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Towards Perfection

by Swami Sivananda

STRIVE

Strive. Strive to realise God. This is the purpose of human birth. The perfection of the realisation of absolute knowledge, supreme bliss and immortality is the one and only goal in human life. Release from the round of births and life in eternity is the goal of man. Till self realisation is attained, man is subject to the law of karma and rebirth. Finish your task Godrealisation in this life itself; do not postpone it. Just as food is necessary for the body so also daily meditation and prayer are necessary for the soul.

O man! Wake up from this slumber of ignorance. Why do you waste your life building castles in the air? Turn your gaze within. Stop all this hurry and worry. Sit down and relax. Dive deep within. Discover the pearl of atman. You will be freed from birth and death here and now.

Remember the goal every moment of this life. Strive incessantly to realize it by living a life of detachment, dispassion, devotion, deep meditation and samadhi (self knowledge).

O man! Nothing is permanent. All things change. All things pass away. Seek the permanent, changeless, immortal atman and be free. He is truly wise who lives in the eternal and who is endowed with discrimination and dispassion.

Life is a transforming process by which attachment, fear, anger, hatred and lust are transformed by steady and rigorous discipline and meditation into joy, bliss, peace and love.

In simplicity is the secret of real beauty. Simplify your life. Be humble, pure, straight forward and true to yourself and others. Be good and do good so that each tomorrow will find you farther than today. Be humble, be meek, be pure, be holy, be godly and peaceful. Be charitable. Be moral. Be humble. Be courageous. Be pure. Meditate. Become wise. Whoever does anything with enthusiasm, patience and perseverance, never fails to achieve his object. Annihilate desires.

Seek the company of saints and devotees. Control the mind. Control anger. Be charitable. Help the needy. Kill the ego. Be grateful. Respect the great. Be truthful. Indulge not in gossip. You will attain the supreme blessedness.

REALISE THY TRUE NATURE

First, learn to know yourself, the true value of your own character. Then alone you will be able to serve humanity and benefit people. You are taintless, tranquil, pure consciousness; you are beyond nature. All this time you have been duped by illusion, maya.

Know one individual (yourself) correctly and you can know the whole world. To know thy self, is to know God. Seek perfection, freedom and eternal bliss in the atman or self, by the self and through the self. Talk only of the atman. Purify, meditate, lose yourself in Brahman or the absolute and you will find your self, you will know your self.

Nobody doubts his own existence, though he may doubt the existence of God. Find the truth, the source of your own self and then you will know everything. The more you know the more you will grow in humility. I climbed the peak of vedanta and merged in the Light of Lights. How can I express it? To express the unspeakable all words are feeble. I am the witness the eternal, pure, infinite, internal self. I am Siva himself. I am changeless. None of the things of the world have touched me, will ever touch me. I have no moods I am beyond moods. I am the blissful atman. The light which illumines the intellect, the sun, the moon, the stars and also yonder lamp, is bliss eternal. That light am I. Om.

If you find you need a place of perfect security and peace then come, sit in my heart and be one with me. There is a central harmony within you, a wisdom, a spirit of wholeness which is divine. That is immortal atman, your own innermost soul or self. Dwell in this atman. Realise this atman and be free for ever. The atman or supreme self must be realised. This is practical religion.

Open the eye of your heart,

Enjoy the vision of the Lord.

Break the seal of your ego,

Realise the eternal bliss of the self.

Clean the dirt of your mind's mirror,

Behold the beauty of the majestic atman.

Sit on the horse of brahmakara vrtti.

Reach your destination; the home of eternal peace.

Still the waves of the mind,

Take a dip in the ocean of bliss,

Shut up your mouth and the mouth of the mind

And enjoy the peace of supreme silence.

PERSEVERE IN SADHANA

Let the sadhana (spiritual practice) always be regular, continuous, unbroken and earnest. Not only regularity but also continuity in sadhana and meditation are necessary if you want to attain self realisation quickly.

A spiritual stream, once set going, does not dry up unless the channel bed gets blocked, unless there is stagnation. Be vigilant eternally. Meditate regularly. Annihilate the under current of vasana (habit patterns).

Patience, perseverance, courage, determination, discrimination and dispassion are needed to tread the spiritual path. Put away thoughts, stimuli, perceptions, intentions, emotions, feelings, preoccupations and deliberations arising out of the senses and the sense objects.

You will attain supreme blessedness or the peace of the eternal. Keep the flame of thy aspiration ever kindled bright. Let purity, serenity, compassion, truth and oneness, manifest in thy thoughts and actions. Through penance, prayer and meditation the soul ascends on the divine chariot, to the realms of infinite bliss, to God's halls of wisdom.

Regularity is of paramount importance in spiritual practice. Spiritual aspirants must be arduous and efficient in performing their tasks without a break. Pray without a break. Have unshakable faith.

Remember vairagya (dispassion) and abhyasa (constant practice). Prayer is the wing by which you fly to God. Meditation or intuition is the eye by which you see God. Pray fervently unto the Lord. Pray for the Lord's light and guidance.

Meditate on the great truth within. Strive ever to keep thyself close to the divine centre. Day by day draw nearer unto the Lord. Strive inwardly to grow into the likeness of the divine ideal.

WHAT IS VEDANTA

Om. Vedanta is that bold philosophy which teaches the unity of life or oneness of consciousness. It is that supreme philosophy which boldly proclaims, with emphasis and force, that this little jiva (human being) is identical with the eternal or absolute. It is that sublime philosophy which elevates the mind at once to magnanimous heights of Brahmanhood, divine splendour and glory, which makes a man absolutely fearless, which destroys all barriers that separate man from man and which brings concord, unruffled peace and harmony to suffering humanity. It is the only philosophy that can really unite (on the basis of one common self in all) a Hindu and a Mohammedan, a Catholic and a Protestant, an Irishman and an Englishman, a Jain and a Parsee, in a common platform and in the core of their own hearts also. It is the only philosophy that, when properly understood and practised, can put a definite stop to world wars and all sorts of dissensions, splits and skirmishes that exist in nations and communities.

Vedanta is a magnetic healing balm for the wounded and the afflicted in the dreadful battlefield of this dire samsara (phenomenal existence). Vedanta is the divine collyrium which removes the cataract of ignorance and gives a new, inner eye of intuition or wisdom. Vedanta is the direct, royal road to the domain of felicity; it is the supreme abode of immortality and eternal bliss. I is a panacea, a 'cure all' for those who are being burned by the three fires and the five afflictions of this miserable mundane existence. It is the Himalayan herb that can bring immediate life to a dying man. It lifts a man, at once, to the status of Emperor of emperors, King of kings even though he has nothing to eat; even though he is clad in rags.

Vedanta gives real spiritual strength; it inspires, renovates, vivifies, invigorates and energises. It eradicates ignorance the root cause for human sufferings. It puts a stop to the never ending wheel of birth and death and confers immortality, infinite knowledge and bliss. It gives hope to the hopeless, power to the powerless, vigour to the vigourless and joy to the joyless.

Vedanta is the only universal, eternal religion. Vedanta means 'end of the vedas' or the essence of the teaching of the srutis (scriptures).

ESSENCE OF VEDANTA

Vedanta is expressed in the Mahavakyas (great sentences) of the Upanishads as "Tat Twam Asi" "thou art that"; "Aham Brahma Asmi" "I am the self." Vedanta says, "O little man! Do not identify yourself with this perishable body. Give up 'I ness' and 'mine ness'! Do not hate your neighbour or brother. Do not try to exploit him he is your own self. There is a common self or common consciousness in all. This is the same in a king and a peasant, in an ant and a dog, in a man and a woman, in a cobbler and a scavenger. This is the real immortal entity. Mind is the dividing principle. It tempts and deludes. Kill this mischievous mind. Control the indriyas (senses) which drag you out to the external objects. Fix the mind in the source. Rise above body and mind. Eradicate desires. Learn to discriminate the real from the unreal. Identify yourself with this immortal, non dual, self existent, self luminous essence. Behold the one self in all. See the one in many. All miseries will come to an end."

Vedanta speaks of the one atman or Brahman or self who exists in the past, the present and the future, who has no beginning, middle and end, who is the support for everything, who is the embodiment of wisdom, peace and bliss. The seers of the Upanishads have expressed their realisation in glowing terms. They have given out their inner experiences after long research and mighty struggle. All these have been collected in the form of the Upanishads. This constitutes the subject of Vedanta Philosophy.

Although vedanta is the direct royal road that takes one to the goal, it should not be prescribed for all in a wholesale manner. There are four types of aspirants. They are the karmic (active) type, the bhakti (devotional) type, the mystic type and the rational type. Karma Yoga should be prescribed for people of karmic tendencies for the busy and active men who have mala (impurities) in the mind; bhakti yoga for men of devotional temperament in whom the emotional element predominates; raja yoga for men of mystic temperament; vedanta yoga for men of reason and will for people of intellectual temperament.

Vicara (enquiry, "Who am I?") can only benefit that aspirant who is free from impurity and tossing of the mind, who is endowed with bold understanding, gigantic and tremendous will, sharp, subtle intellect and the four means. It is certainly not meant for all it is meant for the select few only who can really understand and realise the full significance or import of vedanta and reap the fruits.

THE GOAL OF VEDANTA

The goal or aim of life is self realisation which confers immortality, highest bliss, knowledge and supreme peace. Fixing the mind on the source or inner self and getting it absorbed there is the highest yajna (worship), the highest charity, the highest karma (action), the highest bhakti (devotion), the highest yoga or knowledge. Now the little self arrogating 'I' vanishes. Just as the river joins the ocean, the little self becomes one with the ocean of bliss. With the disappearance of the little illusory 'I' comes the disappearance of 'you', 'he', 'this', 'that', time, space and causation, 'mine' and thine', the pairs of opposites, the ideas of jiva (soul), Isvara (God), prakrti (nature), etc. The whole world presents itself as atman. This grand vision this magnanimous samadhi (superconsciousness) is atma darsan (vision of the ultimate reality), which is beyond description. Many have attained this vision why not you also? Apply diligently right now in its achievement.

There is something dearer than wealth; there is something dearer than wife or son; there is something dearer than your life itself. That dearer something is thy own self (atman), inner ruler (antaryamin), immortal (amrtam). He who dwells in this eye, who is within this eye, whose body this eye is, whom the eye does not know, who rules the eye from within, is thy self, inner ruler, immortal.

The vedantic method of meditation on the formula 'anomayoham' (I am all health) or the enquiry, "Who am I?" is the most efficient, patient and best method for eradication of all disease and ensuring perfect health and a high standard of vigour and vitality. This is the king of all physical cultures. For those aspirants who practise the, "Who am I?" enquiry and who are not able to keep up good health by this method alone I prescribe the practice of asana (posture) and pranayama (yoga breathing).

The aspirant who has got citta suddhi (pure mind) will only be able to hear the still, small voice of the soul or self. If there is no purity he will certainly mistake the voice of the self. He will be misguided he will blink and grope in darkness. The help of a realised guru is indispensably requisite in the beginning for the aspirant who treads the path of jnana yoga.

ROOT OUT ATTACHMENT

Atman is Brahman or absolute or infinite or supreme being. It is existence absolute, knowledge absolute and bliss absolute. It is eternal, perfect, pure, self luminous. It is self delight and self knowledge. It is bodiless, formless (nirakara) and attributeless (guna less). It is all pervading, all full, imperishable. It has neither beginning nor end. It exists in the present, the past and the future. It is svayambhu (self existent). It is the source for the body and the mind, prana (life), indriyas (senses), vedas and the universe. No one can deny it because it is the self of all beings.

Selfishness retards spiritual progress. If anyone can destroy his selfishness, half of his spiritual sadhana (practice) is over. No samadhi or meditation is possible without the eradication of this undesirable, negative quality. Aspirants should direct their whole attention in the beginning towards the removal of this dire malady by protracted, selfless, disinterested service.

Never say 'my body', 'my wife', 'my son', 'my house'. Attachment is the root cause for the miseries and sufferings of this world. Discipline the mind carefully. The old habits will creep in destroy them at the very root. Lead the life of mental non attachment. This is the master key to open the realm of Brahmic bliss. Nonattachment is dispassion or indifference to sensual enjoyments.

It is the mind that creates the ideas of 'I ness' and 'mine ness'. It is the mind that links the body and the jiva (soul) and creates intense deha adhyasa (body consciousness) and the man thinks, "I am the body". If the binding link in the mind is destroyed you can remain wherever you like you can roam peacefully, in any part of the world, unattached like water on the lotus leaf. Nothing can bind you. The whole mischief is wrought by the mind.

Introspect. Look within. Try to remove your defects. This is real sadhana (practice) you will have to do it at any cost. Intellectual development is nothing. But the former needs a great deal of struggle for many years as many vicious habits have to be rent asunder.

Keep up the unbroken current of meditation. Avoid mixing. You will soon get over body consciousness. A little more drastic sadhana is needed for a month unbroken silence. Do not allow inertia or laziness to overpower you.

MEDITATION IN VEDANTA

Preliminary meditation for six months:

On the blue expansive sky, all pervading air or ether, or light, or Himalayas, or infinite ocean.

On abstract qualities mercy, patience, generosity, etc.

On abstract ideas indivisibility, existence, wisdom, bliss, truth, eternity, immortality, infinity, purity, etc.

Will render the mind subtle and sharp and prepare it for deep abstract meditation on atman.

Just as one thread penetrates all flowers in a garland, so also one self penetrates all these living beings. Behold the one self in all. Serve all. Love all. Give up the idea of diversity. You will be established in Brahman. When one Atman dwells in all living beings, then why do you hate others? Why do you use harsh words? Why do you try to rule and dominate others? Why do you exploit others? Why are you intolerant? Is this not the height of folly; is it not sheer ignorance?

Behold the "One in all". Feel, "I am the all", and "I am in all." Feel, "All bodies are mine; the whole world is my body, my sweet home". Feel, "I work in all hands; I eat in all mouths". Feel, "I am the immortal self in all". Repeat these formulas mentally several times a day. Repeat Om mentally and feel oneness of life or unity of consciousness when you play football or tennis, when you drink and eat, when you talk and sing, when you sit and walk, when you bathe and dress, when you work in the office or answer the calls of nature. Spiritualise every movement, action, thought, feeling. Transmute them into yoga. Gradually names and forms will vanish and you will feel, "Aham asmi" (I exist), The balance or residue left will be atman.

A jnani sees atman everywhere; there is no thought of self; the lower self is entirely annihilated. He lives to serve all. He feels that all is himself only. He has cosmic vision and cosmic feeling. He is free from worry, trouble, difficulties and sorrow. He is always happy and cheerful.

In the formless vedantic meditation of advaitins (non dualists) there will be an abstract mental image in the beginning of sadhana (practice). This will vanish eventually. When you meditate, deny names and forms, do neti neti (not this, not this).

BRAHMAN OF VEDANTA

Brahman cannot be approached by argument. He is unknowable. He is without any limiting adjunct. He is the source of the world, vedas, body, mind and prana (life).

