Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Τhe fourfold sadhana of Advaita Vendata / Jnana Yoga / Swami Sivananda

The Fourfold Sadhana
Sadhana Chatushtaya - the "four means of salvation".

FOURFOLD Sadhana of the student in the path of Jnana Yoga consists of Viveka, Vairagya, Shadshampat or sixfold virtues (Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha and Samadhana) and Mumukshutva or strong yearning for liberation

Jnana Yoga of Brahma Vidya or the science of the Self is not a subject that can be understood and realized through mere intellectual study, reasoning, ratiocination, discussion or arguments. It is the most difficult of all sciences..

A student who treads the path of Truth must, therefore, first equip himself with Sadhana Chatushtaya - the "four means of salvation".

1.      discrimination, (Viveka)
2.      dispassion, (Vairagya)
3.      the sixfold qualities of perfection, (Shad-Sampat )
4.      and intense longing for liberation, (Mumukshutva)

1.      Discrimination, (Viveka)

Viveka is discrimination between the real and the unreal, between the permanent and the impermanent, between the Self and the non-Self (Atman and Anatma). Viveka dawns in a man through the Grace of God. The Grace can come only after one has done unceasing selfless service in his previous births with the feeling that he is an instrument of the Lord and that the work is an offering to the Lord. The door to the higher mind is flung open when there is an awakening of discrimination. 

There is an eternal, changeless principle amidst the ever-changing phenomena of this vast universe and the fleeting movements and oscillations of the mind.

The aspirant should separate himself also from the six waves of the ocean of Samsara - birth and death, hunger and thirst, and exhilaration and grief. Birth and death belong to the physical body; hunger and thirst belong to Prana; exhilaration and grief are the attributes of the mind. The Soul is unattached. The six waves cannot touch Brahman which is as subtle as the all-pervading ether.

Association with saints and study of Vedantic literature will infuse discrimination in man. Viveka should be developed to the maximum degree. One should be well established in it.

2.      Dispassion, (Vairagya)

Vairagya is dispassion for the pleasures of this world and of heaven. The Vairagya that is born of Viveka is enduring and lasting. It will not fail the aspirant.

Vairagya born of Viveka only will be of a lasting nature. Such a Vairagya only will be helpful to you in your spiritual practices. Karana Vairagya due to loss of property of death of wife or son will be temporary. It will be of no use to you. It is volatile like ammonia.

The view that everything in the world is unreal causes indifference to the enjoyments of this world and the heaven-world also. One has to return from heaven to this plane of existence when the fruits of good works are all exhausted. Hence they are not worth striving for.

Vairagya does not mean abandoning one's social duties and responsibilities of life. It does not mean abandoning the world, for life in a solitary cave of the Himalayas. Vairagya is mental detachment from all worldly objects. One may remain in the world and discharge all duties with detachment. He may be a householder with a large family, yet at the same time he may have perfect mental detachment from everything. He can do spiritual Sadhana amidst his worldly activities. He who has perfect mental detachment in the world is a hero indeed. He is better than a Sadhu living in a Himalayan cave, for the former has to face innumerable temptations every moment of his life.

3.  The sixfold qualities of perfection, (Shad-Sampat)

The third requisite is Shad-Sampat, the sixfold virtue. It consists of Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha and Samadhana. All these six qualities are taken as one because they are calculated to bring about mental control and discipline, without which concentration and meditation are impossible.

You must first develop Viveka or discrimination between the real and the unreal and Vairagya or dispassion for the enjoyment of objects herein and hereafter. Then only you will have success in the practice of Sama. 

Sama and dama

Calmness of mind comes through the practice of Sama and Dama. Sama is calmness of mind induced by the eradication of Vasanas. Vasana-tyaga (renunciation of desires) through discrimination constitutes the practice of Sama, one of the sixfold virtues (Shadsampatti). If a desire arises in your mind, do not give way to it. This will become the practice of Sama. Sama is keeping the mind in the heart by Sadhana. Sama is restraint of the mind by not allowing it to externalise or objectify. The restraint of the external activities and the Indriyas is the practice of Dama (Bahyavritti-nirodha).

If you renounce the desire for eating mangoes, it is Sama. If you do not allow the feet to carry you to the bazaar to purchase the mangoes, if you do not allow the eyes to see the mangoes and if you do not allow the tongue to taste them, it is Dama.

A desire arises to eat sweets. You do not allow the feet to move to the bazaar to purchase the sweets. You do not allow the tongue to eat the sweets. You do not allow the eyes to see the sweets also. This kind of restraint of the Indriyas is termed Dama.

It is termed Sama when you do not allow any thought to arise in the mind concerning sweets by eradication of Vasanas (Vasana-tyaga). This eradication of the Vasanas can be accomplished through Vichara, Brahma-chintana, Japa, Dhyana, Pranayama, etc.

