September 12, 2013 Comments Off on 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 harmonised 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.
– Swami Sivananda
September 5, 2013 Comments Off on Pleasure blocks
Pleasure blocks, but pain clears the way of inspiration.
Bowl of Saki, September 4, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
Pain has a great power; the truth of God is born in pain, sincerity rises out of pain. Metaphysically, the heart is a gate, and the gate is closed when the feeling is hardened, and the gate is open when there is some pain.
~~~ “Sangatha I, Tasawwuf”, by Hazrat Inayat Khan (unpublished)
Suppose a person goes on a bicycle in the streets of Paris and says, ‘I shall go straight on, because my object is just to keep the line I have taken. If a car comes my way, I shall not mind it, I shall just go on.’ This person will come against something which is more powerful than he, and he will destroy himself. The wise cyclist, therefore, will see that there is a vehicle before him, or that the road is blocked: he will take another way. At the time it is just a little hindrance, yet that resignation makes him safe from disaster and gives him a chance to strike another line by which he will come to the same destination.
Tagore says: ‘When the string of the violin was being tuned it felt the pain of being stretched, but once it was tuned then it knew why it was stretched’. So it is with the human soul. While the soul goes through pain, torture and trouble it thinks that it would have been much better if it had gone through life without it. But once it reaches the culmination of it then, when it looks back, it begins to realize why all this was meant: it was only meant to tune the soul to a certain pitch.
My murshid, Abu Hashim Madani, once said that there is only one virtue and only one sin for a soul on this path: virtue when he is conscious of God and sin when he is not. No explanation can describe the truth of this except the experience of the contemplative, to whom, when he is conscious of God, it is as if a window is open, which is facing heaven, and when he is conscious of the self, the experience is the opposite. For all the tragedy of life is caused by consciousness of the self. All pain and depression are caused by this, and anything that can take away the thought of the self helps to a certain extent to relieve man from pain; but God-consciousness gives perfect relief.
July 9, 2013 Comments Off on The Peak of Perfection
You can climb the peak of perfection through resolute will, intense dispassion, renunciation and rigorous Meditation. Sublime divine thought is very powerful, it is a dynamic transmuting force.
Diligently seek the path of truth; tread it carefully and vigilantly, for you may slip and fall. Love is harmlessness, kindness, compassion. Nothing can tempt you if you are regular in meditation. He who is pure at heart has already found divinity. Renunciation of egoism is the direct way to the eternal.
Knowledge of the imperishable bestows perfect freedom and independence. Where egoism is, immortality is not; where immortality is, egoism is not. Concentration will give you great power. Collect the scattered rays of the mind. Lust and greed make you a spiritual bankrupt. Purity and meditation bestow on you inexhaustible divine wealth.
A yogi becomes the master-builder of the temple of truth. Pass through the gate of wisdom – you will reach the illimitable domain of eternal bliss. He who is endowed with discrimination and power and concentration climbs rapidly to the peak of illumination. Your real guru (preceptor) is your own heart – he is the indweller, the inner ruler.
Longing for final liberation is the hunger for the spiritual food of knowledge of the eternal. Mind is the mirror through which the eternal appears as the universe of names and forms. Be in the world – not of the world. This is the highest yoga. This is the eternal wisdom. The wise man is ever eager to learn, he never poses as a teacher.
This visible world is the mirror of the invisible Brahman. You are a slave of circumstances because you do not meditate regularly. You will easily get illumination in solitude. Solitude has its own charms – prepare yourself for life in seclusion. Control and preserve energy through silence, brahmacarya (celibacy) and pranayama (yoga breathing), – you will have wonderful meditation. Love that man who dislikes you – you will grow strong. Money wasted can be restored, but time wasted is lost forever. Find out your centre – that centre is perfect harmony, eternal bliss, your own immortal soul. – Swami Sivananda
July 6, 2013 Comments Off on THE GLORY OF GOD
God has no purpose. God is not bound by any action, just as the sun is not bound by the activities of the people of this world. God acts out of compassion for the individual soul. His sole purpose is to see that His creatures evolve spiritually.
God is the lover and the beloved at the same time. Justice, love, and goodness are expressions in the divine will.
In the word `Bhagavan’ – `bhaga’ signifies the six qualities of God. These are: jnana (wisdom), vairagyam (dispassion), kirti (fame), Sri (prosperity or wealth, divine aisvarya), sakti or bala (omnipotence), and dharma (righteousness).
According to the Prasnopanishad, there are fifteen kalas or rays of God. These are: prana (life), faith, sky, air, fire, water, earth, senses, mind, food, strength, penance, mantra (mystic formula), karma (action) and name.
God has hands and feet everywhere. He has heads and eyes, mouths and ears everywhere. He is immanent in the world – possessing the vast whole. God breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living soul.
Pleasure is due to virtuous actions and pain is due to vicious actions. Virtue and vice constitute adrsta (unseen potency). The various experiences of man are due to this adrsta. But adrsta is a blind force – it needs an intelligent director to guide it. And that intelligent director is God.
God is the verity of all verities. There is a moral and spiritual order through which is fulfilled the will of the Lord in the world. God has created not only the world, He has also created time along with it. God’s knowledge is eternal, complete and perfect.
