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Practical Aspect of Philosophy

by Swami Sivananda
Proper understanding of Vedanta and its principles, and practice of Vedanta in daily life is sure to bring peace, solace and happiness to a world distracted by war, communal strife, petty quarrels and religious fights.

Atman the Self is the Ultimate Reality. It is the ultimate philosophical principle. It is the substratum for everything. It is the only living truth. It is the Brahman of the Upanishads. It is the Omkara of the Vedas. It is the foundation of society. It is the Support of this world. It is the prop of this body and Prana. It is the Impersonal Absolute.

Supreme Peace or Parama Santi is the quest of your life. Peace, Moksha and Immortality are convertible terms (Paryaya Sabdas). Mental reaction to pleasure and pain will cease when you attain this state. All kinds of likes and dislikes (Raga-Dvesha) will vanish in toto, when you realise this state of absolute quietude.

He who attains Knowledge of the Self is absolutely free from all desires because he knows that everything is in himself, and that there is nothing outside of himself to continue to desire. Aptakamasya ka spriha - What can he desire who has everything? Brahman is Paripurna (All-full), Nirapeksha (self-contained). How can desire arise in the mind of one who has realised the Self, who beholds the Self in all beings, and all beings in the Self?

You have been given the key to unlock many of the secrets of life. That key is meditation. Meditate regularly in the morning between 4 and 6 and attain eternal bliss and immortality.

Rigorous self-discipline and regular meditation will help you to fix your mind completely on the Eternal.

Have self-confidence. Develop independent judgment. Cultivate the indomitable will. Practise self-control and self-mastery. You cannot attain freedom or peace without self-control.

The man who is bitten by the serpent of ignorance will be cured by the Garuda Mantra called Jnana or Knowledge of Brahman.
An ounce of spiritual experience is better than tons of theories, and study of spiritual books. A single glimpse of Brahman or the Immortal Soul will bestow on you illumination and remove the worldly intoxication of pride, delusion, pain and grief. Spiritual vision or Atmanubhava will stand out like a beacon light for you.
Learn the principles of Divine Life and apply them to daily conduct in life. Become practical men in the spiritual path.

The possession of Siddhis never brings one nearer to God. The development of psychic faculties does not itself imply any real spiritual progress. They tempt the aspirant and bring about his downfall.

The attainment of cosmic consciousness is permanent in realised souls. It is like a glimpse in the beginning. Through steady meditation it becomes permanent or natural.

The external world is the world of objects. The internal subjective world is the world of images created by the mind. Raga-Dvesha (likes and dislikes or attraction and repulsion) are not in the external objects of the senses. They dwell in the mind and in the internal images. Stop the wandering mind in the objective world through Trataka, Japa, Upasana, Pranayama. In the subjective world, wage a war against the image-producing mind either by Raja Yogic method of Chitta-Vritti-Nirodha (stopping all mental modifications) or the method of self-analysis and enquiry, the method of Jnana Yogins.

The seed of this body is mind. There are two seeds for this mind, viz., vibration of Prana and Vasana. If Prana is controlled, the mind can be controlled. If Vasanas are eradicated through discrimination, Vichara, dispassion and meditation, the mind will be annihilated.

The neem leaves are bitter when you are in normal health, but if you taste them when you are bitten by a cobra, they are sweet. Bitterness or sweetness does not lie in the leaves, but it lies in the subject. They are created by the mind. It is the mind that gives the qualities, shape, taste, etc., to the objects. Control this mind. Rise above this mind and be happy for ever.

A doctor thinks that the advocate is happy. The advocate thinks that the businessman is happier. The businessman thinks that the judge is happier. The judge thinks that the professor is more happy. This is an illusion. This is a trick of the mind. No one is happy in this world. Real happiness can be had in one’s own Atman alone. The Jivanmukta alone who has realised the Self is ever happy. Therefore attain Self-realisation and be ever happy.

To be timid is the greatest sin. To be selfish is the greatest offence. To identify oneself with the body is the greatest crime. To forget one’s own Atman is the greatest sin. Therefore destroy timidity and selfishness. Abandon identification with the body and remember always your essential divine nature.

That which elevates you is virtue (Dharma), that which pulls you down is vice (Adharma) or sin; that which takes you to the goal is virtue, that which makes you a worldly man is sin; that which helps you to attain Godhead is virtue, that which hurls you down in the dark abyss of ignorance is sin; that which gives you illumination is virtue, that which causes intoxication is sin; that which purifies your heart is virtue, that which taints your heart is sin; that which gives you peace, joy, satisfaction, exhilaration, expansion of heart is virtue, that which brings restlessness, dissatisfaction, depression and contraction of heart is vice. Therefore practise Dharma. From Dharma knowledge arises.

The ears hear sounds through the intelligence of Atman or the Self. The eyes perceive the objects through the intelligence of Atman. The tongue tastes objects through the intelligence of Atman. Atman is the director of the five senses of knowledge. Atman is the Ear of ears, Tongue of tongues. Atman is the potent magnet. If you know the hidden, all-powerful, all-wise director, if you have direct intuitive perception of this Atman by the practice of meditation, you will cross the ocean of Samsara, you will attain immortality, eternal bliss and everlasting Peace.
Within you is the hidden God. Within you is the Immortal Soul. Within you is the inexhaustible spiritual treasure. Within you is the fount of joy and happiness. Within you is the ocean of bliss. Look within for this happiness, which you have sought in vain in the perishable sensual objects. Rest peacefully in your own Atman and drink the nectar of immortality.

Just as a man who does not know the place of a hidden treasure, is not able to find it even though he passes over it several times daily, so also you are not able to find out Brahman or the Immortal Self though you daily enter into Him in deep sleep. If ignorance is destroyed through Knowledge, you will have direct cognition of the supreme Tattva.

The world has vanished for a Jivanmukta or a liberated sage. He beholds Brahman or the pure Self everywhere. Even if the world comes back again, he is not deluded by it, just as the man is not deluded by the mirage or rope-snake after he has known fully well that it is only mirage or rope-snake. Even if the world comes back again for him, it is no longer the same world of pairs of opposites, troubles, tribulations, pains and sorrows, it is not the prison of miseries and afflictions. The world of troubles and sorrows has changed into Satchidananda, existence, knowledge and bliss Absolute. All barriers, all distinctions, all differences, all dualities, all water-tight compartments are destroyed by the vision of one all-pervading Soul or Atman. He has cosmic vision. He experiences always self-delight and Self-knowledge. He rejoices always in his own Self. Nothing can disturb him, as he is established in his own Self. His state is indescribable.

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