Friday, June 6, 2014

Sadhana - Spiritual practices By Swami Sivananda

Sadhana - Spiritual practices
Swami Sivananda had practised very intense sadhana, which may have no parallel in modern times. He had practised to perfection sadhana in various Paths of Yoga. Through this most intense sadhana, he attained the supreme Bliss, unalloyed Joy and eternal Happiness. And so he tries to awaken man from the slumber of ignorance and gives a call to attain that highest Experience through sadhana. This makes his instructions on sadhana all the more important. Here are some of his teachings on this subject... 

Now is the time for you to start a spiritual life, not tomorrow. 

What is Sadhana?
Sadhana means any spiritual practice that helps the aspirant to realise God. It is a means to attain the goal of human life. Sadhana is steadying the mind and fixing it on the Lord.
Sadhana is any practice to steady the wandering mind and to fix it on God. He who does sadhana is called a sadhaka. Self-restraint, purification of the mind, cultivation of divine virtues, prayer, japa, kirtan, dharana or concentration, meditation is sadhana. 

Remove your defects, this is the real sadhana.
 Introspect. Look within. Try to remove your defects. This is the real sadhana. This is the most difficult sadhana. You will have to do it at any cost. Removal of your defects needs a great deal of struggle for many years. Vicious habits will have to be rent asunder.

Purify your mind
You must have a pure mind if you want to realise the Self. Unless the mind is set free and you cast away all desires, worries, delusion, pride, lust, attachment, likes and dislikes, it cannot enter the domain of supreme peace and unalloyed felicity or the Immortal Abode. Drive off all negative thoughts. Become positive always. Positive overpowers the negative.

Mind is compared to a garden. Just as you can cultivate good flowers and fruits in a garden by ploughing and manuring the land, and removing the weeds and thorns, and watering the plants and trees; so also you can cultivate the flower of devotion in the garden of your mind by removing the impurities of the mind, such as lust, anger, greed, delusion and pride, and watering it with divine thoughts. When the garden is clean, when there are no weeds and thorns, you can get good fruits. So also, when the mind is pure, the mind is free from lust, anger, etc., you can have the fruit of deep meditation. Therefore, cleanse the mind of impurities first. 

Awake, Friends! Get ready for the holy communion. Start japa, kirtan, meditation, enquiry. How sweet is meditation! Hear the sweet music of the inner Soul. 

Spiritualise all your activities. This is very important.

Have satsanga. Meditate. Enquire: "Who am I?" The ignorance will vanish. Brahma-jnana will dawn. Climb steadily and reach the peak of wisdom by intensifying dispassion and practising intense sadhana.

The two obstacles to Self-realisation are egoism and desire. Egoism is the most dangerous weakness of man. It brings downfall of the spiritual aspirant. The moment egoism comes in, there will be immediate blocking to the free flow of the Divine Energy. Therefore, slay this egoism.

Persevere in Sadhana

Let the sadhana (spiritual practice) always be regular, continuous, unbroken and earnest. Not only regularity but also continuity in sadhana and meditation are necessary if you want to attain self­realisation quickly.

A spiritual stream, once set going, does not dry up unless the channel­bed gets blocked, unless there is stagnation. Be vigilant eternally. Meditate regularly. Annihilate the under­current of vasana (habit­patterns).

Patience, perseverance, courage, determination, discrimination and dispassion are needed to tread the spiritual path. Put away thoughts, stimuli, perceptions, intentions, emotions, feelings, preoccupations and deliberations arising out of the senses and the sense objects.

You will attain supreme blessedness or the peace of the eternal. Keep the flame of thy aspiration ever kindled bright. Let purity, serenity, compassion, truth and oneness, manifest in thy thoughts and actions. Through penance, prayer and meditation the soul ascends on the divine chariot, to the realms of infinite bliss, to God's halls of wisdom.

Regularity is of paramount importance in spiritual practice. Spiritual aspirants must be arduous and efficient in performing their tasks without a break. Pray without a break. Have unshakable faith.

Remember vairagya (dispassion) and abhyasa (constant practice). Prayer is the wing by which you fly to God. Meditation or intuition is the eye by which you see God. Pray fervently unto the Lord. Pray for the Lord's light and guidance.

Meditate on the great truth within. Strive ever to keep thyself close to the divine centre. Day by day draw nearer unto the Lord. Strive inwardly to grow into the likeness of the divine ideal. 

Do sadhana regularly 

Everyone must take to some kind of Sadhana to attain the state of final beatitude.

Sadhana is the real wealth. It is the only thing of real and everlasting value. There is butter in milk, but it can be got only after churning. Similarly if you want to realise God, do Sadhana and worship constantly in right earnest.

Whatever spiritual practice you do, either Japa, practice of Asanas, meditation or Pranayama, do it systematically and regularly every day. You will attain immortality or eternal bliss.

If your persist in your Sadhana vigorously and diligently, if you are regular, systematic and punctual in your Sadhana, you will attain success.

Be contented with whatever you get by chance and apply yourself to Sadhana with a dispassionate mind.

Regularity in Sadhana is of paramount importance. He who meditates regularly gets Samadhi quickly. That man who is irregular and does his actions by fits and starts cannot reap the fruits of his efforts.

Keep your mind always busy in doing Japa, concentration, meditation, study of religious books, Satsanga or in doing something useful to others.

Little acts of virtues, little acts of purity will help you a lot in your Sadhana. Removal of Vrittis and impurities is the most important Sadhana. The wandering mind must be controlled by sticking to one place, one preceptor and one progressive method of Sadhana.

That Sadhaka who has turned the mind inward by the practice of Sama and Dama and who has keen longing for liberation sees the Self in his own Self by constant and deep meditation.

You can move the whole world by your spiritual force.
A spiritual diary is a whip for goading the mind towards righteousness.

Selfishness retards spiritual progress. If anyone can destroy his selfishness, half of his spiritual Sadhana is over.

You must get up at 4 a.m. and start meditation. Have concrete meditation in the beginning. Feel the indwelling presence of God in the form and think of the attributes-purity, perfection, all-pervading intelligence, bliss absolute, omnipotence, etc. When the mind runs again and again bring it to the point. Have another sitting for meditation at night. Be regular in your practice.

Write your Ishta Mantra in a notebook for one hour daily. Discipline the senses. Observe the vow of silence. Develop right thinking, right feeling, right acting and right speaking. Eradicate vicious qualities, such as anger, lust, greed, egoism, hatred, etc. 
He who regulates his life on the above lines, is sure to attain success in this very birth, nay, in this very second.