The wise of all ages

October 1, 2013 Comments Off on The wise of all ages

The wise of all ages have taught that it is knowledge of the divine Being
that is life, and the only reality.

Bowl of Saki, September 29, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

Commentary by Hazrat Inayat Khan:

If there is a kingdom of God to be found anywhere, it is within oneself.
And it is, therefore, in the knowledge of self that there lies the
fulfillment of life. The knowledge of self means the knowledge of one’s
body, the knowledge of one’s mind, the knowledge of one’s spirit; the
knowledge of the spirit’s relation to the body and the relation of the body
to the spirit; the knowledge of one’s wants and needs, the knowledge of
one’s virtues and faults; knowing what we desire and how to attain it, what
to pursue and what to renounce. And when one dives deep into this, one
finds before one a world of knowledge which never ends. And it is that
knowledge which gives one insight into human nature and brings one to the
knowledge of the whole of creation. And in the end one attains to the
knowledge of the divine Being.

http://wahiduddin.net/mv2/I/I_IV_12.htm

Religion is the school that has developed man, and the ideals that religion
presents form a path that leads upward to perfection, that innate and
yearning desire of every soul. … The wise of all ages have taught that it
is the knowledge of the Divine Being that is life, and the only reality.
Although a human activity may have a number of complicated motives, some of
which are base and gross, it is the aspiration towards divinity, the desire
towards beauty, which is its soul, its life, and its reality. And it is in
proportion to the degree of strength or weakness of his aspiration towards
beauty that man’s ideal is great or small, and his religion is great or
small.

http://wahiduddin.net/mv2/III/III_II_4.htm

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THE FRUITS OF CONCENTRATION

September 13, 2013 Comments Off on 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 realised some benefits, then he cannot leave the practice. Concentration brings supreme joy, spiritual inner strength, unalloyed felicity and infinite, eternal peace. It brings profound knowledge and 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 Purusha 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. – Swami Sivananda

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 and power and peace. – Swami Sivananda

MENTAL HEALTH IS VITAL

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

Mind – the Focus

August 25, 2013 Comments Off on Mind – the Focus

Harih Om Tat Sat. Everything in our life revolves around the mind; the entire focus of our life is the mind. I have been saying this tirelessly for the past so many decades! Whether we are aware of it or not, whether we accept it or not, the sole focus is the mind, which is an expression of the consciousness. It is the essential part of our personality.

Yesterday night, during the satsang, I was mentioning something more about it. The stomach produces hunger. But the hunger is felt by the mind. And the motivation for appeasing hunger by eating food also comes from the mind. As you go on eating, at one stage you feel appeased and you stop eating. This action is also prompted by the mind.

This mind has a unique position. It stands independent of the body, though connected to it. It seems to be encased in the body but it has deeper significance and influence. It is the creator of your contentment or discontentment. It is the source of your fulfillment. It is the origin as well as terminus of all your interactions. When such is its influence and potential, should you not find out how this mind can be accessed and if necessary, moulded in the most suitable manner?

For generating contentment, what does the mind need? If you have many things, the mind may feel contented; with a few things, again it should feel contented; and with nothing also it should be able to produce contentment. A woman may have ten children; another woman may have only two; and a third may have no child at all. One mother becomes contented with ten; another has to find contentment in two; and in the same manner, the third mind has to discover contentment with no child.

If only you are able to understand that the mind is the maker and the destroyer of human fate, I think all your problems will be solved! Man is born on the earth with limited capabilities. He has evolved to the present stage with all his physical limitations unchanged. His supremacy and options are also physically restricted. He cannot inhale poisonous gas – there is no option in the matter of breathing oxygen! When hungry, he has to appease the hunger – it is not a matter of choice! Similarly, in many other aspects of the body, he is bound by the physical and other laws of Nature. Even with respect to one’s height and weight, the possible alterations are very much limited. At the physical level, one has to put up with the inadequacies, if any, throughout his life.

But so far as the mind is concerned, the options are many. In fact, the human life is meant to look into the mind, find out its inconsistencies and drawbacks and set them right. As a child, one might have been unaware of the potential of the mind. But can it be an excuse once he becomes an adult? Should he not, as an adult, examine his traits and discover the healthy and unhealthy notes, encouraging and growing the healthy qualities and discouraging and eliminating the negative ones? If one fails or ignores to do it, can we call him an adult?

“Swamiji, I want to become better, but am unable to …” or “I want to remove my mind’s impurities, Swamiji, but ….” What is this ‘but…’ – is it so difficult? In reality, nothing other than a gentle persuasion is all that is required. You must want to become better. That wanting should not be lacking. Otherwise, how do you claim yourself to be an adult? How do you say that you are mature? I don’t insist that you must have the best of qualities – but your ‘wanting to have them’ cannot be compromised. I do not demand that you be all virtues – but you must not lack in your love for virtues.

And once you want these good and noble qualities – the art of acquiring them is smooth and pleasant. I put it as two-fold: persuasion and dissuasion; or, ‘incorporational’ and ‘eliminational’. Bad things you dissuade sternly and good things you persuade heartily. Tell me – is there any other way of dealing with the mind?

