Daily Readings

Sivananda - August

CYT for DLS - Mauritius - isbn 0620036540

Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Venkatesaya

august 1

benefits of non-covetousness

aparigraha is the fifth limb of yama - self-restraint.
parigraha is covetousness or greed, to possess and enjoy objects of the senses.
aparigraha is the opposite of parigraha.
this is non-covetousness or non-acceptance of gifts.
it is the absence of craving to possess and enjoy sensual objects.
it is a mental state - bhava, wherein the sensual craving is dead.
parigraha leads to anxiety to preserve, to fear of loss, to sorrow in loss, to hatred, anger, untruthfulness, stealing, etc.

aparigraha puts an end to all these defects, and bestows peace, contentment and satisfaction.
aparigraha is indeed an aid to the practice of ahimsa - non-violence, satyam - truth, asteyam - non-stealing.
when the craving is not satisfied, you become angry, you hate the man who stands in your way of attaining and possessing things.
you harm him in different ways, you speak untruth, you begin to steal things.
the mind is ever in a state of agitation, restlessness, dissatisfaction and discontentment.
aparigraha removes all these defects.
mithya drsti - the seeing of falsehood in objects,
dosa drsti - the seeing of defects in them,
vairagya - dispassion,
dama - control of the senses, and
pratyahara - withdrawal of the senses,
are aids to the practice of aparigraha.
aparigraha is the common foundation for all yogas,
just as dhyana - meditation - is the common meeting point of all yogas.
it is a virtue to be practiced, not only by aspirants, but by all persons of the world.

he who has no faith in
the grace of the lord, and in
the utterance of lord krishna in the gita,
'i ensure the welfare of the devotees who constantly think of me',
will not practice aparigraha.
the practice of aparigraha has wonderful benefits.
it removes at one stroke, fear, attachment, disappointment, anxiety, agitation, restlessness, hatred, jealousy, anger, lust, greed, cares, worries, despair, and depression.
therefore practice aparigraha, and become a dynamic yogi.

pure love is bliss.
speak forgivingly,
act lovingly,
serve lovingly.
you will soon enter the divine kingdom of heaven or supreme peace.
hatred ceases not by hatred, but by love.

love is absolute
peace, and

august 2

purity and contentment

sauca is internal and external purity.
external purity generates pure thoughts.
practice of sauca brings disgust for one's own body, and the body of others also.
you will soon give up mamata - mineness of body.
take a bath in the early morning and wear simple, clean cloth.
you will get the meditative mood quickly.
sauca helps to maintain brahmacarya.
the practice of
japa - repetition of god's name, and
will purify the heart and eradicate jealousy, cruelty, hatred, anger and lust.
this is internal sauca.

this is the first anga or limb of niyama - discipline.
niyama and yama - self-restraint - are interdependent.
niyama strengthens and safeguards yama.
removal of lust, anger, hatred, jealousy etc., constitutes internal purity.
internal purity is more important than external purity.
internal purity makes the mind one-pointed;
it bestows
poise, and
it instills
patience, and
therefore develop internal purity through diligent and vigilant effort.

contentment - santosa - cuts at the root of all desires.
it gives success in the practice of yama.
it gives
one-pointedness of mind,
serenity, and
eternal satisfaction.
divine light will descend in a contented mind alone.
a contented man is satisfied with his lot,
he is happy in whatever condition he is placed,
he does not crave for things he has not got.
contentment is a mystic stream of joy that cools the three fires of samsara and joins the ocean of immortal bliss.

contentment - this is a most vital subject.
you all know the maxim: 'a contented mind is a continual feast'.
the mind is always restless on account of greed.
greed is a kind of internal fire that consumes a man slowly.
contentment is a powerful antidote for the poison of greed.
there are four sentinels who guard the domain of moksa - liberation.
they are:
shanti - peace,
santosa - contentment
satsanga - company of the holy, and
vicara - enquiry.
if you can approach any of these sentinels, you can get hold of the other three.
if you get hold of santosa - contentment, you can easily see the other three following you.

august 3

supreme peace is your goal

every man in the world is restless, and is striving after something.
what it is, he does not know.
in the accomplishment of ambitious projects, he seeks the rest that he feels he is in need of.
but he finds that worldly greatness, when secured, is a snare and a delusion.
he does not find any real happiness or peace in it.
he gets degrees, titles, honors, power, name, and fame.
he marries, he begets children, he gets all he had supposed would give him happiness.
but he finds no rest.

pious men, saints, sages declare that this restlessness of every man, this state of discontent, dissatisfaction and uncomfortableness, of being ill at ease with himself and his surroundings, is solely due to the loss of the companionship of the partner of his soul, god.

peace is absolute serenity and tranquility, wherein all the mental modifications, thoughts, imagination, whims, fancies, moods, impulses and emotions, instincts etc., cease entirely, and the individual soul rests in his own native, pristine glory, in an unruffled state.

it is not, of course, the temporary condition of mental quietude which worldly people speak of in common parlance, when they retire for a short time to a solitary bungalow in a forest for a short rest.

peace is the fourth state of super-consciousness.

it is the realm of supreme bliss, eternal life and eternal sunshine,
where cares, worries, anxieties and fears which torment the soul here, dare not enter,
where all distinctions of caste, creed and colour vanish altogether in the one embrace of the divine love, and
where desires and cravings find their full satiety.

peace is within.
search for it in the chambers of your heart through one-pointed concentration and meditation.
if you do not find peace there, you will not find it anywhere else.
remember, dear friends, that the goal of life is attainment of peace and not the achievement of power, fame and wealth.

desire is the greatest enemy of peace.
there is no peace for him who has no concentration.
there can be no happiness for the unpeaceful.
in that supreme peace all pains, all sorrows, miseries, tribulations vanish forever.

the peace of the eternal lies near those who know themselves, who are disjoined from desire and passion, subdued in nature and of subdued thoughts.
the man who is endowed with supreme faith and who has mastery over his senses, quickly gets supreme peace.

august 4


that which purifies the impure mind is tapas.
that which regenerates the lower animal nature and generates divine nature is tapas.
that which cleanses the mind and destroys lust, anger, greed etc., is tapas.
that which destroys tamas - dullness - and rajas - impurity - and increases satva - purity - is tapas.
that which steadies the mind and fixes it on the eternal is tapas.
that which arrests the outgoing tendencies, destroys vasana - habits, egoism, raga-dvesa - likes and dislikes - and generates dispassion, discrimination and meditation is tapas.

this is the third limb of niyama - discipline - in raja yoga.
it is one of the three items of kriya - dynamic - yoga.
tapas means austerity or practice of penance.
the man of tapas is brilliant like a blazing fire.
tapas means restraint of the senses and meditation.
also tapas leads to control of mind.
standing on one leg, raising one arm up for a long time is also tapas, but this is tamasic - dull - tapas of an ignorant man.
pancagni tapas is sitting in the midst of four fires in the hot sun, having the hot sun as the fifth fire.
vairagis practice this very often.
desire moves the senses.
desire can be controlled only if the senses are curbed.
tapas annihilates desires.
annihilate tapas abhimana - pride of austerity.
the unintelligent tapasvin - ascetic - is always irritable, hottempered and proud.
practice intelligent tapas.

mental tapas is more powerful than physical tapas.
he who bears heat and cold does physical tapas.
he increases his power of endurance, but he may not be able to bear insult.
he will be easily upset by a harsh or unkind word.
he may take revenge and do tit-for-tat.
he has no control over the mind.
he has disciplined only the physical body.

to keep a balanced mind in all conditions of life,
to bear insult, injury and persecution,
to be ever serene, contented, and peaceful,
to be cheerful in adverse conditions,
to have fortitude in meeting danger,
to have presence of mind and forbearance,
are all forms of mental tapas.

