Daily Readings

Sivananda - February

CYT for DLS - Mauritius - isbn 0620036540

Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Venkatesaya

february 1

good and evil

the universe contains two dynamic forces.
they are good and evil.
good and evil are twin forces, born of the same father.
they are called dvandvas, or the pairs of opposites.
they have no independent existence.
evil exists to glorify good.
this is its only 'raison d'etre'.
evil is negative good!

evil is a destructive force.
good is a constructive force.
there is neither absolute good, nor absolute evil in this universe.
evil has no independent existence apart from good.
wherever there is good, there is evil.
you cannot expect absolute good in this relative world.

you can find absolute good in brahman alone.
from the viewpoint of the basic reality which lies at the back of evil and good, evil and good dwindle into an airy nothing.
evil and good are only mental creations.
transcend good and evil, and reach the abode of supreme peace and immortality.

for a jnani - who has knowledge of the self - there is neither good nor bad.
the 'why' of evil can only be understood when you get atma-jnana - self-knowledge.
do not rack your brain now.
this is a transcendental mystery, which only brahman knows.
finite intellect that is conditioned in time, space, and causation cannot find out a solution to this problem of evil.
when you are fully established in your self, then evil and good both vanish all-together.

transmute evil into good, by changing your mental attitude, or angle of vision.
out of evil good often cometh.
destruction is necessary for regeneration, for renovation, and for reconstruction.

tamas - inertia - is evil.
satva - purity - is good.
so, convert tamas into satva.
then evil is transmuted into good.
selfishness is evil, and
selflessness is good.
lust is evil,
brahmacarya - celibacy - is good.
greed is evil.
all these are good.
pride is evil, and
humility is good.

february 2

garden of virtue

forgiveness is the greatest virtue which shines in all its splendour in the devotee.
courage and
are the twin qualities of a real aspirant.
humility is the highest of all virtues.
god helps you only when you feel truly humble.
humility is not cowardice.
it is meekness, and not weakness.
humility and meekness are indeed spiritual powers.
make patience thy strength.
assert it.
feel it.
will it.

non-attachment comes very slowly.
it gives a new sense of freedom and peace.
anger is the worst fire.
lust is an all-consuming fire.
both will scorch you.
extinguish these fires through love and purity.
think: 'i am the fearless, immortal soul'.
then fear will vanish.

true love is the greatest power on earth.
it rules without a sword, and binds without a cord.
to love god is to love all.
to love all is to love god.
spread the message of love.
practice cosmic love.
love all.
embrace all.
be kind to all.
this will remove jealousy, hatred, etc.
to love all is the secret of self-realization and liberation.

the four fundamental virtues are
kind speech and
pure conduct.
courage and
are also great virtues.
virtue is the golden key, which opens the gate to the abode of eternal bliss.

cultivate divine virtues such as
faith, etc.
be virtuous.
you are on the way to wisdom.
in the garden of your heart, plant
the lily of love,
the rose of purity,
the champaka of courage,
the mandara of humility and
the lady-of-the-night of compassion.

virtue is knowledge.
virtue is excellence.
knowledge is the ripe fruit of the fine flower of virtue.
think well.
all saints teach that you must do good in thought and word and deed.
this is the principle of morality.

february 3

an exercise for developing virtue

examine your character.
pick up the defects you find in it, and find their opposites.
let us say that you suffer from irritability.
the opposite of irritability is patience.
try to develop this virtue, by meditating on the abstract virtue of patience.

regularly, every morning, at 4 a.m. sit down in the lotus posture.
sit in a solitary place for half an hour - think of patience.
think of its values, think of its practice under provocation.

thus, take one point each day.
think about that point steadily, without letting the mind wander.
think of yourself as perfectly patient, a model of patience.
end the meditation with a vow that
'this patience, which is my true self,
i will feel it and show it, today, and every day'.

for a few days there may be no perceptible change.
you may still show and feel irritability.
but go on practising.
you will see that soon, thoughts of patience will arise simultaneously with the irritable impulse, and the irritation will be checked.

go on practising.
the irritable impulses will grow more and more feeble, until you find that irritability has disappeared,
and patience has become your normal attitude towards annoyance.

in this manner, you may develop various other virtues, such as
nobility and

concentration of the mind on god, after its purification, gives real happiness and knowledge.
you are born for this purpose only.
dive deep.
the divine flame, the light of lights, is burning there.
merge within.

you have passed through millions of wombs,
you had countless births,
you had countless fathers and mothers,
you had numberless brothers and sisters,
millions of wives and children,
and yet your desires have not perished.
you live to eat, drink, and make merry.
but birth is painful, death is painful, all is painful.
listen to me brother - kill passion.
enthrone lord rama in your heart.
then sound the trumpet of triumph.

so says sivananda

february 4

man of virtue

he who is virtuous,
who is kind on all occasions, and
who is filled with compassion,
obtains great contentment.
he ascends the superior path of virtue.
agreeable speech,
control of passions and excitements,
the service of virtuous people, and
actions in accordance with the injunctions of the sacred scriptures,
constitute the superior path of virtue.
he who daily worships the virtuous,
can reach the eternal abode of wisdom.

he who has no liking for what is agreeable, and
no dislike for what is disagreeable,
who practices self-restraint,
who regards pleasure and pain as same,
who injures no creatures and destroys no life,
he is considered good and virtuous.

he who is devoted to the well-being of all,
who sacrifices his very life for others,
who has truth for his refuge,
who gives but does not take,
who has mercy,
who adores his elders, gods and guests,
to whom good conduct is always dear, and
who has no fear of the next world,
he is regarded as good and perfect.

such a promoter of virtue cannot be seduced from the path of virtue.
he is fearless,
full of mercy.
he is adored by all the good people wherever they are.
such a man is not attached to worldly objects.
fear, lust, anger, restlessness and sorrow do not live in him.