Other than looking at your own mind and treating it – is there anything else in life? What is the purpose of ethics, morality, religion or even spirituality? Is it not all about purifying the mind? You may conduct any number of rituals and ceremonies – do they have anything else to give you other than a poised mind?

daanam svadharmo niyamo yamashca shrutam ca karmaani ca sad-vrataani |

sarve mano-nigraha-lakshanaantaa: paro hi yogo manasa: samaadhi: || – (Sreemad Bhaagavatam 11.23.46)

Charity, adhering to one’s own dharma, following disciplines (external and internal), listening to scriptures, performing meritorious deeds and observing holy vows, have but one goal – gaining control over the mind. Composure of the mind is the supreme yoga.

Now tell me; when everything is so clearly explained, where is the difficulty? Why this doubt? Why this resistance? Don’t be a victim of your own negative tendencies. No more should you be thwarted by diffidence, self-condemnation or anything like that. Do not ever again say, “Yes, Swamiji, we understand, but …” Be confident. Rise like Hanuman. With clarity and proper evaluation, be ready to declare to the whole world: “Why only one? Ten such oceans I shall cross, if need be!”  May you all have that strength and resolve!
Harih Om Tat Sat! – Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
[An excerpt from Poojya Swamiji’s morning message – Prabhaata-rashmih, that was published in the May 2003 issue of Vicharasethu.](c) Narayanashrama Tapovanam, 2012

DISCIPLINE OF THE MIND

July 21, 2013 Comments Off on DISCIPLINE OF THE MIND

You must have a pure mind if you want to realise the self. Unless the mind is free and it casts away all desires, cravings, worries, delusion, pride, lust, attachment, likes and dislikes, it cannot enter into the domain of supreme peace and unalloyed felicity, the immortal abode.

A glutton or a sensualist, a dullard or a lazy man, cannot practise meditation. He who has controlled the tongue and other organs, who has an acute acumen, who eats, drinks and sleeps in moderation, who has destroyed selfishness, lust, greed and anger, can practise meditation and attain success in samadhi (super-consciousness).

You cannot enjoy peace of mind, you cannot practise meditation if there is viksepa in your mind. Viksepa is tossing of mind. Viksepa is rajas (passion); viksepa and desires co-exist in the mind. If you really want to destroy viksepa, you must destroy all mundane cravings through dispassion and self-surrender to the Lord.

If you apply fire to green wood, it will not burn; if you apply fire to a piece of dried wood, it will at once catch fire and burn. Even so, those who have not purified their minds will not be able to start the fire of meditation. They will be sleeping or dreaming building castles in the air – when they sit for meditation.

But those who have removed the impurities of the mind by japa (repetition of God’s name), service, charity, pranayama (yoga breathing), etc., will enter into deep meditation as soon as they sit for meditation. The pure ripe mind will at once burn with the fire of meditation.

Clarify your idea again and again. Think clearly. Have deep concentration and right thinking. Introspect in solitude. Purify your thoughts. Still the thoughts. Silence the bubbling mind. Allow one thought-wave only to rise from the mind and settle down calmly. Then allow another thought to enter. Drive off all extraneous thoughts that have nothing to do with the subject matter on hand. An efficient control over thoughts, through long practice, is a great help in meditation.

Watch every thought very carefully. Shut out all useless thoughts from the mind. Your life must tally with your meditation. You keep up your meditation during work also. Do not give new strength to evil thoughts by constantly thinking. Restrain them. Substitute sublime thoughts.  – Swami Sivananda

THE LORD’S NAME

July 6, 2013 Comments Off on THE LORD’S NAME

 

The name is a verbal expression of the conception of the Supreme Being, who is known by different names and forms, in different climes and times. The supreme is infinite but as it is not always possible for the common man to conceive of what is beyond the perception of the finite mind, this infinite truth is symbolised as forms, symbols or objects that vary according to each one’s respective tendencies or modes of perception.

Though in the initial stage there is difference and distinction among the various names and their associated objects, ultimately, when the habit of repetition of the name is formed and the divine consciousness is kept ever awake, then there remains no distinction between the name and the associated idea or object. The intuitive knowledge of the supreme reveals itself in the name itself – for the basis of all names and forms is the one primal being who manifests himself under different names and forms, as different faiths and tendencies, as different sects and races, in different times and places.

There is an unfathomable depth, intense sweetness and charm in the Lord’s name. It is beyond the futile explanation of the limited intellect. It is a thing knowable only through experience. The music first thrills the nerves, harmonises them and then mysteriously acts upon the mind. The sincere devotee loses himself in divine ecstasy.

The worldly mind cannot grasp or perceive this state of intense emotion. The Lord’s name is all bliss and when it is chanted, the mind merges in its bliss. It loses its individual entity in bliss. It becomes one with the bliss itself.

Without the name of the beloved, none may hope to cross the sea of samsara (worldly existence). The Lord’s name is the lasting medicine against any kind of ailment. You cannot be overtaken by sorrows, sins, troubles, sicknesses if you take refuge in the Lord’s name. Repetition of the Lord’s name dispels all fears and evil thoughts. He who repeats the name of the Lord has all his desires fulfilled. So sing the holy name. If you are attached to the Lord you will be released from all attachments which bind you and pull you down. This constant repetition gives infinite strength.
– Swami Sivananda

THE FRUITS OF CONCENTRATION

June 23, 2013 Comments Off on 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 realised some benefits, then he cannot leave the practice. Concentration brings supreme joy, spiritual inner strength, unalloyed felicity and infinite, eternal peace. It brings profound knowledge and 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 Purusha 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 and power and peace. – Swami Sivananda

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