'the men who perform severe austerities, unenjoined by the scriptures, wedded to vanity and egoism, impelled by the force of their desire and passion, tormenting the aggregated elements forming the body and me also, seated in the inner body, know these to be demoniacal in their resolves'. bhagavad gita - xvii

august 5

importance of mouna

the organ of speech is a very great distracter of the mind.
too much talking indicates that the man is rajasic - restless.
talking makes the mind extravert.
mouna - vow of silence - is almost death for the worldly man.
it is a great blessing for the spiritual aspirant.

a worldly man always wants company and talk.
this is his nature.
energy is wasted in this idle gossiping.
conserve this energy by mouna, and utilise it for the contemplation of the divine.
if you observe mouna for two months, you will realize its advantages.
then you yourself will not leave the practice.
if the organ of speech is checked, then the eyes and ears come under control quite easily.

mouna develops will power.
it checks the impulse of speech.
it is a great help in the observance of truth and the control of anger.
emotions are also controlled and irritability vanishes.
a mouni - one who observes mouna - uses measured words, and his speech is very impressive.
a mouni first thinks whether his speech will wound the feelings of others, what impression it will make on the minds of others, and so on.
he is careful in his speech.
he is thoughtful and considerate.
he weighs each word before it comes out of his mouth.
he can stay for a long time in seclusion.
feel the joy and peace of silence for yourself.

if you wish to observe mouna, you should keep yourself perfectly occupied in
japa - repetition of god's name,
meditation, and
do not mix with others.
do not come out of your room frequently.
the energy used for speech should be sublimated into spiritual energy.
it should be utilised for meditation.
then only you will enjoy serenity, calmness, peace, and inner spiritual strength.

during mouna, introspect.
watch the thoughts.
then you will come to understand the ways of the mind and its workings.
you can notice how the mind runs from one object to another in a moment's time.
you will derive immense benefit from the practice of mouna.
real mouna is silence of the mind.
physical mouna eventually leads to silence of the mind.

mouna of the mind is far superior to the mouna of speech.
mouna should come by itself.
it must be natural.
forced mouna is only wrestling with the mind.
it is an effort.
if you live in truth, then mouna will come by itself, and there will be absolute peace.

august 6

study the scriptures

svadhyaya is study of scriptures and books written by realized sages.
it is one of the limbs of niyama - discipline - in raja yoga.
svadhyaya is also enquiry of the nature of atman - self, or, 'who am i?'
it is recitation of mantras - sacred formulas - also.
svadhyaya is indirect satsanga, when you cannot get positive satsanga of mahatmas - company of holy ones.
svadhyaya clears doubts,
it strengthens the flickering faith,
it induces strong yearning for liberation or aspiration,
it gives encouragement and illumination,
it places before you a list of saints who trod the path, encountered and removed difficulties, and thus cheers you up with hope and vigour.
it fills the mind with satva - purity.
it inspires and elevates the mind.
it helps concentration and meditation.
it cuts new satvic - pure - grooves, and makes the mind run in these new grooves.

svadhyaya is daily study of religious scriptures.
it is daily parayana - study - of sacred books.
it is the fourth anga - limb - of raja yoga niyama.
it inspires and elevates the mind to high spiritual altitude.
it clears doubts.
it weeds out unholy ideas, and cuts new spiritual grooves for the mind to move along.
it reduces wandering of the mind - viksepa.
it helps concentration.
it forms a kind of lower - savikalpa - samadhi - super-consciousness.
it serves as spiritual pasture for the mind to graze upon.
when you study the sacred books, you are in tune with the authors who are realized souls.
you draw inspiration and become ecstatic.

japa is the best of all spiritual practices in this modern age.
it is the easiest too.
divine name alone will give you all success, and bestow the highest spiritual attainments on you.
the seeker after truth realizes the highest goal of japa or recitation of the lord's name alone.
have faith
in the saving grace of god, and
in the power of the lord's name.
repetition of the lord's name is a sure medicine for the disease of birth and death.

japa of a mantra can bring the practitioner the realization of his highest goal, even though he has no knowledge of its meaning.
there is an indescribable power in the name of god - the mantra.
if you repeat it with concentration on it's meaning, you will attain god-realization quickly.

august 7

japa is important

japa is an important anga - limb - of yoga.
in the gita you will find: 'yajnanam japa yajnosmi - among yajnas - religious practice - i am japa yajna'.
in kali yuga - dark age - the practice of japa alone can give eternal peace, bliss and immortality.
japa ultimately results in samadhi - communion with the lord.
japa must become habitual, and must be attended with satvic - divine - bhava - feeling, purity, love, and faith.
there is no yoga greater than japa yoga.
it can give you all siddhis - powers, whatever you want, bhakti - devotion - and mukti - freedom.

japa is the repetition of the mantra - mystic formula.
dhyana is meditation on the form of the lord and his attributes.
this is the difference between japa and dhyana:
there is meditation or dhyana with japa - japa-sahita,
there is meditation or dhyana without japa - japa-rahita.
in the beginning you should combine dhyana with japa.
as you advance, the japa drops away by itself - meditation alone remains.
at an advanced stage, you can practice concentration separately.
you can do whatever you like best in this respect.
'om' is both saguna and nirguna - manifested and unmanifested - brahman.
if you are a devotee of rama, you can repeat 'om rama' for the manifestation of the manifested brahman.

the name - nama - and the object - rupa, signified by the name, are inseparable.
whenever you think of the name of your son, his figure stands before your mental eye - and vice versa.
even so, when you do japa of 'rama rama' or 'krishna krishna', the picture of rama or krishna will come before your mind.
therefore japa and dhyana go together.
they are inseparable.

whilst you are doing japa of any mantra, think that you are really praying to your ista devata - chosen, beloved divinity.
think that your ista devata is really listening to you, that he is looking at you with merciful or graceful eyes and that, with open hands, he is giving you full abhaya dana - asking you to be free from all fears - with a view to giving you your desired objects.
entertain this bhava.

do the japa with feeling.
know the meaning of the mantra.
feel the lord's presence in everything, everywhere.
draw closer to him when you repeat his name.
think he is shining in the chambers of your heart.
think that he is witnessing the repetition of the mantra, just as he is the witness of your every action.

august 8

instruction in japa

make the divine name the anchor and prop of your life.
if you take to the recitation of the divine name, all inauspiciousness will certainly vanish.
'om tat sat' is the most excellent of mantras - mystic formula.
one becomes a siddha - perfect being - by japa of this mantra, om tat sat.
by repetition of this mantra, om tat sat, one becomes the conqueror of death.
practice of the divine names, and
sincere prayer to the lord,
are the greatest purifiers of the heart and of human nature.

