SURE WAYS FOR SUCCESS IN LIFE & GOD-REALISATION
by H.H. Sri Swami Sivananda Maharaj
World Wide Web (WWW) Edition : 2001
Print copy Published By
THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY
P.O. Shivanandanagar—249 192
Distt. Tehri-Garhwal, Uttar Pradesh,
CULTURE OF WILL AND MEMORY
for Developing Will
How to Apply Will
to Develop the Will-Power
a Cool and Balanced Mind
a Presence of Mind
of Growing Will
Become an Expert
Firmness and Patience
a Definite aim in Life
and Western Modes of Culture
Think of the Opposite
The Subconscious Mind
Exercise for Memory-Culture
Health and Mind
How to Develop Perception and Hearing
Exercise for Developing Hearing
Exercises for Developing Sight
WHO IS GOD?
God is Satchidananda (Existence-Absolute,
Knowledge-Absolute and Bliss-Absolute). God is Truth. God is Love. God is Light
of lights. God is all-pervading Intelligence or Consciousness. God is
all-pervading Power who governs this universe and keeps it in perfect order. He
is the Inner Ruler of this body and mind (Antaryami). He is omnipotent,
omniscient and omnipresent. He is the silent Sakshi of your mind. He is the
Sutradhara or the holder of the string of your Prana. He is the womb for this
world and the Vedas. He is the prompter of Sankalpas (Preraka). He has six
attributes, viz., Jnana (intelligence), Vairagya (dispassion), Saundarya or
Madhurya (beauty and grace), Aishwarya (Siddhis or powers), Sri (wealth), and
Kirti (fame). Hence He is called Bhagavan.
He exists in the past, present and future. He is
unchanging amidst the changing phenomena. He is permanent amidst the impermanent
things of this world. He is imperishable amidst the perishable things of this
world. He is Nitya, Sasvata, Avinasi, Avyaya and Akshara. He has created this
world through the three Gunas, viz., Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, for His own Leela.
He has Maya under His control.
He is Svatantra (independent). He has
Satkama and Sat-sankalpa. He dispenses the fruits for the actions of the Jivas.
He is all-merciful. He quenches the thirst of the Jivas in the form of ice and
succulent fruits. It is through His power that you see, hear and walk. Whatever
you see is God. Whatever you hear is God.
God works through your hands and eats through your mouths. On account of
ignorance and Abhimana you have forgotten Him
Nitya Sukha and Parama Shanti can be had
only in God. That is the reason why sensible, intelligent aspirants attempt to
have Darshan of God or Godrealisation God-realisation can bring an end to
the Samsaric wheel of birth and death with its concomitant evils. This world is
a long dream. It is a jugglery of Maya. The five senses delude you at every
moment. Open your eyes. Learn to discriminate. Understand His mysteries.
Feel His presence everywhere. Feel His nearness. He dwells in the chambers
of your heart.
a. Jnana Yoga
Spiritual culture is the king, of all
cultures. So I have given prominence to this Culture is refinement or education.
Spiritual means that which relates to the inner Self or Atman or Brahman, whose
nature is Existence-Absolute, Knowledge-Absolute and Bliss-Absolute I do not
mean here spiritualism which deals with ghosts, planchette, table-turning
and possession of spirits in medium, etc. Thinking on Atma (Atma-Chintana),
meditating on Atma, Conversing on Atma, hearing of Vedanta or Upanishads,
remembering of Atma, will constitute spiritual culture. The student should try,
to possess the qualifications for realisation of Atma These qualification;
are four in number, viz., (1) Viveka (discrimination between the real and the
unreal); (2) Vairagya (indifference to sensual enjoyments herein and
hereafter), (3) Shadsampat (sixfold virtue) - such as Shama (tranquillity of
mind) which results in the eradication of Vasanas, Dama (restraint of the
Indriyas, Uparati satiety or Sannyasa or renunciation of works), Titiksha
(endurance), Sraddha (faith in the Vedas, words of the Guru and ones own Self),
Samadhana (one-pointed mind) and (4) Mumukshutva (intense longing for liberation
from births and deaths) Study of Atma Bodha, Tattva Bodha, Pancheekarana, Laghu
Vasudeva Manana, Sankaras Select Works, Pancha Dasi, Upanishads and Vichara
Sagara, is of great help in spiritual culture in the beginning.
The Mantras for meditation are silent
repetition of Om or Soham or Aham Brahma Asmi or
Sivoham. One can select any of these four according to his taste. He
should feel, “I am the Immortal Self in all. I am the living Truth. I am
All-pervading Light, Intelligence or Pure Consciousness”, when he meditates on
these Mantras. This will eventually result in Atma-Sakshatkara
b. Bhakti Yoga
The other ways for spiritual culture are Bhakti Yoga and Raja Yoga. A man of devotional temperament should develop the nine modes of devotion, viz., Sravana, Kirtana, Smarana, Padasevana, Archana, Vandana, Dasya, Sakhya and Atmanivedana. He should select his Ishta Devata - either Lord Krishna or Lord Rama, or Devi or Gayatri or Lord Siva - and repeat the particular Mantra, i.e., Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya of Lord Krishna, Om Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram of Lord Rama, Om Sri Kalikayai Namah of Devi or Om Namah Sivaya of Lord Siva, daily, for one or two hours in the morning between 4 and 6. He should study the Ramayana and the Bhagavata. He should be in the company of Bhagavatas for sometime. He should do Kirtana and sing His Name. He should meditate on His form in his heart. He should think of His attributes such as all-merciful nature, omnipotence, omniscience, etc. He should try to eradicate the vicious qualities such as lust, anger, greed, dishonesty, cruelty, etc. He should practise Ahimsa, Satya, Brahmacharya, which constitute right conduct. He will slowly cultivate Bhakti and have Darshan of his Ishta Devata. This is the path of devotion or Bhakti which is suitable for the vast majority of persons.
c. Raja Yoga
There is another way for spiritual culture. This is
the practice of thoughtlessness or making the mind blank. There are eight limbs
in this Yoga. Hence it is called Ashtanga Yoga. The book of Yoga Darshana of
Patanjali Maharshi is the standard work on this subject. The eight limbs
are Yama (restraint), Niyama (observances), Asana (pose), Pranayama (restraint
of breath), Pratyahara (abstraction or withdrawal of Indriyas from
objects), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana) and Samadhi (superconscious state)
should be well established in Yama and Niyama. Then alone he can hope to get
success in this branch of Yoga. Yama consists of Ahimsa (non-injuring in word
and deed), Satya (truthfulness in thought, word and deed), Asteya
(non-stealing), brahmacharya (celibacy or purity in thought, word and deed), and
Aparigraha (non-covetousness). Niyama consists of Saucha (internal and
external purity) Santosha (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhyaya
(study of religious literature) and Ishvara Pranidhana (devotion to God). Raja
Yoga is an exact science. All the
methods are very scientific,
Take up physical culture in the beginning. Take to
any exercise that suits you best and put it in 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 in practice and take down notes. You can
watch your progress and correct your mistakes. I want to make you a practical
man quickly. Keep special notebooks. Send me a copy of the notes of exercises
that you have done in month. I will make corrections and give you very valuable
suggestions. I will put you in the right path. If you are very earnest and
sincere, you can finish, up the memory exercises in three months. For a
mediocre, I allow six months. For a third class type, I allow one year.
After you are well up in
memory-culture, you can take up will-culture. You have gained now some success
and power through memory-culture. This will give you a great impetus in the
will-cu1ture. You will be rejoicing now. You will be training your every nerve
in the practice of will-culture. You have already started the current. It will keep up your zeal and
enthusiasm. Practise the assertions boldly and calmly. Fully understand the
meaning of every assertion and try to feel it. The feeling will slowly manifest.
Do not be discouraged. You will have to fight against your old enemies, the old
Samskaras. Wait coolly. Try to develop patience, attention, power of endurance,
balance of mind, presence of mind. These qualities are very necessary to
develop your will. Develop attention also. Practise will-culture for three
months. You will feel your inner strength. The thing that appeared difficult
sometime ago can be done with ease now. You will feel that you now have an
unruffled mind. Things that easily upset your mind cannot do so now. You can
turn out immense work quite smoothly. Your walk is graceful. Your speech is
powerful. You are completely a changed man. There is a glow in your cheeks and a
peculiar charm in your smile. You are now able to influence many. Your friends
notice a magnetic aura in your face.
The practice of
concentration should go hand in hand with the memory and will cultures.
Concentration is an auxiliary in all cultures. No culture is possible without
concentration. Have regular concentration daily in the morning, for half an
hour or 1 hour. Have a spiritual basis in your concentration.
You practise concentration not only for developing your memory and will, but mainly for Self-realisation. That is the chief aim. Never, never forget this point. This is the fundamental difference between my system and the various other systems. Brahmacharya and Self-realisation are the key-notes of my system. I harp on these two points in various ways.
I want you to
develop your memory and will for success in life and achievement of Brahmic
bliss eventually. Concentrate on the picture of Lord Krishna or Lord Rama or
Lord Siva or Lord Jesus or Lord Buddha or Lord Mohammad, according to your
inclination. The practice of concentration will immensely help your memory and
will culture also. Keep a record of your experiences in concentration in your
diary and send a copy to me every month.
The fourth point is the development of
virtues. Through the articles “Character Building” and “Subconscious Mind” you
will understand the method of developing various virtues. Develop that
virtue which you are hopelessly lacking in. Courage, mercy, universal love,
nobility, forbearance, contentment, frankness and honesty, must be
developed one by one. Take up one virtue every month and meditate on that
virtue regularly. You will manifest that virtue in your character. If you
develop one important virtue, all other virtues will cling to you. If you have
humility and courage, all other virtues will come of their own accord. You
should spend daily sometime, say half an hour, for development of virtues.
If you are established in Brahmacharya or
truthfulness, all other virtues will cling to you by themselves. Take up one of these four
virtues - humility, courage, Brahmacharya and
truthfulness - for development.
The fifth point is eradication of evil
qualities. The development of virtuous qualities will itself remove the
negative qualities. But, it is better to make a positive attempt also in the
eradication of these evil qualities. Then the progress will be rapid. It is a
double attack on the enemy. Then success becomes easy and sure. If you could
remove lust or anger or egoism, all other evil qualities will disappear by
themselves. All evil qualities are the attendants of egoism. If egoism is
destroyed, if the commander is slain, all the soldiers and retinues will take to
their heels, out of fright, because they have lost their head. All vices
originate from anger. If anger is destroyed, all sorts of vices will vanish.
Therefore, concentrate your attention in killing egoism or anger. Then the
whole work is done, and done perfectly, too.
The sixth point is the discipline of the
Indriyas. This is very important. If the Indriyas are turbulent, you cannot
have concentration. Watch every Indriya carefully and curb it by suitable
methods, such as fasting, Mouna, Trataka, celibacy, renunciation of
articles, Dama and Pratyahara (vide the article on “Discipline of
Indriyas”). Indriyas draw you out and make your mind outgoing. Curbing of, the
Indriyas really means the curbing of the mind. The Indriyas cannot do any
independent work without the direct help of the mind.
The seventh point is physical culture. I
again rewind you that no culture is possible if you do not possess a sound and
healthy body. Keep your body fit and healthy, vigorous and active, by regular
exercises. You must have a beautiful, symmetrical body.
The eighth point is the keeping up of a daily
diary. If you want quick and rapid progress, if you want substantial growth,
keep this diary daily. Let s be a true diary with a clean conscience. Having
armed yourself with the above Sadhana, you can become a mighty emperor of
this world. You can enjoy health, wealth, spiritual bliss and longevity. I
have shown graduated exercises according to the capacity of the students. Now it
is left to you to expand and grow. You will have to apply yourself diligently. A
hungry man will have to eat for himself. A thirsty man will have to drink
for himself. Now drink the nectar of Immortality and become a spiritual darling
and hero. Get success in every department of your life. These practices will now
become part and parcel of your nature after one year. You can go on developing
them till you attain perfection.
Now comes another important culture. The
student should pay great attention in this direction, because he will
derive immense benefits. Will is Atmabal. Will is dynamic soul-force. Will,
if it is rendered pure and irresistible, can work wonders. There is nothing
impossible for a man of strong will to achieve in the three worlds. The vast
majority of persons have no consciousness of will or mind or intellect, though
they talk much on will and mind.