Brahman is the only abode of eternal peace and purity. He is the instrumental and material cause for the universe, though He Himself is causeless because He is beginningless and endless. He is one without a second. He is attributeless. He is free from birth and death.

Brahman is absolute, infinite. He is the supreme being. He is the highest self. He has no attachment; He has no connection with anything He has no connection with bodies, minds, etc. This is his supreme yoga which ordinary mortals can hardly understand.

Brahman dwells in every heart. He is boundless, unfathomable and immeasurable. There is neither subtle desire nor craving nor sense hankering in Brahman. He is an embodiment of purity. His name or symbol is Om. He is the silent witness of the activities of the world and the activities of all minds. He is imperishable.

Brahman is absolute consciousness, the indwelling atman. He is the one great indivisible bliss Satchidananda. He is awake when people sleep at night. He is the passive spectator of this world show or cosmic bioscope. The aspirant finds full and eternal satisfaction in Brahman. All his desires melt away like mist or snow before the rising sun.

There is something behind life, matter, energy, mind that is the ultimate reality it is eternal and unchanging. The finite mind cannot solve certain problems of life and the riddle of the universe. On account of egoism we persist in our vain researches and experiments. But our boasted intellect has failed to satisfy our yearnings and equip us with real knowledge that will dispel our ignorance and give us real peace of mind.

We bow our heads before the inner ruler who dwells in the chambers of our hearts, who is the source of matter, life, energy and mind, who is immortal, eternal, bliss absolute, knowledge absolute and existence absolute. May He now give Us real enlightenment. May He grant us that highest knowledge of self through which alone we can get full knowledge of all secular sciences. Our silent salutations to that highest self, the Brahman of the vedanta.

GUIDE TO SADHAKAS

No complete knowledge is possible as long as there is the relationship of subject and object. When the subject and the object merge into absolute union there are no doubts or questions. When you enter the consciousness of the infinite you will have no problems. You will have no questions to ask, for the questioner and the questioned will be one subject and object will be dissolved.

Only when action is quickened with love and illumined with knowledge, then the pilgrim in the spiritual path finds his destination and end. The one you seek is he who seeks you. The essential craving of the heart is the inner light. He who has faith, he who is tranquil and self controlled, he who meditates on the atman attains immortality and eternal bliss.

So, reduce your wants to the utmost minimum. Adapt yourself to circumstances. Never be attached to anything or to anybody. Share what you have with others. Be ever ready to serve. Lose no opportunity serve with atma bhava (feeling that the self is all). Speak measured and sweet words. Have a burning thirst for God realisation. Renounce all your belongings and surrender yourself to God.

Keep your soul strong and fresh and give it spiritual food prayer, japa (repetition of God's name), selfless service, etc. Feed your mind with thoughts of God, your heart with purity, your hands with selfless service. Remain soaked in remembrance of God, with one pointed mind. Repeat the Lord's name with faith and devotion. Meditate on his form and surrender your heart and soul to him.

Let the thought of God or reality keep away the thought of the world. Forget the feeling that you are so and so, that you are a male or a female, by vigorous brahma cintana (contemplation of God.) Never postpone a thing for tomorrow if it is possible for you to do it today. Do not boast or make a show of your abilities. Be simple and humble. Always be cheerful. Give up worries. Be indifferent to things that do not concern you. Fly away from bad company and discussion. Be alone for a few hours daily.

Control the emotions by discrimination and vairagya (dispassion). Maintain equilibrium of mind always. Give up backbiting and fault finding. Find out your own faults and weaknesses. See only good in others. Do good to those that hate you. Shun lust, anger, egoism, moha (delusion) and lobha (greed) like venomous cobras.

THE RIDDLE OF THE WORLD

You yourself have made your life complex. You have entangled yourself in this quagmire. You have multiplied your wants and desires. Every day you are forging new links in the chain of bondage. Simplicity has vanished. Luxurious habits are daily developed. People are dying of starvation; there is depression and unrest everywhere. There is devastation by earthquake. The divorce courts are increasing. One nation is afraid of another nation. Life has become a matter of uncertainty. It has become a mass of confusion and bewilderment; it has become stormy and boisterous.

You can escape from these troubles and difficulties if you lead a life of dispassion, self restraint, purity and selfless service, if you develop cosmic love, if you make a habit of developing the right point of view, right thinking, right feeling, right action, with the right mental attitude and if you practise meditation and devotion.

If you have no sustained vairagya (dispassion) you will find no improvement or progress in spirituality. Vows, energy, austerities and meditation will leak out like water from a cracked pot. You have spent eight hours in sleep and the rest in idle gossiping, telling lies and deceiving others. How can you expect spiritual good or immortality if you do not spend even half an hour in the service of God, in singing his name and in divine contemplation?

Is there pain or pleasure in this world? If there is pleasure then why do young educated men retire into the forests? If there is pain why do young men run after wealth, position and women? Mysterious is maya (illusion)! Mysterious is moha (delusion)! Try to understand the riddle of life and the riddle of the universe. Acquire viveka (wisdom). Have satsanga (holy company). Enquire into the nature of the atman. Study the Yoga Vasishta and the Upanishads. Then you will have a comprehensive understanding of the problems of life. There is not one iota of happiness in this world.

Real freedom is from birth and death. Real freedom is freedom from the trammels of flesh and mind. Real freedom is freedom from the bonds of karma. Real freedom is freedom from attachment to the body, etc. Real freedom is freedom from desires and from egoism.

BE ONE WITH ALL

Mere intellectual conception of identity or oneness will not serve your purpose. You must actually feel the truth of it through intuition. You must become fully aware of the real self, the basis or substratum or bedrock of this world, body, mind, prana (life) and senses. You must enter into consciousness in which the realisation becomes a part of your every day life. You must live the ideal spiritual life daily. Your neighbours should actually feel that you are an entirely changed being, a superman. They should smell the divine fragrance in you. A full blown yogi or jnani can never remain incognito. Just as fragrant fumes emanate from scented incense sticks so also spiritual fragrance emanates from the body.

There is no such thing as inanimate matter. There is life in everything. Life is involved in a piece of stone. All matter is vibrant with life this has been conclusively proved by modern scientists. Smile with the flowers and the green grass. Play with the butterflies, birds and deer. Shake hands with the shrubs, ferns and twigs of trees. Talk to the rainbow, wind, stars and sun. Converse with the running brooks and the waves of the sea. Speak with the walking stick. Develop friendship with all your neighbours, dogs, cats, cows, human beings, trees, flowers, etc. Then you will have a wide, perfect, rich, full life. You will realise oneness or the unity of life. This can hardly be described in words you must feel it for yourself.

A strong mind has influence over a weak mind. Mind has influence over the physical body. Mind acts upon matter. Mind brings bondage. Mind gives freedom. Mind is the devil. Mind is your friend. Mind is your guru. You will have to tame the mind. You will have to discipline the mind. This is your important duty.

There is only one caste the caste of humanity. There is only one religion the religion of love, the religion of vedanta. There is only one dharma the dharma of truthfulness. There is only one law the law of cause and effect. There is only one God the omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent Lord. There is only one language the language of the heart; the language of silence.

KNOW THYSELF NOW

Man is a soul and has a body. Man's true nature is God. You are pure consciousness. Through ignorance you have imposed limitation upon yourself. Reflect and abide in the absolute or Brahman.

Man's innermost essence is atman or the divine spirit. Realising the spirit, man achieves security, certainty, perfection, freedom, independence, immortality and bliss eternal. Man and his life become the starting point and the end of philosophy. Man is of the nature of his faith. What his faith is, that verily is what he is.

Physical body and intellect depend on the soul within about which man knows little or nothing. Personality is the sum total of man. A man of good personality has a number of good qualities. He behaves quietly and politely. He has confidence in himself. He has the capacity to win other people's cooperation. He has the capacity to draw others towards himself. Hunger, libido and fame are the fundamental urges in man. Unless man is liberated from the bondage of the mind and matter he cannot have knowledge of the self and of God.

The head and the heart must be wedded then alone there will be perfection and integration in man. Faith, virtue, piety, dispassion and honesty are the greatest treasures of man.

Every man must arise, purify, meditate, and declare freedom unto himself. Man says, "When this (worldly activity) is over then I will have time to do that (meditate)". But it is never done because something new turns up all the time to distract him. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power. Truth is not outside you, it is within you. It dwells in the cave of your heart.

You are a truth of God, a work of God, a will of God. You are unfettered, free eternally free. Roar Om. Come out of the cage of flesh and roam about freely.

When the cause of illusion is pulled away by the roots, when knowledge annihilates ignorance (without a possibility of a remnant or reminiscence) then there is not an ego, a body or world to be experienced. When there is the cloud of ignorance you cannot see God but you cannot say that there is no God.

LEARN FROM SLEEP

Study the condition of deep sleep, where there is neither the play of the mind nor the senses. There are no objects; there is neither attraction nor repulsion . Wherefrom do you derive ananda in sleep? This experience is universal; everyone says: "I slept soundly. I knew nothing. I was very happy in sleep." During deep sleep you rest in Satchidananda Atman and enjoy the atmic bliss which is independent of objects. The difference between deep sleep and samadhi (super consciousness) is that in deep sleep there is the veil of ignorance and in samadhi this veil is removed.

From sleep you draw four conclusions:

You exist. There is a feeling of continuity of consciousness.

There is advaita (oneness).

You are ananda svarupa (bliss itself).

The world is mithya (a play of the mind).

Names and forms are illusory. The world is mere play of the mind. When there is mind, there is world. If You can produce destruction of the mind consciously through yoga sadhana (practice), the world will disappear and you will feel the atman everywhere.

Even in the daytime you become one with the atman whenever a desire is gratified. When you enjoy an object you become mindless for a short time. You rest in your own atman and enjoy the atmic bliss. ignorant persons attribute this happiness to the objects. Just as the dog which sucks a dry bone foolishly imagines that the blood comes from the dry bone whereas in reality the blood oozes out of its own palate, so also foolish persons imagine that happiness comes from external objects, while they actually derive the happiness from their own Atman within. They are deluded owing to the force of illusion and ignorance.

Have no longing for objects. Reduce your wants. Cultivate vairagya (dispassion); it thins out the mind.

Do not mix much. Do not talk much. Do not walk much. Do not eat much. Do not sleep much. Control the emotions. Abandon desires and vasanas (tendencies). Control irritability and lust.

THE ONENESS OF ALL EXISTENCE

Realise the totality and all inclusiveness of your life. Your being is cosmic. You inhabit all the worlds all the worlds are your spontaneous expression. One's love for friends, sons, etc. is not for the sake of others, but for one's own self. Therefore love for self is the highest and hence full of supreme happiness. The more you give up your hankerings for objects and try to realise your identity with the true self or Atman, the more you will realise your true happiness.

The path of evolution is from unconsciousness to life; from life to consciousness; from consciousness to self consciousness; and from self consciousness to superconsciousness. Mysticism is the art of union with the reality. A mystic is a person who has attained that union with the reality, or who is aiming for that attainment.

What is this ego; what is this little 'I'? Is it your foot or flesh or hand or blood or any part of your body? Reflect well. You will know that there is no such thing as 'I'. The 'I' will vanish into nothingness. What is left is the pure, infinite atman. When the ego perishes, the supreme soul reveals itself in all its pristine glory and splendour.

Do not seek to satisfy the ego offer all your life and actions as sacred sacrifice to the supreme divine. You yourself are passing a death sentence on yourself you are creating a hell by your own evil thoughts. It is useless to look up to the skies to find the divine. Turn inwards. In your own heart dwells the eternal.

COSMIC POWER HOUSE

Individual souls are like electric light bulbs. The bulbs get their light from the power house. The jivas (souls) get their power from Brahman, the infinite cosmic power house. The bulb imagines that it is independent and boasts of its effulgence and power. It has no idea of its source. When the current fails it hangs its head in shame and weeps. Even so the jiva drags out his egoism. O fool, O dunce, know the source through purity, devotion, tapas, meditation and enjoy supreme peace and eternal bliss.

ONE POINTED MIND

(Siva was very busy attending to the dispatch of free books. He suddenly stopped and looked up.)

From the time I got out of the morning class I have been going on thinking of writing a few poems, but I do not find time. I am doing this work but my mind is still working on the poems. Even when I was taking my milk, I was busy within sifting the points for the poems. Only when I finish the poems will my mind know rest.

Are you all keeping a notebook to record your thoughts? First of all you should note down in this book all the new points that you learn in the class. Then there are parallel ideas that might strike you; or ideas arising out of those expressed by others in the class. These may be new, novel and unknown to others. These should at once be noted down. Are you keeping such notebooks?

Evil should not have time to dwell in your mind. What if some one refuses to give you milk, to give you food? What if some one scolds you? Always repeat: "I am not this body; I am not this mind; I am the eternal immortal Satchidananda Atman".

Bear insult and injury. If some one slaps you on your cheeks, you should not even mind it; you should not even be aware of it, so to say. This is very difficult. But this is most important. When the other man is scolding you, your mind should be engaged in vicara. After a while this man will realise: "What is this? I have been scolding him several times; he does not get irritated, he does not retort. There must be something in him, which I should learn." Then he will fall at your feet and apologise. You have conquered.

That which draws out this hidden consciousness of atman, is the highest knowledge. The teachings that break your bondage and bestow on you freedom, are the teachings of the ancient rsis (sages) which lay bare the mysteries of the universe. 0n the dawn of true knowledge the veil of ignorance is lifted and with it all illusory appearance of phenomena is sublated. What is left is only the perceiving self, the negator of all negations which is no other than Brahman, existence, knowledge, bliss absolute.

PERFECTION

The essential qualification for a sadhu (man of renunciation) is that he should adapt himself to all conditions and circumstances, causing no inconvenience to others. His is the duty to serve not to worry others. Very few sadhus know what they are and what they should be.

This morning an old sadhu from Swarg Ashram came here. He was there when I was there, too. He is aged 80 now. Today they did not prepare roti here. There was only rice and curry. But, the sadhu would not take. He wanted only roti (bread). It seems rice will produce wind. If you allow him, he will lecture to you for half an hour on the evil effects of rice eating. But he will refuse to be reminded that a very large population in India and the world lives on rice alone.

This is all that he has understood of sadhana (spiritual practice) during all these thirty years of sadhu life: "Rice should not be taken: roti alone is good for health and meditation." All their life these people will waste on this one thought of the right food and the wrong food. What is there if one day you do not get your food to your own liking. Even your own wife will not tolerate you for a day if you are so particular about what food you should have.

It is the special duty of a sadhu not to cause any inconvenience to householders. We are not to be a burden on householders, but to be of some service to them. When will the sadhu understand this. Some sadhakas (seekers), here also have that impression that they are living in an asrama and that one consideration ought to be sufficient to open out the gates of Kaivalya (liberation) to them. I assure you: even if they live many hundreds of their lives near the greatest saint in the world, they will not improve even a bit. They must themselves exert. Each one must think for himself, act for himself. There have been some sadhakas here whom I myself trust and put in charge of the affairs of the asrama then I myself used to dread to approach them. If, for instance, I go to them and ask them to prepare a little more of what they give me for my food in order that I may give the extra quantity to some one else, I would be refused. What I do on those occasions is to reduce my own consumption and distribute this to the others.

