Born on the 8th September, 1887, in the illustrious family of Sage Appayya Dikshitr an several other renowned saints and savants, Sri Swami Sivananda had a natural flair for a life devoted to the study and practice of Vedanta. Added to this was an inborn eagerness to serve all and an innate feeling of unity with all mankind.
His passion for service drew him to the medical career; and soon he gravitated to where he thought that his service was most needed. Malaya claimed him. He had earlier been editing a health journal and wrote extensively on health problems. He discovered that people needed right knowledge most of all; dissemination of that knowledge he espoused as his own mission.
It was Divine dispensation and the blessing of God upon mankind that the doctor of body and mind renounced his career and took to a life of renunciation to qualify for ministering to the soul of man. He settled down at Rishikesh in 1924, practised intense austerities and shone as a great Yogi, saint, sage and Jivanmukta.
In 1932 Swami Sivananda started the Sivanandashram. In 1936 was born The Divine Life society. In 948 the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy was organized. Dissemination of spiritual knowledge and training of people in Yoga and Vedanta were their aim and object. In 950 Swamiji undertook a lightning tour of India and Ceylon. In 953 Swamiji convened a 'World Parliament of Religions'. Swamiji is the author of over 300 volumes and has disciples and creeds. To read Swamiji's works is to drink at the fountain of Wisdom Supreme. On 14th July, 1963 Swamiji entered Mahasamadhi.
The life of man in this sense-universe is a life of temptation. Man is born for Self-realisation. He is born for leading a religious life. But he is led astray by the temptations of his environments. He is spoiled by society. He has not got the strength of will to resist the temptations.
A Deputy Commissioner said: ''O Swamiji, the world wants bread. I want bread. I care a two pence for the soul. Who wants the soul in these days? Nobody cares for spiritual matters.'' I replied him: ''You cannot live on bread alone, but you can live on OM, the symbol of Brahman. The mind wants mental food. The soul wants spiritual food.''
The desire to attain knowledge of the Self will dawn in these proud, egoistic people only when they meet some adversities, calamities, troubles and disappointments. The desire to attain the knowledge of the Self dawns in a person who is free from desires for sense-objects. Such a man, with a pure mind alone, is competent to tread the spiritual path.
My heart is filled with joy to see those persons who are filled with spiritual Samskaras and who are attempting for Self-realisation. Even in this iron age (Kali Yuga), when the vast majority of persons run after women and money, there are earnest and sincere young men who want God an God alone. They are exalted personages indeed My silent adorations to them.
Are you always peaceful? Are you noble? Do you possess self-restraint? Are you endowed with divine virtues? Are you free from ignorance? Do you possess knowledge of the Self? Have you got illumination? Have you realized the immortal pure Self? How do you stand before these questions? If you have not got these things, then, come sit down and read the lessons given in this book. Therein is the message of Amrita for you all. Even if you practise a little of this, you will go beyond death, sorrow and pain.
Life is a great battlefield. Life is a conquest. To live is to fight for the ideal and the goal. Life is a series of awakenings. You must conquer your mind and the senses. These are the real enemies. You must conquer internal and external nature. You must conquer your environments. Old evil habits, old evil Samskaras, evil Vasanas. You must fight against the antagonistic dark forces. You must resist the forces of degeneration.
The greatest victory is the victory over the turbulent mind. The greatest battle is the inner Adhyatmic battle. The greatest hero is one who has conquered the mind.
Become a hero. Conquer the formidable foe, this turbulent mind. Self-conquest is more than many a martyrdom. The inner fight with evil thoughts, evil Vasanas, cravings and evil Samskaras or mental impressions, is more formidable than the external war. The fight with the mind and the senses is, indeed, more terrible than the outer war.