The will has
become impure and weak through Vasanas (desires). When a desire is
controlled, it be- comes changed into will. The sexual energy, the muscular
energy, anger, etc., are all transmuted into will-force when they are
controlled. The fewer the desires, the stronger the will.
Napoleon had a strong will and so he won
sanguine success in wars. Visvamitra had a strong will and therefore
he created a third world for King Trishanku. Dattatreya had a strong will
and so he created a woman by mere willing. Shams Tabreiz had a strong will and
so he caused the sun to come down to roast his piece of mutton. Jnanadeva had a
strong will and therefore he made the Masjid to move. All Jnanins and Yogins
have very strong will.
The force of Brahmacharya is at the back
of the will. No will-culture is possible without Brahma charya. Will is another
name for the force of celibacy. Every drop of semen is a magnetic force.
Satsankalpa is the pure willing of Jnanins. They can do anything by
Sat-sankalpa. The Yogi or Jnani creates through pure will. Chudalai wanted to
test her husband Shikhidhvaja. She willed and created an imaginary husband for
her. She willed and stood up in the air to convince him of her powers.
Immediately Shikhidhvaja accepted her as his Guru.
FOR DEVELOPING WILL
Get up at 4 a.m.
and sit on Veerasana or Padmasana and meditate on these formulae. Repeat
them mentally with feeling.
. My will is
pure, strong and irresistible.
Om Om Om.
. I can do
anything through my will now.
Om Om Om.
. I have an
Om Om Om.
the immortal Atman develops the will. It is the best method. Do not use the will
in directions. You will have a hopeless fall. Do not test the strength of your
will in the beginning. Wait till it becomes strong and pure. Will is the king of
mental powers. Will is Ichha-Sakti; Prana is Kriya-Sakti; intellect is
Jnana-Sakti. When the will operates, all the mental powers, such as power of
judgment, power of memory, power of grasping, Dharana Sakti (power of holding),
reasoning power, discriminating power, power of inference, power of
reflection—all these come into play within the twinkling of an eye. They come to
aid the willpower, their master.
HOW TO APPLY WILL
Be not troubled and anxious if there is delay in the development of the will. The will is bound to carry out all your behests in the long run. You can treat any ailment of other People by mere willing.
the patient be free from this disease”. This will really come to pass
immediately. You will be really astonished. You can treat any disease in your
body by mere willing. Will strongly: “I must see Mr. John at 5 a.m.”. The man
will be at your door at the exact time. Will alone is your obedient and willing
servant. It will fetch anything you want. Will strongly: I must get that
appointment”. You will surely succeed. I there is delay, apply the will over and
over again. In the beginning you will find it a bit difficult to apply the will,
because it is a new practice for you. Gradually you will know how to apply
the will. You will understand the knack and technique, and the will can be
applied in the twinkling of an eye, and the object also will be realised in the
twinkling of an eye. The stronger the will, the quicker the realisation. Will
strongly “I want to eat mangoes”. The mangoes are at your door. They will come
anyhow. Practice will make you perfect. Experiences will teach you.
You will have to be very careful in the use of the will. It is always advisable to reserve the will-force for the achievement of higher spiritual success. Worldly success is nothing. This life is a mere bubble. This world is a long dream. Worldly success will not give you everlasting peace and happiness. Try your will in one or two instances in worldly matters. You will understand and realise its power. Then apply the will in the realisation of the Self. Ignore mundane affairs. They are worthless, like straw or dung. Become an Atma-Jnani or Raja Yogi. This alone will give you absolute satisfaction. You are an emperor of the three worlds now. All petty desires will vanish now. Thou art an “AptaKama” now—a Jnani in whom all desires are gratified. Is this not really an exalted state?
HOW TO DEVELOP THE WILL-POWER
of endurance, overcoming aversion, dislikes and irritations, fortitude in
suffering, 1apas (austerities such as standing on one foot, sitting in the hot
sun) or Panchagni Tapas before five fires, standing in cold water in piercing
winter, raising the hands above and keeping in the same position for an hour,
fasting, patience, command of temper, forbearance, clemency, mental power of
endurance, firmness in meeting danger, power of resistance or attack,
Satyagraha, keeping up daily diary—all pave a long way in developing the will.
One should patiently hear the words of others even though they are not
interesting and charming. He should not fret and fume. Patient hearing develops
will and wins the hearts of others. One should do actions or tasks that are
uninteresting. This also develops the willpower. The actions that are not
interesting will become interesting after sometime.
Never complain against bad environments. Create
your own mental world wherever you remain and wherever you go. There are some
difficulties and disadvantages wherever you go. If the mind deludes you, at
every moment and at every step, try to overcome the obstacles and difficulties
by suitable means. Do not try to run away from bad, unfavourable
environments. God has placed you there to make you grow quickly.
If you get all sorts of comforts in a place, you will not grow strong. Your mind will be puzzled in a new place when you cannot get these comforts. Therefore, make the best use of all places. Never complain against surroundings and environments. Live in your own mental world. Nothing can upset your mind.
You will find Raga-Dvesha even in the eternal snowy regions of the Himalayas, near Gangotri. You cannot get an ideal place and ideal surroundings in any part of the world. Kashmir is very cool; the scenery is very, enchanting; but Pissus (small insects like fleas) trouble you at night; you cannot sleep. Varanasi is a centre of Sanskrit learning, but it is notorious for hot winds in summer. Uttarakasi in the Himalayas is beautiful, but you cannot get vegetables, or fruits there; the cold is so very biting in winter. This world is a relative plane of good and evil. Remember this point at all times. Try to live happily in any place, under any condition. You will become a strong and dynamic personality. This is a great secret. Keep this in your pocket and unlock the Elysian regions, the spiritual realms and the immortal abode. You can get sanguine success in any undertaking. You can conquer any difficulty.
The, practice of concentration is of great help to strengthen the will. You must have an intelligent understanding, of the habits of the mind - how it wanders and how it operates. You must know easy and effective methods to control the wandering of the mind. The practice of thought-culture, the practice of concentration, the practice of memory-culture, are all allied subjects. All these are of immense help in the practice of will-culture. You cannot draw a line of demarcation to denote where the practice of concentration or memory-culture ends and the practice of will-culture begins. There is no hard an1 fast rule. For further particulars on the practice of concentration, please see the article “Control of Mind wandering.”
Mr. Gladstone and
Mr. Balfour could go to deep sleep the, moment they went to bed through
willing. They had
such a strong will. Even Mahatma Gandhi had this practice. They could get up in
the morning at any time they wanted, to the very minute. They had so trained
their subconscious mind. The subconscious mind was their obedient servant.. It
would wake them up at the very second. Every one of you should develop this
habit through will and become a Gandhi, a Gladstone or a Balfour.
vast majority of persons simply roll in their beds for hours together and do not
get sound sleep even for half an hour. It is the quality of sleep, and not the
quantity, that gives refreshment. Sound sleep for even an hour is quite
sufficient to refresh the body and revitalise the mind. The moment you go
to bed, simply relax the mind and give the suggestion, “I will have good sleep
now.” Do not think of anything. Napoleon had this habit. Even when the bugle was
blowing and the drums were beating on the battle-field, he would be snoring. His
subconscious mind would wake him up at the very second he wanted to get up. With
a cool mind, Napoleon would appear like a lion on the battle-field. One
should train himself to sleep in running cars, trains, and when moving in the
aeroplanes, even in a sitting posture. This practice is of immense help for busy
medical practitioners, advocates and businessmen, who have to do immense
work daily and a good deal of travelling. Life has become so very complex
now-a-days that busy people do not find time to get, enough sleep. Whenever they
find some leisure, even for five minutes, they should close their eyes in any
place and go to sleep for a short time. This would give great rest. They can
continue their further activities. This kind of practice is a blessing to busy
people. Their nerves are under great tension and pressure. By relaxing them
every now and then, they could refresh themselves and keep quite fit for further
activities. One should be able to sleep on the platforms of Howrah or Bombay
railway stations when trains are moving at all times. This is a wonderful
practice that gives immense strength.
Dr. Annie Besant used to write editorial
columns when moving in the cars. There are some busy doctors who read
newspapers even when they are in the water closets. They keep their minds fully
occupied. The practice of keeping the mind fully occupied is the best of all
practices for keeping up physical and mental Brahmacharya. Those who want to
become magnetic and dynamic personalities or prodigies should utilise every
second to the best possible advantage and should try to grow mentally,
morally and spiritually, every second. Idle gossiping should be given up
entirely. Every one of us should realise the value of time. Will is bound to
become dynamic if one utilises his time very profitably. Application and
tenacity, interest and attention, patience and perseverance, faith and
self-reliance, can make a man a wonderful world-figure
You will have to apply your will according to your capacity. Otherwise, your will deteriorates. You will be discouraged. This is one important point. Make a programme of work or daily routine, according to your capacity, and see that it is carried out daily. Keep only a few items. If you keep several items which cannot be executed in a day, which are beyond your capacity, your interest will slowly wane and your enthusiasm will gradually decline. Your energy will be dissipated and scattered. You will get brain-fag. Whatever you wish to do daily must be carried out to the very letter. Nimbarka Acharya willed that the sun should not pass beyond the Nim tree that was in front of his house; it came to pass exactly. Narayani willed that there would be no daybreak; it came to pass accordingly. These people had strong will-power. If you also will like this in the beginning, when you are a neophyte, when you have developed your will to a very small extent, you cannot succeed.
Thinking too much is a hindrance in the
execution by the will. It brings confusion, diffidence and procrastination.
There is slackening of the force of the will. The opportunity will slip away.
You may hesitate to put the thing in action. Think for sometime correctly
and then decide. As soon as you have resolved, you must will immediately. There
must not be any unnecessary delay. Sometimes you will and do not succeed. This
is due to lack of right thinking and right feeling. You must think rightly and,
at the same time, feel rightly. Then the will is bound to succeed. Right feeling
should invariably accompany right thinking.
DESIRE AND WILL
Divine will is all-powerful. God wills, and everything comes into being the very second. Man wills, but it takes a long time for attaining a thing or materialisation of the desired object as his will is weak. Man thinks, wills, and slowly gets the desired objects after some time. Man also creates. If his will is pure and strong, man also gets the objects in the twinkling of an eye. Mere wish will not suffice for the attainment of the desired thing. You will have -to add to it definite purpose. Wish or desire is a small ripple in the mind-lake, but will. is that power which executes the desires. Will is volition. It is the power of choosing or determining.
Desire and will are different things
altogether. Desire is a longing for certain possessions, while will is the power
of determination (Sankalpa) without any motive whatsoever to enjoy
anything. Desire is Vasana which pertains to the mind; will is ichcha,
which is identical with the Law and is characteristic of the Self - the
universal consciousness. God’s will and Gods law are one and the same.
When the Self determines the activity,
uninfluenced by attractions or repulsions towards surrounding objects, the will
is manifested When outer attractions or repulsions determine the activity and
the man is drawn hither and thither by these, deaf to the voice of the Self,
unconscious of the Inner Ruler, then the desire is seen
The man must
learn to separate himself from the vehicles in which he, desires, thinks and
acts, -to know them as part of the not-self, as material external to the
life. Thus, the energy that went out to the objects in the lower desires becomes
the higher desire, guided by the mind, and is prepared to be transmuted into
As the lower mind emerges into the higher, and the
higher 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 bonds are broken and the spirit
is unconstrained by anything outside itself. Then and then alone can the will be
said to be free.
HAVE A COOL
AND BALANCED MIND
He who is attempting to develop the will should always try to keep a cool head. He should keep a balanced mind under all conditions. He will have to train or discipline the mind. It is worth practising. Balance of mind is one of the vital characteristics of a developed Jnani or Yogi. That Yogi who can keep a balanced mind at all times is really a strong and happy man. He will get sanguine success in all his undertakings. You may fail to maintain the balance in fifty attempts, but, from the fifty-first endeavour, you will gain strength of will. You will slowly manifest balance of mind. You should not be discouraged in the beginning. Remember the story of Bruce and the Spider. Bruce learnt from the spider. He failed seven times, but succeeded in the war in his eighth attempt.
