Daily Readings

Insights Inspirations - September

CYT - 1982 - ISBN 10: 0959069038 ISBN 13: 9780959069037

Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Venkatesaya

September 1

undying September

September is with us again.
Sept (meaning 'seven') embers.
The Veda glorifies fire as seven-tongued.
The blazing fire is Sivananda.
The following are the seven tongues of flame that radiated from Him.
They are the seven (sept) embers now.
But they are undying - if we can but see, and fan them into a mighty flame of Sivananda in ourselves.
Sivananda was (and is in you):
I. The Enlightened One Who held no dogma, not even the dogma of no-dogma.
2. The Liberated One Who embodied freedom, Who freely allowed freedom to all, and (in the realisation of His own freedom) did not demand such freedom for Himself.
3. Incarnate love which was unbounded by compulsion to love or to be loved.
4. The Blissful Sage Who revealed that in security there is insecurity, and lived insecurity, secure.
5. The Give-Ananda Who gave, and gave thanks to others for giving Him an opportunity to give, and gave others such opportunities, too.
6. The Guru of all Who saw His Guru in all, and considered Himself Guru of none, but an eternal disciple of the Universal Guru that He was.
7. The Divinity Who ' realised or actualised the divinity in all, by showing how to lead the life divine by diving into life to discover the divine.
Perhaps, someone will rename 'September' into 'Sivananda'.
Siva (auspiciousness, goodness) and ananda (bliss, delight) have their source and goal in these sept-embers. If we remember the seven embers every day, our days which are numbered may yet witness the undying embers burst into the flame of enlightened life.
May Gurudev make this possible.

September 2


In a few days we shall commence the celebrations of the birthday of My Gurudev, Swami Sivananda.
He is the Light of our life.
We often use this expression, without for a moment realising what it means!
Gurudev is Light.
The Light illumines.
It is not concerned with, nor is it responsible for, what we do with or in that illumination.
We, the followers, often err; and I have heard many people blaming their Guru for this or that - "He should have done so and so"!
The light is impartial, but that does not suit our narrow mind.
We expect the Enlightened One to pat us on the back and kick others in the pants.
Worst of all, light hurts the owl's eyes.
We who are accustomed to darkness find it hard to face the Light.
What glorious opportunities we miss in life because of this diabolical instinct!
His Light shines on our life.
The Light has already reached the destination; it is the (our) destination.
But, we shall not know that unless we tread the path and reach the destination.
We do not want to do that; we expect our Guru to Self-realise for us!
He is the Light of our life.
Every thought, word and deed that proceeds from us must be illumined by that Light.
We should learn to look at our own life in the Light of our guru.
Then does He truly become the dispeller of darkness ('gu' for gloom; and 'ru' for remover - hence, remover of the gloom of darkness).
May His light shine for ever.

Thank you, September, that you come at least once a year.
You bring with you the sacred memory of my Master Swami Sivananda.
You kindle the fire of inspiration in our hearts, revive dying hope and rejuvenate withering aspiration.
In the ashram we used to worship Him on the 8th September, bathe His feet in milk and drink the purifying charan-amrita.
Luckily, in the ashram such opportunities to worship Him were afforded almost every alternate day.
We need to worship Him in our heart, every morning, and drink the ambrosia of His words.
Then shall Sivananda be reborn in our hearts to live for ever.

September 3

The Great Truth of Vedanta

All the systems and the codes of ethics have been reduced to perversions; all the religions of the world have become putrid accumulation of dogma and ritual.
Whatever man captures dies.
Whatever he hoards smothers him.
What he seeks destroys him.
Objective phenomena are interpreted by one's own self.
Everything in this world is 'related' to oneself, evaluated on the touchstone of one's own self.
To the extent they are related to one's self - either through love or through hate or through fear - their value is exaggerated.
Life's problems therefore do not spring from the external objects, but from the triple factor of love, hate and fear.
Life and its problems, objective phenomena and their value can therefore be understood as they are, only if we understand these three factors.
Fear is not inherent in the objects feared, but comes into being within me in relationship.
This fear, if not understood for what it is, will continue to infect all relationships, as it goes in search of a cause.
Even so in the case of love (in the sense of sensual infatuation) and hate.
Hence it is vital that one should turn within oneself to see what this fear is.
What is it made of?
When the light of this enquiry is turned onto fear within oneself, one is looking at this fear.
One is becoming more and more aware of this thing, this sensation that one calls fear.
The 'I' seems to stand aloof and look at the fear.
It is as if in semi-darkness one is facing one's own shadow and fears that it is somebody else!
As the sun of awareness arises on the horizon of one's consciousness, this distinction disappears.
In a flash one realises: "The fear and the 'I' are of one substance."
Even so with other aspects of life.
This vital awareness dispels the shadow of distinctions which has been created by what we have unfortunately called 'knowledge'.
Hence, this science is called Vedanta.
'Veda' means knowledge, and 'anta' means end - in other words, where knowledge of diversity ends and pure awareness is.
In the light of this awareness alone does life have meaning.
This awareness brings ethical discipline into being, without the do's and don't's and the perversions they give rise to.
This awareness is the very soul of religion.
With it, life becomes light and love.
Without it, life is misery.

September 4


The word-meaning of 'vedanta' is 'the end of knowledge' - the end of knowing.
Vedanta is the coming to an end of accumulated knowledge, so that the intelligence that responded in the first instance to a challenge in life, and which resulted in experience, becomes fresh.
When this knowledge comes to an end, the original intelligence shines in all its purity.
That is true vedanta.
The book that we call Vedanta probably belongs to prehistoric times and represents dialogue.
'Upanishad' has been translated as 'sitting near': you sit near a master and ask a question with the right attitude of a true disciple and the master answers your question.
Or the master may himself ask you a question.
Somehow, in this close encounter between the disciple and the master, upanishad happens.
Thus, each disciple got some enlightenment from his master and it is possible that the disciple, in his turn, communicated the same message to someone else.
Many people got the message.
Some assimilate it, some merely registered it mentally, so that it became a scripture.
When is a scripture born?
When I cannot assimilate the truth.
If I can assimilate the truth, it becomes me, it becomes Self-realisation.
What I cannot assimilate, I remember.
When I have truly assimilated something I do not even record it.
What for? I am that!
In ancient times, when wisdom could not be assimilated, it was transmitted by word of mouth.
When memorisation was difficult the information was copied out.
This can be seen in every religious stream.
A man of God comes to unify the different sects and interpretations: "Forget all this, come back to the truth.
This is the truth" - making it as simple as possible.
But eventually division arises again amongst philosophers and theologians with diverging views of the God-man's own teaching.
That is because people argue about words and names - including those of the supposed authors, places and times of the events described.
Buddha said: "If you have a headache, you are not interested in any philosophical discussion.
All that matters to you is getting rid of the headache."
That is basically the Indian attitude.
It is possible that Krishna lived five-thousand years ago - it is possible that he lived only five hundred years ago.
What is the difference?
Only a zero!
This kind of discussion is a waste of time.
Using the scripture, if I have to, can I get beyond all that?
If I can, then that is vedanta.

