again and again you will have to cut ruthlessly all sorts of attachments with the sword of non-attachment-Asanga Sastrena Dridhena Chhitva (Gita XV-3).

You must have the Bhava that Atman, Isvara, Devata, Mantra are one. With this Bhava you will have to repeat your Guru Mantra or Ishta Mantra. Then alone you will have Mantra Siddhi or God-realisation quickly.

The best flower that can be offered to the Lord is your heart. Penetrate more deeply into the infinite domain of Kailasa, the Kingdom of illimitable bliss and boundless peace within.

May you be in direct communion with the Lord, thy Ishtam, guide, supreme refuge and solace!

VI

Pure as the snow of Himalayas, bright as sun-light, expansive as the sky, all-pervading as the ether, unfathomable as the ocean, cool as the waters of the Ganga in Rishikesh, is the Immortal Atman, the Substratum for this world, body, mind and Prana. Nothing is sweeter than this Atman.

Purify your heart and meditate. Plunge deep in your heart. Dive deep into the innermost recesses. You will find it. If you search in deep water only you will find the pearl of Atman. If you keep only to the shore, you will find broken shells only.

Just as rain exists in clouds, butter in milk, fragrance in flowers, so also this Atman lies hidden in all these names and forms. He who has a pure, one-pointed, sharp, subtle intellect will behold the Self through constant and intense meditation.

He who looks upon a woman as a son does his mother and also keeps aloof from her, he who has controlled lust and anger, he who has no attraction for the perishable objects of this universe, he who is practising meditation regularly will soon reach the Param Dhama or the Abode of Supreme Peace from where there is no return to this Mrityuloka or the world of death.

The sugar and the sugar toys, pot and the earth, iron nail and the sword, water and foam, the earrings and gold are not two things. They are one. Even so when real knowledge dawns, the manifold universe is nothing but Atman; the individual soul and Supreme Soul become identical.

Self fills the whole world. All is Self. There is nothing which is not in you. What should you desire, then, when you have realised the Self, because for you there is no object to be desired?

The old vicious Samskaras can be changed and destroyed. Mind is nothing but a bundle of Samskaras. Fight with them bravely. Fight bravely not for bread, nor for money, nor for name and fame, but for acquiring the Kingdom of Self or the vast domain of eternal peace, through destruction of worldly Samskaras. Chivalrous soldier is he who fights in the Adhyatmic inner battle-field with his old Samskaras with the sword of dispassion and armour of discrimination but not he who fights in the battle-field with his enemies with machine-guns. Fight with the Samskaras is more serious, more dangerous, more frightful than the external physical fight. The basis for the spiritual soldier is Sattva but the basis for the worldly soldier is a mixture of Rajas and Tamas. Rama and Ravana fought. Rama was Sattvic but Ravana was Tamasic. It is easy to go on an expedition to ascend the summit of Mount Everest. It is easy to scale the heights of Nanda Parvat. It is easy to reach the peak of Mandhata. But it is difficult to ascend the peak of the spiritual Himalayas of the soul. The undaunted aspirant armed with patience, perseverance, tranquillity, and courage slowly ascends peak after peak, subdues the Indriyas one by one, controls the thoughts one by one, eradicates the Vasanas one by one and eventually reaches the summit of Self-realisation or divine glory. Glory to such exalted souls or spiritual heroes!

Neophytes should not sit for meditation in a room just by the side of the kitchen. The mind will think of palatable dishes and cause distraction. The sweet aroma of certain preparations will tickle the olfactory nerves of the nose and glossopharyngeal nerves of the tongue.

If you keep a cup of hot tea and some sweetmeats in front of you and if you begin to study Upanishads or meditate, you will not have deep concentration. A portion of the mind will be ever thinking of the tea or sweetmeats. Neophytes should remove all such minor causes of distraction before they sit for meditation.

Treat all alike. Serve the poor and the sick. Cut off all sorts of attachment. Help the needy. Crush appetites. Eradicate the Vasanas and egoism. Abandon carnal pleasures. Meditate and realise the oneness of the Self. Help others also to acquire the knowledge of the Supreme Being.

The sage or a Jivanmukta inspired with Divine Spirit, intoxicated with the immortal nectar, filled with the infinite Atman, endowed with an equal vision and balanced mind beholds only the Self everywhere and embraces all with pure love.

SADHANA: ITS TECHNIQUES OF

APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY

Watch all your feelings very carefully. Suppose you get a gloomy feeling. Take a small cup of milk or tea. Sit calmly. Close your eyes. Find out the cause for the depression and try to remove the cause. The best method to overcome this feeling is thinking of the opposite. Positive overcomes negative. This is a grand effective Law of Nature. Now think strongly of the opposite of gloom. Think of cheerfulness. Feel that you are in the actual possession of this quality. Again and again repeat this formula: 'Om Cheerfulness' mentally. Feel "I am ever cheerful." Begin to smile and laugh several times. Sing; sometimes that can elevate you quickly. Singing is very beneficial to drive off gloom. Chant OM loudly several times. Run in the open air. The depression will vanish soon. This is the Pratipaksha Bhavana method of Raja Yogins. This is the easiest method. The method of driving gloom by force-by willing, by assertion, by command-taxes the 'will very much although it is the most efficient method. It demands great strength of will. Ordinary people will not succeed. The method of displacing or dislocating the negative feeling by substituting the opposite, positive Teeling, is very easy. Within a very short time, the undesirable Teeling vanishes. Practise this and feel. Even if you fail several times, continue. You will be successful after some sittings and some practice.

You can treat in the same manner other negative feelings well. If there is the feeling of anger, think of love. If there is harshness of heart, think of mercy. If there is dishonesty, think of honesty, integrity. If there is miserliness, think of generosity and generous persons. If there is Moha (infatuation), think of discrimination and ATMIC VICHARA. If there is pride, think of humility. If there is hypocrisy, think of frankness and its invaluable advantages. If there is jealousy, think of nobility and magnanimity. If there is timidity, think of courage, and so on. You will drive off the negative feelings and will be established in a positive state. Practice of a continued type is essential. Be careful in the selection of your companions. Talk very little and that, too, on useful matters.

EASY METHOD OF SADHANA IN

WORLDLY ENVIRONMENT

It is due to the veil of ignorance that man has forgotten his essential Divine Nature Sat-Chit-Ananda State. It is not necessary for him to renounce the world and hide himself in the Himalayan caves to regain his lost Divinity. Here I present a very easy method of Sadhana by which, he can attain God-consciousness even while he is living in the world amidst multifarious activities. You need not have a separate place or room and time for meditation. Close your eyes for a minute or two once in every two or three hours and think of God and His Divine Qualities such as Mercy, Love, Peace, Joy, Knowledge, Purity, Perfection and so forth during work and repeat mentally Hari Om or Sri Ram, or Rama Rama or Krishna Krishna or any Mantra according to your taste. You should do this even during night time, whenever you happen to get up from bed to pass urine or on any other account. Though you are unable to get up during sleep specially for this purpose, you should do this practice at least occasionally when you slightly change your posture of sleep. This sort of habit will come only by practice. Feel that the body is a moving temple of God, your office or business house is a big temple or Brindavan, and every activity, walking, talking, writing, eating, breathing, seeing, hearing, etc., are offerings unto the Lord. Work is worship. Work is meditation.

Give up expectation of fruits and idea of agency, the feeling of "I am the doer," "I am the enjoyer." Feel that you are an in strument in the hands of God. He works through your organs. Feel also that this world is a manifestation of the Lord or Visva Brindavan and your children, wife, father, mother are the images or children of the Lord. See God in every face and in every object. Have a cool, balanced mind always. If you develop this changed angle of vision and Divine Bhava in daily life by protracted and constant practice, all actions will become Yogic activities. All actions will become worship of the Lord. This is quite sufficient. You will get God-realisation quickly. This is dynamic Yoga. This is a very powerful Sadhana. I have given you a very easy Sadhana. Hereafter you should not bring your lame excuse and say, "Swamiji, I have no time to do spiritual practices." Even if you have a little practice of the above Sadhana for three months you will notice that you are a changed being altogether.

Write daily for half an hour in a notebook your Ishta Mantra observing Mouna and without turning to the other sides. Write down in bold types in slips of paper "Speak Truth," "OM Courage," "OM Purity," "I must realise God now." "Time is most precious," "I will be a true Brahmachari," "Brahmacharya is Divine Life," "I am an embodiment of Courage, Purity, Mercy, Love and Patience" and fix them in the bedroom, dining hall, front-rooms and verandahs. Keep some slips in your pocket and diary also. This is an easy way for developing virtuous Divine Qualities.

SOME SECRETS OF SADHANA

Through the practice of Pranayama, the Sadhaka can attain long life. A healthy man takes 14 or 16 breaths in a minute. The number of breaths increases during sleep, exercise, running, etc. Retention of breath through the practice of Kumbhaka bestows longevity to the Yogic student. The lesser the number of breaths, the more is the duration of life.

The number of breaths is more in a dog and a horse. It is nearly fifty in a dog and so its duration of life is about 14 years. It is thirtyfive in a horse. So its duration of life is 29 to 30 years. An elephant breathes about 20 times in a minute and so it lives about a hundred years. A tortoise breathes five times in a minute and therefore it lives about four hundred years. A snake breathes twice or thrice in a minute. It lives for 500 to 1000 years.

The fewer the desires and wants, the lesser the number of breaths and vice versa. He who practises Japa, meditation, brahmacharya and studies religious books or holy scriptures will have lesser number of breaths and more concentration. Lesser number of breaths means increase in concentration, rich inner spiritual life in Atman and more peace.

The Surya Mandal or the fire is in the Nabhi or the navel. The Chandra Mandal or the sphere of Amrita is a little below Ajna Chakra. Amrita or nectar dribbles and the Agni devours it. consumes it. So you have a short duration of life. If you practise Vipareetakarani Mudra or Sarvanga Asana you can conquer death, you can attain long life. In this posture the fire Mandal comes above. The nectar that dribbles from the Chandra Mandal cannot be swallowed by the Agni. Hence the nectar nourishes the Nadis and the body, and life is prolonged. Therefore it is essential that everybody should practise this vital Asana for keeping up good health and attaining longevity.

This is physical Vipareetakarani Mudra. Through the practice of Jnana Vipareetakarani Mudra you can attain immortality and eternal bliss. You can have Brahma Jnana. What is the Jnana Vipareetakarani Mudra? Have a changed angle of vision. Have a changed outlook. Behold Brahman or the one Self everywhere by negating the names and forms. Practise this again and again.

Man cannot have a strong mind unless the rays of the mind which go in diverse ways are stopped and made to converge to a point, as in the case of the rays of the sun through a magnifying glass. You can burn many things by centralising the rays of the sun through the magnifying glass. In the same way by centralising the scattered or dissipated rays of the mind and converging them on one point, through dispassion, discrimination and concentration, you can work wonders. You can perceive the marvels of the hidden innermost Self or the Supreme Atman.

Decrease in urine, faeces and phlegm, Tejas or brilliance in the eyes and face, beautiful complexion, lightness of body, sweet voice, abundance of vigour, visions of lights, freedom from disease and sloth are the first signs of progress in Yoga (Prathama Lakshana).

Clairvoyance, clairaudience are the signs that indicate the second stage in the onward march in the path of Yoga (Dviteeya Lakshana).

The Yogi can walk over the fire, water and a sharp sword. He can move in the skies. He has knowledge of the three periods of time (Trikala Jnana). These indicate that he is in the third, fourth and fifth stage of Yoga. Eventually he frees himself from Prakriti and the three Gunas and attains Kaivalya or Absolute Independence through Nirvikalpa or Nirbhaya Samadhi.

THE ESSENCE OF SADHANA

A Raja Yogi slowly ascends the Yogic ladder along the eight steps, viz. Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. He gets ethical training in the beginning to purify himself by the practice of Yama and Niyama. Then he steadies his posture, Asana. Then he practises Pranayama to steady his mind and purify the Nadis. Then by the practice of Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana he gets Samadhi. Through Samyama he gets different Siddhis. He restrains all the mental modifications that arise from the mind.

Hatha Yoga concerns with the physical body and control of breath. Raja Yoga deals with the mind. Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga are interdependent. Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga are necessary counterparts of each other. No one can become a perfect Yogi without a knowledge of and the practice of both. Proper Raja Yoga begins where properly practised Hatha Yoga ends. A Hatha Yogi starts his Sadhana with his body and Prana, while a Raja Yogi with his mind; a Jnana Yogi with his Buddhi and will. This is the chief difference. To get success in Raja Yoga, one should have a thorough knowledge of the mysteries of the mind and the way by which it is controlled.

The student of Hatha Yoga should try to awaken the Kundalini Sakti that lies dormant in the Muladhara Chakra by Asana, Pranayama, Mudra and Bandha. He should try to unite the Prana-Apana and send the united Prana-Apana through the Sushumna Nadi. Heat is increased by retention of breath and Vayu ascends up along with Kundalini to the Sahasrara Chakra through the different Chakras. When Kundalini is united with Lord Siva at the Sahasrara Chakra, the Yogi attains Samadhi and enjoys supreme peace, bliss and immortality.

 

CHAPTER TWO

SIGNIFICANT PROCESSES IN SADHANA

THE MOVEMENT OF VASANAS IN SADHANA

The aspirant is struggling on amidst the rough and tumble of the Vyavaharic world. Troubles and difficulties crop up at every step. Temptations, trials and tests assail him ever and anon. He strives and fights manfully against the heavy odds and at last thinks it high time that he segregated and tried to pursue his Sadhana away from these upsetting factors. He retires from the bustle of worldly Vyavaharic activity and goes into comparative seclusion of some spiritual institution where he spends some time in selfless service and does Sadhana systematically. But he is horrified to find that after a time instead of feeling a gradual and progressive purification, moral, mental and spiritual, he experiences more impurity, evil and undesirable emotions and thoughts. What is this strange phenomenon? Is he slipping backwards? What is this queer stage he is passing through? Is he indeed moving towards Light or getting more and more into darkness? These considerations begin to seriously trouble his mind. His natural anxiety and grave concern over his inexplicable state is quite understandable. If he reflects a little and patiently tries to introspect and analyse his condition and the change that is going on within him, he will soon know the actual truth and will at once be reassured. His mind will be at rest.

This is not a degenerating process but actually a purifying process. The course of spiritual development at times appears as the contrary of what it really is. This has a reason for it. Extreme things that are diametrically opposite and contradictory tend to seem identical at times. Very low rates of vibration the ear cannot catch and even so extremely high rates the ear cannot hear. A static object appears motionless. The same object set rotating at a tremendous velocity appears to the eye to be perfectly still. Thus when during a stage in Sadhana the extreme reverse process of purification and the getting rid of 'Mala' takes place, it seems alarming akin to that of the obverse positive process of acquiring Asubha-Vasana.

It is here that an important note of caution has to be vividly borne in mind. When these inner Vasanas begin to cast out themselves then the Sadhaka should with great alertness and vigilance see that they are not afforded any scope to have active physical manifestation. There must be only an abortive rush and dissolution. Like the excess water in the dam that is released out of the barrage by the periodical opening of a few sluice gates these Vasanas must harmlessly flow out. Then the Sadhaka is all right and he will soon proceed with his Sadhana as before. Else these outflowing Vasanas will get translated into actions and forge further bonds in the Karmic cording that holds the individual in thralldom here. Instead of becoming a release process it will be the reverse of it.

There are two processes in this connection that will be of great help and reassurance to the Sadhaka if he remembers and makes proper timely use of them with wise Vichara. Namely, it is not always necessary or even desirable that all such 'spending-out' forces should indeed be allowed to flow out abortively or that they should issue forth at all. Where they are, imbedded in the Chitta or the subconscious mind, these can be directly sublimated and nullified. Just as the heat of the sun shining upon the barrage waters reduces them by direct evaporation, thus too regular meditation by the aspirant directly sublimates a portion of the Vasana-store day by day as the Sadhana proceeds. Then with those forces that actually sally out there is a very profitable alternative the Sadhaka can and really should employ, namely sublimating upon the external physical plane and transforming them into some profitable spiritual activity. This latter can be employed either subjectively with beneficial repercussions upon himself or also objectively to the advantage of others. Subjectively for instance should the subtle lust-Vasana endeavour to manifest itself, then the Sadhaka, if he is alert, must transform it at once into a dozen surya namaskaras or a vigorous round of his favourite Pranayama, a course of Asanas or a full-throated chant of the sublime Purushasukta, Vishnusahasranama, Siva-mahimna, etc. Thus sublimation also gets profitably turned into Sadhana, precious life-transforming Sadhana.

Should the Vasana of anger commence this spending out process then repair to a quiet room and have a good loud hearty laugh and make it effervesce into pure upsurge of good cheer and laughter. Or sit still and send out wave after wave of love, blessing and goodwill to the entire universe from the bot. tom of your heart. Repeat again and again the sublime verses of Santipatha of the Upanishads. You will simply be filled with overflowing cosmic love. All anger Vasanas will vanish in toto. leaving in their stead a continuous thrill of motiveless love. This feeling is indeed indescribable. This Sadhana will give you a positive asset of Sattva and Prema. You will find yourself a tangibly different being after even a single genuine attempt at this process of deliberate sublimation.

 

This subjective method is preferable and is to be adopted particularly with regard to such Rajoguna and Tamoguna-Vasanas that become activated through external contact and by association, such as for instance, anger, lust, etc. Then there are such tendencies as one's suppressed social nature, Rajasic urge to aimless activity, the erotic sentiment to manifest affection-an effusion that becomes manifest in acute form in very many inebriates as also Sadhakas that have elements of the effeminate in their nature. It will be well if these are sublimated through the objective way.

 

When a fit of social nature assails you, do not allow yourself to be driven out into the bazaar for gossiping or into the nearest reading-room, tea-shop or post-office to dissipate your diligently conserved energy in sundry politics, topical news or table-chat. Go among the poor and the afflicted instead and see if you can serve them in any way. Go to the road or the high-way among the pilgrims and the wayfarers and seek to relieve them of their loads and lessen their burdens with pleasant and elevating conversation. Thus in the very process of giving enrich yourself too.

 

When sentimentality assails you from inside, be wary, be still. Do not foolishly rush amidst your friends and colleagues. Rather go and commune with nature. Address endearingly the squirrel and the little lamb. Talk and laugh lovingly with the little birds among the bushes and bright butterfly flitting from flower to flower. Thus safely spend out the unwinding threads Vasanas from the reel of Chitta. You will be quite safe.

 

So, when these inner Vasanas "break ice" as it were and strike the surface, do not be dismayed. Understand what is happening and deal with them calmly. Adopt the methods outlined above to suit the case and with variations to fit in particular situations and temperaments. Overcome them wisely and be a gainer. This experience will enrich you and you will be more firmly established in Sadhana.

Now one point has to be noted in this connection. There is a similar process that appears like this spontaneous uprising of inner Vasanas but which it isn't. It is something different and hence has to be differently dealt with. This is the outrush of Vasanas, stimulated by an external agency or impulse. This situation is what is called temptation or test. This is dangerous, for here you are faced with two forces both of which you have to combat—the innate potency of the Vasanas and the active mechanism of the external stimulating agency.

 

Adopt a combination of several methods for this. Follow the already outlined sublimation methods and augment it with prayer, fasts, a little bit of aggressive self-restraint, changing of the place where the temptation is, taking of a resolute vow etc. You will succeed in overcoming the test.

 

The individual consciousness is made to pass through varying strata of mental and emotional states, pure, neutral as also impure as the muddy water made to pass through a tray of sand, charcoal and some germicidal medium, for the task of filtration and purification. For the filtering away of gross Mala the rough grains of the sands of Vyavaharic experiences suit and suffice admirably. But for the subtler impurities (like the gaseous ones in water) a medium like black charcoal is required. This is the recrudescence of disturbingly unspiritual thoughts and tendencies that dismay and upset the Sadhakas in the onward course of their spiritual development. This process takes place almost entirely upon the mental and emotional planes. Their inner working is very curious and interesting. They take place in both the waking as well as the dream states and in the latter in two slightly different shades of dream consciousness rather difficult to distinguish.

 

The various positive and negative and subjective and objective sublimatory methods detailed already are for use when The spending-out process is in the waking state. In dream state the Sadhaka has only to depend upon the subconscious mind "guard him and to effect a proper self-adjustment inside. More often than not the thought influence of his Guru as also the Grace of the Ishta-Devata (both are in reality the same thing) bring the Sadhaka safe out of the dream state processes, it leaves only a slight vague impression on the mind that retains it the next morning in the form of some mood either depressing or exhilarating as the case may be. And at times this process in the dream state takes place in a curious way.

 

The person dreams and the Vasanas spend themselves out but the consciousness of the Sadhaka is not aware of the fact that he has dreamed. Thus he wakes up in the morning with a curious feeling, a different man from the time he retired to bed the previous night, yet unable to explain it or attribute it to anything that he can recollect. This is somewhat like the process you adopt when you have unknowingly drunk impure water and later on to disinfect it you take charcoal tablets orally The medicated tablets enter the stomach and there carry out their purifying work invisibly and unknowingly. You are unconscious of what is going on inside, as in the case of those Vasanas that expended themselves in your unconscious dreams. Thus proceeds this process of purification and the wise and vigilant Sadhaka raises himself upwards and progresses onward even as the clever boatman skilfully takes immediate advantage of each uprising wave and sails ahead making his little boat leap as it were from crest of the waves of this ocean of Adhyatmic life.

 

Victory is to the vigilant and success surely attends upon the sincere Sadhaka firm in his faith in the Guru's feet!

 

ROLE OF RESTRAINT IN SADHANA

About one hundred and fifty miles above the Sannyasins colony of Rishikesh, in the Himalayan Interior there is an outpost, Chamauli by name. Here they have built a sort of dam or barrage across the flow of the mountain Ganga. One fine day something happened there and the water was likely to get out of hand and burst out in an excessive flow. At once wires began to hum. A telegram was given to all the lower regions. Warning them of a likely flood in the Ganga and asking them to shift higher up from the Ganga bank.

 

Now Ganga water is the very life and the soul for the people living by the side of the Ganga bank. But what is this strange phenomenon-people are now fleeting away from its life-giving waters. What is the reason for this? So long as its flow was within the limits, so long as its volume was restrained to a safe margin, it was most beneficial and very desirable. When the self-same natural and legitimate function of the dam (of supplying waters) exceeded, these waters became dangerous and terrible. Thus excess rendered a blessing into a menace. Now consider a similar state of things in the life of man.

The average man is the slave of his senses. Usually his life is one constant whirl amidst the numerous varieties of Vishayas that hem in upon his day-to-day life. His appetites goad him on to do two things, viz., they go out towards certain external pleasing and attractive things and they also desire to draw in certain things inward themselves. Thus man's slavery to his senses takes these two forms of going out towards certain things and drawing in certain things. At times in the case of certain types of objects both these processes are present combined together, viz., indulgence and consumption. It will not be wrong to say that both these are but the two aspects of the quality of sensuality.

Now sensuality is a broad, general term. It includes all and every variety of indulgence through the avenue of the senses. However it is not all indulgence that is totally unethical, immoral or criminal. Certain forms of indulgence like drunkenness, debauchery, adultery etc., are manifestly immoral and criminal. They are ruthlessly condemned. Some others, though not actually criminal, are yet extremely harmful either physically or mentally or both to the individual and at times to others near him as well. Tobacco chewing, snuffing or smoking, betting, gambling etc., come under this class. Such practices are strictly forbidden and stigmatised in unequivocal terms. Thirdly, there are still others (and it is with this class we are particularly concerned) that are of a natural character and within limits are even tolerated and legalised by convention. Consuming food and drink and indulging in sleep, rest and proper apparel for covering the body-these and the allied routine physical necessities are of this last mentioned category. They are to some extent amoral. There is basically nothing unethical in doing these actions, but when they are overdone they immediately assume the nature of moral issues. They lose their neutral nature and become directly or indirectly (at times directly and indirectly both) immoral. Thus for instance, to sleep is normal to all creatures on earth. Animal and man, sinner and saint alike do it. But then there is a limit within which it is a desirable and beneficial necessity. Too much sleeping makes a man lazy, lethargic, dull and ultimately, useless to both society and himself. To the Sadhaka it is one of the most dangerous habits. To him it is a vice to be eradicated. Habitual oversleep increases Tamas and makes Sadhana nullified and retards his progress.

Take another process-eating. Eating is recognised as an indispensable necessity so long as the physical sheath lasts. The lowest vermin to the highest realised saint, all take food. Overdo it, then indirectly as well as directly it becomes wrong, improper, unethical and positively criminal. It is a wrong and harmful practice from the health and medical point of view; improper from the point of social etiquette which regards gluttony with disfavour and disapproval; it is unethical, for by overfeeding man fattens his lustful propensities and becomes gross and sensual; and it is criminal from the economic point of view, for the wanton overfeeding of a section of people transgresses all canons of distribution and deprives the starving masses of their sorely needed food.

Now it is precisely here that we perceive the vital role of restraint in giving the proper balance, proportion and direction to such functions of variable moral implications. Inasmuch as their classification as moral or otherwise directly depends upon limit and extent of their indulgence or consumption, it is the equality of restraint and self-control in the individual that acts as the regulator that keeps them within the limits of the good, the proper. Thus it is the presence and absence of this element of self-control and restraint that makes the identical action of eating praiseworthy in one and blameworthy in another. It is laudable in the saintly persons of simple and Spartan habits, and culpable in the shameless voracious gourmand. And this is different in the quality of the self-same action in two persons which is due to the factor of restraint.

Why the role of restraint has been dealt with particular reference to this third class of neutral amoral function will be apparent when we consider that the other two categories are matters for eschewment in toto, wherein, strictly speaking, no question of restraint need arise at all. These actions are unnatural, unnecessary and dispensable. They are never to be done. Whereas the third class of inevitable routine items of sensual consumption and indulgence have got to be done, yet not to be overdone. And it is restraint that achieves this. It is restraint that supplies the guarantee and insurance against overindulgence.

This function of restraint in guarding against and countering the urge for overdoing of consumption and indulgence, operates in two forms that of moderation and deliberate selection. Where over-consumption takes the shape of going beyond limits in point of quantity then restraint manifests as the principle of moderation to check it. When the error is in the nature of an indulgence in an injurious and undesirable quality, then restraint operates in the form of a rational sense of sane selection. Thus this latter makes the aspirant to choose Sattvic articles of diet and abstain from Rajasic and Tamasic eatables, even though they may be tastier than the Sattvic diet. Then again it makes the Sadhaka prefer to sleep for half an hour or one hour longer at night time rather than indulge in day-time sleep.

Moderation and selection form a dual-process whose exercise brings about a mutual, favourable reaction upon each other. When the quality of your consumption, the nature of the things taken in through the avenue of the senses, is non-exciting and Sattvic then this establishes a rhythm and harmony in the system. This state of harmony is an immense help in the exercise of restraint; for restraint is dependent on inner strength or Atma-bala. The greater the Sattva in man, so much more is the development of this inner force. Likewise the habitual adherence to the principle of moderation keeps the body and mind light and free of toxins. In such a state of health and purity all faculties are keen and alert, facilitating a great deal the exercise of Viveka and Vichara (discrimination and enquiry) upon which wise selection and restraint depend.

Thus it will be seen that the faculty of and the ability in restraint is the greatest friend of man. It guards against man's natural sensual propensities, getting the better of him and turning into excess. Restraint plays the important part of keeping The processes of consumption and indulgence within the bounds of their beneficial maximum or safe ceiling-limit. Make full and judicious use of this factor and you will reap a harvest, health, well-being, progress and spiritual attainments.

Restraint makes life worth living. Be restrained and become a Jitendriya-Yogisvara. Restraint makes you real emperor of the three worlds. Restraint leads to Realisation of the Self!

All hail to Restraint the supreme Regulator! All Glory to the quality of restraint which is truly a divine Vibhuti, veritable manifestation of the Lord Himself!

REPRESSION IN SADHANA AND ITS EFFECTS

Conquest of senses and self-mastery is well recognised as the prime indispensable condition for true progress in spiritual Sadhana. Now, while attempting at sense-control it should be borne in mind that the real and effective method lies in concentrating your attention at the control of the mind. Because the actual senses are not the Karmendriyas or the fleshy external situated in the physical body, but are the Jnanendriyas that have their seat in the Manomaya Kosa. The outward physical sense-organs are merely the vehicles through which the Jnanendriyas get their cravings satisfied. They form as it were the executive or labour corps, carrying out the bidding of their subtle counterparts in the mental sheath. Therefore, if through control of mind and Pratyahara the clamour of the inner-five is subdued, then the Karmendriyas become as mere fleshy appendages with no power to incite or to excite the person. Upon the indrawn mind the sound entering through the avenue of the ear fails to register. The nose inhales and draws in different odours but all unaware to the mind. The man with self-absorbed mind gazes with vacant unseeing eyes, for though the wide-open eyes gaze outward, yet the mind perceives naught. Tap a man on the back while he is intently engaged in deep study, he will not heed you, for he fails to feel the tap. Thus it is essentially the craving and goading of the inner quintuplet of subtle organs that sets up the agitation and turbulence in the physical senses of man.

This gives the clear clue as to where the wise Sadhaka ought to direct his efforts when aiming at the conquest of senses, eradication of cravings and self-mastery. Yet it is forgotten by most Sadhakas with the result that you frequently find that in a sudden fit of extreme austerity they try to wrestle with the outward senses in an intense effort to stifle them, starve them and trample them into submission. They seemingly succeed very well in the beginning and thus encouraged they even intensify the erroneous process. And when the outer physical repression thus assumes a degree of violence, its repercussions upon the individual's psyche begin to manifest in a series of disastrous symptoms. The person commences to exhibit reactionary tendencies in a variety of ways. The prominent form that the sum-total of these reactionary symptoms assumes is a total breaking away from the hitherto rigidly maintained self-control, or to put it rightly, auto-violent physical repression. It is marked by a loosening of all restraint and going headlong into a period of indulgence. Together with this a number of minor upheavals also take place which have the unfortunate effect of leaving a lasting impression upon the person. They work themselves into his subconscious system and get lodged as certain vague complexes and indefinable neurosis that baffle the routine analysis.

When the Sadhaka has undergone this experience while living a life of seclusion, then his case becomes all the more difficult. The scope and opportunity for caution, criticism and correction by others is absent. He is left all to himself and when a person is being swept away by a sudden strong current of extreme sensuousness and Rajas, then discrimination and sane analysis are rendered inoperative. Whereas if the Sadhaka happens during this period to be amongst many others, in a community or an institution, the beholders themselves being Sadhakas, familiar with this line of life, will not fail to observe his gradual change and the progressive intensification of his thoughtless repression till the breaking point is reached. Those with a little experience and insight will easily read the symptoms and diagnose his gradual heading towards the apex of his auto-violence and warn him in time of the inevitable reaction and its unenviable consequences. Thus where the concerned person himself cannot analyse his case, the observers point out to him what the matter is and analyse it for him to a certain extent.

But here too it has been observed that more often than not when such well intentioned warning and advice is offered, it is met with a distinct hostility and a spirit of aggressive defiance on the part of the Sadhaka. His aggressive attitude, when analysed, will be found to proceed from three factors, namely, an unconscious fear, a curious perversion of reasoning and a compensation process.

In the first case even though he knows and feels that his conduct is improper, yet he aggressively repels all advice and suggestion, for if he listens to them and follows accordingly then it would mean the recovery of his poise and self-control again. This would deprive him of the pleasures that he is determined to taste. That part of his self, dominated for the period by the Bhoga-Vritti, is afraid that if he is submitted to their good counsels and admonitions, he would have to forego the pleasures, he is about to plunge into. This fear builds up a defence reaction of the protest which manifests itself as the attitude of aggression, which is so invariably present in the majority of such cases. This forms the exasperating feature which the external witnesses find it hardly possible to understand or to tolerate. It becomes so strong and marked that at times it ends the patience and actually antagonises those very well-wishers who seek to warn and draw him out of the slough he has fallen into.

In the second case by an extraordinary twist of logic the person convinces himself that he is justified in his actions. He feels that the period of restraint and abstinence has somehow entitled him to have a round of indulgence now and he resents any suggestion to the contrary. This very resentment itself is the sure indication, for his innermost self knows that he is totally wrong. But this is suppressed in the subconscious. This is a delusion, purely the outcome of the individual's mind clouded by passion.

A little thought will clearly show that he is plunging into indulgence because he had convinced himself beforehand that it was his due, but in spite he himself was plunged into it by the force of the revolting Indriyas, so long repressed by the aspirant's auto-violence. Then justification of it comes later on after the mischief is done. Thus it is not so much in the nature of an explanation as to why he is doing it, but rather a perverse attempt in asserting that he is right in what he is doing. It is the justification that follows the misconduct. To try to convince yourself, at such times, that you are acting thus because you know what you are going to do is right is just like putting the cart before the horse. You do wrong and say that you are right.

In the third case it is a compensation process. The aspirant is acutely aware that he has fallen in the estimation of the others who thought much of him and his self-control and austerity. His 'reputation' has suffered. He feels inferior. To cover

this up and to make up for it in the eyes of others, he unconsciously adopts this aggression which is closely akin to Dutch-courage.

It might be thought that the analysis and statement of this third 'Compensation' factor is a matter of purely academic psychological interest and unnecessary in the investigation into a spiritual aspirant's inner movement and development. This is not so. This analysis has a definite bearing upon and significance to the Sadhaka. For this desire of 'compensation' and the consequent aggressiveness arises from the fact that the aspirant has not turned away from his old allegiance to his lower egoistic self. He is still identified with it. He wants to keep up its prestige. Hence the urge towards compensation as a face-saving device. This is unbecoming of an aspirant who is expected to willingly place himself in the hands of the higher Sattvic part in him right from the moment he enters the spiritual path. He has failed to subjugate his Asuric ego to the dictates of his higher mind. As an alternative he should at least surrender to his Guru. This too he has not done. Also, besides this he has totally neglected even the fundamentals of the path. The prime qualifications of Yama and Niyama provide these. If he had tried to develop humility this aggressive compensation would never have been necessitated. The fault would be readily accepted and the lesson learnt. Neither having the humility nor the intellectual honesty to admit one's own error, he adopts this perverted method. Now it will be clear how this analysis of 'compensation,' though purely psychological, yet throws much light upon the inner neglect and defect in the very build-up of his spiritual life. It reveals the lack of the very elements of ethics in him. Ethics is the very basis of spiritual life. Therefore, in handling such cases much tact, delicacy and understanding insight become necessary. How to deal exactly with them is a very difficult matter and depends to a great extent upon the particular circumstances and the particular person concerned.

Here the doubt will be raised that how can this method be erroneous? Is it not stated that if you withdraw the fuel, the fire will die down by itself and are not the sense-objects and their enjoyment the fuel for the fire of the senses? Yes, true. If the senses are the 'fire', then the objects may be called the fuel. A little careful reflection will show that actually the senses are not the real 'fire'. The above analogy has to be pushed one more step inward into the next circle of the beings, five-circled field of individualised consciousness. The outer orgy and vulgar whirling of the senses amidst the objects is in fact analogous to the crackling and heat generated by the inner fire. The real fire is actually the intense irritation and restlessness of the subtle Jnanendriyas whose heat, blaze and crackle are manifested as the rampaging of the Karmendriyas in the field of sense objects. It is the Jnanendriyas that derive the satisfaction from indulgence. The actual enjoyment of taste is not done by the boneless piece of flesh inside the mouth nor does the rough and criss-crossed skin of the palm experience the pleasurable feeling of sensuous fleshly contacts. The tongue does not taste. It conveys the taste. Likewise the external dermis just conveys contactual feelings.

The Jnanendriyas constitute the 'fire' and it is fed by the fuel of memory (of previous enjoyments), imagination, brooding and deliberate dwelling mentally (upon tastes, pleasurable sensations and the attractive nature of sense-objects), and constant hoping and a keen, eager expectation and anticipation. All these constitute the fuel. The supply of this fuel is to be put an end to by strictly restricting the extent and nature of past memory, checking all imagination, resolutely stopping all mental indulgence or dwelling, and readily giving up hoping, anticipation and expectation. This is the reason for the advice 'Forget the past, give up planning the future, live in the solid present.' This is again the basis of the declaration that real Tyaga lies in the renunciation of Sankalpa-vikalpa. This is precisely why you are told 'Mano Jayam Eva Maha Jayam' and "Man Jita Jagat Jita.

The above control of the mental Vikaras is to be achieved more through positive non-violent methods than by the negative auto-violent process of forcible repression. Establishing of harmony and inner rhythm (as opposed to agitation) through Asanas and Sattvic diet, thinning the mind by Pranayama, diverting the imagination into higher and nobler super-sensual channels by regular Svadhyaya (study of scriptures and spiritual books) and Sravana, the practice of dwelling upon a definite Lakshya, acquired and strengthened through Upasana are some of the important methods to be actively employed by every earnest aspirant to succeed in self-restraint.

You must set up a guard over the mind. There must be continuous discrimination and firm checking. Vichara and ready 'Nirodha' should never be stopped. Man is morally lazy and unwilling to take up this important task. Moreover, vanity also is at the back of this reluctance to employ this inner method of restraint. Because this is purely a subjective inner training. It does not get advertised and acquires no publicity. Whereas physical austerity and forcible methods appear heroic for all to see and admire. This vanity is very subtle and not realised easily. But, however, moral indolence and lethargy is the main cause, coupled with the lukewarm nature of the Sadhaka's aspiration. If you are truly eager for progress you will make sincere attempts at practising this real mental control. You must shake off all mental indolence and cooperate willingly with the higher mind in its task of non-cooperation with the sensuous self. Without doing this you fail miserably in your auto-violent methods and blame other sundry factors and persons or turn totally averse and heedless to spiritual practices and progress. This is a great blunder and also you will be the greatest loser thereby.

In concluding this topic there is one point to be taken note of. It may be asked, is there absolutely no virtue in or no use of controlling the external senses at all? Surely there is. It is quite necessary to control them also. It is good. But its implications and limitations have to be properly grasped and understood first. A fetish is not to be made of it. Done with commonsense, it becomes a helpful training. As modes of Titiksha such tussle with the senses is to be recommended. An occasional total downright 'starving' of one or more of the senses is quite all right. As for instance a complete waterless fast and all-night vigil once in a month or even twice on Ekadasi days is indeed most helpful. But then it is to be known in its true light, i.e., as a method—not as the ultimate objective. Also mistake should not be made of considering it as the one and the only method in Yoga. Its place in the spiritual path is as one among the various methods in attaining self-mastery. As an auxiliary means of getting established in the inner process of true self-control it is necessary. As a method of developing Titiksha, it is admirable. Doubtless it has its utility and equally also it has its limitations, and when foolishly carried to irrational extremes, definitely it has its dangers. It turns into a harmful auto-violent process that at times permanently breaks down the practitioner's capacity for Sadhana. Then its logic would be as bad as that of a man who wishing to arrest the rapid swelling-up of a toy rubber balloon grasps it with both hands and forcibly squeezes and presses it inward. The result will not be difficult to guess. The correct procedure will be to arrest the inflow of air being pumped in by the inflater. This latter technique of control is precisely what is achieved when you set about to subdue and restrain the Jnanendriyas by checking and arresting all the thoughts, memories, imaginations, hankerings and sensuous anticipations, that inflame the Jnanendriyas into a blaze of irresistible desire and fierce passion.

External sense-restraint is an important and effective instrument for the acquisition of a prize. But itself, it is not the prize. It is a sharp instrument and improper use of it will hurt the user. Understand its proper place in Sadhana and become wise. Make use of it in the proper way and master the mind. You will be successful. You will be crowned with glory.

May the Gita, the revealer of rational restraint guide thee in thy efforts at self-control and mind-mastery! May the Master Yogins like Lord Krishna and Gautama Buddha bestow upon thee true insight into the science of sense-subdual! May the Lord inspire thee to rightly use this knowledge and attain Perfection!

TRIPLE WITHDRAWAL IN SADHANA

Kathopanishad says, "The Self-existent Brahman created the senses with outgoing tendencies and so man beholds the external universe but not the internal Atman. But some wise persons with a steadfast mind who are desirous of attaining immortality behold the internal Atman by turning the gaze inward."

"Turning the gaze inward" means abstraction of all the Indriyas. All the senses are withdrawn from their respective objects through Pratyahara and the practice of Dama.

Sit on any comfortable Asana. Close the eyes. Concentrate on Trikuti or the space between the two eyebrows.

Practise Mulabandha by contracting the anus and inhale. Retain the breath and practise Jalandhara Bandha, by putting chin lock to attain one-pointedness (Ekagrata).

Withdrawal of Prana, withdrawal of mind from the sense-objects and withdrawal of senses at one and the same time constitute the triple withdrawal in Yoga Sadhana. It is more effective or potent than single withdrawal of either sense, mind or Prana. All the three withdrawals must be practised simultaneously. The mind will be controlled very easily by this potent Yoga Sadhana.

Gradually the breath will move within the nostrils. The velocity of the mind will be checked. The mind will attain one-pointedness (Ekagrata). The Vasanas will be thinned out. The turbulent senses will be made quiet. There will be harmony and peace. Yoga Nishtha will result. Nirvikalpa Samadhi will supervene.

PATIENCE IN SADHANA

The foundation-stone of Yoga, the first rung in the spiritual ladder is ethical perfection. Therefore, try to remove all negative qualities. Introspect and analyse your mind. When you remove one evil quality another one may crop up. Have patience and one by one tackle all the negative qualities. You are bound to succeed if you are patient. We spend much time in reading newspapers. You may, by all means, read newspapers to know what is going on in the world, but the object in reading newspapers should not be to rouse your emotions. Real peace can ensue only when you control your lower emotions. Then only spiritual life will be possible for you.

You have not a disciplined mind and that is the reason why there is suffering. You do not think or do Vichara as to where from real bliss can be derived. You do not enquire "What good actions have I done on this earth?" We do not remember the definite promise we have made to the Lord when we left Him and entered the mother's womb. We do not remember the ideals. Try to lead a good virtuous life and leave off vain discussions like whether there exists God or not. All these are useless discussions. Becoming angry is awfully bad. Try to control anger. If a man says something unpleasant at once you begin to retaliate. We have not got the power or strength to bear patiently. We are weak. A man may be a muscular sandow. He might have devoted 6 to 12 hours a day in the development of his muscles. He might be able to break a big stone, but he may not have the strength to bear a harsh word. He is mentally weak. So we will have to develop mental strength and cultivate virtues. But what a pity! We soon forget. We do not remember the ideal or the goal before us. We do a little Japa here and there, and at once expect Siddhis. This is not enough. You must do intense work.

Select a separate room in your house. This is necessary. Continuous practice of getting up at four o'clock is necessary. People practise for some time, then leave off the practice, and then resume again. This habit should be entirely given up. If you practise at Brahma Muhurta the mind can easily be fixed in meditation. It will facilitate much if you can be absolutely regular in your meditation. Then, with practice, meditation comes by itself, at the proper time. Even if you are ailing, at the usual time of meditation the mind will be in the most receptive mood. If you feel drowsy, sing loudly some of the philosophical songs like Chidananda, Chidananda and you will feel refreshed. Again and again hammer this mind with Chidananda, Chidananda Hum, I am the Immortal Atman. Sing this song. Take a little walk. All diseases will get cured. Feel the Divine presence within you. Every name is filled with Divine potency and utterance of Divine Names elevates you to glorious heights. This by itself clearly proves that God exists.

You must cultivate a regular habit of doing charity. It should become spontaneous. Perhaps in our generosity we may give to our sisters or brothers some money, but not to strangers. Generosity should be extended to all. We do not recognise that the whole world has emanated from Isvara. There is so much suffering and you must feel that your body is affected. Then only will you have the Grace of the Lord. All the Siddhis and Riddhis will be at your feet. But unfortunately you have such a constricted heart, a very small heart. You may have a good intellect. You may be a Ph.D., but possess a narrow heart. The spirit of self-sacrifice is completely lacking. Why? Because we do not practise the qualifications prescribed in the Gita. That man is the greatest of the Yogins who does self-sacrifice, recognising all as manifestations of the Lord. Doing charity should become a second nature with you. Keep some change in your pocket wherever you go. Wherever there is distress, share what you have and alleviate human suffering wherever it is possible. Thus will you be able to achieve the goal for which you were born, for which God has given you this human body. Many had direct Darshan of the Lord through selfless service and you can also attain the goal.

Do Japa and prayers. Keep some good thoughts of God.

Remember certain Slokas on the evils that will come out of the pursuit of sensual pleasures. Again and again hammer on this mind the evils that would result from the pursuit of sensual pleasures. It requires constant practice. Keep these good thoughts before you go to bed and remember them. You will have to discipline your mind gradually. Side by side the study of religious books is also very important. Study the Upanishads. Study the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, on Raja Yoga. You can then have theoretical understanding. Books are necessary. These will help you to overcome the obstacles in your way.

How many of you, by now, know by heart the 15th Chapter of the Gita, which you can recite before taking food? Very few. Man is made of food and food is rendered pure and you get strength when you recite these Slokas. Different kinds of food produce different Samskaras and different temperaments arise. Sattvic food develops concentration of mind. When you offer food to the Lord it becomes an act of self-sacrifice. If therefore you remember certain Slokas, it will be useful. So we should know how to regulate our lives.

Let us turn a new leaf, a new chapter in our lives. Even a little Japa, a little Kirtan releases tremendous force. Let us therefore be more sincere in our love for the Lord, and keep the ideal before us. Study the Gita. Time is flying. When you get angry remember the Avanti Brahmin. Amidst all trials and tribulations remember the Lord. You must be able to use sweet words. Gain strength day by day. Have a fixed programme of life. It is difficult to get a human birth. Let us not waste the precious life. Remember the great saints of our land-Ramdas, Shams Tabriez, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. They had direct realisation. Let us aspire to become Jivanmuktas in this very life. Just listen to the story of Sadasiva Brahman.