If a serious calamity occurs, your mind should not be upset. Just keep the mind cool and calm. Have presence of mind. Do not cry over spilt milk. Anyhow, it has come to pass. You will have, to face it with a cheerful countenance. Try to make, the best of things. Remember the maxim: “What cannot be cured must be endured”. Find out methods to tide over the difficulty. Keep always an unruffled mind. Do not be carried away by undue sentiments and bubbling emotions. Control them. Reflect how the calamity or trouble or catastrophe has come. There is always scope for suitable, effective, easy methods to tide over the crisis or trying situation. 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 discrimination and foresightedness. Many obstacles and calamities can be obviated quite easily. Do not brood over failures, defects and mistakes. This will weaken your will. 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.
Just reflect for
a while why, you have failed in the attempt and try to be careful in the second
attempt. Try to remove those factors that led to your failure in the
previous attempt. Fortify yourself now. Be careful and vigilant. Be on the
alert. Be active and nimble as the squirrel. You must be quick and, at the same
time, efficient and capable. You should not commit mistakes.
HAVE PRESENCE OF MIND
Whenever you are in a dilemma or trying practical difficulty, never get discouraged. Never lose your heart. Use your skill nicely. Devise intelligent plans or schemes. Call forth all your latent energies or dormant faculties. When the house is on fire, how alert you are! How skillfully and promptly you act at that particular moment! You do not know wherefrom the energy and power are flowing at that time. You are fully concentrated. You contrive skilful methods then and there to save your property, as much as possible, and to save the lives of your kinsmen dwelling in the house. Marvellous actions you do. Then you say at your leisure, when the difficulty is over, that some mysterious power of God had worked through you.
Always cut the
Gordian knot at once. Do not be wasting time. When once you have resolved a
definite line of action, carry it out dexterously and with cool and
calculating deliberation and consideration. Procrastination is the thief of
time. A Deerghasutri (one who procrastinates) can never succeed in this
life or in any of his undertakings.
“Procrastination is the thief of time” is a wise maxim.
SIGNS OF GROWING WILL
Unruffled state of the mind, poise, cheerfulness, inner strength, capacity to turn out difficult works, success in all undertakings, power to influence people, a magnetic and dynamic personality, magnetic aura on the face, sparkling eyes, steady gaze, powerful voice, a magnanimous gait, unyielding nature, fearlessness, etc., are some of the signs or symptoms that indicate that ones will is growing.
BECOME AN EXPERT
You must become a
Daksha (an expert) (Refer Chapter XII, 16, Gita) in deciding a line of action
when you are in a dilemma in the twinkling of an eye that can bring sure and
positive success. You must keep the instrument (Buddhi) very, very subtle and
sharp. See how smart and adept the Kshatriya kings were in olden days during
warfares! A commander-in-chief is expected to have this faculty to a
remarkable degree. Sivaji and Napoleon had this virtue.
FIRMNESS AND PATIENCE
firmness and patience are needed to tide over critical situations and gain
success. Dhriti and Dhairya (presence of mind), and Samata (balance of
mind) develop the will to a remarkable degree.
DEFINITE AIM IN LIFE
The vast majority of persons, even the so-called educated people, have no definite aim in life. Hence they are drifted here and there like a log of wood on a restless ocean. . They do not know what to do. Some students finish their Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts courses, but they do not know how to proceed further. They do not have the power of judgment to select any good avocation that is suitable to their temperament, that can bring them prosperity and success in life. They become lazy. They are unfit for adventurous enterprises or any speculative business, or any kind of activity that demands knack, pluck and skill.
They waste their time and finish their life’s career in. gloom, despair and sorrow. The energy is there. The intellect is there but they have no definite aim or purpose. They have no ideal. They have no clear-cut programme of life. Hence their life becomes a failure. Every one of you should clearly understand the aim of your life. Then you should chalk out the line of work that is congenial to your aim. You should work hard to realise the aim. You should have your ideal and you should try every second to live up to that ideal. You can realise the ideal right now in this very second, even after ten years by walking with faltering steps. It does not matter much. The ideal and the aim must be there. Then you can develop your will.
When one, has
successfully finished his duties of a household, then his sorts are all fixed up
in life, when the daughters are given in marriage, he should devote the
remaining years of his life in spiritual pursuits, study of religious literature
and divine contemplation. Many people have no definite idea as to what they are
going to do. After retirement from active service, they take to some other
avocation.. They are still greedy. Till the end of life, they count money, and
entertain thoughts of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Pitiable is the lot
of these men indeed. Blessed is he who spends the whole time in study and
meditation in a solitary place after retirement from service.
EASTERN AND WESTERN MODES OF
There is a gulf of difference between the Eastern culture of the Hindu sages and rishis, and the method of culture of the Western occultists. The fundamental difference is that in the West, people train their will and memory for attaining material progress and worldly prosperity only. They have totally ignored the life beyond. This is their serious blunder indeed. Whereas the Yogins of India do develop their will and memory for spiritual ends. Their goal is always Self-realisation. They exhibit psychic Siddhis to make their students clearly understand that there is a higher supersensual life in the Atma which alone can be real Bliss and Immortality. They clearly impress on their students in unmistakable terms: “Na Karmana Na Prajaya. Dhanena Tyagenaike Amritatwamanashuh. Not by actions, nor by progeny, nor by riches, but by renunciation alone one can attain Immortality”. The real bliss is in the Bhuma or the Infinite or the Unconditioned. There is no happiness in the perishable objects. Real, lasting peace is in the Absolute alone. The Absolute must be sought and understood. This one ringing note is blown in their ears daily.
Western occultists should not neglect the spiritual culture and should not
forget the spiritual basis of all other cultures. One can have material
prosperity to a certain extent. He should also develop the spiritual side. There
should be a spiritual basis for all cultures and undertakings. This is
important. If this side is ignored completely, then that culture is no culture
at all. There should also be the practice of a little Tapas (austerity) along
with the will-culture. Saunaka, a
wise householder, approached the sage Angirasa and said: “O venerable
sir, what is that supreme culture or culture of cultures by knowing which all
other cultures are known?” Angirasa replied: “It is Brahma Vidya or Para Vidya
or the spiritual culture or the Science of the Self”. All cultures are founded
on the culture of the Self. I therefore draw the attention of Western culturists
to this striking feature of Eastern culture. Then alone they will have roaring
success and immeasurable joy. Some Hindu teachers completely ignore the
material side and practise Tamasic Tapas. This is also inadvisable. This is
condemned by Lord Krishna in the Gita. Extremes are always bad. A healthy
combination is highly desirable. Chudalai and Janaka had this happy combination.
Tantrikas have Mukti and Bhukti.
Dear readers, I want to place before you
another important point. I have not such words as cannot, difficult, impossible,
weakness, etc., in my dictionary. Those who are attempting to develop their
will-force should remove these words from heir dictionary also. These are the
expressions of a weakling or an effeminate person. These are the expressions of
a timid woman. Become a lion. Become a spiritual hero. Become a champion in the
atmic field. By mere willing or chanting of Om mountains can be crushed to
powder. By mere willing mountains should move. By mere willing, oceans should
recede. By mere willing, all the waves of the ocean should subside. Lord Jesus
did this and you also can do. Whatever one has achieved can also be attained by
all if only they will. This is the grand law of Nature. Mother Prakriti is
unbiased. She looks up at all her children with equal vision. Speak with dignity
and force. Talk with emphasis in a noble manner.
Therefore never entertain in your mind
these negative terms. Understand the glory, splendour and power of the Self
which is at the back of your mind, thought, will and memory. Understand the
magnanimity and immortal nature of that hidden, inter-penetrating, indwelling
Essence. Know that this Self is the storehouse for all knowledge, bliss, power,
beauty, peace and joy. Feel that the sun, the moon and the stars, and fire do
their respective functions at your command. Feel that the air moves, rain
showers, fire burns, rivers flow, sun shines, stars glitter, Indra, Agni and
Yama do their respective functions, at your bidding. Thou art the Glory of glories, Sun of
suns, Light of lights, Holy of holies, Divinity of divinities, Devata of
Devatas, Emperor of emperors, God of gods. Thou art Truth; Thou art Brahman;
Thou art the imperishable, undecaying, undying Atman that pervades this whole
universe. Assert your divine majesty. Recognise the Brahmic glory. Realise our
freedom and Satchidananda nature, your centre, ideal, goal and heritage. Rest in
that ocean of light, knowledge, Prema, peace, joy and bliss. Realise the
significance of the great sentence Tat Tvam Asi (Thou art That) of the
glorious Upanishads. OM! OM! OM!
Do you know the
reason why I have chosen this subject as the third item? Atma is the basis of everything.
So I have placed spiritual culture in the beginning. There is intimate relation
between Mind and will. Will is only
Atma or God in motion or manifestation. - So I have dealt with will,
culture after spiritual culture. No spiritual or will culture is possible
without ethical culture, so I Have placed this subject as the third important
item. Ethical culture will result in ethical perfection. An ethical man is more
powerful than an intellectual.
Ethical culture brings in various sorts of Siddhis or occult powers. If
you study Yoga Sutras, you will find a clear description of the powers that
manifest by observance of the practices of, Ahimsa; Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya
and Aparigraha. The nine Riddhis roll under the feet of an ethically
developed man. They are ready to serve him.
The philosopher need not necessarily be a moral or ethical man; but, a spiritual man must of necessity be moral. Morality goes hand in hand with spiriua1ity. Morality coexists with spirituality. . The three kinds of Tapas, viz., physical, verbal, and mental that are prescribed in the seventeenth chapter of the Gita, the practice of Yama in Raja Yoga philosophy, and the Noble Eightfold Path of the Buddhists, viz., right thinking, right endeavour, right action, right living, etc. are all best calculated to develop the moral side of man. Sadachara or right conduct aims to making a man moral, so that he may be fit - for the reception of Atma-Jnana or the realisation of the Supreme Tattva.
You should always try your level best to speak, the
truth at all costs. You may lose, your income in the beginning. But, in the long
run, you are bound to be victorious. You will realise the truth of the
Upanishads: “Satyameva Jayate Nanritam. Truth alone triumphs, but not
falsehood”. Even a lawyer who speaks the truth in law courts, who does not coach
up false witnesses, may lose his practice in the beginning; but later on, he
will be honoured by the judge as well as the client. Thousands of clients will
flock to him only. He will have to make some sacrifice at the outset. Lawyers
generally complain, “What can we do? Our profession is such. We must tell lies,
otherwise we lose our case”. These are false excuses. There was an advocate, a
mental Sannyasi, who was practising in the Uttar Pradesh, who was a friend
and benefactor of Sannyasins, who never coached false witnesses, who never took
up criminal cases, and yet, he was the leader of the bar amid was revered by the
judges, clients and colleagues. 0, my friends, barristers and advocates,
who are killing their conscience and who are slayers of Atman! Will you all
follow this noble example and ideal? Be truthful. You will have a peaceful
death. Do not kill your conscience in order to have comfortable living, and
in order to please your wife. Life
here is evanescent and like a bubble. Aspire to become divine.
formulae - Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah (Non-injuring is the highest of all
virtues); Satjam Vada, Dharmam Chara (speak the truth and do
virtuous actions); Do unto others in the same way as you wish others to do
unto you; Do as you would be done by; Love thy neighbour as thyself - are all
best calculated to develop the moral aspect of a human being. Morality is the
basis for the realisation of atmic unity or oneness of life or Advaitic
feeling of sameness everywhere. Ethical culture prepares you for the
Vedantic, realisation of Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma (All, indeed, is
Brahman; there no such thing as diversity).
All aspirants commit mistakes in jumping to Sanadhi and Dhyana all at once, as soon as they leave their houses, without caring a bit for ethical purification. The mind remains in the same condition” although they have practised meditation for fifteen years. They have the same jealousy, hatred, idea of superiority, pride, egoism, etc. No meditation or Samadhi is possible without ethical culture. Meditation and Samadhi come by themselves when man has ethical perfection.
Bhava is a Sanskrit term: there is no
proper equivalent in English. It means mental attitude or mental disposition.
