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This article is a chapter from the book "Yoga Samhita".
PRACTICAL WAY TO SELF-REALISATION
SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA
Click here to listen to this lecture by Sri Swami Sivanandaji in Real Audio.
Thou art divine. Live up to it. Feel and realise thy divine nature. Thou art the master of your destiny. Do not be discouraged when sorrows, difficulties and tribulations manifest in the daily battle of life. Draw up courage and spiritual strength from within. There is a vast inexhaustible magazine of power and knowledge within. Learn the ways to tap the source. Dive deep within. Sink down. Plunge in the sacred waters of immortality-the holy Triveni (triple stream confluence where river Ganga and Yamuna meet along with the invisible underground river Saraswati). You will be quite refreshed, renovated and vivified when you go to the divine source and realise: I AM THE IMMORTAL SELF.
Understand the laws of the universe, Move tactfully in this world. Learn the secrets of nature. Try to know the best ways to control the mind. Conquer this mind. Conquest of mind is really conquest of nature and the world. Conquest of mind will enable you to go to the source of Soul-Power and you then realise: I AM THE IMMORTAL SELF.
Do not murmur. Do not grumble when troubles and sorrows descend upon you. Every difficulty is an opportunity for you to develop your will and to grow strong. Welcome it. Difficulties strengthen your will, augment your power of endurance and turn your mind towards God. Face them with a smile, In your weakness lies your real strength. Thou art invincible. Nothing can harm you. Conquer the difficulties one by one. This is the beginning of a new life, a life of expansion, glory and divine splendour. Aspire and draw. Grow. Expand. Build up all positive virtuous qualities-the Daivi Sampatti, viz., fortitude, patience and courage that are dormant in you. Start a new life. Tread the spiritual path and realise : I AM THE IMMORTAL SELF.
Have a new angle of vision. Arm yourself with discrimination, cheerfulness, discernment, alacrity and understanding spirit. A glorious brilliant future is awaiting you. Let the past be buried, You can work miracles, You can do wonders. Do not give up hope. You can destroy the harmful effects of unfavourable planets through your will-force. You can command the elements and the nature. You can neutralise the effect of evil influences and the antagonistic dark forces that may operate against you. You can change the unfavourable circumstances, into best possible ones. You can nullify destiny. Many have done this. You can also do so. Assert! Recognise!! Claim thy birth-right now!!! THOU ART THE IMMORTAL SELF.
Determination and self-reliance are very necessary for success in Self- realisation. In Mundaka Upanishad you will find: "This Atman cannot be obtained by one who is destitute of strength or without earnestness or by penance without mark. But if a wise man strives after it by those means, then his self enters into Brahman (God)." Fearlessness is an important qualification for an aspirant. One should be prepared to renounce this life at any moment. Without renunciation of this little sensual life, the eternal spiritual life cannot be attained, 'Abhayam' (fearlessness) comes first in the Daivi Sampatti or divine qualities that are enumerated in the Gita- Chapter XVI-I. A timid man or a coward dies several times before he actually dies. When you have once decided to take to spiritual practices, stick to it tenaciously at any cost, nay, at the risk of your life. Come what may. Be bold, Stand up. Realise the Truth. Proclaim it everywhere, THOU ART THE IMMORTAL SELF.
Destiny is your own creation. You have created your destiny through thought and actions. You can undo the same by right thinking and action. Even if there is an evil or a dark antagonistic force to attack you, you can diminish its force by resolutely denying the existence of evil or resolutely turning your mind away from it. Thus you can disarm destiny. The one thought "I am the Immortal Self" will neutralise all evil forces, the evil influences of all malevolent planets and will infuse in you courage and inner spiritual strength. Wrong thinking is the root-cause for human sufferings. Cultivate right thinking and right acting. Work unselfishly in terms of unity with Atma Bhava (feeling that the one Self dwells in all). This is right action. The right thinking is when you think: I AM THE IMMORTAL SELF.
There is no such thing as sin. Sin is only a mistake. Sin is a mental creation. The baby-soul must commit some mistakes during the process of evolution. Mistakes are your best teachers. The idea of sin will be blown in the air if you think: I AM THE IMMORTAL SELF.