after selecting a suitable mantra, stick to it.
frequent change of mantra is not desirable.
all mantras mean the same thing - the supreme truth, the one eternal, infinite, almighty being.
ever remember the lord.
his divine name is the greatest treasure in this life.
his name has got indescribable power.
it bestows blessings upon all those who have faith.

remembrance of the lord is auspiciousness and forgetfulness of the lord is inauspiciousness.
reciting the names of the lord at bedtime is a good practice.
sing the lord's names.
dance in ecstasy.
be regular in your sadhana - spiritual practice.
realize the self in this very birth.

japa is of three kinds:
manasic - mental,
upamsu - humming - and
vaikhari - audible - japa.
mental japa is more powerful than audible japa.

get up at 4 a.m. and do japa for two hours.
this is the most favourable time for japa and for meditation.
if you cannot take a bath, wash your hands, face, feet, before sitting for japa.
face north when sitting as this enhances the efficacy of the japa.
sit on a kusa - grass - seat or deer skin or rug, with a white cloth spread over it.
this conserves body electricity.
recite some prayers before starting japa.
have a steady pose.
be able to sit on padma, siddha or sukha asana for three hours at a stretch.

repetition of the mantra removes the dirt of the mind, things such as lust, anger and greed.
the mind from which the impurities have been removed, acquires the capacity to reflect the highest spiritual truth.

august 9

regular japa

never do japa - repetition of god's name - in a hurried manner.
do it slowly with one-pointedness of mind and single-minded devotion.
pronounce the mantra distinctly and without mistakes.
do not repeat it too quickly or too slowly.

do not use the index finger while telling the beads.
use the thumb, the middle and the ring fingers.
when the counting of one mill is over, revert the mill and come back again.
cross not the meru - the 'top' bead in the rosary.
whilst doing japa, cover your hand with a towel.

be vigilant.
keep an alert attention during japa.
when sleep tries to overpower you, stand up and do japa.
resolve to finish a certain minimum number of malas before leaving your seat.

the mala - rosary - is a whip to goad the mind towards god.
sometimes do japa without a mala; just go by the clock.
along with the japa, practice meditation.
gradually japa will drop and meditation alone will continue.

have four sittings for japa each day.
these should be in the early morning, at noon, in the evening and at night.
regularity in japa sadhana - practice - is most essential.
sit in the same place, at the same time, always.

japa must become a habit.
even in dream you must be doing japa.
japa yoga is the
surest, and
way for attaining god-realization.
glory to the lord!
glory, glory to his name.

hold fast to the lord.
love him.
embrace him.
do not worry over trifles.
do japa constantly.
recite the name constantly.
the name of the lord alone is bound to achieve what nothing else can achieve in the kali yuga - iron age.
wash the mind with the water of the lord's name.
cleanse it of desire, jealousy, pride, hatred, etc.
sing the name again and again.
you will reach the other shore of fearlessness and immortality.

august 10


surrender is isvarapranidhana - the devotee consecrates all his works and their fruits to the lord.
the devotee has no will of his own.
he says unto the lord,
'i am thine.
all is thine.
thy will be done.
i am an instrument in thy hands.'
in surrendering one's will to the lord, his will becomes one with the cosmic will.
he becomes one with the lord.
there is no loss in surrendering one's will to the lord.
self-surrender is complete surrender of the self to god.

self-surrender makes the devotee feel the reality of divine grace, and the lord's readiness to bestow help on him at all times.
the divine influence streams into his being, and
moulds it to make it a fit medium for
divine realization and
divine instrumentality.

surrender and grace are interrelated.
surrender draws down grace, and
grace makes surrender complete.
surrender starts the purification of the heart, and
grace completes it.
without grace complete unification is not possible.
grace divinises your being in order that the constant inflow and inspiration can be received and retained.
it is through divine grace alone that one's whole being is galvanised and rejuvenated.

the self-arrogating little ego persists and resists again and again.
it clings to old habits, cravings and desires.
it wages guerilla war.
it resists surrender.
it demands certain objects for its secret gratification.
the whole being should be surrendered.
that is the reason why lord krishna says:
'tameva saranam gaccha sarvabhavena bharata'
flee unto him for shelter with all thy being, o bharata.
the citta, the ego, the mind, the intellect and the soul, should all be placed at the feet of the lord.
mira did this, and so obtained the grace of lord krishna, and became one with him.

the vulgar, stiff, obstinate ego is harder than diamond, reinforced concrete or steel.
it is very difficult to melt it.
constant vigilance and ceaseless effort are necessary to slay this dire enemy of peace and wisdom.
it keeps subtle desires for its own silent appeasement.
discover the subtle desires that lurk in the corners of your heart, through the search-light of concentration and discrimination.
kill them through regular, silent meditation.

august 11

self-surrender - true and false

self-surrender is a safe and sure means of god-realization.
surrender yourself, and all your belongings to the feet of the supreme.
live a life of godliness.
think that nothing is yours, and that everything belongs to god - this is surrender to god.
give the power of attorney to god; let him do whatever he wants.
you will have no worry and no anxiety.
you will be peaceful.

surrender contains intense love and faith.
it must be complete - the entire being must be surrendered to the lord - mind, intellect, citta and egoism.
desire and egoism are the two great obstacles to self-surrender.

if the mind says, 'i am thine, o lord',
if the ego says, 'i must become a court judge',
if the intellect says, 'i am a great devotee',
if the citta says, 'i must attain siddhis',
this will not constitute perfect, unreserved surrender.
this is only cheating the lord, the inner ruler and witness.

after surrendering to the lord, you should not grumble and fret when any trouble comes.
you should not complain to the lord:
'o lord, you have no eyes. you have no compassion.'
if you complain, then there is no meaning in your surrender.

through surrender the devotee immerses himself into the eternal essence.
you can endear yourself to the lord only by self-surrender.
the more the surrender, the more the grace.

in difficulties and struggles, god will give you the strength and inner peace to bear them - this is his grace.
constant remembrance of the lord,
constant recitation of his name,
will fill your heart with
satva - purity - and
immense strength and
to face the most trying conditions with perfect calmness and serenity.

have perfect trust in god.
surrender to him.
place yourself in his loving care.
do this with your whole heart and mind,
with perfect confidence and faith.
worry not about your future, about money, about your health.
he will take care of you.
you will have plenty.
you will have immense strength and wonderful health.

august 12

yoga of self-surrender

repeat this formula very often and with intense faith:
'the lord is my strength, my support and my stay.'
thus you will derive strength, power and peace.
god knows what is best for you, and he does what is best for you.
his ways are mysterious.
know his ways and become wise.

slay egoism and desire.
they are the enemies, the obstacles of self-surrender.
you may accuse god and say: 'he is not just; he is cruel. vicious persons are thriving. i am virtuous, and yet i suffer. there is no god.'
later on you will realize that he has done the best thing for you.

do not pray to the lord for the removal of sufferings.
pray to him to grant you power of endurance and patience to bear all calamities.

a devotee remains unaffected by adversities and tribulations.
he knows and feels that they are all karmic purgations, and are the real messengers of god.
he welcomes them calmly.

a devotee alone gets troubles and adversities; because this is his last birth, many karmas have to be worked out, and he must be united with the lord in this very birth.