September 5

The Path of Wisdom

Moral and psychological discipline is essential in every spiritual aspirant, whatever path he chooses.
On the path of jnana or wisdom, it is indispensable.
There are no other guidelines, no guard against self-deception and no preventive to perversion.
Hence, in ancient times, the truth was jealously guarded and imparted by an enlightened guru to a qualified disciple (adhikari).
The rest of the discipline in jnana yoga is a face to face dialogue which is almost a confrontation.
The intensity of this dialogue is kept high by the intensity of the mutual affection between the guru and the disciple and their earnestness in the quest of truth.
The guru is the omni-ever-present light of God which is revealed to the disciplined disciple in response to the latter's longing for self-knowledge.
The guru may appear in many forms, any form.
In the Kathopanishad, the guru is 'death'.
When the spiritual aspirant faces death with unflinching courage and remains undetected in his spiritual quest by either material or heavenly goals, death reveals the truth concerning the self.
The self or the truth (which is symbolised by Om) is beyond 'this' and 'that', beyond the concepts of the real and the unreal; but it is the very experiencer of all experiences.
It is only because the experiencer, in ignorance, looks outside that the ignorance is perpetuated; when the hero turns his gaze within he is not deluded.
The need is to awake and to remain alert and then to approach the guru, for the truth is subtle and is in the middle, between the notions 'I am the experiencer' and 'I am not the experiencer'.
The guru may even be 'other than human agencies'.
The instruction may also take many forms: the disciple may question and the guru may answer.
The guru may indicate the truth and then prod the disciple to meditate and discover the truth for himself.
Though the usual form is one of dialogue or monologous instruction, there are instances where the truth is revealed in a debate form.
This is the vital part of jnana yoga: that the teaching be heard by a qualified aspirant equipped with 'the four means'.
The aspirant should then reflect and meditate on the truth so that it may be assimilated.
It then becomes a living truth, which means the truth (and not the personality) lives and acts.

September 6

The End of Knowledge

Vedanta literally means the end of knowledge.
All that I have known must come to an end.
It is very important that this should not be misunderstood.
We are not talking of rejecting anything.
Knowledge comes to an end as foreign matter at the moment of assimilation.
That is vedanta: you do not talk about the Truth - you are Truth talking.
Today nobody is interested in Krishna's message.
There is only talk about the glory of Krishna.
No one gives you the teaching of Buddha, they merely glorify Buddha as a person.
Little of what Jesus said is taught in churches, but we hear a lot about what other people said about him!
Learning what someone else has said about something else is what I call foreign knowledge - knowledge that belongs to somebody else.
It is not part of me, it is not me.
When that 'knowledge' comes to an end I am born and from thereon I do not have to quote 'So-and-so' - I am 'So-and-so'!
When knowledge does not remain mere book knowledge (i.e. when it has been assimilated) I no longer think about that knowledge and plan my action, but knowledge itself acts.
I no longer say that I am a follower of Buddha: by watching my actions one will know that this is Buddha acting.
I no longer have to state that I am a Christian: one sees Christ in me.
This is vedanta, the end of 'knowledge'.
Where and how does this knowledge come to an end?
Knowledge cannot come to an end in the sense that you forget.
As long as your brain functions normally, it stores what has been received.
Knowledge comes to an end only by being assimilated.
Then bread, for instance, is no longer bread - it is me.
The bread has gone - the body has been made.
Digestion and assimilation of food happen naturally, but what must I do in order to digest and assimilate knowledge?
I have to acquire knowledge of life - whether indirectly through study of the scriptures or directly from life - from the scripture known as the world, as life itself.
When you put a piece of bread into your mouth you need two jaws to grind it.
The two jaws referred to here represent the upanishad.
That is, you dialogue with a holy man.
If you have a lower jaw (experience) you need an upper jaw: someone who will enable you to chew over this knowledge acquired by you through books or experience.
This is called upanishad and means 'sitting near' someone, to enter into dialogue with him.

September 7

Yoga is the Middle Path

To find God who is omnipresent, one needn't undertake a pilgrimage, search or do anything but merely dissolve the self, illumine that self.
A shadow can disappear if you flash a light on it, illumine it.
The shadow of the ego or the self must in the same way be illumined: then its truth is seen.
The truth is that it is not there.
Something else is there.
What was previously considered to be the self or 'I' is not there; it was not there, but something else was there.
In order to arrive at this understanding, no specialisation is effective.
One can become a great jnana yogi and talk beautifully, but the heart may not be developed and life may flow in a completely different direction.
One may do good and think that he is doing karma yoga, but his intelligence may be completely dull and his ego may still feel that he is a wonderful person.
In the same way one may pretend to be a great devotee of God or a great hatha yogi, or raja yogi.
Each in itself will only promote the self or the ego.
Therefore my guru insisted upon combining all the spiritual practices that you c-an ever think of and thus avoid the arising of this ego.
In all things the extremes are comparatively easy.
It is easy to abstain and it is easy to indulge; but it is difficult to be moderate.
Hence Sri Krishna declares in the Bhagavad Gita that yoga will banish sorrow in the case of one who is moderate in eating, drinking, activity and enjoyment.
Somewhere between mad materialism and sleepy spirituality is the path of wisdom, the path of yoga.
On account of its subtlety, it cannot be pointed out as 'This is it'.
It can only be described as the Middle Path.
It is not broad, like the huge middle class in society.
It is the finest centre, the middle, the imperceptible truth.
Can we, in all things, find the subtle middle path?
Then we shall see God.
Things are not what they appear to be, and yet are not nonentities.
Between the concept of void and the concept of matter is the Self.
When you look at an object and divest it of materiality, and when it vanishes, resist the temptation to call it 'unreal' or allow it to pass out of your consciousness.
What you 'see' with your inner vision is the Reality, the Truth, Brahman, Atman, Allah, Christ, Siva, Tao or God.
Gurudev reminded us constantly that we have taken this human birth only to realise this Truth or God.
Even our worldly activities are meant to help us reach this goal: "We should realise God now, in this very birth, nay this very moment!"