Don't say: "Karma, Karma. My Karma has brought me like this". Exert. Exert. Do Purushartha (deliberate and conscious action). Do Tapas (austerities). Concentrate. Purify. Meditate. Don't become a fatalist. Don't yield to inertia. Don't bleat like a lamb. Roar Om Om Om like a lion of Vedanta. See how Markandeya, who was destined to die at his sixteenth year, became a Chiranjeevi-an immortal boy of sixteen years on account of his Tapas. Also note how Savitri by her Tapas brought back to life her dead husband; how Benjamin Franklin and the late Sri T. Muthusami lyer of the Madras Bench, elevated themselves. Remember, my dear Niranjan, that man is master of his destiny. Viswamitra Rishi, who was a Kshatriya Raja (king), became a Brahma Rishi, like Vasishta and even created a third world for Trisanku by his power of Tapas. Rogue Ratnakar became the sage Valmiki through Tapas. Rogues, Jagai and Madhai of Bengal, became highly developed saints. They became the disciples of Gouranga. What others have done, you can also do. There is no doubt of this. You can also do wonders and miracles if you apply yourself to spiritual Sadhana, Tapas and meditation. Read the book: "Poverty to Power" by James Allen with interest and attention. You will be inspired. Draw up a programme of your life. Follow my "Twenty Important Spiritual Instructions" and "Forty Golden Precepts" (Sadhana Tattva must be the evolution of these precepts). Read my book "Sure Ways for Success in Life and God-realisation." Adhere to the spiritual routine. Apply yourself with zeal and enthusiasm to Sadhana. Become a Naishthic Brahmachari. Be steady and systematic in your spiritual practices. Shine in your native, pristine Brahmic glory. Become a Jivanmukta (liberated being). Remember: THOU ART THE CHILDREN OF IMMORTALITY.
Hey Saumya! Dear Immortal Self! Be bold. Be cheerful though you are down and out, though you have nothing to eat, though you are clad in rags. The essential nature is Sat-ChitAnanda (Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute and Bliss Absolute). The outer cloak, this mortal physical sheath, is an illusory Mayaic production. Smile. Whistle. Laugh. Jump. Dance in joy and ecstasy. Sing Om Om Om, Ram Ram Ram, Shyam Shyam Shyam, Sivoham Sivoham Sivoham, Soham Soham Soham. Come out of this cage of flesh. Thou art not this perishable body. Thou art the Immortal Self. Thou art sexless Atman. Thou art the son of King of kings, an Emperor of emperors, Brahman of the Upanishads, the Atman who dwells in the chambers of your heart (Hridaya Guha). Act as such. Feel as such. Claim your birth- right now from this very second. Feel. Assert. Recognise. Realise, not from tomorrow or the day after, but right now from this very second. "Tat Twam Asi (Thou Art That)," Oh Niranjan. THOU ART THE IMMORTAL SELF.
Brother! COURAGE is Thy birth-right and not fear. PEACE is thy divine heritage, not restlessness. IMMORTALITY but not mortality. STRENGTH but not weakness. HEALTH but not disease. BLISS but not sorrow. KNOWLEDGE but not ignorance.
You are the architect of your own fate and fortune. You are the master of your own destiny. You can do and undo things. You can attain Brahmanhood by right thinking, right feeling,, and right acting. You can break old morbid habits by the power of WILL. You can destroy wrong Samskaras (impressions in the subconscious mind), unholy desires. wrong imaginations. You can build new habits. You can change your nature. You can build up beautiful character. You can move the whole world by your spiritual force. You can elevate others also to the status of divinity. You can control the force of nature. You can command the elements.
Rely on your own Self. Do not be credulous. Believe not in any dogmas. Hear the inner voice of the Soul or promptings of the pure conscience. Be not a slave. Do not sell your liberty. Thou art the Immortal Soul. Destroy the inferiority complex. Draw power, courage, strength from within. Be free. Have no blind faith. Reason out carefully and then accept anything. Do not be carried away by blind surging emotions. Subdue them. Do not be intolerant. Expand. There is a vast magazine of power and knowledge within you. It needs ignition. Then the whole mysteries of the Self will be revealed unto thee. The darkness of ignorance will be dispelled by the light of knowledge of the Self. Constant meditation on the Atma is the master-key to open the realms of knowledge. I have given here the gist of Vedanta in a few lines. Taste the Vedantic nectar and attain IMMORTALITY, ETERNAL BLISS, and PERENNIAL JOY. This is the goal of life. This is the end and aim of existence. Karma Yoga and Upasana (worship) will prepare you to realise this highest goal.
