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Remove the obstacles

by Swami Sivananda

 

If you strain yourself in meditation and go beyond your capacity, laziness and inactive nature will supervene. Meditation should come naturally on account of serenity of the mind induced by the practice of Sama, Dama, Uparati and Pratyahara.

When you practise Samadhi, many obstacles such as sleep, laziness, break of continuity, confusion, temptation, infatuation, desire for worldly pleasure, and a feeling of blankness will assail you. You must be on the alert. You must be vigilant and circumspect. You will have to get over these impediments step by step through patient, dauntless efforts. You will have to cross this void also. What appears to you as a void when all the Vrittis have perished is not really a void. This is Avyaktam. If you cross this void also, you will rest in your own Self. Terrible fear will try to overpower you when you come face to face with the void because you are left alone now. You have nothing to see, nothing to hear. There is none to cheer you. You will have to depend on your own self. Presence of mind is needed now at this critical juncture. Draw courage and strength from within. Sage Uddalaka also encountered much difficulty in crossing this void. No impediment can stand before a man of fiery determination and iron will.

Some aspirants stop their Sadhana after reaching Avyaktam. They get false contentment. They have wrong imagination that they have reached the highest goal. This is a sad mistake. They get themselves merged in Avyaktam and become Prakritilayas. Prakritilayas are born again in this world with powers. You should try to go beyond this Avyaktam or the unmanifested Prakriti. Then you will reach the Bhuma or the unconditional Brahman.

The Vasanas are very powerful. The senses and the mind are very turbulent and impetuous. Again and again the battle must be fought and won. That is the reason why the spiritual path is called the razor path in the Kathopanishad. There is no difficulty for a man of strong determination and iron will even in the razor path. Strength comes from within at every step.

Extreme asceticism and self-torture are not necessary for the attainment of knowledge of the Self. You will have to adopt always the middle course. Too much fasting brings much weakness and retards vigorous spiritual Sadhana. You can have occasionally mild fasts. Live on milk and fruits on Sundays and Ekadasi.

Ethical culture is of paramount importance. The curiosity for acquiring Siddhis must be abandoned. That man who thirsts for Siddhis is still within the dominion of Maya. Only when this thirsting dies, the student enters the borderland of Jnana or the spiritual kingdom. Every student should maintain daily spiritual diary. Then only defects can be rectified and the mind can be controlled. The spirit of service of humanity must be ingrained in the heart of every aspirant. Sattvic virtues such as mercy, generosity, tolerance, forgiveness and nobility must be developed to a high degree. Teachers of Yoga and sages lay great emphasis on the above points.

Do not become despondent under any account. Walk like a spiritual lion. Overcome difficulties one by one. Be not afraid of public criticism. People are still abusing Lord Mahadeva, Sri Sankaracharya, Lord Krishna and Lord Rama. They will continue to do so from eternity to eternity. The world abounds with Tamasic people. Sattvic people are very rare. Discipline your mind. Stand adamant under all conditions and at all times. Keep a cool balanced mind. Serve the world with redoubled force and energy. May you prosper gloriously! May you attain the state of Kaivalya!

When the mind is Sattvic you will get glimpses, flashes of intuition. You will compose poems. You will understand the significance of the Upanishads beautifully. But this stage will not last long in neophytes. Tamas and Rajas will try to enter the mental factory. In the beginning stage, progress may be like the frog's, never steady and continuous. You may think that you have almost reached the goal and experience for the next 6 or 20 days nothing but disappointment. It will be a jump from position to position but not a continuous development. Have sustained, intense Vairagya and do intense protracted Sadhana. Be under the guidance and close contact of your Guru for some years. You will have steady and continuous progress.

O Ram! Thou art Satyakama, a lover of Truth. Thou art very dear to me, because thou art treading the path of Truth or the path of Self-realisation though with faltering steps. You are bound to succeed. All obstacles will vanish like mist before the sun. Be not troubled. Be not anxious if there is a little delay in the descent of divine light. March boldly in the spiritual path.

O Beloved Ram! You are within a strong spiritual fortress now. No temptation can influence you. You are absolutely safe. You can do vigorous Sadhana now without fear. You have a strong spiritual prop to lean upon. Become a brave soldier. Kill your foe, the mind, ruthlessly. Wear the spiritual laurels of peace, equal vision, contentment. You are already shining with Brahmic splendour on your face. The All-merciful Lord has given you all sorts of comforts, good health and a Guru to guide you. What more do you want? Grow, evolve, realise the Truth and proclaim it everywhere.


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