such a promoter of virtue never deviates from righteousness.
he is not attached to anything.
he is free from pride.
he regards all impartially.
gain and loss,
happiness and misery,
the agreeable and the disagreeable,
life and death,
all are held in equal estimation by him.
o man, always respect such a good and virtuous person.
serve him.
seek instruction from him.

can you serve, like florence nightingale?
can you obey, like a soldier on the battlefield?
can you be generous, like ranti deva?
can you spend sleepless nights in devotion to the lord, like mira?
can you do tapas - penance, like dhruva?
can you stick to your convictions, like mansoor and shams tabriez?
can you be fearless, like the sage who met alexander the great, on the banks of the river indus?

if you can say, 'yes', to all these questions, you will have self-realization this very second.
you will have contact with avataras - divine incarnations - and full-blown yogis, this very second.

first deserve,
and then desire.

february 5

true love of god

my child, you have been extremely fortunate in getting this human birth.
have intense devotion to god, and
commune with him.
kindle the light divine within your heart, and
maintain its flame of devotion, through your constant remembrance of the lord.
it is true devotion that counts.
it does not matter which deity you worship.

the marks of devotion are
god accepts all forms of prayer and worship through which man expresses his love and devotion for him.
bhakti or devotion is the natural affinity between the devotee and the lord.

as iron that is touched by the touch-stone, turns to gold at once,
as the water of the roadway, mixed with that of the ganga, becomes pure at once,
even so the heart of the devotee,
though greatly soiled by many great sins,
becomes pure
if attached with devotion to the lord.

to remove the afflictions and sorrows of the devotees gives the greatest happiness to the lord.
no evil can touch the devotee
whose devotion is sincere, and
whose faith is genuine.
put your little seed of faith in your heart,
water it with love and devotion.
then the great tree of bhava samadhi - the culmination of devotion - will grow.

the company of devotees is a priceless asset.
it invigorates the mind.
it is only through god's grace that man feels the desire to be in the company of saints.
a devotee does every action for the sake of the lord.
he hates none, he loves god only.
he who is
internally and externally pure,
free from likes and dislikes, and
is given to investigate the truth about god,
is a real devotee.

february 6

love all

love is happiness.
love is life.
love is energy.
love is immortality.
love is wisdom.
love never fails.
love is success.
love is victory.
love is eternal sunshine.
love alone creates and unites.

love is the moving principle of all forms of fellowship.
when you realize your oneness with a man, you can really love him whole-heartedly.
the world can only be united for common welfare through unselfish, pure, divine love.

love dissolves hatred and animosity.
love promotes understanding.
to love all as one loves oneself, is the succinct statement of dharma.
universal love is the mark of saintliness.
without love there is no life.

god resides in all creatures.
god is immanent in all forms.
therefore love all.
be compassionate to all creatures.
this gives the greatest joy to god.
love all in the one love divine.
modern civilisation is complicated and artificial.
simple folk live in a world of love and peace.
let no one hate another or harm another.

look not at the defects of your neighbours.
look at your own shortcomings and imperfections.
love one another.
when these principles govern an individual's life, then man is happy, peaceful and joyful.

love is the basis of all real and permanent happiness, of all real and permanent peace.
love is the supreme gift;
love is the greatest thing in the world.
love never fails.
perfect love casts out fear.
love lends impetus and incentive to life.
it makes one daring, courageous and strong.

love makes one
merciful and
love discloses the sublimest meaning and purpose of life.
love makes one
have goodwill towards his neighbour,
loyalty towards his friends, and
it gives compassion for the enemy.

to love is to suffer.
love and suffering always go together.

february 7

how to eradicate hatred

no samadhi - union with god - is possible when hatred, prejudice, jealousy, anger, lust, etc., exist in the mind.
remove these defects by
contemplation of the infinite,
vision of the self,
good company, and
love is the greatest power on earth.
compassion is the greatest sadhana - spiritual practice.

karuna - compassion - is
to relieve pain where it is, and
not to give pain to others.
he who gives charity to a poor man, gives it to himself.
for there is nothing else to save his own self in the universe.
he who hurts, hates, abuses, another man - he hurts, hates and abuses himself only.

when thoughts of hatred and revenge arise in the mind,
try to control the physical body and speech first.
do not utter evil and harsh words.
do not censure.
do not injure others.
if you can do this for several months,
the thoughts of revenge, having no scope for manifesting outside, will die of themselves.

constant vicara - enquiry, and
development of the virtues of
- that is - love, compassion, and sympathy or commiseration -
will eradicate these two violent passions.
serve the man you hate.
share with him what you have.
give him something to eat.
prostrate to him sincerely.
your hatred will subside.
your hatred will leave you.
and he will begin to love you.
gifts and kind words tame the untamed man.

serve all.
serve the lord in all.
respect all.
have equal vision.
all kinds of hatred will disappear.
the sadhana - practice - of equal-vision is extremely difficult,
but strenuous efforts will bring about success eventually.
aspirants who wish to abolish the dividing line,
should develop love for a very dear person first.
after that he should develop love for an indifferent person.
then after that, he should develop love for an enemy.

in doing this, in each compartment, they should make the heart tender and loving.
and this should immediately afterwards induce meditation.

february 8

a saint

god dwells in those who have no lust, anger, pride, arrogance, delusion, greed, hatred and deceit.
a sage realizes his unity, his spiritual oneness with others.
he sees their suffering, and out of compassion, devotion and love, he stays on the earth plane - to serve and to suffer for all creatures - until they become purified and attain illumination.

he is a saint
who has conquered the senses,
who is endowed with righteous conduct,
who speaks sweet words even to those who are crooked by nature, and
whose heart is always softened by tender feelings for others.
he is a saint
who has shaken off all attachments,
who is never swayed by lust, greed or anger,
who is constantly established in righteousness,
who is wise, humble, modest and forgiving.