god gives immense strength and patience to his devotee, to bear troubles and calamities.
the devotee is ever calm and cheerful - he is not affected by them, as his mind ever dwells in the contemplation of the lord.
he is not body-conscious.

murmer not. grumble not.
even a leaf cannot fall without the will of god.
what is destined to take place as willed by god, takes place.
face the difficulties, the battle of life with a smile.
become a brave soldier.
difficulties come to intensify your faith, to strengthen your will and power of endurance, and to turn your mind more and more towards god.

pain is the great eye-opener.
it is your silent teacher.
it will make you remember god.
kunti prayed 'o lord krishna, give me pain always, so that i may ever remember you.'
the more troubles and adversities you get, the stronger and firmer will be your faith in god.
they will mould you into a divine being.
welcome them.

seek god's grace through self-surrender, and he will show you the way.
transient are all mundane things!
evanescent are all earthly forms!
seek the immortal, and attain bliss eternal.

august 13

develop the body too

physical culture or development of the body is as important as the development of the mind, will or memory.
if the body is not kept strong and healthy, vigorous and active, no culture is possible.
all cultures depend on a sound body.
there is a wise saying: 'a sound mind in a sound body.'
the body is the temple of god.
it should be kept scrupulously clean by daily bath, a good scrub with a clean towel.
this opens the pores which may have been clogged by sweat and sebum.

there are different types of physical culture.
select one according to your needs, taste, temperament and capacity.
a man in poor health should take long brisk walks, morning and evening.
always walk alone.
then you feel the presence of the almighty everywhere, and you can be in perfect harmony with nature.
morning walks are pleasant.
the cool breeze is refreshing, and the fragrance of the flowers is invigorating.
finish the walk before sunrise.
the walking itself should be brisk.
you should have good perspiration.
only then it is exercise.
walk at least three or four miles a day.
do pranayama whilst walking.
inhale for six steps, retain for six steps, and then exhale for six steps.
this is good practice.

be strictly regular in the performance of the exercises - this is essential for rapid progress.
those doing vigorous exercise should take substantial, nutritious food - otherwise their muscles will waste.
they should take plenty of ghee - clarified butter, milk, butter, nuts etc.
those who practice the head-stand should take a light meal about ten minutes after they have finished the asanas.
weigh your body once a month, and keep a record.
do exercise both morning and evening.
then rest for half an hour before taking your bath.

observe brahmacarya - celibacy - as much as you can.
if you remain a strict celibate you will attain astonishing results.
what is there in a woman?
what is there in repeating the same old act again and again which is so disgraceful?
are you not ashamed of all that?
do you not realize that it is all the play of avidya - ignorance - and false moha - delusion?
strengthen the body, and then do spiritual practice - sadhana.
you will enjoy real bliss.
i beseech you - learn to be wise - at least from now on.

treat this body as your servant and instrument.
you are distinct from this physical body, which is only made up of the five elements, and is subject to decay and death.
you are in essence the reality, the all-pervading, imperishable atman - self.
identification with the body is the root-cause for bondage, for human misery and suffering.
do not become the slave of the body.

august 14

mental health is vital

good health is the prerequisite for spiritual pursuits.
the practice of yoga asanas for even fifteen minutes a day will help to keep good health.
become quite fit, and you will be hale and hearty.
without good health you cannot wage war against the turbulent senses and the boisterous mind.

body, mind and spirit constitute man.
there is an intimate relation between body and mind.
the body is the mould prepared by the mind, for its own enjoyment.
spirit is the substratum for the body and the mind.
mental health is even more vital than physical health.
the spring of loveliness flows from health.

every joy that enlivens your heart comes from health.
lack of cheerfulness contributes to physical ill-health.
if one is always cheerful and entertains good and divine thoughts, he will not suffer from any disease.
he will have perfect health at all times.

allow your body to respond freely to the action of natural agents.
put yourself in tune with the source of all health, power and strength.
the cosmic force for well-being will then in-fill you.
this is the ultimate factor behind all therapeutics.
this is the secret to bear in mind.
use it for the background for the treatment of your ills, both bodily and mental.

with your being harmonized with the all-pervading cosmic being, you will cross the ocean of worldly existence by vigorous spiritual sadhana - practice.
and, through his abundant grace and blessing, may you attain health and long life.

in one's endeavour to utilise one's power in the quest of truth, the health of the body is of great importance.
man always talks of good health, but does little or nothing about it.
you must have a body that is fit, strong and healthy - then alone you will have a mind that can work to the full capacity.

health and strength can be yours with
a little positive thinking,
careful regulation of personal habits,
observance of nature's laws, and
daily meditation.
the source of all health and healing is thy self.
the power to overcome all conditions lies in you.
persistently assert your ever perfect spiritual nature.
feel thyself to be an ocean of perfect health, strength and vigour.
allow the mind to dwell on this continuously.

august 15

yoga asanas

health is wealth.
good health is a valuable asset for one and all.
it can be achieved by the practice of yoga asanas, which control the emotions, and produce mental peace.
it also distributes prana evenly throughout the body and different systems.
it helps in maintaining the healthy functioning of the internal organs.
it gives internal massage to the various abdominal organs.

physical exercises draw the prana out, but asanas send the prana in.
the practice of asanas cures many diseases, and it awakens the kundalini shakti.
these are the chief advantages of the yogic system of exercises, advantages which none of the other systems have.

practice a few asanas daily - at least for fifteen minutes.
soon you will possess wonderful health.
be regular in your practice - this is of paramount importance.

asanas should be done on an empty stomach in the morning, or at least three hours after food.
morning is the best time to do the asanas.
do not wear your spectacles whilst doing them.
wear a langotee and a singlet if necessary.

be moderate in your diet.
practice brahmacarya - celibacy.
begin with a minimum time and gradually increase it.
answer the calls of nature before you begin doing the asanas.

the endocrine glands play an important part in the economy of nature.
the practice of sarvangasana keeps the thyroid healthy, and this means a healthy functioning of all the organs and systems in the body.

the diaphragm, the muscular partition between the chest and the abdomen, is also developed by certain exercises such as - dhanurasana, mayurasana, and pascimottanasana.
the movement of the diaphragm massages the abdominal viscera and organs.
there will be daily evacuation of the bowels in the morning.
constipation, dyspepsia, and a host of other ailments of the stomach and intestines, will disappear.

four asanas are prescribed for the purposes of japa - repetition of god's name - and meditation.
they are padma, siddha, svastika and sukha.
be able to sit in any of these for three hours without shaking.
then only you will be able to control the breath and do meditation.
if you can be steady in the posture for even an hour, you will acquire a one-pointed mind, and feel infinite peace.

august 16

benefits of yoga asanas

the practice of asanas develops the body.
the practitioner himself is kept agile and nimble.
he has an elastic spine and a supple body.
he has a keen and vigorous appetite.
any trouble is removed at its starting point by the practice of asanas.

the three important organs, that is the heart, the lungs, and the brain and cerebro-spinal system, are kept in a healthy condition.
the vital forces are preserved and increased.
the circulation of the blood in the arteries and veins is kept in proper order by the practice of asanas.
there is no stagnation of the blood in any part of the body.