If a sadhaka gets real samadhi (superconsciousness) in a hundred births, that is a very great achievement. God is perfect; and unless and until all the evil qualities are eradicated and divine qualities acquired to the degree of perfection, there will be no samadhi.

THE SADHANA THAT HARDENS

(A letter was on Siva's table: a great European yogi had written to Siva requesting him to invite him to India. This was needed to obtain a passport.)

What a big show of themselves do these so called saints make. Flying from this country to that country: everywhere they go, parties, receptions and farewell parties, again. It is not?

Some of them should be received with a unique honour. Instead of flags and festoons adorning the reception entrance, people should hang old shoes and broomsticks.

We should not wait for the thing to happen actually. We should train ourselves. I have done so. I have beaten myself with shoes severely. This I used to do especially on birthdays just after returning to my kutir after the meetings where people will praise me, glorify me, deify me, I will go into My kutir and beat myself nicely with a pair of shoes: "What are you? You wretched flesh blood excreta made body? Do you want garlands? Can you not wear torn clothes? Do you think that you are great? Do you want to be prostrated to? Now, take these garlands."

Suka Deva was tested by Janaka like this. He was a great jnani. When he went to Janaka for instruction, he was made to wait outside the palace uncared for, without food, without shelter and without any honour. Then he was attended upon by the ladies of the court and the Maharanis. In these ways Janaka tested Suka Deva's tranquility of mind. Suka was above all these things. He had preserved his equanimity all through. Such should be a sadhaka.

I have heard this said of St. Francis of Assisi also. He used to call his body Mr. Ass. What a tremendous vairagya they all had.

Even this occasional shoe beating is not enough for me. I should give this body a dose of this hardening medicine at least once a week.

WORDS OF WISDOM

One's individual ego, preconceived notions, pet ideas prejudices and selfish interests should be given up. All these stand in the way of spiritual progress. Lord's grace begins to work only when you learn to discipline yourself, subordinate your selfishness and surrender fully to him.

Why dost thou try to find thy God in deities and temples when thou has kept thy visible gods standing outside, hungry and naked? Regarding Him as manifest everywhere thou shouldst serve all creatures with intense bhava if thou wishest to attain the highest perfection. Indeed, thy love towards the Lord should engender love for the whole universe for thou must see Him in all.

Kindle the light of love in thy heart for love is the immediate way to the kingdom of God, the vast domain of perennial peace and joy. Where there is love there is peace. Where there is peace there is love. Life and death are the two scenes in the drama of life. All is passing; all is sorrow; all is pain; all is unreal.

This world is merely a play of colours and sounds. Hence, O man, seek the permanent, the all blissful, the real, which is ever shining in the chambers of thy heart, which is self luminous, infinite, unchanging and eternal. Moksa (liberation) means nothing but the destruction of the impurities of the mind. The mind becomes pure when all desires and fears are annihilated. Lead the divine life. Light the lamp of divine life everywhere.

Thy aim should be to maintain an unshakable sweetness of disposition, to be pure and gentle and to be happy in all circumstances. To be always conscious of the divine, always to feel the divine presence, to live always in the awareness of the supreme being in the chambers of your heart and everywhere around you is verily to live a life of fullness and divine perfection, even whilst on earth.

This body is a lamp. The heart is the wick. The oil is your love for the Lord. You can build a temple in your heart by the absence of anger, by the practice of humility, compassion, forgiveness, faith, devotion, meditation, prayer and recitation of the Lord's name.

MAYA

There is no duality in reality. All modification is illusory, Multiplicity is an illusion.

Maya (the illusory power of the Lord) projects multiplicity. Maya creates division division between the individual soul and the supreme soul.

Maya is a tremendous, delusive power of God. Maya is the material stuff of this world. Maya is the source of the physical universe. This world of names and forms is a false show kept up by the jugglery of maya. Just as a stick burning at one end, when waved round quickly, produces an illusion of a circle of fire, so is it with the multiplicity of the world. Maya deludes us. Maya creates havoc in the mind. The things that we perceive all round us are only mind in form or substance. The world is a product of the mind. The whole World is an expansion of the mind. The entire universe arises and exists in the mind. Nothing of the world is outside the mind. Earth, mountains and rivers all are fragments of the mind, appearing as it were, to exist outside. The world does not exist by itself. It is not seen without the aid of the mind. It disappears when the mind ceases to function, as in deep sleep.

It is imagination alone that assumes the forms of time, space and motion. Space and time have no independent status apart from Brahman or the self, which is pure awareness. There is no space without time, and there is no time without space. Space and time go together. Space and time are interdependent. They are both unreal. Time and space are mental projections, as unreal as dreams. However real they may seem to be, they are not ultimately real. Timeless, spaceless Brahman is the only reality.

Brahman alone is. It is Brahman alone that shines as the world of variegated objects, like water differentiated by the waves into many kinds of foam, bubbles, etc. Brahman appears as the world when cognised through the mind and the senses.

Maya conceals the truth and presents an error it veils the reality and shows the world. Mistaking the body for atman or the self is called maya. Maya screens the knowledge of atman and therefore man mistakes one for the other. This is the cause of bondage we have the erroneous consciousness that we are objective beings, that our actions are objective expressions projected in time and space.

WORLD IS THE BODY OF GOD

The universe is a mirror in which is reflected the being and beauty of God. God's universe is ruled by his eternal laws. In the East, the law of cause and effect is called the law of karma. In the New Testament it is expressed in the words : "Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." What is written is written and no man can change the eternal plan. That which is decreed by God's will occurs on this earth. There is system, method, order, regularity everywhere in this universe because the universe is, ultimately governed by God.

This world is the body of the Lord. This world, though it really is not, appears to be. Know that it is nothing but a reflection. When you know the rope, the snake knowledge disappears. Even so the world does not really exist and yet appears to be existing through ignorance. It disappears with the knowledge of the atman on which the illusion of the world is superimposed. In Brahman or the absolute, this world shines falsely, owing to ignorance. It is not true, even as dreams under the influence of sleep. It is because of illusory superimposition on the part of the individual that the empirical names and forms appear to be real. When, by the power of meditation, the effect (world) is negated as unreal, the cause (Brahman) also ceases to be a cause. The certitude or conviction that the universe is not the supreme Brahman is itself avidya (ignorance). Hence the certitude that, "The universe is Brahman alone", is emancipation.

The world is a spirit manifested in space and time. When you look at the absolute, through the senses, it appears as the universe. The puryastaka (body) is composed of the eight that is mind, egoism, intellect and the five objects of the senses (sound, sight etc.). All these, composed of the five elements, are appearances only. So also is time through right discrimination. In this mortal world, everything perishes, but the ideas and the ideals do not perish. Ideas are more enduring than objects, which are perishable, but atman, the immortal soul endures forever. Just as the universe appears dark to the blind, and shining to those who have eyes to see, so it appears blissful to the sages and painful to the ignorant.

IGNORANCE

The mind is a creation of avidya! (ignorance) and it is the effect of avidya. The mind is filled with delusion this is why it tempts you and makes you go astray. If you can destroy the cause of the mind by getting knowledge of the supreme self, the mind is nowhere; it dwindles into an airy nothing.

The whole experience of duality, made up of perceiver and perceived, is pure imagination. There is no ignorance apart from the mind. On the destruction of the mind, all is destroyed. The mind's activity is the cause of all appearance. On account of illusion you think that the outside objects are separate from you and real.

As long as there is mind there are all these distinctions big and small, high and low, superior and inferior, good and bad, etc., but the highest truth is that there is no relativity. If you can transcend the mind by constant and profound meditation on atman you will be able to attain a state beyond the pairs of opposites wherein lies supreme peace and highest knowledge.

The first thought is the 'I thought'. As this 'I thought' is the base of all other thoughts, egoism is the seed for the mind. The idea of 'I' brings in its train the idea of time, space and other potencies. With these environments, the name 'jiva' (soul) accrues to it. And contemporaneously with it there arise buddhi (intellect), memory and manas (mind) which is the seed of the tree of desire.

You cannot realise God if you have the slightest trace of egoism, or attachment to name and form, or the least tinge of worldly desire in the mind. Try to minimise egoism little by little. Root it out by self sacrifice, by karma yoga, by self surrender, or by vedantic self enquiry. Whenever egoism asserts itself, raise the question within yourself: "What is the source of this little 'I"? Again and again ask this question and, as you remove layer after layer, the onion dwindles to nothing. Analyse the little 'I' and it becomes a non entity.

The ego is the Lord for whose entertainment the dance is performed and the objects of the senses are his companions. The intellect is the dancing girl and the senses are the persons who play on the instruments which accompany the dance. The saksi (witnessing soul) is the lamp which illumines the scene. Just as the lamp, without moving from its place, furnishes light to all parts so too, the saksi from its unchangeable position illumines everything situated inside or outside.

BODY IS NOT I

This is a world of diversity. Intellects are different; faces are different; sounds are different; religions are different; faiths are different. Colours are different; faculties are different tastes and temperaments are different. But one thing is common to all every one of us wants nitya sukha (eternal happiness), infinite knowledge, immortality, independence and freedom. These things can be attained by knowledge of the self alone.

Everybody wants happiness that is not mixed with sorrow and pain but he does not know where he can get this supreme bliss. The best means to acquire this knowledge is by the enquiry, "Who am I?" This has the potentiality of producing the quiescence of mind which will enable it to wade through this ocean of samsara (cycle of birth and death). It demands a sharp, subtle, pure intellect, bold understanding and gigantic will. The commonplace 'I' that everyone is glibly talking about and relishing acutely every moment of his life, from the babbling baby to the garrulous old man, must be clearly understood.

The physical body is not the 'I', it is the product of food it lives on food and dies without food. It is a bundle of skin, flesh, fat, bones, marrow, blood and a lot of other filthy things. It does not exist before birth or after death. It lasts for a short intervening period. It is transient. It undergoes changes such as childhood, youth and old age. It has six changes existence, birth, growth, modification, decay and death. It is not of one homogeneous essence; it is manifold, insentient, inert. It is an object of perception like a chair or a table. You continue to live even when hands and legs have gone.

How can the body be the self existent, eternally pure atman, the knower, the silent witness of the changes that take place in the body and in all things, the inner ruler of all ?

You have learned that body and mind are not 'I'.

You have learned that prana is not 'I'.

The world is unreal, this thou hast understood.

Thou hast understood that Brahman alone is real.

Now meditate on the formula 'I am Brahman'

Lose thyself, unite with him.

Rest there peacefully, joyfully.

This is the proper place, the abode of the pure.

AM I THE I?

You say, "This is my body" this indicates that you are different from the body and the body is your instrument. You are holding it just as you hold a walking stick in your hand.

In sleep you exist independent of the walking stick in your hand (body). In dreams you operate through the astral body without having any concern for the fleshy body. Through ignorance you have identified yourself with the physical body and mistaken it for the real 'I' which is ever pure, all pervading, self existent, self luminous and self contained, which has neither beginning nor end, which is changeless, beyond time, space and causation, and which exists in the past the present and the future.

Prana (vital force) is not 'I'. It is the effect of rajas (energy). It is inert. It cannot welcome a man while you are asleep, though it is flowing. It increases and decreases. You say, "My prana" this shows you are different from prana. It is your instrument only. You can control the breath by pranayama. The controller is different from the controlled (prana). Prana is not 'I'.

Mind also is not 'I'. It gropes in darkness. It borrows light from a higher power. It gets puzzled and confused. During shock and fear it becomes insentient. It is the effect of satva. It is your instrument. You say, "my mind" therefore mind is different from 'I'. It is full of changing ideas. It has a beginning and an end. You can control the mind and the thoughts the controller is different from the controlled (mind). It is as much your property, and outside of you, as your limbs etc., or dress, chair, etc. In sleep there is no mind yet you wake up with a feeling of continuity of consciousness. There is no mind in delirium or coma yet 'I' remains. Mind is a bundle of thoughts and all thoughts are centred around the false egoistic little 'I'. The root thought of all these thoughts is the 'I' that is full of vanities.

Talking of myself, I always speak of 'I'. The sheaths in which I am happy, old, black, a sanyasi (monk), etc., are incidents in the continuity of the 'I'. They are ever changing and varying but the 'I' remains the same unchanging amid the changing.

BRAHMAN AND MAYA

Like the, pot and clay, waves and the sea, ornaments of gold and gold, the universe is non different from Brahman. The cause does not lose its being by appearing as the effect. The world is not an illusion, but it is non different from Brahman. Like heat is inseparable from fire and identical with it, so the universe which is of the nature of Brahman is identical with it.

The world is dependent on Brahman and independently the world is nothing. The play of cit (consciousness) alone shines as this universe. The universe was, is and always will be. There is no beginning or end to creation.

Behind the impermanent material world there is the invisible source of all things, pure, unchanging spirit or atman. In the presence of God, maya (illusion) creates the world, even as in the presence of the superior officer, the subordinates do their work. Just as a carpenter cannot work without the instruments, and the instruments themselves, also cannot do any work without the carpenter, so also, Isvara (God) cannot create the world without maya, nor can maya create the world without Isvara.

This world is an overflow of the love of God. This is the view of a bhakta (devotee). This world is an overflow of the bliss of Brahman. This is the view of a vedantin or sage. Love and bliss are one; God and Brahman are one. This world is nothing but the expression of God's love for Himself. This world is an expression or manifestation of God. It is the outcome of the spontaneous play of love and joy. God expands Himself and manifests as the world.

Atmic sankalpa (the will of the self) makes this universe shine and constitutes it. Every object is surcharged with divine significance. Everything in this world has got a spiritual message to convey. Learn from everything. All is Brahman. When this truth is intellectually recognised and intuitively realised, then all feelings of differences end forever.

BRAHMAN

Whatever has a beginning or an end is unreal. That which exists in the past, the present and the future is real. Only Brahman exists in these three periods of time. Hence Brahman alone is real. The reality underlying all names and forms, the primal one from which everything originates is Brahman, the absolute. Brahman is the soul of all joy, all bliss. Brahman transcends phenomena. Production and destruction are only phenomena, the jugglery of the mind or maya (illusion).

Brahman is infinite, eternal, immortal. Infinity is one only that which is unchanging, indivisible, non dual, beginningless, endless, timeless, spaceless, causeless, can be infinite. There can be no parts, no differences, no distinctions in Brahman.

Brahman is self luminous, self existent, self contained, self established, self revealed. Brahman illumines itself by itself; by its nature it is ever illumined. Individual souls and the world are unreal nothing save Brahman is eternal.

Immortality, knowledge, bliss purity, independence, perfection, etc., constitute the very nature of Brahman. He resides in your heart. He witnesses the activity of the buddhi (intellect). Word, speech, mouth, may not approach Brahman. Mind also cannot go there. Supreme Brahman is impersonal, formless, all pervading and subtle but he can be reached through meditation, through the eye of intuition, by one who has purified himself and who is endowed with the four means of salvation.