a saint is compassionate - he is free from violence, greed, hypocrisy and duplicity.
he regards earthly riches as poison.
a saint is forbearing.
he has
a generous heart, and
possesses great fortitude and
a saint is free from egoism and selfishness - he is liberated.

a saint is the one to be worshipped.
he is a paramahamsa.
he has shaken off everything.
each saint proclaims the same truth,
but his teachings are adapted to suit the requirements of his time and area of influence.

he who looks upon everything with an equal eye,
who is perfectly calm and serene,
who does not covet anything, and
who is the friend of all,
he is a real saint.

sri vasishta tells rama:
'an acarya's - preceptor's - grace,
if it becomes en rapport with his disciple,
will of itself, in a mysterious manner,
enable the disciple to perceive directly the brahmic principle within,
though it is impossible for the guru to point to brahman as 'this' or 'that',
or for the disciple to understand how it is, prior to his direct perception.
each should cognize it within himself,
through his own jnana - intuition, and
with the aid of the acarya - preceptor, and
an understanding of the true significance of the many scriptures.
it is indeed very rare to attain that state without the help of a guru and spiritual book.
should all three combine - that is,
an acarya,
a jnana-sastra - scripture dealing with self-knowledge, and
a true disciple,
then it is certain that the seat beyond all bondage will be attained.'

february 9

the temple of god

this mysterious human body,
the temple of god,
the nine-gated city of brahman,
is a marvellous palace for the immortal indweller, or soul.

the body is a product of the prarabdha karma - the karma that determines this present life for this individual soul.
it belongs to the jiva - individual soul - and the virat - the physical world - also.
the sum total of all physical bodies is virat purusa - the deity presiding over the universe.

the body is the most marvellous and delicate machine in the world.
it is a highly complex mechanism.
even the most eminent doctors in the world have not yet completely understood its structure and working.
one virulent microbe can destroy it in an instant.
the body is surrounded on all sides by enemies - and yet man lives.
this is a very great mystery.
this is due to the grace of the lord.
the force of prarabdha protects and nourishes it.

a spermatozoan, which is a millionth part of a drop, and an ovum, joined together, give rise to the formation of this body.
what a great mystery.
that subtle essence, which is the source for this,
that which sustains these,
is thy own self.

that is truth.
that is soul.
thou art that.

realize this and free yourself from the cage of bone and flesh.
the growth of the body, with all its limbs, organs, etc., from this tiny speck of sperm, proclaims the omnipotence of the lord.

god is that wonderful architect, who has built this wonderful body-palace.
the architect of this marvellous body has shown the greatest skill.
he is the architect of all architects.
the arches of buildings are nothing when compared to the arches of the body, which are a few fragile bones, joined together to form the arch of the foot, which supports the weight of the body.
one tiny nerve moves the muscles of the face.
the face then expresses the emotions of the mind - what a grand marvel!
look at that delicate organ of the eye.
one small aperture which allows a mountain to enter!
this greatest architect is the lord who dwells in the chamber of your heart.
glory to him.
prostrations to this great architect.

february 10

way to radiant health

health is joy.
health is wealth.
health is the elixir of life.
without health life becomes a burden.
nature tries to keep us healthy,
but we bring on sickness by continuous violation of the laws of nature.
natural laws are relentless.
there is no mercy.

in the animal kingdom, there is seldom any sickness, because animals do not violate the laws of nature.
before the age of machinery, man's life was more natural.
persons of the past generations were much stronger and healthier.

life in the twentieth century is becoming more and more artificial.
hence there is much deterioration in health and strength.
in spite of the innumerable doctors and the latest medical discoveries our health is still deteriorating.

'a sound mind in a healthy body', as the saying goes.
the mind controls the body.
try to keep your mind as cheerful as possible,
under all circumstances.
a strong mind wards off ill-health,
and it also helps us to preserve good health.

run in the open air.
wear simple, light clothing.
take only simple, light, nourishing food.
do not go to doctors.
endeavour to qualify yourself as your own doctor.
take lots of exercise.
take sun baths and cold baths.
inhale ozone.

observe moderation in food, drink and copulation.
lead a pious life.
right thinking,
right feeling,
right speaking,
right action,
right belief,
right knowledge,
right conduct.
do not employ servants.
rely on yourself in all things.

if you want radiant health, return to nature.
then you will have a blooming face, and a charming personality.
avail yourself of all the healing agencies in nature.
avail yourself of the healing properties of the sun, the water, the air, the earth, fasting, herbal plants and so on.

observe the laws of nature in all things.
eat, drink, sleep, think, conduct yourself in the way laid down by the ancient sages.

february 11

secret of living

disease is not a condition that ought to frighten you.
it is not brought about by agencies outside yourself.
disease is the result of the kickings of life.
health alone exists.
it is life alone that makes a man live.
disease is only a sign of health.
it is the reaction of life to the entry of foreign matter into the system.

life's cleansing process is called disease.
there is only one disease, and that is disease, or no-ease.
this means it is the struggle of life to get rid of foreign matter.
this disease ought not to be suppressed with toxic drugs.
leave nature to get rid of it in her own way.

the first and foremost aid is fasting.
digestion of food is one of the greatest charges on the vital economy.
if you put food into the stomach during disease,
the vital power - which is in the process of cleansing the system of foreign matter - is diverted from its function, and is made to digest the food!
the only result is a worsening of the condition.

food does not maintain life.
life eats the food, and produces the energy necessary for its digestion and elimination.
that is all.
life lives by itself.
food is necessary only for life to build and repair the body.