Bhava is internal feeling. There are three kinds of Bhavas, viz., Sattvic Bhava,
Rajasic Bhava, and Tamasic Bhava according to the nature of the quality that
predominates in man. Sattvic Bhava is divine Bhava. It is Suddha Bhava. Just as
thought or memory or will can be cultivated or developed by practice, so also,
Bhava can be developed. An evil. Bhava can be transmuted into a good Bhava. The
Bhava of friendliness or enmity is a mental creation. The enemy or friend is not
outside. It is the feeling or imagination from within. An intimate friend
of long standing becomes. a deadly enemy within a second. One hot or harsh word
changes the situation completely within the twinkling of an eye. When there is
friendly Bhava, Mr. Smith expects
and imagines that his friend Mr. Nicholas will serve him when he is sick, that
he will have a good loving company in Mr. Nicholas, that his friend Mr. Nicholas
will speak loving words, that he can get a loan of money from Mr. Nicholas when
he is in distress, and that Mr. Nicholas will show a loving face and receive him
with hospitality when he visits his house. These are the feelings of men when
friendly Bhava reigns in their minds. When they lose their friendship, Mr. Smith
entertains different kinds of feelings towards Mr. Nicholas. He has no
confidence in his old friend and colleague. He is afraid of him. He turns his
face when he meets his friend. He speaks ill of him. He thinks that Mr. Nicholas
will injure him. The whole position is so radically changed. The Bhava has so
completely changed now.
Vedanta says: “Man is identical with Brahman (Existence-Absolute) when he
gets rid of his ignorance.” A human being erroneously identifies himself
with his body and wrongly imagines that he is a little Jiva with little power
and little knowledge. This is his present Bhava. This is human Bhava. This
should be changed into Brahma Bhava by changing the angle of vision and mode of
thinking. Think you are Brahman. Think you are pure all-pervading intelligence,
light and consciousness. Think you are immortal. Think you are omnipotent,
omniscient and omnipresent. Think you are Sakshi. Entertain Sakshi Bhava and
Akarta Bhava: “I am the witness. I am not the doer. I am not the enjoyer”. By this practice you can destroy the
idea of agency and of enjoyer, and free - yourself from the bondage of Karmas,
and attain the state of Brahman or the
highest bliss, knowledge and immortality. Vedanta also adds: “See and
feel Brahman everywhere and ignore the names and forms”. It teaches you to
develop Atma Bhava or Brahma Bhava by Vichara and right thinking and
When an idea exclusively occupies the mind, a mental state or Bhava corresponding to the nature of the idea comes in. Think of your enemy for some time and inimical Bhava will manifest. Think of mercy or universal love; Prema Bhava or Karuna Bhava will manifest. Think of universal service; Seva Bhava will come in. Think of Lord Krishna and His Lilas at Brindavan; Krishna-Prema Bhava will manifest. Feeling always accompanies thinking. You cannot separate thinking from feeling. They are like fire and heat.
You should be ever watching the mental states
through careful and vigilant introspection, and should not allow any negative
and undesirable Bhava to manifest. You must immediately change the evil
Bhava by thinking of the opposite Bhava. Positive overpowers the negative.
A Sattvic Bhava is a valuable spiritual asset for you. You must always try to
get established in Brahma Bhava through Sattvic Bhava. The struggle will be keen in the
beginning. There will be internal warfare between the Asurika and the divine
Bhavas. The former will try its level best to re-enter the mental factory. In
the long run, through constant practice, Sattvic Bhava will carry the day. Food
has a direct bearing upon Bhava. Sattvic food easily brings in Sattvic Bhava.
Put yourself on an exclusive diet of milk and fruits only for a fortnight and
study the nature of your mind and Bhava. You will have a wonderful calm mind
with Sattvic Bhava. When there is this Sattvic Bhava, the mind naturally moves
towards God, and meditation comes by itself without the least possible effort on
When the devotee thinks that be is a
servant of the Lord, he entertains Dasya Bhava. When be thinks that the Lord is
his friend like the immortal Arjuna, he entertains Sakhya Bhava. When be thinks
that the Lord is his son, he develops Vatsalya Bhava. When he thinks that the
Lord is his husband like the Sufis or Rup-kalaji of Ayodhya, he develops
Madhurya Bhava or Kanta Bhava. He feels that the Lord is present everywhere
- Sarvam Vasudevamiti - and
develops Tanmaya Bhava.
A devotee always thinks that God does everything and that he is an instrument in the hands of God. He thinks that he is only Nimitta; this is his Bhava. By entertaining this Bhava, he gives up the idea of agency and enjoyment and thus frees himself from the bonds of Karma. He rests in perfect, unalloyed peace by developing this Bhava. He says when anything happens, whether desirable or undesirable, “God is everything. God does everything for my own good. God is just. Thy will be done. All is Thine. I am Thine, my Lord”. By the practice of this Bhava, he is always happy, under all circumstances and conditions of life.
The Bhavas of a Bhakta and a Vedanti differ. A Vedanti entertains Sakshi and Akarta
Bhavas. Bhakta entertains Nimitta
Bhava. The Vedanti develops Brahma Bhava. The Bhakta develops Dasya Bhava. The
Vedanti identifies himself with Brahman. The Bhakta entertains the Bhava of
duality. He worships and adores. Eventually, through Para Bhakti, the Bhakta
also gets Jnana and attains the state which a Jnani attains. The modes of
Sadhana and the Bhavas differ in them in the beginning. They meet on the
same platform ultimately.
A rich man and a
Pandit have the Bhava of arrogance and superiority. A real Sannyasi has the
Bhava of equality and oneness, and the Bhava of love. Bhava differs in different
persons, according to nature and quality.
In worldly parlance, the relationship of father and son, husband and
wife, master and servant, friend and friend, brother and sister, etc., is meant
to develop the various degrees of Prema and to extend this Prema to God by
purifying the lower emotion into higher sublime divine emotion. That is the
aim and object. The lower human Bhava is transmuted into higher divine
Bhava. Worldly relationship and
Bhava is preliminary training for the development of divine Bhava. Do not forget
THINK OF THE
The Method of Pratipaksha Bhavana
Watch all your feelings very carefully. Suppose you get a gloomy feeling. Take a small cup of milk or tea. Sit calmly. Close your eyes. Find out the cause for the depression and try to remove the cause. The best method to overcome this feeling is thinking of the opposite. Positive overcomes the negative. This is a grand, effective law of nature. Now, think strongly of the opposite of gloom. Think of cheerfulness. Imagine the advantages of cheerfulness. Feel that you are in the actual possession of: this quality. Again and again repeat the formula OM CHEERFULNESS mentally. Feel: “I am very cheerful”. Begin to smile and laugh several times. - Sing! some tunes that can elevate you quickly. Singing is very beneficial to drive off gloom. Chant OM loudly several times. Run in the open air. The depression will vanish soon. This is the Pratipaksha-Bhavana method of Raja Yogins. This is the easiest method. The method of driving gloom by force, by willing, by assertions, by command - ”Get out O gloom” - taxes the ‘will’ very much, although it is the most efficient method. It demands great strength of will. Ordinarily, people will not succeed. The method of displacing or dislocating the negative feeling by substituting the opposite positive feeling, is very easy. Within a very short time, the undesirable feeling vanishes. Practise this and feel. Even if you fail several times, continue the practice. You will be successful after some sittings and some practice.
You can treat in the same manner other
negative feelings as well. If there is the feeling of anger, think of love.
If there is harshness of heart, think of mercy. If there is lust, think - of the
advantages of celibacy. If there is dishonesty; think of honesty, integrity. If
there is miserliness, think of generosity and generous persons. If there is
Moha (infatuation), think of discrimination and Atmic Vichara. If there is
pride, think of humility. If there is hypocrisy, think of frankness and its
invaluable advantages. If there is jealousy, think of nobility and
magnanimity. If there is timidity, think of courage, and so on. You will
drive off the negative feelings, and will be established in the positive state.
Practice of a continued type is essential. Be careful in the selection of
your companions. Talk very little, and that too, on useful matters.
This is also another vital subject. Very few people
know this art or science. Even the so-called educated people are unaware of this
fundamental education. All have random thinking. All sorts of loose thoughts of
diverse kinds come and go in the mental factory. There is neither order nor
harmony. There is neither rhythm nor reasoning. There is neither concord nor
organised working. There is neither system nor discipline. All is in utter chaos
and confusion. There is no clarification of ideas. You cannot think
of one subject even for two minutes in an- orderly and systematic
manner. You have no understanding of the laws of thought and the laws of the
mental plane. There is a perfect menagerie inside. All sorts of sensual thoughts
fight amongst themselves to enter the mind of a. sensualist and gain the upper
hand. The eye Indriya struggles to
bring its own thoughts. It wants to have sight-seeing. The ear Indriya wants to hear radio
music, and so on. In the vast majority of persons, only base thoughts,
lustful thoughts, thoughts of hatred, jealousy and fear, exist. They cannot
entertain a single sublime divine thought even for a second. Their minds are so
framed that the mental energy runs into sensual grooves.
Every man has got his own mental world,
his own mode of thinking, his own ways of understanding things, and his own ways
of acting. Just as the face and voice of every man differ from those of another
man, the mode of thinking and understanding also differs. That is the reason why
misunderstanding easily occurs between friends. One is not able to
understand rightly the views of another. Hence friction, rupture and quarrel
occur within a minute even amongst fast friends. The friendship does not last
long. One should be in tune with the mental vibrations or thought vibrations of
another man. Then only one can easily understand another. Lustful thoughts,
thoughts of hatred, jealousy and selfishness, produce distorted images in
the mind and cause clouding of understanding, perversion of intellect,
loss of memory, and confusion in the mind.
Every thought has got image, form, dimension weight, shape, colour, etc. Thought is as much matter as a piece of stone. Thought moves, and passes from one man to another. Thought influences people. A man of powerful thought can influence readily, people of weak thoughts. Telepathy is a branch of occult science, wherein the Yogi can transmit messages to any man in any part of the world. Telepathy is the first telegraphic or telephonic system in this world, known to Yogins and occultists of ancient days.
A thought of anger or hatred sends arrows
from the mental factory towards the person aimed at, harms the individual, sets
up discord and disharmony in the thought-world, and comes back again to the
sender and harms the sender also.
If one can understand the effect and power of thought, he will be
very careful in the manufacture of his thoughts in his mental laboratory. One
should develop the faculty of producing only pure Sattvic thoughts by protracted
mental discipline, dietetic adjustments, repetition of good Slokas with meaning,
good company, study of divine books, Japa, meditation, Pranayama, prayer,
etc. A good man can help his
friend, even though he lives at a long distance, by good thoughts. You must not
allow any evil thought to enter your mental factory. Watch always your thoughts.
Avoid useless and base thinking, and reserve- or conserve your mental
energy. Energy is wasted: in idle thinking.
Keep yourself always occupied in doing
virtuous actions and the study of religious books. You can thereby cultivate
good and sublime thoughts. Destroy random thinking. Take a subject, and think on
its different aspects and bearings. When you think so on one subject, never
allow any other thought to enter the conscious mind. Again withdraw the
mind to the subject on hand Take for instance: you begin to think on the life
and teachings of Jagadguru Adi Sankaracharya Think of his birthplace, his early
life, his character, his personality, his virtues, his preachings, his writings,
his philosophy, some of the important utterings in his works or Slokas, the
Siddhis that he exhibited from time to time, his Digvijaya, his four disciples,
his four Maths, his commentary on the Gita, Upanishads and Brahma Sutras.
Think of these items one by one, in order. Exhaust them. Again and again
bring the mind to the point. Then take up another subject. By this
practice, you will develop organised thinking. The mental images will gain
intense strength and force. They will become clear-cut and well-defined. In
ordinary persons, the mental images are destroyed and undefined. Every thought
has got an image. A table is a mental image plus some external something.
Whatever you see outside has got its counterpart in the mind. The pupil is a
small round thing in the eye. Retina is a small structure. How is it that the
image of a big mountain seen through a small aperture or structure is cast on
the mind? How does the big form of a mountain enter a tiny hole in the eye? This
is a marvel of marvels. The image of a mountain already exists in the mind. The
mind is like a big, vast sheet of canvas cloth that contains all the pictures of
the objects seen outside.