Sadasiva Brahman was a Yogin in Karur and lived 150 years ago. His Samadhi is there even today. He has written beautiful books and commentary on Brahma Sutras. He was a learned scholar and was undergoing training under his Guru, when he received a telegram that his wife had attained puberty. He was returning from his teacher's house after the studies. His mother was rejoicing when she heard the news that her son was coming back to the house. She prepared some "Payasam" that day and so many other dishes. So he had to wait till 3 o'clock for his dinner. He was a man of discrimination. He was a Yogabhrashta. He remembered his previous birth and found out the misery he would be getting by entering the householder's life. He said to himself "Now I got meal at 3 o'clock. When I am fully in the Grihasthasrama, I do not know when I will get the meal. What is the use of the Grihasthasrama?" He at once renounced the world and he was not bound. He had not performed his duties towards his wife and mother. Still he was not bound.

Do not pay exaggerated attention to the sayings "You have not brought forth a progeny to keep the family and so you will incur the curse of your ancestors and so on." Sadasiva Brahman was not bound. He became the greatest Yogi, even though he had not discharged his duties to his mother and wife. Afterwards when he was in Samadhi he got buried underground. Some agriculturists came there and when they were digging, they hit against his head unknowingly. There was bleeding. At once they dug up the place and found him. He was not a bit affected. He then came back from Samadhi. He exhibited various other miracles.

From these it is clear that marriage is a social institution, because many are born with great passion and lustful Samskaras and these Samskaras have to be appeased a little, so that the man can gain some experience and learn discrimination as to how much this world can give him happiness. He gets knocks from people. He gets kicks. His wife and children cease to give him his soul's longing. He becomes discontented with the world and then turns to religion. It is to gain this experience that one enters Grihastha life. But those who are born with spiritual Samskaras get Vairagya very soon even without passing through the experience of a Grihastha. There are so many other instances also of spiritual persons renouncing the world without entering the Grihasthasrama.

Observe strictly the rules of Brahmacharya. We have passed through hundreds of lives before in vain, in not observing the rules of Brahmacharya. The Vasanas are very strong. Remember that as a son is born the wife becomes a mother. Look at the animals as to how they observe the Laws of Nature. It is only man who does not stick to these Laws of Nature, and it is only man who is endowed with reason. He alone has the power of discrimination. That faculty, that power of discrimination is in man alone. So to reach God-head, Brahmacharya is essential. The whole energy must be converted into Ojas Sakti. It will then prove a great asset to man to face the battle of life, He who has conserved his energy can turn out more vital work in the world and earn more. Still more important is this to the spiritual aspirant as he cannot make any progress otherwise, Let me repeat to you that getting up at 4 o'clock is important. But people do not do it. They do not get up before it is 7 o'clock. The world is moving at a terrific speed, and every moment is precious. How long are you going to argue whether God exists or not? Try to do as much Japa as possible.

Through constant service, through charity and spontaneous and unrestricted generosity you will have to remove mental impurity. People who have two crores of rupees may give one lakh to war-fund. There is not much magnanimity in this. But if a poor devotee who has two rupees gives a rupee in charity: it is glorious. These are the utterances from the Upanishads that you cannot hoard even a little bit of wealth. It should be distributed. There are people who earn much and spend it away in public charities and institutions. This is a great help no doubt. But money cannot be earned without incurring sin. He who is able to share what little he has with others is the truest Yogi, not the man who earns four crores and spends 20 lakhs on charities. That man who earns 8 annas but is able to share it with another is more beloved of the Lord.

You have heard of the story of the poor Brahmin and his family. This family had only a few grains of rice left, and when he was about to take meal, Lord Narayana appeared as an Atithi to test the charity of this devotee. The Brahmin and his wife and children fed this Atithi and starved themselves. That is real charity. So charity should be spontaneous, unrestricted and generous. It should be part and parcel of our daily conduct. One's life may pass away at any moment, and it is idle to keep on clinging to one's wealth.

I shall give you an instance. In the Swarga Ashram a rich man built a temple. He had a big contract work and he was able to earn quite a good bit. The Lord was pleased with his work. He built a sugar factory and earned a crore of rupees. Gradually some spirituality dawned on him. He took to Sadhana, but did not get much benefit. Suddenly he developed some symptoms and died one fine morning. He had only greed for money. He had a crore of rupees. No doubt he had opened some hospital, etc., and had done some other good things, but he was not wise. A wise man would be he who spends away his all on others and relieves suffering. God has given you a guarantee of life at the moment and let that moment not pass by without your doing the maximum good to others. It is a good thing to build hospitals, etc. They are all necessary for the expansion of the heart. But if it is only a poor man who is able to do charity he is dear to the Lord, because he has a heart to give. Those who have money must spend. There is no certainty of the tomorrow. It is for doing good actions that God gives you money. You must use money well as a trustee.

PERSEVERANCE IN SADHANA

Life is the manifestation of Sakti. All life is therefore dynamic. Nothing remains stationary, even for half a moment. The Universal Energy ever works on untiringly and inexhaustibly, operating alike in a tiny speck of dust as in the mighty orb of the sun. Ceaseless progress and growth is the Law of Nature and evolution.

O aspirants! You are also a centre of this cosmic energy. Activity and advancement is the law of your being. You must continuously keep advancing in the spiritual path. Do not remain satisfied in having filled up a resolve form or drawing up daily routine. It is not enough to have a nice meditation room or a deer skin and a Mala. No doubt you have changed your old ways of life. But how far have you advanced along the new?

A great sage once said: "Do not stand still even for a moment for to stand still in the way of holiness and perfection is not to take breath or courage but to fall back and to become weaker than before." Bear this in mind. In the spiritual path it is a case of progress or regress. There is no comfortable 'sitting on the wall' frequently. To rest is to rust. With a flaming aspiration push forward. Every day must show that you have taken one step more upon the path. Progress is not to be counted in number of days that have passed in practice. It lies in how far you have outgrown your former ways of thinking and living. What is the extent of your victory over external environments? Do you maintain a calm and balanced mind? Do you remain unaffected by little annoyances and irritations? Are you more ready to forgive and less ready to offend? Has your aspiration grown stronger? Are you doing increased Sadhana or are you expecting Divine grace to help you to carry out your resolves and vows? Are you waiting to get blessings or Asirvad from saints and Avataras? Blessings are always there, but unless you prepare to boldly struggle upwards and onwards blessings are just as useful as staff and shoes to a traveller who does not care to march ahead.

There was a saint who took up his abode in a hill-side cave by the side of the jungle road. He was very industrious by nature. He collected boulders from all around the cave, raised a platform and walls, etc. By ceaseless work he soon made the wild dwelling into a perfect miniature rock fort. He cleared all the surrounding space except for one boulder in front of the cave. He came to be called by the name 'Pather Baba' or the stone saint. As he was a great Virakta many people came for his Darshan. When aspirants frequently asked for his blessings he kept quiet. But if anyone pressed him too much for his Asirvad he used to turn towards the little rock ramparts constructed by him and say, "See, this is the result of Mehnat (exertion or industry)." Then he led them to the solitary stone and pointing to it said, "Well, you want my Asirvad. There, look at that stone. It is regularly receiving my Asirvad three times a day. I bless it daily morning, noon and at dusk. I find it however the same as before. This is all Asirvad had done and that (referring to the rock construction) is the product of constant application and effort."

Do not, therefore look always for external aids. Proceed onwards. Help will come from within where necessary. The distance you have to cover is great, time is short, obstacles are many. Days, months and years fly away rapidly. Every minute is precious. Therefore, advance quickly towards the goal.

No doubt the Lord is so very merciful that if you take one step towards Him. He hurries forwards ten steps to meet you. Quite true. But you are required to step forward towards Him first. You perhaps feel that circumstances stand against your progress, that you are everywhere surrounded by unfavourable conditions and forces. Now a man in a valley will never be able to sweep away a mist, but by ascending a little he will altogether rise above it. Therefore, never brood over disadvanages and disabilities. Rise into higher realms of Atmic knowledge through steady Sadhana. It is your folly to sit in gloom and cry "light, light.' Arise and march forward into sunshine.

Excel in service. Expand in love. Advance in knowledge, Create opportunities to serve. Learn something new every day. Develop greater devotion to the Lord. Increase your Sadhana Persevere on the path. Let your progress be continuous Ceaseless perseverance is the certain safeguard against slipping backward. It is the surest way to success. Never stop or slacken. Keep marching forward. May you soon reach the goal.

CONTINUITY IN SADHANA

Do not stop Sadhana when you get a few glimpses of realisation (Alpam). Continue the practice till you are fully established in Bhuma (unconditioned Brahman). This is important. If you stop the practice, and move about in the world, there is every likelihood of a downfall. The reaction will be tremendous. Examples are not lacking. Numerous persons have been ruined. A glimpse cannot give you perfect safety. Do not be carried away by Loka-Eshana (name and fame). You can renounce your wife, children, parents, house, friends and relatives. It is very, very difficult to renounce the intellectual pleasure, the pleasure from name and fame. I seriously warn you. A man who can draw happiness from Atman within will never care a jot for this trivial paltry affair. The world is a mighty big thing for a worldly man. The world is a straw for a knower of Brahman. It is a mustard, a pin's point, a dot, a bubble, an airy nothing for a Brahma Jnani. Be circumspective. Ignore all these trivial things. Be steady with your practice. Never stop the practice till the final beatitude is reached. Never stop Sadhana till you can constantly dwell in full Brahmic consciousness.

FOUR PROGRESSIVE STAGES IN SADHANA

In the first stage of progress in Sadhana, there is achieved the purity of mind; in the second, the power to concentrate is greatly increased; then there intervenes the stage where profound meditation becomes possible and easy of achievement. In the fourth stage, the aspirant gains illumination; thereafter there is the identification of the inner spiritual Self with the all-pervading, omniscient, and omnipotent Divinity; and finally there is the experience of complete absorption in the infinite Being.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

TYPES OF SADHANA

FOURFOLD SADHANA

Fourfold Sadhana of the student in the path of Jnana Yoga consists of Viveka, Vairagya, Shad-sampat or sixfold virtues and Mumukshutva or strong yearning for liberation.

Viveka dawns in a man, through the grace of God, who has done virtuous actions in his previous births as offerings unto the Lord without expectation of fruits and without egoism. Viveka is the discrimination between the real and the unreal, the permanent and the non-permanent, Atman and Anatman.

You must first develop Viveka or discrimination between the real and the unreal and Vairagya or dispassion for the enjoyment of objects herein and hereafter. Then only you will have success in the practice of Sama. Vairagya born of Viveka only will be of a lasting nature. Such a Vairagya only will be helpful to you in your spiritual practices. Karana Vairagya due to the loss of property or death of wife or son will be temporary. It will be of no use to you. It is volatile like ammonia.

Sama is serenity of mind produced by the constant eradication of Vasanas or desires. Whenever desires crop up in your mind do not try to fulfil them. Reject them through discrimination, right enquiry and dispassion. You will get tranquillity of mind and mental strength by constant practice. The mind is thinned out. The mind is checked directly from wandering. Its outgoing tendencies are curbed. If desires are eradicated, the thoughts also will die by themselves. The mind is detached from the manifold sense-objects by continuously observing their defects and is fixed on Brahman. In the practice of Sama, the five Jnana Indriyas or organs of knowledge, viz., ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose are also controlled.

Dama is the control of the external organs, i.e., the organs of action or the five Karma Indriyas, viz., organ of speech, hands, feet, genitals and the anus—the external instruments. The organs are withdrawn and fixed in their respective centres.

The eyes run outside to see a beautiful object. If you at once withdraw the eyes from that object, it is called Dama. You should restrain the other Indrivas also by the practice of Dama.

Some say. "Practice of Dama is not necessary. It is included in Sama. The Indriyas cannot work independently. They can work only in conjunction with the mind. If the mind is checked, the Indriyas will come under control automatically."

The mind will come under control very easily if Dama also is practised. It is a double attack on the enemy from within and without. He is crushed or subdued soon. If the front and the back doors are closed simultaneously, the enemy is caught quite readily. There is no escape for him on any side. By practice of Dama you do not allow either the Indriya or the mind to come in contact with the objects. You do not allow the mind to come through the external instrument, viz., the eye, to assume the form of the object. In neophytes the mind never remains self-centred despite rigorous practice of Sama. It tries to run outside towards external objects. If Dama is also practised, it will be of immense help to curb the mind efficiently. If you tie the hands of a mischievous boy, he tries to do mischief with his feet. If his feet also are tied he keeps quiet. Sama corresponds to the tying of the hands and Dama to the tying of the feet. Therefore the practice of Dama is also necessary.

Dama is the practice of a student of Jnana Yoga. Pratyahara corresponds to the practice of Dama. Pratyahara is the practice of a Raja Yogi. In the former it follows the practice of Sama; in the latter it follows the practice of Pranayama. In the former the Indriyas are withdrawn by calming or restraining the mind: in the latter the Indriyas are withdrawn by restraining the Prana. The Indriyas can be withdrawn more effectively by the process of double withdrawal, by withdrawing the mind and the Prana at the same time. It is the mind that moves the Indrivas. It is the Prana that vivifies or energises or galvanises the Indriyas. Sama and Dama are strictly Raja Yogic practices.

Now we come to the practice of Uparati. Some define Uparati as renunciation of all works and taking up Sannyasa. Uparati follows the practice of Sama and Dama. Uparati is self-withdrawal. It consists in the mind-function ceasing to act by means of external objects. Uparati is extreme abstention. It is the turning of the mind from the objects of enjoyment.

The mind of the student who is established in Uparati will never be agitated even a bit when he sees a beautiful object. There will be no attraction. He will have the same feeling which he experiences when he sees a woman as when he looks at a tree or a log of wood. When he looks at delicious fruits or palatable dishes, he will not be tempted. He will have no craving for them. He will have no craving for any particular object or dish. He will never say, "I want such and such a preparation for my food." He will be satisfied with anything that is placed before him. This is due to the strength of mind he has developed by the practice of Viveka, Vairagya. Sama and Dama. Further the mind is experiencing a wonderful calmness and transcendental spiritual bliss by the above practices. It does not want these little, illusory pleasures. If you have got sugar-candy, your mind will not run after black sugar. You can wean the mind from the object to which it is attached by training it to taste a superior kind of bliss. If you give cotton-seed extract to a bull or a cow, it will not run towards dry grass or hay. Mind is like a bull.

Those who practise Brahmacharya must be fully conversant with the technique of Sama, Dama and Uparati. Then only they will be established in the practice of celibacy.

Titiksha is the power of endurance. A Titikshu is able to bear pain, insult, heat and cold. He does not care to redress them. He is free from anxiety. He does not lament on this score.

Sraddha is unshakable faith in the existence of Brahman, in the teachings of Guru and scriptures, and faith in one's own self. If any one possesses these qualifications he will get Samadhana or one-pointedness of mind and burning desire for liberation. The mind will move naturally towards the inner self always. The student should now approach a Brahmasrotri, Brahmanishtha Guru, hear the Srutis, reflect and meditate on the significance of the 'TAT TVAM ASI' Mahavakya constantly. He will attain Self-realisation or Atma-Sakshatkara.

If you have Viveka, Vairagya will come by itself. If you possess Viveka and Vairagya, Sama will dawn by itself. If you are endowed with Viveka, Vairagya and Sama, Dama will come by itself. If you have Sama and Dama, Uparati will come by itself. If you have all these qualifications Titiksha, Sraddha and samadhana or one-pointedness will come by themselves. If you possess Viveka, Vairagya, Sama, Dama, Uparati, Sraddha and Samadhana. Mumukshutva or burning desire for liberation will manifest by itself.

Even in a Jivanmukta or a liberated sage the eyes will move towards the objects through the force of habit. But he can withdraw them completely and make them mere empty sockets if he wills. When he sees a woman, he does not see her outside himself. He sees the whole world within himself. He feels that the woman is his own self. He has no sex-idea. There are no evil thoughts in his mind. He has no sexual attraction for her. Whereas a worldly man sees the woman outside himself; he entertains lustful thoughts. He has no idea of the Self. He is attracted towards her. This is the difference between the vision of a Jnani and a worldly man. There is no harm in looking at a woman but you must not entertain evil thoughts. Feel that women are manifestations of Mother Kali. Feel that the beauty of women is the beauty of the Lord. Feel that all forms are images of the Lord. Your mind will be elevated at once.

Some students ask, "Shall we practise Viveka, Vairagya, etc., in order, one by one after mastering each Anga or shall we practise all the Angas simultaneously? If we practise one by one, perhaps we will not be able to get mastery over one or two Angas in this life. We may require several births for perfect mastery over all Angas. Life is very short. What shall we do?" It depends upon the temperament, taste and capacity of the students. Some like to get perfect mastery over each stage and then proceed to the next step. Some like to practise all the limbs at the same time. For six months concentrate your mind in cultivating Viveka, Vairagya and Sama. For the next six months try to acquire Sraddha, Samadhana and Mumukshutva. Devote more time in developing that virtue which you are seriously lacking. If you are earnest and sincere in your attempt, you can develop the four means and attain Self-realisation in this very birth.

Another Vedantic student says, "Swamiji, there is no necessity for acquiring these four means of salvation-Viveka, Vairagya, etc. It is a long, tedious process. I will not be able to acquire them even in several births. The shortest way is to think of Brahman always. I will acquire all the virtues automatically. Then I will be able to practise deep meditation." He is right. A first-class type of student can adopt this method because he had cultivated the four means in his previous births. A mediocre student will not be able to think of Brahman at the very outset. How can one think of Brahman when the mind is filled with impurities, when the mind is turbulent and the Indriyas are jumping and revolting? Absolutely impossible. He may sit for thinking on the Self. He will be building castles in the air and will be thinking of other objects. He will foolishly imagine that he entered into Nirvikalpa Samadhi. He will mistake deep sleep for Samadhi. Many are deluded in this manner. They do not have any spiritual progress. They can have no idea of Brahman. It is only the mind that is rendered pure by the practice of Viveka, Vairagya, Sama, Dama, etc. that can have definite conception of Brahman. Ideas of Brahman cannot be lodged in a restless, impure mind.

May you all live drowned in the ocean of Brahmic Bliss in an illumined state through the practice of Viveka, Vairagya, Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha and Samadhana!

THE SIMPLE SADHANA

Man is a mixture of three ingredients, viz., human element, brutal instinct and divine ray. He is endowed with finite intellect, a perishable body, a little knowledge and a little power. This makes him distinctly human. Lust, anger, hatred belong to his brutal nature. The reflection of cosmic intelligence is at the back of his intellect. So he is an image of God. When the brutal instincts die, when this ignorance is rent asunder, when he is able to bear insult and injury, he becomes one with the Divine.

A thirsting aspirant is one who practises self-denial. He always tries to feel that the body does not belong to him. If anyone beats him, cuts his hand or throat, he should keep quiet. He must not speak even a single harsh word to him because the body is not his. He starts his Sadhana "I am not the body. I am not the mind. Chidananda Rupah Sivoham."

One harsh or unkind word throws a man out of his balance. A little disrespect upsets him. He feels and feels for days together. How weak he has become despite his boasted intellect, high position in society, degrees and diplomas and titles?

Bear insult. Bear injury. This is the essence of all Sadhana. This is the most important Sadhana. If you succeed in this one Sadhana, you can very easily enter the illimitable domain of eternal bliss. Nirvikalpa Samadhi will come by itself.

This is the most difficult Sadhana; but it is easy for those who have burning Vairagya and yearning for liberation.

You must become a block of stone. Only then will you be established in this Sadhana. Nothing can affect you. Abuses. ridicules, mockery, insults, persecutions cannot have any influence on you.

Remember the instructions of Lord Jesus: "If anyone gives you a slap on one cheek, show him the other cheek also if anyone takes your coat, give him your cap also." How sublime is this teaching. If you follow this you will have great spiritual strength and power of endurance. It will make you divine. It will transform the nature of the offender also at once.

Study the life of the Avanti Brahmin in Bhagavata (IX Skandha). You will draw inspiration and strength. People spat at this Brahmin, threw faecal matter on him and yet he stood adamant. A Mohammedan spat on Saint Ekanath 109 times and yet the saint was not affected even a bit. All saints and prophets had this power of endurance. People pelted stones at Prophet Mohammed and threw the ovary of camel on his head and yet he was cool and serene. The Jews pierced thorns on the body of Lord Jesus. He was ill-treated in a variety of ways. He bore all these calmly and blessed the persecutors. He was nailed on the cross and yet he said, "O Lord! Forgive these people. They do not know what they are doing." Read again and again the Sermon on the Mount by Lord Jesus.

All aspirants will be tested by the Lord and a time will come for everybody to bear worst trials, adversities and persecutions. These trials will make them wonderfully strong. They must be ever prepared to bear all these trials and persecutions.

You will have to develop wonderful patience and endurance. You will have to kill your egoism, pride, Dehaabhimana or false identification with the perishable body. Then only you can bear insult and injury.

Try at first to control the physical reactions and the feelings. Do not report. Do not speak vulgar words. Do not revenge. Kill the vindictive spirit or attitude. Check the impulses of speech, thought and action. Gradually you will gain control. Regular Japa, meditation, Kirtana, prayer, enquiry, solitude, Satsanga, selfless service, Mouna, Asana, Pranayama, will pave a long way in developing your will-power and give you immense strength to bear insult and injury.

MOST IMPORTANT SADHANA

Too much salt, too much chillies, too much tamarind, make you impulsive and cause anger. Hence give up these three things entirely or take a very, very small quantity.

Speak a little. Speak always sweetly. So not speak harsh or filthy words. Again and again discipline the organ of speech, keep quiet when another abuses you.

Enquire. An abuse is nothing. It is mere jugglery of words or Sabda Jaalam. He who abuses, wastes his energy and spoils his tongue and character.

Mind exaggerates things. Imagination troubles you; you simply imagine that Mr.X is trying to harm you. In reality Mr.X is innocent. He is your friend and well-wisher. Mind does havoc through exaggeration and false imagination.

The mother-in-law falsely thinks that her daughter-in-law is ill-treating her. The daughter-in-law falsely imagines that her mother-in-law is treating her very badly. So the quarrels are going on daily in every house. The manager falsely imagines that the proprietor is ill-treating him. The clerk falsely imagines that the office superintendent is not treating him properly and so bears ill-will towards his superior. This is Maya's jugglery. This is all the trick of the mind. Beware, learn the ways of the mind and become wise. Learn to discriminate. Learn to do selfless service.

Do not make parties. Do not join parties. Be neutral. Remain alone. Keep company with saints, sages and the Indweller within through prayer, Japa and meditation.

Bless the man that curses you. Pray for that man who tries to harm and persecute you. Serve that man who speaks ill of you. Love that man who wants to injure you. Embrace all. Serve all. Love all. Develop Atma Bhava, Narayana Bhava. The two currents of Raga and Dvesha will perish by themselves.

Give up respect and honour. Treat this as dung or poison. Treat disrespect, dishonour as ornaments. Do not expect high seats and kind words. Do not sit on flowery cushion seats. Sit on the floor. Lord Gouranga sat in the place where shoes were kept. Be humble and do those services which are considered as menial services in the eyes of the worldly-minded people, but which are really worship of the Lord and Yoga activities for the knower and wise man. During the Last Supper, Jesus tied the boot-lace and washed the feet of his disciples. Sri Krishna, the Lord of the three worlds, washed the feet of guests and priests in the Rajasuya Yajna performed by Yudhishthira Remember those two incidents always. This will make you humble.

Daily watch your mind and feelings. Be on the alert. Develop patience little by little. Grow. Evolve. Expand. Become strong like the Avanti Brahmin, Eknath or Jesus and rest peacefully.

May Lord give you inner spiritual strength to bear insult and injury. May you become a Jivanmukta.

A DYNAMIC SADHANA

It is due the veil of ignorance that you have forgotten your real essential nature, the Sat-Chit-Ananda State. It is not at all necessary for you to renounce the world and run to some Himalayan cave to regain your lost divinity. Here is an easy Sadhana by which you can definitely attain God-consciousness, even while living in the world amidst multifarious activities.

You need not necessarily have a separate meditation room or fix some time for meditation. Close your eyes for a minute or two once in every two hours and think of God and His various Divine qualities such as mercy, love, joy, knowledge, purity, perfection, and so forth during work, and mentally repeat: "Hari Om," or "Sri Ram," or "Ram Ram," or any other Mantra according to your taste.

This should be done even during night whenever you happen to get up from bed to micturate or on any other account. Though you are not in the habit of getting up from sleep, you should do this practice at least occassionally when you slightly change your posture during sleep. This sort of habit will come only by repeated practice.

Feel all along that the body is a moving temple of God, your office or business house is a big temple or Vrindavan, and all activities such as walking, eating, breathing, seeing, heart ing, reading, etc., are offerings unto the Lord. Work is worship, Work is meditation, when done in the right spirit.

Work for work's sake without any motive, without the idea of agency (i.e., I am the doer, I am the enjoyer), and without expectation of fruits. Feel that you are an instrument in the hand of God and He works through your organs. Feel also that this world is a manifestation of the Lord or Viswa Vrindavan and your children, wife, father, mother and other relations are the images or children of the Lord. See God in every face and in every object. If you develop this changed angle of vision and Divine Bhava by potracted and constant practice, all actions will become Pooja or worship of the Lord. This is quite sufficient. You will have God-realisation soon. This is a dynamic Yoga. This is an easy Sadhana. Hereafter do not bring your old lame excuse: "Swamiji, I have no time to do spiritual practices." Even if you practise this dynamic Yoga for three months, you will become an entirely changed being altogether. Realise right now your identity and intimate relationship with all beings, with ants and dogs, elephants and tigers, Muslims and Hindus, Jews and Christians. There is only a degree of difference in manifastation or expression. All forms belong to God or Saguna Brahman. When you look at a tree or shrub, a Sikh or a Muslim, endeavour to behold behind the veil of form, the real hidden Consciousness. If you do this for some time, you will feel inexpressible joy. All hatred will cease. You will develop Cosmic love or unity of consciousness. This will be a magnanimous experience.

Write daily for half an hour in a notebook your Ishta Mantra observing Mauna and without turning to this side or that. Write down in bold types on cardboards or paper:

SPEAK THE TRUTH. 

OM PURITY. 

OM COURAGE. 

I MUST REALISE GOD NOW. 

TIME IS MOST PRECIOUS. 

I WILL BE A TRUE BRAHMACHARI. 

BRAHMACHARYA IS DIVINE LIFE. 

I AM AN EMBODIMENT OF COURAGE,

PURITY, MERCY, LOVE AND PATIENCE. 

And fix them in bedroom, dining hall, front-room and Verandahs. Keep such slips in your pocket and diary also. This is an easy way for developing virtuous divine qualities.

Here are some formulae for effecting ungruding and total self-surrender. Repeat them mentally several times daily with Bhava: "O Lord, I am Thine, All is Thine, Thy Will be done. Thou art everything. Thou doest everything." This practice will re-move egoism and mineness and the idea of agency also.

ANTARANGA SADHANA

Nishkamya Karma Yoga or the performance of disinterested works is Bahiranga Sadhana, which leads you to meditation on Aham Brahma Asmi. Karma is more external than the four means of salvation, Sadhana Chatushtaya. The four means are more external than Sravana. Sravana is more external than Manana or reflection of what is heard through a teacher or books. Manana is more external than Nididhyasana. Antaranga Sadhana is Nididhyasana or deep meditation on Aham Brahmasmi and its meaning. In Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali Maharshi also you have the Bahiranga and Antaranga Sadhana. Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara are the Bahiranga Sadhana; while Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are Antaranga Sadhana.

ETHICAL SADHANA

Atman or Self is one. There is one common consciousness in all beings. All Jivas are reflections of the one Supreme Soul or Paramatma. Just as one sun is reflected in all pots of water, so also the one Supreme Being is reflected in all human beings. One cannot become many. One appears as many. One is real. Many are illusory. Separateness is illusory. Separateness is temporary. Unity is real. Unity is Eternal. One life vibrates in all beings. Life is common in animals, birds and human beings. Existence is common. This is the emphatic declaration of the Upanishads. This primary truth of Religion is the foundation of ethics or Sadachara. If you hurt another man, you hurt yourself. If you help another man, you help yourself. On account of ignorance one man hurts another man. He thinks that other beings are separate from himself. So he exploits others. So he is selfish, greedy, proud and egoistic. If you are really aware that one Self pervades, permeates all beings, that all beings are threaded on the Supreme Self, as rows of pearls on a string, how can you hurt another man, how can you exploit another man?

Who of us are really anxious to know the truth about God or Divine life? We are more ready to ask ourselves: "How much money you have got in the Imperial Bank? Who said that against me? Do you know who I am? How are your wife and children doing?" and questions of this sort than questions like: Who am I? What is this Samsara? What is bondage? What is freedom? Whence have I come? Whither shall I go? Who is Isvara? What are the attributes of God? What is our relationship to God? How to attain Moksha? What is the Svarupa of Moksha?"

The beginning of ethics is to reflect upon ourselves, our surroundings and our actions. Before we act we must stop to think. When a man earnestly attends to what he recognises as his duties, he will progress and in consequence thereof his comfort and prosperity will increase. His pleasures will be more refined; his happiness, his enjoyments, and recreations will be better and nobler. Happiness is like a shadow; if pursued it will flee from us; but if a man does not trouble himself about it and strictly attends to his duties, pleasures of the best and noblest kind will crop out everywhere in his path. If he does not anxiously pursue it, happiness will follow him.

The increase or rather refinement of happiness, however, cannot be considered as the ultimate aim of ethics for pain and affliction increase at the same rate because man's irritability, his susceptibility to pain, grows with the growth of his intellectuality. The essence of all existence is evolution or a constant realisation of new ideals. Therefore, the elevation of all human emotions, whether they are painful or happy, the elevation of man's whole existence of his actions and aspirations, is the constant aim of ethics.

The Socratic formula: "Virtue is knowledge is found to be an adequate explanation of the moral life of man. Knowledge of what is right is not coincident with doing it, for man while knowing the right course is found deliberately choosing the wrong one. Desire tends to run counter to the dictates of reason; and the will perplexed by the difficulty of reconciling two such opposite demands, tends to choose the easier course and follow the inclination rather than endure the pain of refusing desire in obedience to the voice of reason. Hence mere intellectual instruction is not sufficient to ensure right doing. There arises the further need for chastisement or the straightening of crooked will, in order to ensure its cooperation with reason in assenting to what it affirms to be right, and its refusal to give preference to desire or irrational element in man's nature when such desire runs counter to the rational principle.

The pure reason urges a man to do what is best. The Asuric nature of a man fights and struggles against the man The impulses of man who has not undergone the ethical discipline run counter to his reason. All advice, all rebuke and exhortation, all admonition testify that the irrational part is amenable to reason.

The basis of good manner is self-reliance. For such reasons have the great founders and eminent teachers of all religions repeatedly proclaimed the need for recognising the God-head within and for self-reliance in the last resort rather than any texts and persons and customs. Self-reliance is the basis of behaviour.

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 of his soul. The 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 will control his actions. He is no longer at the mercy of the moment. He ceases to be a slave of his impulses and Indriyas. Such mastery is not the result of one day's effort. One can acquire the power by protracted practice and daily self-discipline. You must learn to refuse the demands of impulses. A self-controlled man will have to resist the wrong action to which a worldly man is most strongly impelled.

MOUNA SADHANA

A DIDACTIC EXPLANATION OF MOUNA SADHANA

Mouna is the vow of silence. It is absolutely necessary for a spiritual life. Much energy is wasted by idle gossiping and tall talk. All energies must be conserved and transmuted into Ojas Sakti. This will help you in meditation.

If circumstances prevent you to observe Mouna, strictly avoid long talk, big talk, tall talk, all unnecessary talks, all sorts of vain debates and discussions, etc., and withdraw yours! from society as much as possible. If this energy is conserve by Mouna, it will be transmuted into Ojas Sakti, which will be of immense use in your Sadhana. Speech is Tejomaya according to Chhandogya Upanishad. The gross portion of fire goes to constitute bone, the middle portion to form marrow, and the subtle portion to form speech. So speech is a very powerful energy. Remember this. Remember this always. 

Observe Mouna for one year or six months. If you cannot do for six months continuously, observe the vow of silence at least for a day in a week, just as Mahatma Gandhiji did. You must draw the inspiration from Mahatmas.

When the Indriyas are silent, it is termed Indriya Mouna or Karana Mouna. When you keep the body steady, immovable, it is termed Kashtha Mouna. In Sushupti (deep slumber) there is Sushupti Mouna. The real Mouna comes only when there is absence of duality and separation, when all mental modifications cease. This is Maha Mouna. It is Para Brahman.

IMPORTANCE OF MOUNA SADHANA

Five things are indispensably requisite if you want to practise rigorous meditation and attain Samadhi or Self-realisation quickly. They are: Mouna, light diet or a diet of milk and fruits, solitude with charming scenery, personal contact with a teacher and a cool place.

Vak-Indriya is a strong weapon of Maya to delude the Jivas and to distract their minds. Quarrels, disputes, etc., occur through the play or mischief of this turbulent Indriya. If you control this Indriya you have already controlled half the mind.

The Vak-Indriya is very mischievous and troublesome and turbulent and impetuous. It must be steadily and gradually controlled. When you begin to check it, it will try to rebound upon you. You must be bold and courageous.

Do not allow anything to come out from the mind through the Vak-Indriya (organ of speech). Observe Mouna. This will help you. Now you have shut out a big source of disturbance, You will rest now in Peace. Meditate on God or Brahman in right earnest.

The subjugation of the Vak-Indriya or the control of speech is Karana Mouna. The complete cessation of one's physical actions is Kashtha Mouna. In Vak Mouna and Kashtha Mouna the mental modifications are not destroyed. In Kashtha Mouna you should not nod your head. You should not show any signs. You should not write anything on a piece of paper or slate to express your ideas.

Vak Mouna is only a help to the attainment of Maha Mouna wherein the mind rests in Sat-Chit-Ananda Brahman and all thoughts are completely annihilated. Mouna conserves energy, develops will-power and controls the impulses of speech. It is a help to the practice of truthfulness and to control anger.

The Brahmic Bliss without beginning and without the differentiated pains whether enjoyed by one with direct cognition of such a bliss or not is Sushupti Mouna in Jivanmuktas. The expurgation from the mind of all doubts, after realising firmly the illusory character of this world with all its Gunas is Sushupti Mouna. The settled conclusion that the universe is no other than the All-full Brahman is Sushupti Mouna. Equality of vision over all and quiescence of mind with the idea that which are Sat, Asat or Sat-asat are no other than the eternal Chidakasa is Sushupti Mouna.

Even Brahmavadins should practise Vak Mouna in the beginning of their Sadhana. They should not be puffed up with false egoism and pride: "I am a Vedantin. There is no necessity for Vak Mouna." This Vak Mouna is a great help in the beginning even for a Vedantin. You can begin with Vak Mouna if your environments will not permit for Kashtha Mouna.

He who observes Mouna should keep himself perfectly occupied in Japa, meditation, Mantra-writing. He should not mix with others. He should not come out of his room frequently The energy of speech should be sublimated into spiritual energy and utilised for meditation. Then only you will enjoy serenity, calmness, peace, inner spiritual strength.

You should feel that you will derive much benefit from observing Mouna and experience much peace, inner strength and joy. Then only you will take pleasure in observing Mouna. Then only you will not attempt to speak a word even. Forced Mouna simply to imitate or from compulsion will make you restless and gloomy.

During Mouna you can nicely introspect and practise self-analysis. You can watch the thoughts. You can understand the ways of the mind and its workings. You can notice how mind runs from one object to another in a moment's time. will derive immense benefit from the practice of Mouna. Real Mouna is silence of the mind. Physical Mouna will eventually lead to the silence of the mind.

Mouna develops will-force, checks the force of Sankalpa, curbs the impulse of speech and gives peace of mind. You will get the power of endurance. You will not tell lies. You will have control over speech.

Mouna develops will-power. Mouna checks the impulses of speech. It is a great help for the observance of truth and control of anger. Emotions are controlled and irritability is checked. A Mouni will use measured words and his speech is very impressive. In ordinary persons there is not a bit of control over speech. They speak at random whatever they like. They cannot put a check on the current of speech. A Mouni first thinks whether the word will wound the feelings of others or not, what sort of impression it will produce on the minds of others, etc. He is very careful in his speech. He is very thoughtful and considerate. He weighs every word before it comes out of his mouth. A Mouni can stay even for a long time in seclusion. A worldly talkative man cannot stay even for some hours in solitude. He always wants company. The advantages of Mouna are indescribable. Practise, feel the peace and enjoy the silence yourself.

The study of Sanskrit makes some persons very talkative and forces them to enter into unnecessary discussions with others to show their scholarly erudition. Pedantry or vain display of learning is a special attribute of some Sanskrit scholars. How much energy is wasted in such loose talks; how much benefit can one derive if he conserves the energy and utilises it in Divine contemplation! He can move heaven and earth.

During times of ailment, observance of Mouna will give great peace of mind. It will check mental irritability also. Energy is wasted in idle talking. Mouna conserves the energy and you can turn out more mental and physical work. You can do a lot of meditation. It exercises a marvellous, soothing influence on the brain and nerves. By practice of Mouna the energy of speech is slowly transmuted or sublimated into Ojas Sakti or spiritual energy.

Observe Mouna for your own spiritual growth and not for making the public understand that you are a great Yogi. Always scrutinise your motives in doing any action.

Observe Mouna while taking food. Live alone. Do not mix with others. Do not make gestures and signs and hu-hu-hu sounds. This hu-hu-hu is tantamount to talking. This is worse than talking. There is more wastage of energy in uttering hu-hu-hu.

Busy people should observe Mouna at least for one hour daily. On Sundays observe Mouna for six hours or the whole day People also will not disturb you at that time when they come to know that you are regularly observing Mouna. Your family members also will not worry you. Utilise this time of Mouna in Japa and meditation. You must observe Mouna at any convenient time in the morning or evening besides the hours of silence that you have during your morning meditation. If you regard the time you spend in morning meditation as the hours of silence, then you can take sleep also as Mouna.

If the place is not suitable to observe Mouna, go to any other solitary place where your friends will not trouble you.

It is better you observe Mouna for some time in seclusion and try to evolve. After perfection you can work wonders in a short space of time.

If you want to do Anushthana for forty days, keep complete Mouna during these forty days. You will have wonderful peace and spiritual progress. Do the Anushthana on the banks of the Ganga at Rishikesh, Haridwar, Prayag. Ladies of the house are more talkative. They always create some kind of trouble in the house. Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law cannot keep quiet even for a second. Some kind of friction will take place in the house. Whenever you want to observe Anushthana go to a solitary place.

Long Mouna and Kashtha Mouna for a long period is not necessary. Mouna for a protracted period in an unregenerate and undeveloped aspirant does harm. Keep Mouna for a month and then break and then continue. Do not keep Mouna for a long period. Mouna for a few days or a month will be of immense help to the aspirants in the control of the organ of speech and the mind. Immense energy can be conserved. You will feel also immense peace.

You can observe Mouna for a long time, but if you find it difficult and if you do not utilise the time in Japa and meditation, break it at once. Try to become a man of measured words. This is itself Mouna. To talk profusely for six months and to observe Mouna for the rest of six months is of no avail.

The practice of Mouna should be gradual or you will not be able to observe all of a sudden Mouna for 10 or 15 days. Those who are in the habit of observing Mouna daily for 2 or 3 hours or 24 hours on holidays will be able to observe Mouna for a week or fifteen days. You should clearly understand the value of Mouna. Observe Mouna for two hours daily. Gradually increase it to 6 hours, 24 hours, 2 days in a month, and then one week and so on.

When the energy of speech is not controlled and utilised properly in spiritual pursuit viz., Japa and meditation, when it is not perfectly sublimated it runs riot and manifests or bursts out in the form of hu-hu-hu sounds, showing various sorts of gestures and producing various sounds. There is more loss of energy by exhibition of these gestures, etc., than by ordinary talking.

During the period of Mouna you should not show any gestures and various other sorts of movements of the hands and should not utter hu-hu-hu. This is worse than talking. If anything is absolutely necessary, you can write on a piece of paper. You should try to avoid such slips also.

Take milk without sugar during the period of Mouna, and dhal and vegetable without salt. This is discipline of the tongue. Milk does not need the addition of sugar. There is milk-sugar already in the milk. It is only through the force of habit man adds sugar to satisfy his palate. Natural milk without sugar has got its own sweet intrinsic taste. If the tongue is controlled, all other senses can easily be controlled. The tongue is the most mischievous sense. Control of the tongue is really control of the mind. Every Vasana that is conquered will develop the will-power and give you strength to conquer another Vasana easily.

During the period of Mouna in seclusion try to lead the life of a Sannyasi (mental Sannyasa). If you say: "I am only a householder. I have not yet become a Sannyasi," these thoughts will give a long lease of life to the mind to have its own ways. There is no half-measure in the spiritual path. No leniency for the mind at least for a few days. All weaknesses will dle during the period of rigorous Tapas. You will grow rapidly. Mind cannot be checked without vigorous discipline.

During the period of Mouna in a solitary place you should not read newspapers. Reading newspapers will bring out revival of worldly Samskaras, will disturb your peace of mind. Though you live in the Himalayas you will be in the plain throughout the day. You will not be much benefited by observing Mouna. Your meditation will be seriously disturbed.

During Mouna you should not write too many slips or write on a slate or write on the fore-arm with your finger to express your thoughts to your neighbours. You should not laugh. These are all breaks in Mouna. These are all worse than talking.

Reduce your wants. You should previously arrange with those who attend on you for your menu or regimen of diet and the time at which the food must be served. You should not frequently make changes in diet and always think of the different articles of diet. You should yourself attend to the cleansing of your room and other daily ordinary duties such as drawing water, cleansing clothes and lanterns, etc. Do not bother much about your shaving, polishing the shoes and washing Dhoties by washerman. All these will interfere with the continuity of Divine thoughts. Do not think much of body, and beard. Think more of God or Atman.

The mind will be ever waiting to hurl the aspirant down into the deep abyss of ignorance whenever it gets an opportunity. Therefore be very careful and vigilant.

May you attain Peace through silence. May you enter into the stupendous ocean of silence through Mouna. May you become a Maha Mouni or a Jivanmukta through Mouna. May the Lord grant you strength to observe the vow of silence without any break! Om Santi!

BRAHMACHARYA SADHANA

Brahmacharya is purity in thought, word and deed. Brahmacharya includes the control of not only the sex or reproductive Indriya but also of other Indriyas. This is the definition of Brahmacharya in a broad sense. Brahmacharya is of two kinds, viz., physical and mental. Physical is control of body and the mental is control of evil thoughts. In mental Brahmacharya even a lustful thought will never enter the mind. Freedom from all sexual thoughts in waking as well as dreaming states is strict Brahmacharya.

The vital energy, the Virya, which supports your life, is a great treasure for you. It is the quintessence of blood. Brahmacharya is truly a precious jewel. It is the most effective medicine or nectar which destroys diseases, decay and death. This Atman or immortal soul is verily the nature of Brahmacharya. Atman resides in Brahmacharya.

Virya is the essence of life, thought, intelligence and consciousness. When the Virya is once lost, it can never be recouped in your lifetime by your taking any amount of Badam, nervine tonics, milk, cream, Makaradhwaja, etc. This fluid when preserved carefully, serves as a master-key for you to open the doors of elysian bliss or the realms of God or Atman and for all sorts of higher achievements in life. By Brahmacharya alone, the Rishis of yore have conquered death and attained the immortal Abode of Joy and Bliss.

You cannot have health and spiritual life without Brahmacharya. Brahmacharya is the keynote of success in every walk of life. Brahmacharya serves as a gateway for bliss beyond. It opens the door of Moksha (Emancipation). Siddhis and Riddhis (psychic powers) roll under the feet of a Brahmachari. Who can describe the majesty and glory of a Brahmachari? Brahmacharya or spotless chastity is the best of penances. There is nothing in this world that cannot be attained by a celibate. He can move the whole world.

Sensuality destroys life, lustre, strength, vitality, memory, wealth, fame, holiness and devotion to the Supreme. Death is hastened by letting out the vital energy from the body. Life is saved and prolonged by preserving it. Those who have lost much of their Virya or the vital energy become easily irritable and lazy. They easily succumb to any disease. They meet with premature death.

Persons are physically, mentally and morally debilitated because of the want of Brahmacharya or because of wasting the seminal power. Such persons become easily irritable for little things. They fall a victim to various diseases and premature death.

A well-disciplined life, study of scriptures, Satsanga, Japa, Dhyana, Sattvic diet, daily self-analysis, practice of Sadachara, and the three kinds of Tapas and such other spiritual discipline, pave a long way in the attainment of this end.

The practice of celibacy is not attended with any danger or any disease or any undesirable result, such as the various sorts of complexes' which are wrongly attributed by the western psychologists to it. They have no practical knowledge of the subject on hand. They have a wrong, ill-founded imagination that the ungratified sex-energy assumes the various form of complexes in disguise, such as touch-phobia, etc. It is a morbid state of mind due to excessive anger, hatred, jealousy, worry and depression brought about by various causes.

Do not look at obscene pictures. Do not speak vulgar words. Do not read novels that excite passion and produce ignoble, undesirable sentiments in the heart. Shun bad company. Do not go to cinemas. Give up onions, garlic, hot cur. ries, chutnies and spiced dishes. Take wholesome bland Sattvic food. Transmute the sex-energy into spiritual energy (Ojas) by sublime thoughts, practice of Japa, Kirtan (singing God's Name), Vichara or Atmic enquiry, Pranayama (restraint of breath), Sirshasana, Sarvangasana, study of the Gita, the Upanishads and other religious books. Have Satsangaassociation with Mahatmas, Yogis and Sadhus. You will be established in Brahmacharya. There will be sublimation of sex-energy.

Regarding Brahmacharya Sage Patanjali says: "By the establishment of celibacy, vigour is gained."