September 8

The Uniqueness of Sivananda

8th September is Gurudev's birthday.
While He was on this earth in His physical form, He himself took the leading part in organising it, as if it was somebody else's birthday.
He did not suffer from false modesty, which is a type of vanity so poisonous that it has no antidote.
It is also possible that by encouraging His disciples and devotees to sing His praises, He trained them to see God in and through a human form.
It is as if he said, "You say I am your guru, and yet you readily find fault with me.
Here is an opportunity, the birthday, when you forget your fault-finding habit and see something good in me.
When you have learnt this in your relationship to me, you will know how to see God in all."
Gurudev insisted that a true seeker should not run away from life, but learn from it.
Virtue and wisdom cannot be separated from life, which is activity, movement.
It is the ego that looks for results, rewards and reciprocity.
Gurudev was free from this.
His life was the ever-flowing stream of pure action, without the least egotistic notion of 'I am doing this' or 'I will not do this'.
In fact, He did not even say "I am an instrument in God's hands".
The 'I' did not exist at all in Him.
Therefore, His actions were unpredictable.
His life was as God willed it, without a pattern and programmed behaviour.
In fact, it was this total egolessness that made Him the purest human being that lived in recent times.
The purest human being is not one who does this or that, who performs miracles or some sort of superhuman deeds, but one who is what God created him - a human being - without ever wishing to be something else, somebody else; in a word, egoless.
His devotees claimed that He was an incarnation of God, and that He performed miracles as if they were quite natural to Him.
He always said, "God does this."
In His own life, in His habits, in His behaviour, He was utterly natural and child-like.
There was neither forced restraint nor hypocritical showmanship.
He was utterly transparent without the least flaw of egoism, so that the Divine Light poured through Him without the least hindrance.
I think this is why His birthday is celebrated long after His physical body has been withdrawn, and by people who have never even seen His physical being but to whom he is spiritually very close.

September 9

Adorable Lord of Mercy and Love

Every time I come across, "And foolish men regarded Him as a mortal," in connection with the incarnation of God, I am reminded of Gurudev.
How foolish we were to regard You as just a mortal man and not to see that You were 'adorable Lord of Mercy and Love', clothed in the semblance of a human being, out of that very Mercy and Love, so that we could see You, touch You and serve You.
The human mind superimposes human qualities on the divine.
So, we saw in you our own human nature reflected; we saw that You were also eating, walking, talking, smiling, frowning and working like us.
How few of us had the insight and intuition to look beyond these and realise Your divine glory.
Lord Krishna, it is said, playfully held the Govardhana hill up for several days.
And you, Lord, held the heavier burden of a world-wide organisation and bore the responsibility for your disciples' sins of omission and commission with positive delight.
To pick up 'dropouts', failures, destitutes and vagrants and to mould them into saintly sadhakas, was a miracle that bewilders even siddhas.
Your Love was the alchemy which won all by its immeasurable and inexhaustible power to transmute.
When we Your children erred or did something that disappointed You or that was displeasing to You, what mercy and compassion shone in Your sorrowful but all the same beautiful eyes.
On a few occasions You could have been impatient.
As impatience stirred in You, something stirred in us and we were alerted.
If You had been patient even then, we would have been irretrievably lost.
On rare occasions, You put on the expression of anger.
You became a pillar of fire.
That fire consumed our foolishness, our complacency and our small pride.
If the disciple had to go, it was the sacrifice of Sati; even that disciple, purged of all dross, returned to You sooner or later.
While You lived, apparently like a human being, You had nothing to call Your own, You did nothing for yourself, You had no self, because You were (and are) the self of all beings.
Hence You were Love.
Neither love nor compassion can be understood, if one had not seen them in You.
Your love flowed to all, human and subhuman, sentient and insentient.
Even when You asked us to do something, Your voice was soft, loving, pleasing and pleading.
When You walked, Your Feet loved the earth.
Your touch was a caress even to the fountain-pen, spectacle case and walking stick.
To You there was nothing other than Your Self.
We called You Gurudev or Swami Sivananda.
We sang Your glories, much to Your amusement.
But only You know Who You are.

September 10

From Duality to Oneness

Wherever we start in our search for the Truth we must remember that these are words.
You have heard a lot of words, but you have not known the meaning - not the meaning as given in the dictionary, because that is also a mere word - meaning in the sense of the Substance, the Reality.
Candle is a word and this (pointing at the candle) is the substance.
If you say, "A candle, is a cylindrical thing, made of wax, with a wick in the centre," that is mere paraphrasing.
We have still not got out of the trap of words.
So, what is regarded as true meaning?
The meaning is the thing.
That is what is important.
Therefore, as we accumulate these words, we must remember this great Truth.
Then comes experience.
When we play with these experiences we should also remember that even that is not the Truth, because the experience is the experience of the description that we have had before.
So when he tells me that Krishna has yellow clothes and is playing a flute, I close my eyes and visualise Krishna like that.
One day I experience the presence of Krishna.
Then I come and tell you, "I have seen Krishna."
Now, there are at least three separate things: Krishna, me, you.
I see Krishna and I am telling you.
Obviously, if you were Krishna I wouldn't need to come and tell you.
I know what Krishna is - it is not me, nor is it you.
Therefore this God seems to be so small that he doesn't include you, nor does he include me.
That is the type of Krishna which many people can 'see' easily.
In spite of all these experiences, there is still this undercurrent of restlessness.
I am not quite satisfied with this experience, I want a better experience.
It is possible for me to see this Krishna and to want nothing else - to neither talk to you, nor even to myself?
That is the ultimate Reality.
Is it possible for you to get hold of this one experience and make it Absolute?
Then the seeker is gradually led on to the realisation of the Infinite.
That is where the word as word comes to an end; that is where knowledge as knowledge comes to an end; that is where the experience as experience comes to an end.
That is Vedanta.
'Veda' means knowledge, 'anta' means end.

September 11

Vigilance and the Spiritual Path

One can get lost anywhere.
A man renounces the world and leads an extremely ascetic life and what one may call spiritual life, for years, and then suddenly something happens - he falls in love with a deer!
When this happens to us, if we are not at the same time vigilant, the mind produces its own philosophy: "My duty is so and so..."
What is vigilance?
What does it require?
What is meant by vigilance?
Vigilance does not mean tying ourselves with a set of 'do's and don't's', but looking within and seeing what it is that creates all these problems.
This looking within is meditation, and has to be constant.
We go and live in an ashram, but even there it is forgotten - a few days later the spirit somehow evaporates; it is not easy at all.
Perhaps we can learn a lesson from our poor little stomach.
We have been growing right from childhood till today.
For this growth, naturally, food was essential.
The stomach seems to say, "Give me only as much as I can assimilate at a time; and if you give me just that I will contribute to your growth.
Then after five or six hours, throw in something more and once again I will handle that."
The process goes on until we become men and women.
Possibly the same principles apply to spiritual growth.
Though we seem to have met each other a year ago, the bodies that seem to see one another are not the same bodies - a lot of changes have taken place.
Millions of cells have been shed and created, and in the same way, intellectually and spiritually we have moved away from where we were last year.
I am only saying 'moved away' - it doesn't mean that we have progressed!
Something has happened - we have passed through some experiences and they have made some changes in us, so that we are looking at a different world, because the inner world, the inner observer is different.
So, even if we are living in an ashram and leading what we believe to be a spiritual life, frequent renewal sessions are very important.