Be a spiritual hero in the Adhyatmic battlefield. Become a brave, undaunted, spiritual soldier. Fight against the mind, Vasanas, Trishnas, Vrittis and Samskaras boldly. Use the machine-gun of Brahma Vichara to explode the mind efficiently. Dive deep and destroy the undercurrents of passion, greed, hatred, pride and jealousy through the submarine or torpedo of Japa of OM or Soham. Soar high in the higher regions of bliss of the Self with the help of the aeroplane-Brahmakara Vritti. Use the mines of OM-chanting to explode the Vasanas that are hidden in the sea of the subconscious mind. Sometimes move the tanks of discrimination to crush you ten enemies, the ten turbulent senses. Start the Divine League and make friendship with your powerful allies viz., dispassion, fortitude, endurance, serenity, self-restraint to attack you enemy-mind. Throw the bomb of Sivoham Bhavana to destroy the big mansion of body and the idea, 'I am the body,' 'I am the doer,' 'I am the enjoyer.' Spread profusely the gas of Sattva to destroy your External enemies Rajas and Tamas quickly. 'Black-out' the mind by destroying the Vrittis, by putting out all the lights or bulbs of sense-objects so that the enemy-mind may not be able to attack you. Fight closely against your enemy-mind with your bayonet of one-pointedness (Samadhana) to get hold of the priceless treasure of the Atmi pearl. The joy of Samadhi, the bliss of Moksha, the Peace of Nirvana are now yours; whatever you may be, in whatever clime you are born, whatever might be your past life and history, work out you salvation' O Beloved Ram, with the help of the above means and come out victorious right now in this very second.
The lessons given in this book are particularly addressed to those who have no faith in religion, god, the Law of Karma, theory of reincarnation, a life beyond and an after-world (Metempsychosis, Eschatology, etc.).
These are the collection of the lessons given to the struggling souls in the world, to many atheists, during the last 15 years. Now they are all far advanced in the spiritual line and entirely free from the miseries and troubles of the world.
Through the help of these lessons, many aspirants were able to remove all obstacles and pitfalls in their daily Sadhana and they received a new hope and joy in the spiritual line.
This book is like 'Chintamani' or 'Kalpaka' tree or 'Kamadhenu' cow which will satisfy all desires of people who approach it.
These are the lessons of love, peace and unity, my philosophy and teachings are not for the chosen few, the cultured and the wealthy alone. I am a friend of the poor, the outcaste, the sick, the oppressed, the forlorn, the guilty but penitent transgressor. I live to serve the poor, the sick and the forlorn, and also the criminal. The whole world is my body. The whole world is my home. My Message, my sayings and teachings are meant particularly to the poor, the outcaste, the sick and the oppressed. I embrace all. I include all in my warm embrace. I am a cosmic friend. Anybody can utilize me for his purpose. I belong to all. I am servant of all. I am the brother of all.
Will you follow my instructions with implicit faith? I have given in this book a spiritual pill for all aspirants, nicely sugar-coated and compressed for ready assimilation and absorption.
|Creation and Evolution||3|
|What Is This World||10|
|Theory of Rebirth||16|
|What Is Death and How to Conquer It||19|
|Glory of Mother Indian||29|
|Necessity for a Guru||32|
|Guru and Disciple||34|
|Qualifications of Aspirants||38|
|Sanchita, Purushartha and Prarabdha Karmas||43|
|Saguna and Nirguna Aspects of God||48|
|Attributes of God||55|
|The Grace of the Lord||58|
|Cause for the Descent of Avatara||63|
|What Is Bhakti?||72|
|Different Kinds of Bhakti||79|
|Bhava in Bhakti||81|
|Develop Cosmic Love||88|
|Who Is a Devotee?||91|
|How to Develop Bhakti||94|
|Faith in God||107|
|Importance of Sankirtan||113|
|Japa, the Easy Sadhana||126|
|Mantras for Japa||128|
|Benefits of Japa||130|
|Constant Japa with Bhava Needed||132|
|Necessity for Karma Yoga||134|
|Varieties of Karma Yoga||139|
|Practice of Karma Yoga||141|
|What Is Maya?||150|
|The Three Bodies (Karana, Sukshma and Sthula)||158|
|The Three States||162|
|Brahma Vidya (Jnana)||170|
|Teachings of Vedanta||190|
|Unity in Diversity||195|
|Glory of Vedanta||200|
|Practice of Vedanta||202|
|Meditation in Vedanta||214|
|What Is Brahman?||221|
|Nature of Brahman||225|
|Vedanta and Other Schools||23|
|Students of Brahma Vidya||234|
|Peace in Politics||237|
|Hints for Aspirants||238|