If semen is preserved by the observance of Brahmacharya, and transmuted into Ojas Sakti, the spiritual and intellectual power will increase. Semen is intimately connected with brain and intellect, the former being the stuff of human vitality. It has relation to intelligence, morality and spirituality. There can be no success in Yoga without conserving this essential force in one's system. The vigour that the Yogi attains here is not merely physical, but mental, intellectual, moral, occult and spiritual. By this one can impart knowledge to others without their knowledge.

Brahmacharya is the fundamental qualification of an aspirant. It is the most important virtue for Self-realisation. Brahmacharya is purity in thought, word and deed. The very idea of lust should not enter the mind. No Yoga or spiritual progress is possible without continence.

 

 

 

SADHANA OF THE ANTARMUKHA VRITTI

Remember this triplet-Search, Understand and Realise. Searching is "Sravana" or hearing of Srutis. It is search for the truth. Understanding is "Manana" or reflection of what you have heard from the Holy Masters and sacred lore. Realising is direct, spiritual Anubhuti of Atman (Sakshatkara) by Nididhyasana' or profound and continued meditation on one idea, "I am Brahman." There are three means of Self-realisation according to the Vedantic method.

This is another kind of triplet for developing Vairagya (dispassion) and getting rid of Moha (attraction, delusion) for objects. This is the instruction given by Sri Adi Sankara. As soon as you are attracted towards a woman or object, immediately remember this triplet. Analyse the various parts of a woman or an object. Realise the true nature of these objects. Then abandon them (Tyaga). You will derive immense benefit by constant repetition of the above formula. This will induce Vairagya. The mind will not run towards objects. It will shrink from worldly objects. Attraction for objects will gradually vanish. I have derived considerable benefit by this method. The mind having lost all attraction for objects, will move towards the heart, its "Yatha-Sthana" (original home), towards God. This is termed "Antarmukha Vritti."

SADHANA BY CIRCUMSPECTION

The man who can see his own faults as he sees those of others, will soon become a great soul. Have ceaseless devotion to truth and be ready to sacrifice your all for it.

Do not brood over your past mistakes and failures as this will only fill your mind with grief, regret and depression. Do not repeat them in future. Be cautious. Just think of the causes which led to your failures and try to remove them in the future. Be vigilant and circumspect. Strengthen yourself with new vigour and virtues. Develop slowly your will-power.

SADHANA IN SELF-ANALYSIS

Daily self-analysis or self-examination is indispensably requisite. Then alone can you remove your defects and grow rapidly in spirituality. A gardener watches the young plants very carefully. He removes the weeds daily. He puts a strong fence around them. He waters them at the proper time. Then alone they grow beautifully and yield fruits quickly. Even so, you should find out your defects through daily introspection and self-analysis, and then eradicate them through suitable methods. If one method fails, you must adopt a combined method. If prayer fails, you should take recourse to Satsanga or association with the wise, Pranayama, meditation, dietetic regulation, enquiry, etc. You should destroy not only big waves of pride, hypocrisy, lust, anger, etc., that manifest on the surface of the conscious mind, but also their subtle impression which lurk in the corners of the subconscious mind. Then only you are perfectly safe.

These subtle impressions are very dangerous. They lurk like thieves and attack you when you are napping, when you are not vigilant, when your dispassion wanes, when you slacken a bit your daily spiritual practice, and when you are provoked. If these defects do not manifest even under extreme provocation on several occasions, even when you are not practising daily introspection and self-analysis, you can rest as. sured the subtle impressions also are obliterated. Now you are safe. The practice of introspection and self-analysis demands patience, perseverance, leech-like tenacity, application, iron will, iron determination, subtle intellect, courage, etc. But you will gain a fruit of incalculable value. That precious fruit is Immortality. Supreme Peace and Infinite Bliss. You will have to pay a heavy price for this. Therefore you should not murmur when you do daily practice. You should apply your full mind, heart, intellect and soul to spiritual practice. Then only rapid success is possible.

Keep a daily spiritual diary and practise self-analysis (self-examination) at night. Note down how many good actions you have done, what mistakes you have committed during the course of the day. In the morning resolve: "I will not yield to anger today. I will practise celibacy today. I will speak truth today."

SADHANA OF PRATIPAKSHA BHAVANA

If evil thoughts enter your mind, don't use your will-force in driving them out. You will lose your energy only. You will tax your will only. You will fatigue yourself. The greater the efforts you make, the more the evil thoughts will return with redoubled force. They will return more quickly also. The thoughts will be come more powerful. Be indifferent. Keep quiet. They will pass off soon. Or substitute good counter-thoughts (Pratipaksh bhavana method). Or think of the picture of God and the Mantra again and again forcibly. Or pray.

SADHANA OF SPIRITUAL VISION

There are four ways of transforming evil into good. He who practises this useful Sadhana will never have an evil Drishti or the eye of evil vision, and will gain the eye of spiritual vision. He will have a changed angle of vision. He will never complain of bad environments. You must put these into practice daily.

No man is absolutely bad. Everyone has some good trait or other. Try to see the good in everyone. Develop the good-finding nature. This will act as a powerful antidote against the fault-finding habit.

Even a rogue of the first order is a potential saint. He is a saint of the future. Remember this point well. He is not an eternal rogue. Place him in the company of saints. In a moment his pilfering nature will be changed. Hate roguery but not the rogue.

Remember that Lord Narayana Himself is acting the part of a rogue, thief and prostitute in the world's drama. This is His Lila (sporting). The whole vision becomes changed at once. Devotion arises in your heart immediately when you see a rogue.

Have Narayana-Drishti everywhere. See Narayana everywhere. Feel His presence. Whatever you see, feel, touch and taste is nothing but God.

Change the mental attitude. Change the angle of vision. Then only one will have heaven on earth. What is the earthly use of one's reading of the Upanishads and the Vedanta Sutras when one has an evil eye and foul tongue.

THE DISCIPLINES OF UNIVERSAL LOVE

The only Sara Vastu in this world is Prema or Love. It is eternal, infinite and undecaying. Physical love is passion or Moha or infatuation. Universal love is divine love. Cosmic love, Visva Prema, universal love are synonymous terms. God is love. Love is God. Selfishness, greed, egoism, vanity, pride and hatred, contract the heart and stand in the way of developing universal love.

Develop universal love gradually through selfless service, Satsanga (association with Mahatmas), prayer, recitation of Guru Mantra, etc. When the heart is contracted through selfishness, man loves his wife, children, a few friends and relatives only, in the beginning. As he evolves, he loves the people of his own district, then the people of his own province Later on, he develops love for men of his own country, eventually, he begins to love other people of different countries. In the long run, he begins to love all. He develops universal love the barriers are broken now. The heart expands infinitely.

It is very easy to talk of universal love. But when you want to put it into actual practice, it becomes extremely difficult Petty-mindedness of all sorts comes in the way. Old, wrong Samskaras (impressions) which you have created by you wrong mode of life in the past, act as stumbling blocks. Through iron determination, strong will-power, patience perseverance and Vichara (right enquiry), you can conquer all obstacles quite easily. The grace of the Lord will descend on you if you are sincere, my dear friends!

Universal love terminates in Advaitic unity or oneness or Upanishadic consciousness of seers and sages. Pure love is a great leveller. It brings equality. Hafiz, Kabir, Mira, Gouranga, Tukaram, Ramdas, all have tasted this universal love. What others have achieved, you can also attain.

Feel that the whole world is your body, your own home. Melt or destroy all barriers that separate man from man. Idea of superiority is ignorance or delusion. Develop Visvaprema, all-embracing love. Unite with all. Separation is death. Unity is eternal life. Feel that the whole world is Visvabrindavan. Feel that this body is a moving temple of God. Wherever you are, whether at home, office, railway station or market, feel that you are in the temple. Consecrate every act as an offering unto the Lord. Transmute every work into Yoga by offering its fruits to God. Have Akarta, Sakshi Bhava, if you are a student of Vedanta. Have Nimitta Bhava if you are a student of Bhakti Marga. Feel that all beings are images of God. Isa Vasyam Idam Sarvam—this world is indwelt by the Lord. Feel that one power or God works through all hands, sees through all eyes, hears through all ears. You will become a changed being. You will enjoy the highest peace and bliss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR

SADHANA IN THE PRASTHANATRAYI

THE SADHANA OF THE VEDA

According to the Purusha-Sukta of the Veda, the Supreme Purusha is both transcendent and immanent. He is the thousand-headed, the thousand-eyed and the thousand-legged. He envelops all creation inside and outside and rises above it to Infinity. The Purusha is all this. Whatever was, whatever is and whatever shall be, is the Lord of the Immortal. All beings are sustained in Him. He can be designated as neither existence nor non-existence. He is neither in space nor outside it. He is the magnificent indescribable, which is the root of all that is conceivable. Even the gods do not know what He is and where He is. Lo! May we say perhaps that He Himself knows not? Such is His greatness. He has manifested Himself in this universal sacrificial act of creation. He provides, in His own sensible form as the universe, the field for all types of individual sacrifice. The universe is a Yajna and all actions in this universe is a Yajna. The Supreme Being is Yajna, the Transcendent Sacrifice, to be emulated in all individual forms of sacrifice. The essence of sacrifice is to exist for others and to offer one's own existence into the existence of others. This is the key to Immortality. Temporal sacrifices are relative symbol of this sacrifice in the Absolute.

All that is seen is the form of the Purusha. The visible and the conceivable, the high and the low, the good and the bad, the strong and the feeble, the beautiful and the ugly, the useful and the useless, all this is His manifested form. To adore Him, to worship Him one need not move from one's seat. Whatever is here, just in front of my eyes, is He, and He can be worshipped through it, in it, by it and for it. In this Absolute worship and Absolute sacrifice, He is the articles of worship, He is the worshipper, He is the worship and He is the worshipped. He is the mode of worship, He is the sacrifice and its constituents. His existence is His manifestation and His manifestation is His existence. To be is to act and to act is to be. Immortality and death are His shadows. Life and non-life are His modes. This the grand vision of the Supreme Being, which shall transform human living into Divine Life.

SADHANA IN THE BRAHMA SUTRAS

The third chapter of the Brahma Sutras, entitled Sadhanadhyaya, deals with practical methods for the attainment of the realisation of Brahman. This chapter determines those methods or Sadhanas which are the means for attaining the highest Reality or the Infinite. In the first and the second Padas of this chapter are taught two things, viz., a strong yearning or burning desire (Mumukshutva) to realise Brahman or the final emancipation and an equally strong disgust (Vairagya) towards all objects other than Brahman; because these are the two fundamental things among all Sadhanas.

In order to induce Vairagya or dispassion the Sutras show in the first Pada the imperfections of all mundane existences and this they base on the Panchagni Vidya or the doctrine of five fires of the Chhandogya Upanishad in which is taught how the soul passes after death from one condition to another.

The first Pada teaches the great doctrine of reincarnation, the departure of the soul from the physical body, its journey to the Chandraloka on the third plane and its coming back to the earth. This is done in order to create Vairagya or indifference to sensual enjoyments herein and hereafter. In the second Pada are described all the glorious attributes of the Supreme Brahman, His Omniscience, Omnipotence, Loveliness, etc., in order to attract the soul towards Him, so that He may be the sole object of quest.

In the third Pada, the author of the Brahma Sutras sets himself the task of ascertaining the end and aim of the Vidyas or Upasanas or Meditations as prescribed in the Srutis.

The Srutis prescribe various kinds of Vidyas or Meditations to enable the aspirant to attain the knowledge of identity. It is extremely difficult or rather impossible for the ordinary man to have a comprehensive understanding of the Infinite, which is transcendent, extremely subtle and beyond the reach of the senses and gross undisciplined intellect. Therefore the Srutis or the sacred scriptures prescribe easy methods Saguna-Meditation for approaching the Infinite or the Absolute. They present various symbols of Brahman (Pratikas) such a Vaisvanara or Virat, Sun, Akasa, Food, Prana and mind for the neophyte or the beginner to contemplate on. These symbols are props for the mind to lean upon in the beginning. The gross mind is rendered subtle, sharp and one-pointed by such Saguna forms of meditation.

These different methods of approaching the Impersonal Absolute are known as Vidyas or Upasanas. This section discusses these various Vidyas by means of which the Supreme Soul is attained by the Jiva. The aim of all these Vidyas is the realisation of Brahman. Brahman alone is the living Reality. Brahman alone is Truth. Brahman is Sat or Existence Absolute. One meditation or Upasana or Vidya is as good as another for attaining emancipation.

Sruti teaches us to meditate on Brahman either directly or through the medium of some Pratikas or symbols, such as the sun, Akasa, food, mind, Prana, the Purusha residing in the eye, the empty space (Daharakasa) within the heart, OM or Pranava and the like.

You will have to search Brahman and adore Him in and through the symbols, but these symbols must not usurp His place. You must concentrate and fix the mind on these symbols and think of His attributes such as Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence, Sat-Chit-Ananda, Purity, Perfection, Freedom, etc.

The Vidyas appear to be different only from the viewpoint of difference in the symbols but the goal everywhere is the same, Remember this point always. Bear this in mind constantly.

Some attributes of Brahman are found common in some of Vidyas. You should not consider yourself as a distinct entity from Brahman. This is a fundamental or vital point.

In all the Vidyas three things are common. The final goal is the attainment of eternal bliss and immortality, through the realisation of Brahman with or without the aid of the symbols or Pratikas. The attributes which are found in common in all the Vidyas such as Blissfulness, Purity, Perfection, Knowledge, Immortality, Absolute Freedom or Kaivalya, Absolute Independence, Eternal Satisfaction and the like must be invariably associated with the conception of Brahman. The meditator must think himself identical with Brahman, must worship Brahman as his Immortal Atman.

The Brahma Sutras deal with the enquiry into the nature of Brahman. Why should you enquire about Brahman? Because the fruits obtained by sacrifices, etc., are ephemeral, whereas the knowledge of Brahman is eternal. Life in this earth and the life in heaven which you will attain on account of your virtuous deeds are transient. If you know Brahman you will enjoy everlasting bliss and immortality. That is the reason why you must start the quest of Brahman or the Truth or the Ultimate Reality.

A time comes when a person becomes indifferent to Karmas. He knows that Karmas cannot give him everlasting unalloyed happiness which is not mixed with pain, sorrow and fear. Therefore naturally a desire arises in him for the knowledge of Brahman or the all-pervading, eternal Soul which is above Karmas, which is the source of eternal happiness.

You must know and realise the eternal Brahman. Then only you will attain eternal bliss, freedom, perfection and immortality. You must have certain preliminary qualifications for your search. The enquirer should be endowed with certain spiritual requisites which are known as the Sadhana Chatushtaya or the four means of attaining salvation. They are (1) Nitya-anitya-vastu-viveka (discrimination between the Eternal and the non-eternal); (2) Ihamutrartha-phalabhoga-viraga (indifference to the enjoyment in this life or in heaven, and of the fruits of one's actions): (3) Shatsampat (sixfold virtues viz., Sama, control of mind; Dama, control of the external senses; Uparati, cessation from worldly enjoyments or not thinking of objects of senses or discontinuance of religious ceremonies; Titiksha, endurance of pleasure and pain, heat and cold; Sraddha, faith in the words of the preceptor and of the Upanishads; and Samadhana, deep concentration); and (4) Mumukshutva (desire for liberation).

In the ascertainment of Truth or the Ultimate Reality or the first cause the scriptures alone are authoritative because they are infallible, they contain the direct intuitive experiences of Rishis or Seers who attained Brahma Sakshatkara or Self-realisation. You cannot depend on intellect or reason because a man of strong intellect can overthrow a man of weak intellect. Brahman is not an object of the senses. It is beyond the reach of the senses and the intellect.

You can attain knowledge of Brahman through reflection on its attributes. Otherwise it is not possible to have such knowledge. Inference or reasoning is an instrument of right knowledge if it does not contradict the Vedanta texts. You will attain Self-realisation through meditation on Brahman or the truths declared by Vedantic texts and not through mere reasoning. Pure reason (Suddha Buddhi) is a help in Self-realisation. It investigates and reveals the truths of the Scriptures. It has a place also in the means of Self-realisation. But perverted intelject (Viparita Buddhi) is a great hindrance. It keeps one far away from the Truth.

That which is the cause of the world is Brahman. This is Tatastha Lakshana. The origin, sustenance and dissolution of the world are characteristics of the world. They do not pertain to the eternal unchanging Brahman. Yet these indicate Brahman which is the cause for this universe. Srutis give another definition of Brahman. This is a description of its true, essential nature 'Satyam Jnanam Anantam Brahma'-Truth, Knowledge, Infinity is Brahman. This is Svarupa Lakshana.

Knowledge of Brahman cannot come through mere reasoning. You can attain this knowledge through intuition or revelation. Intuition is the final result of the enquiry into Brahman. The object of enquiry is an existing substance. You will have to know this only through intuition or direct cognition (Aparoksha-anubhuti or Anubhava-experience). Sravana (hearing of the Srutis), Manana (reflection on what you have heard) and Nididhyasana (profound meditation) on Brahman lead to intuition. The Brahmakara Vritti is generated from the Sattvic Antahkarana which is equipped with the four means of salvation, and the instructions of the Guru, who has understood the real significance of 'Tat Tvam Asi Mahavakya. This Brahmakara Vritti destroys the Mula Avidya or primitive ignorance-the root-cause of all bondage, births and deaths. When the ignorance or veil is removed, Brahman which is self-effulgence reveals itself or shines by itself in Its pristine glory and ineffable splendour.

When one realises Brahman, he is totally freed from all sorts of miseries and pains. He attains the goal of life or summum bonum. The conception of duality as agent, action and the like is destroyed. Self-realisation is not a fruit of action. It is not a result of your willing or doing. It is the result of realising one's identity with Brahman. Scripture aims only at removing the veil of ignorance or Avidya. Then the self-effulgent Brahman shines by Itself in Its pristine glory. The state of Moksha or the final emancipation is eternal. It is not transient like the fruits attained through action. Action depends upon the will and is independent of the object. Knowledge depends on the nature of the object and is independent of the will of the knower.

A proper understanding of the Vedantic texts leads to the final emancipation of man. It is not necessary for him to exert or do any superhuman feat or action. It is only mere understand. ing that it is a rope and not a snake that helps to destroy one's fear. Scripture does not speak only of ethical and ceremonial duties. It reveals the soul and helps one to attain Self-realisation. The sage who has learnt by the help of Vedantic texts to remove the erroneous identification with the body will not experience pain. It is only the ignorant worldly-minded man who experiences pain on account of his identification with the body.

The Vedantic texts give a beautiful description of the nature of Brahman. They teach that Brahman is eternal, all-knowing, absolutely self-sufficient, ever pure, free, pure knowledge, absolute bliss, self-luminous and indivisible. One attains final emancipation as the fruit of meditation on Brahman.

A knowledge of the three states, viz., waking, dreaming and deep sleep is very necessary for the students of Vedanta. It will help them to understand the nature of the fourth state, viz., Turiya or the state of super-consciousness. For a student of Vedanta, the waking state is as much unreal as the dream state. The state of deep sleep intimates that the nature of the Supreme Soul is Bliss and that Brahman is one without a second and that the world is unreal. Vedantins make a study of the four states very carefully. They do not ignore dream and deep sleep state, whereas the scientists draw their conclusions from the experiences of the waking state only. Hence, their knowledge is limited, partial and incorrect.

He who meditates on Brahman as mind as is taught in the Taittiriya Upanishad Bhrigu Valli must collate all the attributes of the mind not only from his own particular Vedic Sakha, but from other Sakhas also where meditation on Brahman in the form of mind is taught. In meditating on Brahman as mind, he must not bring together attributes not belonging to mind such as those of food, though Brahman is taught to be meditated upon as food also. In fact only those attributes are to be supplied from other Sakhas which are taught about the particular object of meditation, and not any attribute in general.

SADHANA OF THE UPANISHADS

The Upanishads constitute the central basis of Hindu Religion and Philosophy. They are the Vedanta or the end of the Vedas, the culmination of Knowledge. Nothing can be a match to the wondrous suggestiveness of the Upanishads. They have satisfied the greatest thinkers of the world, and they have pacified the greatest spiritual men here. Nothing that went before or after has been able to surpass the Upanishads in the depth of Wisdom and the message of Satisfaction and Peace. Dadhyanch, Uddalaka, Sanatkumara, Sandilya and Yajnavalkya are some of the outstanding philosophers and sages of the Upanishads who have lit up the torch to the path of Perfection. The Upanishads mainly preach Knowledge through philosophising. They are the text-books for the seeker after the Self. They are styled by different names: Brahma Vidya, Adhyatma-Sastra, Vedanta, Jnana. One who practises the teachings of the Upanishads attains to the Supreme. He breaks the knot of the heart, clears all doubts and destroys all sins. He enters into the All. He is liberated from embodiment. He becomes Immortal. He becomes the Self of all. He is an Apta Kama. He is really blessed. He crosses over sorrow. He crosses over sin. He does not return to the mortal coil. He exists as the Absolute.

The Upanishads are a book of Spiritual Knowledge. The Supreme is pervading all that appears here. One should therefore really enjoy by renouncing the sense of worldliness. He has no reason to covet other's property.

Life is not a misery. One should live for a hundred years by performing action without attachment. Life is not a bondage when it is looked with the proper light. Such a man of proper knowledge looks on all beings as his own Self and his Self as all beings. To him everything is his own Self, and he is not affected by grief, delusion or sorrow of any kind.

The Supreme Reality is indescribable. It is beyond the reach of the mind and the senses. It is beyond even the intellect. It is the light of all else, nothing is a light to It. Speech cannot express It. Mind cannot think it. Intellect cannot understand It. Senses cannot perceive It. Such a wonderful being is the Truth. Brahma-Jnana is not a knowledge of something but becoming Absolute Knowledge Itself. It is the Infinite subject it speech can be permitted to express like that. It is an experience and not a perception. It is Absoluteness and is, therefore beyond the conception of duality and pairs of opposites. The greatest blessedness is to know That, and he is an unfortunate man who dies without the knowledge of It.

Mortal things are ephemeral and so are not worth pursuing. Even a whole life of many years is only very slight. It is nothing. There is no use of enjoying objects. Man is not satisfied with wealth. He craves to become Immortal even against his own conscience. Unfortunately he pursues after the pleasant as against the really good. The good is one thing and the pleasant another. The one liberates and the other binds. One should not catch the pleasant though it is tempting for a moment.

The Atman is not born, nor does It die. It has not come from anywhere and it has not become anything. Unborn, constant, eternal, primeval, this one is not slain when the body is slain. This Atman is hidden in the deep core of the heart of beings. It cannot be attained by any amount of reasoning, study or instruction. It comes only through the Supreme Grace. A man of bad conduct, who has not ceased from crookedness, cannot hope to attain the Atman.

The road to the Supreme is clothed with pricking thorns. It is sharp like the edge of a razor, hard to tread, a very difficult path! It can be trodden only with the help of knowledge obtained from men of wisdom. Knowing That, one is liberated from the terrible mouth of death.

The mind and the senses always run outwards. Only the man of self-discipline and perseverance can gaze inward and experience the State of Atman as it really is. The childish ones who have no knowledge of the Truth, run after external pleasures and they fall into the net of widespread Death. Only the wise, knowing the state of Immortality, seek not the Stable Brahman among things which are impermanent here.

One need not be anxious to possess the things of the world. Whatever is here, that is there, whatever is there, that is here. He obtains death after death who perceives diversity in the world. There are not many things here actually. The one Supreme Substance appears as many things, clothed in different names, forms and actions.

The Atman or the Brahman has no connection with the world of change. As the sun is not sullied by the faults of the es the Antaratman is not sullied by the defects of the world. As one fire has entered the world and becomes corresponding in form to every form and yet is outside all these.

The goodness, the light, the pleasure and the beauty of the world is not to be found there even in name. Even the splendour of the Sun and the grandeur of the creator is superseded by the Absolute. That state is experienced when the senses cease to work together with the mind and when the intellect does not move, and when there is mere consciousness. When all desires that are lodged in the heart are liberated, then the mortal becomes Immortal. Herein he attains Brahman.

The state of becoming the Absolute is not a loss of all that we love, but is the perfect fulfilment of all our aspirations. Our finitude is broken, imperfections destroyed and we are installed in the blessed State of Eternal Satisfaction. All our desires are fulfilled at one and the same time. We become the Source of infinite Joy and Bliss. We experience birthlessness and deathlessness. None is superior to us.

What is that by knowing which everything else becomes known? That is Brahman. That is to be known. Brahman is Truth, Knowledge, Infinity, Bliss. Brahman is Bhuma where one sees nothing else, hears nothing else and understands nothing else. It rests on nothing else. On It everything else rests. One who knows this rejoices in his own Self and rests contented in his own Self.

Sacrifices cannot bring salvation. They are mere temptations which bind one to birth and death. The deluded people think mere sacrifice and charity constitute eternal blessedness. They are mistaken. What is not the effect of action is not attained by any amount of action. Brahman which is not done cannot be attained by what is done. Having scrutinised the nature of the world, a wise man should arrive at indifference and dispassion. He must approach a preceptor and learn BrahmaVidya from him. Such a fortunate soul rends asunder the knot of ignorance.

There is no other duty for man except meditation on the Self. Dismissing all else, one should establish himself in the Self. There remains nothing to be done or attained, when the Self is experienced. For that Brahman, the Immortal, is before behind, to right and to left, stretched forth below and above Brahman is all this, the great, the widest extent. There is nothing but Brahman. All this is Brahman.

Truth alone triumphs, never untruth. Falsehood and lie phantom or unreality cannot succeed in its efforts. The real alone is an enduring being. That real is experienced through Meditation coupled with knowledge.

Whatever a man of purified nature makes clear in his mind, and whatever desires he desires, that he gets and that he fulfils. Therefore, one should have pure and perfect resolves. He that desires for objects is born again and again for fulfilling those desires. He whose desire is satisfied, who is perfected, his desires vanish away here itself.

The state of Moksha or final liberation is a very glorious one. Those blessed souls who attain that State enter into everything. They become the All. They are free from passion, are tranquil and perfect in the highest sense. They are liberated beyond death. They become unified with the Supreme, Imperishable. As the flowing rivers in the ocean disappear, leaving name and form, so the wise man being liberated from name and form, reaches the Supreme which is Absolute. One who knows Brahman becomes Brahman. He crosses over sorrow and death. He becomes Immortal.

The Supreme Self is experienced in the fourth state of consciousness. There is neither this nor that, it has no quality in particular. It is everything. It is peaceful, blessed and non-dual. It is the cessation of all phenomena. That is the Atman. That should be known and realised. That is the purpose of life.

The Jivanmukta or the liberated sage experiences that he is everything. He is the tree and the mountain. He is excellent like the sun. He is a shining treasure, wise, immortal and indestructible. He is the food and the eater of food. He is the knower, knowledge and the known in one. He is the whole universe in himself.

Bliss is the Ultimate Nature of the Reality. From Bliss all this comes forth. By Bliss all this lives. Into Bliss all this enters in the end. The Bliss of all the fourteen worlds is nothing when compared to the Bliss of Brahman. All Bliss of the world is only a shadow of Self-Bliss. Self-Bliss is the most Supreme. It is the only Real Bliss. Other sources of bliss are mere fleeting phantoms. Other Bliss is only a feeble apology for the Supreme Self-Bliss. The greatest bliss which one can conceive of either on earth or in heaven is a mere naught in the presence of the Pure Brahmic Bliss or Self-Bliss. One has not got to run to external objects for obtaining Bliss. The Self is the source of all Bliss. The Self is everything, all Knowledge and all Bliss.

All this is guided by Consciousness, and is based on Consciousness. The world has Consciousness for its guidance. Consciousness is Brahman. I am Brahman. That thou art. This Self is Brahman. These are the metaphysical explanations of Brahman. "All this is Brahman" is the ultimate realisation. One who knows this is not reborn on earth. He becomes Immortal.

Just as by one piece of clay, everything made of clay is known; just as by one nugget of gold everything made of gold is known; just as by a single pair of a nail-scissors everything made of iron is known—all modification is merely a distinction of words, a mere name, the reality is just only clay, gold or iron, so is this Supreme Teaching; the world is only Brahman, by knowing Brahman everything else is known.

Existence alone was in the beginning. This was one alone without a second. From that everything else was produced. The modifications of it are only apparent. There is no world except mere names and forms, mysteriously connected with one another. There is no sun or moon except mere colours or fictitious forms. When colours are distinguished, the sun loses its moonhood, the moon loses its moonhood, things lose their thingness. Brahman alone exists.

One who is guided by a preceptor knows the Truth easily. Otherwise he may miss the path in spiritual blindness. The preceptor teaches: "That which is the finest Essence—this whole world has That as its soul. That is the Atman. That thou art."

The Infinite Fullness (Plenum) alone is Bliss. There is no Bliss in the small finite things. Only the Infinite is Bliss. Where one sees nothing else, hears nothing else, understands nothing else that is the Infinite Fullness. Where one sees something else, hears something else, understands something else that is the small finite. The Infinite Fullness is the Immortal, and the small finite is mortal. That Infinite Fullness alone is everywhere. It is all this.

In purity of food, there is purity of nature. In purity of nature, there is established memory. In established memory there results the release from all knots of the heart. One becomes Immortal.

The Self alone is dear. One who loves something other than the Self loses what he loves. The Self is the Absolute One who knows this becomes indestructible. He is only a beast who considers he and his God are different. Not for the sake of this all this is dear, but for the sake of the Self this all is dear By knowing that Self, everything else is automatically known for the Self indeed is all This.

The Self is an Ocean without a shore and a surface. It is mere Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. Where there is duality, as it were, one can speak to the other, see the other and understand the other, but where everything is just one's own Self, then who can speak to whom, who can see whom, who can understand whom? That is the Supreme End. That is the Supreme Blessing. That is the Supreme Bliss. On a part of this Bliss other creatures are living.

He who is without desire, who is freed from desires, whose desire is satisfied, whose desire is the Self his Pranas do not depart. He being Brahman Itself, becomes Brahman immediately.

The Jivanmukta is like a child. He is the Source of all Knowledge, but he behaves like an idiot. He is a true Brahmin who has known Brahman.

He who dwells in all things, and yet is other than all things know not, in whose body are all things, who controls all things from within-He is the Soul, the Inner Controller, the Immortal He is the unseen Seer, the unheard Hearer, is the unthought Thinker, the ununderstood Understander. Other than Him there is nothing whatsoever at any time. One who dies without knowing this Supreme has died in vain, he is a wretched man He is a great man who dies knowing the Supreme, he is a true Brahmin.

Verily, that great, unborn Soul, undecaying, undying. Immortal, fearless is Brahman. Brahman is fearless. One who attains this becomes the fearless Brahman. That is full. This is full. From the Full, the full does proceed. Withdrawing the full from the full, the full alone still remains. This is the gist of the Upanishads in whole.

The Sadhana of the Upanishads is mainly of the type of the analogy of Bhramara-Kita-Nyaya. Meditation on the Truths declared in the Upanishads is Sadhana. They are of a very highly advanced nature, and only advanced students can take up this method of Sadhana. The name of this method of Sadhana is Jnana Yoga. It is an intellectual analysis for the sake of perfection in Intuition. The Jnana Yogi starts his Sadhana directly from the Vijnana or the intellect. He is not guided by emotions, not by the regulation of Prana and the like. He stills all emotions and centres his mind in the Supreme Self. He attains Sadyo-Mukti or Immediate Salvation. He enters into everything and becomes the Self of everything. This is the end of the Ideal of human life.

 

 

SADHANA OF THE BHAGAVAD-GITA

The Bhagavad-Gita is a text-book of practical Sadhana for one and all down from the peasant ploughing his fields right up to the philosopher of the Advaita Vedanta. It discards no aspect of man, it takes into consideration the different aspects of action, emotion, will and understanding of which man is an embodiment. It is a Brahmavidya and a Yoga Sastra, a theory as well as its practice. It is Krishna-Arjuna-Samvada, the meeting of the individual and the Supreme. The Gita is not a book of metaphysical theory, but is a guide for the spiritual man in his daily life of conscious self-effort for attaining Perfection. While the path of Pure Knowledge is possible only for the highly cultured man, the method of the Gita is simple, which is within the reach of all, i.e., devotion to God.

The Gita stresses the performance of duty without reluctance. There is no need to desist from an action which one has undertaken. Action does not bind the soul and the soul is not affected by any external modification. For, the self is eternal. Death is only a change of body and one has no occasion to grieve at the loss of such a body. The soul exists in the past, present and future in the same condition. One who knows this does not grieve at anything. None can destroy the soul. It is Immortal and indestructible. The Soul does not kill anybody and it IS killed by nobody. Knowledge of the Self is a wonderful achievement.

One should be even-minded in pain and pleasure. Then one does not incur sin. Man's duty is only to perform action, not to desire for its fruit. Through detachment, one is established in the Yoga of action. Only the fool is attached to fruits of actions.

A Sthitaprajna is one who is established in and satisfied with his own Self. He has no love for anything; he hates none: he fears none. The craving for objects vanishes away on seeing the Supreme. The senses are very powerful; they delude even one who ceaselessly strives to control them. But a Sthitaprajna has all senses under his restraint. Objective attraction leads to final destruction of oneself. He attains peace who is egoless, who is established in the state of the Eternal.

None can live even for a second without action. Prakriti drives man to action even against his will. He is a hypocrite who meditates on objects but keeps silent physically. He is a man of true renunciation who is detached in the mind. Life cannot be lived without action. But there is no action for him who is sporting in the Self and is contented with the Self. He has no duty to perform.

If the Supreme Lord does not act, the whole world will dwindle away in no time. The superior man does action so that others may follow him. Even as ignorant men do action with attachment, the same thing the wise one should do without attachment, for the good of the world. The wise man should not create disturbance in the mind of the ignorant. Gunas as senses move among Gunas as sense-objects. Thus knowing, the wise man is not attached. It is difficult to go against nature. Even a Jnani is dragged by force of Prakriti. The greatest enemies of man are Kama and Krodha born of Rajas. They destroy goodness and eat away purity. They are the sources of great sins. Knowledge is enveloped by Kama or desire. Therefore, one should destroy Kama, the mighty enemy of man.

He is a wise man who finds action in inaction and inaction in action. He is known as a wise man who has burnt all his actions through wisdom. He is unperturbed by what happens as the fruit of his actions. To him everything is merely Brahman. His actions have no meaning since he sees Brahman alone in everything. Such a knowledge of Brahman comes through service, surrender and enquiry. Knowledge destroys even the mightiest of sins and even the greatest sinner can attain Supreme Wisdom. Knowledge burns away all actions even as fire burns up fuel. Knowledge comes in the passage of time.

Knowledge and action are not distinct in as much as they both lead to liberation. Action without attachment is superior to total renunciation of actions. It is hard for one to renounce actions. Brahman is easily attained through action without attachment. He is unattached even while doing all actions. He is like a lotus-leaf in water.

The Supreme Lord does not give either merit or demerit. It is Prakriti that works as such. Knowledge is enveloped by ignorance, hence the creatures are deluded. But to them the Supreme reveals itself, who have removed ignorance through the Knowledge of the Self. They are ever immersed in and are one with That. They see the same Eternal in everything. They have conquered birth and death even here itself.

The pleasure born of the contact of objects is the womb of future pain. The wise do not rejoice in that. He who is established in the Self, who is rejoicing in the Self, who rests peacefully in the Self, who witnesses the light of the Self, attains the Supreme Brahman.

Areal Yogi is one who has renounced thoughts. This Yoga is attained through meditation on the Self. The bliss attained through this meditation is indestructible, unsurpassable, eternal, full of consciousness, beyond the reach of the senses. By attaining this, one does not consider any other gain as worth striving after. Established in that, one is not shaken even by the heaviest sorrow. That is Yoga which destroys all pains. That is to be practised. One is established in Yoga through Abhyasa and Vairagya. Even if one fails to attain the Goal in this life, he takes another suitable birth to continue the practice, under favourable circumstances. He is guided by his previous Samskaras, and thereby he attains to the Highest.

The Supreme Lord is the Source of all the worlds. He is the creator, preserver and the destroyer. He is all-in-all. The three Gunas have deluded the whole world and hence it does not know the Supreme Lord. This Maya cannot be overcome except through surrender to the Lord. Such people are very dear to the Lord. Among them the Jnani is the best devotee. For he has no selfish desires. Only after many a birth, one realises that everything is God. All are deluded by various desires.

They cannot reach the Lord except through many rounds of births and deaths, which are the effects of their desires.

He who meditates on the Lord and chants OM at the time of death attains the Supreme State. By attaining Him, there is no more fear of Samsara. Even Brahma-Loka is a perishable one and from there one has to revert to this mortal world. But after attaining the Supreme Lord, there is no more rebirth.

Heavenly pleasure is not to be striven for. At the end of the merit, the enjoyer falls down from the heaven into this mortal world. But those who are ever thinking of the Lord as their sole Refuge, to them the Lord provides with all that is best. Even those who worship other deities are unconsciously and wrongly worshipping the one Supreme Lord and all such propitiations go to Him only. He is the overlord of all. He accepts even a dry leaf if offered with devotion. His devotee never perishes. Even women and Sudras are eligible for Salvation provided they surrender themselves to the Lord. This world is impermanent and so one should take refuge in the Eternal Lord alone. The Lord pervades the whole world. There is nothing in which He is not. The whole universe is sustained by a part of Himself.

Bhakti is the central method for approaching the Lord. Only a Bhakta or a devotee can have vision of God. Even the gods cannot have vision of the Supreme without selfless love. Such a pure devotee hates none and is balanced in pleasure and pain. He neither rejoices, nor hates, nor grieves, nor desires. He is not afraid of the world and the world is not afraid of him. To him censure and praise are equal. He is the same to foe and friend alike. He has abandoned all undertakings. He has crossed over the Gunas.

The Supreme Brahman is indescribable. It is Light of lights and beyond darkness. It is neither existing nor non-existing. It is pervading everything. It is near and far, subtle and gross. It is seated in the heart of beings as their very self. When one sees that all diversity is rooted in this One, he then becomes fit to become Brahman.

Sattva illumines a person, Rajas distracts and Tamas makes him inert. Man is a mixture of passion and inertia. He seldom experiences the state of Pure Sattva. When one perceives that there is no doer except the Gunas, he transcends these qualities and becomes Immortal.

The Samsara is like a tree with its roots upwards and offshoots downwards. One should cut at the root of this tree with the axe of detachment. Then one attains that State of the Supreme where the sun and the moon do not shine, where fire does not have brightness. The greatest light of the world is only a portion of the Supreme Light. Everything of the world is only a reflection or a feeble apology for the Supreme. It transcends all earthly things. It is above Jiva and Maya. That is Purushottama who is sung in the Veda. One who knows this has fulfilled all his duties. He is the wisest man knowing everything.

Men with demoniacal qualities do not love the Lord. They doubt the existence of God and say that the world is only a passion-product. They are proud and egoistic. They are cruel and full of anger. They are bound by hundreds of desires and they live to enjoy. They assert their pride of wealth and fall down to the deep hell after death. They do not attain to the Supreme. Lust, anger and greed are the three gates to hell.

One who mortifies his body without mental discipline is a downright hypocrite. There should be physical, verbal and mental Tapas or discipline. One should be pure in thought, word and deed. A selfish act is immoral. Selflessness constitutes morality and ethics. Every act should be done with the remembrance of the Supreme Being. Without the consciousness of the Eternal, all actions become worthless.

Sannyasa is renunciation of selfish actions. But one's own duty cannot be renounced. One's own duty is sacred. All actions should be done without the least attachment. One should not renounce an action merely because it is difficult to perform it. Action is not done for the sake of pleasure. Sensual pleasures are sweet in the beginning, but turn to be bitter in the end. They must be renounced. Varnashrama-Dharma is a perfect system and it must be strictly adhered to.

In order to have realisation of Brahman one should resort to seclusion and meditate on the Self. He must detach himself from externality and establish himself in the Supreme Ideal. one must abandon all earthly duties and take refuge in the eternal. He will thus be liberated from the bondage of sin.

The Gita aims at the perfection of man in order to become the Divine. The life of Krishna Himself is the best example of the Gita Ideal of Life. His life itself is the best and the most satisfactory commentary on the Gita. To be like Krishna is to be a perfect man of the Gita Ideal. To be like this, one has not got to choose to be a devotee, a philosopher, a mystic or a man of action. One has to be all these at once. He may start by becoming any one of them in accordance with his predominant nature, but after sometime he will realise that advancement on any of the so-called paths needs a parallel advancement along all others. There cannot be a one-sided expansion of the individual. Perfection in order to be real and lasting should be all-round. To realise the Absolute is to become the Absolute which is the All. One has to be Infinite, for which he has to develop the entire being.

Our minds are the arenas, the inner battle-fields of the daily Mahabharata, where at every moment we are in a war-situation, where one set of ideas fights against the other. We all therefore, need the Light, the wisdom and the advice which Lord Krishna bestowed on Arjuna. The Supreme Lord, while discussing with Arjuna the vital issues of life, went to the very root of the riddle of the universe, and revealed such truths as are of universal application. Krishna spoke to the whole of humanity through Arjuna on the eternal verities of existence. Krishna typifies the Eternal and Arjuna typifies man with his imperfections. The instructions of the Gita are meant for man in general and not to a particular individual.

Be in the world. Serve humanity. Love all equally. But be not attached to it. Be detached. Live in the Self. Rest contented in the Self. Have no binding ambitions in life. Serve, love, give, purify, meditate and realise. Surrender yourself to God. This is the gist of the Gita.

Act with the consciousness that all is the Self, all is God. God is man and woman, and the old man tottering on the road. There is no reason for attachment to objects. All is merely the Self. See your self in every being. Love others as you love your own self. Do not see differences of body. See the common essence inside. Have Akartri-Bhava, Narayana-Bhava when you do actions. Action has to be done so long as you know that you possess a body. It is the very nature of the body to agitate. Mind will compel you to act. Prakriti is powerful. Even intelligent men are Her victims. Surrender to the Lord is the only way to get rid of the bondage of Prakriti or Maya.

Be a witness to all events in life. Do your own prescribed duty, Serve without expectation of fruits. This is the essence of Karma Yoga.

The Lord is seated in the hearts of all beings. He is the inner Ruler, the Immortal. Run to Him alone and take shelter in Him. There is no other way for liberation. All your duties will perish, all sins will be burnt and all doubts will be cleared when you have unselfish surrender to the Lord.

Control the fluctuations of the mind. Sit in a secluded place and concentrate on the Self. Wisdom will then dawn and destroy all ignorance. The effect is Immortality. Supreme Bliss without decay is the fruit. Eternal satisfaction is the Goal of all aspirations. This is achieved through the Yoga of Synthesis explained above. This is what the Gita has to say to the human world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER FIVE

SADHANA IN THE SMRITIS, EPICS AND PURANAS

SADHANA IN THE MANUSMRITI

The Veda is the source of Dharma, also the Smritis and the behaviour and the conduct of those who know their import The conscience of oneself will speak Dharma, when it cannot be ascertained from the Veda, Smriti and the sages. By following of Dharma one attains perfectness both here and hereafter The Pranava (OM) is the emblem of Reality. Pranayama is the highest Tapas. The Gayatri is the highest Mantra. Truth is the greatest vow.

One should not consider oneself inferior or feel dejected due to one's previous faults. One should always hope for the better and it should never be thought that anything is impossible. There is no failure to those who aspire for the good and who endeavour to attain it.

One is born alone and dies alone. One enjoys the fruits of one's deeds also alone, whether good or bad. Father, mother, wife, children and friends will not come to one's help when one is on the verge of death and is proceeding to the other world. It is Dharma alone that helps one at that time.

One should not court either life or death, but live dispassionately, waiting for the final day, doing one's duty properly. Dharma consists in fortitude, forbearance, sense-control, non-appropriation of others' property, purity in thought, word and deed, control of mind, clarity of understanding, wisdom of reality, adherence to truth and freedom from anger.

One should not imagine that one can do evil secretly without anyone's knowledge, for the very sky, earth, water, the sun, moon, fire and wind, day and night, and one's own heart, will stand witness to one's actions when the time comes. Let not anyone imagine that one is alone, unseen by others. The supreme witness is within, who eternally watches one's deeds.

Of all Dharmas, knowledge of the Atman is supreme. This is one's highest duty, for thereby one attains immortality. By seeing oneself in all and all in oneself, thus having an equanimous vision, one attains supreme independence. Thus, one will not commit Adharma, when everything is seen within one's own Self. The whole universe is within, including the gods.

By meditation on Brahman through the process of the recession of the effects into their causes, step by step, Brahman is realised here and now.

SADHANA IN THE RAMAYANA

The Ramayana of Valmiki is a didactic heroic poem which has the avowed purpose of glorifying Dharma and inculcating the truths which open up for man the way to supreme perfection. It is one of the two great epics of India. It represents the true Hindu spirit of unconditional adherence to the law of righteousness and the performance of one's prescribed duty. To assert the greatness of a life of activity based on the righteousness underlying the law of the Divine Being is one of the main aims of the Ramayana. The life of the 'ideal man' described in the Ramayana is an incentive to all men to strive to become embodiments of Dharma. Dharma is the soul of life and a life bereft of Dharma is not worth its name. Sri Rama, the incarnation of God, represents in himself the ideal son, the ideal brother, the ideal husband, the ideal king and the emblem of Divinity on earth. Man is expected to root his virtue in the Divine. Virtue is necessarily grounded in a consciousness of the principle of Divinity; else, it would become a mechanical routine of external acts. The Ramayana sounds the eternal spirit of Bharatavarsha, the spirit of heroically facing the realities of existence, without fighting shy of them, and at the same time blending action with devotion and loyalty with law. Law is eternal, for it is the expression of the system of the universe governed by God. To follow this law is the duty of man. The Ramayana teaches man, by way of example, as to how he can fulfil the demands of law.