September 12

That is the Truth and That Thou Art

Though I think most of us do not even think about our own body, it is possible for us to question our own origin.
After all, how were we conceived?
On the day we were conceived, we were probably just one cell.
That cell broke and multiplied, broke and multiplied, broke and multiplied.
But already, on the very first day of conception, the entire structure the body would eventually take was already contained in that fertilized ovum.
What is that?
What is that Intelligence that regulates the multiplication of these cells?
We do not question this because we think it is Nature, we think it is God, we think it is something.
How is it that when the cells keep multiplying, my nose only comes up to this length?
The cells can go on multiplying, multiplying, multiplying ...
That is the Self.
It is not 'my' self because you started growing in your mother's body, or probably before that.
So it is not my intelligence.
It is Intelligence.
That is the Self.
That thou art.
This Intelligence saturates the entire creation.
That is the Truth - that is the Atman, that is the Self, That thou art.
You are the Essence.
You may think, 'I am an Indian,' 'I am a Swami.' Another person thinks, 'I am a German', 'I am a yogi'.
But these differences do not exist in the Self.
Have you seen the ocean?
All rivers flow into the ocean; the Ganges flows into the ocean, the Rhine flows into the ocean, the Thames flows into the ocean.
But when they have gone and mixed with the ocean, they become the ocean.
Do they lose anything?
Before they joined the ocean they were small rivers and once they have joined the ocean they become the ocean.
They are no longer small.
They are infinite.
Even so, when all these finite creatures become one with the Self, they become Infinite.
That is the Truth, That is the Self and That thou art.

September 13

Vedanta: Another View

Someone described Vedanta as a 'no nonsense religion'; the following thoughts occurred in consequence:
You (the human being) helped trees grow.
You give them of your substance, which is their nourishment.
You cut them down and turn them into pulp and paper.
You 'consume' them in many ways.
You and they are parts of a beginningless endless cycle.
You use this paper to convey a message.
You author the message you (another) assimilate it.
(Your) mind makes the message.
The message makes (another's) mind up.
There is this cycle of interchange everywhere all the time.
An end which is a beginning of another end.
When you read this message, where does the knowledge go?
If it stays with you, undigested or ill-digested, it will be thrown up either rejected or repeated.
When it is well-digested (assimilated), it ceases to be knowledge - it ceases to be not-self (in terms of immunology) - and it becomes Self-knowledge or knowledge which is self.
That is vedanta!
Veda (knowledge) comes to anta (end).
It puts an end to all your ideas.
It challenges your confusion which gives rise to the basic ideas, which are 'This I am' (meaning the body) and 'This is mine' (the objects related to that body).
Vedanta is non-sensical.
You cannot reduce it to a rational laboratory experiment, for it is not a rat.
It is the ending of all that you think you know.
Hence the sensory inputs and the sensory experiences are scrutinised by an intelligence beyond the ego and tested in the laboratory of life itself.
Vedanta is religion without an article (a, an, the) limiting it.
It is not a religion "for discussion at a Club," in the words of Gurudev Swami Sivananda, but it is religion of the heart, religion of love.
God, love and vedanta are beyond the reach of the senses and the mind.

September 14


Jnana is considered to be of two distinct types.
One is known as paroksha jnana and the other is aparoksha jnana.
The scripture and the teacher are said to be the source of paroksha jnana.
Paroksha literally means 'somebody else's eyes'.
So paroksha jnana is wisdom which belongs to other people's eyes, it is not yours!
What the teacher says is true to him, not to you, it is of no relevance whatsoever to you - but people foolishly believe that that is some kind of wisdom which is of great use.
I don't know if you have seen this phenomenon: supposing you phone someone in Bombay: "Hello. The sky is very clear here. How is it there?"
He answers "It is raining."
"Oh, I see."
You see nothing!
The sky is clear here.
What do you mean by saying that you see it is raining?
It is merely a figure of speech, a bunch of words that mean nothing.
That is paroksha jnana.
'Aparoksha jnana' is a fantastic word. It is merely 'not someone else's vision'.
They do not say that it is your vision, that that which you see with your own eyes is jnana.
No, that which you see with your own eyes is not jnana: that which you hear with your own ears is not jnana; that which you 'cook up' with your own brain is not jnana.
What is jnana?
Keep quiet! You will understand.
So, someone else's point of view is useless to you and it is quite possible that your point of view is equally useless to him.
'Sat' is the reality.
Sattva is the characteristic of that reality.
It is not the true reality itself, because reality cannot be grasped - but it is that which is very close to reality.
In terms of the example of coloured lenses, it is the ultraviolet lens.
It is clear.
There is no tint, no colouring.
It is transparent.
Whatever is sattva is transparent, it doesn't distort.
There is no distortion of the truth, but it is not the total reality, it is only one point of view.

September 15

The Absolute

There are two important truths demonstrated in a particular section of one Upanishad which are often ignored.
One is that perhaps there is gradual Realisation.
Another is, that whatever is meditated upon or realised as the Absolute, is Truth.
This is accepted by the Indian devotee of God.
For example, the sage Narada in his Bhakti Sutras describes forms of love which could be regarded as hate.
You can love God even if your relationship is hate!
It sounds contradictory, but it is not.
The idea being that love is some 'whole-souled relation with God'.
In other words: love me or hate me, but don't ignore me.
In the same way, here we are told that if you get into any one of these categories and expand it to the absolute degree, there is Enlightenment, because in the Absolute there are no distinctions.
Twenty-five plus infinity is equal to two-thousand plus infinity.
The infinity is the most important factor here.
Once the equation is stretched to infinity, there is no distinction between two infinities.
Therefore, Infinite Love or Love Absolute is equal to Hate Absolute.
In the same way meditate upon the word as the Absolute.
That means, in that meditation there is no movement of consciousness.
That is the Absolute.
But you ask: "Is there anything higher than this?"
There is something within you that does not accept the word as the Absolute.
At every step it seems that there is perfection.
Once you have stabilised yourself in that perfection, you are looking around to see if there is something more.
The sage Sanatkumara in this Upanishad then says, "All this seeking is based on the search for happiness.
You have come to the teacher seeking that happiness - the happiness in which there is no trace of unhappiness and no restlessness, because it is not possible to lose it."
Where is that happiness?
If you meditate upon the word as the Absolute, you can have the same happiness.
If you meditate upon the ego, the will or hope etc., as the Absolute, you will taste that happiness.
But in all this, there is duality: 'I and the object of meditation'.
Beyond that is the abolition of this duality.
If I sit here and lick honey for the next hundred years, that taste of sweetness will eventually come to an end, but the sweetness of the honey itself never comes to an end, because the sweetness and honey are not two different things.
They are one.
That is bhuma, the Infinite.
That alone is Bliss and that alone is Peace.