Who can know the will of God? He who knows God, he alone can know His will. God and His will are one. The Lord is the supreme healer – He is the divine indweller in all medicines. – Swami Sivananda
June 19, 2013 Comments Off on I AM THINE, O LORD
Do not bother about taking care of your body. God will save it if he needs it for further service. Surrender it at his feet and rest in peace. He will take care of it. A real devotee says, “Let me take millions of births; it does not matter, but let me be attached to the lotus-feet of Lord Hari. Let me have spontaneous devotion to the Lord. Let me be endowed with purity, spiritual strength, the spirit of selfless service and other divine virtues.”
If you simply say without real inner feeling, “I am thine, O Lord,” this will not constitute real integral self-surrender. This should come right from the core of your heart. You must be prepared for a radical change. You should not stick to your old habits, ways and motives. You should not expect that everything should happen in the way you want. You should live to carry on the divine purpose. You should not think of those ambitions which the mind likes to gratify. You should not think of using divine grace or the divine force for your own purposes – then the irrepressible ego will assert itself in various ways and refuse to give up its old habits.
The ego tries to get everything from the divine but it totally declines to give itself to the divine. That is the reason why aspirants do not make any substantial progress on the spiritual path even after doing sadhana (spiritual practice) for several years.
There is no loss in self-surrender. You get from the Lord everything. You enjoy all the divine aisvarya (wealth of divine attributes) of the Lord. The whole wealth of the Lord belongs to you. Siddhis and riddhis (psychic powers) will roll under your feet. You become one with the Lord. You are freed from all wants and desires and cravings. The spiritually hungry and the really thirsty aspirant who yearns for the vision of the Lord, turns towards the divine and is quite willing, eager and happy to consecrate his body, life and mind and soul at the feet of the Lord. The first stage of self-surrender is only a firm resolve to surrender oneself to God, or to his preceptor. A sadhaka (seeker) who has dedicated his life for the service of his teacher or the service of humanity or for attaining Self-realisation, is not bound by the actions he performs subsequent to his self-surrender.
Self-surrender becomes perfect only after God-realisation. – Swami Sivananda
June 10, 2013 Comments Off on SPIRIT OF DETACHMENT
Worldly people are generally elated by success and depressed by failure. Elation and depression are the attributes of the mind. If you want to become a real karma yogi in the right sense of the term, you will have to keep a balanced mind at all times, in all conditions and under all circumstances. This is no doubt very difficult. But you will have to do it anyhow. Then only will you have peace of mind and real lasting happiness. He who keeps a balanced mind is a jnani.
Karma yoga prepares the mind for the attainment of jnana. That is the beauty of karma yoga. That is the secret and essence of karma yoga.
There must not be the least attachment to any kind of work. You must be ready to leave any work at any time. There may be a divine call upon you for certain work. You will have to take it up at once without grumbling, whatever the nature of the work may be, whether you are willing or not. You will have to stop it also, if conditions and circumstances demand you to do so. This is yoga. There is no attachment to the work here.
Keep the reason rooted in the self. Have a poised mind amidst the changes of the world. Work for the fulfilment of purposes divine. Do not expect any fruit. Do everything as isvararpana (offering to God). Work in unison with the divine will for the welfare of the world.
Allow the divine energy to work unhampered through you. The moment your egoism comes in, there will be immediate blocking of the free flow of the divine energy. Make your indriya (senses) perfect instruments for his lila (work, play). Keep the body-flute hollow by emptying it of your egoism. Then the flute-bearer of Brindavan (Krishna) will play freely through this body-flute. He will work through you. Then you will feel the lightness of the work. You will feel that God works through you. You will be washed of all the responsibilities. You will be as free as a bird. You will feel that you are quite a changed being. Your egoism will try to re-enter. Be careful. Be on the alert. By gradual practice and purification of the mind you will become an expert in karma yoga. All your actions will be perfect and selfless. All actions will eventually culminate in jnana. This is the yoga of equanimity. – Swami Sivananda
June 8, 2013 Comments Off on SERVICE OF GOD
Padasevana is serving the Lord’s feet. Actually this can be done only by Lakshmi or Parvati. No mortal being has got the fortune to practise this method of bhakti (devotion), for the Lord is not visible to the physical eyes.
However, it is possible to serve the image of God in idols and, better still, by taking the whole of humanity as God. Padasevana is service of the sick, service of the poor – service of the whole of humanity at large. Service of the Lord’s feet can be done through formal worship to murtis (or idols) or to a mental image of God.
Observing the sacred feet of the Lord, again and again, with devotional and eager eyes, worshipping them, serving them, sipping the sacred water with which the Lord’s feet have been washed, worshipping the wooden sandals of the Lord, meditating on them, praying to them, taking the dust of the Lord’s feet and applying it to the forehead, washing the heart with the dust of the Lord’s feet, respecting the holy shrines and places of pilgrimage and places where God incarnated himself for the good of humanity, regarding the Ganges as directly flowing from the feet of the Lord, worshipping, bathing in and drinking of such divine water of the Ganges – all these are different forms of serving the Lord’s feet. This kind of devotion destroys all worldly attachments and allows the mind to think exclusively of God.
Worship God. Praise him. Seek enlightenment. Realise divine bliss. Do not put any conditions to God – worship for worship’s sake. In worship the sense of individuality is lost in contemplation of the object worshipped.
To gaze at the divine pictures even for some moments daily is a great blessing. It will purify your mind. Meditation is mental worship of the Lord. Singing the Lord’s name (or kirtan) is vocal worship. Service of living beings with love and bhava, is physical worship. If the worshipper of the deity thinks that he is separate from the deity, he is a beast. Devout worship of the Lord’s lotus feet means perfect freedom from all fear. – Swami Sivananda