The beauty of the Ramayana is really beyond human description, for it is a revelation to a Rishi—not merely an intellectual production of a scholar—whose meaning is 'integral', and no one-sided consideration of it can do full justice to it. The entire extent of the life of an Arya is delineated in the Ramayana. Social life and spiritual life are wonderfully harmonised in it. Love and heroism, Ahimsa and Kshatriyadharma are brought together in it. Bhakti and Yoga, Karma and Janana are fused into one. Sri Rama is the crowning feature of the Ramayana, whose very name is exalted to the status of a supreme purifier of the mind of man. Rama Nama is a panacea for all diseases, and is as invincible and irresistible as the Rama-Bana.

Life in its entirety, individual, social and divine, is depicted by the poet-seer Valmiki. He commences his poem with a description of the ideal individual. He then gives the description in his poem, of the ideal society, of ideal administration of country, and the ultimate ideal of life, the attainment of God. What a grand work! Valmiki's epic gives a concrete picture of the mysterious link that connects man and the world with God, the Creator. Social life is emphasised, for man is a member of society. and without society's good his good cannot be achieved. And without God's grace no individual and no society can progress. The supreme value of the universe is in its being a field of experience for its contents, necessary for their evolution towards the Eternal Being. The reality of the universe is God. All attempts and endeavours based on Adharma, on selfishness and individual independence, are doomed to failure at the iron hands of the Divine Law. The Ramayana most excellently portrays the victory of Dharma and the final defeat of Adharma. Rama and Ravana respectively stand for these two forces of the universe.

Sri Rama's Government is a specimen of ideal administration. It is in fact an earthly representation of the divine government of the universe under the Supreme Sovereign, the Almighty. To bestow due attention on Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha, on the individual, the society, the nation and their relation to the universe as a whole, is the duty of an ideal monarch. Sri Rama exemplifies in himself such a ruler, the symbol of God on earth justifying the great dictum, "Navishnuh Prithivipatih"_There is an element of the Divine in a ruler of men. Sri Rama carries this truth to its consummation and makes his rule eternally sound in the quarters of the world as the famous 'Ramarajya', the joy of the spirit of man.

One of the striking characteristics of the Hindu scriptures is their expert handling of the problems of life in consonance with the Transcendent Being which is the final Goal of life. Right from the Vedas and the Upanishads down to the Epics and the Puranas this important element features the catholicity that is all the scriptures of the Hindus. Life is not as some people would hold, a mere delirium of spirit, a disease and an error, but an opportunity presented for the moulding and training of the self for Eternity. To live in the immediate present, with the strength of the past and a vision of the future, basing one's actions on the ancient system of the fulfilment of duty, with the transforming touch of the glorious ideal of Self-realisation towards which all beings are consciously or unconsciously moving is the burden of the immortal song of the Ramayana. God is both transcendent and immanent. To love Him as transcendent alone would be an error, for the universe is His immanent aspect: it is He Himself in Self-revelation, and we are duty-bound to consider the universe as our own Self, as the omnipresent God-head. Nor are we to make the mistake of disregarding the transcendent and dropping into a pantheistic view of considering the visible universe alone as a complete manifestation of Reality. The Ramayana pays due respect to the physical, the vital, the mental, the moral and the spiritual values of life, and teaches a gospel of the integration of these in the Divine Harmony of the Supreme Being. The Ramayana, with the Manusmriti and the Mahabharata, forms the standard delineation of the codes of the eternal Dharma, the Srutis. There is no doubt that the inhabitants of India, when they follow and preach the spirit of these scriptures, will pave the way not only to a 'Greater India', but to a 'Greater World' which would reflect the beauty of Heaven, the glory of creation and the greatness of God.

For the purpose of bringing out the full philosophy of the Ramayana, therefore, one has to closely follow the part played by the figures enumerated below:

(1) King Dasaratha (2) Manthara—the maid-servant of Kaikeyi (3) Kaikeyi—the youngest of King Dasaratha's consorts (4) Ravana—the demon king of Lanka (5) Hanuman-minister of the monkey chief Sugriva (6) Sita—the beloved wife of Sri Rama, the prince of Ayodhya (7) Lakshmana-brother of Sri Rama (8) Sri Rama—the hero of the great epic.

On the eve of the coronation of Sri Rama as the Crown Prince of Ayodhya the whole scheme was shelved behind through the pressure brought on Dasaratha by his wife Kaikeyi under the instigation of her maid-servant Manthara and the king's submission to the dictates of his wife whereby Prince Rama is exiled to the forest where he was to spend a period of fourteen years.

(i) In this context King Dasaratha is to be compared to the ordinary man of the world placed in an atmosphere of pleasure and plenty falling a victim to the promptings of his vicious mind (Manthara), infatuated by sense-objects (Kaikeyi).

(ii) The ten-headed Rakshasa, Ravana, in the absence of Sri Rama and Lakshmana steals away Sita from their forest dwelling. Here Ravana with his ten heads is to be compared with the ten sense-organs-five organs of knowledge. and five organs of action. Stealing away of Sita is to be compared to the loss of reasoning power of the worldly-minded deluded by Maya. The golden deer Maricha is Maya which deluded both Lakshmana and Rama and they lost their power of discrimination (Sita).

(iii) Hanuman the intellectual giant and a strong celibate is an invincible power which indicates that if one has to achieve success in all his undertakings one has to cultivate truth, simplicity, purity, selfless service, devotion to duty and establish himself in absolute Brahmacharya. Sri Rama and Lakshmana developed these qualities and they were able to redeem Sita from the demon Ravana, meaning they got back their reasoning power by Brahmacharya and Tapas.

(iv) In worldly life whatever might be the spiritual progress one has achieved he will never attain Moksha unless he is detached from all worldly ties. This aspect is fully depicted in the ascetic march of Sri Rama, Lakshmana and Sita to the forest in obedience to the wishes of Kaikeyi. The path which led the regal party to the forest was so narrow that it was not possible for them to have a safe passage.

Hence they had to follow one after the other, so much so, Sri Rama was in front, Sita in the middle and Lakshmana at the back. Everyone knows pretty well the brotherly affection that Lakshmana had towards his brother and it is even said that he could not exist even for a second without seeing Rama. While on their march, because of Sita's presence in the middle. Lakshmana could not see his brother properly and at frequent intervals he used to request his sister-in-law to make room for him to see Rama. In this context Sri Rama is to be compared to Paramatma (in fact Rama was the incarnation of the Supreme Being) and Lakshmana the individual soul, Jivatma. Jivatma constantly endeavours to attain oneness with the Paramatma but Maya (Sita) stands in the way. With an intense yearning it is possible to get rid of Maya and attain the goal of merging oneself in the Paramatma. The possibility of attaining Godhead by the aspirant through strong devotion to the Supreme Being is also stated in the Bhagavad Gita.

SADHANA IN THE MAHABHARATA

The message of the Mahabharata is the message of Truth and Righteousness. The great epic produces a moral awakening in the readers and exhorts them to tread the path of Satya and Dharma. It urges them strongly to do good deeds, practise Dharma, cultivate dispassion by realising the illusory nature of this universe and its vain glories and sensual pleasures, and attain Eternal Bliss and Immortality. It induces people to do what Yudhishthira did and abandon what Duryodhana did. Stick to Dharma tenaciously. You will attain material and spiritual prosperity. You will attain everlasting happiness and Moksha, the summum bonum of life. This is the final purport or central teaching of Mahabharata.

The blind Dhritarashtra represents Avidya or Ignorance; Yudhishthira represents Dharma; Duryodhana Adharma, Draupadi Maya, Bhishma dispassion, Dussasana evil quality, Sakuni jealousy and treachery, Arjuna the individual soul, and Lord Krishna the Supreme Soul. Antahkarana, the inner field of human mind, is the Kurukshetra or the field of war.

The noble and heroic grandsire Bhishma, who controlled his death and who was unconquerable in war even by the gods, inspires us with the spirit of self-sacrifice, undaunted courage and purity. Yudhishthira is still a model of justice and righteousness. Remembrance of his very name generates a thrill in our hearts and goads us to lead the path of truth and virtue. Karna lives in our hearts on account of his extreme munificence and liberality. Karna's name has become proverbial. People even now say whenever they come across a very generous man, "He is like Karna in gifts."

Even now, we admire Arjuna as a perfect man and worship Lord Krishna as our Protector and Saviour. Whenever We are in trouble and distress we pray to Him, "O Lord! Save us just as you saved Draupadi and Gajendra in days of yore."

The sufferings of the Pandavas and Draupadi, Nala and Damayanti, Savitri and Satyavan, clearly explain to us the fact or hard truth that the goal of life or perfection, can only be attained through pain and suffering. Pain is the means through which man is moulded, disciplined and strengthened. Just as impure gold is turned into pure gold by melting it in the crucible so also the impure and imperfect weak man is rendered pure, perfect and strong, by being melted in the crucible of pain and suffering. Therefore, one should not be afraid of pain and suffering. They are blessings in disguise. They are eye-openers They are silent teachers. They turn the mind towards God and instil mercy in the heart, strengthen the will and develop patience and power of endurance, which are the prerequisites for God-realisation.

The Mahabharata is an epic of human life. It magnificently portrays the drama of human existence and describes most picturesquely the law of Dharma. Life is a journey, and its essence is Dharma. God helps those who are virtuous. Vice gets uprooted ultimately. The things of the earth are perishable, and the glory of man is transient. All accumulation ends in exhaustion. All rising ends in fall. Union ends in separation. Life ends in death. As logs of wood meet one another in the vast ocean and then get separated, so do beings meet one another here.

Desire is never extinguished by its fulfilment; on the other hand it increases thereby like fire over which ghee has been poured. Whatever wheat and rice, gold, cattle and sex there are in this world—all these are not enough to bring satisfaction even to one person; knowing this one should rest in peace.

Thousands of mothers and fathers, and countless wives and children, have been seen by us in Samsara. To whom do they belong and to whom do we belong? Every day people see persons dying and being cremated and thrown away, yet the remaining ones imagine that they will not die; what can be a greater wonder in this world!

For a fool there are thousands of sources of grief and even so many causes of happiness every day; a wise man is not affected by these.

There is nothing higher than Dharma in this world. Dharma brings Artha, Kama and Moksha. But it is a surprise that no one seems to pay any attention to this patent truth. Let not anyone do to others what is contrary to the good of one's own self. Death and immortality are both here itself: to assert "this is mine' and 'that is mine' is death. To feel 'nothing is mine' is immortality. Thus immortality and death are both in one's own person. They are not in some distant place. Everyone engages himself in action, and fights and endeavours in various ways, on account of the opposition of these forces within. This is the real War of the Mahabharata, which is eternally going on in the body.

For the sake of a family, a person may have to be abandoned. For the good of a village, a family may have to be abandoned. For the good of a country, a village may have to be abandoned. For the sake of the Supreme Self within, the whole world may have to be abandoned.

Wherever there is attunement of oneself to God, there is the manifestation of Dharma, and wherever there is Dharma, there is victory. Wherever human effort and Divine grace stand in unison, there is prosperity, victory, happiness and firm polity.

SADHANA IN THE BHAGAVATA PURANA

THE TWENTY-FOUR TEACHERS OF THE AVADHUTA

Yadu who was versed in religion saw a young Brahmin Sannyasin, full of wisdom, wandering about fearlessly and put him the following questions as Yadu was eager to know Dharma.

Yadu asked, "O Sage! How did you, doing nothing, get this clear wisdom and light by which you were able to give up all attachments and roam like a child fearlessly in perfect bliss?

"Generally in this world people exert themselves for virtue, wealth, desire and enquire about the Atman only with the motive of attaining longevity, fame and wealth. You are able-bodied, full of wisdom and skill, and good-looking. Your speech is sweet and is like nectar, and yet you neither work nor exert in the least. You like nothing. People in this world are scorched by the fire of lust and greed. You are not at all afflicted by the fire. You appear self-satisfied and blissful, just as an elephant immersed in the cool waters of the Ganga does not feel the heat of the forest fire on the bank. Please enlighten me as to the source of your joy or bliss. Tell me how you derive bliss in your self alone, untouched by sense-objects and living a solitary lite? You have neither family nor sensual enjoyment. Whence then is your bliss?"

Sri Krishna said, "Being thus asked and honoured by the intelligent Yadu who was devoted to Brahmins, the noble Brahmin spoke to the king who stood bending in reverence."

The Brahmin said, "Many are my preceptors, O Kind whom I resorted to through my own understanding, with the wisdom imbibed from them I roam about on this earth free from attachments. Listen who they are.

"The earth, air, sky (Akasa), water, fire, the moon, the sun the pigeon, the python, the sea, the moth, the bee, the elephant, the honey-gatherer, the deer, the fish, the dancing girl Pingala, the osprey (raven, Kurara), the child, the maiden, the arrow-maker, the serpent, the spider, the beetle (the wasp)—these O King, are my twenty-four Gurus or teachers whom I have resorted to. I have learnt all my lessons from their characteristic traits. I will now narrate what I learnt from each of them.

"A wise man should not swerve from the path of righteousness, though he is oppressed by creatures who are themselves under the direction of providence. This is forbearance I have learnt from the earth. I have learnt from the mountain, which is a part of the earth, that all our actions should be for the good of others, and that our very existence is for the sake of others. I have learnt from the tree, which is also a part of the earth, that I should be at the disposal of others.

"The sage should be content with mere supporting his life. He should never long for what gratifies the senses so that knowledge may not be destroyed and the mind may not be dissipated on worthless objects.

"The Yogi should not be attached to the objects, like the air, although he is placed in the midst of objects with different attributes and though he is placed in the physical body. His mind should remain unaffected by the good and evil consequences of the objects, just as the air remains unaffected by the good or bad odour of objects over which it blows. The soul enters the body and the attributes of the body seem to be 15 own, but it is not so. The air is charged with odour but the odour is not the attribute of the air. This I have learnt from the outside air.

"I have learnt from the Prana (vital air) that one should eat to live and not live to eat. He should not eat to give strength and nourishment to the senses. The food should be just sufficient to feed the flame of life.

"Atman is all-pervading. It is not affected by the body and the bodily attributes. This I have learnt from Akasa which is all-pervading and is not affected by clouds and other objects. Evan though the sage lives in the body, he should contemplate through his identity with Self or Atman which is all-pervading like the sky (Akasa), which runs as a substratum or a thread in the garland of flowers through all movable and immovable objects, which is not subject to any limitation in respect of time and place and which is not touched by anything else.

"Naturally pure, smooth and sweet is water. So is the sage among men. He, like unto holy waters, purifies others by mere sight, touch and the utterance of His name. This I have learnt from water.

"Bright, powerful in knowledge, and glowing with asceticism, with no receptacle for food except the belly and eating everything, the sage, like fire, is not polluted thereby. Sometimes he remains unnoticed. Sometimes he becomes known to those who desire welfare. He eats the food offered to him by pious devotees and burns up their past and future evils or impurities.

"Fire is the same and only one, though it enters fuels of various sorts. Just as fire burns in a triangular, circular, rectangular, or other shapes, according to the shape and size of the wood, so also the Lord of the Universe, who has created the world and entered into all beings, appears different because of the different bodies (Upadhis) in which He resides. He enters this Universe of various objects, high and low, created by His own Maya and appears to be like everyone of those objects, just as fire does in different kinds of fuel. Birth and death are for the body and not for the Atman, and are caused by time, just as the flames are subjected to change but not the fire.

"The waning or waxing conditions of the moon are due, not to any change in the substance or luminosity of the moon, but, to the fact that only part of the sun's rays get reflected by it. I learnt therefore that the birth. growth, decay, death, etc., are States of the body and not of Atman which is illimitable. birthless and deathless. The moon remains as it is; only there is an apparent change over it owing to astronomical motions.

"The sun draws water by its rays and gives it all away in time. The sage takes in order to give but not in order to add to his own possessions. Just as the sun, reflected in various post of water, appears to the ignorant as many, so also the Atma appears as such in different bodies on account of the Upadhi caused by the reflection through the mind.

"Too much attachment is bad. One should not have too much affection or attachment for anyone. Too much attachment towards anything causes one's own destruction. This I have learnt from a pair of pigeons. In a certain forest, on a certain tree, a pigeon built a nest and with his mate lived there for some years. They were much attached to each other in love. They reared their young ones with great affection. One day they left their young ones in the nest and went about in search of food for them. A hunter came and caught the young ones by spreading a net. The parent birds returned to their nest with food. The mother had too much affection for the young ones. She fell into the net of her own accord. The male pigeon also fell into the net himself. The hunter caught the pigeons with the young ones. He was quite satisfied and went home. Thus the miserable family man who has not controlled his senses, who has not withdrawn his senses and mind from the worldly objects, who finds delight only in the married life and maintains his family with intense attachment, comes to grief with all his relations like the pigeons (Kapota and Kapoti). He who, attaining a human birth which is like an open gateway to Mukti or the final liberation, is merely attached to the householder's life like the bird, is considered as one who has fallen from his status.

"The pleasures obtained through the avenues of the senses, whether in this world or the next, are transient and fleeting. The wise man never hankers after them.

"The huge Ajagara serpent remains where he is and is content with whatever food that comes to him. Like the Ajagara, one should make no effort. but only swallow the mouthful that is brought to him by chance, delicious or distasteful, much or little. If no food reaches him, he should lie quiet even for a long time without any food and without any exertion to get it; because, he should, like the Ajagara, subsist on what providence brings to him or destiny decrees. Holding still the body endowed with energy, fortitude and strength, he should lie wide awake and not exert, though he has sound organs.

"The sage should be calm, profound or deep, difficult to fathom, illimitable and immovable or not liable to be perturbed by worldly circumstances like the tranquil ocean. The ocean may receive volumes of water from the rivers at times or may receive no water at other times but it remains the same. Even so the sage who has set his heart upon the Lord, neither swells with joy when he has an abundance of enjoyable objects, nor shrinks with sorrow when he has none.

"The man of uncontrolled senses, seeing a woman, the God's Maya (enchantment created by the Lord) and being allured by her behaviour and feelings, falls into the blinding darkness and comes to grief, just as the moth falls into the fire. The fool, who with his mind allured by women, gold ornaments, clothes and other things created by Maya, regards them as objects of enjoyment, loses his correct vision and perishes like a moth.

"The sage should wander from house to house, taking handfuls from each house till he gets just enough food for his sustenance, without making any house feel burdened, like the bee which gathers honey from all flowers.

"The intelligent man should extract the essence from all scriptures, great or small, just as the bee does from flowers. The sage should not store food for the evening or the next day; the hands or the stomach should be his vessel; he should not hoard like the bee. He who stores food is destroyed with his store like the bee.

"The Sannyasin should not touch even the wooden figure of a young woman even with his feet. If he does so he would be caught as is the elephant through its attachment for the touch of the she-elephant. The wise man should shun the company of women as if it were death to him; for he would be killed like a weak elephant by other elephants.

"The miser who hoards wealth, neither gives nor enjoys his riches. Whatever he collects with difficulty is carried away by someone else, just as the collector of honey carries away the honey, collected by the bees.

"Like the collector of honey, the Sannyasin first enjoys those good things which householders collect through hard-earned wealth in order to enjoy.

"The ascetic should not listen to sensuous music. He should learn a lesson from the deer which, enamoured by the hunter's music, gets ensnared. The Sage Rishyasringa, born of deer, listened to the sensuous music of women and was easily entrapped by them. He became a toy or a playmate in their hands.

"Just as a fish that is attracted by baits falls an easy victim to the bait by means of the hook, so also the foolish man who allows his sense of taste to overpower him, who is stupefied with the charms of taste and delicacies by the turbulent and greedy tongue, meets with death. Tongue or the love of taste is most difficult to conquer. If the sense of taste is controlled, all other senses are controlled. One cannot become master of his organs until he controls the organ of taste. No man can be said to have conquered his senses unless his organ of taste is completely curbed. Thoughtful men soon subdue their senses by fasting.

“There was formerly in the city of Videha a public woman called Pingala. I learnt something from her. Listen to it, O King! One day she put on beautiful dress and waited at the door of her house in the evening, to receive and bargain customers for the night. She invited some persons but sent them away as she thought some other wealthy man would richly pay her. With this inordinate desire she waited sleepless at the door, now going in, now coming out, till it was midnight. Through this anxious expectation of money, she spent the night in a fever of hope, worry and disappointment. She felt extreme disgust for her life of greed and desire which made her unhappy.

"In her utter disappointment she sang, 'Indifference to worldly objects is like a sword to cut asunder a man's fetters of expectation or cords of desire. One does not wish to get rid of the bondage of the body until he has become disgusted, just as no man without insight into the truth or knowledge could rid himself of the notions of "l" and "Mine" or the clinging to objects.' Pingala said, 'Lo! How deluded am I for want of control over my mind! How foolish am I to seek the satisfaction of desire from such puny creatures as men!'

"'Discarding Lord Narayana or the Eternal Atman, seated near in my heart, who is a fit lover and can satisfy me, who can give me everlasting bliss and wealth, I am courting a puny man who cannot satisfy my desires and who causes misery, fear, disease, grief and infatuation. I have been indeed very stupid.

"'Oh! In vain I have afflicted my soul by this most reproachable mode of living, viz., that of a public woman; I have sought wealth and pleasure from pitiable mortals, who are greedy and slaves of women, by selling my body to them.

Who, other than myself, would betake to this house which is built of bones which are like the beams, rafters and post of a house, which is covered over with skin, hair, and nails, which is furnished with nine openings for discharging filth and filled with offal and urine?

'In this town of Videha, full of wise beings, I am the only woman who has tied her hopes, happiness and desire to the body. I am the only silly being or wicked woman who seeks any other source of enjoyment or object of desire than the Lord who bestows Self-realisation.

'He is the true friend, protector, Lord, most beloved one, the master and the very Self or Atman of all embodied beings; winning Him over, by giving up the body to Him, I shall enjoy His company like Lakshmi and find everlasting happiness in Him alone.

"'What is the use of serving others? The favours of gods and mortals are limited by time, capacity and various other obstacles. What delight can the sense-objects, men or the gods confer on women? All have a beginning and an end.

"'Surely I must have done something in my previous births to propitiate Vishnu, for it is by His grace alone that this Vairagya (dispassion or disgust) cutting at the root of all unholy desires, has arisen in my mind. Through His grace only, I have attained the way to everlasting happiness and peace.

“‘If the Lord had not been propitious to me, such disappointments, as lead to renunciation and dispassion, would not have arisen, which enable one to abandon all attachments and attain happiness.

" 'I accept, with humble devotion, this gift of the Lord on my head. I now abandon all vain expectations and evil desires and take refuge in the Supreme Lord. Contented, full of faith in the Lord, living on what chance brings to me, I shall enjoy the eternal bliss of the Lord. Paramatman. Who else but the Lord can save this Jiva who has fallen into the deep pit of Samsara births and deaths), with eyes blinded by the objects, with the vision robbed by the senses, and who is swallowed up by the serpent of Time.

“ 'When one realises the evanescence of this universe when he beholds the universe in the jaws of the serpent of Time, he will surely and firmly scorn the fleeting, doubtful worthless, illusory pleasures of this world and the next. He will become very cautious, turn himself away from the illusory sense-objects and will seek repose in the eternal bliss of his own Atman. When one becomes disgusted with everything else, Atman is the protector of Atman, the Self alone is the saviour of oneself.'"

The Brahmin said, "Pingala having thus determined in her mind, and fixed her mind on the Lord, gave up all hopes and expectations due to hankering for lovers, sat on her bed with a serene mind. She abandoned all unholy desires that troubled her and became happy. She slept soundly with a tranquil mind. It is hope that gives us trouble. Without hope we are happy. Desires, hopes and expectations are the sources of grief. Abandonment of all expectations and desires is the greatest bliss. It is the happiest state. Vairagya is the source of bliss as can be seen from Pingala who slept happily, casting aside the hankering for lovers.

"The source for affliction and misery is indeed the acquisition of anything whatsoever that men hold as dearest. But that man who knows this truth, gives up all possessions and does not think of any acquisition and attains unlimited happiness.

"An osprey (Kurara-a bird of prey) had a piece of flesh in its mouth. The stronger birds that had no flesh pounced upon it, but the Kurara dropped the piece of flesh and became happy. Renunciation of dear objects is good. It gives peace.

"I do not care for honour or dishonour. I do not think of the house, wife or children. I sport in Atman and take delight in Atman and roam on earth like a child.

"Only two are free from anxieties and immersed in the highest bliss-the child that knows nothing and the man who has realised the Supreme Being, who is beyond the influence of the Gunas.

"In a certain place, a girl herself had to attend to the comforts of those who visited the house to ask her in marriage when her relations had gone out to some other place. As she was husking the paddy for their meal in a solitary place, the conch bangles on her wrists made a great noise. The intelligent girl thought it disgraceful and was very much ashamed of her poverty. She thought that the party might detect her poor condition. She broke the bracelets one by one, leaving only two on each hand.  Even those two bracelets produced a sound when she went on husking. So she removed one of these also. No sound was then produced from the remaining one though she continued husking.

"Wandering over the world in search of truth and experiences, I learnt from the girl's experience the following instructions. Where many dwell together there would be quarrel. Even between two people there would be occasion for debate or talk. Therefore, one should live alone like the single bangle on the hand of the girl.

"Having controlled the breath and practised firmness in seat, one should, like an archer taking his aim, fix or centre the mind on the Supreme Self. He should be on the alert to keep the mind steady through renunciation, constant application and systematic practice. Just as the fire exhausts itself when the fuel is consumed, so also the mind firmly checked in its outward wanderings, becomes oblivious of the diversities caused by the Gunas, slowly shakes off the bonds of Karma, abandons gradually the impulsions to work, gets free from Rajas and Tamas through increased Sattva, subsides and attains tranquillity in the absence of the fuel of Gunas and their products and the sense-impressions which feed it. It becomes one with the object of meditation. It becomes entirely absorbed in the object of contemplation. Then having his mind entirely absorbed in the Atman, he does not see anything else at that time, inside or outside, just as the arrow-maker with his mind absorbed in making the arrow, did not see the king passing by his side. I have learnt concentration of mind from the arrow-maker.

"The wise man should wander alone. He should be homeless and be ever alert. He should resort to a cave and should not exhibit his real worth. He should remain without friends. He should indulge in as little speech as possible.

"It is very troublesome and useless for an ascetic to build a house as his body is fleeting and perishable. Just as the serpent enters and makes itself comfortable in any hole dug by hers, so also he should make himself comfortable at every ance residence or place that comes in his way. He should have no fixed abode.

"Just as the spider brings the thread out of itself. Spreads out of the web, sports in it and devours it itself, so the Lord creates the universe out of Himself through His Maya consisting of three Gunas, sports in it and takes it back again into Himself.

"Whatever form a man constantly thinks of through love hatred or fear, that he attains in course of time through concentration on the form he thinks about, just as a worm becomes the wasp.

"Thus from the above twenty-four preceptors I have learnt the various instructions. Now listen, o king, to what I have learnt from my own body. My own body is also my Guru. I have learnt from it dispassion, discrimination and non-attachment. It is ever undergoing change and is evanescent. It is born only to die. Constant misery is its lot. It becomes the seat of egoism. One has to toil to satisfy its wants. This brings grief and sorrow. I reflect on Truth with its help. I know the Truth by a discriminative study of the body. I regard it as not mine and so l feel no attachment for it. The body belongs to the dogs and jackals who devour it after death.

"For the sake of the comforts of the body a person maintains a wife, domestic animals, servants, children, home and relations and amasses wealth with great difficulty. This body perishes in the end like a tree, creating the seed of a fresh body for him.

"The tongue drags him to one side and thirst to another, the organ of reproduction to some other; the skin, stomach and ear in some other direction; the sense of smell in one direction; the fickle eye to something else, the tendency for work draws to something else, every other physical organ in a different direction of activity. The senses suck his very life-blood, even as the many wives of one husband.

"The Lord created various bodies such as trees, reptiles, beasts, birds, insects and fish but was not satisfied with these. Then He made the human body, which is endowed with intellect, for realising Brahman and He was extremely delighted.

"The wise man, having obtained after many births this extremely rare human body which though transient and frail is yet conducive to the attainment of high purpose, viz., Moksha or the final emancipation, should quickly endeavour to attain liberation or the highest good before it falls a prey to death; for sense-enjoyment may be had indeed in anybody.

"Thus learning from my body Vairagya, or distaste or aversion towards worldly pleasures and a knowledge of the real bliss of my nature which is essentially divine, I wander over the world without egoism and attachment, with the light of true wisdom as my light.

"Verily, the knowledge derived from one preceptor cannot be very firm and sufficiently full; because this Brahman, though one without a second, is variously sung by Rishis."

Sri Krishna said, "The Brahmin having said so much, took! leave of Yadu who paid him all proper reverence and went! away. Our ancestor Yadu also took to heart the instructions of the sage, gave up all attachments and attained equanimity of mind and tranquillity."

 

 

HOW TO WITHDRAW FROM THE SENSE-OBJECTS

Uddhava said: "O Krishna, generally people know that the objects of the senses lead to misery. How is it that they run after them, like a dog, an ass or a goat?"

The Lord said: "In the heart of an indiscriminating man, the wrong notion of l' with regard to the body arises; then the terrible Rajas takes possession of the mind, which by its own origin is Sattvic. Doubts and desires arise in the mind which is filled with Rajas. He thinks, 'I should enjoy such and such a thing in such and such a way and so on.' Then the mind dwells upon the excellent attributes of an object 'Oh, how beautiful! What a nice thing, and gets a strong liking or an inordinate hankering for it.

"The foolish man is overpowered by desires and cravings. He has no control over his senses. As he is deluded by the strong current of Rajas, he knowingly does acts which are seen to bring miseries or evil fruits.

"The man of discrimination is also distracted by Rajas and Tamas, but as he is conscious of their evils, he sleeplessly controls his mind and practises concentration of mind. He is not attached to them.

"Being alert and diligent one should secure firmness in the seat and control the breath, and having set the mind on Me, slowly practise concentration.

"This is the Yoga as taught by My disciples Sanaka and others, in order to withdraw the mind successfully from everything and fix it on Me.

"Look upon this universe as a delusion, a play of the mind now seen and the next moment destroyed, like a dream and extremely inconsistent like the circle described by a firebrand (Alata Chakra). One Consciousness appears as many. The threefold distinction of waking, dream and deep sleep which is caused by the transformation of Gunas is Maya.

"Withdraw your senses from this object world. Abandon all desires. Be calm and remain quiet, immersed in the bliss of your own Self. Be silent and free from action. If ever the universe is experienced, if sometimes this still appears, if at times you will have experience of the object in your daily life for getting the necessities of life, it will not cause delusion in you as you have once thrown them aside as unreal, but will linger as a memory only till the fall of the body."

THE METHOD OF MEDITATION IN THE

ELEVENTH SKANDHA

The Lord said: "Sitting on an even seat with his body erect in a comfortable posture, placing the two hands on his lap and fixing the eyes on the tip of his nose, one should cleanse the passage of Prana by means of inhalation (Puraka), retention (Kumbhaka) and exhalation (Rechaka) of the breath and should also practise slowly in the inverse order, keeping the senses under control.

"Om, with the sound of a bell, extends all over from Muladhara upwards. He should by Pranayama push upwards the sacred syllable Om which is uninterrupted like a lotus fibre, through the heart and make it ring like a bell and again add to it the vowel.

"Thus one should practise the Pranayama accompanied by Om ten times, thrice daily. He should mentally repeat Om continuously during inhalation and exhalation. Within a month one shall be able to control the Prana. Within the body there is the lotus of the heart with its stalk above and the flower downwards, facing below, with eight petals and pericarp. It is also closed. Meditate on it as facing upwards and full blown. On the pericarp think of the sun, the moon and the fire one within the other. Meditate on the following form of Mine within the fire which is good and very auspicious Ton meditation.

"My Form-symmetrical, gracious, gentle, with four long and beautiful arms, well-developed and beautiful neck, beautiful cheeks and a graceful smile.

"With Makara Kundalas or shining pendants adorning symmetrical ears, clad in a cloth of gold, dark complexioned like a cloud, with the splendid Srivatsa mark and Lakshmi on the chest.

"Adorned with conch, disc, mace, lotus and a garland of wild-flowers (Vanamala) with feet adorned with ringing anklets and the chest resplendent with the effulgence of the Kaustubha gem.

"Decked with a brilliant crown, bracelets and a waistband beautiful in every feature, captivating to the heart, with the face and eyes beaming with graciousness and very tender, one should meditate on this form of the above description keeping the mind steady. He should concentrate the mind on all the features. He should withdraw the senses from their objects with a strong mind; with the help of the charioteer intellect as guide, he should direct the mind to My whole body. Then he should concentrate on one part only, My smiling face. He should not meditate on anything else. Then withdraw the mind from the face and fix it on Akasa or the supreme cause. Give up that also. Rest in Me as the pure Brahman devoid of all attributes. Think of nothing at all. Let the Triputi, viz., meditator, object of meditation and meditation vanish. Let them become one. Forget the triple differences. This is the highest Nirvikalpa Samadhi."

VISHNUPURANA: SADHANA FOR LIBERATION

Ribhu said, "Therefore, O king Nidagha, O thou, conversant with duty, do thou consider thyself as one with all beings, regarding equally friend or foe. As the same sky looks apparently as white or blue, so the Soul, which is in reality one, appears diversified to erroneous vision. That, which exists in the universe, is one which is Achyuta. There is nothing distinct from Him. He is i; He is thou; He is all. This universe is His form. Give up therefore the misconceived notion."

The Brahmin said: "The great goal of life must be considered by wise men as Eternal and it would be transient if it were accomplished through transient things. The spirit which is essentially one in one's own and in all other bodies, is the true Wisdom of one who knows the unity and the true principles of things. As air spreading all over the world going through the perforation of a flute is distinguished as the notes of the scale so the (Truth) nature of the Great Spirit is one though it assumes various forms consequent upon the fruits of actions. When the difference, between the various forms such as that of God and man, is destroyed then the distinction of things ceases."

Kesidhvaja said, "The properties of pain, ignorance and impurity are those of nature and not of soul. O Muni, there is no affinity between fire and water but when the latter is placed over the former in a caldron, it bubbles and boils and exhibits the properties of fire. In the same manner when the soul is associated with Prakriti it is vitiated by egoism and such other self-deluding forces and assumes the qualities of grosser nature although essentially distinct from them. Such is the seed of ignorance as I have explained it to you. There is but one remedy for earthly sorrows, the practice of devotion; no other is known."

"One who is capable of discriminative knowledge must restrain his mind from all objects of senses and therewith meditate upon the Supreme Being, who is identical with the Self within, in order to obtain liberation; for that Supreme Spirit attracts to Itself him who meditates upon it, and who is of the same nature, as the loadstone attracts the iron by the virtue which is common to itself and to its products. Contemplative devotion is the union with Brahman effected by that condition of mind which has attained perfection through those exercises which complete the control of the self; and he, whose contemplative devotion is characterised by the property of such absolute perfection is in truth, expectant of a limited life in the phenomenal world.

"One who would bring his mind into a proper state for the performance of devout contemplation, must be devoid of desire and observe invariably continence, compassion, truth, honesty and disinterestedness; he must fix his mind upon the Supreme Brahman, practising holy study, purification, contentment, pen ance and self-control. These practices bestow excellent le wards, and when they are not prompted by the desire to anything earthly, anything passing, but inspired by love of liberation, they lead one to the highest Beatitude."

SADHANA IN GARUDA PURANA

The sixteenth Adhyaya of Garuda Purana gives an account of the Law for Liberation. Dispassionately it subjects the field of human life to a thorough examination and narrates the limitations and failings of finite life and insists upon the realisation of the divine Self. As attachment is difficult to be shunned, always one should cultivate the friendship with the noble and the great and the good. There is no Liberation by deluded ceremonials, nor by the mere study of Vedas and the reading of the Sastras; Liberation is obtained by true Knowledge. Two phrases make for bondage and liberation: "mine" and "not-mine." The person saying “mine” is bound; the one saying "not-mine" is released. That is the Karma that does not bind, that is the knowledge that gives release; other Karmas are worrying, other knowledge is mere skilful chiselling. With the sword of detachment, one should cut off the desires connected with the body. One should practise mentally upon the supreme threefold pure Word, Om. With breath controlled, with the mind restrained one should contemplate on Om. With desires overcome, freed from attachment, pride and delusion, with the evils of non-discrimination overcome one should live in the Higher Self. Within tranquil Self, full-visioned, freed from thoughts of the other, one should worship the Divine alone.

THE SADHANA OF THE YOGAVASISHTHA

The practical hints on Sadhana presented in Yogaasishtha are unique. Even the most worldly-minded become dispassionate and attain peace of mind, solace and consolation by study of this book.

Those whose minds are turned from this world, who have become indifferent towards the objects of this world and who are thirsting for liberation will be really benefited by a study of this precious book. They will find in this book a vast mine of knowledge and practical spiritual instructions for guidance in their daily life. Yogavasishtha first enunciates a doctrine in its various aspects and then makes it very lucid through interesting stories. This is a book for constant study. It must be read and re-read and studied or re-studied as many times as possible.

Yogavasishtha deals with the subject of effecting union of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul amidst all the trials and tribulations of life. It prescribes various directions for the union of the Jivatma and Paramatma.

The nature of Brahman or the Sat and the methods to attain Self-realisation are vividly described in this work. This is the most inspiring book. Every student of Vedanta keeps the book for constant study. It is a constant companion for a student in the path of Jnana Yoga. It is not a Prakriya Grantha. It does not deal with the Prakriyas or categories of Vedanta. Advanced students can only take this book for their study. Aspirants should first study 'Atma Bodha', 'Tattva Bodha' 'Atmanatma Viveka' of Sri Sankaracharya and 'Panchikarana' before they take up the study of Yogavasishtha.

Moksha according to Yogavasishtha is the attainment of essence of Bliss of Brahman through knowledge of the Self. Moksha is freedom from birth and death; it is the immaculate and imperishable seat of Brahman wherein there are neither Sankalpas nor Vasanas. The mind attains its quiescence here. The sum total of pleasures of the whole world is a mere drop when compared to the bliss of Moksha. That which is called Moksha is neither in Devaloka nor in Patala nor on earth. When all desires are destroyed, the extinction of the expansive mind alone is Moksha. Moksha has neither space nor time in itself; nor is there in it any state external or internal. If the illusory idea of 'l' or Ahamkara perishes, the end of thought which is Maya is Moksha. Extinction of all Vasanas constitutes Moksha. Sankalpa is only Samsara; its annihilation is Moksha. It is only Sankalpa destroyed beyond resurrection that constitutes the immaculate Brahmic seat or Moksha. Moksha is freedom from all sorts of pains and the attainment of Supreme Bliss (Sarva-duhkha Nivritti and Paramananda Prapti). Duhkha means pain or suffering. Birth and death generate greatest pains. Freedom from births and deaths is freedom from all sorts of pains. Brahma Jnana or knowledge of the Self alone will give Moksha. Through the absence of desires for objects, the quiescence in the mind will produce Moksha.

According to the Yogavasishtha this world of experience with various objects, time, space and laws, is a creation mind, i.e., idea or Kalpana. Just as objects are created by the mind in the dream, so also, everything is created by the mind the waking state also. Expansion of the mind is Sankalpa. Sankalpa, through its power of differentiation generates this universe. Time and space are mental creations only. Through the play of the mind in objects, nearness seems to be a great distance and vice versa. Through the force of the mind, a Kalpa is regarded as a moment and vice versa. A moment of waking experience may be experienced as years in the dream. The mind can have the experience of miles within a short span and miles can also be experienced as a span only. Mind is not anything different and separate from Brahman. Brahman manifests itself as mind. Mind is endowed with creative power. Mind is the cause of bondage and liberation.

If the four sentinels that wait at the gates of Moksha (salvation) viz., Santi (peace), Vichara (Atmic enquiry), Santosha (contentment) and Satsanga (association with the wise) be befriended then there will be no obstacle to the attainment of the final emancipation. Even if one of them be befriended, then he will introduce you to the rest of his companions.

If you attain knowledge of the Self or Brahma Jnana, you will be freed from the trammels of birth and death. All doubts will vanish and all Karmas will perish. It is through one's own efforts alone that the immortal, all-blissful Brahmic seat can be obtained

The slayer of the Atman is the mind. The form of the mind is Sankalpas only. The true nature of the mind consists in the Vasanas. The actions of the mind alone are truly termed Karmas or actions. The universe is nothing but the mind manifesting as such only through the potency of Brahman. The mind contemplating on the body becomes the body itself and then enmeshed in it is afflicted by it.

The mind manifests itself as the external world in the shape of pains or pleasures. The mind subjectively is consciousness. Objectively it is this universe. The mind attains through its enemy of discrimination the quiescent state of Para-Brahman. The real bliss is that one which arises when the mind, divested of all desires through the eternal Jnana, destroys its subtle form. The Sankalpas and the Vasanas (subtle desires) which you generate enmesh you as in a net. The self-light of Para-Brahman alone is appearing as the mind or this universe.

The person without Atmic enquiry will see as real the world which is nothing but of the nature of Sankalpa. The expansion of the mind alone is Sankalpa. Sankalpa through its power of differentiation, generates this universe. Extinction Sankalpas alone is Moksha.

The enemy of Atman is this impure mind only which is filled with excessive delusion and hosts of worldly thought There is no other vessel on this earth to wade through the ocean of re-birth than the mastery of the antagonistic mind.

The original sprout of the painful Ahamkara with its tender stem of re-births at length ramifies itself everywhere with its long branches of 'mine' and 'thine' and yields its unripe fruits of death, disease, old age, pain and sorrow. This tree can be destroyed to its root by the fire of Jnana only.

All the heterogeneous visibles, perceived through the organs of sense are only unreal, but that which is real is Para-Brahman or the Supreme Soul.

If all objects which have an enchanting appearance become eye-sores and present the very reverse of the former feelings, then the mind is destroyed. All your properties are useless. All wealth lands you in dangers. Non-desires will take you to the eternal blissful abode.

Destroy Vasanas and Sankalpas. Kill Egoism. Annihilate this mind. Equip yourself with the four means. Meditate on the Pure, Immortal, All-pervading Self or Atman. Get knowledge of the Self and attain Immortality, everlasting peace, eternal bliss, freedom and perfection.

The Yogavasishtha describes three types of Sadhana: (1) the control of the Prana by the practice of Pranayama, and the raising of the Kundalini power through the different Chakras in the body, (2) the control of the mind by the practice of self-analysis, eradication of vices, dispassion for mundane things, non-attachment, obliteration of the Vasanas, overcoming on egoism, reflection on the dream-like character of the world, and (3) meditation on Brahman by reflection on the solitary nature of the Atman (Kevalabhava), the immanence of the Atman the process of perception (Drashtr-darsana-sambandha), a the practice of the presence of Brahman in everything (Brahmabhyasa).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER SIX

SADHANA IN THE VARIOUS SCHOOLS

SADHANA IN VEERASAIVISM

Veerasaivism or Lingayatism shows the way to attain the Lakshya or Lord Siva. Lord Siva, Lord Subrahmanya, Rishabha king, Sanata Lingar, Kumara Devi, Sivaprakasa had all expounded lucidly the system of Veerasaiva philosophy. Veeragama is the chief source of this system of thought and this way of life. Sharanas are the saints of the Lingayat faith or cult.

Ordinary Saivites keep the Sivalinga in a box and worship it during the time of Puja. The Lingayatas keep a small Linga in a small silver or golden box and wear it in the body with a chain attached to the box. Wearing the Linga in the body will remind one of the Lord and help His constant remembrance. The Christian also wears the cross in the neck. This also has the same object in view. The followers of Veerasaivism who are called Lingayatas, make the meditation on Siva in the form of Linga the sole means of salvation. The perfection of the practice of deep concentration on Linga results in the intuitive experience of the Divine Siva.

SAKTI YOGA SADHANA

He who worships Sakti, that is, God in the form of Mother, as the supreme Power which creates, sustains and withdraws the universe, is a Sakta. All women are forms of the Divine Mother. A Sakta does Sadhana which helps the union of Siva and Sakti through the awakening of the forces within the body. He becomes a Siddha in the Sadhana when he is able to awaken Kundalini and pierce the six Chakras. This is to be done in a perfect practical way under the guidance of a Guru who has become perfect. The Sakti must be awakened by Dhyana, by Bhava, by Japa and by Mantra Sakti.

The Mother, the embodiment of the fifty letters is present in the various letters in the different Chakras. When the chords of a musical instrument are struck harmoniously, fine music is produced. Even so, when the chords of the letters are struck in their order, the Mother who moves in the six Chakras and who is the very self of the letters awakens Herself. The Sadhaka attains Siddhi easily when she is roused. It is difficult to say when and how She shows Herself and to which Sadhaka.

Sadhana means unfolding, rousing up or awakening of Power or Sakti. Mode of Sadhana depends upon the tendencies and capacities of the Sadhaka.

No one can free himself from the thraldom of mind and matter without Mother's Grace. The fetters of Maya are too hard to break. If you worship Her as the great Mother you can very easily go beyond Prakriti through Her benign grace and blessings. She will remove all obstacles in the path and lead you safely into the illimitable domain of eternal bliss and make you free. When She is pleased and bestows Her blessings on you, then alone you can free yourself from the bondage of this formidable Samsara.

The Sakta enjoys Bhukti (enjoyment in the world) and Mukti (liberation from all bondage). Siva is an embodiment of Bliss and Knowledge. Siva Himself appears in the form of man with a life-mixture of pleasure and pain. If you remember this point always, all dualism, all hatred, jealousy, pride will vanish. You must consider every human function as worship or a religious act. Answering calls of nature, micturation, talking, eating, walking, seeing, hearing become worship of Lord, if you develop the right attitude. It is Siva who works in and through man. Where then is egoism or individuality? All human actions are divine actions. One universal life throbs in the hearts of all, hears in the ears of all. What a magnificent experience it is, if one can feel this by crushing this little 'I'! The old Samskaras, the old Vasanas, the old habits of thinking, stand in the way of your realising this Experience-Whole.