September 16

Unbroken Awareness

It is not that the yogi does not think or is afraid to think.
Thought is mental action and has its place in life.
Action belongs to life.
It is only when thought or emotion, memory or imagination determines action, that there is confusion.
Thought is used in the initial stages of meditation, to turn awareness towards itself.
This is vitarka.
Hope, fear, frustration, anger and so on are not allowed to find a cause to express themselves; their presence as the cause is recognised.
Then they are observed: this is vicara.
Vicara is the intensely active movement of awareness-energy.
Even the emotions are realised as such movement of awareness-energy.
This recognition frees emotion from the terrifying label; and there is intense delight.
Of course, the observer continues to be.
In all this there is some effort.
But the observer minus an object to observe needs no effort to be aware.
Hence now the effort ceases.
The observer aware of itself is awareness.
All that is left now is the potentiality of objective experience - the samskara.
Samskara is formed in the absence of self-knowledge when we invent a purpose to life, a function for God and the role of the understander or interpreter to the self.
Vritti is the understander, the measurer.
There is an extraordinary faculty in the understander to register as memory, impressions of experiences and expressions which are impressive!
These completely and tragically distort the pure action of the intelligence that indwells life.
Memory has its own proper field of activity; but when it is allowed to interfere in life and in relationships, it is destructive.
The understander can also indulge in imagination.
Ignorance is imagination: otherwise, how does ignorance arise in pure intelligence?
Ego-sense is imagination too: how does an ego exist apparently independent of the totality, the undivided intelligence?
Likes and dislikes, craving and hate, are imaginary.
Imagination gives rise to fear and thus to hope, and calls all this the 'future'.
By directly comprehending all this, the understander is understood to be but a shadow.
For dispelling this shadow one of the methods suggested by Patanjali is 'unbroken awareness' spread over the eight limbs of yoga.
Without such awareness, these practices may be counterproductive.

September 17

The Subtle Middle Path

The world is full of counsellors.
Half of them ask us to suppress our emotions, and the other half suggest that we should freely express them.
All this has been tried and found wanting.
Suppression leads to explosion.
Expression may seem to 'bring it all out' but it also digs it in deeper (like a tree which grows up and down at the same time).
Isn't there a third way, the middle way between these two? Yes.
That is neither suppression nor expression, but knowledge.
The emotion is in me, it is me, so its knowledge is self-knowledge.
It has two aspects which are complimentary - abhyasa and vairagya.
Vairagya is turning desire or any emotion upon itself.
When you seek to find answers to questions like "What is the emotion?" "Where is it?" "In whom does it arise?" that itself is meditation.
Abhyasa is the other side of it.
It is the practice of the eight limbs of yoga.
Both vairagya (which also means removal of mental colouring) and abhyasa enable us to discover the colouring of the mind which throws up these emotional states.
In order to discover this we enter the mind, go past the impurity, the perversity, to our own natural state.
It is there that we discover the truth that fear, hate, etc., are born of a non-existent diversity, a division between 'me' and 'the other'.
In sleep no such division exists and hence no fear and no pain either.
When life and consciousness are not divided into subject and object, experiencer and experience, there is no fear and there is no pain.
Pain ceases when contact ceases, when division ceases (not by avoiding contact through self-hypnosis, drugs, etc.).
Thus the practice of yoga is said to promote enlightened living.
This is surely a delicate art, and yoga is a delicate art.
It is easy to see that every aspect of work in the field of yoga (and of life itself involves this delicate balance.
There is a subtle middle path between the extremes of licence and tyranny (which is freedom), between weakness and domination (which is humility), between rigidity and liquidity (which is flexibility), between cold indifference and cruelty (which is love), between revolution and stagnation (which is evolution), between obedience and rebellion (which is cooperation), between formality and familiarity (which is affectionate respect).
To find this subtle middle path is yoga - but to find this in oneself, not to look for it in others!

September 18


Fundamental to all the spiritual practices is vichara.
Without vichara there is no spirit in any practice, in anything that we do.
The word 'vichara' is derived from the root 'car' - to move: it implies movement - the car also moves.
'Vi' as a prefix denotes 'very efficiently'.
So vichara is 'to move very efficiently'.
In thinking or reasoning the thinking is not smooth and undistracted.
When you are even mentally arguing the pros and cons, you are jumping from one to the other.
But in vichara there is no such jumping.
To begin with, you think of the pros and cons, all the factors involved; then there is internal argumentation or internal dialogue, and finally you come to the conclusion of logic.
You realise that one can go on arguing like this for the rest of one's life without really coming to grips with the problem.
Instead of beating about the bush asking why this or that happened, I want to know what it is.
So instead of analysing a psychological factor or an emotion, is it possible to become directly aware of what it is?
The risk in analysing is that if you ask the wrong question and take the wrong road, you go far away very fast.
If you have a Master sitting in front of you, he can probably knock you back; otherwise there is danger.
But the question of 'What?', which is the essence of vichara, does not have this difficulty.
If there is unhappiness or sorrow in me, I am not going to ask 'Why is it there?' or 'How did it arise?' but 'What is it?'
What happens when this question arises in you is vichara.
The moment the question arises, you realise that instantly there is great attention.
If at the same time there is intellectual cooperation and emotional involvement, there is tremendous energy.
But even if at least they do not interfere with this process, it can go on.
It is only when the intellect obstructs this vichara or the emotion runs away from this vichara that you are lost.
Vichara is complete in itself and must form part of any practice that we undertake.
That means we must be intensely aware of whatever happens.
And that is yoga.

September 19

What am I?

Vichara helps meditation because vichara needs one-pointedness and introversion of the mind.
The mind must be introverted so that both during the practice of meditation and at other times, the yogi may be aware of the thoughts and the emotions that arise in him.
Whilst these thoughts and feelings are still there, is it possible to be aware of them?
What are they, what are they made of?
When this becomes clear non-verbally, then the question becomes "What am I?"
You are serious about this enquiry, you have tremendous energy.
The energy is derived from the non-dissipation of the mind.
You will find that that itself is enormous energy.
If at that moment your spirit is high, the emotion is also participating in this, then the energy is tremendous.
If your mind, your heart, the emotion and life itself all come together and function as vichara, there is nothing that this cannot achieve.
They have an expression in English: "Thinking, feeling, willing."
For us it is more appropriate "Thinking, feeling and living".
In ordinary language, thought is in the head and feeling is in the heart.
There is another expression called 'gut level'; that is what we are looking for.
The energy is in the solar plexus.
Actions really emanate at the gut level.
That is the centre of vitality.
If these three participate in this vichara, then there is tremendous energy and this awareness seeks the answer to the simple question: "What is this thought, this emotion?"
This awareness is interested in the truth, not in its description or analysis.
In order to do this very effectively one needs not only inner peace and tranquillity, but environmental peace and tranquillity also.
If we are serious, God's Grace will provide even that.
This awareness is like a search-light looking, looking everywhere and when all the darkness of ignorance has gone from the surrounding area, then the same awareness turns upon itself.
What am I?
There is no answer to that - or perhaps there is an answer, but only you will know it!

