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Practice of Meditation : 8.

It is not possible to meditate the whole day.

Without variety, the mind, especially of a beginner, will get tired .

It is necessary to guard against this possibility.

It is important that the aspirant should be protected from the monotony of one-sided spiritual practice leading to reaction and a return to worldly activity with a vengeance.

The beauty of divine life lies in the fact that the seriousness of meditation is tempered with the joy of Kirtan, the happiness and strength of service, the peace of Japa and the understanding of Svadhyaya (reading of scriptures).



In the books of Yoga, the great Rishis (sages) distinguish between Bahiranga Sadhana and Antaranga Sadhana.

Bahiranga Sadhana is outer Yoga or spiritual practices designed to perfect the outer instruments of body and Prana (vital- energy).
These are the ethical practices and the Yogasana and Pranayama exercises.

Once the body is perfected and the Nadis or astral tubes are purified through Pranayama practices, the spiritua…

Practice of Meditation : 7.

Brahmamuhurtha (period between 4 am and 6 am), says the Master, is the ideal time for meditation.

Why?


He gives the answer:


"There is Sattva in the atmosphere  In Brahmamuhurtha.

The atmosphere is calm  And the world is asleep.

The Raga-Dvesha (like-dislike) currents  Have not yet started flowing in your mind.

You are just returning from deep sleep  When you enjoyed bliss without objects;  You can then easily convince the mind,  That real happiness is within.

 Only Yogis, Jnanis (wise man) and sages are awake at this time.

 You will be greatly benefited by their thought currents.

 Never miss the Brahmamuhurtha even for a day."


Swami Sivananda

To be continued  ...


Practice of Meditation : 6.

Meditation is digging deep into the mine of truth and wisdom.

Swamiji asks the Sadhak to meditate and bring put his own Gita and Upanishads.

Says the Master: "There is no knowledge without meditation.

An aspirant churns his own soul.

Truth becomes manifest".



Meditation confers peace and strength.

Sivananda affirms that half an hour's meditation is sufficient to enable the aspirant to smilingly pass through a whole week's life in this world of problems and misery.



Meditation must be regular.

Whenever the Sattvic (a state of calmness and purity) mood manifests and divine thought-currents begin to flow, the aspirant must sit down for meditation.



Swami Sivananda

To be continued  ...



Practice of Meditation : 6.

Reading of profound scriptural texts like the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutras (revealed texts of the Hindus) requires intense concentration.

Such reading itself is a mild form of meditation.

It should be followed by contemplation on what was read.

Repeated meditation on a single idea will bring out a wealth of knowledge on that idea.




While meditating on a particular object or idea, various extraneous thoughts will try to enter the mind of the aspirant and interfere with his meditation.

The aspirant should ignore these extraneous thoughts, be indifferent to them and repeatedly try to concentrate on the object of his meditation.

Gradually, the frequency of interruption will be reduced and a time will come when meditation will give uninterrupted peace and bliss.



Swami Sivananda


To be continued  ...





Practice of Meditation : 5.

Concentration should be followed by meditation.

Meditation is nothing but protracted or sustained concentration.

A scientist has to concentrate on a problem, on a given subject, on a riddle, to bring out the answer, to solve it.

He has to think, think and think.

Then only the answer flashes forth.

Likewise, meditation is intense concentration, concerted concentration on the problem of life, on the problem of the inexplicable triad of God, man and the universe.

While concentration becomes essential even to solve small problems in science, what to speak of the problem of life which has baffled humanity since time immemorial?

The Sadhak (aspirant) who wants God must meditate, meditate and meditate.



Meditation can be practised on any image of the Lord.

This is concrete meditation.

After some practice, the aspirant will be able to visualise the form of the image even with closed eyes.

Meditation can also be practised on abstract ideas and on various Vedantic formulae such as "I am Et…

Practice of Meditation : 4.

Yoga is an exact science.

Asanas and Pranayama (Yoga postures and breathing exercises) perfect the body.

Service and charity expand the heart.

Prayer, Japa (repetition of the Lord’s Name), Kirtan (singing devotional songs) and other devotional practices purify the mind and make it more subtle.

The aspirant is now fully equipped for the last lap of the journey.

It is the toughest part of the pilgrimage to God.

It is full of darkness and the aspirant has to pierce this darkness with his purified mind.

The purified mind is the most dependable weapon in the armoury of the spiritual aspirant.



The purified mind must be made to concentrate.

Concentration is mental focussing.

The mind can be focussed on a concrete object or an abstract idea.

For a novice, concentration becomes easy if the object of concentration is concrete.

Also, the beginner should choose a pleasing object on which to concentrate.

Only thus can he prevent the mind from wandering away from the object of concentration.

To st…

Practice of Meditation : 3.