God cannot be seen with the physical eyes but he reveals himself to His devotees. He is one though called by countless names. Realise the reality of the one existence, the one life that throbs in all atoms, in all beings he one power that creates, sustains and dissolves this universe.

When the heart of the devotee is united in the Lord, no difference between them remains.

Before saturating the mind with thoughts of Brahman you will have to assimilate divine ideas first.

Remember this triplet always: Assimilation Saturation Realisation.

ATMAN

The atman (self) is most ancient, hard to perceive and abides secretly in the innermost cave of the heart or intellect. This atman or supreme soul fills all with his radiance. This atman is incorporeal, pure, invulnerable. He is untouched by evil. The atman is the supreme seer and thinker, immanent and transcendental. This atman is the immortal spirit, the common, unifying entity present in all. You live, because the supreme atman is. You understand, because the atman is intelligence. You enjoy, because the atman is bliss.

Atman is the reality itself it is of the nature of pure consciousness. It is undifferentiated, pure awareness and pure experience. Atman is secondless; it alone is; all else which appears to be is not. Atman is the one which appears divided; the changeless as full of change; the timeless as temporal; the infinite as extended and fragmented in space.

Atman is one. It is the root, the reality itself. Atman is pure consciousness, calm and infinite like the waveless ocean. That atman which is impersonal, changeless, like unto space, by nature purity itself verily, verily, that am I. The one who is the eternal, the atman, exists. He is all in all. This atman is so mysterious that it cannot easily be grasped. This atman can easily be grasped when the science of the self (Brahmavidya) is taught by a guru who has attained self realisation.

This atman is subtler than the subtlest and so is not attained by arguments. Like butter hidden in milk, this mysterious atman is hidden in every being. Realise this atman by the churning of meditation. The atman is unborn, ageless, immortal, deathless and fearless. He who knows this atman becomes Brahman, the fearless.

Atman is Brahman absolute, infinite, the supreme being. It is existence absolute, knowledge absolute, bliss absolute. It is self delight and self knowledge. It is bodiless, formless and without gunas, all pervading, all full, imperishable. It has neither beginning nor end. It exists in past, present and future. It is self existent, the source for body, mind, senses, prana, the vedas and the universe itself. No one can deny it; it is the inner self of all beings.

SELF REALISATION

There is no other duty for man except meditation on the self. Dismissing all else, one should establish oneself in the self. There remains nothing to be done or attained when the self is experienced. For that Brahman the immortal is before, behind, to the right and to the left and stretched forth above and below.

Brahman is all this. The real alone is an enduring being and this real is experienced through meditation coupled with knowledge. Whatever a man of purified mind makes clear in his mind, and whatever desires he desires, that he gets and that he fulfills. One should therefore have pure and perfect resolves.

The supreme self is experienced in the fourth state of consciousness. It is neither this nor that it has no quality in particular and yet it is everything. It is peaceful, blessed and non dual. It is the cessation of all phenomena. It is the atman that should be known and realised. That is the purpose of life. The liberated sage experiences that he is everything the tree, the mountain, the sun. He is the food and the eater of the food. He is the knower, the knowledge and the known, in one. He is the whole universe in himself.

Bliss is the ultimate nature of reality from bliss all this comes forth. All the bliss of the world is only a shadow of self bliss. The self is the source of all bliss it is everything all knowledge and all bliss. All this is based on consciousness and is guided by consciousness. Consciousness is Brahman. I am Brahman. That thou art. This self is Brahman. Only the infinite is bliss. There one sees nothing else, hears nothing else, understands nothing else. That is the infinite fullness.

The self is an ocean without a shore and a surface. It is merely existence, consciousness and bliss. When there is duality one can speak to the other, but when everything is but one's own self then who can speak to whom? Who can see whom?

Atman is pure consciousness it is the unchanging witness. It is realized within your heart as existence, knowledge, bliss absolute. Realise this atman within the temple of your own heart and enjoy immortal bliss.

SATCHIDANANDA

Brahman is Satchidananda. Sat is truth that which exists in the past, the present and the future which has no beginning, middle or end which is self existent, self created which never changes. In truth the world abides, from the truth the world comes forth and in truth the world dissolves. Truth is the only substance that underlies and pervades this world of beings. Truth is, and gives immortality and fearlessness.

Cit is self knowledge. There are no indriyas (senses) in cit. It is self luminous and imparts light to the mind, intellect, senses and the skin of the body, the sun, moon, stars, fire, lightning and all objects.

Ananda is bliss itself. There is no enjoyer in ananda. It is enjoyment itself.

When you are in the company of women, say: "There is Satchidananda Atman in all these names and forms. Names and forms are false. They have no independent existence. Their support is the one Satchidananda Atman." Lust will vanish; sex ideas will disappear. Practise, feel and realise this truth. One grain of practice is better than a ton of theory. Practice is better than precept.

The snake in the rope vanishes when you bring a lamp. So also the illusion of the body and the world disappears with the advent of the sun of wisdom. All fears, miseries, and troubles melt away. You have regained your original pristine glory.

Pure consciousness is Brahman or the absolute it is always the witnessing subject. It can never become the object of perception it is always the knower. Mind can only know the external objects. How can mind, effect, know the cause, Brahman? How can the finite know the infinite? How can mind know the knower? You cannot jump on your shoulders. Fire cannot burn itself. If atman becomes the object of perception, it will become a finite object. The denier of the pure consciousness does always exist (sat) he is just like the man who denies or doubts his tongue when he is talking. This proves Brahman always exists. Existence is pure consciousness (cit). Pure consciousness is also immortal bliss (ananda).

TIME IS A TRICK

Time is the mode of the mind. It is a mental creation. Time is a trick of the mind. It is an illusion. Brahman is beyond time. It is eternity. Go beyond time and rest in the timeless, eternal, imperishable Brahman.

'Up and down', 'within and without', 'high and low', 'big and small', 'thin and stout', 'virtue and vice', 'good and bad', 'pleasure and pain', 'here and there', are all relative terms. They are mental creations only. Up will become down and down will become up. This stick is small when compared to that big stick, but that big stick will become small when compared with an even bigger stick! Within will become without and without will become within.

What is good at one time is bad at another time. What is good for one man is bad for another man. What is dharma for one is adharma for another and, what is dharma at one time is not dharma at another time.

Brahman is neither thin nor stout, neither big nor small. In Brahman there is neither within nor without, neither virtue nor vice, neither pleasure nor pain, good nor bad. It is a homogeneous essence of bliss and knowledge where there is no play of the mind, neither time nor space, east nor west, past nor future, Thursday nor Friday.

Tomorrow becomes today and today becomes yesterday. Future becomes present and present becomes the past. What is all this? This is a creation or trick of the mind only. In God, everything is in the present only; it is here only.

There is neither night nor day, yesterday nor tomorrow in the sun. It is the mind that has created time and space. When you are happy time passes quickly. When you are unhappy time hangs heavily. All this is only a relative world.

Life is not a question of creeds but of deeds well done. No life is free from difficulties it is a series of conflicts. Face them boldly through the grace of the Lord and the power of his name. Change is the law of life. Truth is the law of life. Love is the fulfilling of the law of life. Death is the gate to another life. Life is endless.

VIVEKA

Viveka is discrimination between the real and the unreal, permanent and impermanent, self and the not self. Viveka dawns in a man on account of the grace of God. The grace can come only when one has done incessant selfless service in countless births with the feeling of Isvararpana (offering unto God). The door of the higher mind is flung open when there is awakening of discrimination. There is an unchanging permanent principle amidst the ever changing phenomena of the universe and the fleeting movements and oscillation of mind.

The five sheaths are floating in the universal consciousness like straw on water. The five changing kosas (sheaths) are mixed up with the eternal atman (self). There is childhood, boyhood, adolescence and old age for this physical body. But there is an unchanging background for this ever changing body and mind, like the blackboard or screen in a cinema which manifests various forms and figures. The witness or the silent spectator of these changes of the body and mind is permanent and unchanging. He is like the all pervading space. He pervades, permeates and interpenetrates all these changing forms like the thread in a garland of flowers. This eternal essence of atman is present everywhere and in everything atoms, electrons, mustard, nay in ants and mountains. He dwells in the chambers of your own heart. He is the soul of this tree, stone, flower, goat, dog, cat, man, saint or Devata (God). He is the common property of all, be he a saint or a sinner, a king or a peasant, a beggar or a baron, a scavenger or a cobbler. He is the very source for life and thought.

The aspirant should learn to discriminate between the eternal and unchanging substratum of all objects and the ever changing names and forms. He should seriously engage himself at all times to separate the eternal unchanging self. He should try to separate himself from the changing, impermanent five sheaths, from the passions, emotions, feelings, thoughts, sentiments, nay from the oscillating mind itself. He should distinguish between the mind and the witness who moves and illumines the mind, between ordinary sensation, feelings and sentiments and perfect awareness of pure consciousness which remains unaffected and unattached, between personality and individuality. He must also separate himself from the adventitious false superimpositions of the body, viz., position, rank, avocation, birth, caste, stage, and order of life. These are all accidental appendages of the false personality.

MEDITATE ON THESE FOR WISDOM

The aspirant should separate himself also from the sad urmis (six waves in the ocean of samsara (worldly life), viz., birth and death, hunger and thirst, exhilaration and grief). Birth and death, belong to the physical body; hunger and thirst belong to the prana (life); exhilaration and grief are the attributes of the mind. The soul is unattached. The six waves cannot touch the atman (self) which is subtle like the all pervading ether. He should also separate himself from the indriyas (senses). He should not take upon himself the functions of the indriyas. He should stand as a spectator and witness of the activities of the mind, prana and the indriyas. The indriyas and the mind are like iron pieces in contact with a magnet. They function by borrowing the light and power from the source the eternal Atman.

Meditation on the following slokas (verses) of and on the special formulae of Sri Sankara will pave a way in the development of your viveka (wisdom) and in separating yourself from the illusory vehicles, viz. indriyas prana, mind and the five sheaths.

The formulae of Sri Sankaracharya are, "Brahman (the eternal) alone is truth this world is unreal; the jiva (soul) is identical with Brahman". The Gita says, "The unreal hath no being; the real never ceaseth to be; the truth about both hath been perceived by the seers of the essence of things". (Chapter II Verse 16). Reflection on this sloka will infuse viveka.

I do not do anything so should the harmonised one think, who knoweth the essence of things. Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving, sleeping, breathing, speaking, giving, grasping, opening and closing the eyes, he knows that the senses move among the objects of the senses." (Chapter V Verses 8,9). You can separate yourself from the indriyas by meditating upon the meaning of these slokas.

All actions are wrought by the qualities of nature only. The self, deluded by egoism, thinketh, 'I am the doer. But he, who knoweth the essence of the divisions of the qualities and functions holding that 'the qualities' move amid the qualities, is not attached. "By meditating upon these two slokas you can separate yourself from the three gunas (qualities of nature). " He who seeth that prakrti (nature) verily performeth all actions and that the self is actionless, he seeth." (Chapter XIII Verse 2).

BE FIRM IN WISDOM

Viveka (wisdom) gives inner strength and mental peace. A viveki (wise one) gets no troubles. He is always on the alert. He never gets entangled in anything. He has far sightedness. He knows the true value of the objects of this universe. He is fully aware of the worthlessness of these shallow toys. Nothing, nothing can tempt him. Maya (illusion) cannot approach him now.

Associations with mahatmas (holy ones) and study of vedantic literature will infuse viveka in man. Viveka should be developed to the maximum degree; one should be well established in it; viveka should not be an ephemeral or occasional mood in an aspirant. It should not fail him when he is in trouble, when any difficulty stares him in the face. It must indeed become part and parcel of his nature. He should exercise it at all times without any effort. If one is careless in the beginning, viveka may come and go. So the aspirant should live in the company of sages for a long time till viveka burns in him like a big steady flame.

Maya is very powerful. She tries her extreme level best to lead the aspirant astray. She throws many temptations and obstacles on the path of young inexperienced aspirants. Therefore the company of sages and mahatmas is like an impenetrable fortress for the neophyte. Now no temptations can assail him. He will undoubtedly develop true and lasting viveka. He will then have permanent and spontaneous viveka.

Then only he is truly and perfectly safe. The dangerous zone is past. Only a true viveki can claim to be the richest, happiest and most powerful man in the world. He is a rare spiritual gem. He is a beacon light and torch bearer. If viveka is developed all other qualifications will come by themselves. From viveka is born vairagya (dispassion).

Discrimination is the faculty which distinguishes between the real and the unreal. The whole world outside and the universe that is inside, are unreal. Earth, water, wind, fire, the sky, the ocean, our bodies and the vital force animating them, our minds, our consciousness of ourselves all are but airy nothingness. The only real thing is the atman (self) or Brahman, the absolute.

VAIRAGYA

There is a way to the immortal abode and supreme happiness. There is a way to the fourth dimension. That way is vairagya. Follow the way. Vairagya is dispassion, desirelessness or non attachment. It is indifference to sensual objects herein and hereafter. It is born of and sustained by, right discrimination.

Vairagya is the opposite of attachment which binds a man to the wheel of births and deaths; vairagya liberates a man from bondage. Vairagya purifies the sensual mind and turns it inward. It is the most important qualification for a spiritual aspirant. Without it, no spiritual life is possible.

The two currents of the mind attraction and repulsion really constitute the world of births and deaths. A worldly man is a slave of these two mighty currents and is tossed about hither and thither like a piece of straw. He smiles when experiencing pleasure; he weeps when in pain. He clings to pleasant objects and runs away from those which cause pain.

Wherever there is sensation of pleasure, the mind gets glued, as it were, to the object that gives pleasure. This is what is called attachment and brings only bondage and pain. When the object is withdrawn, or when it perishes, the mind suffers unspeakable pain. Attraction is the root cause for human suffering.

A dispassionate man has a different training and has different experience altogether. He is a pastmaster in the art or science of separating himself from the impermanent, perishable objects. He has absolutely no attraction for them and constantly dwells in the eternal. He stands adamantine as a peak amidst a turbulent storm, as a spectator of this wonderful world show. A dispassionate man has no attraction for pleasant objects and no repulsion for painful ones. Nor is he afraid of pain. He knows well that pain helps considerably in his progress and evolution, in his journey towards the goal. He is convinced that pain is the best teacher.

REAL DISPASSION

The world is as unreal as a shadow, bubble or froth. Why do you run after the toys of name and fame? How uncertain is sensual life in this illusory world! How transitory is sensual pleasure! Mark how many thousands of people were carried away in the recent earthquake! How many houses were destroyed! Yet people want to build seaside cottages and attain immortality there. How foolish they are! Self deluded souls! Pitiable is their lot! I pray for them. They are earthworms only, as they revel in filth. May God bestow on them vairagya (dispassion), viveka (wisdom) and bhakti (devotion).

The vairagya that comes momentarily after such incidents as the loss of some dearly beloved relative, or wealth, is known as karana vairagya. It will not help much in one's spiritual progress. The mind will be simply waiting to catch hold of the sensual objects when an opportunity comes.