The aspirant thinks that the world is identical with the Divine Mother. He moves about thinking his own form to be the form of the Divine Mother and thus beholds oneness every where. He also feels that the Divine Mother is identical with Para Brahman.

Saktism is not mere theory or philosophy. It prescribes systematic Sadhana of Yoga, regular discipline, according to the temperament, capacity and degree of evolution of the Sadhaka. It helps the aspirant to arouse the Kundalini and unite her with Lord Siva and enjoy the Supreme Bliss or Nirvikalpa samadhi. When Kundalini sleeps, man is awake to the world. He has objective consciousness. When She awakes, he sleeps. He loses all consciousness of the world and body and becomes one with the Lord. In Samadhi the body is maintained by the nectar which flows from the union of Siva and Sakti in Sahasrara.

Worship of the Divine Mother with intense faith and perfect devotion and self-surrender will help you to attain Her grace. Through Her grace alone, you can attain knowledge of the Imperishable.

 

 

SADHANA IN SAIV ASIDDHANTA

One will develop love and devotion for Lord Siva if he is freed from egoism. Sariyai, Kiriyai, Yoga and Jnana are the four Sadhanas or steps to kill egoism and attain Lord Siva. Erecting temples, cleaning them, making garlands of flowers, singing Lord's praises, burning lamps in the temples, constitute Sariyai. Kiriyai is to perform Puja, Archana, etc. Yoga is restraint of the senses and contemplation on the inner light. Jnana is to understand the true significance of Pati, Pasu, Pasam and to become one with Siva by constant meditation on Him after removing the three Malas, viz., Anavam (egoism), Karma (action) and Maya (illusion).

The worship of the all-pervading, eternal Supreme Being through external forms is called Sariyai. The requisite initiation for this is Samaya Diksha. The worship of the cosmic form of the Eternal Ruler of the universe externally and internally is called Kiriyai. The internal worship of Him as formless is called Yoga. For Kiriyai and Yoga the requisite initiation is called Visesha Diksha. The direct realisation of Lord Siva through Jnana Guru is called Jnanam. The initiation that leads to it is called Nirvana Diksha.

The aspirant should free himself from the three kinds of Mala, viz., Anavam, Karma and Maya. Then only will he become one with Lord Siva and enjoy Sivanandam. He should thoroughly annihilate his egoism, free himself from the bondage of Karma and destroy the Maya which is the basis of all impurities.

Guru or the spiritual preceptor is very essential for attaining the final emancipation. Siva is full of grace. He helps the aspirants. He showers His grace on those who worship Him with faith and devotion and who have childlike trust in Him. Siva Himself is the Guru. The grace of Siva is the road to salvation. Siva lives in the Guru and looks with intense love on the sincere aspirant through the eyes of the Guru. Only if you have love for mankind you can love God.

If the aspirant establishes a relationship between himself and Lord Siva he will grow in devotion quickly. He can have the mental attitude or Bhava-Dasya Bhava or the relationship of Master and servant which Tirunavukkarasar had, or the Vatsalya Bhava wherein Lord Siva is the father and the aspirant is the child of Lord Siva which Tirujnanasambandhar had or the Sakhya Bhava or the relationship of friend, (Lord Siva is regarded as the friend of the aspirant) which Sundarar had or the Sanmarga wherein Lord Siva is the very life of the aspirant which Manickavasagar had, which corresponds to the Madhurya Bhava or Atma Nivedana of the Vaishnavites.

The devotee becomes one with Siva like salt with water, milk with milk when the three Malas or Pasas are destroyed, but he cannot do the five functions of creation, etc. God only can perform the five functions.

The liberated soul is called a Jivanmukta. Though he lives in the body he is one in feeling with the Absolute. He does not perform works which can produce further bodies. As he is free from egoism, works cannot bind him. He does meritorious acts for the solidarity of the world (Loka-sangraha). He lives in the body until his Prarabdha Karma is exhausted. All his present actions are consumed by the grace of the Lord. The Jivanmukta does all actions on account of the impulsion of the Lord within him.

SADHANA IN KASHMIR SAIVISM

The Agamas are the basis of Kashmir Saivism. The central themes of Kashmir Saivism are God, world, soul, bondage and salvation. Bondage is due to ignorance or Ajnana. The soul thinks 'I am finite', 'I am this body'. It forgets that the soul is identical with Siva and that the world is wholly unreal apart from Siva.

Pratyabhijna or recognition of the reality is all that is needed for attaining the final emancipation. When the soul recognises itself as God, it rests in the eternal bliss of oneness with God. The liberated soul is merged in Siva, as water in water or milk in milk when the imagination of duality has disappeared.

Performance of duties in accordance with the injunctions of the Agamas, lessens this human delusion of being finite, and the ignorant self-identification of the human soul with the perishable and passing events and things. When the impurities born of ignorance are lessened and eliminated, then one obtains illumination. By spiritual exertion, one has to experience the essential nature of one's Inner Divine Consciousness. For such a spiritual experience of the infinite, the individual must first obtain the divine Grace of Lord Paramasiva. The four means or Upayas which enable the individual to get rid of impurities and ignorance are Anupaya, Sambhavopaya, Saktopaya and Anavopaya. By strictly exercising oneself in these four Upayas, one rises to the realisation of Supreme Consciousness.

SADHANA IN PASUPATA YOGA

Uniting the self with the true Siva Tattva by the control of the senses is real wearing of the Bhasma, because Lord Siva through his third eye of wisdom burnt passions to ashes. The meditation on Pranava should be done through Japa. One should attain the real Jnana, Yoga and Bhakti by steady practice. In the heart there is a ten-petalled lotus. It has ten Nadis. It is the Jivatma's abode. This Jivatma lives in a subtle form in the mind and it is Chitta or Purusha itself. One should ascend to the moon by cutting open or transcending the Dasagni Nadi by the regular practice of Yoga as instructed by the Guru and practising dispassion, righteousness and equality. The moon then gradually attains fullness, as it gets itself pleased or satisfied with the Sadhaka on account of his regular application in Yoga and purification of Nadis. In this state the Sadhaka overcomes waking and sleeping state and through meditation merges himself in the object meditated upon in this waking state itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

SADHANA IN SIVANANDA SUTRAS

SADHANA OF SIVANANDA UPADESAMRITAM

Thou art divine. Live up to it. Feel and realise thy divine nature. Thou art the master of your destiny. Do not be discouraged when sorrows, difficulties and tribulations manifest in the daily battle of life. Draw up courage and spiritual strength from within. There is a vast inexhaustible magazine of power and knowledge within. Learn the ways to tap the source. Dive deep within. Sink down. Plunge in the sacred waters of Immortality—the holy Triveni within. You will be quite refreshed, renovated and vivified when you go to the divine source and realise: 

I AM THE IMMORTAL SELF.

Understand the laws of the universe. Move tactfully in this world. Learn the secrets of nature. Try to know the best ways to control the mind. Conquer this mind. Conquest of mind is really conquest of nature and the world. Conquest of mind will enable you to go to the source of Soul Power and you can then realise: 

I AM THE IMMORTAL SELF.

Do not murmur. Do not grumble when troubles and sorrows descend upon you. Every difficulty is an opportunity for you to develop your will and to grow strong. Welcome it. Difficulties strengthen your will, augment your power of endurance and turn your mind towards God. Face them with a smile. In your weakness lies your real strength. Thou art invincible. Nothing can harm you. Conquer the difficulties one by one. This is the beginning of a new life, a life of expansion, glory and divine splendour. Aspire and draw. Grow. Expand. Build up all positive virtuous qualities—the Daivi Sampatti, viz., fortitude, patience and courage that are dormant in you. Start a new life. Tread the spiritual path and realise: 

I AM THE IMMORTAL SELF.

Have a new angle of vision. Arm yourself with discrimination, cheerfulness, discernment, alacrity and understanding, A glorious brilliant future is awaiting you. Let the past be buried. You can work miracles. You can do wonders.

Do not give up hope. You can destroy the harmful effects of unfavourable planets through your will-force. You can command the elements and nature. You can neutralise the effect of evil influences and the antagonistic dark forces that may operate against you. You can change the unfavourable circumstances into best possible ones. You can nullify destiny. Many have done this. You can also do so. Assert. Recognise. Claim thy birthright now. THOU ART THE IMMORTAL SELF.

Determination and self-reliance are very necessary for success in Self-realisation. In 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 an aspirant. One should be prepared to renounce this life at any moment. Without renunciation of this little sensual life, the eternal spiritual life cannot be attained. 'Abhayam' comes first in Daivi Sampatti or divine qualities that are enumerated in the Gita—Chapter XVI-1. A timid man or a coward dies several times before he actually dies. When you have once decided to take to spiritual practices, stick to it tenaciously at any cost, nay, at the risk of your life. Come what may. Be bold. Stand up. Realise the Truth. Proclaim it everywhere. THOU ART THE IMMORTAL SELF.

Destiny is your own creation. You have created your destiny through thoughts and actions. You can undo the same by right thinking and action. Even if there is an evil or a dark antagonistic force to attack you, you can diminish its force by resolutely denying the existence of evil or resolutely turning your mind away from it. Thus you can disarm destiny. The one thought "I am the Immortal Self" will neutralise all evil forces, the evil influences of all malevolent planets and will infuse in you courage and inner spiritual strength. Wrong thinking is the root-cause of all human sufferings. Cultivate right thinking and right action. Work unselfishly in terms of unity with Atma-Bhava. This is right action. The right thinking is when you think: I AM THE IMMORTAL SELF.

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. The idea of sin will be blown up in the air if you think: I AM THE IMMORTAL SELF.

Don't say: "Karma, Karma. My Karma has brought this Exert. Exert. Do Purushartha. Do Tapas. Concentrate. Purify. Meditate. Don't become a fatalist. Don't yield to inertia. Don't bleat like a lamb. Roar Om Om Om like a lion of Vedanta. See how Markandeya, who was destined to die at his sixteenth year, became a Chiranjeevi-an immortal boy of sixteen years-on account of his Tapas. Also note how, Savitri by her Tapas brought back to life her dead husband; how Benjamin Franklin and the late Sir T. Muthuswami lyer of the Madras Bench, elevated themselves. Remember, my dear Niranjan. that man is the master of his destiny. Visvamitra Rishi, who was a Kshatriya Raja, became a Brahma Rishi like Vasishtha and even created a third world for Trisanku by his power of Tapas. Rogue Ratnakar became the sage Valmiki through Tapas. Rogues, Jagai and Madhai of Bengal, became highly developed saints. They became the disciples of Gouranga. What others have done, you can also do. There is no doubt of this. You can also do wonders and miracles if you apply yourself to spiritual Sadhana, Tapas and meditation. Read the book: "From Poverty to Power" by James Allen with interest and attention. You will be inspired. Draw up a programme of your life. Follow my "Twenty Important Spiritual Instructions" and "Forty Golden Precepts." Read my book "Sure Ways for Success in Life and God-realisation." Adhere to the spiritual routine. Apply yourself with zeal and enthusiasm to Sadhana. Become a Naishthika Brahmachari. Be steady and systematic in your spiritual practices. Shine in your native, pristine Brahmic glory. Become a Jivanmukta. Remember: THOU ART THE CHILDREN OF IMMORTALITY.

Hey Saumya! Dear Immortal Self! Be bold. Be cheerful though you are down and out, though you have nothing to eat though you are clad in rags. Thy essential nature is Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute and Bliss Absolute). The outer cloak, this mortal physical sheath, is an illusory Mayaic production. Smile. Whistle. Laugh. Jump. Dance in joy and ecstasy Sing Om Om Om, Ram Ram Ram, Shyam Shyam Shyam, Sivoham Sivoham Sivoham, Soham Soham Soham. Come out of this cage or flesh. Thou art not this perishable body. Thou art the Immortal Self Thou art sexless Atman. Thou art the son of the King of kings, an Emperor of emperors, Brahman of the Upanishads, the Atman who dwells in the chambers of your heart (Hridaya Guda). Act as such. Feel as such. Claim your birthright now from this very second. Feel. Assert. Recognise. Realise, not from tomorrow or the day after, but right now from this very second. "Tat Tvam Asi," O Niranjan. THOU ART THE IMMORTAL SELF.

Brother! COURAGE is thy birthright and not fear. PEACE is thy divine heritage, not restlessness. IMMORTALITY but not mortality. STRENGTH but not weakness. HEALTH but not disease. BLISS but not sorrow. KNOWLEDGE but not ignorance.

You are the architect of your own fate and fortune. You are the master of your own destiny. You can do and undo things. You can attain Brahmanhood by right thinking, right feeling and right acting. You can break old morbid habits by the power of WILL. You can destroy wrong Samskaras, unholy desires, wrong imaginations. You can build new habits. You can change your nature. You can build up beautiful character. You can move the whole world by your spiritual force. You can elevate others also to the status of divinity. You can control the force of nature. You can command the elements.

Rely on your own Self. Do not be credulous. Believe not in any dogmas. Hear the inner voice of the Soul or promptings of the pure conscience. Be not a slave. Do not sell your liberty. Thou art the Immortal Soul. Destroy the inferiority complex. Draw power, courage, strength from within. Be free. Have no blind faith. Reason out carefully and then accept anything. Do not be carried away by blind surging emotions. Subdue them. Do not be intolerant. Expand. There is a vast magazine of power and knowledge within you. It needs ignition. Then the whole mystery of the Self will be revealed unto thee. The darkness of ignorance will be dispelled by the light of knowledge of the Self. Constant meditation on the Atman is the master-key to open the realms of knowledge. I have given here the gist of Vedanta in a few lines. Taste the Vedantic nectar and attain IMMORTALITY, ETERNAL BLISS and PERENNIAL JOY. This the goal of life. This is the end and aim of existence. Karma ya and Upasana will prepare you to realise the highest goal.

Try to lead a life of non-attachment; discipline your mind gradually. No one is free from pains, diseases, troubles and difficulties. You will have to rest in your own Svarupa, the blissful ATMAN—the source and support for this life. You will have to remember your own divine nature. Then only you will gain inner in strength to face the difficulties of life. Then only you will have balanced mind. You will not be affected by external morbid influences and unpleasant discordant vibrations. Regular meditation in the morning will give you new strength and inner life-perennial joy and unalloyed bliss. Practise this. Feel this. despite your adverse, stormy conditions. Gradually you will grow spiritually. You will attain Self-realisation eventually.

Your present ailment is a Karmic purgation. It has come to make you remember Him more and more, to instil mercy in your heart, to strengthen you and to enable you to develop power of endurance. Kunti prayed to God to give her always adversity so that she could remember Him always. Bhaktas rejoice in suffering more. Disease, pain, scorpion, snake, calamities, etc., are messengers from God. A Bhakta welcomes them with a cheerful countenance. He never grumbles. He says once more: "Tam Thine, My Lord. Thou dost everything for my own good."

Where then is the room for lamentation and despair, my dear Niranjan? Thou art dear to the Lord. That is the reason why He gives troubles. If He wants to take anyone to His side, He takes away all money. He removes his dear kith and kin. He destroys all his pleasure-centres, so that his mind may fully rest at His Lotus-Feet. Face everything with a smiling cheerful countenance. Understand His mysterious ways. See God in everything, in every face-out of sight, but not out of mind. We are closer when we live physically at a distance. Let us dwell in our hearts. Krishna suddenly hides Himself, so that Radha and the Gopis might thirst for Him more eagerly. Sing like Radha. Thirst like Gopis for His vision. Krishna's grace is bound to descend. He is thy Immortal Friend. Forget not the Flute-Bearer of Brindavana, thy Solace and the joy of Devaki.

The all-merciful God resides in the chambers of your heart. He is quite close to you. You have forgotten Him. But He still cares for you. Troubles are His blessings in disguise. He wants to mould your body and mind as fit instruments for his unhampered play or Lila. He ministers or attends to your wants in a better manner than you yourself will do. Keep the load down that you are carrying on your shoulder unnecessarily on account of your egoism. Give up your self-created responsibility and be at perfect ease. Have perfect faith in Him. Do total

unreserved self-surrender. Run to Him now. He is waiting with outstretched hands to embrace you. He will do everything for you. Believe me. Take my word for it. Open your heart to Him Quite freely like a child. All miseries will come to an end. Say unto Him at least once with Bhava sincerely: "I am Thine, my Lord. All is Thine. Thy Will be done."

The gulf of separation will vanish now. All miseries, troubles, worries and diseases will melt away. You will become one with the Lord!

Feel that the whole world is your body, your own home. Melt or destroy all barriers that separate man from man. Idea of superiority is ignorance or delusion. Isavasyam idam Sarvam. Develop Visva-Prem, all-embracing, all-inclusive love. Unite with all. Separation is death. Unity is eternal life. The whole world is Visva Brindavan. Feel that this body is a moving temple of God. Wherever you are, whether at home, office, etc., know you are in the temple of God. Every work is an offering unto the Lord. Feel that all beings are images of God. Transmute every work into Yoga or an offering unto the Lord. Have Akarta, Sakshi Bhava if you are a student of Vedanta. Have Nimitta Bhava if you are an aspirant in the path of Bhakti. Feel that God works through your hands; that One Power works through all hands, sees through all eyes, hears through all ears. You will become a changed being. You will have a new angle of vision. You will enjoy the highest Peace and Bliss!

 

SIVANANDA MANO-VIJNANA SADHANA SUTRAS

The mind can be controlled by Abhyasa and Vairagya. Abhyasa is constant effort to fix the mind on God. Vairagya is dispassion or non-attachment to sensual objects.

Enquire "Who am l"? Do Vichara. Do mental Japa of Om and meditate on Atman. All thoughts will die by themselves. You will rest in Sat-Chit-Ananda Atman.

Sit alone and watch the Vrittis of the mind. Be indifferent. Remain as a Sakshi. Do not identify yourself with the Vrittis. the mind will come under your control.

Destroy the fuel of desire, the fire of thought will be extinguished. With the annihilation of Sankalpa, the reality of Brahman will shine.

Cultivate divine qualities such as friendliness, mercy, gladness and indifference towards happiness, pain, virtue and vice. You will get peace of mind.

Don't think of the past. Don't plan for the future. Do not allow the mind to build images. Live in the solid present.

Do a thing which the mind does not want to do. Do not do a thing which the mind wants to do.

Don't try to fulfil your desires. Don't hope. Don't expect anything. Destroy the vicious desires through virtuous desires and destroy the virtuous desires also through one strong desire for liberation.

Practice of Pranayama destroys Rajas and Tamas: makes the mind steady.

Study of religious books, Tapas, charity and Satsanga with Mahatmas, Sadhus and Sannyasins overhauls vicious Samskaras and paves a long way in the control of mind.

Japa of any Mantra and Upasana destroys impurities of mind, makes the mind inward, induces Vairagya, helps concentration and eventually leads to control of the mind.

"Kalau Kesava-Kirtanat." In this Kali Yuga the easiest way for controlling the mind and attaining Moksha is Kirtan or singing the Name of the Lord.

Food has influence over mind. Sattvic food (milk, fruits, etc.) calms the mind. Rajasic food (meat, alcohol, etc.) excites the mind. Take Sattvic food. Have Mitahara.

Destroy evil habits by establishing new good habits. Control the lower instinctive mind through the higher Sattvic mind.

Constant selfless service with Atma Bhava is highly efficacious in purifying and controlling the mind.

Don't wrestle or struggle with the mind. Be regular in your concentration and meditation. May Peace, Joy, Bliss and in mortality abide in you for ever!

SIVANANDA HATHA YOGA SADHANA SUTRAS

1. Now then an enquiry into Hatha Yoga. 

2. Hatha Yoga concerns with the body and the breath. 

3. A Hatha Yogi purifies the Nadis through Pranayama.

4 He purifies the body through Shat-Karmas.

5 He practises Tratak and steadies the gaze. 

6 He practises Asanas, Pranayama, Bandhas and Mudras. 

7. He unites Prana with Apana.

8 He awakens the Kundalini by such practices.

9 He then takes it to Sahasrara through Shat-Chakras. 

10. He concentrates on the Chakras. 

11 He unites Kundalini with Sadasiva in Sahasrara. 

12 He drinks the nectar, attains Immortality. 

13. A Hatha Yogi attains Kaya Siddhi. 

14. Raja Yoga begins where Hatha Yoga ends.

SIVANANDA KARMA YOGA SADHANA SUTRAS 

1. Now then an enquiry into Karma Yoga Sadhana. 

2. Karma Yoga Sadhana purifies the heart. 

3. It is an auxiliary to knowledge. 

4. No knowledge is possible without Chitta-Suddhi. 

5. Karma Yoga Sadhana develops love and mercy.' 

6. Karma Yoga expands the heart. 

7. Give up I-ness and mine-ness. 

8. Develop adaptability, tolerance and courage. 

9. Have command over temper. 

10. Kill selfishness and idea of superiority. 

11. Be humble and gentle and sweet. 

12. Speak measured words. 

13. Be truthful and sincere. 

14. Do not expect fruits. 

15. Surrender the fruits to the Lord. 

16. Be an instrument in the hands of the Lord. 

17. Surrender body, mind and wealth to the Lord. 

18. Have equal vision and balanced mind. 

19. Feel all forms are the forms of the Lord. 

20. Feel you are serving the Lord alone.

21 Serve the sick, the poor and the parents.

Serve the country.

SIVANANDA BHAKTI YOGA SADHANA SUTRAS

1. Now then an enquiry into Bhakti Sadhana. 

2. Bhakti Sadhana is that process by which we attain the Lord. 

3. Develop nine modes of Bhakti.

Cultivate the five Bhavanas.

5. Serve the saints. 

6. Be devoted to your Guru. 

7. Have intense unswerving faith. 

8. Study the Bhagavata, the Ramayana. 

9. Hear the Lord's Lilas and Glory. 

10. Feel the Divine Presence everywhere. 

11. Do total, ungrudging self-surrender. 

12. Recite Lord's Names always. 

13. Sing His praises and do Kirtan. 

14. The fruit of Bhakti Sadhana is Jnana.

15. Para Bhakti and Jnana are one.

SIVANANDA YOGA SADHANA SUTRAS 

1. Now then an enquiry into Yoga Sadhana. 

2. Yoga Sadhana results in union with the Lord.

3. Learn Yoga under a Guru. 

4. Practise Ahimsa, Satya, Brahmacharya. 

5. Cultivate mercy, humility, patience. 

6. Have an easy, comfortable steady pose. 

7. Regulate the breath, control the Prana. 

8. Control the modifications of the mind. 

9. Surrender the fruits of your actions to the Lord. 

10. Take light diet, milk and fruits. 

11. Practise Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi. 

12. Siddhis are obstacles in Yoga. Shun them. 

13. Practise first the lower Samadhi. 

14. Enter the Asamprajnata Samadhi.

SIVANANDA VEDANTA SADHANA SUTRAS 

1. Now then an enquiry into Brahman. 

2. Brahman is the material and efficient cause of this world. 

3. Brahman is Infinite, Eternal, Unchanging. 

4. That which hides the real is Maya. 

5. That which veils the Jiva is Avidya. 

6. Attainment of eternal Bliss and removal of all pain is Moksha. 

7. Knowledge alone can give liberation. 

8. The four means are auxiliaries to knowledge. 

9. Knowledge comes through Sravana, Manana, Nididhyasana. 

10. Brahmakara Vritti annihilates Avidya.

11. Meditate "I am Brahman"—this is Ahamgraha-Upasana.

12. A Jivanmukta is ever blissful and has equal vision. 

13. A Jivanmukta must enjoy the Prarabdha. 

14. His Pranas are absorbed in Brahman; he does not move.

INTEGRAL YOGA SADHANA

INTEGRAL DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONALITY

The Lord Himself declared in the Gita that there are two paths to Godhead and of the two He Himself holds one as Superior to the other. This one is Karma Yoga. Karma Yoga is not entirely different from the Yoga of Wisdom, for wisdom is inherent in the former. The choice then is between abandonment of actions or their due performance in accordance with the principles enunciated by the Lord Himself, i.e., without egoism, attachment and desire.

Activity is the very soul of creation. Manifestation of phenomena is the result of the Primordial Activity in the Unmanifest. The inverse process of evolution into the Unmanifest Godhead has also, therefore, to be through activity: for, activity can drop off of its own accord only when creation is transcended. Forced restraint of the external organs of perception and action will result only in a hypocritical suppression of natural tendencies in man and not in their sublimation into the divine. It is this wisdom that prompted Janaka and other Jnanins to follow the path of action to reach the goal.

The essential prerequisite of Self-realisation being the infinite expansion of individual consciousness the separatist ego which limits the Jiva to the five sheaths has to be annihilated. Whichever be the missile chosen the target is the ego. The utter destruction of the ego is brought about only by the exercise of discrimination. This is taken as the basis for Yoga.

When the fast-binding shackle of ego is broken, the Yogi perceives the Atman ever remaining unmoved and unaffected by external activities, the Eternal Sakshi who neither acts nor enjoys. Actions belong to the realm of Prakriti or the ever-changing principle in nature, not to the Self, the Eternal purusha. The six states appertain to the Gunas and their combination: not to the transcendental Atman, which ever remains tranquil and equanimous.

Dynamic actions sprout forth from the Yogi, but inwardly he ever remains quiescent! Herculean tasks that he might undertake for the commonweal move him not a hair's bread from his Abode of Peace! Gigantic endeavours gather not their offspring to cling to the desire-lapel of his soul, for he has burnt it! The ego causeway having been destroyed, the fruits of actions which constitute the noose of Samsara dare not approach him.

Into this Karma-Jnana-synthesis is thrown devotion to Emotion forms quite a prominent part in the make-up of man and claims a place equal (at least) to those of his head and his hand. Emotion with its seat in the heart of man encloses within it the seed for rapid expansion of consciousness. According to the Gita, Para and Apara Bhakti both have their place in the unique process of evolution. Apara Bhakti leads to Para Bhakti which is identical with Jnana. A true Bhakta sees the Lord seated in his own heart, in every bit of creation. When the heart expands to limitless consciousness, the ego-covering slowly and gradually thins out and ultimately vanishes. The goal is reached.

Man—his entire being—is thus homogeneously developed into God. There is no stunted growth of any part to mar the beauty or the grandeur of his godly stature. He is no more in danger of becoming the prey of the deadly lioness (ego), for no part of his being is vulnerable. He is no more in danger of exposing an unregenerated corner of himself to the hungry gaze of worldliness, for there is none such in the expanded consciousness.

Nor is the practice of the Yoga of Meditation ignored. It is a fortress built morning and evening by the Yogi around himself, and equipped adequately to protect him from the external forces and the internal enemies. It is the main switch, which when on, sets the dynamo in motion to enable the latter to generate a high voltage of wisdom throughout the day, and electrocute the ego if it chances to come within the circuit.

This is the Yoga of Synthesis.

ALL-ROUND DEVELOPMENT

Man thinks, feels and wills. He must develop his heart, intellect and hand. The three Doshas can be removed by the three Yogas viz., Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga. Have one as basic Yoga. Combine other Yogas also. This is Yoga of Synthesis.

Mokshapriya said:

o Gurudev! You very often speak of the Yoga of Synthesis. You lay great stress on this Yoga. You seem to be a great votary of this Yoga. Please enlighten me on this Yoga. I am very anxious to know all about this Yoga.

The Guru said:

Yoga of Synthesis is suitable for the vast majority of persons. It is a unique Yoga.

Man thinks, feels and wills. He is a triune being. He is a tricycle or a three-wheeled chariot. He has abundant emotion and feeling. He reasons and ratiocinates. He wills. He must develop his heart, intellect and hand. Then alone can he attain perfection. Many aspirants have lop-sided development. They do not possess integral development.

The three wheels must be in perfect order. Then alone will the chariot or tricycle move smoothly. Even so this body-chariot will move in harmony if you develop the heart, intellect and hand.

Further, there are three Doshas or defects in the mind viz., Mala (impurity), Vikshepa (tossing of mind) and Avarana (veiling).

Mala should be removed by Nishkama Karma Yoga or selfless service. Vikshepa should be removed by Upasana or worship (Bhakti Yoga). Avarana should be removed by study of Vedantic literature, Vichara or enquiry and Self-realisation.

Hence everyone should have one Yoga as a basic Yoga. He must combine Nishkama Karma Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, etc. This is Yoga of Synthesis.

A little practice of Hatha Yoga (Asanas and Pranayamas) will give you good health. Raja Yoga will steady your mind. Upasana and Karma Yoga will purify your heart, and prepare you for the practice of Vedanta. Sankirtan will relax your mind and inspire you.

Such a Yogi has all-round development. The Yoga of Synthesis will help you to attain God-realisation quickly. The Upanishads, the Gita and other scriptures speak of this Yoga. Therefore, O Mokshapriya, practise this unique Yoga of synthesis, and attain Self-realisation quickly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

SARVA-SADHANA-SANGRAHA

TRIPLETS IN THE FOUR MAIN PATHS OF SADHANA

 

 

KARMA YOGA

Grow.

Expand.

Sacrifice.

Serve.

Give.

Purify.

BHAKTI YOGA

Love.

Sing.

Surrender.

Remember.

Weep.

Worship

(Ram Ram Ram)

RAJA YOGA

Control.

Subdue.

Restrain

JNANA YOGA

Hear.

Reflect.

Meditate.

Enquire.

Investigate.

Ratiocinate.

Assert.

Know.

Feel.

Search.

Understand.

Realise.

(Om Om Om)

 

 

SVARA SADHANA

EXPLANATION

In the body of a human being, the total number of Nadis on astral tubes which carry energy are 72.000. Of these 24 are the chief. Out of these 24 again 10 are important and of them 3 are the most important. These three Nadis are (1) Ida or Ingala or Chandra, (2) Pingala or Surya and (3) Sushumna.

During the course of one day and night breathing comes in and goes out 21,600 times.

When the breath comes and goes out through the right nostril then Surya or Pingala Nadi is functioning. When the breath comes and goes out through the left nostril. Chandra or Ida is functioning. 

The colour of Prithvi Tattva (earth) is yellow; the colour of Jala Tattva (water) is white; the colour of Agni Tattva (fire) is red:  the colour of Vayu Tattva (wind) is green; the colour of Akasa Tattva (ether) is black.

If in the morning Surya Nadi is functioning, then to walk with the right leg placed on the ground first, either in the eastern or northern direction is beneficial. To place the leg first on the floor after rising from the bed corresponding to the Nadi is beneficial. If Chandra Nadi is functioning, then one should walk three steps placing the left leg first on the ground either in the southern or western direction.

If a man asks a question and if, at that time, Surya Nadi is functioning and if the questioner asks a question standing below, behind or to the right, then there will be success. If the Chandra Nadi is operating and the man stands above, in front or to the left, there will be success.

To see the right palm early in the morning after getting up, is auspicious. To touch the face early in the morning with the palm corresponding to the Nadi is highly beneficial. If Surya Nadi is operating, the face should be touched with the right hand.

The three days of Surya Nadi are Sunday, Tuesday and Saturday. The days of Chandra Nadi are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Of these days, in these Nadis, if questions are asked they are fruitful. A question asked when Sushumna flows is not fruitful.

The length of air coming out is 12 fingers; it is 20 fingers at the time of eating, 24 fingers while walking, 30 fingers in sleep, 36 fingers at the time of copulation, and still more while doing exercise.

Each of the Nadis changes in a healthy person at an interval of 2y, Ghatikas or one hour. When Sushumna flows, meditate on God.

In the bright half of any month for the first three days, the functioning of Chandra Nadi is beneficial. Surya Nadi is auspicious on the 4th, 5th and 6th days. Chandra Nadi is fruitful on 7th, .8th and 9th. On the 10th, 11th and 12th, Surya Nadi and on 13th, 14th and 15th, Chandra Nadi is beneficial. In the dark half of the month for the first three days Surya Nadi is beneficial and so on.

Do holy actions when Ida flows. Eat and copulate when surya Nadi flows. Ida Nadi showers nectar in all limbs.

When Chandra Nadi flows, start a long journey and pilgrimage, do religious ceremony, dig wells and tanks inaugurate temples, images, take medicines, perform marriage, enter a new house, start agriculture, see a master or friend, worship your preceptor, and start study.

Take exercise when the Surya Nadi is flowing. When you enter or leave a house or a city, place the leg corresponding to the Nadi.

Practise Shanmukhi or Yoni Mudra-close the two ears with the two thumbs, the two nostrils with the middle fingers the mouth by the last two fingers and the two corners of the eyes with the first fingers. Do a mild Kumbhaka or retention of the breath and concentrate on the space between the two eyebrows.

If the circle seen is yellowish, it is Prithvi Tattva; if it is red, it is Agni Tattva; if it is black, it is Akasa Tattva.

The numbers for Surya Nadi are 3, 5, 7, 9, i.e., odd, while those for Chandra Nadi are even 2, 4, 6, 8, etc. If at the time of Surya Nadi, a question is asked and if the letters of the question are odd, then the question will bear good fruits.

If a question is asked whether a son or daughter will be born, in Surya Nadi a son and in Chandra Nadi a daughter will be born, and in Sushumna, a eunuch. After the menstrual bath on the fifth day, when the husband has Surya Nadi and the wife Chandra Nadi, then copulation at the time gives a son. If the question is asked about the child while standing to the side of the Nadi a son will be born; if from the empty side a daughter; while in Sushumna twins.

TECHNIQUE

By knowing the nature of inspiration and expiration, by having a comprehensive understanding and practice of Svara Sadhana (science of breath), comes into being the knowledge of the past, present and future. This science, the hidden of the hidden, the secret of the secret, the revealer of Satya or Brahman, the bestower of bliss and supreme knowledge is a pearl, a precious gem on the head of the wise. This knowledge is easily understood if faith, interest and attention are sincerely bestowed on the part of aspirants. It excites wonder in unbelievers. In the Svara are the Vedas and Sastras. Svara is the reflection of Para Brahman. A knowledge more secret than the science of breath, wealth more useful than the science of breath, has never been seen or heard of. Friends are brought together by the power of breath.

In the body are the Nadis having many forms and extensions. They ought to be known by the wise and the aspirants for the sake of Knowledge. Branching off from the root, Kanda, in the navel. 72,000 Nadis extend in the body. Kundalini Sakti is sleeping like a serpent in the Muladhara Chakra. From here 10 Nadis go upwards and 10 downwards. Of all these, three Nadis, viz., Ida, Pingala and Sushumna are the most important.

Ida is in the left part; Pingala is in the right part and Sushumna is in the middle of the vertebral column. Prana passes through all these Nadis to the different parts of the body. Ida flows through the left nostril. Pingala through the right and Sushumna through both. Ida is the lunar, Moon or the Chandra Nadi, Pingala is the solar, Sun or the Surya Nadi. The Jiva is ever repeating the Soham Mantra. Watch the breath carefully. You will notice that the sound SO is produced during inhalation and HAM during exhalation. Watch very carefully the motion of the Ida and Pingala. Keep the Prana and mind calm. To those men who keep the Sun and Moon in proper order knowledge of the past and future becomes as easy as if they were in their hands.

In Ida, the appearance of the breath is that of Amrita. It is the great nourisher of the world. In the right, the world is always born. In the midst, the Sushumna moves. Do calm acts during the flow of Moon. Do harsh acts during the flow of Sun. Do acts resulting in the attainment of psychic powers, Yoga and Salvation, during the flow of Sushumna.

The Moon and the Sun have duration of five Ghatikas (two hours). They flow in order during the 60 Ghatikas of a day. Then by a Ghatika each, the five Tattvas flow. The days begin with the Pratipada (the first lunar day). When the order is reversed, the effect is reversed. In the bright fortnight, the left is powerful. the dark fortnight, the right is powerful. If the breath rises by at sunrise and flows throughout the day and Pingala rises at set and flows throughout the night, it confers considerable good results.

Let the breath flow through Ida, the left nostril, throughout the whole day from sunrise to sunset, and through Pingala, the right nostril, throughout the night from sunset to sunrise. This is the practice of Svara Sadhana.

He who practises thus is verily a great Yogi. Practise this. Shake off your habitual sloth, indolence, inertia, and all aspects of Tamas. Leave off your idle talks, gossiping and the obnoxious habit of critisising others. Do something useful. Do some thing practical. Wrong Svara is the cause of a host of ailments Observance of right Svara as described above confers health and longevity. This will doubtless bestow on you wonderful benefits.

How to change the flow?

The following exercises are for changing the flow of Ida to Pingala. Select anyone of the methods that suits you best. For changing the flow from Pingala to Ida, just do the same exercise on the opposite side:

(1) Plug the left nostril with a small piece of cotton or fine cloth for a few minutes.

(2) Lie down on the left side for ten minutes.

(3) Sit erect. Draw the left knee up and keep the left heel near the left buttock. Now press the left arm-pit on the knee. In a few seconds the flow will be through Pingala.

(4) Keep the two heels together near the right upper buttock. The right knee will be over the left knee. Keep the left palm on the ground a foot away and let the weight of the trunk rest on the left hand. Turn the head also towards the left side. This is an effective method. Catch hold of the left ankle with the right hand.

(5) The flow of breath can be changed by Nauli Kriya also.

(6) Place the "U" shaped end of the Yoga Danda (wooden stick of about 3 feet long) at the left arm-pit and lean on it by the left side.

(7) The most effective and instantaneous result is produced in changing the flow through Khechari Mudra. The Yogi turns the tongue inside and blocks the passage by the tip of the tongue.

LAYA YOGA SADHANA

METHOD OF LAYA YOGA SADHANA

Dharana is the intense and perfect concentration of the mind upon some internal centre or external object or sounds Like Anahata sounds or any abstract idea accompanied by a complete abstraction from everything pertaining to the external universe or the world of senses. Dharana is absolutely necessary in Laya Yoga.

sit in sit in Padma or Siddha Asana. Practise Yoni Mudra by closing the ears through the thumbs. Hear the internal sound through the right ear. The sound which you hear will make you deaf to all external sounds. Having overcome all obstacles, you will enter the Turiya state within fifteen days by the practice of Lava Yoga. In the beginning of your practice you will hear many loud sounds. They gradually increase in pitch and after steady practice, they are heard more and more subtle. You should try to distinguish sounds that are more subtle. You may change your concentration from the gross sound to the subtle or from the subtle to the gross sound, but you should not allow your mind to be diverted from these to any other object.

The mind, having at first concentrated itself on any one sound, fixes firmly to that and is absorbed in it. The mind becoming insensible to the external impressions, becomes one with the sound as milk with water and then becomes rapidly absorbed in Chidakasa. Being indifferent towards all objects, having controlled the passions, you should by continual practice concentrate your attention upon the sound which destroys the mind. Having abandoned all thoughts and being freed from all actions, you should always concentrate your attention on the sound, and then your Chitta becomes absorbed in it. Just as the bee which is drinking the honey, does not care for the odour; so also the Chitta, which is always absorbed in sound, does not long for sensual objects, as it is bound by the sweet smell of Nada (Anahata sound) and has abandoned its flitting nature. The serpent Chitta, through listening to the Nada, is entirely absorbed in it. The Chitta becomes unconscious of everything and concentrates itself on the sound. The sound serves the purpose of a sharp goad to control the maddened elephant-Chitta which roves in the pleasure-garden of sensual Objects. It serves the purpose of a snare for binding the deer-Chitta. It also serves the purpose of a shore to the ocean waves of Chitta.

The sound proceeding from Pranava which is Brahman is of the nature of effulgence. The mind becomes absorbed in it. That is the supreme seat of Vishnu. The mind exists so long as there is sound, but on the cessation of it there is that state termed Turiya. This sound is absorbed in Brahman and the soundless state is the supreme seat. The mind which along with Prana has its Karmic affinities destroyed by the constant concentration upon Nada, is absorbed in Brahman. There is no doubt of it. Being freed from all states and all thoughts, the body will appear like a dead body or like a log of wood and does not feel heat or cold, joy or sorrow. When the spiritual sight becomes fixed without any object to be seen, when the Prana becomes still without any effort, and when the Chitta becomes firm without any support you become Brahman. When Manas is destroyed, when virtues and sins are burnt away, you shine as the effulgent, immaculate, eternal, stainless Suddha Brahman. You are a Mukta now.

EXPERIENCES IN LAYA YOGA SADHANA

Sit in Padmasana or Siddhasana or Sukhasana. Close the ears with the thumbs. This is Shanmukhi Mudra or the Vaishnavi Mudra or Yoni Mudra. Hear the Anahata sound attentively. Occasionally you can hear the sounds through the left ear also. Practise to hear from the right ear only. Why do you hear distinctly through the right ear only? Because of the solar Nadi; Pingala on the right side of the nose. The Anahata sound is also called Omkara Dhvani. It is due to the vibration of the Prana.

Do Japa (Ajapa Japa) of Soham with breath or Japa of any Mantra. Practise Pranayama for one or two months. You will hear the ten Anahata sounds clearly, and enjoy the music of the soul. Abandon all worldly thoughts. Collect the dissipated rays of the mind and concentrate them on the Anahata sound. Practise Yama (self-restraint) or Sadachara (right conduct),

Nada or Anahata that is heard is of ten kinds. The first is chini (like the sound of chini); the second is chini-chini; the third is the sound of bell; the fourth is that of the sound of conch; the fifth is that of tantri (lute); the sixth is that of the sound of tale (cymbals); the seventh is that of flute; the eighth is that of one (drum); the ninth is that of mridanga (double drum) and tenth is that of thunder. You can experience the tenth so without the first nine sounds through the initiation of a Gradually you will have to change your concentration T gross sound to the subtle.

Before you set your feet upon the higher rungs of the ladder of Nada Yoga, you should practise to hear the voice of your inner God in seven manners. The first is like the nightingale's sweet voice chanting a song of parting to its mate. The second Comes as the sound of a silver cymbal of the Dhyanis, awakening the twinkling stars. The next is as the plaint melodies of the cean-sprite imprisoned in its shell. And this is followed by the melodious note of Vina. The fifth sound of bamboo-flute shrills in your ear. It changes next into a trumpet-blast. The last vibrates like the dull rumbling of a thunder-cloud. The seventh swallows all the other sounds. They all die, and then you will be able to hear the subtle music of the inner Spirit.

You will get knowledge of hidden things in the seventh. In the later stages you will hear Paravak and develop the divine eve. And lastly you will attain the Para Brahman.

The sound entraps the mind. The mind becomes one with the sound as milk with water. It becomes absorbed in Brahman or the Absolute.

You cannot have any tangible result in the path of Laya Yoga without purification of the heart. You will have to purify your heart first by untiring selfless service, Kirtan, Japa, meditation, cultivation of divine virtues and thereby eradicating the negative qualities. You will have to equip yourself with the four means, and practise the Laya Yoga Sadhana. Then alone you will attain the seat of Eternal Bliss and Immortality.

PRANAVA SADHANA

Pranava (OM) is a ferry-boat for men who have fallen into the never-ending ocean of mundane life. Many have crossed this ocean with the help of this ferry-boat. You can also do so if you meditate constantly on OM and live in the spirit of OM.

OM is the only symbol for that Immortal, All-pervading Self. Think of OM to the exclusion of everything else. Shut out all mundane thoughts. They may, of course, recur again and again. But you will have to generate the thoughts of the pure Self repeatedly. Associate the ideas of purity, perfection, freedom, knowledge, immortality, eternity, infinity, etc., with OM. Repeat OM mentally.

Constantly meditate upon the following thoughts and repeat mentally:

All-pervading ocean of light 

I am, OM OM OM

Light of lights

I am, OM OM OM

Sun of suns

I am, OM OM OM

Infinity

I am, OM OM OM

Pure Chit (Consciousness)

I am, OM OM OM

All-pervading, infinite Light

I am, OM OM OM

Vyapaka paripurna

I am, OM OM OM

Jyotirmaya Brahman

I am, OM OM OM

Omnipotent, omniscient

I am, OM OM OM

All-bliss, all-purity

I am, OM OM OM

All-glory, all-joy

I am, OM OM OM

All-health, all-peace

I am, OM OM OM

 

Aspirants bold! Remember always the last word of Advaita, "TAT TVAM ASI”—That thou art. Feel as such. Recognise as such. Realise your real identity with the all-blissful Set right now, in this very moment!

Association with Om is to become one with the thing signified. “Tat-Japah tadartha bhavanam." Try to identify yourself with the all-blissful Self when you think or meditate or chant OM and negate the five Kosas as illusory adjuncts created by Maya. You have to take the symbol OM as Sat-Chit-Ananda Brahman or Atman. This is the meaning. During meditation you should feel that you are all-purity, all-light, all-pervading existence etc. Meditate on the Self daily. Think that you are entirely different from the mind or body. Feel: I am Sat-Chit-Ananda Atman, I am all-pervading consciousness. This is the Vedantic meditation.

Meditation on OM with Bhavana and meaning leads to realisation or Brahma-Jnana. This is the Jnana Yoga. Besides A,U,M and Ardha-matra, there are four other parts of OM, viz., Bindu, Bija, Sakti and Santi. The latter four have to be felt through Bhavana or feeling during meditation. Laya Chintana of OM leads to Advaita Nishtha or Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

(a) Visva gets Laya or dissolution in Virat: Virat in “A”. 

(b) Taijasa gets Laya in Hiranyagarbha: Hiranyagarbha in "U". 

(c) Prajna gets Laya in Isvara: Isvara in "M”.

Turiya is common to both Jiva and Isvara. "A” Matra gets Laya in Kutastha—Jiva-Brahmaikyam—oneness of Jiva and Brahman. Thus you will have to realise your identity with supreme Self through such Pranava Sadhana.

May you all rest in the non-dual Brahman and taste the nectar of Immortality. May you all reach the fourth state of bliss (Turiya) by analysing the experiences of the waking, dream and deep sleep states. May you all have a comprehensive understanding of Omkara, or Pranava and the "A" Matra. May you all enter the soundless OM by transcending the sounds of A, U and M. May you all meditate on OM and attain the goal of life, The Ultimate Reality. May this OM guide you. May this OM be your centre, ideal and goal!

