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Bhakti Yoga Sadhana

by Swami Sivananda

God is the Inner Ruler of your heart and mind. He is the silent witness of your thoughts. You cannot hide anything from Him. Become guileless and straightforward.

A devotee of Hari is always meek and humble. Name of God "Hari" is always on his lips. He sheds profuse tears when he is alone. He is very pious. He is friendly towards all. He has equal vision. He does good always. He never hurts the feelings of others. He has a spotless character. He never covets the property of others. He sees Hari in all beings.

Bhakti can move mountains. Nothing is impossible for it. It was the devotion of Mira that converted a snake into a flower‑garland, poison into nectar and an iron bed of needles into a bed of roses. It was the devotion of Prahlada that turned fire into ice.

A devotee should become an embodiment of goodness. He must be ever ready to do good to living beings. That devotee who is intent upon the welfare of all beings obtains the peace of the Eternal. He who rejoices in the welfare of all, gets the Darshan of the Lord. He develops Advaitic consciousness eventually.

Service of Bhagavatas, repetition of God's Name, Satsanga, singing His Name, study of Bhagavata or Ramayana, stay in Vrindavan, Pandharpur, Chitrakuta or Ayodhya-these are the six means of developing Bhakti.

Anger and lust are the two inner enemies that stand in the way of developing Bhakti. From lust follow ten vices that are mentioned in Manusamhita: "Love of hunting, gambling, sleeping by day, slandering, company with bad women, drinking, singing love‑songs, dancing, vulgar music, aimlessly wandering about. "

Anger begets eight kinds of vices. All evil qualities proceed from anger. If you can eradicate anger all bad qualities will die of themselves. The eight vices are: "Injustice, rashness, persecution, jealousy, taking possession of others' property, killing, harsh words and cruelty. "

How are Bhaktas to be known? Lord Krishna has given a description of them. You will find it in Bhagavata. "They do not care for anything. Their hearts are fixed on Me. They are very humble. They have equal vision. They have no attachment towards anybody or anything. They are without 'mine‑ness. ' They have no egoism. They make no distinction between sorrow and happiness. They do not take anything from others. They can bear heat, cold and pain. They have love for all living beings. They have no enemy. They are serene. They possess exemplary character.

Here is Sadhana for advanced students. This is highly useful for getting quick, solid progress in the spiritual path. Get up at 4 a. m. Start your Japa on any Asana you have mastered. Do not take any food or drink for 14 hours. Do not get up from the Asana. Control passing urine till sunset if you can. Do not change the Asana if you can manage. Finish the Japa at sunset. Take milk and fruits after sunset. Householders can practise this during holidays. Practise this once in a fortnight or once in a month or once weekly.

Here is another Sadhana for ten days. You can do this during Christmas holidays or Pooja holidays or summer vacation. Shut yourself up in an airy room. Do not talk to anybody. Do not see anybody. Do not hear anything. Get up at 4 a. m. Start Japa of the Mantra of your Ishta Devata or your Guru Mantra and finish it at sunset. Then take some milk and fruits or Kheer (milk and rice boiled with sugar). Take rest for one or two hours; but continue the Japa. Then again start Japa seriously. Retire to bed at 11 in the night. You can combine meditation along with Japa. Make all arrangements for bath, food etc. , inside the room. Have two rooms if you can manage, one for bath and one for meditation. Repeat this four times in a year. This practice can be kept up even for 40 days. You will have wonderful results and various experiences. You will enter into Samadhi. You will have Darshan of your Ishtam. I assure you.

Here is the Anushthana for 40 days. You will have to do Japa of Rama Mantra one lakh and twenty‑five thousand times for 40 days in the following manner. Do Japa at the rate of 3000 daily for 35 days and 4000 daily during the last five days. Get up at 4 a. m. Write down in a thin paper Rama, Rama 3000 times. Then cut it into small pieces. Each piece will contain one Rama Nama. Then roll it with a small ball of Atta (wheat flour paste). Writing will take two or three hours according to your strength and capacity. Then you will have to cut it one by one. You will have to do the whole process by sitting on one Asana. If you will find it difficult to sit on one Asana you can have change of Asana. But you should not leave your seat. Some use a special ink made up of saffron, mush‑kapoor etc. , and a special writing pen made up of sharp pointed thin Tulasi stick. You can use ordinary ink and pen if you cannot get the above special ink and special pen. You will have to do Anushthana on the bank of the Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Kaveri or Narmada, at Rishikesh, Benares, Haridwar or Prayag. You can do it at home, if you find it difficult to move to these places. Take milk and fruits or Phalahar during these days. Throw the balls in the Ganga or any river for fishes. You will develop wonderful patience. You will get divine grace.

Study the whole Ramayana 108 times with purity and concentration. This can be done in three years if you can devote three hours daily. You can go through the book three times in a month. You will acquire Siddhis. You will have Darshan of Lord Rama.

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