Sama is an internal restraint. Dama is a restraint of the Indriyas. Though the practice of Sama includes the practice of Dama, as the Indriyas will not move and work without the help of the mind, yet the practice of Dama is necessary. The practice of Dama should go hand in hand with Sama. Sama alone will not suffice. You must attack the enemy, desire, from within and without. Then alone you can control the mind quite easily. Then alone the mind will be in perfect control.


Sama is serenity of mind produced by the constant eradication of Vasanas or desires. Whenever desires crop up in your mind do not try to fulfil them. Reject them through discrimination, right enquiry and dispassion. 
You will get tranquillity of mind and mental strength by constant practice. The mind is thinned out. The mind is checked directly from wandering. Its out-going tendencies are curbed. If the desires are eradicated, the thoughts also will die by themselves. 

The mind is detached from the manifold sense objects by continually observing their defects and is fixed on Brahma. 

In the practice of Sama, the five Jnana-Indriyas or organs of knowledge, viz., ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose are also controlled.


Dama is the control of the external organs, i.e., the organs of action or the five Karma-Indriyas, viz., organ of speech, hands, feet, genitals and the anus as well as of the five Jnana-Indriyas or organs of knowledge, viz., ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose; the organs are withdrawn and fixed in their respective centres.

The eyes run outside to see a beautiful object. If you at once withdraw the eyes from that object, it is called Dama. You should restrain the other Indriyas also by the practice of Dama.

Some say, Practice of Dama is not necessary. It is included in Sama. The Indriyas cannot work independently. They can work only in conjunction with the mind. If the mind is checked, the Indriyas will come under control automatically.

The mind will come under control very easily if Dama also is practised. It is a double attack on the enemy from within and without. He is crushed or subdued soon. If the front and back doors are closed simultaneously, the enemy is caught quite readily. There is no escape for him on any side. By practice of Dama you do not allow either the Indriyas or the mind to come in contact with the objects. You do not allow the mind to come through the external instrument, viz., the eye, to assume the form of the object. 
In neophytes the mind never remains self-centred despite rigorous practice of Sama. It tries to run outside towards external objects. If Dama is also practised, it will be of immense help to curb the mind efficiently. If you tie the hands of a mischievous boy, he tries to do mischief with the feet. If his feet, also are tied he keeps quiet. Sama corresponds to the tying of the hands and Dama to the tying of the feet. Therefore the practice of Dama is also necessary.

Dama is a practice of a student of Jnana Yoga. Pratyahara corresponds to the practice of Dama. Pratyahara is the practice of a Raja Yogi. In the former it follows the practice of Sama; in the latter it follows the practice of Pranayama. In the former the Indriyas are withdrawn by calming or restraining the mind; in the latter the Indriyas are withdrawn by restraining the Prana. The Indriyas can be withdrawn more effectively by the process of double withdrawal, by withdrawing the mind and the Prana at the same time. It is the mind that moves the Indriyas. It is the Prana that vivifies or energises or galvanises the Indriyas. Sama and Dama are strictly speaking Raja Yogic practices.


Uparati is satiety; it is resolutely turning the mind away from desire for sensual enjoyment. This state of mind comes naturally when one has practiced Viveka, Vairagya, Sama and Dama.

Some define Uparati as renunciation of all works and taking up Sannyasa. Uparati follows the practice of Sama and Dama. Uparati is self-withdrawal. It consists in the mind-function ceasing to act by means of external objects. Uparati is extreme abstention. It is the turning of the mind from the objects of enjoyment.

The mind of the student who is established in Uparati will never be agitated even a bit when he sees a beautiful object. There will be no attraction. He will have the same feeling which he experiences when he sees a woman as when he looks at a trees or a log of wood. When he looks at delicious fruits or palatable dishes, he will not be tempted. He will have no craving for them. He will have no craving for any particular object or dish. He will never say, I want such and such a preparation for my food. He will be satisfied with anything that is placed before him. This is due to the strength of mind he has developed by the practice of Viveka, Vairagya, Sama and Dama. Further the mind is experiencing a wonderful calmness and transcendental spiritual bliss by the above practices. It does not want these little, illusory pleasures. If you have got sugar-candy, your mind will never run after black sugar. You can wean the mind from the object to which it is attached by training it to taste a superior kind of bliss. If you give cotton-seed extract to a bull or a cow, it will not run towards dry grass or hay. Mind is like the bull.

Those who practise Brahmacharya must be fully conversant with the technique of Sama, Dama and Uparati. Then only they will be established in the practice of celibacy.


Titiksha is the power of endurance. An aspirant should patiently bear the pairs of opposites such as heat and cold, pleasure and pain, etc. A Titikshu is able to bear pain, insult, heat and cold. He does not care to redress them. He is free from anxiety. He does not lament on this score.


Sraddha is unshakable faith in the existence of Brahman, in the teachings of Guru and scriptures, and faith in one's own Self.  It is not blind faith but is based on accurate reasoning, evidence and experience. As such, it is lasting, perfect and unshakable. Such a faith is capable of achieving anything.