You must have a knowledge of the mental
laws, viz., the law of association, the law of relativity, and the law of
contiguity. Then you can develop thought culture very easily. You can remember
things through the ‘law of association’. Bramacharya, and pure Sattvic diet, are
essential, for thought culture. Get up at 4 a.m. Sit on Virasana or Padmasana or
Siddhasana. Repeat your Mantra - Om or, Ram or Hari Om -
for ten minutes, and then practise thought-Culture. Have another sitting at
night. When you think on one subject, do not allow other thoughts to enter. When
you think of rose, think of the different kinds of roses only. Do not allow
other thoughts to enter. When you think of mercy, think of mercy and mercy only.
Do not think of forgiveness and tolerance. When you study the Gita, do not
think of tea or a cricket match. Be wholly occupied on the subject on
Napoleon controlled his thoughts in this manner: “When I want to think of things more pleasant, I close up the cupboards of my mind revealing the more unpleasant things of life, and open up the cupboards containing the more pleasant thoughts. If I want to sleep, I close up all the cupboards of my mind!”
Thought is both force and motion. Thought is dynamic. Thoughts move. There are various kinds of thoughts. There are instinctive thoughts. There are visual thoughts. There are auditory thoughts (thinking in terms of hearing). There are symbolic thoughts (thinking in terms of symbols). Some thoughts are habitual. There are kinaesthetic thoughts (thinking in terms of movement, as in playing a game). There are emotional thoughts. If there is mental fatigue, the processes of thought change from visual to auditory, and from auditory to kinaesthetic. There is intimate connection between thinking and respiration, as there is close relation between mind and Prana. Where the mind is concentrated, breathing becomes slow. If one thinks fast, the respiration also becomes fast. There is a thought reading machine, known as psychograph, which registers correctly the type of thoughts.
THE SUBCONSCIOUS MIND
The subconcious mind is termed “Chitta”,
in Vedanta. Much of your subconsciousness consists of submerged experiences,
memories thrown into the background, but recoverable.
When you show symptoms of losing your
memory, as you grow old, the first symptom is that you find it difficult to
remember the names of persons. The reason is not far to seek All the names are
arbitrary. They are like labels. There are no associations along with
the names The mind generally remembers through associations, as the
impressions become deep thereby You can remember well in old age some passages
that you had read in schools and colleges; but you find it difficult to remember
in the evening a passage you read in the morning. The reason is that the mind
has lost its Dharana-Sakti (power of grasping ideas). The brain-cells have
degenerated. Those who overwork mentally, who do not observe the rules of
Brahmacharya and who are afflicted with much cares and anxieties, worries,
etc, lose their power of memory soon. Even in old age you can remember old
events, as there are associations with events.
The mental processes are not limited to
the field of, consciousness alone. The field of subconscious mentation is of
much greater extent than that of conscious mentation. Messages, when ready, come
out like a flash from the subconscious mind to the surface of the conscious mind
through the trap-door of the, subconscious mind or Chitta of the Vedantins. Only
ten percent of the mental activities come into the field of consciousness. At
least ninety per cent of our mental life is subconscious. We sit and try to
solve a problem, and fail. We look around, try again and again, but fail.
Suddenly an idea dawns that leads to the solution of the problem. The
subconscious processes were at work. Sometimes, you go to sleep at night
with the thought: “I must get up very early in the morning to catch a train”.
This message is taken up by the subconscious mind and it is this subconscious
mind that wakes you up unfailingly at the exact hour. The subconscious mind
is your constant companion and sincere friend. You repeatedly fail at night to
get a solution for a problem in arithmetic or geometry. In the morning,
when you awake, you get a clear answer. This answer comes like a flash from the
subconscious mind. Even in sleep it works without any rest incessantly. It
arranges, classifies, compares, sorts all facts and figures, and works out a
proper satisfactory solution. This is all due to the subconscious mind. With the
help of the subconscious mind you can change your vicious nature, by cultivating
healthy virtuous qualities that are opposed to the undesirable ones. If you
want to overcome fear, mentally deny that you have fear, and concentrate your
attention upon the opposite quality, the ideal of courage. When courage is
developed, fear vanishes away by itself. The positive always overpowers the
negative. This is an infallible law of nature. This is Pratipaksha Bhavana of
the Raja Yogins. You can acquire a liking for distasteful tasks and duties by
cultivating a desire and taste for them. You can establish new habits, new
ideas, new, ideals, new tastes and new character in the subconscious mind by
changing, the old ones.
All actions, enjoyments, and experiences leave an imprint in the subconscious mind in the form of subtle impressions or residual potencies. The Samskaras are the root of causing again Jati (life) and experiences of pleasure and pain. Revival of Samskaras induces memory. The Yogi dives deep inside and comes in direct contact with these Samskaras. He directly perceives them through the inner Yogic vision. By Samyama (concentration, meditation and Samadhi) on these Samskaras, be acquires knowledge of the previous lives. By doing Samyama on the Samskaras .of others, the Yogi gets knowledge of their past lives also.
When you desire
to remember a thing, you will have to make a psychic exertion. You will have to
go up and down into the depths of the different levels of subconsciousness and
then pick up the right thing from a curious mixture of multifarious irrelevent
matter. Just as the mail-sorter in the railway mail service takes up the right
letter by moving the hand up and down along the different pigeon-holes, so also,
the sorter (the subconscious mind), goes up and down along the pigeonholes in
the subconscious mind and brings the right thing to the level of normal
consciousness. The subconscious mind, can pick up the right thing from a heap of
A Samskara of an experience is formed or
developed in the Chitta at the very moment when the mind is experiencing
something. There is no gap between the present experience and the formation of a
Samskara in the subconscious mind.
Smriti or memory is a function of the chitta (subconscious mind). It is a
separate faculty or category in Vedanta. Sometimes it is Antarangata, that comes
under the mind. In the Sankhya philosophy it is included in
Buddhi or Mahat Tattva. The Chitta of Patanjali Maharshi’s philosophy of Raja
Yoga (Yogah Chitta Vritti Nirodhah) corresponds to the Antahkarana of
He who dwells in the subconscious mind or
Chitta, and in memory, and who is within this memory, whom the Chitta and memory
do not know, whose body is the memory (and subconscious mind) who rules the
memory and Chitta from within, is thy Self, Inner Ruler (Immortal Atma,
Antaryami Amritam). My silent adorations and prostrations to this Inner
Memory-culture is very, very important. It
brings success in God-realisation as well. A forgetful man always fails in
his endeavours. The manager gets displeased with a forgetful clerk. A forgetful
man commits serious mistakes again and again. A man with strong and retentive
memory gets sanguine success in all his ventures and undertakings. He who has
memory can, conduct his business-affairs very successfully, remember credits and
debits, and keep accounts in a satisfactory manner. 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
Smriti. Smarana is
remembering. This is the function of the subconscious mind or Chitta. The
Samskaras of thinking and acting are deeply impressed in the Chitta. The Chitta
is like the sensitive plate of a camera. It is like the sensitive plate of a
gramophone. All the impressions are indelibly recorded there. Whenever you
make an attempt to remember the past events or things, they come back to the
surface of the conscious mind through the trap-door. Just as the man
enters the stage from the side-curtains, just as the prisoner comes
out of the jail through a small door in the big main gate, so also the
impressions come out through the trap-door in the form of big waves of thought
or mental image. If you have a clairvoyant vision or astral eye, you can clearly
watch all subterranean movements of these images in the subterranean
workshop of the mind or the underground mental factory. The term memory is used
in two senses. We say, “Mr. John has got a good memory!” Here it means
that Mr. John’s capacity of the mind to store up its past experiences is
very good. Sometimes you say, “I have no memory, of that incident”. Here it
means you cannot bring out to the surface of the conscious mind, in its
original form, the incident that occurred some years ago. It is an act of
If the experience is fresh, you can have a complete recall of your past experience through memory. You cannot get any new knowledge through memory. It is only a repetition.
In ordinary recollection, there is a temporal coefficient. In personal memory, there is a specific coefficient. That which acts together with another is a coefficient. In mathematics, the numerical or literal factor prefixed to an unknown quantity in an algebraic term is coefficient.
Suppose you have received a nice fan as a
present from your friend. When you use the fan, it sometimes reminds you of
your friend. You think of him for a short time. This fan serves as cause for
memory (Udbodhaka or Smriti-hetu).
The following are the four good
characteristics of good memory: (i) If you read once a passage and if you can
reproduce the same nicely, it is a sign to indicate that you have a good memory.
This is termed Sugamata. (ii) If you can reproduce the same thing without
increase or decrease (addition or subtraction), it is called Avaikalya.
(iii) If you can preserve a fact or passage, or anything for a very considerable
period, it is called retentive memory, Dharana. (iv) If you can reproduce a
passage at once without any difficulty when it is needed, it is called
If your brother is a coward, the sight of a similar man in another place will bring to your mind the memory of your brother. This memory is due to similarity of objects (Sadrishata).
Suppose you have seen a dwarf at Madras. When you see a very tail man or Patagonian, this will remind you of the dwarf whom you saw at Madras. The sight of a big palace will remind you of a peasants hut or a Sannyasins grass Kutir on the banks of the Ganges. This memory is due to dissimilarity in objects, (Vipareetata).
When you walk along the road on a stormy
day and happen to see a fallen tree, you conclude that the tree has fallen owing
to the storm. In this case, the memory is due to the relation between cause and
A knowledge of the working of the
subconscious mind is very necessary for those who want to develop their
memory. Most of the mental operations take place in the subconscious mind. The
conscious mind takes some rest, but the subconscious mind works throughout the
twenty-four hours. It is the subconscious mind that brings the answer like a
flash of lightning in the early morning, when you fail to get a solution at
night even though you rake your brain for hours and hours together. It is again
the subconscious mind that wakes you up in the morning when you go to sleep with
a firm resolve: “I should catch the train at 3 a.m.”. It is a most faithful,
servant, provided you know the technique of manipulating it in a
masterly manner. You can extract
tremendous work from it. All the prodigies, or intellectual giants of the
world, know the act of handling and tapping this portion of the mind. The Chitta
analyses, sorts, arranges facts and figures, takes out all old records from the
various pigeon-holes of the mind, and produces in the early morning or at any
time, a clear balance-sheet of facts for your perusal and review. Before you
retire to bed, give orders to the Chitta to do any kind of work. It will keep
the answer ready in the early morning. When you are in a dilemma, when you are
at your wits end and con fused, when you do not know how to solve a serious
problem, give orders to the Chitta - a definite command - placing before it
the nature of your difficulty in the morning at 4 a.m., you will have an
unambiguous answer. Do this. Practise this. Then only you will have
wonderful conviction and strength. You will find a very reliable friend in the
A man of strong and retentive memory can
turn out tremendous work in the twinkling of an eye. He can master any subject
or art in a short time. Dr. Samuel Johnson used to repeat passages after
passages in a few minutes, by committing them to memory. His mother
was quite astonished. She used to ask him: “Johnson, my dear child, get this
passage by heart”. Before she would ascend the staircase, he would follow
her-and say, “Mamma, mamma, I know this by heart”. He would then repeat them
then and there. What a wonderful memory Johnson had! What one man has achieved
can also be achieved by another: this is an immutable law of nature.
If you read the introduction of “Pranava
Vada” written by Sri Babu Bhagawan Das of Varanasi, you will find that he
collected all the materials for his big book in three volumes by hearing the
recitations from a Pandit who was blind from his very birth and who knew the
contents of many books by heart. He
knew the numbers of the pages also. You go to Bakshi Sur who lives in a
village in Lakhimpur-Kheri in Uttar Pradesh. He has a wonderful memory. He is a blind man from his birth. He can
quote all the verses from Surdas and Tulsidas. He can quote the page numbers, too. How he learnt this, how he
committed this to memory, is a wonder of wonders today!