Dronacharya tests the power of concentration of his students, the Pandavas.

A basin of water is placed on the ground.

Above, a clay bird is kept rotating.

The archer has to hit the bird by looking at its reflection in the water.

Drona: "O Yudhishthira, what do you see?"

Yudhishthira: "O Acharya (teacher), I see the bird to be aimed at, the tree on which it is sitting and yourself also."

Drona: "What do you see, Bhima?"

Bhima: "I see the bird, the tree, yourself, Nakula, Sahadeva, the tables and chairs, etc."

Drona: "What do you see, Nakula?"

Nakula: "I see the bird, the tree, yourself, Arjuna, Bhima, the garden, the streamlet, etc."

Drona: "What do you see, Sahadeva?"

Sahadeva: "I see the bird to be aimed at, yourself, Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishthira, the horses, carriages, all the onlookers, several cows, etc."

Drona: "Now then, Arjuna, what do you see?"

Arjuna: "O Revered Guru! I see nothing…

Practice of Meditation : 2.

In the dilapidated building of an elementary school, the class is on.

The teacher explains something and then asks the children, "Did it enter?".

There is an instant response from the backmost bench: "Only the tail has not entered yet!".

The earnest voice belongs to a boy who has been all along intently watching the struggle of a rat to wriggle out of the class room through a hole in the wall.

It has managed to squeeze in its body, but its tail is still not gone in.

Perhaps the hole is blocked.



These are everyday examples of concentration.

Attention, concentration, meditation-these are different degrees of the same process.

It is fixing the mind on a single object or idea to the exclusion of everything else.



Swami Sivananda

To be continued  ...






Practice of Meditation : 1.

A baby's eyes are riveted on a flower or a butterfly. It keeps looking at the object with unwinking eyes, eyes full of wonder, for minutes together.

A mother calls her teenage daughter to go and have lunch, but there is no response.

The call is repeated twice, thrice; still there is no response.

The girl just does not hear, though her ears are very much open.

Nor is she deaf.

What could be the reason, then, for her not hearing?

Her mind is immersed in a Sherlock Holmes or a Harold Robbins; her eyes are glued to the lines; her face is buried in the book.


Swami Sivananda

To be continued  ...




The Eighteen "Ities" : 18.

18. PURITY :


Be pure at heart. Eradicate lust, anger and greed.

Be pure in your thoughts.

Think of God always.

Think of the well-being of all.

Be pure in your words; never utter harsh, unkind words.

Be pure in body.

Keep it clean and healthy.

Let the dress and surroundings be clean.

Observe the rules of physical, moral and spiritual hygiene.



These eighteen "Ities" will pave the way for you to march into the kingdom of God.

They will open for you the gates of immortality.

You will achieve great success in this life itself.

 A man who possesses these qualities in a very large measure is a saint indeed, who will be respected, adored and worshipped by one and all.

END.

Next : Practice of Meditation

Swami Sivananda

To be continued  ...



The Eighteen "Ities" : 16 & 17.

16. CHARITY :


Give, give and give.

This is the secret of abundance.

Radiate thoughts of goodness and love.

Forgive the faults of others.

Bless the man who injures you.

Share what you have with others.

Disseminate spiritual knowledge to one and all.

Use the material wealth, knowledge and spiritual wisdom that you possess as a divine trust.


17. GENEROSITY :


In whatever you give be liberal.

Have a large heart.

Do not be miserly.

Take delight in the joy of others, in making them happy.

Generosity is a sister-virtue of charity.

It is the fulfilment of charity, magnanimity and nobility.


Swami Sivananda

To be continued  ...




The Eighteen "Ities" : 14 & 15.

14. NOBILITY :


Shun mean-mindedness as dung and poison.

Never look into the defects of others.

Always appreciate the good qualities of everyone.

Be dignified in bearing.

Never stoop to ignoble thoughts, words and actions.


15. MAGNANIMITY :


Take a broad view of things.

Ignore the faults of others.

Be great and noble-minded in whatever you do.

Avoid silly talk and childish prattle.

Let not the mind dwell on little things and insignificant things.


Swami Sivananda

To be continued  ...




The Eighteen "Ities" : 12 & 13.

12. TENACITY :



This is the natural friend of fixity.

Once you have fixed your aim and chosen your path, stick to it.

Do not waver.

Be steadfast.

Never compromise on your fundamental principles.

Have the attitude: "I may give up my life but I will not swerve from the path; I will not break my vows."


13. INTEGRITY :



Develop an integral personality.

Tie all the loose ends of your character.

Become a man of high moral principles.

Lead a life of righteousness.

 Let righteousness waft its sweet fragrance from you.

Everyone will trust you, obey you, respect you and revere you.