Vairagya, born of discrimination is the premonitory symptom of spiritual development. It will help the aspirant in his spiritual upliftment. If you develop vairagya, if you subdue your indriyas and shun the enjoyments and pleasures of this world as dung, as poison, as they are mixed with pain, sin, fear, craving, miseries, disease, old age and death nothing can tempt you in this world. You will have eternal peace and infinite bliss. You will have no attraction for women and other earthly objects. Lust cannot take hold of you.

The body is the source of great miseries. It is full of impurities. It brings disrespect, censure, etc. It is subject to diseases, decay and old age. It passes away without a moment's notice.

Give up moha (attachment) for the body. Think of the Atman (self) which is eternal, pure and all pervading. The things that used to afford you delight before, give you displeasure now. That is the sign of vairagya. The shadow of clouds, the friendship with a fool, the beauty of youth, wealth all last only for a short time. Vairagya (dispassion, indifference, non attachment) is of two kinds. Karana vairagya on account of some miseries and viveka purvak vairagya on account of discrimination between real and unreal. The mind of the former type of man is simply waiting for the opportunity to get back the things that were given up. But the other man who gave up the objects on account of viveka will have spiritual advancement. He will not have a downfall.

ABANDON BODY CONSCIOUSNESS

The physical body appears only in the present. A thing which has neither past nor future must be considered as non existent in the present also. If you think over deeply, with pure intelligence you will find atyanta abhava (complete non existence) for the world.

This body which is full of impurities, urine, pus and faecal matter etc., is perishable. It is like froth or bubble or mirage. It is despised by its enemies. It remains like a useless log of wood on the ground when prana (life) leaves it. It is the cause of pain and suffering. It is your enemy. You should treat this body with contempt, as dung. Why should you cling to it and worship it with scents, powders and flowers? Do not be silly and foolish in adorning it with fine silks and ornaments. It is dire ignorance only.

"Nothing on this earth belongs to me; this body is not mine" this is wisdom. "He is my son; she is my daughter; she is my wife; that bungalow is mine; that garden is mine; I am a brahmana; I am lean; I am fat" this is foolishness of a superior order. This physical body is the property of fishes, jackals and vultures. How can you call this yours?

Application of soap to the body, oil to the hair, powder to the face, looking in the mirror very often, wearing rings on the fingers all these will intensify moha (attachment) for the body. Therefore give up these things ruthlessly.

Will your son or daughter or friend or relative help you when you are about to die? Have you got one sincere, unselfish friend in this world? All are selfish. There is no pure love. But that Lord, your real friend of friends, father of fathers, who dwells in your heart, will never forsake you though you forsake him. Adore in silence that God of gods, Divinity of divinities, Highest of the highest. May he bless us with his love, wisdom, power and peace. Om!

Narayana Upanishad says: "In the beginning these two roads were laid, the roads through karma (action) and sanyasa (renunciation). The latter consists in the renunciation of three fold desire of son, wealth and fame. Of these the road through sanyasa is preferable. "The Taittiriya Upanishad also says: "Renunciation, tyaga, is certainly to be preferred."

WHERE IS REAL LOVE

The desire to attain knowledge of the self will dawn only in the person who is free from desires, who has a pure mind, and who is quite disgusted with this worldly life. Such a man only is competent to hear, meditate and attain Brahman, jnana or knowledge of Brahman. When the knowledge of the self dawns, ignorance, which is the seed for bondage and the cause of karma is totally eradicated and the aspirant attains immortality and eternal bliss.

Do not depend upon anybody. Rely on your own self. Be centred in the atman only. The sweet wife deserts her husband when he is on the roll of unemployment and marries another young man. The rich husband divorces his wife when she loses her beauty on account of Protracted illness and marries another woman. Even Lord Jesus and Buddha were forsaken by all their friends, followers and disciples. This is a strange world. Mysterious is maya (illusion)!

Real affection can be found in God and sages only. Worldly affection is only showy, hypocritical, illusory and changing. Just see whether your relatives, even your friends, your brothers and sisters show affection to you when you are unemployed, when you are suffering from a chronic, incurable disease and are without any money in your hands.

Saints and prophets who have realised God are shouting at the tops of their voices that the Lord is dwelling in the hearts of beings, and yet no one is earnestly attemp ting to make a vigorous search in his own heart. Is this not lamentable? God is above below, within, without and all around. Thirst for his darsan (vision). Look within, practise introvision. Try earnestly to attain the immortal being. In Him, you can find eternal peace. Enter His kingdom right now in this very second. Stand firm on the rock of truth or Brahman. Have a firm grip of your reality, the self luminous, immortal atman or soul. Look upon this universe as your all full form. Only when knowledge of the self dawns in your heart can you free yourself from rebirth and become identical with the supreme self. Equip yourself with the four means. Hear the srutis (scriptures), reflect, meditate and realise. May you become a sage!

FREEDOM FROM ATTACHMENT

Attachment produces infatuation and causes entanglement. Fear exists on account of attachment and desire. Infatuation or delusion is a stigma on pure love. Attachment to the objects of the world is due to ignorance of their true nature. Nothing but the atman (self) really exists. Objects are illusion. Attachment is indicative of the feeling that the objective possession brings happiness. This idea has to be removed from the mind.

Happiness is not in the objects but in one's own atman. Attachment is the impure vasana (feeling) of love or hate that is entertained by the mind for the diverse objects of this world. If you remain unaffected by joy, envy and sorrow, you have relinquished all attachments. If, without rejoicing in joy, or pining under pain, you do not subject yourself to the trammels of desire, then you can be said to have rid yourself of attachment.

If you can be content with whatever you get, then you have cast off attachment. Through attachment, desire for material objects arises. Renunciation of attachment is said to be moksa (release). Through its destruction all rebirth ceases. Destroy the association of the mind with the objects and attain the state of the jivanmukta (liberated soul).

Pleasure does not lie in the objects but in the condition of the mind. The mind goes out in search of pleasure. At the same time there is pain as the mind is straying away from the truth. When the object is attained, the mind ceases to function and rests on the atman, the substratum. Then it unconsciously tastes the bliss of the Atman.

Sublimate your inward longings through discrimination, dispassion, enquiry and meditation. You will attain supreme bliss.

Develop vairagya (dispassion). Sharpen the intellect. Give up kutarka and viparita bhavana (distorted and perverted thinking). Identify yourself with the pure atman. You will soon attain knowledge of the self.

If you are careless and non vigilant, if you are irregular in meditation, if your dispassion wanes, if you yield even a bit to sense pleasures, the mind will continue to go downward. Maya (illusion) closes in even upon a wise man if he stops his sadhana (practice) and meditation even for a short time.

Be careful. Be alert. Be regular in your meditation.

TRUE DISPASSION

Vairagya (dispassion) does not mean abandoning social duties and the responsibilities of life. It does not mean detachment from the world, or a life in a solitary cave of the Himalayas or in the cremation ground. It does not mean living on neem leaves, the wearing of matted hair and carrying a water pot made of gourd or coconut shell in the hand. It does not mean shaving of the head and discarding one's clothes. Vairagya is mental detachment from all connections of the world.

A man may remain in the world and discharge all the duties of his order and stage of life with detachment. He may be a householder. He may live with family and children. But at the same time, he may have perfect mental detachment from everything. He can perform his spiritual practice systematically. That man who has perfect mental detachment while remaining in the world is a hero, indeed. He is much better than a holy man who is living in a cave of the Himalayas, because the former has to face innumerable temptations at every moment of his life.

Wherever a man may go, he carries with him his fickle, restless mind, his desires and subconscious impressions. Even if he lives in solitude in the Himalayas, still he is the same worldly man if he is engaged in building castles in the air and in thinking of the objects of the world. In that case even the cave becomes a big city for him. If the mind remains quiet, if it is free from attachments, one can be perfectly dispassionate even while living in a mansion in the busiest part of a city like Calcutta. Such a mansion will be converted into a dense forest by him. Vairagya is purely a mental state.

Vairagya is a means for attaining wisdom of the self. It is not the goal itself. A realised sage has neither desire nor dispassion. If you give him a little dry bread, he is quite satisfied and will not grumble. If you give him the best sweetmeats, milk and fruits, he will not refuse, but he will not be elated by good food. He has equanimity of mind and is above likes and dislikes. He always delights in his own self only, but not in external objects.

CONQUER THE WORLD WITHIN

He who has controlled his mind is really happy and free. Physical freedom is no freedom at all. If you are easily carried away by surging emotions and impulses, if you are under the grip of moods and cravings, how can you be really happy, O sweet beloved child? You are like a rudderless boat. You are tossed about hither and thither like a piece of straw in the vast expanse of ocean. You laugh for five minutes and weep for five hours. What can wife, son, friends, money, fame and power do for you when you are under the sway of the impulse of your mind?

He is a true hero who has controlled his mind. There is an adage: "He who has controlled his mind has controlled the world." True victory is victory over the mind. That is real freedom. A thorough rigorous discipline and self imposed restrictions will eventually eradicate all desires, thoughts, impulses, cravings and passions. Only then and not until then can you expect to be free from the thraldom of the mind.

You should not give any leniency to the mind. The mind is a mischievous imp. Curb it by drastic measures. Become a perfect yogi . Money cannot give you freedom. Freedom is not a commodity that can be purchased. It is a rare, hidden treasure guarded by a five hooded serpent. Unless you kill or tame this serpent, you cannot have access to this treasure. That treasure is spiritual wealth; that is freedom; that is bliss. The serpent is your mind. The five hoods are the five senses through which the mind serpent hisses.

The rajasic (restless) mind always wants new things. It wants variety. It gets disgusted with monotony. It wants change of place, change of food, change, in short, of everything. But you should train the mind to stick to one thing. You should not complain of monotony. You should have patience, adamantine will and undaunted persistence. Then only can you succeed in yoga. He who wants something new every now and then is quite unfit for yoga. You should stick to one place, one spiritual preceptor, one method of yoga and one institution. That is the way to positive success.

UPHILL TASK

True freedom results from the disenthralment of the mind. He is a real potentate and ruler who has conquered the mind. He who has conquered desires, passions and the mind is the richest man. If the mind is under control, it matters little whether you stay in a palace, or a cave in the Himalayas; whether you engage yourself in worldly activity or sit in silence. The mind can be controlled by untiring perseverance and great patience, equal to that of one engaged in emptying the ocean, drop by drop, with the tip of a blade of grass. To tame a lion or a tiger is far more easy than taming one's own mind. Tame your own mind first. Then you can tame the minds of others quite easily.

Constantly think of God. You can very easily control the mind. Constant thinking of God thins out the mind. The mind can very easily think of worldly objects. It is its nature. The mental force can easily flow in the old grooves and avenues of mundane thoughts. It finds it extremely hard to think of God and dwell on lofty thoughts.

The difficulty in weaning the mind from objects and fixing it on God is the same as in making the river Ganges flow uphill towards its source instead of its natural flow towards the ocean. Still, through strenuous efforts and renunciation, the mind must be trained to flow towards God, much against its will, if you want to free yourself from birth and death. There is no other way if you want to escape from worldly miseries and tribulations.

Introspect and always have an inner life. Let a portion of the mind and the hands do their work mechanically. A girl acrobat, while exhibiting her performances, has her attention riveted on the water pot she bears on her head, although, all the time, she is dancing to various tunes. So does the truly pious man attend to all his business concerns, but has his mind's eye fixed upon the blissful feet of the Lord. This is balance and will lead to integral development.

RISE ABOVE THE TWO MOODS

In vedanta there are only two kinds of moods joy, exultation or exhilaration and grief or depression. Now there is joy and five minutes later there is depression the currents alternate. They belong to the sad Urmis (six waves, i.e. grief, delusion, hunger, thirst, decay and death). People of gloomy moods attract gloomy thoughts from others and from the akasic (etheric) records in the psychic ether. Persons with hope, cheerfulness and confidence attract similar thoughts from others they are always successful in their attempts. People with negative moods of depression, anger and hatred do positive harm to others and great damage in the thought world.

Try to eradicate depression through prayer, meditation, counter thoughts of joy, chanting Om, self enquiry and singing divine songs. There are various causes for depression cloudy day, associating with evil persons, indigestion, influence of astral spirits and revival of old impressions of depression. When you get into a talking mood practise mouna (silence) at once. When you are in a mood of hatred, develop the opposite virtue, love, and the mood will pass quickly. When you feel selfishness arise, do selfless work. When you are in the mood of separateness, mix with others through service, love, kindness and forgiveness. If you feel lazy, do some active work.

A liberated being is free from all moods he has become their master. In atman (self) there are no moods, there is only pure consciousness. Identify with Atman and you will easily destroy all moods. However, there is one good mood the meditative mood. When this manifests, immediately give up reading, writing, talking etc., and begin to meditate. Watch for this kind of mood when meditation comes by itself, without effort.

Laugh and smile. How can a mind that is dull and gloomy think of God? Try to be happy always. Happiness is your very nature. The spirit of cheerfulness must be cultivated by all spirants.

With the growth of the mind, the pains will increase. But with its extinction there will be great bliss. Having mastery over the mind, free yourself from the world of perceptions in order that you may be of the nature of jnana or wisdom. Though surrounded by pleasurable or painful objects which disturb the equilibrium of your mind, remain rock like, and receive all things with equanimity.

GOD IS FOUND IN SILENCE

Still the mind. Listen. Enter the silence. In silence one becomes aware of his soul consciousness. Silence is a prerequisite for the apprehension of the reality. Enter the silence, realise the reality.

Silence the tongue; silence the desires; silence the thoughts. You will now enjoy the bliss of the eternal. Love silence. Live in silence. Grow in silence. Spend your life in silence. The truths of the Upanishads are revealed through the grace of God.

In silence there is God realisation. Silence is the peace that passes understanding samadhi (the superconscious state).

Train yourself to enter a state of ceaseless meditation. Strive diligently, patiently and with genuine humility to attain wisdom. Earnest aspiration and sincerity of purpose are the most precious assets to the seeker after truth. Silence conserves energy and gives peace and strength. You can amass inexhaustible spiritual wealth in silence.

The aspirant should possess tranquility, self control and compassion. An aspirant should avoid dainty dishes as they induce him to be voluptuous. An aspirant should not indulge in hearing worldly talk as it leaves worldly impressions on the mind and these stand in the way of fixing the mind on God. If you are freed from attachment, you have attained salvation indeed. He who has strong vairagya (dispassion), utter distaste for all pleasures of earth and heaven is first to pursue the path of jnana (wisdom).

He who has not developed strong dispassion, but is attached to the pleasures of this world must tread the path of karma yoga. He who is neither intensely attached to the world nor completely detached from it must take up the path of devotion (bhakti). The delusion of birth and death will only haunt those persons who have passions and darkness. Persons of powerful, pure tendency will be ever free from the fear of birth. Real austerity consists of the control of the senses and the mind, not mortification of the body. The middle path between extreme asceticism and self indulgence is beneficial. Fasting is external austerity; repentance and meditation are internal austerity.