In olden days, Sanskrit scholars got by heart all the Vedas. The Gurukula system of education has its own advantages. It develops memory to a very marvellous extent. Even now there is a Sanskrit Pandit in Varanasi who has committed to memory the whole of the Upanishads, the Gita, the Brahma Sutras, Khandana Khadyam, Chit Sukhi and Advaita Siddhi, the greatest monumental work on Vedanta. There are small boys in the Darshan Maha Vidyalaya of Sri Raghavachari in Rishikesh who have committed to memory the eighteen chapters of the Gita. The Gurukula system of education is wonderful. The students of modern universities cannot compete with the students of the Gurukula system.
dietetic adjustment, and discipline of Indriyas are very essential for
developing memory. The seminal energy has a direct, intimate connection with the
cells of the Chitta and brain. You should try your extreme level best to
preserve every drop of your vital fluid. Bad memory is due largely to heavy
losses of this life-giving energy Young school and college students do not
realise the vital importance of Brahmacharya They grope in utter darkness. Their
minds are filled with passion by daily looking at the nude pictures and embraces
in the film-shows. They indulge in novel-reading that excites passion. They
always seek bad company. They are conceited; arrogant and self-willed. They
never care to approach the sages who can give them inspiring lessons on the
science of the Self, memory culture, and conquest of passion. They eat whenever
they like. They have no idea of Sattvic diet and the effects of unwholesome food
on the different compartments of the brain. They have no knowledge of discipline
of Indriyas and the science of dietetics. Hence they fail in their lives and
lead a cheerless, gloomy life in darkness and despair. This is their only
mistake. Those who are careful in Brahmacharya and food, those who have
Satsanga with Sadhus and Sannyasins, are always quite safe. They
become quite successful in their lives. Even if they commit mistakes, they
are then and there corrected by wise men.
There are Udbodhakas or Smriti-hetus that bring things to memory. The sight of a wrist-watch brings the recollection of your friend who presented a wrist watch to you. The law of association is of immense help in developing your memory. The remembrance of a word that ends in ity, such as “cupidity”, “avidity”, etc., will bring to memory other words such as “stupidity”, “superiority”, “inferiority”, etc. The remembrance of a word that ends in “tic, such as “romantic”, will bring to memory other words as “fantastic”. In this way, you can remember things. You will have to group things like this in the various pigeon-holes of your brain. Connect one thing or event with another of a like nature. Then all these things will come back to your memory quite readily and willingly.
FOR MEMORY CULTURE
Here are some easy exercises for memory culture. Sit on Virasana or Padmasana. Close your eyes. Imagine there is a big garden. In one corner there are jessamine flowers, in another roses, in another Champak, in another lily of the valley. First, think of the jessamine, then rotate the mind to roses, then to Champak, and then to lily. Again bring back the mind to jessamine. Revolve the mind like this for two or three minutes. Look at the map of the heavens at night and count. the stars in a small localised area. On Thursday morning, try to remember the dietetic preparations, vegetables, kinds of Dhal, etc., that were prepared on Wednesday. This is another kind of exercise.
Study one important Sloka from the Gita.
Find out parallel lines in the Ramayana, the Bhagavata, the Upanishads, the Yoga
Vasishtha and the Bible, and connect all these passages and keep them in your
mental disposition or pigeon-holes of the brain.
Bring back the word V-I-B-G-Y-O-R to
memory. Try to remember the various colours such as violet, indigo,
blue, green, yellow, orange and red. Coin your code words to help you for
remembering. Every one of you can have your own code words.
Coin your catch-words, some that start with “A, some with B, some others with R, some that end with -tion, some with -ness. Here are some sentences:
“An Austrian army
at Aurangabad”. “Be bold, but be
benevolent.” “Cunning., camels carried caravans.” “Doctor Dadabhai died during Deepavali.”
“Examination is a great botheration to the Hindu nation whose sole occupation is
cultivation.” “If you do not want to study, hang that matriculation and take to
meditation. This is a sure way for Salvation.” “If you combine Satsanga and
Kirtan with meditation, this will form a good spiritual emulsion”. “This is my
firm conviction after mature deliberation and careful consideration.” Here, you
find all words ending in -tion. This is a specimen for you. You can do in your
own way. Every one of you has creative power of your own.
Japa, meditation, prayer, devotion,
Sirshasana and Pranayama develop memory wonderfully. Here is a short
description of Sirshasana. (For detailed particulars, vide the book “YOGA
ASANAS”.) Sirshasana is the king of all Asanas. Spread a fourfold blanket.
Rest the head over locked fingers, and slowly raise the legs up. Then
slowly bring down the legs without jerks. Take the help of a, wall or any of
your friends in the beginning. Do it for a minute; and gradually increase
the time to ten minutes. It removes diseases of the eyes, ears, nerves, blood,
stomach, intestines, gonorrhoea, spermatorrhoea, dyspepsia,
constipation, etc. It augments the digestive fire and improves
appetite. It is a blood and nervine tonic. Intellectual faculties
develop. It helps Brahmacharya and
makes you an Oordhvareto-Yogi.
Here are some assertions and affirmations for developing memory. Meditate and assert on them: -
3. My memory has very much improved
I have a wonderful retentive memory
the above formula several times daily. Meditate on this in the morning also for
five minutes. You will have wonderful improvement. “Day by day, in every
way, I am becoming better and better through the grace of my Lord.”
Meditate on the meaning and feel also.
I shall speak a word on
keeping a memorandum notebook. Daily jot down in the notebook, as soon, as you
rise from bed in the morning, the various kinds of work that you have to do in
the course of the day; and see if all have been carried out to the very letter.
Tick each item as soon as it is finished.
packet of playing cards and have six cards from out of it and see them very
carefully Then place them in front of you with face down words Through memory,
jot down in order on a piece of paper, their exact description You can slowly
increase the number to ten or twelve This exercise will also develop
Lie down in an easy chair quite comfortably.
Recollect the picture of your father. Close your eyes. Just try to bring out a
clear description of some of his distinct physical characteristics and marks on
the body, such as the kind of - nose, hair, the condition of his
eyes, forehead, lips, ears, chest, whether broad or pigeon chest, whether sinewy
or thin arms, whether there is symmetry in his limbs, the condition of his
teeth, his gait, way of talking, special distinctive features and
physiognomy, special traits that attract people, the nature of his voice,
special marks or moles on the different parts of his body, etc. After seeing
once any great man, try to bring out the special qualities and features
that have arrested your attention.
Try to remember synonymous terms. This will increase your vocabulary of words and you will be able to write beautiful essays and deliver excellent lectures. You will become a great journalist. You can write thrilling books. Take, for instance, the word “compassion” or “generosity”. Try to bring out the synonymous terms such as “pity”, “mercy”, “liberality”, “munificence”, etc. Through the law of association, connect one idea with several other ideas. This will develop your memory. The thought of coffee will bring the idea of Nilgiri Hills where it is grown, and the idea of Stane’s Company who sell coffee seeds, and the idea of the founder of this company. Through the law of Sadrishya or similarity, you may remember other places in the world where coffee is cultivated. You can remember the advantages of coffee. The idea of coffee will bring in the idea of similar beverages, like tea, and the name of Lipton and his native place, how he started his business and how he became a millionaire in the end, and the nectar of, immortality which the Yogins drink. All these ideas will come in your mind and flash out in the twinkling of an eye. Keep a small notebook in your pocket. Whenever good ideas flash in your mind, then and there jot them down. Take hints. Later on, you can develop them. Jot down, in your diary, the lessons you have received from great Mahatmas.
Just walk briskly along the Mall in Lahore
or the Chowringhee in Calcutta. Have a keen acute perception. See what is
going on in this shopping centre. As soon as you reach home, jot down on a piece
of paper the names of shops, and the important articles that are exhibited in
the show-rooms outside. Next day, walk along the same road and verify your
Try to remember the different makes of
motor cars, such as Ford, Studebaker, Chevrolet, Standard, Morris, Austin, etc.,
and their prices. Recollect the names of different philosophers of the world in
the East and in the West, such as Ankara, Romania, Kant, Plato, etc., and their
important works and teachings. Compare the Eastern with the Western philosophy.
Do this closing your eyes. This will develop your memory in subtle things. The
memory of gross things is easier than the memory of events or philosophical
ideas. Events can be more easily remembered than names of persons, because there
are associations for events. Names are arbitrary. There is intimate connection
between memory, keen observation and acute hearing. Mind thinks on objects
that are seen or heard. One who has developed his power of hearing and seeing
can have better memory.
There is yet another exercise. Just imagine that there is a
canvas-sheet in front of you which contains the pictures of nine animals.
In the first top-row, there are lion, leopard and cow; in the second row, horse,
zebra and bear; and in the third row, elephant, buffalo and tiger. Practise
this exercise daily. First try to remember -the animals in the first row, then
in the second, and lastly in the third. Now try to remember, in this order, from
above downwards, viz., lion, horse, elephant; leopard, zebra, buffalo; cow, bear
and tiger. You can change the order in many other ways like algebraical
formulae, or permutation and combination. Exercises on the memory of
different kinds of gross and subtle sounds, tastes of articles of food, touch of
various articles, various shades of colours, etc., can also be practised with
Read one or two pages in a book. Then
close the book, and try to remember the important ideas and reproduce them in
your mind. Write down the contents in your own way, or bring out an exact
reproduction on a piece of paper. Compare and contrast these passages with
other passages that are contained in, other books. Draw your own
conclusions -and inferences.. This practice will develop wonderfully your memory
and will enable you to remember things for a long time. Mark the important
passages with a red pencil on the sides, and have thin blue or red underlinings
wherever it is necessary. In underlining, do not blot out the words. Take down
notes of what you have read, and turn over the pages of the notebook which
contains in a nutshell all the important points, every week. Whenever you read a
book, keep a dictionary by your side. Never read without a dictionary. When
you come across difficult words that you do not understand, refer to the
dictionary and note down the words and their meanings in a separate
notebook. Many lazy students skip over the pages of books that they do not
understand, and imagine their meanings in their own ways. This is
anything but desirable. Those who practise in the above manner will become
truly learned and great within a short time. They will have a rich vocabulary of words and
can command huge audiences. They can become distinguished orators, journalists,
and able writers of prose and poetry. The Sanskrit term for the power of memory
is Smriti-Sakti. The power of memory needs the help of grasping power and
Dharana Sakti. Dharana Sakti is the power of holding ideas. Those who have
good Dharana Sakti will have remarkable retentive memory.
Practise self-analysis or self-examination
for ten minutes before you go to bed. Sit comfortably on a chair. Close your
eyes. Think of all actions, good and bad, that you did during the course of the
day. Think of all the mistakes that you committed consciously or unconsciously.
On the first day, you may not be able to find out even two or three mistakes in
your actions, because you are not in the habit of doing so. But, by daily,
regular and systematic practice, you will be able to visualise clearly the
actions and mistakes of the day. Even an hour will not be sufficient to review
the actions. The mind becomes subtle and sharp by the practice of introspection.
It goes more and more inward. It dissects, analyses, groups, classifies and
brings the list of actions in the twinkling of an eye. This practice will
develop your memory and reduce the number of mistakes. You can note down all the
actions and mistakes the same night, or the following morning, in your diary. A
time will come when you will do only good actions, without committing even a
single mistake. The name of Benjamin Franklin comes to my mind just now.
Study several times the eighteen chapters
of the Gita. Try to remember the Slokas according to different headings
such as those that treat of Viveka, Vairagya, Sadachara, development of Gunas,
three kinds of Tapas and the three kinds of food as described in the
seventeenth chapter, Slokas concerning Pranayama, practice of concentration,
Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, control of mind, etc. You must
group them and classify in the pigeon-holes of your mind. This is also a kind of
exercise for memory-culture. Select any kind of exercise that suits your taste,
temperament and capacity.
Develop the power of describing exactly a cricket match or a football match. Watch the game. As soon as you reach home, note it down on paper, correct the same then and there, and bring out a clear copy. It is always better to keep paper and pencil in your pocket, or a diary. Busy people, and those whose aim in life is to become great in every way, should always take down notes then and there, even while walking. They can take hints or shorthand notes in their own way, and can develop them at leisure. Whenever good ideas roll in your mind, at once jot down in your pocket-notebook. This is the keynote to success in life in all endeavours, in every walk of life, and in all spheres of activity. Practise, feel and enjoy. Mere theorising will not do. You should become a practical man. I always hammer on this point again and again, and I am not at all tired of doing so. I want you to become a great man of admirable ideals, and not in the unknown future, but right now this very minute. Give your full heart to me. I have got my own ways of developing a man quickly and perfectly. I have a strong passion for service, but I do not get the right type of aspirants. Attend a conference, and reproduce the speeches in your own style and send them to newspapers. You can become a first-class A-1 reporter and able journalist in a short time. Visit Badri-Narayan, Gangotri or Gomukhi where the Ganges takes its source, and take down notes. Give a full description of what all you have seen in the daily papers and journals. All these practices will undoubtedly develop your memory.