satvic - pure - food,
such as fruits, vegetables, whole cereals, nuts, green leafy vegetables and milk,
nourishes the body and helps life.
it does not need to be eaten with appetisers,
which act as aeroplanes to carry the food to the stomach,
since such food is not demanded by the life-fire within.

this life-fire is god himself.
man should wait for the appearance of this god within,
and only then offer him some food.
but nowadays people mistake the cravings of the palate for hunger.
perhaps hunger is a joy they have never experienced.
real hunger, as it is in the form of the lord himself, is indescribable in its nature, even as god himself is.

to know this, one has to experience it.
one cannot be told by another.

february 12

see good in all healing agents

brahman or the eternal is infinite.
his expressions are also infinite.
allopathy, homeopathy, hydropathy, chromopathy, electropathy, naturopathy, ayurveda - all are his manifestations.
all these systems differ.
temperaments also are different, so are natures.
therefore different systems of treatment suit people of different natures.

it is only the prejudiced man who says, 'oh, allopathy is useless - homeopathy is the best system'.
or, 'nature cure is good, and ayurveda is bad'.
for some people ayurvedic medicines are good, for some unani medicines are good, and so on.

sun's rays, water, herbs, green leaves, steam, mud - all are medicines.
they are all products of nature.
only the names are different.
the very fact that different systems exist shows that there is something good in each.

even atoms, molecules and corpuscles have their loves and hates, likes and dislikes, attractions and repulsions, affinities and non-affinities.
everybody has his own whims and fancies, his own eccentricities.

a naturopath hates and condemns an allopath.
an allopath dislikes naturopathy.
but a large-hearted doctor, a man with equal-vision and tolerance, who has practical knowledge of vedanta, can find good in every system.
he can appreciate the beauty of variety of divine expression.
he can behold unity in diversity, and thus use every system to the best advantage.

every system has its own advantage and bright side.
every system has come from the one divine source.
do not fight with one another.
do not try to prove the superiority of your system.

take the good in everything.
be tolerant.
become wise and happy.
lead a healthy life.
attain god-realization through the instrument of the body - the healthy, strong body.

if you have a powerful will and a strong power of endurance, then you will not feel pain.
by constant thinking of disease, pain and trouble, you augment the suffering.
pain is in the mind.
atman is full of bliss.

february 13

who is god?

god is the source of all light.
god is the source of everything.
he upholds the earth and the heavens.
god is spirit.
god is love.
god is the source of all.
god is the destroyer of ignorance.
god is beyond all understanding.

god is the remover of all calamity.
god is the granter of all prosperity.
to the unenlightened man,
who depends on his senses for all final judgements,
god remains unknown and therefore non-existent.

god is the one source of every action, and of every movement.
god is the sustainer of all,
the giver of all good, and
the bestower of all blessings.
god is the eternal amongst fleeting things.
he is the one in the midst of many.
he is absolute consciousness.

god is the fulfiller of the desires of every man.
the lord is all-effulgence,
the fulfiller of desires, and
the granter of insight and intuition.

who is god?
god is god.
he who is universal consciousness,
who is eternal,
who himself witnesses all that passes in every heart,
who exists immutably throughout the universe, and
who is ever free,
independent and
is god.

where is god?
in his own glory.
seek him there.
god has form,
and he is formless too.
the lord reveals himself
even in a single leaf, in a blade of grass, in a drop of water.

god reveals himself only to
the pure,
the humble and
the simple.
he is
the first and the last,
the manifest and the hidden.
god cannot be defined.
he has to be
realized, and
lived in.

religion is the link between god and man.
every religion establishes a relation between man and god.
religion should give shelter, even to the worst type of sinner.
it must be
perfectly tolerant,
broad-minded, and

the essence of religion is love.
there is only one religion,
and that is the religion of love divine, which transcends all creeds and all scriptures.
behold the one essence in all.
love all.

february 14

what is religion?

religion is the very foundation of civilisation in all its aspects.
it is an applied science, that takes man to his highest goal.
religion comprises of
self-control, and

religion tries
to bring you to god, and
to make you divine.
its purpose is to release the ultimate values of life,
the transcendental values,
goodness, and

religion is a dynamic force.
it is both
the science and
the art of life.
religion is not merely life-transcending,
it is life-transforming.
it is a process of
purification and

know thyself and be free.
religion teaches
tolerance and
religion is essentially an eternal going out in search of
fullness, and

believe in the existence of god and life hereafter.
believe in
right conduct,
unconditional surrender to god,
meditation, and
union with god.
these are all the essentials of religion.
the union of the individual soul with the divine soul, the lover with the beloved - this is true religion.

religion lays down the laws of life.
religion teaches us how to live a divine life.
man cannot progress spiritually without religion, just as a tree cannot grow without manure and water.
religion is the support that helps us to climb the steep, and narrow ladder of emancipation.
it is the most important factor that helps the earnest student to understand the principles of oneness - the oneness of life and universal love.

we can attain
eternal bliss,
immortality, and
everlasting peace,
by attaining god-realization.
all religions admit this, unanimously.
this is essential to all religions.

to realize god,
one should develop
universal love,
one should have
ethical perfection,
the spirit of self-sacrifice,
good conduct,
devotion to saints and to god.
one should
study the holy scriptures, and
have perfect faith
in the existence of god,
in the scriptures, and
in the words of the guru.
all religions admit this unanimously.
this is essential to all religions.

february 15

essentials are same

the essentials or fundamentals of all religions are the same.
only non-essentials differ.
'the noble eightfold path' corresponds to
'the sermon on the mount' of jesus, and to
the practice of sadacara - right conduct - of the hindus.

every religion shows the correct path to god-realization.
every religion emphatically declares:
'one can attain eternal bliss, immortality - god-realization.
to do this one must
speak the truth,
observe purity or self-restraint,
love others, and
practice concentration and meditation.'