Swami Sivananda

To be continued  ...




The Eighteen "Ities" : 10 & 11.

10. ADAPTABILITY :



Understand well the nature of people with whom you come into contact.

Adjust your mode of approach to them.

Adjust yourself in such a way as to be pleasing to them.

Joyfully bear with the eccentricities of others.

 Always react in a harmonious manner.

Serve all and love all.

Have the feeling that the Lord dwells in the hearts of all as the Self of all.



11. HUMILITY :



Respect everybody. Bow with folded hands before all.

Do not talk in a loud voice before elders and venerable persons.

Look at the toes while you walk.

See the Lord in all and feel that you are His servant and so the servant of all.

Consider none as inferior to you.



Swami Sivananda

To be continued  ...




The Eighteen "Ities" : 8 & 9.

8. FIXITY :



Remember that you cannot achieve anything if you are fickle-minded.

Choose your goal or ideal and remember it always.

Never let it go out of mind even for a moment.



9. NON-IRRITABILITY :


Irritability is the precursor of violent outbursts of anger.

Watch carefully for the disturbance in the mental equilibrium.

Watch for the ripples of anger that might rise in the lake of the mind.

Quell them then and there.

Do not allow them to assume greater proportions.

Then you will attain peace.


Swami Sivananda

To be continued  ...



The Eighteen "Ities" : 6 & 7.

6. VERACITY :


Be truthful.

Stick to your promises.

Do not exaggerate.

Do not twist facts.

Think twice before you speak.

 Speak truthfully.

Speak sweetly.

Be precise in what you say.



7. EQUANIMITY :


Be calm.

Bear insult patiently.

Bear injury, suffering, failures and disrespect calmly.

Do not be elated by praise, pleasure, success and honour.

Look upon both with equal vision.

Behave alike towards friends and foes.

Never let anything disturb your inner peace.


Swami Sivananda

To be continued  ...




The Eighteen "Ities" : 3, 4 & 5.

3. ABSENCE OF VANITY :


Do not boast of your birth, position, qualifications and spiritual attainments.

Praise others.

See good in all.

Treat even the lowliest creatures as your equal and with respect.


4. SINCERITY  :


Let your words agree with the thoughts; let your actions agree with your words.

Let there be harmony among your thoughts, words and actions.



5. SIMPLICITY :


Be artless.

Be simple in your speech.

Do not twist words and topics.

Be plain; avoid diplomacy, cunningness and crookedness.

Be simple in your dress.

Be simple in your food.



Swami Sivananda

To be continued  ...




The Eighteen "Ities" : 2.

1. SERENITY :


Be tranquil within. Let that inner peace and joy radiate through a serene countenance.

A serene countenance is peaceful, smiling and serious and does not betray any violent emotions.

It is like the surface of a still lake.



2. REGULARITY :



Be regular in your daily habits, and in your work and spiritual practices.

Get up at a particular time.

Be clock-like in your daily activities.

You will be free from worry, fear, anxiety, haphazard and shabby work.

You will do the right thing at the right moment.



Swami Sivananda

To be continued  ...




The Eighteen "Ities" : 1.

For everyone's success in life and especially for an aspirant's success in spiritual life, it is essential that he should develop certain cardinal virtues.

Virtue is strength, power and the key to peace.

A virtuous man is ever happy, peaceful and prosperous.

People ask me for the specific mention of the virtues that one should develop.

The Song of Eighteen "Ities" enumerates the virtues that one should cultivate.

Take up any one virtue and develop it to a very high degree of perfection; eradicate in toto its opposite evil quality even in its most subtle form.

Meditate on these virtues, on their benefits and the methods of cultivating them.



Here is the Song of Eighteen "Ities" :

Serenity, regularity, absence of vanity,

Sincerity, simplicity, veracity,

Equanimity, fixity, non-irritability,

Adaptability, humility, tenacity,

Integrity, nobility, magnanimity,

Charity, generosity, purity.

Practice daily these eighteen 'ities',

You will soon attain immort…

Sadhana Tattva : ( THE SCIENCE OF SEVEN CULTURES ) - 8.

For Quick Evolution of the Human Being


8. SPIRITUAL CULTURE



27. Go to bed early. Get up at four o'clock. Answer calls of nature, clean your mouth and take a bath.


28. Recite some prayers and Kirtan Dhvanis (devotional songs).

Practice Pranayama (breathing exercises), Japa (repetition of the Divine Name of God) and meditation in the early morning.

Sit on Padma, Siddha, or Sukha Asana throughout, without movement, by gradual practice.

While you meditate, forget the outside world totally.

Gradually increase the period of meditation.