YOUR REAL NATURE

Do you know who you are? I shall tell you. Hear me. You are the master of the body and the senses and the mind. You are the master of your life. All power is within you. You have to know this and manifest it.

How can the mind torment you? How can despair overcome you? Despair is a quality of the mind and the mind is your servant. You are all bliss, all light, all strength, all knowledge. You are divinity. You are above and beyond both body and mind. You are immortal Satchidananda (Existence Knowledge Bliss Absolute).

The important thing to know clearly is that you are not the slave of the mind and the senses. You have got into the habit of thinking that their craving is your craving. Now get out of this habit, by constantly reminding yourself that you have nothing to do with the mischievous mind and senses.

Remember constantly that you are not this perishable body. You are not this perishable, changing mind. You are the all pervading consciousness. You are the eternal seer. You are the eternal witness. Therefore be ever free and blissful .

Intensify your spiritual life. Seek the light of vedanta. Be a flame of the light of the Upanishads. Ever meditate on: "I am the immortal, all pervading Brahman." Om is the bow, the soul is the arrow and Brahman is the target.

When you realise the effulgent supreme being you shake off all evil and attain the supreme stainless unity. Devote yourself to the holy quest of truth. Devote yourself to the discovery of the ultimate spiritual essence that is all pervading and interpenetrating.

Withdraw the senses. Look within and search your heart. Dive deep into the recesses of your heart, through deep meditation on the innermost self, the inner ruler. You will doubtless realise your identity with Brahman and get to the heart of the infinite   the heart of infinite joy and bliss.

DAMA - SENSE CONTROL

Dama is self restraint. It is control of the senses. It is a vedantic sadhana (practice). It comes after the practice of sama (restraint of mind). It is one of the sad sampat (six fold wealth). It does not allow the senses to run outwards. It gives strength, peace and concentration. It develops will power. It helps you to disconnect or shut off the mind from the senses, and the senses from the objects. It corresponds to pratyahara (sense withdrawal) of raja yoga. An objector says, "Why should there be practice of dama when the mind is controlled by sama?" It is a double attack on the mind. The mind operates in conjunction with the senses; the mind will be subdued easily and effectively if you practise dama also. It weakens or thins out the mind.

There is also a deliberate order here. Without viveka (wisdom), vairagya (dispassion) is not powerful. It is viveka that weans the mind from sensual objects and directs it towards the absolute. So viveka comes first. If there is dawn of viveka, vairagya, serenity (sama) will come by itself. It is easy to control the mind if the senses are also controlled. So dama comes after sama. If you practise dama, uparati (satiety) follows; you are disgusted with sensual objects. Serenity and restraint of the indriyas are increased if you have titiksa or power of endurance. When you possess the above qualifications naturally you will have faith (sraddha) and a balanced inner life (samadana). If you are endowed with viveka, vairagya and six wealths, a burning yearning for liberation (mumuksutva) will automatically follow.

Sensual pleasure is the womb of pain. The cause for pain is the pursuit of pleasure. Sensual pleasure is imaginary, illusory, fleeting and tantalising. Abandon pleasure and ejoice in the eternal bliss of the atman. He who has destroyed desire is really a harmonised, peaceful and happy man.

YOUR REAL ENEMY

The senses are your real foes. They draw you out and disturb your peace of mind. Do not keep company with them. Subdue them. Restrain them. Curb them just as you would curb your enemies on the battlefield. This is not the work of a day. It wants patient and protracted sadhana (practice) for a very long time. Control of the senses is really control of the mind. All the ten senses must be controlled. Starve them to death. Do not give them what they want. Then they will obey your orders implicitly. All worldly minded persons are slaves of their senses, though they are educated, though they possess immense wealth, though they hold judicial and executive powers. If you are a slave of meat eating, for instance, you will begin to exercise control of your tongue the moment you give up the meat eating habit entirely for six months. You will consciously feel that you have gained a little supremacy over this troublesome sense of taste which began to revolt against you sometime ago.

Worldly pleasures intensify the desire for enjoying greater pleasures. Hence the minds of worldlings are very restless. There is no satisfaction and mental peace is absent. The mind can never be satisfied, whatever amount of pleasure you may store up for it. The more it enjoys the pleasures, the more it wants them. So people are exceedingly troubled and vexed by their own minds. They are tired of their minds. Hence, in order to remove these botherations and troubles the rsis (sages) thought it best to deprive the mind of all sensual pleasures. When the mind has been concentrated or made extinct, it cannot force one to seek for further pleasure, and all botherations and troubles are removed for ever and the person attains real peace.

The mind can do nothing without the help of the senses. And the senses cannot do anything without the help of the mind. Desire moves the mind and the senses and makes it outgoing. Abandon desires and control the mind. Thinking means externalisation or objectification. Thinking is samsara. Thinking causes identification with the body, with 'I ness', 'mine ness', time and space.

Stop this thinking through vairagya (dispassion) and abhyasa (practice). Merge yourself in pure consciousness where there is no thinking. This is the absolution; this is jivanmukta (liberation).

DISCIPLINE OF THE SENSES

Control the indriyas (senses), through introspection. Destroy the thirst for objects and sense enjoyments then you will be established in supreme peace. Speak the truth and talk little. Observe silence for two hours daily. Speak only sweet, loving, soft words. Do not go to cinemas; do not look at ladies with a lustful look. When you move in the street look at the tip of the nose; do not look hither and thither. This is discipline of the eye, the organ of sight.

Do not attend dancing parties and do not listen to vulgar music. Give up musical entertainments and listening to worldly conversation. This is the discipline of the ear, the organ of hearing. Do not use scents. This is the discipline of the nose, the organ of smell. Give up salt and sugar for a week. Live on simple food. Fast on ekadasi (eleventh day of the lunar fortnight) or live on milk. This is the discipline of the tongue, the organ of taste.

Observe brahmacarya. Sleep on a hard mat. Walk barefooted. Do not use umbrellas. This is the discipline of the skin, the organ of touch.

To check the wandering mind and to develop concentration, fix your mind on your Ista Devata (ideal). Bring the mind back again when it wanders and fix it on the image.

You may think or falsely conjecture that the senses are under your control. You may be duped. All of a sudden you will become their victim. You must have supreme control of all the senses. The senses may become turbulent at any time. Reaction may set in. Beware!

Master the senses, the mind and the intellect, ruthlessly. Do this through enquiry, discrimination, dispassion, devotion and meditation. Anger is born of rajas (restlessness). When desire is not gratified then anger manifests itself. Anger is a form of desire only. Slay this anger through vicara (enquiry), discrimination, patience, love, meditation, and identification with the ever serene Atman.

STRIVING FOR PERENNIAL HAPPINESS

It is in the nature of man to strive for happiness but all the happiness which he can gain by his actions is only of limited duration. The enjoyments of the senses are transient and the senses themselves are worn out by too much enjoyment. Further, sin generally accompanies these enjoyments and makes men unhappy beyond comparison.

Even if the pleasures of the world are enjoyed as much as their nature permits, if they are as intense, as varied and as uninterrupted as possible old age still approaches and with it, death. And the enjoyments of heaven are in reality not more enviable than these pleasures of the senses. They are of the same nature although more unmixed and durable, and they come to an end for they are gained by actions. Actions are finite and their effects must also be finite.

In one word, there is necessarily an end to all these enjoyments and what avails us to strive for pleasure which we know cannot sustain us beyond the moment of enjoyment? It is therefore the nature of the man to look out for an unchangeable, infinite happiness (ananta sukha) which must come from a 'being' in which there is no change if such a being can be found. It is only from him that man attains an unalterable happiness. And if this be so, this 'being' must become the sole object of all his aspirations and actions.

This 'being' is not very far he resides in your heart. He is the saksi caitanya (witness consciousness) who witnesses the activities of your buddhi (intellect). He is the nirguna Brahman of the Upanishads.

TRUE BEING. True being is that which knows no bounds, neither physical nor intellectual. It is unbounded, spiritual being. The nature of approach must befit the nature of the object approached. The pathway can be known only when the destination is known. The indivisible, absolute and conscious nature of the reality signifies that life on earth should be lived according to rigid laws laws of dispassion towards external existence and active awareness of the self as an unlimited being. It also shows that all forms of physical and even intellectual indulgence are deviations from eternal truth. It shows that every desire for objectification of consciousness is suicidal in the real sense.

SOUL POWER

O man! Do not be discouraged when sorrows, difficulties and tribulations manifest in the daily battle of life. Thou art the master of thy destiny. Thou art divine. Live up to it, feel it, realise it. Draw up spiritual strength and courage from within. Learn the ways to tap the source. Dive deep within. Sink down. Plunge into the sacred waters of immortality. You will be refreshed, renovated and vivified.

Understand the laws of the universe. Move tactfully in this world. Learn the secrets of nature. Learn the best ways to control the mind. Conquer the mind. Conquest of the mind is really conquest of nature and the world.

Do not murmur or grumble when troubles and sorrows descend upon you. Difficulties strengthen your will, augment your power of endurance and turn your mind towards God. Face them with a smile. In your weakness lies your real strength. Conquer the difficulties one by one. This is the beginning of a new spiritual life, a life of expansion, glory and divine splendour. Expand, grow. Build up all positive virtues fortitude, patience and courage. Start a new life.

Have a new angle of vision. Arm yourself with discrimination, cheerfulness, discernment, alacrity and undaunted spirit. A brilliant future is awaiting you. Let the past be buried. You can work miracles. Do not give up hope. You can neutralise the effect of evil influences and the antagonistic dark forces that may come against you. You can nullify destiny many have done this. Assert. Recognise. Realise. Thou art the immortal self claim thy birthright now.

You have created your destiny through thoughts and actions. You can undo them by right thinking and right action. Wrong thinking is the root cause of human sufferings. "I am the immortal self" this is right thinking. Work in terms of unity work unselfishly work with atman bhava (feeling that the self is all). This is right action.

There is no such thing as sin. Sin is only a mistake; it is a mental creation. The baby soul must commit some mistakes during the process of evolution. Mistakes are your best teachers. Think, "I am pure atman", and the idea of sin will be blown in the air.

DIFFICULTIES STRENGTHEN YOU

Difficulties come to test you and thereby to help you by strengthening your will, patience and power of endurance. Be bold. Be cheerful. Be calm, cool and collected at all times, even in the face of difficulties. There is no spiritual sadhana (practice) completely free from obstacles and difficulties. God sends consolation, encouragement at every step to the sincere aspirant. Defeat and failure have their purpose. Criticism too has its uses.

Be free from depression and irritation. Remain unmoved by criticism or praise. Be steadfast. Stand firm like a rock unshakable by emotional storms, frustrations and defeats. A spiritual aspirant is backed up by the whole spiritual world. All saints lend their invisible help and support to such a struggler. You are never really left alone. You will get help from saints and yogis internally. Their spiritual vibrations will elevate and inspire you.

Without great patience and perseverance, the spiritual quest becomes an uphill task. No half measures will do on the spiritual path. Give your whole heart to truth and to sadhana. Have faith. Be firm. Unfold. Attain. All defeats are transitory. All set backs are needed experiences. Muster up your courage. March forward. Success and victory are yours. Have patience first, second and last! This should be the motto for those seeking the inner light.

Great things have small beginnings. All growth is gradual. To be perfectly unperturbed, by anything, in all circumstances, looking upon all things as passing phenomena, ever feeling a distinct, silent witness to all the experiences of life these are the marks of a spiritual aspirant.

These qualities have to be carefully and consciously cultivated. They do not come in a day. But they do come gradually by faithful practice. An unseen power guides and guards you. Feel his power and presence. He who is endowed with dispassion, compassion, serenity, self control, and who has given up the desire for this world and the next, and who has control over his mind and senses, is fit to tread the spiritual path.

MOST IMPORTANT SADHANA

Man is a mixture of three ingredients. These are the human element, the brutal instinct and the divine ray. He is endowed with a finite intellect, a perishable body, a little knowledge and a little power. This makes him distinctly human. Lust, anger and hatred belong to his brutal nature.

The reflection of cosmic intelligence is at the back of his intellect. So he is an image of God. When the brutal instincts die, when this ignorance is rent asunder, when he is able to bear insult and injury, then he becomes one with the divine.

A thirsting aspirant is one who practises self denial. He always tries to feel that the body does not belong to him. If anyone beats or cuts him, either his hand or throat, he should remain quiet. He should not speak even one single harsh word because the body is not his. He starts his sadhana (practice) saying: "I am not this body. I am not this mind. Chidananda Rupa Sivoham."

One harsh word throws a man off balance and a little disrespect upsets him. How weak he has become, despite his boasted intellect, his high position in society, his degrees, his diplomas and titles.

Bear insult, Bear injury. This is the essence of all sadhana. This is the most important sadhana. If you succeed in this, you can very easily enter the illimitable domain of eternal bliss. Nirvikalpa samadhi (superconscious state) will come by itself. This is the most difficult sadhana. But it is easy for those who have burning vairagya (dispassion) and true yearning for liberation.

First you must become like a block of stone. Only then you will be established in this sadhana. Now nothing can affect you. Abuse, ridicule, mockery, insult, persecution none of these can have any influence on you.

Life is God in expression.

Life is joy.

Life is the flooding bliss of the spirit.

Life is the fight for fullness and perfection.

Life is a battle for attaining supreme independence.

GLORY OF THE SELF

Believe in the self. Draw power from within. Dive deep into the source and come back quite refreshed and invigorated. Have unshakable faith that nothing can ever overpower these. Chant Om Om Om when gloom tries to overpower these. Rejoice in thy own self. Have contentment in thy own self. Never seek happiness from outside.

A timid man is unfit for the attainment of self realisation. Have no attachment for this mortal body of flesh and bone. Cast if off like slough, just as the snake throws away its skin. Be prepared to give up the body at any moment. Make a strong resolve: I will die or realise the self.

Do not lose heart when you are in adverse circumstances. Become a real hero and fight your enemies within the mind, indriyas (senses), vasanas (tendencies), samskaras (mental impressions) and trisnas (cravings) which have robbed you of your atmic jewel. The spiritual battlefield demands great valour, patience, perseverance, strength, courage and skill. Temptations will manifest without a moment's notice you will be bewildered. There may be no time to detect them, so always be on the alert.

You came alone, naked and weeping. You will go alone, naked and weeping. Then why are you proud of your false wealth and false knowledge? Become humble, meek. You will conquer the world with humility. Become pure in thought, word and deed. This is the secret of spiritual life.

Birth and death, bondage and freedom, pleasure and pain, gain and loss all are mental creations. Transcend the pairs of opposites. You were never born; you will never die. Thou art the immortal self always. Thou art ever free in the three periods of time. It is the physical body that comes and goes. The self is all full, all pervading, infinite and part less.

Recognise that you are the living truth, that you are inseparable from that one essence, the substratum of all these illusory names and forms, these false, shadowy appearances. Get firmly established in Brahman. Now you are invulnerable.

Rely on your own self, your inner spiritual strength. Do not depend on money, friends or anyone. Friends when put to the test will desert you. Lord Buddha never even trusted his own disciples. Become absolutely free.

