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Practical Hints

Swami Sivananda was known as a practical vedantin. Even after the transcendental Experience, he showed deep concern and compassion for the men in the world and their welfare with the awareness that for them, this world was the only reality. He tried to inspire them to take up the path of virtue, nobility and purity, and called them to evolve on the spiritual ladder. He advocated perfection in all actions. Here are some of his teachings that will provide guidance in the daily life of man of the world...

Share with others what you have,

Physical, mental, moral and spiritual.

Do not hoard wealth.

Do not covet the wealth of others.

In sharing there is joy and peace.

Sharing generates cosmic love

And destroys greed.

Sharing removes selfishness

And creates selflessness.

Sharing purifies your heart.

Sharing develops oneness.

The three things to cultivate: non-injury, truth, purity.

The three things to possess: faith, tolerance, amiability.

The three things to be: honest, just, virtuous.

The three things to have: patience, compassion, fellowship.

The three things to acquire: sincerity, regularity, perseverance.

The three things to inculcate: generosity, gentleness, universality.

The three things to eradicate: pride, vanity, egoism.

The three things to conquer: lust, anger, greed.

The three things to renounce: selfishness, desires, hypocrisy.

The three things to control: mind, senses, breath.

The three things to avoid: backbiting, criticism, crookedness.

The three things to repudiate: attachment, infatuation, materialism.

The three things to enquire: Who am I? What is Truth? What is Maya?

The three things to introspect: the nature within, weaknesses, susceptibilities.

The three things to promote: Dharma, peace, welfare.

The three things to foster: brotherhood, understanding, amity.

The three things to curb: self-justification, self-pity, self-praise.

The three things to do: shravan, manan, nididhyasan (hearing of Holy Scriptures, reflection, profound meditation).

The three things to follow: teachings of Guru, injunctions of scriptures, dictates of the conscience.

The three things: Eat sparingly, breathe deeply, talk kindly.

Work energetically, think usefully, stick resolutely.

Act rightly, behave properly, speak politely.

Pray whole-heartedly, serve lovingly, surrender completely.

Contemplate seriously, meditate intensely, realise quickly.

Let all your actions be full of love, goodness and purity.

Consider your house as the Lord's temple, every action as service of the Lord. This is the easy way for spiritualising all your actions.

Be good, do good. Be kind, be tolerant, be generous, be charitable. Be patient, be persevering. Be pure, be wise.

Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, at all times, with all zeal, strength, love and heart. To be good is to be human. Goodness makes life a blessing. A good deed is never lost. It purifies the heart and leads to the descent of Divine Light and dawn of Divine grace.

Feed the hungry, nurse the sick, comfort the afflicted, and lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful. Clothe the naked. Educate the illiterate. Feed the poor. Raise the downtrodden. Be a lamp to those who have lost their way. The world is burning with misery and suffering. Wake up, O Man! Serve. Serve with love. Serve untiringly.

Do not speak ill of others. Injure not any creature. Do not waste a single moment.

Speak the truth at any cost. It gives spiritual power. Control anger by developing patience, kshama (forgiveness), cosmic love, service and daya (compassion). You must cultivate humility, magnanimity (udarata) and courage.

You are divine. Therefore, be what you are. Be aware of your divinity and live your life divinely. Your origin is Divine.

Check the vritti of doing violence through prayer, worship, meditation, enquiry, pranayama, sattvic food, and study of sacred books. Study the lives of the Apostles of non-violence Lord Buddha, Lord Jesus, Mahatma Gandhi, and others, again and again. Draw inspiration from them. Generate again and again, currents of love by cultivating Atma-bhava (treating others as one's own self) or Narayana-bhava (seeing the Lord only in every one).

Develop keen interest for selfless service. Be kind to all. Love all. Serve the Lord in all.

Be tolerant and generous towards all. That is the way to reach the Goal.

Behold good alone in everything. Develop again and again the good-finding faculty.

Destroy the evil-finding quality to its very root. Rise above good and evil.

Good conduct is the one cause of happiness. The rules of conduct are: charity, purity of moral conduct, service of others with courtesy and politeness, and nursing the sick and the elders.

In giving you are enriched. Give, give, give. Again give. Give abundantly.

A comforting word is charity. Lightening the sorrow of the sorrowful is charity. Speaking kind and encouraging words when a man is in distress is charity. Thinking good of others is charity. Every good action is charity.

Put your heart, mind, intellect and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.

Convert yourself first before you try to convert others. Reform yourself first before you attempt to reform others.

Light the lamp of love. Sow the seed of love. Dispel all darkness of suffering and ignorance with the light of love. Feel everyone's pain as your own. Serve them and help them with love. Cheer up the depressed.

Remain in the world, but do not be worldly-minded.

God is in the heaven of your heart. Search for Him in your heart, you will find Him there. Purify your heart first. Remove the weeds of jealousy and lust; withdraw the senses, still the mind, subdue the bubbling thoughts, silence the surging emotions. You can meet now your Beloved.

All creation is the family of God. Identify yourself with everything that lives. Live in peace with friend and foe.

As far as possible, take sattvic food such as fruits, milk, green leafy vegetables. Love all. Be humble and simple. Discipline your mind and senses through detachment. Have a balanced mind in pleasure and pain. Be patient in difficulties, dangers and troubles. Stand adamant. You will overcome obstacles.

The grace of God is proportional to the purification of the heart. So the important thing is to lead a righteous life - a life devoid of lust, anger, greed, hatred, jealousy, etc. Try to live a life of truthfulness. Never hurt anyone by thought, word or action. Have satsanga (company of saints), study religious books, sing the Lord's name. Do japa.

Develop the power of deep and concentrated thinking. Many obscure points will be rendered quite clear. You will get answers and solutions from within.


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