29. Perform the daily prayers of your religion. Do not fail to fulfil your obligatory duties.


30. Write your favourite Mantra or Name of God in a notebook for ten to thirty minutes, daily.


31. Sing the Names of God (Kirtan) and pray for half to one hour at night with family and friends.


32. Make annual resolves on the above lines.

Regularity, tenacity and fixity are essential.

Record your Sadhana in a spiritual diary daily.

Review it every month and cor…

Sadhana Tattva : ( THE SCIENCE OF SEVEN CULTURES ) - 7.

For Quick Evolution of the Human Being


7. PSYCHIC CULTURE :


21. Study one chapter or ten to twenty-five verses of the Gita or your scriptures with meaning, daily.

Learn the original language of your scripture, at least sufficient to understand it in original.


22. Memorize important and inspiring portions of your sacred scripture according to your capacity.

Memorize also any inspiring quotations from other spiritual books.

Keep a pocket version your scripture with you at all times.


23. Read the Ramayana, the Bible, the Quran, the Bhagavata, the Upanishads, the Yogavasishtha or other religious books daily without fail.

Study more during holidays.


24. Attend religious meetings and seek Satsanga (company) with saints at every opportunity.

If not, create opportunities.

Listen to spiritual discourses from learned and holy people.

If possible, organize such functions on Sundays or holidays.


25. Visit a temple or place of worship daily.

Preferably before you leave and upon your return from w…

Sadhana Tattva : ( THE SCIENCE OF SEVEN CULTURES ) - 6.

For Quick Evolution of the Human Being


6. HEART CULTURE  :


15. Doing good to others is the highest religion.

Do some selfless service for a few hours every week, without egoism or expectation of reward.

Do your worldly duties in the same spirit. Work is worship.

Dedicate it to God.



16. Give 2 to 10 percent of your income in charity every month.

Share what you have with others.

Let the world be your family.

Remove selfishness.




17. Be humble and prostrate yourself to all beings mentally.

Feel the Divine Presence everywhere.

Give up vanity, pride and hypocrisy.



18. Have unwavering faith in God, the Bhagavad-Gita and your Guru.

Make a total self-surrender to God and pray: "Thy Will be done; I want nothing."

Submit to the Divine Will in all events and happenings with equanimity.



19. See God in all beings and love them as your own Self. Do not hate anyone.


20. Remember God at all times or, at least, on rising from bed, during a pause in work and before going to bed.

Keep a Mala (…

Sadhana Tattva : ( THE SCIENCE OF SEVEN CULTURES ) - 5.

For Quick Evolution of the Human Being


5. WILL CULTURE :


12. Live without sugar for a week or month.

Give up salt on Sundays.


13. Give up cards, novels, cinemas and clubs.

Fly from evil company.

Avoid discussions with materialists.

Do not mix with persons who have no faith in God or who criticize your Sadhana (spiritual practices).



14. Curtail your wants. Reduce your possessions.

Have plain living and high thinking.


Next : 6. HEART CULTURE


Swami Sivananda

To be continued  ...



Sadhana Tattva : ( THE SCIENCE OF SEVEN CULTURES ) - 3 & 4.

For Quick Evolution of the Human Being


3. ENERGY CULTURE :



5. Observe silence (Mouna) for 2 hours daily and 4 to 8 hours on Sundays.


6. Observe celibacy according to your age and circumstances.

Restrict the indulgence to once a month.

Decrease it gradually to once a year.

Finally take a vow of abstinence for whole life.



4. ETHICAL CULTURE :



7. Speak the TRUTH.

Speak little.

Speak kindly.

 Speak sweetly.



8. Do not injure anyone in thought, word or deed. Be kind to all.


9. Be sincere, straightforward and open-hearted in your talks and dealings.


10. Be honest.

Earn by the sweat of your brow.

Do not accept any money, things or favour unless earned lawfully.

Develop nobility and integrity.


11. Control fits of anger by serenity, patience, love, mercy and tolerance.

Forget and forgive.

Adapt yourself to men and events.


Next : WILL CULTURE



Swami Sivananda

To be continued  ...



Sadhana Tattva : ( THE SCIENCE OF SEVEN CULTURES ) - 2.

For Quick Evolution of the Human Being


2. HEALTH CULTURE :



1. Eat moderately.

Take light and simple food.

Offer it to God before you eat.

Have a balanced diet.



2. Avoid spicy and hot foods, like chilies, garlic, onions, tamarind, etc., as far as possible.

Give up tea, coffee, smoking, betels, meat and wine entirely.



3. Fast on Ekadasi days or once in a fortnight.

Take milk, fruits or roots only.



4. Practice Yoga Asana (Hatha Yoga exercises) or physical exercises for 15 to 30 minutes every day.

Take a long walk or play some vigorous games daily.


Next : ENERGY CULTURE


Swami Sivananda

To be continued  ...