PERFECTION AWAITS YOU

The circle of darkness and degeneracy has reached its climax. Come now, arise victorious and step up towards the zenith of perfection that awaits you. Live with a definite purpose do not roam about aimlessly. Walk with a definite aim. Climb the hill of knowledge steadily and reach the summit of the temple of Brahman, the grand abode of the life immortal.

In the spiritual path there are constant failures and setbacks. Repeated endeavour, constant vigilance and undaunted perseverance are needed. When the heart's knots are gradually loosened, when the vasanas (tendencies) are gradually thinned out, when the bonds of karma are gradually loosened, when ignorance is dispelled, when weakness vanishes, you will become more and more peaceful, strong and serene. You will get more and more light from within. You will become more and more divine.

Hard enough is it to purify the lower nature, difficult enough is it to practise concentration and meditation, but vigilance, perseverance, constant practise, steady and persistent effort, company of sages, resolute will and strong determination, will obviate all difficulties and render the path easy, pleasant and attractive. Fight with the mind bravely. Go on fighting with an undaunted heart. At the end of your battle you will attain the illimitable dominion of eternal bliss, the sweet abode of immortality, the immaculate, imperishable self or Brahman.

Despair not; light is on the path. Serve all. Love truth. Be serene. Meditate regularly. You will soon attain the life beatitude, the silence, the supreme peace. Even when you get a glimpse of the truth, of the supreme, your whole life will be changed. You will be a changed being. You will have a new heart and a new wisdom. A new thrill of spiritual current will pass through your entire being. A wave of spiritual bliss will sweep over you. This state is indescribable.

THE WORLD NEEDS SANYASINS

Every religion has a band of anchorites who lead a life of seclusion and meditation. There are bhikkus in Buddhism, fakirs in Islam, sufistic fakirs in Sufism, fathers and brothers in Christianity. The glory of a religion will be absolutely lost if you remove the hermits or sanyisins or those who lead the life of renunciation and divine contemplation. It is these people who maintain and preserve the religions of the world. It is these people who give solace to the householders when they are in trouble and distress. They bring hope to the hopeless, joy to the depressed, strength to the weak and courage to the timid by imparting the knowledge of yoga and vedanta, and the significance of, "That thou art,"

True renunciation is the renunciation of all passions, desires and egoism. If you have a stainless mind, a mind free from attachment, egoism and passion, you are a sanyasin no matter whether you live in a forest or in the bustle of a city, whether you wear white cloth or an orange coloured robe, whether you shave your head or keep a long tuft of hair.

Shave the mind. Someone asked Guru Nanak, "O saint, why have you not shaved your head? You are a sanyasin." Guru Nanak replied: "My dear friend, I have shaved my mind." In fact, the mind should be cleanly shaved. Shaving the mind consists of getting rid of all attachments, egoism, infatuation, lust, greed and anger. That is real shaving. External shaving of the head has no meaning so long as there is internal craving.

Many have not understood what true renunciation is. Renunciation of physical objects is no renunciation at all. True renunciation lies in the abnegation of the mind. It consists of renouncing all desires and egoism, and not world existence. The real renunciation is the renunciation of the ego. If you can renounce this, you have renounced everything in the world. If the subtle egoism is given up, identification with the body goes away automatically.

WHAT TO RENOUNCE

Mere outward giving up of things is nothing. It is not real renunciation. Real tyaga or sanyas (renunciation) consists in absolute renunciation of all vasanas (tendencies) and the destruction of the heart knot of ignorance, the cit jada granthi (confusion between the conscious subject and inert object).

What is to be renounced is the bheda buddhi (divisive intellect) which says, "I am superior to that man". "I am the body." And the kartrtva abhimana which thinks, "I am the doer". There is no use in your renouncing your home, wife and children. You must destroy moha (attachment) for the body, children, money, house, property then you will get that state of immortality from which you will never return.

He who has merely withdrawn himself from worldly possessions, cannot be regarded as having renounced the world altogether; but he who is living in actual contact with the world, finds out its faults. He who is freed from every passion and whose soul depends on nothing may be said to have truly renounced the world. Read the story of Raja Sikhidhwaja and Queen Chudala in the Yoga Vasishta.

The spirit cometh and goeth. Therefore you will have to be careful always in nourishing and protecting your spiritual samskaras (impressions) with burning vairagya (dispassion), intense and constant sadhana (practice) and burning mumuksutva (desire for liberation). Increase your good samskaras. Develop them. Multiply them.

People do not want to remove mala (impurity) by selfless service and viksepa (restlessness of mind) with upasana (devotion). They think that bhakti and service are nothing. They at once jump to open the kundalini and raise the brahmakara vrtti (the feeling of Brahmin is the all). They will only break down their legs.

Serve and worship; jnana and yoga will come by themselves, kundalini will be awakened by itself.

EXTERNAL RENUNCIATION IS NECESSARY

Renunciation of family life is the beginning of self surrender. He who is endowed with burning vairagya (dispassion) and discrimination, one who is really earnest for his spiritual rejuvenation, can also do complete self surrender even though he is living in the world.

In and through the world he realises the Lord, by complete surrender of his whole being to him. But it is only very few who are capable of doing this. This is because worldly life is beset with innumerable obstacles and temptations. And it is hard for the aspirant to attain complete dispassion in the midst of so many dissipations and distractions.

Therefore renunciation of family life makes the path easier for the aspirant. It also makes it smoother. The seed is now sown. The aspirant then goes to his preceptor and falls at his feet. Now the seed germinates.

The aspirant now starts the service of the guru. As he advances in his devotion and sincere service, his surrender becomes more and more perfect and complete. His heart becomes purer and purer and gradually the light of knowledge dawns in him. Now he cognises the supreme atman which pervades all, everywhere.

The actions performed by the sadhaka (seeker) after renunciation, do not bind him because he has offered all his actions unto his preceptor or God. He does not do any action which can be considered selfish.

Thus, through service of one's preceptor, with utter self dedication, his heart becomes purified and, ultimately, the Lord becomes his preceptor. Now he is completely surrendered to the Lord and he attains the highest intuition.

PERFECT RENUNCIATION

Vedanta does not want you to renounce the world. It wants you to change your mental attitude and give up this false, illusory 'I ness' and 'mine ness'. The snake charmer removes only the two poisonous fangs of the cobra. The snake remains the same. It hisses, raises its hood and shows its fangs. In fact, it does everything as before. The snake charmer has changed his mental attitude towards the snake. He has a feeling now that it has no poisonous fangs. Even so, you must remove the two poisonous fangs of the mind, namely, 'I ness' and 'mine ness' only. Then you can allow the mind to go wherever it likes. Then you will always have the feeling of the presence of God.

You must also renounce the attachment to renunciation, which is very deep rooted. You must renounce the idea: "I have renounced everything; I am a great renunciate". This attachment of aspirants is a greater evil than that of the householders: "I am a landlord; I am a brahmana, etc".

Not by shaving the head, not by dress, not by egoistic action is liberation to be attained. He who possesses wisdom is a real sanyasin (monk). Wisdom is the sign of a sanyasin. The wooden staff does not make a sanyasin. He is the real sanyasin of wisdom who is conscious of his absolute nature even in his dreams just as he is during the waking period. He is the greatest knower of Brahman. He is the greatest of sanyasins.

Perfect renunciation is born of discrimination. Dispassion should not be mild and half hearted. It should be a burning flame of disgust for everything that is seen and that is not seen. Nothing but the state of final liberation is to be the ideal for attainment. There should be no desire for wife, husband, children and worldly activity. The aspirant must be encircled by the fence of dispassion on all sides.

FAITH IS THE GREATEST THING

Faith is sraddha. Faith is the greatest thing in the world. Even the greatest philosopher has faith as his stronghold. No intellectualism can prove good if it is unsupported by faith. The whole world stands on faith, is guided by faith.

Religion has faith as its root. One cannot prove God if he has no faith in God. And this faith is the outcome of samskaras (past mental impressions). Faith is guided by impressions of actions done in previous births.

Blind faith should be turned into rational faith through understanding. Bhakti (devotion) is the development of faith. Jnana (self knowledge) is the development of bhakti. Faith leads to the final experience. Whatever a person strongly believes in, that he experiences and that he becomes.

This whole world is a product of faithful imagination. If you have no faith in the world, the world does not exist. If you have no faith in sensual pleasure, you will not get pleasure from sensual objects. If you have no faith in God, you will never reach perfection. Wrong faith can even turn existence into non existence. Faith is the fundamental necessity for spiritual sadhana (practice).

Aspiration is a development of faith. The flame of faith burns as the conflagration of spiritual aspiration for moksa (liberation). The devotee longs to have union with the beloved he has no sleep, no rest. He always contemplates how to attain the object of his love. He prays, he sings, he gets mad with his Lord. Divine madness overtakes the devotee and he completely loses his personality in the aspiration for attaining God. This is called self surrender.

You must have an ideal to live for otherwise you will be heedless, depressed and negative. Understand well before you take a step. Have a clear cut ideal and then have right attempt. Faith in God, faith in oneself, faith in the guru (preceptor), faith in the wise teachings, faith in all that is good and noble this is the sap of life.

FAITH VERSUS REASON

Faith is first and reason is second. Faith is life and doubt is death. Reason is powerless to know God. Faith alone takes one to God. He who has faith has everything. He who has no faith has nothing. Have intense, unswerving faith in the measure in which you have faith, you will achieve.

Faith brings God closer and reason puts Him far away. Faith is not blind belief it grows out of the wisdom of the heart. Do total surrender to the Lord keep nothing back, not even a little pride. Surrender yourself and your all to the Lord.

Say to the Lord: "O Lord! Give me only that which is best for me, because only you know what that is." A life of faith and devotion and of absolute faith in the name of the Lord will always be successful in the long run. Through love, faith and devotion alone is God realisation possible.

Prayer releases God's power. It should consist of confession, praise and petition. Prayer is a spiritual tonic it purges the mind of all its impurities such as desire, attachment, anger, lust, etc. It also strengthens a man's aspiration and brings him closer to God. It brings him into the presence of God.

Pray to the Lord for strength and help as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. Satsanga (the company of holy men), faith, single minded devotion to one's ideal, intense love for God, bhava (feeling), and prema (divine love) bring the devotee face to face with God.

Trust in the Lord with all thy heart. Acknowledge him in all thy ways. He will direct thy spiritual path. God helps the sincere aspirant at every step. God will help you too. He will bless you, inspire you and throw light upon the path. Never mind about the external environments. Create your own internal environments, wherever you are.

BALANCE OF MIND

Samadhana is mental balance. There is perfect concentration now. This is the fruit of the practices of sama (control of mind), dama (control of the senses), uparati (turning away), titiksa (endurance) and sraddha (faith). It is fixing the mind on atman (self) without allowing it to run towards objects and have its own way. It is self settledness. Sri Sankaracharya defines in "Atma Anatma Viveka": "Whenever a mind engaged in sravana (hearing) and the rest wanders to any worldly object or desire, and finding it worthless, returns to the performance of the three exercises such returning is called samadhana."

The mind is free from anxiety amid pains. There is indifference amid pleasures. There is stability of mind or mental poise. The aspirant or practitioner lives without attachment. He neither likes nor dislikes. He has a great deal of strength of mind and internal peace. He has unruffled supreme peace of mind.

Some aspirants have peace of mind when they live in seclusion, when there are no distracting elements or factors. They complain of great tossing of mind (viksepa) when they come to a city, when they mix with people. They are completely upset. They cannot do any meditation in a crowded place, This is a weakness. This is not achievement in samadhana. There is no balance of mind or equanimity in these persons. Only when a student can keep his balance of mind even in a battlefield when there is a shower of bullets all round, as he does in a solitary cave in the Himalayas, can he be really said to be fully established in samadhana.

Lord Krishna says in the Gita: "Perform all actions, O Dhananjaya, dwelling in union with the divine, renouncing attachments, and balanced evenly in success and failure." This is samadhana. Again you will find in the Gita: "The disciplined self, moving among the sense objects with senses freed from attraction and repulsion, mastered by the self, goeth to peace." This is also samadhana.

SUCH IS THE MIND

There is no limit to the power of the human mind. The more concentrated it is, the more power is brought to bear on one point. You are born to concentrate the mind on God after collecting the mental rays that are dissipated on various objects. That is your important duty. You forget the duty on account of moha (attachment) to the family, children, name and fame, money, power and position.

Mind is compared to quicksilver, because its rays are scattered over various objects. It is compared to a monkey, because it jumps from one object to another. It is compared to moving air, because it is restless. It is compared to a furious elephant, because of its passionate impetuosity.

Mind is known by the name 'great bird', because it jumps from one object to another just as a bird jumps from one twig to another, from one tree to another. Raja Yoga teaches us how to concentrate the mind and then how to ransack the innermost recess of our mind.

Concentration is opposed to sensuous desires, as is bliss to flurry and worry, sustained thinking to perplexity, applied thinking to sloth and torpor, rapture to ill will.

So long as the thoughts of one are not thoroughly destroyed through persistent practice, he should ever be concentrating his mind on one truth at a time. Through such unremitting practice, one pointedness of the mind will accrue and instantly all the hosts of thoughts will vanish.

To remove this tossing of the mind and various obstacles which stand in the way of one pointedness of the mind, the practice of concentration on one thing alone should be made.

The more the mind is fixed on God, the more strength you will acquire. More concentration means more energy. Concentration opens the inner chambers of love or the realm of eternity. Concentration is a source of spiritual strength.

Fix the mind on the atman. Fix the mind on the all pervading pure intelligence and self luminous effulgence. Stand firm in Brahman. Then you will become 'Brahma Samastha' (established in Brahman).

FREEDOM: YOUR BIRTHRIGHT

Freedom is man's birthright. Freedom is knowledge, peace and bliss. Consciously or unconsciously, willingly or unwillingly, all are attempting to attain this freedom. One nation is fighting another on the battlefield for freedom. A robber robs in order to obtain freedom from want though his movement may be crooked and circuitous. Every movement of your foot is towards freedom or Existence Knowledge Bliss.

The real reason is that there is in you the immortal, self effulgent soul or atman which is one without a second, which has no rival, which is the inner ruler, which is the support for the whole universe. In reality, you are this atman. That is the reason why you have such a feeling and desire.

In every heart, there is this desire for freedom, this all consuming passion for liberty. Freedom is the birthright of man. Freedom is the very nature of Brahman or the eternal soul. Brahman is eternally free. The desire for freedom is there even in the lowliest of God's creatures. Freedom is an attribute of the soul, born with you. No force, no known human device, can suppress that desire. Freedom's flame is ever burning bright. Freedom or liberation is the ultimate goal of man. Freedom is liberation from the thraldom of mind and matter.

Real freedom is not merely political or economic, though political and economic freedom is essential for the welfare of a people. Real freedom is lordship over oneself. It is the freedom of the self. It is immortality; it is perfection. It is attainable only by slow and painful stages.