the practitioner of asanas always laughs heartily, and radiates joy, strength and vigour wherever he moves.
he always gets success in all his attempts.
he looks very young, even at the age of sixty.
he is endowed with a peculiar glow in his face and eyes.
he possesses a peculiar charm in his smile.

by practising the asanas regularly, men and women will acquire a figure which will enhance their beauty, and a suppleness which gives charm and elegance to every movement.

health is thy birthright - not disease.
strength is
thy heritage - but not weakness,
efficiency - but not inefficiency,
courage - but not fear,
bliss - but not sorrow,
peace - but not restlessness,
knowledge - but not ignorance,
immortality - but not mortality.

this body is the moving temple of god.
it is an instrument for crossing the ocean of samsara or the round of birth and death.
it is the instrument for attaining the supreme abode of immortality, eternal bliss and perennial joy.
it is a horse that can take you to the destination, the goal of life.
therefore it must be kept healthy and strong.

proper training and care of the body, on an intelligent basis, is necessary.
there should be harmonious development of all the muscles of the body, organs, nerves and frame.

august 17

see the results

for those who have poorly developed chests, respiratory exercises are necessary.
for those who have excess fat in the abdomen, abdominal exercises are essential.
exercises that are best calculated to improve the function of vital inner organs of the body, and tone them up to counteract the tendency towards disease, are also indispensable.

the lungs can be developed through the practice of deep breathing exercises.
by pranayama - yoga breathing, the apices of the lungs will get a proper supply of oxygen.
there will be an improvement in the quality and the quantity of the blood.
all the tissues and cells will be nourished with pure blood and lymph.
the process of metabolism will be carried out in an efficient manner.

if the joints move freely, the ligaments and the surrounding tissues will be in a proper, healthy condition.
free movement of the spine will prevent stiffening and contraction of the spine.
ossification and degeneration of the bones of the spinal column - merudanda - will also be checked.
a thickened and immovable joint gives a great deal of discomfort and uneasiness.

by the practice of asanas, free movement is given to the elbow, wrist, ankle, shoulder and spinal joints.
muscles of the cervical, dorsal and lumbar regions, are stretched and relaxed.
there is dorsal and lumbar lifting, and the body is kept in a fit condition.

asanas are the system of yogic exercises of the indian rsis - sages - of yore, based on exact principles.
these are adapted for both men and women, for people of the east and west.
you can keep up meditation while performing the asanas.
this is accompanied by pranayama or regulation of the breath.

these exercises are preventative and curative.
some of them twist the body forwards and backwards.
others help the lateral movement of the spine.
thus the body as a whole is developed, toned and strengthened.
the whole course can be finished in fifteen minutes.
within this short period you can realize the maximum benefit.
this system is simple, exact, efficacious, economical of time, and capable of being selfpracticed.

august 18

prana and pranayama

breath is external manifestation of prana, the vital force.
breath, like electricity, is gross prana.
breath is sthula - gross, prana is suksma - subtle.
by exercising control over this breathing, you can control the subtle prana inside.
control of prana means control of mind.
mind cannot operate without the help of prana.

the vibrations of prana produce thought in the mind.
it is prana that moves the mind.
it is prana that sets the mind in motion.
it is the suksma prana or psychic prana that is intimately connected with the mind.

breath represents the important flywheel of an engine.
just as other wheels stop when the driver stops the flywheel, all other organs stop working when the yogi stops the breath.
if you can control the flywheel, you can easily control the other wheels.

likewise, if you can control the breath, the external breath, then you can easily control the inner vital force, the prana.
the process by which the prana is controlled, by the regulation of external breath, is termed pranayama.

just as the goldsmith removes the impurities from gold, by heating it in the hot furnace, and by strongly blowing the blow-pipe, so also the yogic method removes the impurities of the body and the indriyas - senses, by blowing the lungs - that is, by practising pranayama.

the chief aim of pranayama is to unite the prana with the apana, and to take the united pranapana slowly towards the head.
the effects, or fruit of pranayama, is the awakening of the sleeping kundalini.

'he who knows prana, knows the veda,' is the important declaration of the srutis.
in the vedanta sutras you will find: 'for the same reason, breath is brahman.'
prana is the sum total of all energy that is manifest in the universe.
it is the sum total of all the forces in nature.

prana is the sum total of all latent forces and powers which are hidden in men, and which lie everywhere around us.
heat, light, electricity and magnetism are all manifestations of prana.
all forces, all powers, and prana, spring from the fountain or common source - the atman.

august 19

prana control

prana is expended by thinking, willing, acting, moving, talking, writing, etc.
a healthy and strong man has an abundance of prana, nerve force, vitality.
prana is supplied in water, in food, in air, and in solar energy.
excess prana is stored in the brain and nerve centres.
seminal energy, when sublimated or transformed, supplies an abundance of prana to the system.
it is stored in the brain in the form of 'ojas'.
the yogi stores abundant prana by regular practice of pranayama.

the yogi who has stored up a large supply of prana radiates strength and vitality.
those who come in close contact with him, imbibe prana from him, and get strength, vigour, vitality and exhilaration of spirits.
just as water flows from one vessel to another, prana flows, like a steady current, from a developed yogi to a weaker person.
this may actually be seen by one who has developed his inner, psychic vision.

breath is the external manifestation of gross prana.
correct habits of breathing must be established by the regular practice of pranayama.
if you can control prana, you can completely control all the forces of the universe, mental and physical.
the yogi can also control the omnipresent, manifesting power, out of which all energies take their origin.
he can control magnetism, electricity, gravitation, cohesion, nerve-currents, vital forces or thought vibrations.
in fact he can control the total forces of the universe, both physical and mental.

a yogi can withdraw prana from any area.
that area then becomes numb.
it becomes impervious to heat and cold.
he can send prana also to any area,
and make it oversensitive.
he can send prana to the eyes,
and see distant objects.
he can send prana to the nose,
and can experience divya gandha - supernatural scent.
he can send prana to the tongue,
and can experience supersensuous taste.

there is great significance in the order of the angas - limbs - of raja yoga.
practice of asana - posture - controls rajas - restlessness.
brahmacarya - celibacy - purifies the prana.
pranayama purifies the nadis - astral tubes.
pranayama steadies the mind, and makes it fit for concentration .
it removes rajas and tamas - dullness.
the practice of yama - self-restraint,
niyama - discipline,
asana, and
are all auxiliaries in the practice of concentration.
pranayama reduces the velocity of the mind.
it makes it run in smaller and smaller circles.

august 20

kundalini yoga

kundalini shakti is the coiled up, dormant, cosmic power that underlies all organic and inorganic matter.
it is the primordial energy that lies at the basal centre - muladhara chakra - in a dormant, potential state.
kundalini yoga treats of kundalini shakti, the seven chakras - centres of spiritual energy, and the arousing of this sleeping kundalini.

nadis are astral tubes that carry pranic currents.
they cannot be seen with the naked eye.
they are not the ordinary nerves, arteries and veins.
there are 72.000 nadis.
three are important.
they are the ida, the pingala, and the susumna.
susumna is the most important, because kundalini passes through this nadi only.

