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Hints to Aspirants

by Swami Sivananda

Aspirants to Yoga are classified into three degrees: (1) Arurukshu, one who is attempting to climb the steps of Yoga, (2) Yunjana, one who is busily engaged in the practice of Yoga and (3) Yogarudha, one who has already reached the height of Yoga.

INDISPENSABILITY OF INNER PURITY

Aspirants are very eager for realisation. But, when that realisation actually comes, they begin to tremble, to quiver. They cannot bear the illuminating blaze of God. They are so puny, impure and weak that they cannot face the mighty brilliance and divine splendour. They have not prepared the vessel to hold on the Divine Light. Mark how Arjuna trembled with fear at the huge cosmic vision of Virat and prayed to Lord Krishna to show him again the usual form with four hands which represents harmony, perfection, power and wisdom.

It is difficult to speak about Brahman. It is still more difficult to understand. It is yet still more difficult to practise spiritual Sadhana. This corresponds to the Gita's teaching, Chapter II-29:

"As marvellous one regardeth Him, as marvellous one speaketh thereof, as marvellous one heareth thereof; yet, having heard, none indeed understood."

It demands a subtle, pure, clear mind, determined will, patience, perseverance and Utsaha (cheerfulness) for the realisation of Brahman.

VITAL NEED FOR MORAL STRENGTH AND COURAGE

A spiritual aspirant will have to face boldly misrepresentation, calumny and misunderstanding. That has always been the lot of those who tried to raise themselves above their fellows. Moral strength and courage are necessary to meet that and to enable that man to maintain his position and what he thinks right, whatever those around him may think or say or do. People will despise and persecute you. You will have to stand boldly on your moral footing to live for your own convictions. As aspirant who has outgrown the rules of society should act according to the dictates of his pure conscience and pure reason. Then alone he can grow spiritually.

When anyone rises to fame and power, enemies come in by themselves. Even Sri Sankaracharya had many enemies. Even Sannyasins who live in forests have enemies. Jealous and petty-minded men create various sorts of mischief against people who are prosperous and famous. Have Sakshi-Bhava (feeling of witness) and rise above the idea of friend or foe. Become an Udasina (indifferent man). Develop the power of endurance. Bear insult, injury with a cool mind. Then only you can be happy in this world.

There are as many spiritual Sadhanas as there are individual minds. What suits one mind may not suit another. Raja Yoga will be easy for one mind, while Jnana Yoga will be easy for another. One form of Tapas may suit one mind. A different kind of Tapas will suit another.

DAILY SPIRITUAL ROUTINE

Here is a daily spiritual routine for whole-time aspirants. Those who work in offices and business-houses can adjust and make necessary alterations according to their convenience and time at their disposal.

Japa and Meditation Morning ... 4 hours
Night ... 4 hrs
Svadhyaya (study) ... 3 hrs
Interview (if need be) ... 1 hr
Asana and Pranayama Morning ... 1 hr
Night ... 1 hr
Walking ... 1 hr
Sleep ... 5 hrs
Service ... 1.5 hrs
Bath, etc. ... 1 hr
Food ... 1 hr
Rest ... 0.5 hr
24 hrs

A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT SCHEDULE

It is difficult in the beginning to fix the mind on God all the twenty-four hours. As soon as meditation is over, the mind will begin to wander, will try its level best to have its old habits. What are you going to do to check its habits? You must give another Sattvic object for its grasp. It wants variety. Now, study philosophical books for some hours. As soon as study is over, take down notes on what you have studied. You can devote some time in this direction. This will serve to relax the mind. This will form a mental recreation. You can spend some time in serving poor, sick persons, according to your capacity. I give below a time-table for your daily routine:

Meditation ... 8 hours
Study ... 4 hrs
Writing ... 2 hrs
Service ... 2 hrs
Food, bath, exercise ... 2 hrs
Sleep ... 6 hrs
24 hrs

The most impious of men can, by earnestly devoting himself to God, reach the highest Bliss. "Even if the most sinful worship Me, with undivided heart, he too must be accounted righteous, for he hath rightly resolved" (Gita, IX-30). "Pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati-Know thou for certain that My devotee perisheth not" (Gita, IX-31). What reason, then, is there for despair? Therefore, be up and doing. God will surely crown your efforts with success. Even the vilest of us shall obtain Moksha.

Om purnamadah purnamidam purnat purnamudachyate
Purnasya purnam-adaya purnam-eva-vasishyate
Om Santih Santih Santih

OM THAT IS FULL. THIS IS FULL. FROM THAT FULL, THIS FULL EMANATES,
TAKING AWAY THIS FULL FROM THAT FULL, THE FULL STILL REMAINS BEHIND.
OM PEACE, PEACE, PEACE.

HARI OM TAT SAT


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