From time pass into eternity. This is freedom or emancipation. Still the mind. Herein lies freedom and bliss eternal. Real freedom is freedom from birth and death, freedom from the bondage of the flesh and mind, freedom from the bonds of karma and freedom from attachment to the body. Real freedom is freedom from egoism and desires, freedom from thoughts, likes and dislikes, freedom from lust, anger, greed and pride. Real freedom is identification with the supreme self. Real freedom is to realise the self. Real freedom is merging in the absolute.

Freedom is in detachment, desirelessness, mindlessness. Eradication and extinction of desires lead to the sublime state of supreme bliss and perfect freedom.

MUMUKSUTVA

Mumuksutva is intense desire for liberation or deliverance from the wheel of birth and death with its concomitant evils of old age, disease, delusion and sorrow. If one is equipped with the previous three qualifications, viz., viveka (wisdom), vairagya (dispassion) and sad sampat (six virtues), mumuksutva will come by itself.

The mind moves towards the source of its own accord, because it has lost its hold now on external objects. It has no resting place in this objective universe. Purification of the mind and mental discipline form the rock bottom foundation of yoga. When this is effected, the longing for liberation dawns by itself. Mumuksutva must be of a burning type. If burning mumuksutva is coupled with burning vairagya, self realisation will come within the twinkling of an eye. Generally the vast majority of people have got a dull type of vairagya and mumuksutva. So they do not succeed in their attempts. If one finds that he has not got burning mumuksutva, he must practise the other three sadhanas (practices) vigorously till he acquires intense longing for attaining salvation or immortality. That aspirant who is endowed with these four qualifications should hear the srutis (scriptures) from a Brahma Nista guru (preceptor who is established in Brahman), and then reflect and meditate on the inner self. He will soon get self realisation.

The aspirant should practise all the four means to a maximum degree. Proficiency in one sadhana alone will not make you perfect. There is a definite significance in the sequence of the four sadhanas. That aspirant who is in possession of the four means is a blessed divinity on the surface of this earth. He is Brahman himself. He must be adored and worshipped. My silent salutations unto such exalted souls!

Open yourself fully to the divine influence. Develop a burning desire for the attainment of God realisation and burning dispassion (vairagya) for worldly enjoyments. Abandon all worries. Abandon all worldly ambitions and mundane desires. Soar high in the realm of higher spiritual knowledge. Show your moral courage and spiritual strength now, O Ram!

IMPORTANCE OF GURU BHAKTI

It is universally admitted that an efficient teacher is needed in all branches of knowledge, in this physical plane and that physical, mental, moral and spiritual culture and growth can only be had through the help and guidance of a competent teacher or master. This is a universal, inexorable law of nature. Why then do you deny the application of this universally accepted law in the realm of spirituality as well?

Spiritual knowledge is a matter of guruparanpara it is handed down from guru to disciple. Study the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. You will have a comprehensive understanding of this truth.

Some aspirants do meditation for some years independently. Later on they feel the actual necessity for a guru. They come across some obstacles in the way and do not know how to proceed further. Then they begin to search for a guru .

The student and the teacher should live together, as father and devoted son, with extreme sincerity and devotion. The aspirant should have an eager receptive mind, ready to imbibe the teachings of the master. Then only will the aspirant be spiritually benefitted. Otherwise there is not the least hope of the spiritual uplift of the aspirant and the complete regeneration of his old unregenerate nature.

Once Sankaracharya wanted to test the devotion of his disciple Padmapada. The river Kaveri was in flood. Sankara was standing on the bank of the river and Padmapada was standing on the other bank. Sankara beckoned Padmapada to come to him immediately. There was no boat. Padmapada did not care, he at once jumped into the river. He did not know how to swim. This is real devotion. Through the grace of Sankaracharya, Padmapada walked quite easily on the water. At each step a lotus flower appeared. This is how he got the name Padmapada (lotus in the feet).

There is no hope of salvation for the deluded soul without the healing, magnetic touch and guidance of the spiritual preceptor. It is the guru only who can effect a radical change in the angle of vision of men and raise them to sublime, transcendental heights of eternal life in atman (self) with cosmic consciousness, divine glory, atmic effulgence and splendour.

GLORY OF THE GURU

The guru is God himself manifesting in a personal form to guide the aspirant. Grace of God takes the form of the guru. To see the guru is to see God. The guru is united with God. He inspires devotion in others and his presence purifies all.

The guru is verily a link between the individual and the immortal. He is a being who has raised himself from this to That, and thus has free and unhampered access into both realms. He stands, as it were, upon the threshold of immortality; and, bending down he raises the struggling individuals with one hand, while with the other he lifts them up into the imperium of everlasting joy and infinite truth consciousness.

The true guru is Brahman himself. He is an ocean of bliss, knowledge and mercy. He is the captain of your soul, the fountain of joy. He removes all your troubles, sorrows and obstacles. He shows you the right divine path and tears your veil of ignorance. He makes you immortal and divine, transmuting your lower, diabolical nature. He gives you the rope of knowledge, and takes you up when you are drowning in this ocean of births and deaths. Do not consider him to be only a man, for, if you do, you are a beast. Worship your guru and bow to him with reverence. Guru is God. A word from him is a word from God. He need not teach anything. Even his presence or company is elevating, inspiring and stirring, his very company being self illumination. Living in his company is spiritual education. Read the Granth Saheb (the holy scripture of the Sikh religion). You will come to know the greatness of the guru.

Man can learn only from man, and hence God teaches through a human body. In your guru, you have your human ideal of perfection, the pattern into which you wish to mould yourself. Your mind will readily be convinced that such a great soul is fit to be worshipped and revered.

Guru is the door to liberation, the gateway to the transcendental truth consciousness. But, it is the aspirant that has to enter through it. The guru is a help, but the actual task of practical spiritual practice falls on the aspirant himself.

The guru's tender smile radiates light, bliss, joy, knowledge, peace. He is a blessing to suffering humanity. Whatever he says is Upanishadic teaching. The guru knows the spiritual path. He knows the pitfalls and snares on the way. He gives timely warning to his students. He showers his grace on their heads. All agonies, miseries, tribulations, taints of worldliness, etc., vanish in his presence.

KNOW THE GURU

Guru leads man to God. Guru, mantra (mystic formula) and Devata (deity) form a unity. Guru is present in the mantra which he enlivens and communicates. The mantra is the body of the Devata. The guru is the embodiment of the deity that is invoked.

True guru is living God. Devotion to guru trains your heart and prepares for devotion to the Lord. Gurus are plenty but good disciples are very rare. When the disciple is ready the guru appears. He who has a guru can alone know Brahman and the knowledge received from a teacher, alone becomes perfect.

Initiation is necessary to go along the spiritual path. Guru shows you the path. When you are initiated your body and mind become purified. The highest spiritual wisdom experienced by the seers of truth in ancient times, has been passed down to the present day, through an unbroken line of traditional teachers.

Have self control, tranquillity, sincerity and humility. Then approach the spiritual preceptor. Then alone you will be benefitted. Hear silently anything that your guru may say hear with faith and bhava. Adapt yourself to his ways. He who serves the preceptor and follows his instructions gains the greatest benefit. He who speaks ill of his guru and does not follow his instructions loses most.

A perfect guru is learned in the scriptures and is desireless. He is a boundless ocean of mercy. He is a full knower of Brahman. He is a friend and a guide to those who have surrendered to him.

Guru is the word. The word is guru. Though God is indescribable you can see and realise God through the guru.

Here are the characteristics of a real guru. If you find them in any man accept him at once as your guru. A real guru is one who has full knowledge of the self and the vedas. He dispels the doubts of aspirants. He has equal vision and balanced mind. He is free from likes and dislikes, joy and sorrow, egoism, anger, lust, greed, pride, etc. He is an ocean of mercy. In his presence one gets peace and elevation of mind all doubts are cleared. The guru does not expect anything from anybody. He has an exemplary character. He is full of joy and bliss. He is in search of real aspirants.

NECESSITY FOR A GURU

Isvara (God) is guru of gurus. He removes the veil of ignorance and blesses the ignorant jiva (soul). The aspirant should regard his immediate guru in the physical form as an incarnation of that Guru of all gurus. He should have equal devotion to him. Guru in physical form is the main source and embodiment of all good and happiness that accrues to the disciple.

The disciple should realise the supreme necessity for obeying the guru's commands and behests. He should keep his faith in the guru unsullied and staunch. Lay bare to your guru the secrets of your heart. The more you do so, the greater the sympathy. And this means an accession of strength to you in the struggle against sin and temptation. A spiritual teacher actually transmits his spiritual power to his disciple.

A certain spiritual vibration of the Satguru is actually transferred to the mind of the disciple. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa actually transmitted his spiritual power to Swami Vivekananda. Lord Jesus did the same to his disciples. This is the master's touch.

It is he who transmutes the little jiva (soul) into great Brahman, infinite. It is he who overhauls the old, wrong, vicious nature (samskaras) of aspirants and awakens them to the attainment of knowledge of the self. It is he who uplifts the jivas from the quagmire of body and samsara (worldly life), who removes the veil of avidya (ignorance), all doubts, fears, etc. It is he who awakens the kundalini and opens the eye of inner intuition.

Never look into the defects of the guru. Deify the guru. Guru , Isvara, Brahman, Om, truth, are all one. Strictly obey the guru and carry out his orders. You must think that underneath the name and the form of the guru there is the all pervading, pure consciousness. In course of time the physical form will vanish and you will realise your own self, the pure Brahmic consciousness that lies at the back of the physical form of your guru.

Once you have taken a man as your guru you should never change even if you get a man with greater siddhis (development). Then only you will have strong faith. And through this strong faith you will realise God in the guru.

THE DISCIPLE'S DUTY

People want to have contact with an avatara (divine incarnation), without being endowed with the proper qualifications. Even if an avatara appears before you, you will not be able to recognise him. You have not got the eyes to see him. You will take him for an ordinary man.

It is only a saint who can recognise a saint. Only a Jesus can understand a Jesus. Even if you live with a saint for a considerable time, you will not be able to fathom or know him.

A beginner on the spiritual path should have various upa gurus (assistant gurus). He must prepare himself gradually. He must get spiritual instructions from them. He must follow their instructions strictly. He should make himself fit to approach a Brahma Nista Guru (a guru who is already established in Brahman). He should practise meditation and he should see the Lord in meditation.

An aspirant should develop various satvic (divine) virtues. These are all enumerated in the Bhagavad Gita, chapters thirteen and sixteen. These are virtues such as humility, fearlessness, freedom from anger, a forgiving tendency, tranquillity, self restraint and so on. He must also practise yama (self restraint) and niyama (discipline). This is his work. The guru will not do this.

But nowadays people want to practise a comfortable yoga, lying in an easy chair. They do not want to practise any vigorous tapas (penance) or sadhana (spiritual discipline). They expect everything to come by the grace of the guru. They even seem to expect him to place self realisation before them, like a ready made betel leaf so they can just take it and swallow it easily!

All saints and yogis are ready to receive you with outstretched hands and love if you have the real eyes to behold them, if you have the real heart to unite with them, if you have the real earnestness and longing to be in their company, if you have a real thirsting for God realisation and if you are really hungry to eat the sweet divine manna of the illimitable domain of bliss of the self.

GURU BHAKTI

You will find in the Gita: "Learn thou this by discipleship, by enquiry and by service. The wise, the seers of the essence of things, will instruct thee in wisdom." (Chapter IV Verse 34.)

The guru must not only be a Brahma srotriya (well versed), but a Brahma nista (established in Brahman) as well. Mere study of books cannot make one a guru. One who has studied the vedas and who has direct knowledge of the atman, through anubhava (direct experience), is a guru. If you find peace in the presence of a holy man (mahatma) and if your doubts are removed in his presence, you can take him as your guru. When the guru gives the mantra to his disciples, he gives with it his own power.

Just as water flows in a river, so also jnana (knowledge) and bhakti (devotion) are ever flowing from a sage. Only a thirsty man drinks water. So too, a thirsty aspirant, who has implicit faith in his guru and is eager to imbibe his teachings, can drink the nectar from him. The student can imbibe from his guru only in proportion to the intensity of his faith in him.

The guru tests the students in various ways. Some students misunderstand him and lose their faith in him. Hence they are not benefitted. But those that stand the tests, boldly, come out successful in the end.

The periodical examinations in the 'University of Sages' are very stiff indeed. Once a great sage (Gorakhnath) asked some students to climb a tall tree and throw themselves head downwards onto a very sharp trident (trisula). Many of the faithless students kept quiet. But one faithful student at once climbed up the tree with lightning speed and hurled himself down. He was protected by the invisible hand of the sage and had immediate self realisation. This man had no deha adhyasa (feeling, "I am body"), but the others had strong attachment for their bodies.

Once Guru Govind Singh tested his students. He said: "My dear disciples, if you have real devotion towards me, let six of you come forward and give me your heads." Two faithful disciples offered their heads.

Many people debate over the necessity for having a guru. Some assert vehemently that it is not necessary to have a guru for spiritual advancement and that one can attain self realisation through one's own efforts only. No spiritual progress is possible unless a man gets the benign grace and direct guidance of a spiritual preceptor.

RESPECT ALL: ADORE ONE

Competent disciples are never in want of a competent guru. Realised souls are not rare, but ordinary ignorant persons cannot easily recognise them. Only a few persons, who are pure and embodiments of all virtuous qualities, can understand realised souls, and they only will be benefitted in their company. The number of realised souls may be less in the present age, when compared with the satya yuga (the golden age), but they are always present to help the aspirants. They are always searching for the proper Adhikaris (qualified aspirants). Let each man take the path according to his capacity, understanding and temperament. His true guru will meet him along that path.

Do not dig shallow pits here and there for obtaining water, for the pits will dry up soon. Dig a very deep pit in one place and centralise all your efforts here. You will find good water that can supply you throughout the year. Even so, try to imbibe thoroughly the spiritual teachings from one preceptor alone. Drink deeply from one man. Sit at his feet for some years. It is useless to wander from one man to another, out of curiosity, losing faith in a short time. Do not have the ever changing mind of a prostitute, but follow the spiritual instructions of one man only. If you go to several people and follow the instructions of many persons, you will become quite bewildered and be in a dilemma.

From one doctor you get a prescription. From two doctors you get consultation. From three doctors you get your own cremation. Even so, if you have many gurus, you will be bewildered and be at a loss to know what to do. One guru will tell you: "Do this." Another will tell you: "Do that." A third guru will tell you: "Do the other." You will be quite puzzled. Stick to one guru and follow his instructions.

Listen to all, but follow one. Respect all, but adore one. Gather knowledge from all, but adopt the teachings of one master. Then you will have rapid spiritual progress.

The guru and the scriptures can show you the path and remove your doubts. Direct experience or direct intuitive knowledge is left for your own experience. A hungry man will have to eat for himself. No doubt, the guru's blessing can do everything. But how can one have his blessings? By pleasing the guru. A guru can be pleased with his disciple only if the latter carries out his spiritual instructions implicitly. Therefore, follow the instructions of the guru carefully. Only then will you deserve his blessings which can do everything.


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