the first step in kundalini yoga is the purification of the nadis.
when susumna is pure, then only will the kundalini pass through it.
kundalini is awakened by pranayama, asana and mudras by hatha yogins.
concentration by raja yogins,
devotion and perfect self-surrender by devotees,
analytical will by the jnanis,
japa - repetition - of mantra - god's name, and
the grace of the guru - preceptor.

that aspirant
who has firm faith in the scriptures,
who is courageous,
generously merciful,
pure and dispassionate,
can easily awaken the kundalini, and
attain success in samadhi - super-consciousness.
he should also be equipped with
right conduct, and
he should constantly engage himself in the service of his guru, and
he should be free from lust, anger, delusion, greed and vanity.

when kundalini is taken to the sahasrara - the crown of the head,
when she is united with lord shiva,
perfect samadhi - the superconscious, blissful state - ensues.
now the yogi drinks the nectar of immortality.
may mother kundalini guide you all in your yogic practices!
may her blessings be upon you all!

what is this world?

this world is a mass of energy or electrons.
this is the view of scientists.
this world is all shakti,
this is the view of the shaktas.
the essence of the world is brahman, the absolute,
this is the view of vedantins.
thus sayeth sivananda.

august 21

develop your sight

whenever you meet a person, look at his figure carefully from top to bottom.
mentally note his peculiar features - the condition of his eyes, eyebrows, teeth, arms etc., the sort of dress he is wearing, what kind of cap he wears, whether he has a moustache or not.
notice his behaviour, his looks, his gait, whether he seems to be kind-hearted or cruel, whether he is intelligent or dull, polite or impolite, his colour, etc.

many people cannot give a clear description of the faces of their own friends, their own parents!
the obvious reason is that they have not developed the power of memory.
enter your friend's room.
notice carefully all the things you see there.
then close your eyes and reflect.
come out of the room, and note mentally all the things which the room contains.
then re-enter the room, and verify what you noticed.
practice this for some months - you will develop a wonderful power of sight.

memory culture is very, very important.
it brings success in god-realization as well.
a forgetful man always fails in his endeavours - he commits serious mistakes again and again.
a man with a strong and retentive memory gets sanguine success in all his ventures.
he who has memory can conduct his business affairs successfully.
a student who has a retentive memory will get success in all his examinations.
intelligence is only one-tenth of memory.

the sanskrit term for memory is smrti.
smarana is remembering.
this is the function of the subconscious mind or citta.
the samskaras - habits - of thinking and acting are deeply impressed in the citta,
citta is like the sensitive plate of a camera.
all impressions are indelibly recorded there.
whenever you attempt to remember past events or things, they come to the surface of the mind through the trap-door.
they come out in the form of big waves of thought, or as mental images.

he who dwells in the subconscious mind - citta - and in memory,
he who is within this memory,
he whom the citta and the memory do not know,
he whose body is the memory - and subconscious mind,
he who rules the memory and citta from within,
he is thy self, the inner ruler, immortal atman, antaryami, amritam.
my silent adorations and prostrations to this inner ruler!

august 22

memory culture

take up memory culture.
take to any exercise that suits you best, and put it into daily practice.
keep a daily record.
this is very important.
mere skipping over the pages will not do.
you will not be benefited.
if you really want rapid improvement, if you want to become a real man, put the lessons into practice, and take down notes.
you can watch your progress, and correct your mistakes.

learn the art of extracting work from the subconscious mind.
if you want to remember a forgotten passage, give a definite message to the subconscious mind, just before you retire to bed.
talk to the subconscious mind, just as you would talk to a friend.
give the order in clear terms.
the following morning, it will place the words before you.
if this fails, wait with a calm mind till the answer comes from the subconscious mind itself.

after you are well up in memory culture, you can take up will culture.
success in memory culture will give you a great impetus in will culture.
you will rejoice now.
you will train every nerve in the practice of will culture.
you have started the current, and it will keep up your zeal and enthusiasm.

practice the assertions boldly and calmly.
fully understand the meaning of every assertion.
try to feel it.
this feeling will slowly manifest.
do not be discouraged.
you will have to fight your old enemies, the old samskaras.
try to develop
power of endurance,
balance of mind,
presence of mind, and so on.

pay great attention to this; you will derive great benefit from it.
will is dynamic soul-force.
if rendered pure and irresistible, it can work wonders.
there is nothing you cannot achieve with a strong will.
the majority of persons have no consciousness of will or mind or intellect, though they talk much of 'will' and 'mind'.

the will has become impure and weak through vasanas - desires.
when a desire is controlled, it becomes changed into will.
sexual energy, muscular energy, anger, etc., are all transmuted into will-force when they are controlled.
the fewer the desires, the stronger the will.

the force of brahmacarya is at the back of will.
no will culture is possible without brahmacarya.
will is another name for the force of celibacy.
satsankalpa is the pure willing of jnanis.
they can do anything through satsankalpa.

august 23

develop will power

power of endurance,
overcoming aversion, dislikes and irritations,
fortitude in suffering, tapas, fasting,
mental power of endurance,
firmness in meeting danger,
power of resistance in attack,
keeping up daily diary,
are all to pave a long way towards developing the will.
you should patiently hear the words of others, even though they are not interesting and charming.
you should not fret and fume.
patient hearing develops will, and wins the hearts of other.
do actions or tasks that are uninteresting - this also develops will power.
the actions that are uninteresting will become interesting after some time.

never complain against bad environments.
create your own mental world wherever you remain, wherever you go.
the mind deludes you, at every moment, at every step.
try to overcome the obstacles and difficulties by suitable means.
do not try to run from bad, unfavourable environments.
god has placed you there to make you grow quickly.

man must learn to separate himself from the vehicles in which he thinks, feels, acts, desires.
he must know them to be part of the not-self, as material, external to life.
thus the energy that went out to objects of lower desires becomes a higher desire, guided by the mind, and is then prepared to be transmuted into will.

as the lower mind merges into the higher will and into that which is wisdom, the aspect of pure will emerges as the power of the spirit, self-determined, self-ruled, in perfect harmony with the supreme will, and therefore free.
then only, all the bonds are broken, and the spirit is unconstrained by anything outside itself.
then and then alone can the will be said to be free.

if a calamity occurs, your mind should not be upset.
keep the mind cool and calm.
have presence of mind.
do not cry over spilt milk - it has come to pass; so, face it with a cheerful countenance.
make the best of things.
'what cannot be cured must be endured.'
keep an unruffled mind.
do not be carried away by undue sentiments and bubbling emotions.
control the mind.
reflect how the calamity has come about.

there is always scope for suitable, effective, easy methods to tide over the crisis.
allow the turban to pass off when your head is on the point of being knocked down.
this is sagacity.
this is prudence.
this is wisdom.
develop foresight, wisdom - many obstacles and calamities will be obviated.
do not brood over failures, defects, mistakes.
this will weaken your will power.
let the defects remain there.
they will be removed quickly when the will grows, and when the will becomes purer and purer, stronger and stronger.

august 24

withdraw the mind

pratyahara is abstraction or withdrawal of the senses.
from pratyahara starts the real inner spiritual life, and the external world is shut out.
yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, all prepare the aspirant for the practice of pratyahara.
the mind is rendered calm by the practice of brahmacarya - celibacy - and aparigraha - non-covetousness.
asana and pranayama squeeze out the rajas - restlessness.
pranayama checks the out-going tendencies of the mind.
now the mind can easily be detached.

