Importance of a Spiriual diary
by Swami Sivananda
The keeping up of a daily spiritual diary is an indispensable requisite. It is certainly of paramount importance. Those who are already in the habit of keeping it know its incalculable advantages. A diary is a whip for goading the mind towards righteousness and God. The diary is your teacher and guide. It is the eye-opener. It will help you to destroy all your evil qualities and to be regular in your spiritual practices. It shows the way to freedom and Eternal Bliss. Those who wish to evolve rapidly must keep a daily record of their actions. If you regularly maintain a diary, you will get solace, peace of mind and quick progress in the spiritual path. Maintain daily diary and realise the marvellous results!
Mahatma Gandhi always advised his students to keep a daily diary. I am always keen on this point. My students keep five different kinds of notebooks. They write their Ishta Mantra in a notebook for one hour daily observing the vow of silence. There is a great deal of concentration in writing a Mantra in a notebook. It forms Japa also at the same time. They keep daily record of their actions. They keep a notebook for synonyms. Whenever they come across difficult words, they write down in the notebook those words with their synonyms. They at once refer to the dictionary. This gives a fund of knowledge. They will have a rich vocabulary of words. They can have good command of the language. Every week they go through their notebooks very carefully. They keep another notebook wherein they take down important points of what they read daily. They note down in another notebook my practical instructions which I give them casually. This develops their Manana Sakti or power of reflection. He who regulates his life on the above lines is sure to become a great man in a short time. There is no doubt of this. Do it practically and see how you grow.
All great men of the world keep diaries. The life of Benjamin Franklin is known to you all. He kept a daily diary. He noted down the number of untruths and wrong actions for which he was responsible during the course of the day. In course of time he became a perfect man. He had perfect control over his mind.
You will have to record in your diary the time you get up from the bed in the morning and retire to bed, the hours of sleep, the study of religious books, the number of Malas of Japa, how many hours you meditate daily, the nature of mistake you committed and the self-punishment you have given to rectify yourself in the form of fasting or increase in the number of Malas of Japa, etc., the lies you have uttered in the course of the day, how many times you became angry and how long it lasted, how many hours you spent in selfless service, how many times passion troubled you and how long it lasted, and the methods you adopted in checking it, the number of Pranayamas you did daily, how long you have practised Asanas and how many hours you have wasted in useless company and talk, etc.
You can add also how many hours did you observe Mouna daily. Did you keep vigils on Sivaratri, Sri Krishna Janmashtami or any other days? How many days did you fast? How many times you failed in the control of evil habits? Prepare a similar diary as shown elsewhere in this book and verify whether you are really progressing. Please send a copy of the diary to me every month. Just keep the diary for six months and then watch the results. If you want quick spiritual attainments, you should never neglect to record everything in your diary. To change the worldly nature it needs rigorous Sadhana. You should not hide your weaknesses and defects while making out daily diaries. It is only to correct and mould oneself, to purge out all weaknesses, defects and errors, to develop the divine nature and to attain Self-realisation that this diary is maintained. If the aspirant is sincere in his jottings the diary itself will become his silent master which will open his eyes and direct him Godward. All people keep Dhobi's diary and milk diary, but alas, they have neglected to keep up the most important diary i.e., Spiritual Diary which will help to correct one's mistakes and to attain quickly Self-realisation or the final beatitude of life.
A big thief is hiding himself in your brain. He has snatched away your Atmic pearl. He is giving you immense worries and troubles. He is deluding you. The thief is your mind. You must not be lenient towards him. You must crush him. You must kill him ruthlessly. There is no other sword sharper than this diary to kill him. It checks his happy-go-lucky ways and destroys him eventually. All your daily mistakes will be corrected if you maintain daily spiritual diary. A good time will come when you will be entirely free from anger, untruth, lust, etc. You will become a perfect man.
Your father and mother gave you this body. They gave you food and clothing. But this diary is superior to your parents. It shows the way to freedom and eternal bliss. It is your Guru. Turn the pages of your diary once a week. If you can record your actions every hour, your growth will be very rapid. Happy is the man who keeps a daily diary because he is very near to God. He has a strong will and is free from defects and mistakes.
By keeping daily diary you can then and there rectify your mistakes. You can do more Sadhana and evolve quickly. There is no other better friend and more faithful teacher or Guru than your diary. It will teach you the value of time. At the end of every month calculate the total number of hours you have spent in Japa, study of religious books, Pranayama, Asanas, sleep, etc. Then you will be able to know how much time you are spending for religious purposes. You have got every chance to increase the period of Japa, meditation, etc., gradually. If you maintain a daily diary properly without any fault in any of the items you will not like to waste even a single minute unnecessarily. Then alone you will understand the value of time and how it slips away.