SOHAM SADHANA

Soham means He am I or I am Brahman. Sa means He. Aham means I. This is the greatest of all Mantras. This is an Abheda-bodha-vakya which signifies the identity of Jiva or the individual soul and Brahman or the Supreme Self.

Soham is only OM. Delete the consonants S and H. You get OM. Soham is modified Pranava or OM. Meditation on Soham is the same as meditation on OM. Before you take up Soham Sadhana you must practise the Neti-Neti (not this, not this) doctrine. You must negate or deny the body and the other. Kosas by repeating 'Naham Idam Sariram'—'Ahametat na.' || am not this body, mind or Prana. I am He, He am I Soham, Soham!

The Jiva or the individual soul is repeating this Mantra unconsciously 21,600 times within 24 hours. Even during sleep the Soham repetition goes on by itself. Watch the breath very carefully and you will know this. When you inhale the sound 'So' is produced, and when you exhale 'hum' is produced. This is termed Ajapa Mantra.

Repeat this Mantra mentally. You should feel with all your heart and soul that you are all-pervading, omnipotent, all-blissful soul or the Brahman. Mere mechanical repetition will not help you much. But maximum benefits can only be realised by Anubhuti or feeling. If intellect tries to feel, I am Brahman, I am the omnipotent, but the Chitta tries to feel, I am so and so, I am weak, I am helpless etc., realisation is not possible. You must destroy all wrong Samskaras, all false imaginations, weaknesses, superstitions and fears. You must destroy Avidya or ignorance. It is Avidya, it is the mind that has brought one to this limitation through identification with the perishable body. Pierce the veil of ignorance. Tear me five sheaths. Remove the curtain of Avidya and rest in your own essential Sat-Chit-Ananda Svarupa through the force of Soham Sadhana. Assert "Aham Brahmasmi." Proclaim. ‘Tat Tvam Asi."

Sing: - 

Tam neither mind nor body; Immortal Self I am. 

Tam witness of three states; Existence Absolute. 

I am witness of three states; Knowledge Absolute. 

I am witness of three states; Bliss Absolute,

Soham Soham, Sivoham Soham,

Soham Soham, Sivoham Soham, 

I am not this body; This body is not mine 

I am not this Prana; This Prana is not mine 

I am not this mind; This mind is not mine 

I am not this Buddhi; This Buddhi is not mine 

I am that I am; I am that I am 

I am That I am, That I am That, I am That

(Soham Soham..........) 

I am Sat Chit; Ananda Svarupa 

I am Nitya Suddha Buddha; Mukta Svabhava, 

I am Svayam Prakasa; I am Santi Svarupa 

I am Akarta Abhokta; I am Asanga Sakshi 

Prajnanam Brahma; Aham Brahma Asmi 

Tat Tvam Asi; Ayam Atma Brahma, 

Satyam Jnanam; Anantam Brahma, 

Ekam Eva Advitiyam; Sarvam Khalvidam 

Brahma Neha Nanasti Kinchana.

(OM OM OM OM, OM OM OM OM.....)

Recognise your own Svarupa by negating the body-idea and identifying yourself with supreme Self. Mentally always repeat the Soham. Meditate on Sat-Chit-Ananda, the non-dual Brahman. Watch the breath with silent Soham repetition while sitting, standing, eating, talking, etc. This is an easy method for concentration. The Soham Bhava must become habitual.

The Soham Sadhana is suitable only for the advanced students in spiritual path, particularly those who are monistically inclined. However one has to pass through the preliminary spiritual practices. He should ascend in the ladder of Yoga step by step. Unless the heart is purified and the dross of mind. cleansed, unless the idea of doership and the little self-asseru ego is completely purged out, one cannot attain any tangible to sult in the path of Soham Sadhana.

VICHARA SADHANA

I

Very often we run after the shadow, discarding the substance in the background. In the spiritual sense, this theory is the very root of bondage. Instead of seeking God and realising his oneness with Him, man runs after His shadow, the world. This is the cause of all misery on earth.

Even in the case of the meaning of the word “God” itself we more often than not understand the "shadow" rather than the real "Substance" that is God. We concentrate so much on this unreal thing that in course of time we lose consciousness of the tree, we miss the grand spectacle of the wood!

This is true of our understanding of the Scriptures, too: How often have not reformers had to thunder forth to antagonistic millions the true significance of the teaching of the Prophets and Saints and dispel the darkness of wrong notions that had covered up the essence! The origin of most of the religions of the world could be traced out to this sort of renaissance. The source was only one religion. In course of time, people of deluded understanding began to interpret it as tenets variously and started forming parties. They split themselves into opposing camps, each owning to be the sole votaries of the real purport of the ancients' utterances. Then will arise a star who will dive deeper into the ocean of Wisdom and bring out the pearl of Truth. Some will follow him; others will still strike the discordant note. The new seer will get together a band of followers to propagate his teachings; and these will establish a new religion. And, so the game has gone on for ages!

Besides the Scriptural teachings, all religions have had the "Sayings" of their prophets. These are also classed under proverbs, though these include other ideas. Those of the proverbs which have such a spiritual background have as much of deep, secret and mystical meaning as the scriptural utterances themselves. This makes the real idea which they wish to convey to be misconstrued by posterity; and often some nonsensical notes are sounded in a futile attempt to give a true rendering of this sublime music.

Let us take a few examples from the Tamil literature. There is a beautiful (and amusing as it has become nowadays) proverb which means: "When you see (the) dog, there is no stone; when you see (the) stone, there is no dog." This has come to be regarded as a remark made by someone in light vein, or at least not in a very serious mood. The proverb is taken to convey what it literally does. A man is passing along the road in a village. Several dogs stroll about him, “What a pity!” he is made to think. "There are so many dogs all about me. How I wish there was a stone near at hand, so that I could enjoy a throw at them!" During a pilgrimage the same man looks at beautiful, well-polished stones lining the banks of the Ganga, then he thinks: "What a pity, again! Here there are any number of the most lovely stones. But, not a dog to hit them with!" This is the interpretation of the vulgar proverb. Even the serious amongst humanity nowadays will at best interpret it to mean that this proverb merely restates an old idea regarding earthly fortunes. Where money is most needed, it is usually absent; where it is already superfluous, it is found in more and more abundance. Few care to stop to think what the proverb really has to convey.

Before we proceed to examine the underlying sense of this proverb let us divert our attention to "God” vis-a-vis the world. What is this world and what is God? "Brahma Satyam Jagan Mithya Jivo Brahmaiva Na-aparah," roared the ancient seers. God alone is Truth; the world does not exist at all, they said. But, we see it!—posed the uninitiated. Yes, we see it as we see a snake in the rope; as we see water in the mirage; as we see silver in the mother-of-pearl. A man comes home from his office, tired and exhausted and as he steps into his house, he feels that he had trodden a snake. He is not able to examine the thing in the darkness. In that weakened state, his reasoning fails him. His head reels, he is in the grip of fear. He imagines that he has been badly bitten by this snake. He staggers into the house and collapses into the nearest bed. At once a hue and cry! The man has been bitten by the snake. He almost loses consciousness. Crowds of people surround his col. Weeping and wailing; praying and prattling; pandemonium pre, vails in the house. A seasoned man with flowing grey hairs on wisdom enters and shouts: "Leave the way, let me examine the patient." He gets nearer the bed, and calmly examines the patient. Unable to detect any signs of snake bite, he thinks, his hands combing the long beard, "No, this can't be." He is determined! "Let me see,” he says: "Where did the snake bite you The dying man feebly answers: "Four yards away from entrance." With a lantern in hand, the old man sets out on his errand. Of course, the snake if it had bitten him would not be stationary, still. Exactly, on the spot mentioned by the patient, there was "the snake." But the flash of light has turned it into an Old garland of flowers! Triumphantly, with that garland-snake in hand the old man returns to the death-bed and with a sagacious twitch playing on his lips, he exhibits the snake to the astounded audience. “This is, my dear man, the snake that bit you. It has no poison-fangs. So, wake up. Change your shirt which is wet with perspiration.” The dying man is at once electrified and the pain and fear leave him. Brightly he gets up, embraces his saviour and bids good-bye to the crowd!

That is what the world is. It is a superimposition on Brahman. In essence, it is not there; at least, as what it seems to be. So long as you see it in darkness, it appears as the snake. Light the lamp of wisdom and in its effulgence, the world, as such, will disappear and you will perceive the Essence (Brahman) in all Its grandeur. Several Tamil saints have conveyed this idea in the very beautiful, and sublime verses. He who sees God, does not perceive the world made up of the five elements; and he who is engrossed in the play of the elements, is blinded to the vision of God.

To arrive at the real purport of the proverbs, we should know the context in which that proverb took its birth. Only then can we understand the sense which the letters wish to convey.

A sculptor moves around an old temple, with everyone of his senses and the mind absorbed in the beauty of the carvings on the walls of the temple. He feels the tail of a cat. "Ah, how beautiful it is! There, the mouth of that lion with that stone-ball inside!" So, he moves from one carving to another. He takes a turn. "Lo! That huge dog! If only it jumps on me! Look at its sharp teeth; and its blood-thirsty tongue flowing out of its mouth. It is looking directly at me. Oh, my God, what am I to do now?" Perplexed, he closes his eyes. One minute passes, two, three, four. Still the dog is hesitant. "Why, probably it is chained." He throws a small stone at it. It does not move. He goes nearer. Still it stands where it was, staring at him all the time. "Why, it does not even wag its tail? Peculiar dog it must be." He goes yet nearer, and touches its tail. His whole body rocks with laughter at his own idiotic behaviour. It is made of Stone! Yet, such was the workmanship, the colouring and the in that it actually looks like a live dog. This is what was meant by the poet who said: "When there is the dog, there is no stone; when there is the stone, there is no dog." When you see the dog there is no idea that it is of stone. When you realise it is made of stone, the idea of dog vanishes. What a travesty of truth it is to superimpose all sorts of ludicrous ideas on this proverb which conveys the highest truth. When you see the diversity, Unity disappears; and vice versa. When you realise God, world disappears; when you lose yourself in the world you cannot realise God.

This idea is beautifully expressed in many a couplet in Tamil literature. One says; “The elephant screened the wood; and in the wood disappeared the elephant." It sounds mystic! Take an instance. A young child has an elephant made of mango-wood which he got as a present from his fond parents. A carpenter is working on the verandah. It runs to him and shows the elephant to him, "See, how big are his legs. Look at his winnow-like ears. Pooh! The tusks will pierce your chest." It plays with it as if it were an elephant in reality. The carpenter takes the doll in his hand and examines it. "Why child, it is not a good one." "What my elephant?" "Yes it is made of mango-wood. It gets spoiled soon." To the carpenter, it is not an elephant; but a piece of wood. Such is the difference in the attitude towards the world between the worldly man and a saint. The worldly man sees the world as a diversity, as a mixture of pleasure and pain, as a conglomeration of objects; the saint perceives the one Hidden Essence which pervades the whole universe; to him it is an “Abhasa” of That Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute, Brahman.

II

Now, take another proverb. Translated into English it means: "When the 'Ooru,' is split, things were easy for the dancer.” This word 'Ooru' is taken to mean "Village." There once lived in a village a big zamindar who owned the entire village itself. A street-dancer used to visit the place once in a day and get rich presents from the zamindar after a performance on his art. The zamindar died and his two sons inherited their fasther's property. Naturally, it was divided between the two. As happens with most of the South Indian families, they both established their own houses. Now, the street-dancer again visited the village and found the zamindar's household divided between two brothers. He went to one of the brothers and exhibited his feats. He received rich presents from him. He then visited the other brother and gave a performance there also. This brother also gave him rich presents; but found out by and by the value of those given by his brother. Out of sheer vanity, he gave more than his brother did! Thus, whereas the dancer would have got presents only from one zamindar, he was now able to get a lion's share in view of the fact that the family was Split into two. This is taken to be the real meaning of the proverb.

A moral is usually drawn from the story that families should ever try to remain united: or else some "Third” party would plunder both parties to his own advantage at the expense of both of them! When we understand the real meaning, however, we would merely laugh at such perverted explanations.

An important word in the proverb 'Ooru' is misunderstood to mean 'a village' and a whole parable is woven round it! If we think for a while, we are sure to arrive at the correct meaning of the whole proverb. The word 'Ooru' has been borrowed from Sanskrit where it means "thigh."

You are probably aware of the story of Oorvasi's birth. Sage Narayana was performing severe penance in the Himalayas for innumerable years. Indra, who usually gets upset whenever a saint performs penance, wanted to foil Narayana's attempts. He sent many celestial damsels to tempt Sage Narayana. They approached him with this end in view. They danced, sang and spread their tempting net over the saint absorbed in himself. He sensed the mischief, opened his eye and saw the damsels straining everyone of their nerves to disturb him. He smiled at their folly. And as they were looking on, struck his right thigh with his palm. To the bewilderment of the celestials, there arose from that thigh a veritable army of the most bewitching female forms. These latter charmed Indra's messengers who fell their victims instantly. They soon forgot all about their mission and remained there itself. Indra waited, and waited. At last, despaired of the return of his missionaries, he sent some of his deputies to find out the cause of their delay. those Devas, in their turn, were themselves the victims of ge Narayana's creations. Indra himself came later, found out the facts. But for the sage's grace upon him, Indra would him self have fallen a victim to the lustful looks of these women. Realising his capacity, Indra at once fell prostrate Narayana's feet and begged his pardon. Afraid that his own celestials would fade into insignificance if the sage's creation were allowed to compete with them, he requested Narayan to withdraw the women that he created. The sage at once recalled all the damsels except one to enter his thigh. This one he sent with Indra. She was Oorvasi-one who lived in the thigh of Narayana.

That is what 'Ooru' means. Now, taking this meaning of the word, let us analyse the proverb again. "Because of the separation of the thigh, it was easy for the dancer." The famous story of the Dance of Siva comes before our mind's eye. Parvati, Lord Siva's consort, challenged her husband to a dance competition. To establish his supremacy over her, the Lord danced for a long time. Parvati was equally adept. She proved His equal in every respect. At last a queer idea struck him. He raised one of his legs up and danced. No decent woman could do that without losing her chastity and proper demeanour. Parvati reflected for a moment and submitted. She acknowledged defeat. The proverb reminds us of this Divine Event; "Was it not because the thighs were separated, that victory was easy for the Dancer?"

III

One more to the point.

There is, what is commonly agreed to be a funny proverb which taken literally means: "The burning ghat can be known only if (one) has died previously.” It is absurd on the face of it. It is not necessary for one to have died previously to know where the dead bodies are burnt. One passes by the village burning ghat often enough to know where it is. Further, one who dies does not know where he is being taken! So, it is impossible for a dead man to know the burning ghat.

A proverb cannot be without meaning, and the meaning is often hidden in a mystery. This proverb should have its meaning; it cannot be for mere fun.

Now, let us probe a little deeper. "Burning Ghat'' represents destruction, or that which burns. The first part of the proverb literally means, "At the death of 'before' and 'after' only...". We all know that the first thing that asserts itself in man is T false ego that arrogates to itself the doership of every action.

The the next is a natural corollary of the first—the idea of ”mineness” which spreads its possessive net over a large field and gets the I itself entangled in its meshes. Everyone of the Saints and seers of India has declared emphatically that unless This false ego is annihilated in toto a man cannot attain salvation Whatever path he might follow, this is a condition prerequisite to realisation. All the Tamil Saints of South India have trumpeted this Truth in unmistakable terms; and one has chosen to express it in the form of this proverb. "O fool! Only when the first thing (1) and the later thing (mind) die, can you perceive that Ghat of Knowledge which burns ignorance." What a sublime thought! And, what a tragic mutilation has it suffered by the passage of time and by falling into the hands of unthinking revellers!

May you all understand the real import of the Great Sayings and imbibe it in your everyday life! 

OM Santi Santi Santih!

DHYANA YOGA SADHANA

QUALIFICATIONS FOR PRACTISING DHYANA

Before saturating the mind with thoughts of Brahman you will have to assimilate the divine ideas first. Assimilation first and then saturation. Then comes realisation at once without a moment's delay. Remember this "Triplet,” always: ASSIMILATION-SATURATION-REALISATION.

Your will should be rendered strong, pure and irresistible by more Atma Chintana, eradication of Vasanas, control of the senses and more inner life. You must utilise every second on Sundays and holidays to your best spiritual advantage.

If you have tasted Rasaqulla—a Bengal-sweetmeat-for a month, mental adhesion to Rasagulla comes in the mind. If you are in the company of Sannyasins, if you read books on Yoga, Vedanta, etc., a similar mental adhesion takes place in the mind for attaining God-realisation, God-consciousness. Mere mental adhesion will not help you much. Burning 6 Vairagya, burning Mumukshutva, capacity for spiritual Sadhana, Intense and constant application and Nididhyasana (meditation) are needed. Then only Self-knowledge is possible.

Leading a virtuous life is not by itself sufficient for god-realisation. Constant meditation is absolutely necessary. A good virtuous life only prepares the mind as a fit instrument for concentration and meditation. It is concentration and _ medi-tation that eventually lead to Self-realisation.

You will find very often these terms in the Gita "Manmanah, Matparah." These terms connote that you will have to give your full mind, entire 100 per cent mind to God, Then only you will have Self-realisation. Even if one ray of mind runs outside, it is impossible to attain God-consciousness,

Just as you render the turbid water pure by the addition of clearing nut (strychnos potatorum), so also you will have to make the turbid mind filled with Vasanas and false Sankalpas pure by Brahmachintana (thinking and reflecting on the Absolute). Then only there will be true illumination.

You must not be too hasty in longing for the fruits at once, when you take to meditation. A young lady perambulated one Asvattha tree (Ficus Religiosa) 108 times for getting an off-spring and then immediately touched her abdomen to see whether there was a child or not. It is simply foolishness. She will have to wait for some months. Even so, if you will meditate for some time regularly, then the mind will be ripened and even-tually you will get Atma-Sakshatkara (Self-realisation). Haste makes waste.

It behoves well that advanced Grihastha Yogic students (householders) will have to stop all the worldly activities when they advance in meditation, if they desire to progress further. They themselves will be forced to give up all work, if they are really sincere. Work is hindrance in meditation for advanced students. That is the reason why Lord Krishna says in the Gita "For a sage who is seeking Yoga action is called the means; for the same sage who is enthroned in Yoga (state of Yogarudha) serenity (Sama) is called the means." Then work and medita-tion become incompatible like acid and alkali or fire and water or light and darkness.

You must daily increase your Vairagya, meditation and Sattvic virtues such as patience, perseverance, mercy, love, forgiveness, purity, etc. Vairagya and good qualities help medi-tation. Meditation increases the Sattvic qualities.

Have the one all-pervading Brahma Bhavana (feeling). Deny the finite body as a mere appearance. Try to keep LIP the feeling always.

Why do you close your eyes during the meditation? open your eyes, and meditate. You must keep your balance of mind even when you are in the bustle of a city. Then only you are per-fect. In the beginning when you are a neophyte you can close your eyes to remove the distraction of mind, as you are very weak. But later on you must meditate with eyes open even during the walking. Think strongly that the world is unreal, that there is no world, that there is Atman only. If you can meditate on Atman even when the eyes are open you will be a strong man. You will not be easily disturbed. You can meditate only when the mind is beyond all anxieties.

In meditation and concentration you will have to train the mind in a variety of ways. Then only the gross mind will become subtle (Sukshma). All Vrittis such as anger, jealousy, hatred etc., assume subtle forms when you practise Japa and meditation. They are thinned out. They should be destroyed in toto through Samadhi. Then only you are safe. Latent Vrittis will be waiting for opportunities to assume a grave and expanded form. You should be ever careful and vigilant.

Resist the fatal downward pull caused by the dark, antagonistic forces through regular meditation. Check the aimless wanderings of the mind through clear and orderly thinking. Hear not the false whispers of the lower mind. Turn your inner gaze to the divine centre. Do not be afraid of the severe set-backs that you will encounter in your journey. Be brave. March on boldly, till you finally rest in your centre of eternal bliss. In a big city there is much bustle and sound at 8 p.m. At 9 o'clock there is not so much bustle and sound. At 10 p.m. it is still reduced, at 11 p.m. it is still much less. At 1 a.m. there is peace everywhere. Even so in the beginning of Yogic practices there are countless Vrittis in the mind. There is much agitation and tossing in the mind. Gradually the thought-waves subside. In the end all mental modifications are controlled. The Yogi en-joys perfect peace.

When you pass through a market of a big city, you will not be able to notice small sounds but when you sit for common meditation with some of your friends in a quiet room in the morning you will be able to detect even a little sneezing or coughing. Even so you are not able to find out the evil thoughts when you are engaged in some work or other, but you are able to detect them when you sit for meditation. Do not be afraid when evil thoughts pass through your mind when you sit for meditation. Do vigorous Japa and meditation. They will pass off soon.

The student of Yoga should not possess much wealth as it will drag him to the worldly temptations. He can keep a little sum to meet the wants of the body. Economical independence will relieve the mind from anxieties and will enable him to continue the Sadhana uninterruptedly.

NECESSITY OF SITTING POSTURE IN MEDITATION

One has to meditate sitting, because it is not possible to meditate standing or lying down. Sitting is necessary for medi-tation because Dhyana is the continuity of the mental state and such continuity will not exist when one walks or runs, because then the mind will attend to the body and cannot concentrate, or when one lies down because then he will be soon overpowered by sleep.

Upasana being mainly of the nature of concentration should be practised in a sitting posture which is conducive to concentration. Concentration being an unintermittent and uninterrupted current of thought sent towards a particular object, the sitting posture becomes indispensable.

In Upasana one has to concentrate one's mind on a single object. This is not possible if one is standing or lying. The mind of a standing man is directed on maintaining the balance of the body or keeping it in an erect position and therefore incapable of reflection on any subtle matter. A sitting person may easily avoid these several untoward occurrences and is, therefore, in a position to carry on his meditation. The sitting posture contributes that composure of mind which is the sine qua non of medi-tation. Meditation is to be practised in a sitting posture only. In that case only true meditation is possible. Further, such continuity of thoughts, i.e., Dhyana can come only when the limbs are not active and the mind is calm.

The word 'Upasana' also means exactly what meditation means, that is concentrating on a single object with a fixed look, and without any movement of the limbs. This is possible only in sitting posture.

In Karmanga Upasanas there is no question as to whether they should be done sitting or standing as they depend on the particular Karma. In pure realisation or perfect intuition there could be no such question as it depends on the object of such realisation. In other Upasanas sitting is necessary for meditation. Some may argue that as medita-tion in something mental there can be no restriction as to the attitude of the body. But the above arguments clearly denote the futility of the objection.

The constant remembrance of the Lord or Brahman is fit to be practised always. This can be practised without the sitting pose. But deep meditation is possible only in the sitting posture. This is possible only for him who sits up in wakefulness, but not for him who is lying in bed; overpowered by, sleep, or standing or walking; for them distraction would necessarily set in. Meditation is far superior to mere remembrance. This is be-yond a doubt. Hence the necessity for the sitting posture in meditation is proved.

Meditation denotes a lengthened carrying on of the same train of ideas. You ascribe thoughtfulness to those whose mind is concentrated on one and the same object while their look is fixed and their limbs do not move. You say that Ramakrishna is thoughtful. Now such thoughtfulness is easy for those who sit. The wife sits and thinks deeply over her husband gone on a distant journey. You, therefore, conclude here from also that medi-tation is the occupation of a sitting person.

Dhyana or meditation is thinking on one subject continuously, without the inrush of ideas incongruous with the subject of thought. Such meditation is possible in a sitting posture only, and not while lying down or stranding etc., because the distraction of the mind is minimised when you meditate in a sitting posture. Therefore, a sitting posture should be adopted both for prayers as well as for meditation. Meditativeness is attributed to the earth on account of its immobility or steadiness. This also helps us to infer that medita-tion is possible in one when he is sitting and not while he is standing or walking. Steadiness accompanies meditation. Steadiness of body and mind is possible only while sitting and not while standing or walking.

With reference to the immobility of the earth the scripture fancies the earth as being engaged in concentration, as if it re-mains fixed fixed in space in the act of pious meditation. It suggests that such a steady application of the mind can be attained by Meditating only in a sitting posture.

For the same reason the Yoga Sastra teaches different sitting postures viz., Padmasana, Siddhasana, Sukhasana etc., for meditation.

SAGUNA DHYANA SADHANA

Saguna meditation is meditation on a form or object. This is a concrete form of meditation for the people of devotional temperament. This is meditation with Gunas, or the attributes of God. Select any Murti of God you like best, either Siva Vishnu, Krishna or Rama according to your inclination or taste: An archer first aims at grosser, bigger objects. Then he takes up medium objects. Finally he shoots at finer and subtle ob-jects. Even so, one should take to Saguna meditation to start with and when the mind is trained and disciplined well, the Nirguna or Nirakara meditation will come by itself.

Sit on either Padma, Siddha or Sukhasana with the head, neck and the trunk in a straight line. Place a picture of your lshta Devata in front of you; for example, a photo of Lord Hari. Gaze at the picture steadily for some time, then close your eyes and try to visualise the form either in the space between the two eyebrows or within the heart or on the tip of your nose, as you may find it convenient. During visualisation move the mind on the various parts of the deity. Visualise His feet first and then in the following order: His legs, His yellow silk cloth, His golden necklace, studded with gems, on His neck, then the face, the crown on the head, then the disc in the right upper hand, the conch in the left upper hand, the mace in the lower right hand and the lotus in the left lower hand. Then come down to the feet in the same process. Repeat this process again and again. Finally fix the mind either at the feet or the face.

When the form gets faded or shaky, open your eyes and steadily gaze at the picture again. Then visualise the form within. Continue this process till you are able to meditate perfectly without the aid of the picture. While meditating repeat the lshta Mantra of Lord Hari "Om Namo Narayanaya" mentally. Think of His attributes like omnipresence, omnipotence, omni-science, purity, merciful nature etc. Suppose, if you meditate_ within the heart, i.e. on Anahata Chakra, think that Lord Hari is seated or standing on the blazing lotus of 16 petals and His entire form is illumined with the lustrous light like that of the sun: Feel that His Divine qualities are spontaneously flowing towards you, you are now purified and purged of all the impurities, you are now the embodiment of all the Divine qualities. This process will quicken your progress.

In a similar way you can also meditate on the form of Lord Siva or Rama or Krishna, as per your taste.

Practise meditation in the early morning between 3 to 6 a.m. This is the best time for the practice of meditation. You can also meditate at the dead of night. The atmosphere is more peaceful and serene. You are not likely to be disturbed. The mind automatically gets the meditative mood. It is like a blank sheet of paper. You can also have another sitting just before re-tiring to bed.

It is well and good if you can have a separate meditation room. Keep the room always clean and pure. Never allow any-body to enter the room. Burn Ghrita-Pradeepa or candle and in-cense before the deity. This will make the mind more meditative. You will have good concentration. If possible take a bath or wash at least your face, feet, etc., before you sit for meditation. Keep the mind always pure, serene and calm. Entertain holy, divine thoughts.

When you meditate, disregard the substratum awakenings in the mind that arise out of the senses. Avoid carefully the comparisons with all other cross references and memories. Concentrate the whole energy of the mind on the idea of God. Avoid all other sense-impressions and ideas. Prevent the complications that arise out of the co-related action in the substratum of the mind. Abstract the mind on your object of meditation alone. Shut out all other processes of meditation. Now the whole mind will be filled with one idea alone. Nishtha will ensue. Just as the recurrence or repetition of a thought or action leads to perfection of that thought or action, so also does recurrence of the same process, the same idea leads to the perfection of abstraction, concentration and uninterrupted meditation.

When you meditate, various kinds of thoughts, subtle im-pressions and past memories will arise in the mind. They will hinder your meditation. Only sustained and patient efforts and practice can control them. Never apply any force. They will re-tort with redoubled force. When you sit for meditation, relax the Mind completely. Be perfectly serene. Watch your thoughts very carefully. Be on the alert. Be a silent witness to your thoughts and *their play. Then gradually collect the dissipated rays of the mind one by one and concentrate them on your object. Whenever evil thoughts crop up, immediately turn the mind towards the holy attributes of the Lord, forgetting all the evil impressions completely.

To practise meditation with a mind unprepared by the non-adherence to the moral precepts is like building a house on a rotten frail foundation. Therefore, mental purity through ethical training is of paramount importance if you wish to achieve success in meditation. Be perfectly established in Yama and Niyama. Lead a well-regulated moral life. Practise austerity of speech. Take one meal a day and light fruit and milk diet at night. This will keep the mind more steady. Perfect serenity, cultivation of divine virtues, entertaining holy thoughts, disci-pline of diet—all these pave a long way to attain success in a spiritual path.

 

 

NIRGUNA DHYANA SADHANA: THE SIX METHODS

A strong will and Manana are the two important factors that play a conspicuous part in Nirguna Dhyana Sadhana or the Vedantic Sadhana. Manana is preceded by Sravana or hearing of the Srutis; and ultimately followed by Nididhyasana of a constant nature with zeal and enthusiasm. Nididhyasana is pro-found meditation. Sakshatkara or Aparoksha realisation is Nididhyasana. Just as a drop of water when dropped on a hot iron is absorbed by the hot iron so also the mind and the Abhasa Chaitanya (reflected consciousness) become absorbed in Brahman. The balance left is Chinmatra Chaitanya or the Consciousness-Absolute. Thus through this process of Sadhana-Chatushtaya, Sravana and Manana one can qualify himself for the practice of Nirguna Dhyana Sadhana.

In Nirguna Dhyana, the mind loses its own consciousness and becomes identified with the all-pervading, formless, name-less, attributeless One Absolute-undivided-unmanifest-Infinite Existence. The meditator and the meditated, the thinker and the thought, Aham and Idam (I and this) become one. This is the final stage of Nirguna Dhyana Sadhana. The world vanishes from the view of the meditator and he rests on the Suddha, Nirguna Brahman.

Generally it is seen that unless and until one is well-advanced in Saguna Dhyana, he cannot achieve any notable result by directly taking up the Nirguna Dhyana Sadhana. It is he who is well-established in the path of Yama, Niyama and Sadhana Chatushtaya, it is he who perceives the all-pervading homogeneous Spirit in all, through intense selfless service and thereby shuffling off the petty feelings of doership and the self assertive ego, it is he. Who has attained tranquillity of the mind through discrimination, dispassion and ir by the prac-tice of Sravana and Manana—can take up this Nirguna Dhyana Sadhana and can attain the Supreme One in a far shorter period than any other means.

This Sadhana is practised in six ways. They are: 1. Neti-Neti method. 2. Sakshi method. 3. Avaya-Vyatireka method. 4. Bhaga-Tyaga Lakshana method. 5.n Laya-Chintana method. 6. Meditation on Om with Tadrupa-Tadartha Bhavana. Now I shall briefly describe them one by one. You will have to practise them constantly with adamant will and zeal.

1. Neti-Neti method—Not this, not this. This is the method of negation. The Upanishads proclaim, this physical body is not the Atman or Brahman, this Prana is not the Atman or Brah-man, this mind is not Atman, this Buddhi (intelligence) is not At-man, this Anandamaya Kosa is not the Atman (Neti Neti). Therefore, the balance left after negating or sublating these false, illusory, limiting adjuncts, which are superimposed on At-man, is Suddha, Vyapaka, Sat-Chit-Ananda Atman. You are in reality this Atman. This is the process of explaining by Nishedha.

2. Sakshi method—Sakshi means witness. You will have to introspect and watch the Vrittis. You will have to separate yourself from the Vrittis of the mind by not identifying yourself with them. You should remain as a Sakshi without being affected by the Vrittis. Repeat mentally 'Om Sakshi Aham'—'l am Sakshi' at all times. That idea must become deep-rooted by constant repetition and feeling. You will become impersonal eventually. The Jiva-Bhavana will vanish in toto. Even during work you must be a Sakshi for all actions that you do. In reality it is the mind and its senses that do everything. You are the wit-ness only. You must always entertain this idea. Constantly re-peat the 8th Sloka of Chap. V in the Gita—"I do not do anything, should think the harmonised one, who knoweth the essence of things,  seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving, sleeping  and breathing." The senses move among the objects of the senses.

3. Anvaya-Vyatireka method—Every object has 5 parts Rupa, Asti, Bhati, Priya—name, form, existence, knowledge and bliss. Names and forms are illusory. They belong to Maya. Asti, Bhati, Priya are the Svarupa of Brahma They are real. Asti, Bhati, Priya means 'Sat-Chit-Ananda; Names and forms differ, but the Asti, Bhati and Priya are the same same in all. They are the attributes of Atman. Names and form; are Vyatireka. Asti, Bhati and Priya are Anvaya. Through-Anvaya-Vyatireka Yukti you will have to eliminate the name and form and take out (realise) the Asti, Bhati, Priya Atman that is hidden in all objects. This is, of course, the means to attain the final stage of Nirguna Dhyana Sadhana, where you identify yourself with the attributeless Self. Through constant thinking and force of meditation, the names and forms will vanish. Asti, Bhati, Priya alone will shine everywhere. Practise this always, even while you are at work.

4. Bhaga-Tyaga-Lakshana method—This concerns the 'Tat Tvam Asi' Mahavakya. There are two kinds of meanings of Tat and Tvam. The first is literal meaning, i.e., Tat is lsvara, and the second is indicative meaning i.e., Tat is Brahman. The first meaning of Tvam is Jiva, and the second meaning of Tvam is Kutastha, identifying with the Brahman. You will have to eliminate the Upadhi Avidya, its Dharmas and the reflected Chaitanya in Avidya in the case of ,Jiva and the Upadhi Maya, its Dharmas and the reflected Chaitanya in Maya in the case of lsvara. You will have to take out the common essence for both Jiva and lsvara and show identity with them. This is Bhagatyagalakshana. You will have to cull out the common essence. You can now meditate on the identity of Jiva and Brah-man through the above method.

5. Laya-Chintana method—Laya means involution of the effect into the cause. There are three kinds of practice. The first is, that you will have to think that the mind is merged in Buddhi, Buddhi in Avyaktam, and Avyaktam in Brahman. The second is, that you should think that the earth gets merged in water, then water in fire, fire in air, air in Akasa (ether) and Akasa in Avyaktam and Avyaktam in Brahman. The third process is, that you should think that Visva (microcosm) gets merged in Virat (macrocosm), Taijasa in Hiranyagarbha, and Prajna in Isvara. The Kutastha becomes one with Brahman. Thus here you see, that all the external elements or the attributes gradually gel merged in the One common Source i.e., the Brahman. You go back to the original source, the Brahman who is the womb tor all minds and Pancha-Bhutas. Finally you rest in the Brahma''„ alone.

6: Meditation on OM with Tadrupa-Tadartha Bhavana-- you associate yourself with OM on the ideas of purity, perfection peace, infinity etc., as it has been described in "Pranava  sadhana.

There are various temperaments and types of the mind. so there are various ways also for the approach of Brahman to suit various individuals. 

Anyone can take up any method, that appeals to him most, and then work out his Self-realisation through that particular Sadhana.

JAPA YOGA SADHANA

INTRODUCTORY

Sadhana is purifying and steadying the mind and fixing it on the Lord. Without Sadhana you cannot attain the Sadhya or the object of meditation i.e., the Supreme Being, the abode of Immortality and Bliss.

Japa is an important Sadhana. Make a resolve "I will do ten Malas of Japa today" and do not get up from your Asana or seat till you finish the required number of Malas. This will strengthen your will and enable you to control the mind easily.

Another important point is that there should not be any break in your Sadhana till you finish the required number of Malas. Entry of worldly thoughts, planning etc., constitute break. If there is any break after finishing two Malas of Japa, you should not include the two Malas of Japa. You must again start the Japa and try to finish ten Malas. If there is any break after finishing four Malas, do not include the four Malas. Again try to finish ten Malas. This will be trying discipline indeed. But the fruit of such a Sadhana is immortality or eternal blissful life in the Atman. You will have to practise it if you wish to attain this highest end or supreme Goal.

If a boy commits a mistake, the teacher asks him to catch hold of his ears and do 'Baitaks' ten times continuously as a sort of punishment. If he makes a break after doing four 'Baitaks,' he again asks him to do ten more 'Baitaks' without any break. Similar is the case with this Japa Sadhana. Similar is the punishment you will have to inflict on the mind when you do Japa Sadhana. You should not give leniency to the mind. Spare the rod, you will spoil the child. Be lenient, the mind will jump upon you.

The moment you sit on the Asana in a closed room, feel that you are a mental Sannyasin. You have nothing to do With the world or family members. Forget everything. If anybody taps at your door, do not be perturbed. Do not open the door. Tell your family people not to disturb you on any score till you finish your Sadhana.

When you come out of the room try to keep up the same Sattvic Bhava. Recite the Mantra or Name of the Lord always. If there is any break again keep up the remembrance. Gradually meditation and recitation of Japa will become habitual or Sahaja. The subconscious or the subjective mind will be ever repeating the Name, though the conscious or objective mind may forget it occasionally.

The Samskaras or impressions you have created during your Sadhana period within a closed room will be wiped out if you are not careful or vigilant during the period of activity in the world. You must be careful about the company you keep, about worldly talks, the food you take, the dress you wear, the objects at which you look, the words that you hear etc.

You must not speak vulgar or harsh words. You must take Sattvic food and wear simple dress. You must not visit cine-mas. You must make the mind ever dwell on the form of the Lord and put a stamp of it on any form you see. You must not visit clubs. You must not read newspapers and novels. Novels, newspapers, cinemas constitute evil Sanga. They generate worldly thoughts and disturb the peace of mind. You do not gain anything.

There are many obstacles and difficulties in the world. But if you want to attain Immortality you will have to observe the Rules of Yoga. Where there is a will, there is a way. If there is strong aspiration and burning Mumukshutva, strength will come from within and you will be able to observe all the rules even though you remain in the world only. Pandit Madanmohan Malavya, Gandhiji and many others have evolved while re-maining in the world. Do not bring lame excuses. The world is not a hindrance in your spiritual path. The world is your Guru. The world is a training school. World is Virat or Isvara.

Spend your holidays and privilege leave in solitary places like Rishikesh and do intense Sadhana. Come alone and lead the life of a Sannyasin during that period.

May you all be freed from the cycle of births and deaths; May you all rejoice in the innermost Atman alone, the ocean of bliss, the fountain of joy, the pool of wisdom, the sea of peace, the spring of eternal satisfaction!

PRACTICAL AIDS TO JAPA SADHANA

You have a thorough knowledge of Japa Yoga and the glory of the Name. Now you can start real Sadhana from this minute. I have given below a number of practical hints of great use for your daily Sadhana. Kindly note and follow them care-fully.

1. Fixed hours: Most effective time for Japa is early dawn Brahmamuhurta and dusk, when Sattva is predominant. Regularity in Japa is very essential.

2. Definite place: It is highly advantageous to sit in the same place every day. Do not change it now and then. When you sit there you will have automatically the mood to do Japa. Just as you have a mood to study books when you enter a library or pray when you enter a temple so also you will get the mood to do Japa when you sit in your usual Asana.

3. A steady pose: A comfortable Asana helps to make the mind steady also, controls Rajas and aids concentration. Con-centration cannot be acquired by one whose pose is not steady. Keep the Merudand (spine) always erect. If you droop down like an old man while sitting for Japa and meditation your mind will always waver and wander. Have a steady pose all throughout the period of Japa.

4. Face North or East: This exercises a subtle influence and enhances the efficacy of Japa. Sages and Rishis of the Himalayas help those who sit facing North for Japa because they come in contact with them by facing North.

5. A Seat: Deer skin or Kusa-mat or a rug should be used. The Gita says 'Chailajinakusottaram.' Have a Kusa mat, a deer-skin over that and a clean white cloth above. This is the seat prescribed by the Gita. Energy is conserved which is otherwise dissipated without a proper seat.

6. Repeat elevating prayers: Invoking the aid of the lshtam with appropriate prayer induces a proper Sattvic Bhava. In all spiritual Sadhana divine help is prerequisite. Without it no spiri-tual progress can be attained and control of the wandering, mischievous mind becomes impossible.

7. Clear articulation: Start the Japa pronouncing i the Man-tra distinctly and without mistakes. Mantra Sakti is quickly awakened, mind is easily elevated and made one-pointed if the pronunciation is clear and distinct.

8. Vigilance and alertness: This is very important. you will be fresh and alert when you commence. After a time the mind becomes weary, begins to wander and s drowsiness overpowers you. Avoid this state. Some sleep spiritual ing Japa and meditation and imagine to have attained spiritual bliss. This is mere hallucination.

9. Japa Mala: Using a Mala helps alertness and acts as an incentive to carry on the Japa continuously. Resolve to finish a certain number of Malas before leaving the seat. The mind will deceive you if you do Japa without a Mala. You will imagine that you have done Japa for a long time and that you have done more than the required number.

10. Variety in Japa: This is necessary to sustain interest, avoid fatigue and counteract monotony. Repeat aloud for a time, then hum the Mantra and repeat mentally sometimes. When the real bliss or taste for Japa is acquired then Japa be-comes habitual and pleasant. There will be no monotony at all. The variety of Japa is for beginners only. Mental Japa is the most powerful. It directly counteracts the evil Vrittis of the mind and makes the mind pure.

11. Meditation: Side by side with Japa think of the Lord as present before you and picture His entrancing beautiful form. This practice adds tremendously to the efficacy and power of your Sadhana. The mind is fully engrossed in the form of the Lord by this practice and there is no chance for the mind to get hold of the objects of senses which are like straw or chaff before the bliss of the presence of God.

12. Concluding prayer and rest: This is important. After Japa is over do not immediately leave the place, mix with everyone and plunge into worldly activity. Sit very quietly for about 10 minutes at least humming some prayer, remembering the Lord or reflecting upon His infinite love. Then after devout prostration leave the place and commence your work. Spiritual vibrations will be intact. You will find it easy to remember the Lord even while at work. Combine prayer with your daily routine and occasionally remember Him.

GREATNESS OF DIVINE NAME

The glory of the Name of God cannot be established through reasoning. It can certainly be experienced through faith, devotion and constant repetition. Have reverence and faith for the Name. Do not argue. Every Name is filled with countless powers. Just as fire has the natural property of burn-ing things, so also the Name of God has the power of burning sins and desires. The power of the Name is ineffable. Its Glory is indescribable. The efficacy and inherent Sakti of the Name of God is unfathomable.

O Man! Take refuge in the Name. Nami and Name are in-separable. Sing the Lord's Name incessantly. Remember the Name of the Lord with every incoming and outgoing breath. In this iron age Namasmarana or Japa is the easiest, quickest, safest and surest way to reach God and attain immortality and perennial Joy. Glory to the Lord! Glory to His Name.

Just hear the glory of Ram Nam. Mahatma Gandhiji writes "You might ask me why I tell you to use the word Ram and not one of the many other names of the creator. True, His Names are as many as and more than the leaves on a tree; and I might, for instance ask you to use the word God. But what meaning, what associations would it have for you here. In or-der to enable you to feel anything when repeating the word God, I should have to teach you some English. I should have to explain to you the foreign people's thoughts and associations. "But in telling you to repeat the Name of Ram, I am giving you a Name worshipped since countless generations by the people of this land—a Name familiar to the very animals and birds, the very trees and stones of Hindustan through many thousand years. You will learn from Ramayana how a stone by the roadside sprang to life at the touch of Ram's foot as he passed by. You must learn to repeat the blessed Name of Ram with sweetness and such devotion that the birds will pause in their singing to listen to you—that the very trees will bend their branches towards you stirred by the Divine melody of that Name."

Sant Kabirdas sent his son Kamal to Sant Tulasidas. Tulasidas wrote Ram Nam on a Tulasi leaf and sprinkled the juice over 500 lepers. All were cured. Kamal was quite aston-ished. Then Kabir sent Kamal to blind Sur Das. Sur Das asked Kamal to bring the corpse that was floating in the river. Our Das repeated Ram only once in one ear of the corpse, and it was brought back to life. Kernel's heart was filled With awe and wonder. Such is the power of God's Name. Kabi says: "If any one utters Ram, Ram even in dream, I would like to make a pair of shoes out of my skin for his daily use," 

Who can describe the glory of God's sacred Name? Who can really comprehend the greatness and splendour of the holy names of God? Even Parvati, Lord Siva's consort failed to de-scribe in adequate terms the grandeur and true significance of God's Name. When one sings His Name or hears it sung, he is unconsciously raised to sublime spiritual heights. He looses his body-consciousness. He is immersed in joy. He drinks deep the divine nectar of immortality. He gets divine intoxication. Repetition of God's Name enables the devotee to feel the Di-vine Presence, the Divine glory, and the Divine consciousness within himself and everywhere also. How sweet is Hari's Name! How powerful is God's Name! How much joy, peace and strength it brings to one who repeats His Name! Blessed in-deed are those who repeat God's Name, for they will be free from the wheel of birth and death and will attain immortality! You may be aware how the Ganika (prostitute) Pingala was mysteriously transformed into a saintly lady by the power of Name (repeating the Name of Sri Rama), through her Guru the parrot, which she obtained as a lovely present from a thief and how she easily obtained salvation. The parrot was trained to utter the Name "Sri Rama, Sri Rama." Pingala knew nothing of Rama-nama. She heard the sound Rama-Rama through the mouth of the parrot. It was very melodious and charming. Pingala was very much attracted. She fixed her mind on Rama Nama uttered by the parrot and mysteriously entered into Bhava Samadhi (union with Rama). Such is the power of Name of the Lord.