pratyahara gives inner spiritual strength and great peace of mind.
it develops will power and removes all sorts of distractions.
an unsteady asana - posture, too much talking, too much mixing, too much work, too much food, too much walking, too much of activity - vyavahara, and poking one's nose into the affairs of others, all produce much distraction of the mind, and stand in the way of the practice of pratyahara.

when you mix with people, again and again, fix the mind on your laksya - point of concentration.
rest in your background of thought - whether saguna - form - or abstract vedantic image.
this serves as a strong fortress to protect you from the onslaught of worldly thoughts.

keep a steady pose,
be regular in the practice of pranayama,
cultivate vairagya - dispassion,
vicara - enquiry, and
viveka - wisdom.
always look at the defects of a sensual life.
develop serenity,
be persevering, tenacious, ever-vigilant.
pray to the lord.
do japa - repetition of god's name.
obtain divine grace.
observe mouna - silence, moderation in diet and seclusion.
practice celibacy.
stick to resolves.
live in seclusion.
be bold.
be pure.
be wise.
have satsanga - holy company.
give up evil company.
then you will have success in pratyahara.

concentration is the direct method to get success in pratyahara.
sit in a quiet room, and withdraw the senses.
have a spiritual background of thought, and the mind will rest in this when released from work.
japa is another method.
divide the mind.
fix one portion on god, and let the other portion work.
sightless gaze is also another aid.
feel that this world is the manifestation of the lord.
understand that lasting happiness can only be had in the atman within.

it is difficult to say where pratyahara ends, and concentration begins.
concentration for twenty seconds makes one meditation, and
twenty such meditations make one samadhi - superconscious state.
but this is only for beginners.

august 25

your foremost duty - concentration

sri shankara writes that a man's duty consists in the control of the senses and the concentration of the mind.
as long as one's thoughts are not thoroughly destroyed, through persistent practice, a man should ever be concentrating his mind on one truth at a time.
through such constant practice, one-pointedness will accrue, and instantly all the hosts of thoughts will vanish.
concentration is opposed to sensuous desires, bliss to worry, sustained thinking to perplexity, applied thinking to sloth and apathy and rapture.

you are born to concentrate the mind on god after collecting the mental rays that are dissipated on various objects.
this is your foremost duty, but you forget it on account of delusion for family, money, power, position, name and fame.
concentration of the mind on god after purification can give you real happiness and knowledge.
you are born for this purpose only.
fix the mind on atman, the all-pervading, pure intelligence and self-luminous effulgence.
stand firm in brahman, then you will become established in brahman.

attention plays a great part in concentration.
it is the basis of will.
the force with which anything strikes the mind is generally in proportion to the degree of attention bestowed on it.
attention on any object may be either subjective - internal - or objective - external.
practice concentrating your attention on unpleasant tasks, upon uninteresting objects and ideas.
then many mental weaknesses will vanish, and the mind will become stronger and stronger.

do a thing that the mind does not want to do.
do not do a thing that the mind wants to do.
don't fulfill your desires.
don't hope.
don't expect.
destroy vicious desires through virtuous desires, and then
destroy the virtuous desires also, through one strong desire for liberation.
practice of pranayama destroys rajas - activity - and tamas - dullness, and makes the mind steady and one-pointed.

august 26

the practice of concentration

fix the mind on some object, within the body or without.
keep it there, steadily, for some time.
this is concentration.
practice this daily.
ethical perfection is a matter of paramount importance.
you can concentrate internally on any of the seven centres of spiritual energy.
a man who is filled with passion and fantastic desires, can hardly concentrate at all, even for a second.
his mind jumps around like a monkey.

sit in the lotus pose.
gaze gently at the tip of the nose.
practice this for one minute in the beginning, gradually increasing it to half an hour.
this steadies the mind and develops the power of concentration.
keep this up even as you walk about.

or, sit in the lotus pose, fixing the mind between the eyebrows.
do this gently for half a minute.
gradually increase to half an hour or more.
this removes tossing of the mind and develops concentration.
select either of these methods.

if you want to increase your power of concentration, you will have to reduce your worldly activities.
you will have to observe the vow of silence every day for two hours or more.

when the mind runs from an object, bring it back again and again.
when concentration is deep and intense, the senses cannot operate.
he who practices concentration for three hours a day will have tremendous psychic power and will power.

you should steadily direct your gaze towards the tip of the nose - nasikagra drsti - and keep the mind fixed on the self only.
in chapter five, verse 25 of the bhagavad gita, lord krishna says:
'having made the mind abide in the self, let him not think of anything.'
another gaze is gazing between the eyebrows.
do not strain the eyes; practice gently.

when you practice concentration on the end of the nose, you will experience various sorts of fragrance.
when you concentrate on the ajna chakra - eyebrow centre, you will experience divya jyoti - divine light.
this will give you encouragement.
it will push you up the spiritual path and convince you of the existence of transcendental things.
do not stop your sadhana - practice - now.

august 27

the fruits of concentration

now hear about the fruits that one gains from this practice.
supreme joy is for the yogi whose mind is peaceful, whose passionate nature is calmed, who is sinless and of the nature of the eternal.

when one advances in the practice of concentration,
when one takes a real interest in it, and
when one has realized some benefits,
then one cannot leave the practice.
concentration brings
supreme joy,
spiritual inner strength,
unalloyed felicity, and
infinite, eternal peace.
it brings
profound knowledge,
deep inner sight,
intuition, and
communion with god.

the vital point in concentration is to bring the mind to the same point or object, again and again, by limiting its movements.
limit it to a small circle to begin with - that is the main aim.
a time will come when the mind will stick to one point alone.
this is the fruit of protracted sadhana - practice.
now your joy will be indescribable.

if you decide to meditate on the form of a chair, bring all thoughts connected with that chair together, and dwell on these ideas.
do not allow thoughts of other objects to enter your mind.
thought should flow steadily, like oil flowing steadily from one vessel to another.
gradually reduce the number of ideas related to the object of concentration.
when all these ideas die, you get the super-conscious state - samadhi.

when this last idea dies out, and when there is not even a single idea, the mind becomes blank or void.
there is mental vacuity.
this is the stage of thoughtlessness referred to by patanjali in his raja yoga philosophy.
you must rise above this blank vrtti - thought-form, and identify yourself with the supreme purusa or brahman, the silent witness of the mind who gives power and light to the mind.
then and then alone you will reach the highest goal of life.

prolonged meditation on the absolute leads to perfection.
one of the greatest needs in spiritual life is meditation.
meditate and listen to the voice of god.
this will give you strength, power, and peace.

august 28

the power of concentration

if you focus the rays of the sun through a lens, they can burn cotton or a piece of paper.
but scattered rays cannot do this.
if you want to talk to a man at a distance, you make a funnel of your hand and speak.
the sound waves are collected at one point, and then directed towards the person.
he can hear your speech very clearly.
when water is converted into steam, and the steam is concentrated at a point, the railway engine moves.
the steam in the cooking vessels moves the lid and produces a sound.
all these are instances of concentrated waves.
even so, if you collect the dissipated rays of the mind, and focus them at a point, you will have wonderful concentration.
the concentrated mind will serve as a potent search-light, to discover the treasures of the soul, and attain the supreme wealth of atman, eternal bliss, immortality, and perennial joy.
therefore practice concentration and meditation regularly.

