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The Science of Seven Cultures (Sadhana Tattva)

by Swami Sivananda

Introduction:-(a) An ounce of practice is better than tons of theory. Practise Yoga, religion and philosophy in daily life and attain Self-realisation. (b) These 32 instructions give the essence of the Eternal Religion (Sanatana Dharma) in its purest form. They are suitable for modern busy householders with fixed hours of work. Modify them to suit your convenience and increase the period gradually. (c) Make a few practicable resolves only in the beginning, which form a small but definite advance over your present habits and character. In case of ill-health, pressure of work or unavoidable engagements, replace your active Sadhana by frequent remembrance of God.

HEALTH CULTURE

Eat moderately. Take light and simple food. Offer it to God before you eat. Have a balanced diet.

Avoid chillies, garlic, onions, tamarind, etc., as far as possible. Give up tea, coffee, smoking, betels, meat and wine entirely.

Fast on Ekadasi days. Take milk, fruits or roots only.

Practise Yoga Asanas or physical exercises for 15 to 30 minutes every day. Take a long walk or play some vigorous games daily.

ENERGY CULTURE

5. Observe silence (Mouna) for two hours daily and four to eight hours on Sundays.

6. Observe celibacy according to your age and circumstances. Restrict the indulgence to once a month. Decrease it gradually to once a year. Finally take a vow of abstinence for whole life.

ETHICAL CULTURE

7. Speak the Truth. Speak little. Speak kindly. Speak sweetly.

8. Do not injure anyone in thought, word or deed. Be kind to all.

9. Be sincere, straightforward and open-hearted in your talks and dealings.

10. Be honest. Earn by the sweat of your brow. Do not accept any money, thing or favour unless earned lawfully. Develop nobility and integrity.

11. Control fits of anger by serenity, patience, love, mercy and tolerance. Forget and forgive. Adapt yourself to men and events.

WILL CULTURE

12. Live without sugar for a week or a month. Give up salt on Sundays.

13. Give up cards, novels, cinemas and clubs. Fly from evil company. Avoid discussions with materialists. Do not mix with persons who have no faith in God or who criticise your Sadhana.

14. Curtail your wants. Reduce your possessions. Have plain living and high thinking.

HEART CULTURE

15. Doing good to others is the highest religion. Do some selfless service for a few hours every week, without egoism or expectation of reward. Do your worldly duties in the same spirit. Work is worship. Dedicate it to God.

16. Give two to ten per cent of your income in charity every month. Share what you have with others. Let the world be your family. Remove selfishness.

17. Be humble and prostrate yourself to all beings mentally. Feel the Divine Presence everywhere. Give up vanity, pride and hypocrisy.

18. Have unwavering faith in God, the Gita and your Guru. Make a total self-surrender to God and pray: "Thy Will be done; I want nothing." Submit to the Divine Will in all events with equanimity.

19. See God in all beings and love them as your own Self. Do not hate anyone.

20. Remember God at all times or, at least, on rising from bed, during a pause in work and before going to bed. Keep a Mala in your pocket.

PSYCHIC CULTURE

21. Study one chapter or 10 to 25 verses of the Gita with meaning daily. Learn Sanskrit, at least sufficient to understand the Gita in the original.

22. Memorise the whole of the Gita, gradually. Keep it always in your pocket.

23. Read the Ramayana, the Bhagavata, the Upanishads, the Yoga-vasishtha or other religious books daily.

24. Attend religious meetings, Kirtans and Satsanga of saints at every opportunity. Organise such functions on Sundays or holidays.

25. Visit a temple or place of worship at least once a week and arrange to hold Kirtans or discourses there.

26. Spend holidays and leave-periods in the company of saints; or practise Sadhana at holy places in seclusion.

SPIRITUAL CULTURE

27. Go to bed early. Get up at four a.m. Answer calls of nature, clean your mouth and take a bath.

28. Recite some prayers and Kirtan Dhvanis. Practise Pranayama, Japa and meditation from 5 to 6 a.m. Sit in Padma, Siddha or Sukha Asana throughout, without movement, by gradual practice.

29. Perform your daily Sandhya, Gayatri-Japa, Nityakarma and worship, if any.

30. Write your favourite Mantra or Name of God in a notebook for 10 to 30 minutes, daily.

31. Sing the Names of God (Kirtan), prayers, hymns etc., for half to one hour at night, with family and friends.

32. Make annual resolves on the above lines. Regularity, tenacity and fixity are essential. Record your Sadhana in a spiritual diary daily. Review it every month and correct your failures.


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