Try to lead a life of non-attachment, discipline your mind gradually. No one is free from pains, diseases, troubles and difficulties. You will have to rest in your own Swaroop (essential nature), the blissful ATMAN-the source and support for this life. You will have to remember your own divine nature, Then only you will gain inner strength to face the difficulties of life. Then only you will have balanced mind. You will not be affected by external morbid influences and unpleasant discordant vibrations, Regular meditation in the morning will give you new strength and inner life-perennial joy and unalloyed bliss. Practise this. Feel this, despite your adverse, stormy conditions. Gradually you will grow spiritually. You will attain Self- realisation eventually.
Your present ailment is a Karmic purgation. It has come to make you remember Him more and more, to instill mercy in your heart, to strengthen you and to enable you to develop power of endurance. Kunti prayed to God to give her always adversity so that she could remember Him always. Bhaktas (Devotees) rejoice in suffering more. Disease, pain, scorpion, snake, calamities, etc., are messengers from God. A Bhakta welcomes them with a cheerful countenance. He never grumbles. He says once more: I am Thine, My Lord, Thou dost everything for my own good.
Where then is the room for lamentation and despair, my dear Niranjan? Thou art dear to the Lord. That is the reason why He gives troubles. If He wants to take anyone to His side, He takes away all money. He removes his dear kith and kin. He destroys all his pleasure-centres, so that his mind may fully rest at His Lotus-Feet. Face everything with a smiling, cheerful countenance. Understand His mysterious ways. See God in everything, in every face-out of sight, but not out of mind. We are closer when we live physically at a distance. Let us dwell in our hearts. Krishna suddenly hides Himself, so that Radha and the Gopis might thirst for Him more eagerly. Sing like Radha. Thirst like Gopis for his vision. Krishna's grace is bound to descend. He is thy Immortal Friend. Forget not the Flute-Bearer of Brindavan, thy Solace and the joy of Devaki.
The All-merciful God resides in the chambers of your heart, He is quite close to you. You have forgotten Him. But he still cares for you. Troubles are His blessings in disguise. He wants to mould your body and mind as fit instruments for His unhampered play or Lila. He ministers or attends to your wants in a better manner than you yourself will do. Keep the load down that you are carrying on your shoulder unnecessarily on account of your egoism. Give up your self-created responsibilities and be at perfect ease. Have perfect faith in Him. Do total unreserved self-surrender. Run to Him now. He is waiting with outstretched hands to embrace you. He will do everything for you. Believe me. Take my word for it. Open your heart to Him quite freely like a child. All miseries will come to an end. Say unto Him at least once with Bhava sincerely : I am Thine, my Lord. All is Thine, Thy will be done.
The gulf of separation will vanish now. All miseries, troubles, worries and diseases will melt away. You will become one with the Lord!
Feel that the whole world is your body, your own home. Melt or destroy all barriers that separate man from man. Idea of superiority is ignorance or delusion. Isa Vasyamidam Sarvam (this world is indwelt by the Lord). Develop Viswa-Prem, all-embracing, all-inclusive love. Unite with all. Separation is death. Unity is eternal life. The whole world is Viswa- Brindavan. Feel that this body is a moving temple of God. Wherever you are, whether at home, office, etc., know you are in the temple of God, Every work is an offering unto the Lord. Feel that all beings are images of God. Transmute every work into Yoga or an offering unto the Lord. Have Akarta, Sakshi Bhava (feeling that you are just a witness), if you are a student of Vedanta. Have Nimitta Bhava (feeling that the Lord is the doer) if you are an aspirant in the path of Bhakti. Feel that God works through your hands; that One Power works through all hands, sees through all eyes, hears through all ears. You will become a changed being. You will have a new angle of vision. You will enjoy the highest Peace and Bliss!
May that Self-effulgent Brahman guide you in all your activities! Wishing you, Joy, Peace and Immortality!!
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Last Updated: Sun Feb 23, 1997
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