Here is yet another exercise for
memory-culture. Close your eyes. Sit comfortably in a chair. Try to remember the
richest persons of the world such as the Nizam of Hyderabad, Rockefeller, Ford,
the biggest rivers in the world such as the Amazon, the Nile, the
Brahmaputra; and the seven holy rivers in India, viz., the Gauges, the Jamua,
the Godavari, the Saraswati, the Narmada, the Indus, and the Cauvery You
can remember the Sloka: “Gange Cha Yamune Chaiva Godavari Saraswati
Narmade Sindhu Kaveri Jale Asmin Sannidhim Kuru.”
Remember the waterfal1s, the Niagara, the
Sivasamudram; remember the lakes, Chilka in the Ganjam District,
Manasarovar in the Himalayas, etc. You can recall to mind such poets as the
immortal Kalidas, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Milton, Shakespeare, Byron and, Keats;
essayist such as Johnson and Emerson; philosophers, such as Sankara, Ramanuja,
Kant, Heel and Plato; scientists such as Faraday, Newton, Bose, Raman and
Einstein; Jnanis such as Sankara, Dattatreya, Yajnavalkya, Madalasa, Gargi,
Sulabha, Vamadeva and Jadabharata; Yogins such as Jnanadeva, Bhartrihari,
Trilinga Swami and Sadasiva Brahman; Bhaktas such as Gouranga Maha Prabhu,
Tulsidas, Ramdas, Hafiz, Mira; the Pancha Kanyakas such as Kunti, Draupadi,
Mandodari, Ahalya and Anasuya; the seven Rishis such as Atri, Bhrigu,
Vasishtha, Gautama, Kasyapa, Pulastya. and Angirasa; the seven Chiranjivis
such as Asvattbama, Bali, Vyasa, Hanuman, Vibhishana, Kripa and Parasurama;
the twelve Brahma-Vidya Gurus such as Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, Vasishtha, Shakti,
Parasara, Vyasa, Suka Deva, Gaudapada, Govindapada, Sankaracharya and
Krishna. This practice will develop memory.
You must know the art of extracting work
from the subconscious mind. If you want to remember forgotten passages in
Shakespeare’s works, give a definite command to the subconscious mind just
before you retire to bed. You can talk to your subconscious mind just in
the same manner as you talk to your friend or servant. You can say: “Look here,
subconscious mind, I have forgotten an important passage in the Merchant of
Venice, and another in As You Like It, which I studied in my college days. Bring
them now to my memory. I want them very badly tomorrow morning. Do it quickly”
Give the order in very clear terms. The following morning, it will place them
like a flash before you. If it fails to bring in the next morning, give the
command again on the next day. On the following day, you may get the answer.
Sometimes, the subconscious mind is very busy, and the brain gets congested. The
brain is under high tension or pressure on account of tight work You will have
to wait with a calm mind You will have to repeat the command once or twice You
must allow sufficient time for the subconscious mind and not disturb it
A judge has to write summaries of
evidences and prepare judgments. His brain sometimes gets confused. He gets
bewildered. He is not able to arrive at the proper solution. In such cases, the
subconscious mind will beautifully work for him. It will arrange the facts
and figures in perfect order, and place before him a clear summary. He will have
to simply reproduce them on paper the following morning.
In matters which demand too much thinking
and long deliberation, you will have to wait for some days before getting an
answer from the subconscious mind. Again and again you will have to give
command to the subconscious mind at nights, and watch for the results. You need
not trouble the subconscious mind daily by commanding it. Repeat the
command once or twice. You will have to place facts and figures before it, and
make it understand clearly what you exactly want.
A Doctor has got good memory in the
remembrance of drugs in the Materia Medica, because he has keen interest in
the treatment of diseases He cannot remember even a single item in matters
relating to politics, because he has no interest in the subject. A lawyer can remember all the rulings of
the Allahabad, Bombay and Madras High Courts. He cannot remember a few things in
a cricket match, for he has no interest in it.
You will have to create interest first in
a certain subject, and the memory of things will automatically follow.
One should be in perfect knowledge of the subject and should have a general
knowledge of all subjects. A versatile or all-round nature is highly
creditable and laudable. Try to become a versatile genius. A strong and
retentive memory, or a powerful will, and the practice of daily concentration
and meditation will certainly make you a versatile prodigy.
A strong man will have a good memory. A
weak, delicate man of poor health will have a bad memory. Health plays an
important part in memory-culture.
Therefore try to keep a high standard of health, vigour and vitality by
taking proper food, exercise, etc.
In conclusion, I request you to attend to
these exercises - Brahmacharya, diet, Satsanga and various other things that are
inculcated herein - very carefully. Blessed is he who develops memory, for
he will be a very successful man in the world, and will attain God as he can
remember Him quite easily.
TO DEVELOP PERCPTION AND HEARING
Organs deteriorate if you do not use them
properly, just in the same manner as hands and legs get atrophied by
disuse, and are developed by muscular exercise, etc. There is intimate
connection between sight and memory, and also hearing and memory. He who has an acute sight, a keen
perception, a good power of observation and hearing, will have very good memory.
There are counterparts of these external parts in the internal astral body. They
are called astral senses. A Yogi hears through astral ears, and sees through
astral eyes, and thus develops clairvoyance and clairaudience. He can hear
sounds from distant lands, and see objects that are in distant localities.
Generally, people are very careless. They have no interest to learn higher things and to have a fund of knowledge. There are millions of people in India who cannot sign even their names. India, the land of Rishis and sages, still abounds in ignorance when compared with America and the Continent. Even a small boy, who brushes a pair of boots and applies polish in the streets of London and Paris, knows politics, reads newspapers, and can discuss things nicely. The masses of India are steeped in ignorance and darkness. The root-cause is carelessness, indifference and apathy.
To get success in life, to become an able
doctor or a lawyer or a good successful businessman, the ears and the eyes
should be developed to an enormous extent. A blind man, or a deaf and dumb
man, is practically a living dead man. All wealth and knowledge comes from the
ears, the eyes, and the organs of speech. These Indriyas are the Ayatana, or the
receptacles, for riches and knowledge. The knowledge of the sense-universe
comes through these two channels and is expressed by speech to others.
Whenever you move about, you should be very alert. You must keep the eyes
and ears sharp. You should try to remember all things and news that you have
seen, heard or read. You should develop the power of observation. Be very
attentive. Attention helps observation. Bring the power of curiosity into
play. Curiosity will turn into
desire after sometime. Interest and attention will come in automatically.
Whenever a man talks to you, give him a very patient bearing. If there are
useful and interesting points, note down in your pocket-diary then and there. Go
through the pages of the diary once a week.
EXERCISES FOR DEVELOPING
Keep a watch very close to the ear, and
hear the sound attentively. On the second day, keep it at a little distance, and
hear the tick, tick sound. Every day increase the distance, and train yourself
to hear the sound. Plug the ear with the index-finger of your hand. Train the
There is also another exercise. Close both
the ears through Yonimudra with your two thumbs and try to hear the Anahata
sounds that emanate from the heart-lotus. You will hear ten varieties of sounds,
such as, the sound of a flute, Mridanga, Veena, conch, bells, thunder, humming
of the bee, drum, etc. Allow the organ of hearing, (ear) to shift from one sound
to another, and carefully differentiate the various sounds, and eventually fix
the ear on one sound. First try to hear the gross sounds and then the subtle
There is also a third exercise. Fix the
ears on the Pranava Dhvani that emanates from the Ganges. It will be heard like
“Bhum”, or long “OM”. Train your ears to hear this sound. Do this exercise in
the morning at 4 a.m., or at night at 9 p.m., when the din and bustle of the
town is at an end.
Keep your ears keen. Try to differentiate
the, sounds of various kinds of birds, beasts, children, factories, motor-cars,
aeroplanes, cycles, shrieks, yells, snores, sobbing, crying, laughing, mocking,
joking, etc. It is advisable to sit in a quiet room. Close your eyes and
try to concentrate on these sounds. Distinguish them. You must be able to find
out, from bearing the voice of a person at a distance from within your
room, that such and such a man has come in front of your room. There are some
people whose voices have some resemblance. You should be able to find out that
the voice of Mr. Bose more or less resembles the voice of your cousin Mr. Ganga
Prasad. You should be able to find out the nature of Ragas and Raginis from the
nature of vibrations and undulations such as Kalyani, Todi, Bhairavi,
Kanada, Kamboji, Deepak, Durbari, Malkosh, etc. Try to hear the sounds of the
heart by applying your ear to the chest of another man. You will hear the sounds
“lub-dhub”. Pay heed to the sounds of sparrows and other birds, and try
to differentiate their sounds. Sometimes they sing. At other times, they give
signals of alarm to invite their mates and friends when there is impending
danger. Animals and birds have got their own languages. Yogins can understand
their languages. There is a particular technique in Samyama (or the
practice of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi) on sounds. Some males have the
voice of females, and some females the voice of males. You must be able to
differentiate. You must be able to know the hissing sound of a cobra, its
nature,, strength of vibration, etc. Even at a distance you can say, “There is a
cobra in that room”. Cats express peculiar sounds during, before and after
copulation. dogs, horses and elephants are very intelligent animals. They
have got simple consciousness. They laugh and smile and express their feelings
of joy and gratitude by certain sounds. You must be able to understand the
nature of the sounds. By the practices enumerated above and careful observation,
you will be able to develop a wonderful power of hearing. You can get on well in your business
ventures and vocations in life. Sharp ears and keen sight bring more
EXERCISES FOR DEVELOPING SIGHT
Whenever you meet a person, look at his
figure carefully from top to bottom, and note mentally his peculiar features,
condition of his eyes and eyebrows, teeth, arms, etc., the sort of dress he
is wearing, whether he has got moustache or not, the kind of cap he has on
his head, his voice, his behaviour, his looks, his gait, whether he seems to be
a kindhearted or cruel man, whether he is intelligent or dull, whether he
is polite or not, his colour, etc. There are many people who are not able to
give a clear description of the faces of their own friends with whom they are
moving for years and years. The son is unable to describe exactly the
physiognomy or marks on the face of his father, though he lives with him in
close contact for a number of years. The obvious reason is that the son has not
developed the power of memory. One cannot become a skilful scientist unless he
has an acute power of observation. He has to observe the various phenomena
of nature and to draw his own conclusions and inferences. He has to collect
facts and figures to study the Laws of Nature. Enter the drawing room of your
friend and notice carefully what all things you find therein. Then close your
eyes and reflect. Then come out of the room and note mentally, in order, all the
things which the room contains, and then enter again into the room for
verification. You should practise this, for some months. Then you will develop
a: wonderful power of sight.
Go to a library and note carefully all the
books that are arranged in any two rows of the almirah or shelf. Close your eyes
and reflect. Note down in your diary, and then verify. Let there be mistakes. It
does not matter much. A time will come when you will not commit even a single
mistake. You should be able to pick out or single out your comrade in a big
crowd by noticing the nature of his gait and movements, of his limbs or hands at
There was a blind man in Srinagar who
could tell the nature of colours by simply feeling the cloth. What a wonderful
development of the power of touch he had! It is all a matter of training. At
night, you cannot see properly; the power of seeing becomes dull, but the power
of hearing is intensified. This is compensation in nature. There are some deaf
and dumb people in the world who are intelligent. They do good work in the press
as compositors. When one organ becomes deficient, another organ gets more
developed. The energy of the organ
that is not in use is utilised by the other organ and it grows rapidly Nature is
very merciful and intelligent. There are some people who cannot remember more
than two things at a time. There was a soldier who could not remember the
ingredients of gunpowder, even though he was trained to remember for months
together. This is due to ill-development of the faculty of memory.