an intolerant man cannot attain god-realization.
as his intellect becomes clouded on account of intolerance, he cannot grasp the truth.
all prophets are the messengers of god.
they are great yogis who have divine intuitive perception of god.
their words are infallible and sacred.

had it not been for these prophets and their writings,
there would be no hope for the salvation and betterment of man.
each prophet helped mankind by
the dissemination of knowledge and
the founding of the religion,
which would be most suited to the people amongst whom they flourished.
glory to these prophets and their writings.
may their blessings be upon you all!

beloved friends!
behold the oneness of all religions.
he who knows the truth,
who has grasped the essence of all religions,
will never again enter into heated debates.

realize your identity and intimate relationship with all beings -
with ants and dogs, with elephants and tigers,
with muslims and jews, with hindus and christians.
there is only a degree of difference in manifestation or expression.
all forms belong to god or saguna brahman.

may you all live happily, with one heart!
may you all understand the essential oneness of all religions!
may the blessings of all the founders of all the religions be upon you!
may you all attain god-realization in this very life!

om peace! om peace! om peace!

february 16

birth and death

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, o prem.
thou art ever free from the three periods of time.
it is the physical body that goes and comes.
the self is
infinite, and

recognize, o prem, that you are the living truth.
realize that you are always inseparable from the one essence,
that is the substratum of all these illusory names and forms.
get yourself firmly established in brahman.
nothing can disturb you now.
you have become invulnerable.
feel this through intuition when you enter into deep samadhi - the supreme silence, my child.

the god of death will tremble before you now.
by your command, the sun shines, the fire burns and the wind blows.
thou art beyond time, space and causation.
just as the clouds hide the sun,
so also the darkness of ignorance,
the clouds of the vasanas - mental conditioning - and egoism,
are hiding the jnana surya - sun of wisdom,
that is ever shining in the chambers of your heart.

through meditation, and
attainment of self-knowledge - atma-jnana,
you will dispel the dark clouds of ignorance.
now you will shine in brahmic splendour and glory.
proclaim this truth everywhere.

you must not be afraid of maya - illusion - now.
she is under your perfect control.
stand firm like a rock.
be adamantine.
now move about in the world like a lion.
now go, and lift up the young struggling souls, out of the mire of samsara - worldly life.

disseminate knowledge of the self.
love all.
be kind to all.
expand thy heart.
have space in thy heart for all, even for the man who is trying to poison you.

do not come under the influence of sudden impulses.
do not be carried away by the force of emotions, no matter how noble they may be.
be ever vigilant.
be ever diligent.
be not troubled.
be not anxious.
be not idle.
wait coolly.
you are bound to succeed.
develop courage by feeling you are the atman.
deny the 'i am the body' idea.
practice meditation.
all difficulties will come to an end.
you will enjoy unalloyed bliss.

february 17

life and death

death is only a process by which life is continued.
death is not annihilation of the self.
hence do not be afraid of death.
death is for the better; it is a blessing.
therefore grieve not.
life is impossible without death.
death is just another aspect of life.
until the proper time comes,
one's death does not take place,
however serious the disease or accident may seem.
when the right time comes, then one can die by the edge of a straw!

life is a lightning flash of breath.
time is but a thunder-clap of death.
the doctrine of reincarnation is indeed a great solace to humanity,
in so far as it shows
a way out from eternal damnation in hell.

when the lust for life ceases, no further rebirth will take place.
one power
works through all hands,
sees through all eyes, and
hears through all ears.
all humanity is one in substance.
the same flesh and the same blood form the body of an american, an european, an african and an asian.
the instincts and longings are common to all creatures.
this indicates the oneness of all forms of life.

experiments have revealed life in stone, in wood and in minerals.
they have established the unity of consciousness or the unity of all life.
prana - energy - is the driving power of the world.
force is energy.
spiritual force is the saving power.
it is the greatest of all forces.
it can control all physical and mental forces.

physical science is objective, and hence cannot lead to absolute truth.
there is a soul
behind mind,
behind nature, and
behind will.
soul is the divine essence.
the conception of the unity of god is the pivot around which all other doctrines revolve.
no religion,
no nation,
no scheme or reform,
nor plan for the future of the world,
will endure,
if it is not based on genuine faith in god.
we all belong to one and the same family,
to one and the same house,
that of the supreme lord,
the creator,
the nourisher, and
the sustainer.

when you look at a tree or a shrub, a catholic or a muslim, endeavour to behold, behind the veil of form, the real hidden consciousness.
if you do this for some time, you will feel inexpressible joy.
all hatred will cease.
you will develop cosmic love, or unity of consciousness.
this will be a magnanimous experience.

february 18

guide to sadhakas

be prepared to suffer any amount of pain.
have a set of maxims with you always, to induce vairagya - dispassion.
treat sensual enjoyment as poison, as vomited food, as dung or urine.
they cannot give you satisfaction.
preserve your virya - vital energy - carefully.
sleep always separately.
revere ladies as the mother divine.
root out the sex idea.
prostrate before all.
behold god in every face, in every thing.

when the mind is overpowered by lower instincts,
take to sankirtan - chanting,
take to satsang - holy company,
take to prayer.
face obstacles coolly and boldly.
care not about criticism when you are in the right path.
yield not to flattery.
respect even rogues - serve them.
admit your faults plainly.
take care of your health - do not neglect daily asana and other yoga exercises.
be active and nimble always.

develop your heart by giving.
be extra-ordinarily charitable - give more than one's expectations.
desires multiply miseries.
develop contentment.
control the senses one by one.
develop brahmakara vrtti - 'i am brahman' idea - by repeated thinking.
have a check over all your thoughts; keep them pure and sublime.
do not lose your temper when anyone insults you or taunts or rebukes you.
it is a mere variety of sounds; a mere play of words.
rest your mind in god.
live in the truth.
be up and doing in the path of perfection.