September 20

Gurudev is Love

September is the month of Gurudev Swami Sivananda's birth.
He descended into our midst, became one of us without condescending to do so.
Love does not condescend.
Love radiates.
Love shines.
Love is.
Into our every-day life love infuses a glory, a glow, a divinity.
Love makes life divine.
Life continues to be life.
Divine life has no external trademarks, but the spirit is unmistakably divine.
When life becomes divine, the spirit is of love.
Spirit cannot be described.
A description of love is its destruction.
It is. It glows.
We could not fail to see it in Gurudev.
He was love. He is love.
Where there is true love, there Gurudev is present.
This spirit of divine life which is love was present in every one of Gurudev's thoughts, words and deeds.
Nothing in His life was laboured, strained or artificial.
Everything was the flow of this love.
There was wholeheartedness in everything that He did.
When He spoke to you, you were sure that He cared for nothing else in the world.
When He worked (whether writing letters or books, giving instruction about printing or despatch of books, discussing the affairs of the ashram or the world-wide community of disciples) every detail was lovingly attended to, as if nothing else mattered.
He made no distinction between means and ends.
All this is description.
Volumes have been filled with descriptions of His divinity.
On His own birthdays people came from everywhere and right in front of him sang his glories and 'told him' (and us) how His grace had transformed their lives and saved them.
And He sat there, nodding His head, smiling or making appropriate responses as if they were singing someone else's glory, the glory of God as love who dwelt in their own hearts and flowed towards Him.
He radiated love; and He basked in the warmth of this universal love which had its fountain-source in Himself.
It is happening today, regardless of His physical presence or absence.
His physical personality was magnificent and magnetic.
If He walked through a market He would attract everyone's attention, even if they had never heard of Him or of a swami.
It was not merely the physical proportions, but there was that something in Him.
That something is, even now, and it will continue to be, as long as there is love in the human heart - for Gurudev is Love.

September 21

Lord, What Am I?

Vichara is the light that illumines all that we do in our life - all the thoughts, words and deeds.
There is guidance as to what should be done and what should not be done, what should be renounced and what should not be renounced, without attachment.
In that light one realises what one's own unique position in life is, without comparing, without feeling superior or inferior to others.
Thought becomes inspiration or inspiration becomes thought, and emotion becomes devotion.
The vision is freed from division, diversity is seen as identical with unity and unity with diversity.
I remain I, without feeling somehow that I am different from you.
I am what I am meant to be, I do what I am meant to do, but without distinguishing myself from you.
How to bring this about is the business of yoga.
The secret of what My Guru Swami Sivananda called Integral
Yoga is integrating the entire personality, sacrificing the entire personality, making the entire personality sacred.
The whole personality is offered to God, so that life is as God meant it to be.
God is that intelligence, that power which created you, me and everything.
I didn't ask to be born, how is it that I was created?
That 'I' does not know what it is and therefore it is asking all the time, "Lord, what am I, what am I supposed to be, what am I supposed to do?"
In that enquiry lies our salvation.
When this light of inner enquiry is bright, then what happens in our life is integral yoga.
That is very beautifully defined in the Bhagavad Gita: "May your mind become Me," may the mind become totally saturated with God - "Love Me".
Where is that 'Me'?
'Me' is everywhere.
God is omnipresent, so "Love Me," means love all.
Any love that is restricting is not love.
I cannot love you and hate your enemy; then in my heart there is a division.
"Do everything for My sake," or realise that all your actions spring from God, flow towards God.
"I salute the God in you, in everyone."
In this way, when your whole being is totally united with this omnipresent God, you reach Him, you realise your non-difference from the Omnipresence.
Then your whole life is dedicated to or devoted to God and what was known as the self dissolves in the Infinite.

September 22

Life as God Willed

When the mind considers something as pleasure, that assessment itself creates the climate for the impression, the samskara.
Is it possible to go through life without the mind regarding experiences as pleasant and unpleasant?
Life has its own procession of experiences, and the senses act and react on those objects and experiences in a natural way.
There is a piece of chocolate on your tongue; naturally there is salivation, the chocolate is dissolved and it goes in.
If you put a small piece of very hot curry or potato on the tongue, it quickly comes out.
In these two experiences there is no judgement, no assessment; the mind, or thought, comes in later.
Very often this 'later' is not half an hour later, but one five hundredth of a second later, and therefore we think that the thought arises immediately.
If you observe something very keenly, you'll see that between the experience and the recognition of this experience there is a period, one brief moment, of darkness, of ignorance, of unawareness.
Out of that unawareness arises 'This is pleasant', or 'This is not pleasant, I hate it.'
If that period of ignorance or unawareness was not there, there would not be the consequence of the recognition of pleasure and pain.
Therefore, only when this insight is constantly alive and awake is discipline possible.
Then life becomes natural 'as God willed it'.
You and I live exactly as God wills we should live, which means that the ego or mind does not decide what I should do or I should not do.
The mind is nothing else than all these samskaras.
When all these 'scars' which have been imposed upon the intelligence are removed, what is, is the original stuff - intelligence, God.
When on that intelligence, as it were, these samskaras get formed, then what you call mind arises.
The mind is really not completely and totally different from this intelligence or insight; this inner intelligence and the samskaras which form the mind, are all one substance.
When the content of the craving is enquired into, it is seen that it is non-different from the mind, the intelligence.
This craving for experience, the recognition of an experience as pleasure, arises as a result of ignorance.
If that ignorance is avoided in the first place and one is awake inwardly, neither the recognition of something as pleasure, nor its subsequent samskara and the craving would arise.