 

 

GAYATRI SADHANA

PHILOSOPHY OF GAYATRI SADHANA

All power is in the Atman. The nature of the Self is omnipo-tence. The Atman is possessed of Anantasakti. This power is first manifest as sound, from which proceeds the entire creation. All phenomena are evolved out of sound. The Vedas embody in themselves this sound aspect of the Supreme. Each Mantra in the Vedas is the storehouse of infinite power. Each Mantra is a veritable mine of limitless Sakti. Upon this Mantra Sakti does the true seeker rely. This is the secret of his power. of all such Mantras, the Supreme and the most potent power of powers is the great glorious Gayatri Mantra.

it is the life and the support of every true Hindu, nay, it is the support of every seeker after Truth who believes in its efficacy, power and glory, be he of any caste, creed, clime or sect. It is only one's faith and purity of heart that really count. Indeed, Gayatri is an impregnable, spiritual armour, veritable fortress, that guards and protects its votary, that transforms him into the Divine and blesses him with the brilliant light of the highest spiritual illumination. Whichever your lshta-devata may be, yet the regular repetition of a few Malas of Gayatri every day will be-stow upon you all that is auspicious and benevolent to you, herein and hereafter.

It is wrong to conceive of the notion that it is solely meant for the chosen orthodox Brahmin class. It is universally applicable, for it is nothing but an earnest prayer for Light, addressed to the Almighty Supreme Spirit. It is verily the sole transcendental guide-light to humanity.

The nature of Gayatri is such that you can adore and wor-ship it in any form or name you like. It is generally conceived of by the majority of the devotional class that its deity is an aspect of Sakti, a five-faced Devi. In case, you are a Sakta or a wor-shipper of the Mother aspect of God, you can adhere to that belief.

But in its true light, the Gayatri never speaks of a mother-aspect at all. You cannot find a single word in the entire Gayatri Mantra which speaks of a mother aspect of God. The mere word Gayatri cannot make its deity a female. It is only the name of its metre and not the deity. Again, some think that the Gayatri is presided over by the sun. In fact, even this idea is to be modified a little. The sun that it speaks of is not this sun, that is shining before our physical eyes, but that 'Tat Savituh' or that Sun, the Great Sun, which this sun or moon does not illumine, and that is the Impersonal Absolute Brahman.

Therefore this is the Greatest of all Mantras and its presiding deity is the Para Brahman Itself. Yet, it is acceptable to all types of aspirants, for it is conceived as worship of Devi, worship of lord hari, worship of Aditya or the sun, and also as pure Nirguna worship of Brahman.

The Tejas of the Brahmachari lies in his Gayatri Japa. The support and prosperity of the Grihastha is again the Gayatri strength and solace of the Vanaprastha is again the Gayatri' Thus from the moment of the young student's Upanayanam vestiture with the sacred thread) upto the moment when he enters the glorious state of Sannyasa, throughout his life the Gayatri Mantra is his constant guide, support and strength. To him the Gayatri Mantra is the summum bonum of life.

So great is its importance that the Japa of the Gayatri is laid down as a compulsory daily Sadhana, in the life of every Hindu. No matter, what his Kuladevata (family deity) might be' no matter what his lshta-devata may be, yet the daily repetition of the Gayatri Mantra and the offering of Arghya, repeating the Gayatri, is enjoined upon every Hindu. Even if you are of a different religion or caste, you can also take to Gayatri Sadhana if you are really sincere, earnest and faithful. Your life will be in-deed blessed. Dear aspirants! realise the wondrous potency of the glorious Gayatri. Realise clearly what a precious heritage you have in this Mantra. Neglect not this divine Sakti that the Rishis of yore have bequeathed. This is the only true Sakti be-fore which electricity, radio-active nuclei, and atomic forces appear as mere vulgar, futile trifles. Start regular daily Gayatri Japa and feel for yourself wondrous power that you derive therefrom. Fix a particular time for the Japa and stick to it, permanently. At least one Mala of Japa you must do daily without break. It will guard you from all dangers, give you infinite strength to overcome all obstacles and take you to the very pinnacle of splendour, power, peace and bliss.

PRACTICE OF GAYATRI SADHANA

Brahma milked out, as it were, from the three Vedas the letter A, the letter U and the letter M formed by their coalition three trilateral monosyllable, together with three mysterious words—Bhur, Bhuvah, and Svah or the earth, sky and heaven. From the three Vedas also, the Lord of creatures incomprehensibly exalted, successfully milked out the three measures of that ineffable text, beginning with the word Tat and entitled Savitri or Gayatri. (Manu Smriti, Chap. III.)

Thus came:

OM Bhur Bhuvah Svah; Tat Saviturvarenyam

Bhargo devasya dheemahi; dhiyo yo nah Prachodayat.

"Let us meditate on lsvara and His glory who has created the universe, who is fit to be worshipped, who is the remover of all sins and ignorance. May He enlighten our intellect."

What is that enlightenment? Now you have Deha-atmabuddhi, a Buddhi that makes you to identify with body, to mistake the body for the Soul. Now you are praying to the blessed Mother of the Vedas—the Gayatri; to bestow on you a pure Sattvic intellect which will help you to realise—"Aham Brahma Asmi"-1 am the Brahman. This is an Advaitic meaning for Gayatri. Advanced students of Yoga may take up this meaning; "I am that supreme Light of all lights, that gives light to the Buddhi or intellect."

The Lord says in the Vedas, "Semen° Mantrah"—let one Mantra be common to all, and that Mantra is the Gayatri. The secret lore of the Upanishads is the essence of the four Vedas, while the Gayatri with the three Vyahritis is the essence of Upanishads. He is indeed the real Brahmin who knows and understands thus, the Gayatri. Without its knowledge, he is verily a Sudra, even though he may be well-versed in the four Vedas. Gayatri is the mother of the Vedas and the destroyer of all sins. The monosyllable OM is an emblem of the Supreme. There is nothing more purifying on earth than the Gayatri.

The Japa of Gayatri brings the same fruit as the recitation of all the Vedas with the Angas. This single Mantra repeated sincerely and with clear conscience brings the supreme good.

Gayatri destroys the three kinds of Taapa or pain. Gayatri bestows the four kinds of Purushartha, viz., Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha—righteousness, wealth, desired objects and liberation. It destroys the three Granthis or knots of igno-rance—Avidya, Kama and Karma. It is a great purifier and bestower of clear conscience. Gayatri eventually gives liberation or emancipation from the wheel of birth and death.

The repetition of Gayatri brings the Darshan of Gayatri eventually, leads to the realisation of the Advaitic Brahman or the unity of consciousness or oneness, and the aspirant who asked for light from Mother Gayatri in the beginning, now sings in exuberant joy: "I am the Light of all lights that gives light to the Buddhi."

 

MANTRA YOGA SADHANA

PSYCHOLOGY OF MANTRA YOGA SADHANA

Mantra Yoga is an exact science. 'Mananat Trayate iti Mantrah—by the Manana (constant thinking or recollection) of which one is released from the round of births and deaths is Mantra.'

Every Mantra has a Rishi who gave it to the world; a Matra, a Devata, the Bija or seed which gives it a special power, the Sakti and the Kilakam or the pillar.

A Mantra is divinity. Mantra and its presiding Devata are one. The Mantra itself is Devata. Mantra is divine power, Daivi Sakti, manifesting in a sound body. Constant repetition of the Mantra with faith, devotion and purity augments the Sakti or power of the aspirant, purifies and awakens the Mantra Chaitanya latent in the Mantra and bestows on the Sadhaka, Mantra Siddhi, illumination, freedom, peace, eternal bliss, immortality.

By constant repetition of the Mantra the Sadhaka imbibes the virtues and powers of the Deity that presides over the Man-tra. Repetition of Surya Mantra bestows health, long life, vigour, vitality, Tejas or brilliance. It removes all diseases of the body and the diseases of the eye. No enemy can do any harm. Repetition of Aditya-Hridayam in the early morning is highly beneficial. Lord Rama conquered Ravana through the repetition of Aditya-Hridayam imparted by Agastya Rishi.

Mantras are in the form of praise and appeal to the deities, craving for help and mercy. Some Mantras control and com-mand the evil spirits. Rhythmical vibrations of sounds give rise to forms. Recitation of the Mantras gives rise to the formation of the particular figure of the deity. Repetition of Sarasvati Mantra 'OM Sri Sarasvatyai Namah' will bestow on you wisdom and good intelligence. You will get inspiration and compose poems. Repetition of 'OM Sri Mahalakshmyai Namah' will confer on you wealth and remove poverty. Ganesa Mantra will remove any obstacle in any undertaking. Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra will remove accidents, incurable diseases and bestow long life and immortality. It is a Moksha Mantra too.

Repetition of Subrahmanya Mantra 'OM Sri Saravana-bhavaya Namah' will give you success in any undertaking and make you glorious. It will drive off the evil influences and evil spirits. Repetition of Sri Hanuman Mantra, 'OM Hanumate Namah' will bestow victory and strength. Repetition of panchadasakshara and Shodasakshara (Sri Vidya) will give you wealth, power, freedom etc. It will give you whatever you want. You must learn this Vidya from a Guru alone.

Repetition of Gayatri or Pranava or OM Namassivaya, OM Namo Narayanaya, OM Namo Bhagavate Vaasudevaya, one and a quarter lakh of times with Bhava, faith and devotion will confer on you Mantra Siddhi.

OM, Soham, Sivoham, Aham Brahmasmi are Moksha Mantras. They will help you to attain Self-realisation. OM Sri Ramaya Namah, OM Namo Bhagavate Vaasudevaya are Saguna Mantras which will enable you to attain Saguna realisation first and then Nirguna realisation in the end.

Mantra for curing scorpion-stings and cobra-bites should be repeated on eclipse days for getting Mantra Siddhi quickly. You should stand in the water and repeat the Mantra. This is more powerful and effective. They can be recited on ordinary days also for attaining Mantra Siddhi.

Mantra Siddhi for curing scorpion-sting, cobra-bite etc., can be attained within 40 days. Repeat the Mantra with faith and devotion regularly. Have a sitting in the early morning after taking bath. Observe Brahmacharya and live on milk and fruits for 40 days. Or take restricted diet.

Chronic diseases can be cured by Mantras. Chanting of Mantras generates potent spiritual waves or divine vibrations. They penetrate the physical and astral bodies of the patients and remove the root-causes of the sufferings. They fill the cells with pure Sattva or divine energy. They destroy the microbes and vivify the cells and tissues. They are the best and most potent antiseptics and germicides. They are more potent than ultra-violet rays or Roentgen rays.

Mantra Siddhi should not be misused for the destruction of others. Those who misuse the Mantra power for destroying others are themselves destroyed in the end.

Those who utilise the Mantra power in curing snake-bites, scorpion-stings and chronic diseases should not accept any kind of presents or money. They must be absolutely unselfish. They should not accept even fruits or clothes. They will lose the Power if they utilise the power for selfish purposes. If they are absolutely unselfish, if they serve the humanity with Sarvatrna Bhava, their power will increase through the grace of the Lord.

He who has attained Mantra Siddhi, can cure cobra-bite or scorpion-bite or any chronic disease by mere touch on the affected part. When a man is bitten by a cobra a telegram is sent to the Mantra Siddha. The Mantra Siddha recites the Mantra and the man who is bitten by a cobra is cured. Does this not prove the tremendous power of Mantra?

Get the Mantra initiation from your Guru. Or pray to your Ishta Devata and start doing Japa of the particular Mantra, if you find it difficult to get a Guru.

METHOD OF MANTRA PURASCHARANA

The repetition of a Mantra with rigid spiritual observances a fixed number of times to obtain quick spiritual progress is known as Mantra Purascharana. It can be performed for material progress too. The practitioner should observe certain rules and undergo strict dietetic discipline to ensure quick Mantra Siddhi.

During the Purascharana take only fresh vegetables, fruits, milk, roots, barley and Havis-Anna (rice cooked with ghee, sugar, milk). A Sadhaka can live on pure Bhiksha (alms) also. If you can live on milk alone during the period of Purascharana it is highly laudable. You can have Mantra Siddhi even by repeating the Mantra a lakh of times.

Select any holy place of pilgrimage on the banks of sacred Ganga, confluence of rivers, mountain valleys of charming scenery, temples, Tulasi gardens, below Asvattha trees or convert a portion of your house into a temple by keeping the picture of the Lord, burning incense etc., and by suitable decorations. Purascharana done in holy places has a benefit hundred times superior to that done in one's own house. You can select any Mantra for Purascharana. Your Guru Mantra or Ishta Mantra is the best. Sandhya time, sunrise, sun-set, midday are all recommended for Japa. Repeat the as many lakhs of times as there are letters in the Mantra. You can do half of that number. In no case the number should be less than a lakh.

Sit facing East or North during Japa. Select Siddha, Padma, Svastika or Virasana for Japa. Never sit for Japa with a loaded stomach. Have fixed timings for Japa. Take a bath be-fore you start, if possible, or at least wash hands and feet. Per-form Achamana or sipping of Sanctified Mantra water. Deer skin, cloth, blanket, Kusa grass or tiger skin can be used as seats while doing Japa. Spatika, Tulasi, Rudraksha Malas can be used for counting the number of Japa. Have a Mala with 108 beads or half or one-fourth that number.

Abstracting the mind from all worldly objects, merged in the inner meaning of the Mantra, thinking of the Lord, the Man-tra should be repeated with a uniform speed. Full concentration of the mind on the meaning and divinity of the Mantra brings quick Mantra Siddhi. Continue Purascharana till you attain Mantra Siddhi. Do not stop with one Purascharana. Due to the Doshas of the mind you may not get Mantra Siddhi at once. Madhusudana Sarasvati did 18 Purascharanas of Gayatri be-fore he attained Siddhi.

Sleeping on coarse bed (strictly avoiding cushions and the like), observing strict celibacy, worshipping the deity three times a day, bathing thrice daily, abandoning oil bath, meat, fish, onion, garlic, tea, coffee, chillies, tamarind, observing si-lence or restricting the speech to a minimum, observing Ahim-sa, speaking Truth, shunning all luxuries, one should perform the Purascharana. You should avoid as far as possible absent-mindedness, laziness, spitting during Japa, relaxation of hands and legs, sleeping during the day, mixing with undesirable persons, contact with women, receiving of gifts, looking at obscene pictures, speaking lies, the company of passionate men, chewing of betels, smoking, drinking etc., too much talk, speaking ill of others, finding fault in others, harming others in thought, word or deed, during the period of Purascharana. You should not dissipate your energy during Japa by looking hither and thither unnecessarily by shaking the body, by laughter etc.

Do the same number of Japa every day without variation. Homa or Havan should be performed after every lakh of Japa or at the end of the Purascharana.

After completing the Purascharana perform Homa 1/10 th the number of Japa, Tarpana (water libations) 1/10 th the number of Homa Mariana (sprinkling) 1/10 th the number of Tarpana and feeding Of Brahmins 1/10 th the number of Tarpana. You can do feeding and charity according to your capacity if you cannot ad-here to the above strictly.

THE TABLE FOR JAPA

 

No.

Mantras

Speed per minute

No. of Japa that can be done in one hour

 

Time required for completion of one purascharana, devoting 6 hours daily

Low

Med.

High.

Low

Med.

High.

 

Months

days

hours

Mins.

1

OM

140

250

400

8400

15000

24000

Low

11

54

Med.

6

40

High.

4

10

2

Hari OM or Sri Rama

120

200

300

7200

12000

18000

Low

1

3

47

Med.

16

40

High.

11

07

3

OM namah Sivaya

80

120

140

4800

7200

9000

Low

17

2

10

Med.

11

3

30

High.

9

1

35

4

Om Namo Narayana

60

80

120

3600

4800

7200

Low

1

7

0

15

Med.

27

4

45

High.

18

3

15

5

Om Namo Bhagavate Vaasudevaya

40

60

90

2400

3600

5400

Low

2

23

2

0

Med.

1

25

3

30

High.

1

7

0

15

6

Gayatri Mantra

6

8

10

360

480

600

Low

36

16

0

45

Med.

29

18

5

30

High.

19

15

3

35

7

Maha-Mantra or Hare Rama Mantra

8

10

15

480

600

900

Low

36

16

0

45

Med.

29

8

5

30

High.

19

17

3

35

 

 

 

Mantra Purascharana has incalculable benefits. Bright-ness, clearness, or tranquillity of the mind, contentment, dispassion towards worldly enjoyments, Darshan of lshta Devata, success in all undertakings, attainment of purity of the mind—all these will ensue. Give your best attention and earnestness in the performance of Purascharana.

May you attain Moksha or Immortality through performance of a series of Mantra Purascharanas!

BENEFITS OF MANTRA-WRITING

(An easy, practical and scientific form of Yoga for modern busy people)

Mantra-Periling Leads to Meditation

Of the various methods of Japa described in the scriptures Mantra-writing is the most efficacious. It helps the aspirant in concentrating the mind and gradually leads to meditation.

Benefits

1. Concentration—Distractions are minimised as the mind, tongue, hands and eyes are all engaged with the Mantra. This increases the power of concentration and efficiency in work.

2. Control—The mind is controlled by the power of Man-tra and it will work better and quicker for you.

3. Evolution—Due to repeated innumerable impacts of the Mantra on the subconscious mind, subtle, spiritual impres-sions are made, which hasten the Soul's progress in evolution.

4. Peace—If you are disturbed due to worries or untoward incidents, the mind will get calm and peaceful.

5. Force—A mighty spiritual force is generated in course of time in the atmosphere of the place, where you write Mantras or keep the notebooks. It helps in secular and spiritual prog-ress.

Conclusion—Begin today. Do not procrastinate. Give it a sincere trial. Be a master of your mind, not its slave. Write from one to three pages a day. Follow the rules as far as possible if You want quicker results.

RULES FOR MANTRA-WRITING

1. Select a Mantra, or Name of God, and write it with ink in a notebook daily in any script on 1 to 3 pages.

2. Sit in the same place at the same time daily, if possible, keep It under lock and key.

3. Write after a bath, or after washing hands, feet, face and mouth.

4. Sit in one pose throughout. Don't move till completed.

5. Observe silence, and avoid talks, engagements, or calls.

6. Fix the eyes on the notebook. Don't move till completed.

7. Repeat the Mantra or Name mentally while writing.

8. Fix the mind on the form and attributes of the Lord, while writing the Name or Mantra.

9. Adopt one uniform system of writing, top to bottom or left to right. 10. Write each Mantra or Name completely at a time and not in parts. 11. Don't change Mantra or Name. Select one and stick to it for life.

12. Preserve all completed books near your place of worship.

SANKIRTAN SADHANA

Sankirtan is singing God's Name with feeling (Bhava), love (Prema) and faith (Sraddha). In Sankirtan people join to-gether and sing God's Name collectively in a common place. Sankirtan is one of the nine modes of Bhakti. You can realise God through Kirtan alone. This is the easiest method for attaining God-consciousness in Kali Yuga or the Iron Age "Ka/au Kesava-Kirtanat."

When several people join together and practise Sankirtan, a huge spiritual current or Mahasakti is generated. This purifies hearts of the aspirants and elevates them to the sublime heights of divine ecstasy or Samadhi. The powerful vibrations are carried to distant places. They bring elevation of mind, so-lace, strength to all people and work as a harbinger of Peal harmony and concord. They annihilate hostile forces and quickly bring peace and bliss to the whole world.

Lord Hari says to Narada "Naham Vasami Vaikunthe Yoginam Hridaye na cha, Madbhakta Yatra Gayanti Tatra Tishatami Narada- i dwell not in Vaikuntha nor in the hearts of the Yogins, but I dwell where My devotee sing My Name, O Narada."

Kirtan destroys sins, Vasanas and Samskaras, fills the heart with Prema and devotion and brings the devotee face to face with God.

Akhanda Kirtan is very powerful. It purifies the heart. The Mahamantra, "Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare; Hare Krishna Hare krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare" or "Om Namah Sivaya" is sung continuously for 3 hours or 24 hours, three days, or a wook. You will have to form batches. Ono will lead and others will follow. Do Akhanda Kirtan on Sundays or holidays. Do Prabhata Pheri kirtan in the morning around the streets, Kirtan in the early morning is more effective than Kirtan at night.

At night sit before the picture of the Lord with your children and other family members and servants. Do Kirtan for one or two hours. Be regular in the practice. You will derive immense peace and strength.

Sing the Lord's Name from the bottom of your heart. Be wholly and solely devoted to Him. Delay in God-realisation is extremely painful. Merge in Him. Live in Him. Bo established in Him. 

May peace and prosperity abide in you all?

Lokassamastah Sukhino Bhavantu.

TANTRA YOGA SADITANA

Tantra Sadhana bestows tremendous Siddhis or powers. It should be learnt under a Siddha Tantric Guru. The Tantric student must be endowed with purity, faith, devotion, dedication to Guru, dispassion, humility, courage, cosmic love, truthfulness, non-covetousness and contentment. Absence of these qualities in the practitioner means a gross abuse of Saktism.

Saktism had been one of the potent powers for the spiritual regeneration of the Hindus. When practised by the ignorant, unenlightened and unqualified persons, it has led to certain abuses, and there is no denying that some degraded forms of Saktism have sought nothing but magic, immorality and occult powers. An example of the perverted expression of the truth, a travesty of the original practices, is the theory of the, five Makaras—Madya or wine, Mamsa or flesh, Matsya or fish, Mudra or  symbolical acts and Maithuna or coitus.

In the Sakti doctrine Siva is the supreme unchanging eternal. consciousness and Sakti is His kinetic power. Universe is Power. Universe is a manifestation of Devi's glory. This is the affirmation of the Sakti doctrine, Sakti being the power of God. Sakta is one who possesses Sakti. Sadhakas are of three kinds, viz., Pasu, Veera and Divya. It is only the Pasu Sadhakas who practise the Pancha Makaras, viz., Matsya, Mamsa, Madya, Mudra and Maithuna. The esoteric meaning of these five Makaras is "kill egoism, control flesh, drink the wine of God-intoxication and have union with Lord Siva." This is the divine practice of Divya Sadhakas who lead the life divine. Give up Pasu Vritti, the tendency of animals and raise the Divya Vritti or the divine nature.

Just as the fruit is hidden in the seed, butter in milk, virility in boyhood, so also various Saktis remain latent in man, veiled by ignorance. If you purify your mind and practise concentra-tion and meditation, all these powers will shine forth.

The highest fruit of meditation or Upasana is the identity or non-distinction with the object meditated upon. The meditator and meditated become one. The devotee of Devi attains realisation of oneness with Devi through intense Upasana or worship.

SAVA SADHANA

The classification of aspirants is made thus: a Sattvic man is a spiritual man. He is endowed with Divya or divine qualities. He has Divya-Bhava. He is calm, pure, dispassionate, wise, passionless, egoless, compassionate, kind, pious, devoted. Sattva Guna predominates in him.

If Tamas predominates in a man, he has Pasu-bhava. He is Pasu or animal. He is endowed with ignorance, error, care' lessness, inertia, sloth, etc.

If Rajas predominates in a man, he is a Veera. He has Veera-bhava.

Divya-bhava is the best, Veera the next best and Pasu the lowest. From being a Pasu a man rises in this or some other. birth to be a Veera. Divya-bhava or Devata-bhava is awakened through Veera-bhava.

Sava Sadhana comes in the practices of Tantra Sadhana. This is practised by some Veera Sadhakas in the cremation ground. Only the fearless can practise this sort of Sadhana.

A human corpse is laid with its face to the ground. The Sadhaka sits on the back of the body of the dead man. He draws a Yantra on the back and then worships.

If the rite is successful, the head of the corpse turns round and asks the Sadhaka the boon he wants; be it Salvation or some material benefit. The Devi speaks through the mouth of the dead man.

KRIYA YOGA SADHANA

The six purificatory exercises are Dhauti, Basti, Neti, Nauli, Trataka and Kapalabhati.

DHAUTI

Purification is of two kinds, internal and external. Internal purification can be made in several ways. Here you will find the technique of an important exercise.

Take a fine piece of cloth; 3 inches wide and 15 feet long. The borders should be stitched well and no loose thread should be hanging from the sides. Wash it with soap and keep it al-ways clean. Dip it in tepid water. Squeeze out the water and swallow one end of it little by little. On the first day swallow only one foot length of the cloth and draw it out slowly. After gradual practice you can swallow the whole length by catching one end of it. Keep it in the stomach for a few minutes and then slowly draw it out. Do not be hasty and draw out the cloth forcibly. When the Kriya is over, drink a cup of milk. This is a sort of lubrication, for the throat. Do this when the stomach is empty. Morn-ing time is good. It will be quite sufficient if you practise this once in 4 or 5 days. This is an excellent exercise for those who are of a flabby and phlegmatic constitution. Gradual and steady practice cures gulma, gastritis and dyspepsia and all other dis-eases of the stomach.

 

NAULI

Nauli is a powerful exercise for regenerating, invigorating and stimulating the abdominal viscera and the gastro-intestinal or alimentary system. For the practice of Nauli, you should have a good practice of Uddiyana Bandha.

Stand, with legs a foot apart and rest your hands on the thighs with a light curve of the back. Do a strong and forcible expiration through the mouth and keep the lungs completely empty. Contract and forcibly draw the abdominal muscles to-wards the back. This is Uddiyana Bandha. This is the first stage of Nauli.

Then let loose the centre of the abdomen. You will have all the left and right side of the abdomen. You will have all the muscles in the centre in a vertical line. This is called Madhyama Nauli. Keep it as long as you can retain the position comfort-ably. Then you can release the muscles and inhale. This is the second stage of Nauli.

After some practice, contract the right side of the abdomen and let loose the left side free. You will now have all the muscles on the left side only. This is called Vama Nauli. Again contract the left side and let loose the right side. This is Dakshina Nauli. By such gradual practice, you will understand how to contract the muscles of the central, left and right side of the abdominal muscles from side to side. Practise like this for a few days.

Then draw the muscles in the centre. Slowly move them to the right side and then to the life side in a circular way. Do this several times from the right to left and then do it in reverse way from the left to right side. You should move the muscles always with a circular motion slowly. When you advance in the practice you can do it quickly. This last stage of Nauli will appear like 'churning' when the abdominal muscles are isolated and rotated from side to side. When Nauli is demonstrated by advanced students, you will be surprised to observe the movements of the abdominal muscles. It will look as if an engine is working in the abdominal factory.

When beginners want to do Dakshina Nauli, they have to slightly bend towards the left side and contract left muscles. When they want to do Vama Nauli, they have to bend a little to the right side. In Madhyama Nauli push the entire muscles for-ward by contracting the two sides. Nauli Kriya eradicates chronic constipation, dyspepsia and all other diseases of the gastro-intestinal system. The liver and pancreas are toned. All other abdominal organs will function properly.

This is steady gazing at a particular point or object without winking. This is mainly intended for developing the power of concentration and mental focus. This is very useful for all.

Sit in Padmasana or Siddhasana. You can sit erect even on a chair. Keep the picture of your Ishta Devata or the picture of OM or a black dot on a piece of white paper. Look at the point or picture very steadily. You can gaze at a bright star or on the flames of a ghee lamp. Gazing at the tip of the nose and at the space between the eyebrows is also Trataka. When you gaze at a particular point or picture, it is Trataka. Close your eyes and form a mental picture of the object. Practise this for 2 minutes and cautiously increase the period.

Trataka improves eye-sight. Diseases of the eyes are removed. Many have thrown away their spectacles after some practise in Trataka. It develops the power of concentration to a great degree.

KAPALBHATI

Kapalabhati is an exercise for cleansing the skull. Kapala means skull and Bhati means to shine. This exercise makes the skull shining.

Sit on Padmasana or Siddhasana. Close the eyes. Perform Rechaka and Puraka rapidly. This should be practised vigorously. One will get perspiration profusely. This is a god exercise for the lungs also. Those who are well versed in Kapalabhati can do Bhastrika very easily. Rechaka should be done forcibly by contracting the abdominal muscles. Do 20 expulsions for a round and gradually increase the number to 120. In Kapalabhati there is no Kumbhaka. Kapalabhati cleanses the respiratory system and the nasal passages. It removes the spasm in bronchial tubes. Consequently asthma is relieved and also cured in course of time. The apices of the lungs get proper oxygenation. Consumption is cured. Impurities of the blood are thrown out. The circulatory and respiratory systems are toned to a considerable degree.

SANGITA SADHANA

Life in the individual, in its ontological aspect is but a ceaseless striving after non-ending unalloyed bliss, eternal, immortal, perennial bliss. Scriptures have proved it beyond doubt. Sages and Saints are voicing it forth ever since the dawn of creation that Supreme Bliss can and should be had In one's own Self. Thus Self-realisation, Self-awareness or Self-experience-Whole, Aparokshanubhuti is the summum bonum of human existence. That alone will bring to an end all our pains and miseries. But, how best are we to attain that?

Atmachaitanya Samadhi or Aparoksha Jnana is possible only when the mind becomes pure and Sattvic. Purity of mind is had only when the little 'I,' egoism or Ahankara is curbed, annihilated which means that I-ness and Mineness have got to be abandoned. In turn, that involves purity and control of the lndriyas. Unless the mind is cultured and controlled, the Indriyas cannot be controlled. Thus, in a circular way, we come again to the mind. Rightly did the Sages exclaim: Mana Eva Manushyanaam Karanam Bandha-mokshayoh—Mind alone is the cause for man's release and bondage.

Practical investigation in that direction has led the Sages to conclude that Prana and Mind are interdependent in their functional abilities. As long as one remains uncontrolled, the other cannot be controlled. If one is under control, the other, too, comes under control of its own accord. It is not enough if they are simply controlled. As long as they are not annihilated Vasanas will not leave us. Unless Vasanas are destroyed Chitta cannot be destroyed. The destruction of Chitta alone can lead to Jnana.

Thus we are left with two courses. Firstly bring the Prana under control through various arduous Yogic processes, and then to control the mind and withdraw it from external objects and fix it on the Self. Secondly we can try to annihilate the mind through effecting Manolaya by finding such a higher powerful principle towards which mind will naturally run and into which it will merge itself thus entering into a state of Laya. The sages found that Mano-Laya followed by Mano-Nasa was means to attain Self-realisation than the arduous process of controlling the mind and culturing it which is always attended by the danger of the mind jumping into the old grooves of Vasanas at any moment.

In the course of further practical investigation the Sages, and Seers found that Sound had the power to attract the mind and absorb it, so to say.

Thus Mano-Laya and Mano-Nasa through Nada yoga (union or merger into Sound) was found to be an effective and safe means of Self-realisation.

Nadanusandhanam means meditation on Nada or Sound that is heard at the Anahata Chakra.

The essential prerequisites for this type of Sadhana are the same as those for any other Yoga Sadhana. Ethical and moral preparations are the first important prerequisites. Simi-larly, proficiency in Hatha Yoga and Pranayama is essential. It is better to have sufficient practice in concentration and medita-tion. That will make it easy for us to concentrate inwardly and meditate on the Anahata sounds. Ajapa Japa or Japa of 'Soharnt with breath will help you in your concentration on the subtle sounds. That by itself will take you to the Anahata sound.

There are two aspects of these sounds, gross and subtle. You should proceed from the gross ones to the subtle ones. If the mind runs only towards the gross sounds, do not get perturbed. Let it get first accustomed to and established in the gross sound. Then it can be led to the subtle sound.

Bear in mind that Mano-Laya is riot the goal but that Mano-Nasa and Self-realisation is the goal.

Remember not to take any special fancy or liking for any particular sound but try to lead the mind from the first to the second, from the second to the third, and so on to the tenth. There is another school of Nada Yoga that distinguishes three different stages in the hearing of the sounds.

The first stage is when the Prana and Apana are led near the Brahmarandhra. The second stage comes when they enter the Brahmarandhra and the third when they are well established in it. During the first stage sounds like that of the roaring sea, the beating of drums, etc., are heard. During the second, sounds like those of Mridanga, conch, etc., are heard. In the third stage, sounds like Kinkini, humming of the bee, sound of the flute or the lute, etc., are heard.

Knowledge pertaining to hidden things arise in a person who can hear well the seventh sound (like that of the flute).

Highly interesting and most popular among the forms of Nadopasana, is Sangita (music). It is in Sangita that Sreyas and Preyas otherwise antagonistic to each other meet. Sreyas is at which leads to the Eternal Good of man, viz., Self-realisation. Preyas is that which is immediately pleasant. It is generally recognised that what is Preyas is not Sreyas and vice versa. But here in Sangita or Sankirtana, Sreyas and Preyas are found together.

Sangita pleases the ear, is a rich treat to the senses and the mind—in fact, so much so that the senses and the mind are tamed and controlled by it; and Sangita ennobles the soul and reveals the Self within. Music is, therefore, regarded as the best form of Nadopasana. That prince among musicians, the emperor among com-posers, the crest-jewel among saints, the Bhakta-Siromani who adored the Lord with sweet, soul-stirring and perfect mu-sic—Sri Tyagaraja whose inspiring songs in praise of Lord Rama and on the fundamental truths of spiritual life are sung throughout India by every lover of music for inspiration and entertainment, has repeatedly pointed out the divine glory of mu-sic. He has again and again stressed the fact that music is not food for the senses alone, but is food for the soul.

Tyagaraja says in the Kriti "Nadopasana": "It is through Nadopasana that the Trimurtis, the sage-authors of great scriptures, the Maharshis who have propounded Dharma, the seers who are masters of the arts and sciences those who are de-voted to music with its three integral parts of Bhava, Raga and Tala—all these are experts in Nadopasana." It is a great truth worth remembering that all our great scriptures—the Vedas, Smritis, Puranas, etc., are all set to music and are metrical compositions. There is rhythm, metre and melody in them. Sama Veda, especially is unrivalled in its music. That is why Sri Tyagaraja regards all the Maharshis and seers as Nadopasakas.

Tyagaraja says: "The knowledge of the science of music is capable of bestowing on you the State of Sarupya" (in his Kriti Sangita Sastra Jnanamu). Why? Because "All Sounds have emanated from Om." In another Kriti on the essence of Pranava, he says that Omkara, which is itself the essence of all Vedas, Agamas, Sastras and Puranas, can remove all your miseries and bestow eternal bliss upon you. He crowns this declaration with the marvellous revelation: "It is this Sangita that has taken form in this world as Rama." That is why he said in another Kriti that he who adores the Lord through Sangita will attain Sarupya Mukti. For, Sangita is identical with God; and in accordance with the truth that you become what you intently meditate upon the Nadopasaka becomes Nadasvarupa or God.

sangita is not mere nerve titillation. It is a Yoga emphasising this truth. Sri Tyagaraja says in his "Sri Papriya": "Music which  is composed of the seven Svaras is a treasure for the  great Tapasvins who have cooled the Taapa Traya (Adhyatmika, Adhidaivika and Adhibhoutika Taapas)." In fact, Tyagaraja would go so far as to declare that Moksha is impossible for one who has no music in him! He says in "Mokshamugalada": Is there Moksha for those who have no knowledge of music which is based on Bhakti, who do not realise the truth that the Sapta-Svaras have emanated from the Pranava which is born of the union of Prana and Agni, and who have a liking for the mere melody of the Veena, but have not understood the Siva-Tattva?" Thus, whilst music is exalted to the status of a potent Sadhana for Moksha, Tyagaraja does not fail always to point out that the mere utterance of sounds will not bestow Moksha upon the songster and that the realisation of the Source and Goal of Music ought to be sought after.

If one realises this Truth, he attains Jivanmukti. Tyagaraja says in his ''Ragasudharasa": "Drink the nectar of Ragam and get enlightened. Whatever Siddhi, the most difficult practices like Yoga, Yoga, etc., can bestow on you, you will easily get through Nadopasana. They are Jivanmuktas who have realised that Music which is nothing but Omkara born of the Self and which has Nada for its body—this Music adorned by the Sapta-Svaras is itself the Form of Sadasiva." Therefore it is that the Sadhaka is exhorted to realise the Siva-Tattva which is the Substratum for Music.

One cannot but be deeply moved at the wonderful tribute that Tyagaraja pays to Music, the Nadopasana, in his song, Infekanna-anandamemi" in which he says: "Singing Thy glorious Names in melodious tunes and dancing in joy with the sole aim of having Thy Darshan—will this not do? Is this not the state for which even sages aspire?" For, Tyagaraja declares, Nadopasana itself bestows Advaitic realisation on the Sadhaka. bi world and I He says in the same song: "In Thee I perceive the word and I merge myself in Thee, with my intellect clear and illumined.

SADHANA BY PRAYER

Prayer is the effort of man to commune with the Lord. i Prayer is a mighty spiritual force. It is as real as the force of gravity or attraction. Prayer elevates the mind. It fills the mind with purity. It is associated with the praise of God. It keeps the mind in tune with God. Prayer can reach a realm where reason dares not en. ter—it can take you to the Spiritual Realm or Kingdom of God. It frees the devotee from the fear of death. It brings him nearer to God and makes him feel his essential, immortal and blissful nature.

The power of Prayer is indescribable. Its glory is ineffable. Sincere devotees only realise its usefulness and splendour. it should be done with reverence, faith Nishkamya Bhava (with-out expectation of fruits) and with a heart wet with devotion. Do not argue about the efficacy of Prayer. You will be deluded. There is no arguing in spiritual matters. Intellect is a finite and frail instrument. Do not trust this intellect. Remove now the darkness of your ignorance through the light of Prayer.

Draupadi prayed fervently; Lord Krishna ran from Dvaraka to relieve her distress. Gajendra prayed ardently; Lord Hari marched with his disc to protect him. It was the Prayer of Prahlada that rendered cool the boiling oil when it was poured over his head. It was the power of Prayer of Mira that converted the bed of nails into a bed of roses; cobra into a flower garland.

When you pray, you are in tune with the Infinite, you link yourself with the inexhaustible cosmic power-house of energy (Hiranyagarbha) and thus draw power, energy, light and strength from Him.

Prayer does not demand high intelligence or eloquence. God wants your heart when you pray. Even a few words from a humble, pure soul—though illiterate—will appeal to the Lord more than the eloquent, flowing words of an orator or a Pundit.

Even when the medical board has pronounced a case to be hopeless, Prayer comes to the rescue and the patient is miraculously cured. There have been many instances of this description. You might know this. Healing by prayer is really miraculous and mysterious.

He who prays regularly has already started the spiritual journey towards the domain of everlasting peace and perennial joy. That man who does not pray lives in vain.

Prayer has tremendous influence. I have many experiences. If the Prayer is sincere and if it proceeds from the bottom of heart (Antarika) it will at once melt the heart of the Lord.

Do not pray for the attainment of any selfish ends or mundane gifs. Pray for His mercy. Pray for divine light, purity and spiritual guidance.

Pray constantly. "O Lord, let me remember Thee at all times. Let my mind be fixed at Thy lotus-feet. Remove my evil habits.”

Prayer generates good spiritual currents and produces tranquillity of the mind. If you pray regularly, your life will be gradually changed and moulded. Prayer must become habitual. If Prayer becomes a habit with you, you will feel as if you cannot live without it.

Prayer can move mountains. Prayer can work miracles. Pray even once from the bottom of your heart: "O Lord, I am Thine. They will be done. Have mercy on me. I am Thy servant. Forgive. Guide. Protect. Enlighten. Trahi Mam. Prachodayat." Have a meek, receptive attitude of mind. Cultivate Bhava in your heart. The prayer is at once heard and responded. Do this in the daily battle of life and realise yourself the high efficacy of Prayer. You must have strong Astikya Buddhi (strong conviction in the existence of God).

Do not pray to the Lord with selfish motives. Never pray: "O Lord, let me become rich. Let me have many children, cattle and property. Let my enemies perish. Let me enjoy in heaven for a long time." Never, never pray like this. Never bargain with the Lord. The Lord Himself knows all your needs before you think of asking them. He is the Indweller, Antaryamin. He feeds and clothes the entire universe. Will He ever forget thee?

Christians have different prayers for getting various gifts and bounties from God. Muslims and all other religionists have daily prayers at sunrise, noon, sunset, just before retiring to bed, and just before taking food. Prayer is the beginning of yoga. Prayer is the first important Anga or limb of Yoga. Preliminary, spiritual Sadhana (Spiritual practice) is Prayer. 

Yogi can actually visualise, through his inner eye, the dynamic and beneficial effects produced on the mind and body by prayer. Prayer to God unselfishly and sincerely. You will get devotion, purity, light and divine knowledge.

Get up in the early morning and repeat some Prayer. Pray in any manner you like. Become as simple as a child. Open freely the chambers of your heart. Discard cunningness or crookedness. You will get everything. Sincere Bhaktas know pretty well about the high efficacy of Prayer. Narada Muni is still praying. Nam Dev prayed and Vittal came out of the image to eat his food. Ekanath prayed and Lord Hari showed His form with four hands. Mira prayed and Lord Krishna served her like a  servant. Damaji prayed and Lord Krishna played the part of a menial in paying his dues to Badshah. What more do you! Want? Pray fervently, right now from this very second.

May you all attain immortality through unselfish and sincere prayers offered to the Lord in the early morning hours! May prayer become part and parcel of your very existence! May the inner eye of intuition be opened in you through prayer!

SADHANA OF THE YOGA OF SYNTHESIS

Logical chopping, clever hair-splitting arguments, intellectual gymnastics and word jugglery will not help you in attaining Self-realisation. You must harmoniously develop your head, heart and hand through the practice of the Yoga of Synthesis. Then only you will attain perfection and integral development.

It is easy to repeat "Aham Brahma Asmi" or "Sivoham," but it is very difficult to feel it and recognise the oneness of all beings. No Samadhi is possible till the impurities of the mind are removed by untiring selfless service, Japa, Kirtan and Upasana. The tossing of the mind can be removed by Japa and Upasana. How can you expect to have Brahma Bhavana when the mind is oscillating and jumping?

It is only people like Dattatreya and Yajnavalkya who are really fit for Vedantic Sadhana and repeating "Sivoham." It is only those who have gone above body-consciousness can really say with emphasis and force "The world is illusory. There is no world. This world is like a mirage or a dream." You are a Rottis and Dhal only. You live in Annamaya Kosha all the twenty-four hours. If there is no sugar in tea, no salt or less Dhal you are upset. You cannot take your food. It is simply absurd and meaningless if you repeat "Sivoham" or "Aham Brahma Asmi" or "Soham."

You think you are in the state of Turiya, highest Jnana Bhumika or the stage of wisdom. You imagine you have gong above body-consciousness, but you will hopelessly fail when you are put To put to the practical test, when burning charcoal is applied to your body. Lord Buddha was tested. Mara appeared before him and enticed him. Appar and other saints were all tested. They came out victorious in test.

The superstructure of Vedanta can only be built when the Foundation has been laid strongly by the practice of Yama-Niyama, when the heart has been purified thoroughly through untiring selfless service and Upasana or worship of Saguna Brahman. The subtle evil Vrittis that are lurking in the mind can only be destroyed in toto only through the grace of the Lord. You cannot eradicate them through individual efforts or Sadhana, even in crores of lives. The Lord chooses that man whom He wishes to take to His feet and makes him perfect and free. This is the emphatic declaration of the Kathopanishad also.

One may deliver a lecture on Advaita Philosophy for several hours. One may interpret a verse in hundred and one ways. One may give a discourse on one verse of the Gita for a week and yet these people may not possess an iota of devotion or practical realisation of Vedantic oneness. It is all dry intellectual exercise. Nothing more than that. Vedanta is a living experience. A Vedanti need not advertise that he is an Advaitin. The sweet divine aroma of Vedantic oneness will be ever emanating from him. Everybody will feel this.

A Vedanti feels himself ashamed to bow or prostrate before an idol in the temple. He feels that his Advaita will evaporate if he prostrates. Study the lives of the reputed Tamil Saints, Appar, Sundarar, Sambandhar etc. They had the highest Advaitic realisation. They saw Lord Siva everywhere and yet they visited all temples of Siva, prostrated before the idol and sang hymns, which are on record now. The sixty-three Nayanar saints practised Chariyai and Kiriyai only and attained to realisation. They swept the floor of the temple, collected flowers, made garlands for the Lord and put on lights in the temple. they were illiterate, but attained the highest realisation. They were practical Yogins and their hearts were saturated with pure devotion. They were an embodiment of Karma Yoga. All practised the Yoga of Synthesis. The idol in the temple was all Chaitanya or consciousness for them. It was not a mere block of stone.

How difficult it is to remove this tea habit, a habit which you have contracted within these few years only. If you do not take it for a day you complain you get headache, constipation, etc. you are not able to work. How weak you have become! Then how much more difficult will it be to eradicate the evil Vrittis which are deep-rooted in the mind and which have gained great strength through repetition from time immemorial.

It is easy to become a lecturer on Vedanta. If you sit in a library for some years and enrich your vocabulary and phraseology and commit to memory some passages you can deliver good lectures, in two or three years, but it is not so easy to eradicate an evil quality. A real aspirant only who is doing Sadhana will realise his difficulty.

Just close your eyes now and find out how many really virtuous selfless actions you have done during your life-time, which can be really consecrated as offerings unto the Lord, and which can really please the Lord. There may not be any selfless, praiseworthy action at all. The practice of Karma Yoga does not require much wealth. It demands a willing heart to serve humanity. If you find a poor man suffering on the roadside, take him on your back and admit him in the hospital, serve and nurse the poor sick persons who live in your neighbourhood. Go to the hospital and see the sick persons with a loving heart. Pray for their speedy recovery. Study the Gita in their presence. Acts of this description will purify your heart and make you feel and recognise the oneness of all beings. Then you will smile with the rose, converse with the trees, running brooks and mountains. Even if you do one noble act without any tinge of selfishness as an offering unto the Lord, it will purify your heart, turn your mind at once towards the Lord and qualify yourself for the reception of the Divine Light and Divine Grace.

Mere sitting on Padmasana in a closed room with closed eyes without removing the dirt or weeds in your heart will not in any way help you to attain Samadhi or Self-realisation. You may be building castles in the air, Manoraiya. You may be in the state of Tandri or half-sleepy condition. You may be passing into Tushnimbhoota Avastha or natural state of mind. Ignorant aspirants mistake all these states for Samadhi or realisation. This is a serious blunder. Even if one can meditate seriously and deeply with one-pointedness for half an hour he will be a dynamic Yogi.  He will radiate peace, joy, power and strength to thousands who come in contact with him. 