kumbhaka - retention of breath - helps concentration.
it checks the velocity of the mind, and makes it move in smaller circles, and ultimately curbs all its wanderings.
trataka - gazing - is a potent aid to concentration.
fix the mind on the candle flame, or a black dot, or sivalinga - symbol of shiva, or saligrama - symbol of vishnu.

brahmacarya - celibacy - helps concentration.
without brahmacarya you cannot have definite progress.
satvic - pure - food is another aid to concentration.
mouna - silence,
satsanga - holy company,
asana - yoga posture,
japa - repetition of god's name,
practice of yama, niyama,
fasting, moderation in diet,
non-mixing with persons,
little talking,
little walking,
little exertion,
are all aids to concentration.

the mind can be controlled by continuous practice.
you must always keep it occupied in divine contemplation.
if you slacken your efforts, idle thoughts will at once occur.
continuous practice only can bring the mind under control.

if you wish to attain success in yoga, you will have to abandon all worldly enjoyments.
you will have to practice brahmacarya and tapas - austerity.
these will help you in the attainment of concentration and samadhi - superconsciousness.

august 29


trataka is steady gazing.
write the word 'om' on the wall.
concentrate on it with open eyes, till tears come in the eyes.
then close the eyes.
visualise the picture of 'om'.
then open the eyes, and again gaze till lachrymation manifests.
gradually increase the period.
there are students who can gaze for one hour.
trataka is one of the sad kriyas - six exercises - in hatha yoga.
trataka steadies the wandering mind, and removes viksepa - tossing of the mind.
instead of gazing at 'om', you may gaze at a black dot on the wall.
the walls will present a golden colour during trataka.

you can do trataka on any picture of the lord, either of krishna, rama, or shiva or on saligrama.
you can sit on the chair also.
fix the picture on the wall in front of your eyes.
trataka is the alpha-beta of concentration.
it is the first exercise in concentration for yogic students.

trataka with open eyes is followed by visualisation.
visualisation is calling up of a clear mental image of anything.

practice trataka for one minute on the first day.
then gradually increase the period every week.
do it gently with ease and comfort, as long as you can.
repeat your mantra during trataka.
in some people who have weak capillaries, the eyes may become red.
they need not be alarmed unnecessarily.
the redness of the eyes will pass quickly.

practice trataka for six months, then you can take up advanced lessons in concentration and meditation.
be regular and systematic in your sadhana - practice.
if there is a break, make up the deficiency or loss on the next day.
trataka removes many eye diseases, and ultimately brings in siddhis - psychic powers.

place a picture of lord jesus in front of you.
sit in your favourite meditative pose.
concentrate gently with open eyes on the picture, till tears trickle down the cheeks.
rotate the mind on the cross, on the chest, the long hair, the beautiful beard, the round eyes, and the various other limbs of his body, and on the fine spiritual aura emanating from his head, and so on.
think of his divine attributes, the various phases of his interesting life, and the 'miracles' he performed, and the various extraordinary powers he possessed.
then close the eyes, and try to visualise the picture.
repeat the same process again and again.

august 30

develop your perception

organs deteriorate if you do not use them properly,
just as hands and legs
are atrophied by disuse and
are developed by muscular exercise, etc.
there is intimate connection
between sight and memory, and
between hearing and memory.
he who has acute sight, and
keen perception,
good powers of observation and hearing,
he will have a good memory.
in the internal astral body there are counterparts of these.
they are called astral senses.
a yogi
hears through astral ears, and
sees through astral eyes.
he can hear sounds from distant lands,
he can see objects in distant localities.
this is called clairvoyance and clairaudience.

generally people are very careless.
they have no desire to learn higher things, and have a fund of knowledge.
keep a watch very close to the ear.
hear the sound attentively.
on the second day, put the watch a little further away.
listen to the tick-tick sound.
every day increase the distance, training yourself to hear the sound.
then plug one ear with the index finger.
train the ears alternately.

here is another exercise.
close both ears through yonimudra.
try to hear the anahata sounds that emanate from the heart lotus.
you will hear ten varieties of sounds, such as: flute, mridanga, veena, conch, bells, thunder, humming of a bee, drum, etc.
allow the organ of hearing - ear - to shift from one sound to another, and
carefully differentiate the various sounds.
eventually fix the ear on one sound.
try the gross sounds first, and then go to the subtle sounds.

there is another exercise.
fix the ears on the pranava dhvani - 'om' sound - that emanates from a river, ocean or wind.
it will be heard like 'bhum' or a long 'om'.
train your ears to hear this sound.
do this exercise at 4 a.m., or at 9 p.m. when the noise of the town has died down.

keep your ears keen.
differentiate the sounds of various kinds of birds, beasts, children, factories, motor cars, aeroplanes, cycles, yells, snores, sobbing, crying, laughing, mocking, joking, etc.

the mind may be there, the instrument may be perfect,
but if the mind is not functioning perfectly, you cannot see or hear properly.
perception is possible only when the mind is linked with the external instrument - ear, eye, etc..

august 31

heart culture

you must have a pure mind if you want to realize the self.
unless the mind is set free,
unless the mind casts away all desire, craving, worry, delusion, pride, lust, attachment, likes and dislikes,
it cannot enter the domain of supreme peace.

mind is compared to a garden.
just as you can cultivate good flowers and fruits in a garden,
by ploughing and manuring the land,
by removing the weeds and thorns, and
by watering the plants and trees,
so too you can cultivate the flower of devotion in the garden of your mind,
by removing the impurities of the mind - such as lust, anger, greed, delusion, pride, etc., and
by watering it with divine thoughts.

weeds and thorns grow in the rainy season, and then disappear in summer.
but their seeds remain underneath the ground, and as soon as there is a shower, the seeds germinate and sprout.
even so, the vrttis - modifications of the mind, manifest on the surface of the conscious mind, then disappear and assume a subtle seed-state in the form of samskaras or impressions.
the samskaras again become vrttis, either through internal or external stimuli.

if you want to keep the garden clean,
you will have to remove
not only the weeds, but
also the seeds that lie underneath the ground,
which will eventually germinate otherwise.
even so, you have to destroy not only the big waves of the mind, but
also the impressions which are the seeds for birth and death,
if you want to enter the superconscious state.

those who have removed the impurities of their minds by
japa - repetition of god's name,
pranayama - yoga breathing, etc.,
will enter into meditation as soon as they sit for meditation.
the pure, ripe mind at once burns with the fire of meditation.

without the help of meditation, you cannot obtain knowledge of the self.
without its aid, you cannot grow into the divine state.
without it, you cannot liberate yourself from the trammels of the mind, and attain immortality.
tear the veil that covers the soul, by practising regular meditation.

self-realization is the aim of life.
the means to it are an ethical life, and ceaseless meditation.
spiritual duty is far more important than worldly duty.
live to seek god.
live to serve humanity.
fulfill god's will.
you will be blessed.
you will be happy.

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