September 23

True Practice

How does the mind become holy?
If the mind becomes holy, who makes it holy?
Does it make itself holy? How?
Psychology is meant to find the answers.
The psychology of yoga demands that we should directly understand the mind, not think about it.
Thinking about thought will lead you nowhere.
There is another method which is often recommended and which may be very useful in its own context.
That is, never mind about this filth in the mind.
Pour some good ideas into it and then this filth will go away.
I am not discouraging this.
Even Gurudev Swami Sivananda liked it very much, but there are some 'ifs' and 'buts'.
If you pour a whole pint of milk into a filthy vessel, will the filth go away? No.
What must you do? Look at it, see that 'This is filthy.'
Then you will know how to clean it.
However since the mind is not material like dirt, the 'seeing' (awareness) itself is the cleaning.
The psychology of yoga demands that you should look at the mind, become aware of it - not think about it.
Studying the states of the mind is also useless for our purposes.
Instead is it possible for us to look directly at the mind and to become aware of it?
That is the psychology of yoga.
Both the philosophy and psychology must immediately manifest themselves in practice.
If you are totally dedicated to wisdom (philosophy) and if you directly understand the mind (or directly become aware of it) then you are practising yoga.
It is not as though you must first understand the philosophy and psychology and then go somewhere and practise yoga. No.
While you are doing this you are practising yoga.
The truth of yoga will manifest itself in your daily life if you are sincere, earnest and keen.
Though Swami Sivananda has left an enormous amount of literature for the transmission of the theory of yoga and vedanta, He did not set great store by a theoretical or intellectual understanding of yoga or vedanta.
If I close my eyes now, I can almost see and hear Him emphasize: "Yoga and vedanta must live in you. Your daily life must be vedanta."
The difference is that if you are translating the yogic or vedantic doctrines in your daily life, you know that you are practising yoga, you know that you are applying the principles of vedanta to your daily life.
But, if you are living yoga, if you are living vedanta, then you do not know.
Others may discover that you are a yogi or an enlightened person.
That was what He wanted us to become.

September 24

The Divine Life

Krishna exalts enlightened action at every turn.
Action is inevitable, but it should be sanctified by jnana.
Jnana is not ordinary bread-winning knowledge, it is wisdom, insight.
This jnana "cannot be attained in the university" in the words of Sri Gurudev Swami Sivananda.
It is a revelation by the divine.
Insight is not the end product of the individual's effort or investigation, but it is revealed knowledge or wisdom.
The tendency to use this knowledge converts revelation into tradition - trading in revelation.
This is how knowledge (yoga or jnana) is lost in course of time.
Until all motivations - even the altruistic ones - are dropped, true insight is not gained.
However, the all-merciful Almighty 'descends' again and again to revive insight.
Avatara is 'descent'- a Divine Incarnation, one's own guru (who is the descent of the divine grace embodied), and even the sudden flash of insight (symbolically descending from the crown of the head or the sahasrara into the heart via the ajna or the eye-brow centre) in response to a deep gut-level aspiration (symbolised by the rising triangle in the manipura or the navel centre); their meeting at the heart or the anahata is the new revelation, symbolised by the two intertwining triangles.
Such a descent re-establishes dharma.
Dharma is not only righteousness or the performance of one's duty, but it is the balance or the force of equilibrium continually disturbed on account of the dynamic nature of creation.
When the balance is so altered that the very nature of the creature is threatened, there is the descent of light - the inner light of insight.
The aspiration that brings the light down is not born of inefficiency or laziness, but the understanding of the truth that by its very nature the inner light which is beyond mind cannot be understood by the mind and that, therefore, the guru-experience alone is valid - all else is ego-trip.
Hence, Krishna commands: "Seek the enlightened ones; they will initiate you into wisdom and insight."
In that insight, when the individuality is recognised to be indivisibility in which duality seems to exist, there is the direct realisation of a oneness that transcends all description.
God alone exists.
Christ alone exists.
Buddha alone exists.
Atman alone exists.
Whatever be the word used, the realisation of this truth creates no problem.

September 25

Something Which is One

Self-realisation is considered to be the goal of yoga and vedanta.
In that case, what is the self?
Do you have a nice image of the self seated in the heart, shining, resplendent like a tube lamp?
The self or the subject is 'That which cannot be seen'.
Then how are you going to see it, to realise it?
Because you can become aware of what can be seen, you say that it is an object and that it is not the self.
Yet there is a dreadful misunderstanding or confusion that the body is the self.
Whatever happens to the body you assume happens to you - "I am suffering", "I am happy", "I am hungry", " I am full".
Whether you use these expressions or not there is an inner experience which still identifies the self (subject) with the body (object).
That is wisdom which directly perceives a certain oneness in diverse beings - in all beings.
As Gurudev very beautifully put it in the Universal Prayer: "Let us behold Thee in all these names and forms".
When we became swamis we put on these orange clothes and changed our names.
A name is merely like a collar you put around your dog in order that you may recognise it and not throw a piece of bread to another dog.
It has no more value than that.
Many great saints did not have names at all.
A saint doesn't need a name.
He doesn't have a bank account, a passport or legal documents.
But in order to recognise him you give him a name.
So, name and form are creations of your own mind, meant to make your life easy.
This does not imply that diversity is somehow affixed to reality.
If you go to the ashram kitchen right now you will see a mountain of roti, rice, and vegetables which will be consumed by all of us and will become all of us.
The same mountain of rice becomes diverse bodies.
It is one, yet later it somehow appears to be different, diverse.
That which recognises this is wisdom.
He seems to be he, I seem to be I, but in and through this there is something which is one, indivisible.
This hall seems to be a certain entity, the library another, the temple a third, and so on.
But if all these walls are pulled down, that which was, is, and ever will be, the space being forever indivisible. That which recognises this is wisdom.
All else is non-wisdom.

September 26

The Direct Path

The 'world' is from God and it exists in God.
The individual is essentially divine.
God is very close to each one of us.
He is the subject, though He is without even becoming a 'subject'.
There is no subject-object division in Him.
He pervades all and therefore transcends all.
It is the subject-object division which arises in ignorance that gives rise to a host of other such divisions; and Krishna asks us to destroy this tree of ignorance by non-attachment.
But we cling to its many branches.
We name them 'pleasure' and 'pain', 'happiness' and 'unhappiness', and then enter into a relationship with them.
We love some and hate others, thus courting endless agony and anxiety.
We have tried to remedy this situation by cosmetic adjustments, hypnotising ourselves into one or the other of the various psychological moods.
But the problems do not go away!
We have unwisely ignored the simple path - which is to turn to truth.
What is the truth concerning pain and pleasure, happiness and unhappiness?
Are they real entities?
What would they be if the words and their corresponding psychological concepts were absent?
Surely, pure awareness in which a movement of energy takes place.
This pure awareness is divine and this movement of energy in Him is His nature.
There is experience and expression, whole and holy.
Out of this realisation arises spontaneous action, not to be confused with blind, mechanical, impulsive action.
Life is never dull.
It is not a monotony, but it is greatly enriched by this realisation.
We may continue to use the words 'I' and 'you', but the meaning that arises in our hearts is something beautiful - it is love, pure and divine.
We may still use words like 'pain' and 'pleasure', but there is an inner recognition that there is but pure experiencing - the dread of pain and the pull of pleasure go.
We may still use words like 'happiness' and 'unhappiness'; but we recognise that they are transient shadows that one need not hold back or push away.
God alone is.
There are no two realities.