have a definite aim in your life, and proceed towards it cautiously.
the benefits of mauna - silence - are incalculable.
never give up this practice.
there are four important means for passion to enter the mind,
sight, and
be vigilant!
have intimate connection with none but god.
mix little with others.
be moderate in all things - extremes are always dangerous.

every day have self-analysis and introspection.
know the extent of your growth.
give up curiosities in the spiritual path.
conserve your energy and concentrate.
think little of the food, body, relatives.
think more of the atman.
you must realize god in this very birth itself.

february 19


go wherever you like.
go to kashmir, to the alps, you will not find any real rest.

the charming scenery may soothe the retina for a few seconds, but raga - attraction, dvesa - aversion, jealousy, passion, and greed, are everywhere.
you will find the same earth, the same sky, the same air, the same water, everywhere.
you carry the same mind with you everywhere.
imagination and change of place have deceived many people.

be contented.
live wherever you like - but discipline the mind and the senses, ceaselessly.
meditate on the inner self - antar-atman, ceaselessly.
here you will find everlasting peace.
the mind will stop deceiving you now.

if you do not have sustained vairagya - dispassion, you will find no improvement or progress in spirituality.
energy, and
will leak out like water from a cracked pot.

how can you expect any spiritual good,
when you have spent eight hours in sleep,
and the rest in idle gossiping, telling lies, deceiving others, in selfish activities and in gaining money.

how can you expect 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 is there pleasure in this world?
if there is pleasure, why do young educated men retire to the forests?
if there is pain, why do young men run after wealth, position and women?

ah! 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 satsang - 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.

renounce this world.
renounce the desire for moksa - liberation.
renounce renunciation itself.
then you will become that.

february 20

epistle of swami sivananda - 1
this is the way to spiritualise all your actions (continued)

what is divine life?
to shed the animal in man, and
to sublimate the human in him to the divine;
to express the sublimation,
in his daily life,
in his hourly life,
in thought,
word, and
that is divine life.
to pray,
to do japa - repetition of god's name,
to sing the glory of god,
to do kirtan - chanting,
to meditate on the lord,
is divine life.

treat all kinds of work, domestic, official, etc., as service of god.
surrender all your actions and their fruits to the lord.
give up agency.
feel you are an instrument in the hands of the lord.
actions will not bind you.
your heart will be purified.
the grace and light of god will descend on you.

this is the way to spiritualise all your actions.
see god in all beings and things.
see the world as a manifestation of god.
it is not necessary to abandon the world in order to have a vision of god,
because the world itself is a manifestation of god.

listen! wake up now.
develop dispassion.
do sadhana - spiritual practice.
beware of the senses.
become desireless.
understand life.
live divinely.
seek good company.
fear not.
waste not time.
depend on god.
spiritual discipline is the key to god-realization.
discipline the body and the senses and the mind.
may you attain god-realization, now and here.

be regular in keeping your spiritual diary.
spiritual progress will be greatly quickened.
go to bed early - 10 pm - and get up early - 4 am.
the early morning hours are most favourable for meditation.

understand life's supreme purpose.
seek the eternal.
realize the underlying essence.
have intense thirst for liberation.
die to live.
discipline the mind.
have self-control.
learn to be wise.
make the best use of this human birth.
realize the oneness of existence.

february 21

epistle of swami sivananda - 2
this is the way to spiritualise all your actions (continued)

serve untiringly.
serve selflessly.
pray devotedly.
live truthfully.
you will soon enter the kingdom of god.
remain cheerful.
do japa whole-heartedly.
rejoice heartily.
you will attain the state of blessedness.
reflect ceaselessly.
meditate intensely.
realize perfectly.
rest peacefully.

think rightly.
act righteously.
meditate regularly.
you will attain eternal bliss.
aspire fervently.
pray sincerely.
introspect seriously.
reflect vigorously.
you will enjoy supreme peace.
speak sweetly.
speak softly.
speak lovingly.
speak truthfully.
you will attain unalloyed felicity.

never leave your sadhana - spiritual practice, your meditation, even for a day.
constant practice, and
eternal vigilance,
are indispensable,
till god-realization is attained.
as long as you do not realize the truth, practice self-control and meditation.
conscious attempts to unite oneself with god, is called spiritual sadhana.

subjugate the senses.
slay this egoism.
curb the mind, and enter the illimitable domain of immortal bliss.
om krishna.

faith creates,
faith heals,
faith works wonders,
faith moves mountains.
faith is the secret light for finding god.
faith makes the weak strong, and the timid brave.
faith makes the impossible possible.
therefore, have unflinching, perfect faith in the lord.

please remember always that renunciation is the essence of spirituality, and the secret of self-realization.
renunciation is getting rid of egoism, desires and cravings.
renunciation is the only way to perfection and bliss eternal.
renunciation leads to complete unification with the supreme being.
renounce and be free.

february 22

epistle of swami sivananda - 3
this is the way to spiritualise all your actions (continued)

dharma is the pivot of life.
dharma means
eternal law.
where dharma is, there victory is.
dharma supports life.
dharma brings perfection.
dharma is a way of life based on virtues and perfect moral conduct.
dharma bestows immortal bliss.

control of the mind is the first step to spirituality.
victory over the mind means victory over the world.
conquest of the mind is the greatest victory.
the mind becomes unstable and restless through desires for objects.
when the mind is not centred in the atman, man desires objects.
become desireless, control the mind, be happy for ever.

satsanga is association with saints and sages.
without satsanga the mind cannot be turned towards god.
satsanga is a formidable and impregnable fortress to protect aspirants from the temptations of maya - illusion.
live in the company of sages,
hear their valuable instructions, and
follow them implicitly.