Samadhana is fixing the mind on Brahman or the Self, without allowing it to run towards objects. The mind is free from anxiety amid pains and troubles. There is stability, mental poise and indifference amid pleasures. The aspirant has neither like nor dislikes. He has great inner strength and enjoys unruffled peace of mind, due to the practices of Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha and Sraddha.

If any one possesses these qualifications he will get Samadhana or one-pointedness of mind and burning desire for liberation. The mind will move naturally towards the inner Self always. 

4.     Intense longing for liberation, (Mumukshutva)

Mumukshutva is intense desire for liberation or deliverance from the wheel of births and deaths with its concomitant evils of old age, disease, delusion and sorrow. If one is equipped with the previous three qualifications (Viveka, Vairagya and Shad-Sampat), then the intense desire for liberation will come without any difficulty. The mind moves towards the Source of its own accord when it has lost its charm for external objects. When purification of mind and mental discipline are achieved, the longing for liberation dawns by itself.


Sravana is hearing of Srutis, Manana is thinking and reflecting, Nididhyasana is constant and profound meditation.

The aspirant who is endowed with all these four qualification should then approach the Guru who will instruct him on the knowledge of his real nature. The Guru is one who has a thorough knowledge of the scriptures (Brahma-Srotri) and is also established in that knowledge in direct experience (Brahmanishtha Guru). He should then reflect and meditate on the inner Self and strive earnestly to attain the goal of Self-realization (Atma-Sakshatkara).  

Even in a Jivanmukta or a liberated sage the eyes will move towards the objects through the force of habit. But he can withdraw them completely and make them mere empty sockets if he wills. When he sees a woman, he does not see her outside himself. He sees the whole world within himself. He feels that the woman is his own self. He has no sex idea. There are no evil thoughts in his mind. He has no sexual attraction for her. 

Whereas a worldly man sees the woman outside himself; he entertains lustful thoughts. He has no idea of Self. He is attracted towards her. This is the difference between the vision of a Jnani and a worldly man. There is no harm in looking at women but you must not entertain evil thoughts. Feel that women are manifestations of Mother Kali. Feel that the beauty of the woman is the beauty of the Lord. Feel that all forms are images of the Lord. Your mind will be elevated at once.

The process of developing the virtues

If you have Viveka, Vairagya will come by itself. If you possess Viveka and Vairagya, Sama will dawn by itself. If you are endowed with Viveka, Vairagya and Sama, Dama will come by itself. If you have Sama and Dama, Uparati will come by itself. If you have all these qualifications, Titiksha, Sraddha and Samadhana or one-pointedness will come by themselves. If you possess Viveka, Vairagya, Sama, Dama, Uparati, Sraddha and Samadhana, Mumukshutva or burning desire for liberation will manifest by itself.

Some students ask, Shall we practise Viveka, Vairagya, etc., in order, one by one, after mastering each Anga or shall we practise all the Angas simultaneously? If we practise one by one, perhaps we will not be able to get mastery over one or two Angas in this life. We may require several births for perfect mastery over all Angas. Life is very short. What shall we do? 
It depends upon the temperament, taste and capacity of the students. Some like to get perfect mastery over each stage and then proceed to the next step. Some like to practise all the limbs at the same time. For six months concentrate your mind in cultivating Viveka, Vairagya and Sama. For the next six months try to acquire Sraddha, Samadhana and Mumukshutva. Devote more time in developing that virtue which you are seriously lacking. If you are earnest and sincere in your attempt, you can develop the four means and attain Self-realisation in this very birth.

Another Vedantic student says, Swamiji, there is no necessity for acquiring these four means of salvation, Viveka, Vairagya, etc. It is a long, tedious process. I will not be able to acquire them even in several births. The shortest way is to think of Brahman always. I will acquire all the virtues automatically. Then I will be able to practise deep meditation. 

He is right. 
A first class type of student can adopt this method because he had cultivated the four means in his previous births. 
A mediocre student will not be able to think of Brahman at the very outset. How can one think of Brahman when the mind is filled with impurities, when the mind is turbulent and the Indriyas are jumping and revolting? Absolutely impossible. He may sit for thinking on the Self. He will be building castles in the air and will be thinking of other objects. He will foolishly imagine that he entered into Nirvikalpa Samadhi. He will mistake deep sleep for Samadhi.

 Many are deluded in this manner. They do not have any spiritual progress. They can have no idea of Brahman. It is only the mind that is rendered pure by the practice of Viveka, Vairagya, Sama, Dama, etc., that can have definite conception of Brahman. Ideas of Brahman cannot be lodged in a restless, impure mind.

May you all live drowned in the ocean of Brahmic Bliss in an illumined state through the practice of Viveka, Vairagya, Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha and Samadhana!

Read the book SADHANA CHATHUSTAYA of Swami Sivananda 
and the book Jnana Yoga - Swami Sivananda

Peace, love, harmony