September 27

Speaking of Meditation

I do not know what meditation is.
What I 'say' is not meditation, but a description of it.
The description is a shadow, not the substance.
The technique that we teach and learn is a technique, not meditation.
True meditation is a complete inner freedom - free from the dead past and the unborn future.
It is what we sometimes refer to as 'unpremeditated action'.
Such action is pure and spontaneous.
For instance: you walk into the yoga school without anticipating anything and you are warmly welcomed and eagerly requested to speak.
This is what happens throughout our life - but we miss the delight and the surprise by bringing our hopes, desires and expectations with us.
These in their turn give rise to their own reactions which may be elation and depression, satisfaction and frustration - all of which are necessarily related to the dead past.
Is it possible for us to enter the Hall of Life every day, every moment of every day with unpremeditation, so that the mind is fresh to experience the purest delight of living?
When we enquire into this, we see that such a possibility is beyond the 'me', the ego-sense with its own petty hopes, fears and cravings.
We see that perhaps the 'me' itself is non-different from the aggregate of these hopes, fears and cravings.
To be able to transcend these and therefore to transcend the 'me' is not to create another image for the 'me' to rest in, but to discover that the 'me' is the limited, conditioned fragment of the infinite, unconditioned whole.
The 'I' can only realise this fragmentation because to the fragment such fragmentation is the only truth.
The finite cannot realise the Infinite.
The intelligence that is in deep sleep is the intelligence in which the dreams and the visions are experienced, which is the same as the intelligence that thinks and functions in the wakeful consciousness.
In consciousness, however, there is no such division or limitation.
It is the 'I' that casts the shadow of limitation.
But the shadow is not the substance or the truth.
The whole enquiry is meditation, which is therefore unceasing.
The enquiry itself is the enlightened living - the light in which the unreal is seen as unreal and hence non-existent.
That the 'reality' alone exists is not for the ego even to say.

September 28

The Black Hole

The New Age Consciousness, especially in the Western World today, is bursting through the Black Hole of spiritual awareness!
'Black Hole' is merely symbolic: it is a mystery since it cannot be seen.
According to physicists there is a strong probability that black holes exist.
They are the intensest known gravitational fields or points.
Light emerging from the black hole bends and falls into itself, returning to its own source.
There is a further speculation that whatever falls into this hole or field entirely loses its identity, but may emerge (in all probability) into another space-time paradigm.
The same physicists have also come up with a very interesting new theory of 'the holographic model of the universe' (everything contains everything else in its entirety).
Perhaps the two 'probabilities' can be combined into the pratyahara and pralaya phenomena.
The Yoga Vasistha mentions several pralayas ('pralaya' may mean dissolution, as in 'entry into the black hole' or reabsorption).
We can now holographically relate the black hole probability to several everyday events:
1. Birth: The Upanishads declare that man himself is reborn as his own child.
If you contemplate the process of conception and birth, you realise that it is really the father (perhaps 35 years old) entering into the intense gravitational field (of love) and emerging a little later into a different time (a new-born baby) and with a different space.
2. Deep Sleep: Awareness enters into the black hole, emerges in dream after dream, and then into the waking state (we think nothing has changed, though the world has undergone great changes before we wake up and the time we slept just vanished into a moment).
3. In death we enter into a black hole, to emerge God-knows-where-and-when-as-what.
4. In meditation: The phenomenon of light falling upon itself resembles pratyahara.
Samadhi is, exactly, entry into the inner gravitational field of devotion-meditation where all identity is lost.
The meditator emerges enlightened.
From the conditioned to the unconditioned.
5. The enlightenment-experience may be the 'final' black hole - called atyantika pralaya.
In addition to all these, the earth may enter into a nearby black hole, the solar system into another, and (at the end of the life of Brahma the creator) the entire creation may enter into its own black hole in cosmic dissolution!
May you enter the Enlightenment field before that, now itself

September 29

Darshana - Direct Seeing

What is philosophy, what is psychology, and what is meant by the practice of yoga?
We should understand these basic terms very carefully, otherwise we assume an incorrect meaning and get lost.
If you understand the simplest meaning of the word, it is possible to see the truth in it.
For instance, what does the word 'philosophy' mean?
'Sophy' means wisdom, and 'philo' means love - devotion to, friendship, affection.
So philosophy means a total love for wisdom.
If that is not there then we are wasting our time.
Philosophy is not a text book or a syllabus that you study at college, but the total dedication to the search for wisdom.
Someone, very rightly (according to me), said that there is no philosophical system, we are philosophy.
Some have tried to construct some sort of philosophical systems into the Upanishads according to the Western pattern, but that is not possible.
The philosophical system that the Westerners are thinking of is a very rigid pattern, there is neither wisdom nor affection in it.
It is just a book, it does not inspire wisdom in you.
It confuses the mind, disturbs the heart.
Western philosophers have always regarded philosophy as a sort of intellectual gymnastics, where you are considered a great philosopher if what you say is terribly confusing.
Gurudev Sivananda discouraged this type of dry intellectualism.
Philosophy is not intellectualism.
Wisdom is a simple thing and one must see it directly - not think about it.
Thinking about wisdom is a waste of time, like thinking about food at lunch time.
Hence, in India, yoga and vedanta are known as darshana - direct seeing or experience.

September 30

The Heart of Receptivity

It is not possible to understand yoga and vedanta through books, but only when you live with someone like Swami Sivananda who embodied the truth of yoga and vedanta where you see it, not just think about it.
There is a big difference between a class and a lecture situation.
The more incomprehensible a lecture is, the greater the impression produced, but then there is no understanding.
In a class we are all seeking and working together, and if someone who is speaking is not able to communicate with those who are hearing, it is a waste of time.
If the listener dozes off, there is no feedback.
The energy of the speaker comes from the listener.
The following beautiful verse is recited before the daily reading of the Bhagavad Gita:
sarvo 'panisado gavo dogdha gopala nandanah
partho vatsah sudhir bhokta dugdham gita mrtam mahat
The Upanishads here are likened to a cow.
The cowherd is Krishna.
The hearer (Arjuna) is the calf who draws out the milk.
In other words, this verse suggests that even Krishna would not have been able to release that wisdom if Arjuna had not been receptive.
There is an interesting legend to make this clearer.
The Bhagavad Gita was taught on the battle-field just before the war commenced, and in that stress situation Arjuna did not have time to sit down and contemplate the message.
Long afterwards Arjuna sought Krishna again and said: "Many years ago when we were about to fight, I collapsed and you gave me a brilliant exposition of philosophy. I have forgotten that. Won't you repeat it?"
Krishna replied: "I was in a different mood then, because you were in a receptive mood. It is not possible to recapture it now. But I remember vaguely what was said: so I'll repeat it."
This is the scripture called Anugita.
It is the class situation that brings out the inspiration and communication, so whatever the speaker says the hearer has to understand very clearly.
When the student also works as hard as the teacher (not merely sits there) it is possible for both together to understand the philosophy, the psychology, and the practice of yoga.

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