god is love.
bhakti is the experience of divine love.
do your duty in a spirit of worship.
perform all actions in an attitude of prayer.
your heart should overflow with divine love at the sight of any object in this world.
then alone you will become an ideal devotee.

bhakti is devotion unto the lord.
japa - repetition of god's name,
kirtan - chanting,
are all limbs of bhakti yoga.
bhakti yoga is suitable for the vast majority of persons.
para - supreme - bhakti, and
jnana - self-knowledge,
are one.

february 23

epistle of swami sivananda - 4
this is the way to spiritualise all your actions (continued)

god is very close to you.
he abides in your heart.
closer is he than the breath;
nearer is he than hands and feet!
he is your very self or atman.
strive to know god.
seek the company of sages.
lead a life of
selfless service,
prayer and
have self-conquest.
control the mind.
you will attain perfection and peace.

the divine grace is life's greatest treasure.
if there is self-surrender, there is the inflow of grace.
lord's grace will descend in proportion to the degree of surrender.
the more the surrender, the more the grace.
supreme love comes only by the grace of god.
grace of god will make you stick to the spiritual path.

japa is the recitation of lord's name.
japa is an important sadhana - practice - for god-realization.
japa yoga is the easiest, safest and surest way of attaining the goal in the present age.
repeat 200 malas - rosary of 108 beads - of japa daily.
do more mental japa.
practice of japa brings the devotee face to face with god.

japa yoga is the yoga of recitation of a mantra - or name of the lord.
there is a mysterious power in every name of the lord.
a name or mantra is recited in three ways, viz.
verbal or loud utterance,
semi-verbal or humming, and
mental japa is more powerful.
let the recitation of japa become habitual.
do purascarana - do one lakh - one hundred thousand - of japa for each letter - of the mantra.
live on milk and fruits.
observe brahmacarya during this period.

prayer is not asking.
it is the yearning of the soul for communion with god.
sincere prayer draws the grace of the lord.
prayer is a mighty spiritual force.
it should spring from the bottom of your heart.
pray sincerely, fervently, whole-heartedly.
then alone will god listen to your prayer.

february 24

epistle of swami sivananda - 5
this is the way to spiritualise all your actions (continued)

true and sincere surrender unto the lord is the essence of bhakti - god-love.
'i am thine. all is thine'.
'thy will be done, my lord.'
this is the best saranagati mantra - prayer - of self-surrender.
seek his will.
do his will.
surrender to his will.
you will become one with the cosmic will.

hatha yoga is mainly concerned with the physical body and the pranamaya sheath.
it prepares the aspirant for raja yoga.
hatha yoga deals with the practice of
bandhas and
it treats of sad kriyas too.
it gives splendid health,
it removes various sorts of diseases, and
it awakens the kundalini.

the practice of yoga asanas bestows mental poise.
if you practice asanas for even ten minutes daily, you will derive immense benefits.
be regular in the practice of asana - this is important.
sirsasana bestows brain-power and develops the intellect and the memory.
it is useful in maintaining brahmacarya - celibacy.
it cures many diseases.
sarvangasana gives longevity and makes the spine elastic.

be steady in your asana.
gradually try to sit on one asana for three hours at a stretch.
regulate and restrain the breath, through the practice of pranayama - yoga breathing.
withdraw the senses from the object.
now you will be able to practice concentration and meditation.
regularity in the practice of concentration is of paramount importance.

for success in brahmacarya - celibacy, intensify your
japa - repetition of god's name - and
keep up constant mental repetition of the lord's name, even during your work.
have three sittings for meditation - morning, evening, and night, just before going to bed.

february 25

epistle of swami sivananda - 6
this is the way to spiritualise all your actions (continued)

vairagya is dispassion, desirelessness or non-attachment.
vairagya liberates man from bondage.
vairagya is the foremost virtue.
look into the defects of sensual life.
live in the company of saints.
you will develop vairagya.
vairagya is born of discrimination.
it will help you and will be permanent.
without vairagya, not even an iota of spiritual progress is possible.

mind is the atma-shakti - power of self.
it is the dividing wall between the individual soul and the supreme soul.
mind creates this universe.
it is the principle of thinking and sensation.
it is a bundle of vasanas - habit patterns, thoughts, likes and dislikes.
slay the mind, through destruction of the vasanas in brahma-vicara, and attain self-realization.
egoism is your arch enemy.
it is born of ignorance.
the real secret of divine life is only in the renunciation of this dire egoism.
the tree of egoism can be destroyed by the fire of wisdom only.

these are the ways to control the senses.
cultivate dispassion or non-attachment to objects;
practice pratyahara - or withdrawal - and
give up love or hate for objects.
you can control the senses and the mind.

it is better to practice concentration on one form of god, and to repeat one mantra - mystic formula.
concentration will thereby be greatly increased.
if the mind wanders, bring it back again and again to the form.
practice a little pranayama - yoga breathing.
it will steady the mind.
observe mauna - or silence - for two hours.
it will conserve energy and produce more concentration.

february 26

epistle of swami sivananda - 7
this is the way to spiritualise all your actions (continued)

you must be diligent and vigilant always.
do not give leniency to the mind.
be regular in your meditation.
meditation is the very essence and life of all spiritual sadhanas.
meditate on the form of lord krishna with flute in his hand.
concentrate on trikuti - the space between the eyebrows.
repeat mentally - om namo bhagavate vasudevaya.
may lord krishna be your centre, ideal and goal.

meditation is a sound and safe method by which you can
unlock your inner power and
attain god-realization.
when you are in meditation, you will touch the level of cosmic consciousness in a flash of illumination.
you will know that life is eternal, and that you are eternal.
god is the only reality.
god is the only truth.
god alone exists.
know this, realize this.
god is love.
he dwells in your heart.
recite his name always.
sing his glories, do kirtan - chanting.
conquer the whole world by truth and love.
in silence alone you can hold communion with god.
when there is conflict of duty, sit and meditate.
hear the inner voice, and act immediately.