A judge in a court of law should have an acute hearing. Then alone he will become a distinguished and able judge. Then alone he can write down quickly all evidences without any mistake. A commander-in-chief should have an acute sight. Then alone he can survey all the infantries and cavalries. Then, and then alone, he can have a clear vision of the enemies on the opposite side, even at a very long distance. One will have to develop the power of hearing and power of attention. The development of these two organs is of great help in the practice of memory-culture. In some, the organ of hearing is more developed. In others, the power of sight is more developed. Dogs have got an acute nose. They have to smell things before they get their daily bread. Prakriti has shown marked intelligence in the creation of beings. Cobras have acute hearing. They hear through their eyes. They have not got separate ears. Tigers have acute nose; they can smell blood from a very long distance. There is a play of intelligence in every inch of divine creation. Songsters and musicians have very acute hearing. They have to develop it. They will have to find out various kinds of undulations in the vibration of sounds which make difference in Ragas and Raginis. The very profession itself demands the development of the particular organ, which helps them in the culture, of their art or science.
Ashtavadhana means doing eight things at one time. Dasavadhana means doing tens things at a time. Satavadhana means doing hundred things at a time. Avadhana means attention and concentration. This, of course, needs straining of memory and concentration. It is really a marvellous feat of the memory.
He who does eight things at a time is
called an Ashtavadhani. You also can do eight things at time. This demands of you gradual
development of memory and concentration. First practise to do two things and
gradually increase the number of activities. Now there are people who can
do eight things at a time. He can attend to chess, play cards, multiply big
numerals up to eight or ten digits by eight digits (bringing out the answer
alone), tell the exact day in a particular month in a particular year,
answer questions, dictate a letter, tell the number o beats of hand on his
back by two boys at different spots, and play upon the harmonium. He will be
accurate in his calculations. He will never commit any mistake. You will be
taken aback if you would look at the performance of an Ashtavadhani. Some twenty
or thirty boys will stand in a row, and each boy will be given a number and name
before the Ashtavadhani, only once. Afterwards, while the Ashtavadhani is
engaged, if any one of the bays comes in front of him, he will at once say: “You
are Gopal and your number is 25. You are Rama and your number is 19”. How
marvellous! There was a doctor in Madras who could dictate eight different
prescriptions to eight compounders at one and the same time. This is also a kind
In days long gone by, there were people
who could do Satavadhana. For this sort of Avadhani, one hundred questions are
put in rapid succession by as many persons - some testing the verbal memory
of the performer; some others testing the power of his mental calculations; and
some others again trying to test his artistic skill - without giving him any
time for committing the - question to memory. This faculty of concentration of
mind is often exhibited, not only with reference to the intellect, but also
with reference to the five senses. A number of bells may be marked differently
and the sounds may be allowed to be studied and made a mental note of, with the
mark given to it. A number of objects, of similar shape and colour, which are
likely to cause deception to the
eye of an ordinary man, maybe shown once to the Avadhani with their marks. While
he is attending to other things; if a bell were to be struck or one of the
objects suddenly exhibited before his sight, he will at once mention the
mark of the bell or the number of the object shown. Similarly, his keenness of
touch is also put to severe test; Such feats of memory are not commonly known to
any other country in the world.
You can also become an expert if you can
practise concentration and memory-culture. You can take any two things at a time
according to your taste. You can slowly increase the number. Make yourself
perfect at each stage and then take up the higher practice.
Ashtayadhana is worth practising. It
wonderfully develops memory and concentration. It increases the
earning and working capacity, as also efficiency. It is of immense help in
meditation and Samadhi.
Just as you relax your muscles after
having finished your Asanas and physical exercises, so also, you will have to
relax the mind and rest the mind after concentration and meditation, after the
practice of memory and will-culture. Relaxation of the muscles brings
repose to the mind. Relaxation of the mind brings rest to the body similarly.
Body and mind are intimately connected. The body is a mould prepared by the mind
for its enjoyment.
Expel fear, worry and anger. Think of
courage, joy, bliss, peace and cheerfulness. Sit for fifteen minutes in a
relaxed state and easy, comfortable position. You can repose on an
easy-chair. Close your eyes.
Withdraw the mind from outside objects. Still the mind. Silence the bubbling thoughts. Think of
your real Self. Think you are immortal, eternal, imperishable, Satchidananda
Atma. Again and again rotate the mind on these sublime ideas. Think you are an
ocean of bliss and peace. Now open your eyes. You will experience immense mental
peace, mental vigour and mental strength. You will have a calm, serene and
tranquil mind. Practise and feel the divine bliss. You can do this at any time
you like, in any place you choose. You can do this several times daily. You
will have no tension in the mind.
Close the eyes. Think of any thing that is
very pleasant to your mind. This will relax the mind in a wonderful manner.
Think of the grandeur of the Himalayas, the sacred Ganges, any striking scenery
in Kashmir, the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Victoria Memorial in Calcutta, a lovely
sunset, the vast expanse of the ocean, or the infinite blue sky.
Physical culture or development of the
body is as much 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 upon a sound body. “Mens sana in corpore sano”
is a wise saying, which means a sound mind in a sound body. The body is the
temple of God. It should always be kept scrupulously clean by daily bath,
and good scrubbing with a clean towel, to open the pores of the skin which might
have been clogged by sweat and sebum or fatty exudation.
There are different kinds of physical
culture. You will, of course, have to select one according to your needs, taste,
temperament and capacity. A man of delicate and poor health should take to long
brisk walks, both morning and evening.
You should always make it a point to walk alone. Then you can feel
the presence of the Almighty everywhere, and can be in perfect tune or harmony
with nature. Morning walks are very pleasant. The cool breeze is very refreshing
and vitalising. The fragrance of flowers in gardens is, indeed, invigorating.
Finish the walk before sunrise. The walk should not be like that of a
matrimonial procession. Slow walking cannot give you any substantial benefit. ,
It should, therefore, be brisk. You should have good perspiration. Then only it
is an exercise. You should always walk at least three or four miles per day. You
can do Pranayama, too, while walking. Inhale for six steps. Retain for six
steps. Then exhale for six steps.
This is a good practice.
Now I come to another kind of exercise,
viz, running. This is the best form of exercise. The lungs are developed well by
running. The blood is purified. Run in the open air. I like this very much. I
always run in the open air even now. You can have exercise of a truly vigorous
type in a short space of time. The famous surgeon, the late Dr. Rangachari of
Madras, used to run in the open air daily. Running on the seashore is immensely
beneficial. You can charge the lungs with ozone, double volume of pure
oxygen. Repeat OM mentally when you run. This will spiritualise the physical
exercise. Wipe off the perspiration with your hands. Rub it in the body itself.
Do not use a towel
Swimming is also one of the best kind of exercises. It stretches all the muscles of the back. Lumbago is relieved. You can practise Pranayama also, while floating. This can be practised in a big tank or a big well.
Tennis is also a good exercise. There is
running as well. It is a gentle game that never tires a man much. It is pleasant
and exhilarating. It develops the ankles and the fingers as well. Though
Badminton is styled “ladies game”, yet there is plenty of exercise in it.
One has to run from one corner of the court to another.
Those who have got strength and who want
to develop their chest and arms, shoulders and other muscles, should invariably
take to gymnastics. The biceps, the deltoid, and the triceps are well developed.
A gymnast has a very beautiful, expanded chest. Pumping, bend-arm march,
press-up in the parallel bars, are also very good exercises.
The Indian system of exercises, such as
Dand Baithaks, is also very good. There is a symmetrical development of all
the members of the body. The effects are lasting. It is also not costly. You
need hardly spend a single pie. The Baithaks develop the calf muscles very
beautifully. Kasrats develop the chest and arms. You can practise these
exercises in any place.
You can practise Suryanamaskar also daily.
It is highly beneficial for one and all, irrespective of age and sex. It is a
happy combination of some Asanas, Pranayamas, and prostrations to God Surya or
Sun. Those who suffer from eye-diseases will find a good remedy here. Diseases
of the liver, stomach, intestines, and kidneys, are infallibly cured. The
votaries of Suryanamaskar are daily increasing and this system is becoming
more and more popular. The Raja of Oundh (Satara) has written a good book on
this system, both in English and in Hindi.
Asana is a perfect form of physical
exercise founded by the Rishis of yore. It is a unique and unparalleled system.
It is not merely physical exercise. There is something spiritual, something
divine, for the Asanas awaken the Kundalini-Sakti (SerpentPower). Asana is
something more than physical exercise. It gives internal massage to the internal
organs. This benefit cannot be derived from any other system. It cures diseases.
That is one great advantage in this system. Some Asanas like Seershasana,
Sarvangasan, and Siddhasan are very, very useful in the up-keep of Brahmacharya.
Bhujangasan, Salabhasan and Dhanurasan remove constipation. The Nauli
Kriya, which rotates the muscles of the abdomen, is a unique Kriya that removes
the diseases of the abdomen and increases the digestive fire. No exercise in any
system can stand before this Kriya in its potency and efficacy. It is God-sent.
There are splendid and admirable exercises for keeping the spine elastic. They
are Paschimottanasana and Yoga Mudra, Chakrasan, Ardhasupti Asan and
Matsyendrasan. If you do not keep the spine elastic, the spinal column will
ossify and degenerate quickly. You will appear old, though you are young. A man
who practises these spinal exercises will be as nimble as a squirrel. He will
never look old.
Whatever the system may be, there should
be some exercises to develop the upper extremities, such as the arm and the
forearm. There must be some exercises for developing the thighs and legs. There
should be some exercises for bending the spine forward, backward, and laterally.
There must be some exercises for developing the chest and neck and the abdomen.
That system which does not contain a happy combination of these exercises
is surely defective.
Those who are doing exercises of any kind should observe the following rules carefully. They should be strictly regular in the performance of exercises. Regularity is a prerequisite if you want to progress rapidly and succeed in physical culture. Those who do vigorous exercises should take substantial nutritious food, as otherwise, their muscles will waste. You will not find much improvement. Plenty of ghee, milk, butter, nuts, etc., should be regularly taken. Those who practise Seershasan should take some light tiffin ten minutes after all Asanas are over. You should take some light food after you have finished the exercises. Weigh your body once a month and keep a record. Exercises can be practised both in the morning and evening. You should rest for half an hour before you take your bath. You should try to observe Brahmacharya as much as you can. If you remain a strict celibate, you will achieve astonishing results. What is there in a woman? What is there in repeating the same old act again and again which is so very disgraceful? Are you not ashamed of all that? Do you not realise that it is all the play of Avidya and false Moha? Strengthen the body and then do spiritual Sadhana. You will enjoy real bliss. I beseech you, learn to be wise at least from now onwards.
Asanas can be done in the morning.
Physical exercises can be done in the evening. If you want to do physical
exercises also in the morning, take a little rest, say for fifteen minutes,
after finishing all Asanas, and then do physical exercises. Do Pranayama
after you have finished the Asanas. Practise the Asana in an open, airy place.
You should not go to extremes in exercises. There must be the feeling of
exhilaration during the practice of Asana or any kind of exercise, and also
after you have finished them. There should be absolutely no feeling of
fatigue or depression. Remember this point well. If there is depression or
fatigue, you have gone to the extremity; you have gone beyond your capacity.
(*For a full an detailed description of Yoga Asanas, please refer to my
book “YOGA ASANAS”.)
Soak some Chena or Bengal-gram or almonds
or Papaver seeds (Kas Kas) in water over-night and take this in the morning
after having finished your exercises. These stuffs are cooling and
strengthening. You can take gram for a week and Papaver for another
Do not have any Moha for this perishable
body. Treat this body as your servant and instrument. You are entirely distinct
from this physical body, which is made up of five elements subject to decay and
destruction. You are in essence the Reality, the allpervading imperishable
Atma. Just as the house in which you live is separate from you, so also, this
body in which you are temporarily encased, on account of ignorance, is
entirely different from you.
with this body is the root-cause for bondage and human miseries and sufferings.
Do not become a slave to this body. It must obey your orders at all times and
under all conditions, and not you its orders. You must be prepared to give this
body up or dedicate it to a just and noble cause. Practise self-denial,
self-abnegation and self-sacrifice.
In conclusion, 0 Nectar’s sons! Children of Light and Immortality! Keep this body strong, healthy and active by regular physical culture. Lead a happy, contented life. Say: “I have now good blooming health. I can make the pomp of emperors ridiculous”. Use this body-horse to reach the destination - Brahma-Nirvana. Use this body as a boat for crossing the river of life to the other shore of immortality and fearlessness.mp of emperors ridiculous”. Use this body-horse to reach the destination - Brahma-Nirvana. Use this body as a boat for crossing the river of life to the other shore of immortality and fearlessness.