A real Vedanti who is feeling oneness with all cannot keep even a cup of milk for himself. He will share everything with others. First he will see if any sick man is really in need of milk. He will run to him with panting breath and give him at once and feel joy in such service. Nowadays retired people live on the banks of the Ganga, study a few books on Vedanta and think that they have attained the state of Jivanmukti. They spend everything for themselves and send the major portion of their pension to their sons. They have not developed their heart. They cannot feel for others. They have not made even an inch of progress in the spiritual path, because they have no Chittavisalata or Udaravritti (expression of heart). They remain in the same state as they were some fifteen years ago. This is indeed a sad state! Let them live on Bhiksha for one year and serve the poor with their whole pension. They will have Self-realisation within this year. They should leave the house for two months without money in winter and roam about in unknown places living on alms. They will become humble, compassionate and more generous. They will develop will-power and endurance. They will understand and realise the mysterious ways of the Lord during their wanderings. They will have more faith in the Lord. They will experience the pangs of hunger and the stinging of cold. They will understand well now how the poor people really suffer. They will distribute blankets to the poor and feed the hungry because they realise now fully their sufferings.

You are wasting your time. You are not practising introspection. You get up in the morning, take tea, put on your suits and hat and go to the office for work. You go to the club, gossip in the evening, play cards, visit cinemas and snore till 8 a.m. your whole life is wasted like this. You are not doing any Japa or meditation. You do not know which Vritti is troubling you, which. Guna is functioning at a particular time. You do not know anything about mind-control. You do not know what is Brahmavichara, what is Atma-Chintana, what is Brahma-Nishtha. You have not taken recourse to Satsanga with Mahatmas, Yogins and Bhagavatas. You have no programme of life. Even after retirement you try to enter State Service as you do not know how to spend the time in spiritual pursuits, as you have no inner Iife of  reflection and enquiry and as you have not led a life of spiritual discipline in your younger days. You have lived in vain to fill up your pockets and bellies.

Sankirtan is a great help even for Vedantins. When the mind is tired Sankirtan will fill it with new vigour and energy. Sankirtan will relax the mind, elevate it, and prepare it for another sitting in meditation. When the mind revolts to meditate Sankirtan will coax it and tame it and bring it back to the Lakshya or the point. Those who are practising meditation only can understand this, can know this truth.

Can you meditate for 24 hours? Certainly not. Then how are you going to spend twenty-four hours? In the name of meditation do not allow yourself to become absolutely Tamasic. When the mind begins to wander, when you find it difficult to focus it, come out of the room at once and do some useful service. Keep up the current of meditation while serving also, or do some mental Japa vigorously. Meditation should make you cheerful, introspective, reflective, strong, peaceful, energetic and dynamic. If you are lacking in these virtues surely there is some error in your meditation. Perhaps you are not fit for continuous Dhyana Yoga. You should combine work with meditation; then only you will evolve quickly.

A bird cannot fly without two wings. Though the bird may have two wings yet it cannot fly without the tail. Tail balances and directs the bird to fly in the right direction and saves it from falling. This tail is Bhakti which balances Karma and Jnana. The two wings represent Karma and Jnana. Karma, Bhakti and Jnana are necessary to make you perfect; and to develop the head, hand and heart, and help you in reaching the goal.

Have you seen the picture of Lord Siva's family? Mother Parvati is in the Centre. She has Ganesa and Subrahmanya on her sides. Ganesa is the Lord of wisdom. Subrahmanya is the Lord of action. He is the General of the Army of Devas. Moth Parvati is Bhakti. You should learn a spiritual lesson from this picture. This picture teaches that you can attain perfection only by the practice of Yoga of Synthesis.

Lord Krishna is an adept in the Yoga of Synthesis. He is a charioteer. He is a Statesman. He is a Master Musician. He is an expert Rasa-lila dancer. He is a dexterous archer. He says  "There is nothing in the three worlds that should be done by me, nor anything unattained." Sri Sankara. Lord Jesus, lord Buddha were all masters of Yoga of Synthesis. Sri Aurobindo, jnana Yoga is rooted in Sadhana-Chatushtaya (discrimination and self-denial), blossoms as Brahma Jnana and bears the fruit of Moksha or Kaivalya (Absolute Independence), freedom and perfection.

Bhakti is rooted in faith and self-surrender, blossoms as intense Prema and bears the fruit of communion with the Lord (Isvara-prapti) or ecstasy or Bhavasamadhi.

Raja Yoga is rooted in Yama (right conduct) and Niyama, blossoms as Ekagra-Chitta (one-pointedness of mind) and bears the fruit of Asamprajnata or Nirvikalpa Samadhi (Superconscious state).

Karma Yoga is rooted in self-sacrifice, blossoms as Chitta Suddhi (purity of heart) and Chitta-Visalata (expansion of heart) and bears the fruit of Knowledge of the Imperishable.

Kundalini Yoga is rooted in Satya and Brahmacharya, blossoms as the grace of the Divine Mother and bears the fruit of union with Lord Siva.

Hatha Yoga is rooted in Asanas and Pranayama, blossoms as restfulness, and bears fruit of perfect health, long life and awakening of Kundalini.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER NINE

IMPORTANCE OF SADHANA

SPIRITUALISATION OF HUMAN NATURE

The petty, obstinate egoism which actuates the human personality is a serious obstacle in meditation or the path of Self-realisation. This little self-arrogating principle supports its surface thoughts and dominates its habitual ways of feeling, character and action. This is Rajasic and Tamasic egoism which conceals or covers the higher, divine, Sattvic nature. It veils the self-luminous Immortal Soul or Atman.

You may have aspiration to the Truth. You may be endowed with devotion. You may possess a will to overcome the obstacles and hostile forces. If the little ego asserts or persists. If the external personality has not consented to change or transformation, you cannot have rapid progress in the spiritual path. It will have its own ways and inclinations.

The lower nature must be thoroughly regenerated. The habitual lower personality of the Sadhaka must be entirely changed. If this is not done any spiritual experience or power is of no value. If this little ego or human personality persists in retaining its petty, limited, selfish, ignoble, false and stupid human consciousness, any amount of Tapas or Sadhana will bear no fruit. This means that you do not really thirst for God-realisation. It is nothing more than idle curiosity. The aspirant says to the preceptor "I want to practise Yoga. I want to enter into Nirvikalpa Samadhi. I want to sit at your feet," but he does not want to change his lower nature and old habits. He wants to have his own ways and old habits, old character, behaviour and conduct.

If the aspirant or Yogic student declines to change his petty, lower nature or if he refuses even to admit the need for any change in his lower, habitual personality, he can never make even an iota of real spiritual advancement. Any partial or temporary elevation, slight occasional inspiration during some exalted moments, any momentary spiritual opening within, without any true or radical transformation of the lower nature or habitual little personality, is of no practical value.

This change of the lower nature is not easy. The force of habit is ever strong and inveterate. It demands great strength of will. The aspirant often feels helpless against the force of old habits. He will have to develop his Sattva and will to a considerable degree by regular Japa, Kirtan, meditation, untiring selfless service. Satsanga. He must introspect and find out his own defects and weaknesses. He must live under the guidance of hic Guru. The Guru finds out his defects and points out suitable ways to eradicate them. If the lower nature or old personality becomes obstinate, self-assertive or aggressive, and if it is supported and justified by the lower mind and will, then the matter becomes very serious. He becomes incorrigible, turbulent, unruly, arrogant and impertinent. He breaks all the rules and discipline.

Such an aspirant clings to his old self. He has not surrendered himself either to the Lord or to a personal Guru. He is ever ready to revolt against any man for little things. He will never obey. He is not willing to receive any spiritual instruction. He is self-willed, self-satisfied and self-sufficient. He is not ready to accept his weaknesses and defects. He thinks that he is a flawless man of great achievements. He leads a happy-go-lucky life.

The old personality asserts itself with the past forms of lower nature. He asserts and follows his own crude and egoistic Ideas, desires, fancies, impulses or conveniences. He claims the right to follow his own inhuman unregenerate Asuric or diabolical nature with all untruthfulness, ignorance, selfishness, rudeness and to express all impure stuff in speech, action and behaviour.

He argues vehemently and defends himself in a variety of ways and paints in special colours. He tries to continue his past habitual ways of thinking, speaking and feeling.

He professes one thing and practises another thing. He tries to force his wrong views and opinions on others. If others are not Willing to accept his wrong views, he is ready to fight against them. He at once stands up in revolt. He asserts that his views only are correct and that those who try to oppose his views are unjust,  unreasonable, uneducated. He tries to persuade and convince others that his views are very reasonable and that his ways of action are the right ways of action for all and that his ways and views are in full accordance with the science of Yoga. Marvellous people they are!

If he is really frank with himself and straightforward to his Guru, if he really desires to improve himself, he will begin to realise his folly and defects and recognise the source and nature of the resistance. He will soon be on the direct road to correct and change himself. But he prefers to conceal his old Asuric nature, his old diabolical thoughts under some justification or excuse or other shelter.

The self-assertive, arrogant Sadhaka tries to make a figure in society. He wants to maintain a position and prestige in the society. He poses himself that he is a great Yogi and possesses several Yogic powers. He claims the part of a superior Sadhaka or an advanced Yogi with greater knowledge and experience of Nirvikalpa Samadhi. These defects of vanity, arrogance of Rajasic nature are present in most human natures on a smaller scale.

He is unwilling to obey the orders of his Guru and respect elders and superiors. He is ever ready to break discipline. He has got his ideas and impulses. The habit of disobedience and disregard of discipline is ingrained in him. He sometimes promises that he will be obedient to his Guru and elders, but the ac-tion done is frequently the very opposite of his promise. Non-observance of discipline is indeed a serious obstacle to the Sadhana. He sets the worst possible example to others.

He who is disobedient, who breaks the discipline, who is not straightforward to his Guru, who cannot open his heart to his preceptor or spiritual guide, cannot be benefited by the help of his Guru. He remains stuck in his own self-creating mire or mud and cannot progress in the divine path. What a great pity! His lot is highly lamentable indeed!

He practises dissimulation. He plays the hypocrite. He pretends falsely. He exaggerates things. He makes a false use of his imagination. He does distortion and falsification of fads. He conceals his thoughts and facts. He denies positively certain facts. He tells terrible, deliberate lies. He does this to cover up his disobedience or wrong course of action, to keep UP his position and to have his own ways or indulge in his old habits and desires.

He himself does not know what he is exactly doing as his intellect is clouded by impurity. He does not know what he means and does not mean what he says. 

He never admits his faults and defects. Even if any one points out his defects for correcting him, he feels extremely annoyed. He wages war against him. He has more brute in him.

He has got the most dangerous habit of self-justification. He always tries to justify himself, to stick to his own ideas to maintain his own position or course of action by bringing any kind of foolish, inconsistent arguments, clever tricks or devices. He misuses his intellect to support his own foolish actions. These defects are common, in some in a less, in others in a great degree.

If he feels even a little hit, for his present deplorable condition, if he attempts to show even a slight improvement, if there is a little receptive attitude, he can be corrected. He can have progress in the path of Yoga. If he is obstinate and pig-headed, if he is absolutely self-willed, if he deliberately shuts his eyes or hardens his heart against the truth or Divine light, no one can help him.

The aspirant should give his full 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 Guru. He must have the true spirit and right abiding attitude. He must make the right persistent endeavours. Then only the real change will come. Mere nod-ding the head, mere professing, mere saying 'yes' will not serve any purpose. It will not make you a Superman or a Yogi.

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 is no half-measure in the spiritual path. Rigid discipline of senses and mind, rigorous Tapas 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 open-ing for them. Yoga cannot be practised if you cling to your old little self, old habits, old unregenerate self-assertive lower nature.

You cannot lead a double life at the same time. Pure divine life, life of Yoga, cannot co-exist with mundane life of passion and ignorance. Divine life cannot conform to your own little standards. You must rise above petty human level. You must raise yourself to a higher level of divine consciousness. You cannot claim freedom for your petty mind and little ego if you want to become a Yogi. You should not affirm your own thoughts, judgment, desires, impulses. The lower nature with its retinue, viz., arrogance, ignorance, turbulence stands in the way of descent of the divine light.

Become a true, sincere aspirant in the path of Yoga. Kill this lower nature by developing the higher divine nature. Soar high. Get yourself ready for the descent of the divine light. Purify and become a dynamic Yogi.

 

LIFE'S SUPREME PURPOSE

Life on earth is a School for Wisdom and Realisation of the Self. God is the unseen teacher who through his Great Sons, through Nature Herself, teaches man the secret and source of attainment of eternal Bliss. Thus Life abounds in lessons. He who heeds them heads towards freedom and light; he who ne-glects, lives in darkness in which the world today is steeped. The misery and suffering that abound everywhere reveal clearly that you have wantonly rejected the lessons of life. Foolish man! your repeated, wanton neglect to learn the lessons of centuries has wrecked your boasted civilisation upon the rocks of hatred and greed. By arrogantly refusing to heed countless warnings you have brought ruin and misery upon the earth. All along History has, time after time, taught that abuse of power brings endless sufferings; that violence and hatred result in de-struction and misery. 0 deluded one! blinded by selfishness you have not yet learnt to restrain your greed, to control your ambitions, to love thy neighbour and to temper might with mercy, strength with justice. Material advancement has perhaps enabled you to dominate over the weak, the meek "that are the salt of the earth"; but you have yourself become en-slaved by the fascination of physical might. You are power mad. Your delusion is pitiable. Stand not as a beggar before the door of science seeking power that kills more than heals. Seek within. All power dwells in you, infinite power for good. In your intoxication you think you have won victories. No. You have lost. It is the beast in you that has won the victory and what victory? It is a victory over the man in you. You imagine you have succeeded very well. You have failed miserably. Humanity has sought to attack hatred with greater hatred. The Lesson of Life has ever been "Hatred is not overcome by Hatred, by Love alone is Hatred conquered." The Great Buddha, has he lived in vain then? Spiritual wealth alone is the True Treasure, the wealth of all earth  is but vanity. This Truth, Life taught the world through a Jewel of Son Mammon. But today Mammon is enshrined in the temple of Man's heart. "All phenomena are false, strive to attain the supreme Reality" is the bold declaration of Sri Sankara. Yet you have made the material world alone the only solid reality. This treacherous mirage is luring humanity to its destruction.

The perverted turn taken by modern commercial and political doctrines of acquisition, exploitation, domination and oppression is a deep fathomless abyss of Maya into which humanity is plunging headlong. Talks and plans of reconstruction are developing into reconstruction of war weapons for fresh destruction. Stop! Stop this downward plunge. Beware in time. Rise up again! Turn this apparent victory into Real Victory now. Manifest your mastery over Mara's machination. You may build a mansion with beautiful plastering, coloured tiles, glass sky-lights, painted doors and windows but if the foundation is sand and the bricks are straw then the whole structure is doomed to collapse. It is the human being that has built up this structure of modern civilisation. The individual is the brick to this structure and he himself has degenerated into an un-Godly, Adharmic, unscrupulous being characterised by extreme greed and utter self-seeking. Therefore with all its external gloss the rotten structure has fallen to earth before the blast of the winds of hatred and passion.

To every man I say "Regenerate Yourself. Strive to be an Ideal Man and soon a New Civilisation will come to prevail upon earth." The apparent triumph of having learnt to harness the atomic energy is like the boon of Bhasmasura that proved his own undoing and burnt him to ashes. Awake! Let this not hap-pen. Humanity, wake up. Turn Godwards! Turn towards the Di-vine Light while there is yet time. You can yet mend and make good. However low you may have fallen you can rise yet. The his has assured Glory even to the worst being if he but mend 'is ways.

The cycle of darkness and degeneracy has reached its nadir. Come now. Arise victorious and step up towards the zenith of Perfection that awaits mankind.

THE STRUGGLE FOR PERFECTION

Live with a definite purpose. Do not roam about aimlessly. Walk with a definite aim. Climb the hill of knowledge steadily and reach the summit of the temple of Brahman or the Sweet Abode of Immortality.

In the spiritual path there are constant failures and set-backs. Repeated endeavour, constant vigilance and un-daunted perseverance are needed.

When the heart-knots are gradually loosened, when the Vasanas are thinned out, when the bonds of Karma are loosened, when ignorance is loosened, when weakness vanishes, you will become more and more peaceful, strong and serene. You get more and more light from within. You become more and more divine.

Hard enough is it to purify the lower nature. Difficult enough is it to practise concentration and meditation. But vigilance, perseverance, constant practice, steady and persistent efforts, company of sages (Satsanga), resolute will, strong de-termination will obviate all difficulties and render the path easy, pleasant and attractive.

Fight with the mind bravely. March onwards. Spiritual Hero! Go on fighting with an undaunted heart. Struggle now. Be courageous. At the end of your battle you will attain the illimitable dominion of Eternal Bliss, the Sweet Abode of Immortality, the immaculate, imperishable Self or Brahman.

Strive ceaselessly. Despair not. The light is on the path. Serve all. Love truth. Be serene. Meditate regularly. You will soon attain the life beautiful, the Silence and the Supreme Peace.

Even when you get a glimpse of Truth or the Supreme, your whole life will be changed. You will become a changed Be-ing. You will have a new heart and a new vision. A new thrill of spiritual current will pass through your entire being. A wave of spiritual bliss will sweep over you. The state is indescribable. There are no words to express. There is no language to de-scribe your inner experience.

NEED FOR SADIIANA

Time is most precious. You do not realise the value of time. When the patient is on the death-bed you will ask the doc-tor who is standing by the side of the patient, "O doctors! Just do something for the patient. Give a powerful injection. Let the breath continue for some hours at least. My brother is coming from Bombay to see the patient." The doctor can only reply "My dear friend! I cannot do anything. The case is perfectly hope-less. He will pass away within five minutes." Now you will realise the value of time. You will repent for the days, months and years you have wasted in idle gossiping and sensual pleasures.

You may waste two hours in tying your turban. You may waste much time in self-shaving, combing the hair but if a devo-tee calls you to attend Satsanga, Sankirtan or Bhajan, you will say, "Babaji, I have no time at all. I have to go to the doctor to get medicine. I must go to the market for shopping" and you will give a thousand and one lame excuses.

You keep vigil for cinemas and dramas. You keep vigil all the night if a scorpion stings you. But you cannot keep vigil if there is Akhanda Kirtan during Vaikuntha Ekadasi or Sivaratri. What a pity?

Everybody wants to see God but nobody wants to do any Sadhana. If the Guru says, 'Practise meditation, Pranayama and study scriptures,' the disciple replies 'I have no time for that.' The teacher says, "Repeat the name of Lord Hari." The disciple replies: "I know that already. It is a long, cumbersome and ineffective way. I do not have much faith in Name."

If the Master says, "Then practise Raja Yoga and control the Vrittis gradually. Sit on one Asana for one or two hours," you will say, "I cannot sit for more than 15 minutes. My limbs ache if I sit for a long time." If you are asked to do Upasana, you will say, "There is nothing in Upasana. Idol worship is useless. I cannot concentrate on a picture. A picture is only the imagination of a painter or an artist. I wish to meditate on the all-pervading formless Brahman. Meditation on a picture is a child's play. This does not suit me well." If the teacher says, "Then do Kirtan and Japa for two hours daily," you will say, "There is nothing in papa or Kirtan. This is suitable only for dull-headed persons. I know science well. I cannot stop to do these things. I am above Japa and Kirtan. I am quite modern." If the priest performs the Havan in the proper prescribed manner you say, "Well, Purohit! What is all this? Hurry up. I am feeling hungry. I want to go to the office at 10." If the priest hurries up, you say, "What is this? The priest said something for a couple of hours and says it is all

over now. It is all waste of time, money and energy. I have no faith in Havan. There is no good in it."

If the teacher says, "Then do Pranayama and practise Sirshasana, your Kundalini will be awakened quickly," you will say, "I practised Pranayama for six months. The body became very hot. It did not agree with me. I gave up the practice. I had a fall when doing Sirshasana. I gave it up also."

This is your state of affairs. Anyhow you want spiritual bliss and realisation without doing Sadhana. You want Samadhi in the twinkling of an eye.

You lead a happy-go-lucky life. You do not want to strive hard for attaining God-realisation. If there is any work you will say, 'I will do it tomorrow. I am not quite well today. Doctor has advised me to take perfect rest in bed.' But if there is some sweetmeat—Halva or Rasagulla—you will say, "I am hungry; give it to me now. My health is all right. I can digest it quite easily."

O Man! Lord Buddha strove hard and did Tapas in the Uruvela forest. Lord Jesus did rigorous Sadhana during the missing period. All saints and Yogins have done severe Tapas and meditation. The boy Dhruva did Tapas living on air, water and grass.

The evil Vrittis such as lust, pride, jealousy, Raga-Dvesha are very deep-rooted. Pride and Raga-Dvesha do not leave even Sannyasins and Sadhus. Go to a Mahatma and tell him: "Your lecture was very beautiful and inspiring. You have touched on all points very nicely; but I cannot agree with one or two points." He will at once become angry and jump upon you and say, "0 you fool! How can you criticise me? I am a great scholar and practical Yogi." Maya is very powerful. You will have to obtain the grace of the Lord through self-surrender. That is the reason why Lord Krishna says, "This divine illusion of Mine, caused by the qualities is hard to pierce (Mama Maya Duratyaya); they who come to Me, cross over this illusion.'

The terrible enemy of Immortality is attachment or Mona. It is very difficult to get rid of attachment. The bee can make holes even in wood; but it perishes on account of its attachment to the honey. It sits on the flowers to gather honey. It sits on the lotus in the evening and slowly sucks honey. The lotus closes itself in the evening when the sun sets. The bee does not want to get out of the flower on account of attachment. It foolishly thinks, "I will get out of the flower tomorrow when the sun rises." An elephant comes, crushes the lotus and with it the bee also. This is the case with man also. He can do many wonderful deeds. But he gets attached to the various objects of the world and perishes. The elephant Time consumes him before he can get out of the lotus (of woman and wealth).

The serpent has the frog in its mouth. Only the head of the frog is outside. It will be devoured within a few minutes, yet even in this condition, the wretched frog projects its tongue out-side to catch and eat an insect or two. Even so, 0 ignorant man, you are already in the mouth of Kala or Time. You will be nowhere in a few minutes. Yet you crave for and cling to the sensual objects again and again. You have become a slave of Moha or delusion and attachment.

Death is ever waiting to devour you. Pierce the lotus through dispassion, renunciation and discrimination. Give up attachment. Have faith in Lord's name. Do Japa, meditation and attain Immortality.

Do Sadhana, therefore, when there is yet time; when you are young and the body is healthy. When you are young, when you have abundant energy, you must practise concentration and meditation. You cannot do any spiritual practice during old age.

OUTGOING TENDENCIES OF THE SENSES

AND THE NEED FOR SELF-CONTROL

Brahma created the senses with outgoing tendencies. The eyes want to see beautiful forms. The ears want to hear good music. The tongue wants sweet things and so on, all due to outgoing tendencies of the senses or Rajas. Man thinks he can get happiness from external objects. "If I have some money in my pocket I can have good coffee in the morning. I can com-mand most delicious dishes. I can keep myself perfectly healthy. I can have a bungalow like some rich people. I can own a Summer house in a hill station. I will furnish the room in this way and that" and so on the mind plans and runs towards the external world to have more money, more comforts. There is no end one's exertion to possess objects of pleasure. Yet through gratification of the senses, man does not attain peace.

The mind is a mischievous imp. It will often revolt. It will ask, You "why should I take Sattvic food? Why should I get up at

4 o'clock?" All of a sudden various kinds of doubts will crop up which will try to bring down the aspirant. Being placed in the world of objects you are liable to be carried away by the currents. You get immersed in the old Samskaras of how to get money, how to get this and that. Maya deludes you every moment. You devote much attention to fashions, in dressing yourself and so on. When you have 4 shirts you want 6 more and so on; wants multiply. These are the thoughts which occupy your mind. You will, therefore, have to tackle this mind carefully. The positive always overcomes the negative. This is the law of nature.

So long as your senses are not subdued or weakened, you will have to practise Tapas or self-restraint, Dama or Pratyahara.

When the electric lamp is covered by many wrappings of cloth, there will be no bright light. When the cloth is removed one by one, the light grows brighter and brighter. Even so, when the self-resplendent Atman which is covered by the five sheaths is stripped off by meditation on the pure Self and the practice of 'Neti-Neti' doctrine, the Self-luminous Atman reveals Itself to the meditator.

Sit down with a composed mind. Assert your mastery over the body and the mind. Plunge deep into the chambers of the heart and enter into the stupendous ocean of silence. Listen to the voice which is soundless.

Purify the heart first and then climb the ladder of Yoga steadily with courage and undaunted spirit. Climb onwards swiftly. Attain Ritambara Prajna and reach the summit of the ladder, the temple of wisdom, where the cloud of virtue or nectar drizzles from Dharmamegha Samadhi.

Build your spiritual life on a sure foundation, on the rock of the divine grace and strength of your character. Take refuge In the Lord and His eternal law. There is no power in the heavens or on this earth that can bar your march now. Success in Self-realisation is certain. Failure exists not for you. There is light on your path. All is brilliant.

QUALIFICATION FOR SADHANA

If you serve God with a fraction of the zeal with which you serve mammon or your wife and children you will certainly realise God within a very short period. Even one moment of intense love for God with burning Viraha, God-intoxication and keen longing will suffice to bring you face to face with God. 

Works should be performed without attachment, without the feeling of doing them for one's own personal purity. Perform works merely for God's sake, abandoning even such attachment as this—"May God be pleased." You must be prepared to abandon the work at any time however interesting the work may be, however much you like the work. Whenever the inner Voice of the soul commands you to give up the work, you must at once relinquish it. Attachment to any work will bind you. Understand well these subtle secrets of Karma Yoga and march boldly in the path of Karma Yoga.

Maya havocs through imagination of the mind. Woman is not beautiful but the imagination is beautiful. Sugar is not sweet but the imagination is sweet. Food is not palatable but the imagination is palatable. Man is not weak but the imagination is weak. Understand the nature of Maya and mind and become wise. Curb this imagination of the mind by Vichara or right thinking and rest in Brahman wherein there is neither imagination nor Sankalpa, nor thought.

You show your anger towards your servants, inferiors and helpless weak persons only but you do not show it towards your Master or boss or superiors or strong persons. Why? Because you practise some sort of self-restraint on account of fear towards your Master. Can you not practise self-restraint towards your servants also? If you attempt to see the Lord in the servant, you will not become angry towards your servant. Anger will bring about your destruction. Under the influence of anger only you commit crimes, do wrong actions, insult your elders and speak harsh words. Therefore you should control anger by all means.

Develop patience, tolerance, mercy and love. Practise Vichara. Enquire "Who am I?" Serve others with Atma Bhava. Enquire within yourself. "What will I gain by becoming angry?

My whole energy is lost when I become angry. The Self is one. The self is common in all beings. In hurting another l hurt myself is nothing but my own Self. There is no anger in Atman. Atman  is an embodiment of peace." This evil Vritti will die by itself. 

Some people have curiosity for the spiritual line. They have no real thirsting for liberation. They think that they will get certain powers or Siddhis if they do some Yogic practice. When they do not attain the powers they lose patience, give up the practices, abandon the spiritual path and pooh-pooh the Yogis and Yoga. Mere curiosity will not help you to attain any spiritual progress. Curiosity-mongering is more abominable than mischief-mongering. Introspect. Analyse your thoughts and find out whether you have real spiritual hunger or mere cu riosity-mongering. Transmute curiosity-mongering into real thirsting for salvation by constant Satsanga, study of good religious books, prayer, Japa and meditation.

Your mind will sometimes shudder when evil thoughts enter your mind. This is a sign of your spiritual progress. You are growing spiritually. You will be much tormented when you think of some of your evil actions committed in the past. This is also a sign of your spiritual upheaval. You will not repeat now the same actions. Your mind will tremble, your body will quiver whenever a wrong Samskara or evil action urges you to do the same act, through force of habit. Continue your meditation with full vigour and earnestness. All memories of evil actions, all evil thoughts, all evil promptings of Satan will die by themselves. You will be established in perfect purity and peace.

Passion is lurking in you. You may ask me the reason why you become frequently angry. Anger is nothing but a modification of passion. When passion is not gratified it assumes the form of anger. The real cause for anger is ungratified passion. It expresses itself in the form of anger, when you deal with the mistakes of your servants. This is an indirect cause or external stimulus for its expression. Raga-Dvesha currents are not thoroughly eradicated. They are only attenuated or thinned out to some extent. The Indriyas or senses are yet turbulent. They are subjugated to a small degree. They are not perfectly curbed, disciplined or subdued. There are still undercurrents Vasanas and Trishnas. The outgoing tendency of the senseanses is not totally checked. You are not established in Pratyahara. The Vrittis are still powerful. There is not strong and sustained discrimination or dispassion. The aspiration for the divine has not become intense. Rajas and Tamas are still havocing. There is  only a small increase in the quantity of Sattva. Evil Vrittis are not thinned out. They are still powerful. Positive virtues have not been cultivated to a considerable degree. That is the reason why you have not attained perfect concentration. Purify the mind first. Concentration will come by itself.

Saguna Upasakas or those who meditate on the images of the Lord should do Trataka first with open eyes till they can visualise a clear-cut, well-defined picture. Later on they can visualise the picture with closed eyes. The picture must be very pleasing to the mind and the eyes. It should have a good, agreeable background. When you have created a strong mental image of your Lord in the mind by continuous practice of meditation on one form you should not disturb the mental image by changing the picture. Stick to the same picture and strengthen and feel the mental image, through repeated practice of Trataka, visualisation and constant meditation on the form. Through force of habit the same mental image will appear quite easily in your mind. Sometimes you may change even your Mantra or formula when the mind is tired or wants variety but do not change your mental image or Bhava.

Environments are not bad but your mind is bad. Your mind is not disciplined properly. Wage war with this terrible and horrible mind. Do not complain against bad environments but complain first against your own mind. Train your mind first. If you practise concentration amidst unfavourable environments you will grow stronger, you will develop your will-force quickly, you will become a dynamic personality. See good in everything and transmute evil into good. This is real Yoga. This is the real work of a Yogi.

SADHANA–THE MAIN PURPOSE OF LIFE

Sadhana means any spiritual practice that helps the aspirant to realise God. It is a means to attain the goal of human life. Sadhana is steadying the mind and fixing it on the Lord.

Everyone must take to some kind of Sadhana to attain the state of final beatitude.

Sadhana is the real wealth. It is the only thing of real and everlasting value. There is butter in milk, but it can be got only after churning. Similarly if you want to realise God, do Sadhana and worship constantly in right earnest.

Asanas, meditation or Pranayama, do it systematically and regularly every day. You will attain immortality or eternal bliss.

If you persist in your Sadhana vigorously and diligently it you are regular, systematic and punctual in your Sadhana, you will attain success. Be contented with whatever you get by chance and apply yourself to Sadhana with a dispassionate mind.

Regularity in Sadhana is of paramount importance. He who meditates regularly gets Samadhi quickly. That man who is irregular and does his actions by fits and starts cannot reap the fruits of his efforts.

Keep your mind always busy in doing Japa, concentration, meditation, study of religious books, Satsanga or in doing something useful to others.

Little acts of virtues, little acts of purity will help you a lot in your Sadhana. Removal of Vrittis and impurities is the most important Sadhana. The wandering mind must be controlled by sticking to one place, one preceptor and one progressive method of Sadhana.

That Sadhaka who has turned the mind inward by the practice of Sama and Dama and who has keen longing for liberation sees the Self in his own Self by constant and deep meditation.

You can move the whole world by your spiritual force.

A spiritual diary is a whip for goading the mind towards righteousness.

Selfishness retards spiritual progress. If anyone can destroy his selfishness, half of his spiritual Sadhana is over.

You must get up at 4 a.m. and start meditation. Have concrete meditation in the beginning. Feel the indwelling presence of God in the form and think of the attributes—purity, perfection, all-pervading intelligence, bliss absolute, omnipotence, etc. When the mind runs again and again bring it to the point. Have another sitting for meditation at night. Be regular in your prac-tice.

Write your lshta Mantra in a notebook for one hour daily Discipline the senses. Observe the vow of silence. Develop.. right thinking, right feeling, right acting and right speaking Eradicate vicious qualities, such as anger, lust, greed, ego: re hatred, etc. He who regulates his life on the above lines, Is to attain success in this very birth, nay, in this very second.

Brahmamuhurta: THE BEST TIME FOR SADHANA

Get up Brahmamuhurta and practise meditation. Do not fail at any cost. Brahmamuhurta is the morning period from 4 to 6 a.m. it is very favourable for meditation. The mind is quite refreshed after good sleep. It is quite calm and serene. There is the preponderance of Sattva or purity in the mind at this time. In the atmosphere also, Sattva predominates at this period. 

The mind is like a blank sheet of paper or a clean tablet and comparatively free from worldly Samskaras or impressions at this period. Raga-Dvesha currents have not yet deeply entered the mind. The mind can be moulded very easily at this period in any way you like. You can charge the mind now easily with divine thoughts.

Further all the Yogins, Paramahamsas, Sannyasins, aspirants and the Rishis of the Himalayas start their meditation at this period and send their vibrations throughout the world. You will be immensely benefited by the spiritual currents. Meditation will come by itself, without any effort. It is a terrible spiritual loss for you if you do not utilise the period in divine contemplation and if you snore at this time. Do not become a Kumbhakarna. Become a Yogi like Jnana Deva.

In winter it is not necessary that you should take a cold bath. A mental bath will suffice. Imagine and feel, "I am taking a bath now in the sacred Triveni at Prayag or Manikarnika at Benaras." Remember the pure Atman. Repeat the formula, "I am ever pure soul." This is the most powerful wisdom-bath in Jnana Ganga. This is highly purifying. It burns all sins. Answer the call of nature quickly. Cleanse the teeth quickly. Do not waste much time in cleansing the teeth and taking bath. Be quick. Hurry up. Get ready soon. The Brahmamuhurta will pass quickly. You must utilise this precious time in Japa and meditation.

Wash the face, hands and feet quickly. Dash cold water on the face and on top of the head. This will cool the brain and the yes. Sit in Siddha. Padma or Sukha Asana. Try to climb the supreme height of Brahman, the peak of divine glory and splendour.


If You are not in the habit of getting up early, have an alarm timepiece.. Once the habit is established, there will be no difficulty. The subconscious mind will become your willing and obedient servant to wake you up at the particular time.

If you are a subject of chronic constipation you can drink a tumblerful of cold water or lukewarm water as soon as you get up after cleansing the teeth. This is Ushahpana treatment in the science of Hatha Yoga. This will give you a good motion. You can drink Triphala water also. Soak two Harads (myrobalan), two Amalaka and two Thandrikkai in a tumblerful of cold water at night. Drink the water in the morning after cleansing the teeth. You can keep a ready-made powder of these drugs and put one or two teaspoonful in the water.

Cultivate the habit of answering the calls of nature as soon as you get up from bed. If you suffer from incurable, old constipation, due to old sins, do meditation as soon as you get up You can answer the calls after finishing your morning meditation with the help of a cup of hot milk?

As soon as you get up from your bed do Japa and meditation. This is important. After finishing your Japa and meditation you can take to the practice of Asana, Pranayama and study of the Gita and other religious books.

Every Sandhya time, or dusk, is also favourable for meditation. During Brahmamuhurta and dusk, Sushumna Nadi flows readily. You will enter into deep meditation and Samadhi without much effort when Sushumna Nadi flows. That is the reason why Rishis, Yogins and scriptures speak very highly of these two periods of time. When the breath flows through both nostrils, know that the Sushumna is working. Whenever the Sushumna functions sit for meditation and enjoy the inner peace of Atman or Soul.

Repeat some divine Stotras or hymns or Guru Stotras or chant OM twelve times, or do Kirtan for five minutes before you start your Japa and meditation. This will quickly elevate your mind.

A SERMON ON SADHANA

The life of the spiritual aspirant in the world is verily like fierce struggle and fight with a deadly serpent. Samsara or worldly life is a terrible and deadly serpent. Man must keep constant and alert watchfulness lest the Samsara-sarpa. Takes you unawares. Keep the twin eyes of Viveka and Sharp vichara wide open. At times the man becomes poisoned in the course of his Vyavahara. He must retire periodically from the worldly atmosphere and take recourse to Satsanga, Sadhana, seclusion and silent meditation. This is the spiritual Sanjivini for you to revive yourself and enter the daily spiritual life again without fear. Satsanga and seclusion are the magic herbs which remove completely all poison of worldliness from you. With their help you will keep yourself safe.

The Supreme Lord of all creations gives to the Jiva this precious human body in which to cultivate all the good things of life. The Jiva listening to the promptings of its lower nature allows the body to get into the possession of innumerable evil Gunas. They dominate the person and make the Jiva helpless. The evil qualities take such strong hold upon him that later on when he tries to acquire virtues and to develop Yama and Niyama, there commences a regular challenge. The old vicious Vrittis and Samskaras do not allow virtues to gain entry. They revolt and push them out, but when the aspirant in this helpless condition prays sincerely to the Lord for strength, then the Grace of the Lord gives him the necessary inner force which enables him to throw out his old viciousness and to obtain the fruits of Sadhana.

Desire is a great obstacle, a great barrier in the path of Self-realisation. Control of mind means really abandoning desires. If one wants to discipline the mind perfectly well, one must give up all desires without reserve, all longings for worldly objects and building castles in the air. The monkey-like mind will always be restless, desiring something or other, just as the fish taken out of water tries to get into the water by some means or other, so also the mind will always entertain evil thoughts. Killing all the desires ruthlessly, controlling the mind, freeing it From the surging emotions and bubbling thoughts one can attain the one-pointedness of mind. Such a mind will be as calm as a lamp in a windless place. One who attains such a state of mind can meditate for a long time. Meditation will come by itself.

If one allows one's mind to run towards the worldly things as per its own wish and to entertain unholy thoughts and evil desires who will surely meet with destruction in the end. 

Therefore give up desire. Have always that one idea to attain that supreme abode, the abode of joy, peace, bliss and immortality. Practise Sadhana. Be regular in your Yogic practices. Strive to attain the Goal. You will rejoice for ever.

 

 

 

CHAPTER TEN

SADHANA FOR THE CONQUEST OF LOWER NATURE

SADHANA FOR MASTERING THE MIND 

You take great care of the body. You desire that it should be clean, healthy, beautiful and strong. You take bath with sweet soaps and hot water. You regularly feed it with nourishing food. If there is the least pain or disease medicine is given Doctor is consulted. But you never give a thought to the much more important thing—MIND. Body is only the outward appearance, a projection of the mind. Mind operates through the senses and the sense-organs. If the mind is well then the body is well. If the mind is sick the body becomes ill. Mind is everything. It controls your whole life. Upon it depends your happiness or misery, success or failure. 'Mana eva Manushyanam Karanam Bandhamokshayoh'thus say the Upanishads. Again, 'Yena Manojitam Jagat Jitam Tena' is the great truth. As you think, so you become. Do you fully realise now the great importance of controlling, training and overcoming the mind? So long you have neglected the care of the mind. Attend to this vital subject from now. Mastery of mind means success in all fields of life. To achieve this mastery you must study the mind. You must understand its nature, habits, tricks and the effective methods of bringing it under restraint.

Mind is a bundle of desires, thoughts, feelings and emotions. It is nothing but a collection of Samskaras, desires arising from contact of the sense-organs with different objects, feeling aroused by worldly botherations, ideas gathered together from various different objects. These desires, feelings and ideas are not steady—they will be constantly changing. Suddenly some will subside and some others will occupy the places like the waves in the seas. Some old ones will depart from the storehouse, the mind and some new ones will replay them at once. It is also a bundle of habits. The bad habits and prejudices, although hidden by one's own nature will come and occupy the surface of the mind as and when opportunity occurs.

According to the Vedantic school of philosophy mind is of middling size (same size as that of the body), it is atomic (Anu) as per Nyaya school and Patanjali Maharshi says in Raja Yoga that it is Vibhu (all-pervading). Most of the western doctors, who are still groping in utter darkness, say that it is an excretion of the brain, like bile from liver.

Lord Krishna says, "The senses of which the mind is the sixth (Manah-shashtanindriyani)”—Gita, Chap. XV-7. Here the five senses are the five Jnana Indriyas, viz., the ear, the skin, the tongue, the nose, the eye; and the mind is termed as the sixth, Mind is the common sensory and an aggregate of the five senses. As all the five senses are mingled with it, the mind is able to see, hear, smell, taste and feel independently of the senses.

Mind assumes the shape of any object instantly it thinks upon it. If it thinks of a mango, it assumes the form of a mango. Then it gets an attachment with the mango. Now a desire arises in the mind to taste it. Then the mind makes a firm determination to eat that mango and satisfy itself. One thought follows another. The thought of the mango invites instantaneously the thought of the mango-fruit seller, the tree, the garden where the tree is and so on and so forth. This is the expansion of thoughts or Sankalpas. The whole world is nothing but the expansion of Sankalpas. This expansion of Sankalpas of mind towards the various objects is called BONDAGE. The present-day people have no right understanding, discriminative power between unreal and real. They are completely deluded by Maya. They are under the firm grip or crocodile catch of Maya. They have fallen prey to worldly desires and enjoyments. Therefore they are victims to this bondage, forgetting totally their divine birthright-liberation from the dire disease of births and deaths and attainment of Immortality, the Life Eternal and final Beatitude!

Mind is a monkey which jumps from one place to another. It is like the air, which is always moving (Chanchala). Just as the quick-silver it scatters its rays over various objects. It can also be compared to a furious elephant, because of its passionate impetuosity. Like the fish out of the water, it will always be thirsting to run after evil habits and entertain bad and vicious thoughts. It is also known as a "Great Bird" because it skips from one object to another just as the bird wanders from one tree to another tree, one twig to another, and one place to another.

The last thought determines the next birth. "Whosoever at the end leaves the body, thinking upon any being, to that being only he goes, O Kaunteya! because of the constant thought of that being"-Gita, Chap. VIII-6. Whatever thought you entertain at the last breath, accordingly you take your next birth. This thought entirely depends upon the constant desires and ideas you entertained throughout your whole life. 

Every man has a definite outlook of life; due to the power of the mind he has got a definite thinking, definite craving, desire and hope and definite character, temperament, taste and attitude. For the gratification of the mind these desires, crayings etc., are constantly repeated again and again, and these acts leave definite impressions upon the subconscious mind. The impressions take indelible forms in the subconscious mind.

At the time of death the whole storehouse, the subconscious mind which is full of various thoughts, feelings, ideas etc., is churned out and the strongest and most cherished desire comes to the surface of the subconscious mind or the field of mental consciousness. This churned up butter or cream (cherished desire) arrests his attention for immediate gratification. You will think of this desire only at the time of death. If you are much attached to your pet dog, the thought of the dog will come at the time of death and you will take the form of a dog in the next birth. If you always think of body and identify yourself with the perishable body you will be born again. If you constantly think of Immortal Self during your lifetime, you will entertain the thought of Atman only at the time of death and you will surely attain freedom from births and deaths, Immortality and Everlasting Bliss! For this you must have a well-regulated, perfectly disciplined, correctly moulded, well-controlled and pure and devoted mind. Mark here! the importance of Sadhana, particularly the control of mind which is the central purpose of Sadhana!

Mind is like a mirror. When the mirror is dusty and dirt-laden, you cannot see your face clearly. So also when the mind is dirty, full of impurities, caught in the network of desires, you cannot perceive the Atman or Truth. Just as the eczematous part of the leg and scabiatic hand is always itching the Mind will always be itching for lust. Purify and control the itching mind by uninterrupted, undaunted and regular practice of Sadhana, meditation, devotion, selfless works, by wisdom, Vichara, light Sattvic diet, Japa, study of the Gita, Satsanga, Asanas.

The mind in the vast majority of persons has been allowed to run wild and follow its sweet will and desires. It is like a spoiled child which is given too much of indulgence by the parents or a badly trained animal. The minds of many of us are like menageries of wild animals each pursuing the bent of its own nature and going on its way. Like the light feather in the wind and a ship in the violent storm, the mind is tossed about among objects of love and hatred. It whirls far and wide like a strolling city-dog vainly among sensual objects.

It whirls at the mere sight of the skeleton covered with flesh and dressed fashionably with coloured silken clothes. It is intoxicated by wealth. It will flit in a moment more swiftly than air from Calcutta to New York. In a second it will be in Paris thinking of the up-to-date fashions. In short, it fluctuates, gets excited and confused. It flits about from object to object forever discontented and never satiated. It rejoices in vain. It weeps in regret. It is humiliated for one moment. And it is again puffed up with pride and filled with Ahankara.

Mind havocs through the power of imagination. Imaginary fears of various sorts, exaggeration, concoction, mental dramatisation, building castles in the air are all due to the power of imagination. Even a perfect healthy man has some imaginary disease or other due to the power of imagination. Much energy is wasted through imaginary fears.

Mind tricks and plays. It always wants to be doing something or other and when it attaches itself with objects, it cherishes, it feels amused and happy. For example, a play at cards has nothing in it, but the attachment and attention give pleasure. Having no idea that these momentary pleasures will result in misery, people take delight and repeat the same act again and again. These evil acts, in due course form as bad habits. Then it becomes very difficult to divert the mind from such evil habits which were practised from infancy.

To make a Bhasma by purifying the Haital (yellow oxide or arsenic orpiment) it takes very long time. The Harital is to be soaked in cow's urine for seven days, in lime water for ten days, and in milk for seven days. Then it is burnt out one hundred and eight times to make it into Bhasma (ash). Even so it will take a very long time to purify the mind and attain the state of Blessedness, but success in this earnest attempt is sure and certain.

Aspire fervently. Be vigilant. Be on the alert. Watch your mind always very carefully. Check the surging emotions and bubbling thoughts. Do not allow the waves of irritability, jealousy, anger, lust and hatred to rise in your mind. Do not allow the current of bad thoughts, evil notions, vicious ideas to pass through your mind.