during meditation one enters into a half-sleepy state - this is called tandra.
if one is really meditating, his body will be light, and his mind will be cheerful.
if he is sleeping, the body will be heavy, the mind will be dull, and the eye-lids will be heavy.
during deep meditation, you will forget the external world first, and then the body.
you will feel that there is no body.
you will experience immense joy, indescribable peace.
natural retention of the breath, without inhalation and exhalation, will come by itself.
meditate on a concrete form in the beginning.
meditate on any form of the lord.
think of his attributes - omnipotence, purity, perfection, etc.
gradually the mind will be prepared to take up the higher, formless meditation.
be patient.
be persevering.
cultivate burning dispassion,
burning longing for god-realization.
gradually you will enter into deep meditation and samadhi.

february 27

epistle of swami sivananda - 8
this is the way to spiritualise all your actions (continued)

meditation is freeing the mind from thoughts of sense objects.
mind dwells on god, and god alone, during meditation.
have perfect ethical perfection.
then alone you will be established in deep meditation.
meditation follows concentration, and
samadhi - super-conscious state - follows meditation.

be courageous.
you will come across various obstacles in meditation.
you will have to conquer sleep, distraction, a taste for sensual pleasure, laziness, etc.
practice asanas regularly.
do a little tratak - gazing, and
pranayama - yoga breathing.
do vicara - enquiry.
cultivate vairagya - dispassion.
you will conquer all obstacles.
samadhi is that state of pure consciousness, the supreme blissful state where the jivatma - soul - becomes one with paramatma - supreme being.

light diet,
contact with a teacher,
are necessary for the practice of meditation.
meditation, when
persisted in, and
brings about
the experience of super-consciousness or samadhi,
the ultimate state of self-awareness or realization.

when there is tension in the mind, when you cannot meditate, do kirtan or singing the lord's name.
you will get relaxation and concentration.
kirtan is nectar.
kirtan is divine food for the soul.
kirtan develops divine love.
kirtan produces bhava samadhi - ecstasy of devotion.

samadhi leads to direct, intuitive realization of the infinite.
it is an inner divine experience, beyond the reach of speech and mind.
a jnani or sage will always be in samadhi, although engaged in worldly actions.
one without full even-mindedness will never be able to go into samadhi, even though he sits in padmasana for several hours.
when all cravings cease,
when one gets equal-vision,
he attains
jnana vision and
brahmic bliss.

february 28

epistle of swami sivananda - 9
this is the way to spiritualise all your actions (continued)

spiritual experiences differ in sadhakas - seekers - according to
the nature of their sadhana - practice - and
the yoga they are practising.
some hear anahat - mystic sounds - in the ear.
some see brilliant lights.
some have vision of rsis - sages, mountains, rivers, etc.
some experience cosmic consciousness.
this is a rare experience.
it cannot be expressed in words.

maya is the illusory power of the lord.
maya hides the real, and makes the unreal appear as real.
maya is suddha - pure - satva.
do not enquire now into the origin of maya.
strive for its destruction.
maya is indescribable.
it can be crossed,
through the grace of god,
acquired by self-surrender.
when jnana is attained, then you will know all about maya.

avidya is ignorance.
it is the cause for bondage.
vidya is the cause for liberation.
destroy the root of avidya, through knowledge of atman.
avidya is the causal body of the individual soul.
it is impure satva.
it is mixed with rajas - activity - and tamas - inertia.
avidya is the cause for births and deaths.
mind and body are the effects of avidya.

samadhi is union with god.
it is a state of eternal bliss, and eternal wisdom.
it cannot be described in words.
in savikalpa samadhi there is the triad - knower, knowledge, and knowable.
in samadhi, mind, intellect, and senses, cease functioning.
all dualities vanish in toto.
meditate ceaselessly, and enjoy the supreme bliss of nirvikalpa samadhi.

please note the difference between sleep and samadhi.
sleep is an inert state.
but samadhi is a state of pure consciousness.
when a man returns from sleep, he is heavy and dull.
he has no experience of wisdom of atman.
but when the yogi comes down from samadhi, he is full of wisdom of atman.

february 29

epistle of swami sivananda - 10
this is the way to spiritualise all your actions (continued)

jnana yoga is the yoga of wisdom.
it is vedanta.
it is the culmination of all the other yogas.
it teaches that the individual soul is in essence identical with the supreme soul.
when avidya - ignorance - is destroyed, the individual soul merges in the supreme soul.
the aspirant should equip himself with the four means of salvation - study the scriptures under a guru, and meditate.
he will attain self-realization.

the mind alone is the universe.
the body with its organs, etc., is no other than mind.
the slayer of atman - self - is the mind only.
the actions of the mind alone are indeed actions, but not so those of the body.
the mind contemplating upon the body becomes the body itself, and then, enmeshed in it, is afflicted by it.
slay the mind, and attain eternal bliss.

he who has a guru knows brahman.
a guru alone can remove doubts, pitfalls, and snares.
guru is god himself.
all that a guru can do is to tell his disciple the method of knowing the truth or the path that leads to the disclosure of the intuitional faculty.
he will clear your doubts, remove pitfalls and snares, and inspire you.
he cannot give you samadhi - super-conscious state.
you will have to place each step yourself on the rung of the ladder of yoga.
do not expect a miracle from your guru, to put you into samadhi.

every man wants everlasting happiness.
this is his innate feeling.
this indicates that his soul is an embodiment of bliss.
everybody wants full knowledge of everything.
this gives the clue that atman is a mass of knowledge.
every man wants freedom.
it gives the clue that his atman is ever free.
search within, and attain the ever blissful and ever free atman.

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