Sunday, March 20, 2016

Shad Sampat - the six virtues ~ Swami Sivananda

Shad Sampat - the six virtues
by Swami Sivananda 

This is the third qualification of Sadhana Chatustaya
in the path of Jnana Yoga (Advaita Vedanta)

"Not an iota of spiritual progress is ever possible unless
one is really endowed with these fourfold qualifications."
~Swami Sivananda

Extract from Swami Sivananda book Sadhana Chatustaya.

Sadhana Chatushtaya or the fourfold means for salvation or the four kinds of spiritual practices, is a pre-requisite to the aspirantj in the path of Jnana Yoga (Vedanta), or, for that matter, in any system of evolution towards Godhead. The four means are:

1. Viveka-discrimination between Sat (real) and Asat (unreal).

2. Vairagya-dispassion or indifference to sensual enjoyments herein and hereafter.

3. Shad Sampat (6 virtues):
(a) Sama-peace of mind through eradication of Vasanas.
(b) Dama-control of sense organs.
(c) Uparati-satiety, renunciation of all works (Sannyasa).
(d) Titiksha - forbearance.
(e) Sraddha-faith in scriptures and the Guru's words.
(f) Samadhana-concentration of mind, balance of mind.

4. Mumukshutva-Intense longing for liberation.

  Shad Sampat (the 6 virtues)

Having considered Vairagya, the second of the Sadhana Chatushtaya, you now come to the third qualification which is really a set of six distinct attributes that the aspirant has to acquire. These are: Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha and Samadhana. The six attributes are taken as one because they are all calculated to bring about mental control and discipline. Concentration and meditation can never be possible without mental control and mental discipline. These practices are, in fact, practices in Raja Yoga.
There is a beautiful and a definitely rational significance in the sequence in the fourfold equipment on the spiritual path. It is only when discrimination dawns that the first glimmer of awakening comes into your life. Devoid of discrimination man lives only a brutish life in a refined sort of way. He has not known the true meaning of human life and has therefore not awakened to the real purpose of his existence.

Discrimination imparts the first impulse of awakening to the soul. It opens your eyes to the true nature of the things of this transitory world. Then Vairagya dawns. You are prompted to run away from the fleeting perishable objects and conceive a dislike for the sensual pleasure-centres. The mind gropes, seeks and thirsts for something beyond passing appearances now. With this new state of disgust and dispassion the old self simultaneously exists with all its wonted weaknesses, its senseward urges and its habitual tendencies to succumb to every gust of passion and temptation from the objective world. It marks a period of transition, a period full of slips and retreats and the pain and grievous vexations resulting from them. The discrimination needs to be steadied and the dispassion to be strengthened. 
They have to be made firm and resistant to withstand the assaults and attacks of powerful subtle desires and innate tendencies. They have to stand four-square against the temptations and trials that will assail the seeker. Inner force is to be generated. The personality is to be toughened.
Shad Sampat (the 6 virtues) generates this force within the seeker. These sixfold attributes help to cast him in the heroic mould. They impart strength to the disposition of the seeking soul, bringing balance and imparting equipoise to the personality. They check the restive senses, develop the power of endurance-both physical and mental-and give the power to arrest the outgoing mode of the mind-function. Then the seeker becomes established and firm-rooted in strong faith and thus grows into a state of absolute single-mindedness and one-pointedness in the adherence to and the contemplation of his ideal and goal. By all these means the Shad Sampat makes one strong and well-grounded in Viveka and Vairagya which have now been made unassailable by means of these Yogic attributes. In such a seeker the fire of keen aspiration blazes forth with intensity.
a. Sama is serenity or tranquillity of mind
Sama is serenity or tranquillity of mind that is brought about by eradication of subtle desires. Serenity is the state or quality of being serene. It is calmness or coolness of mind, or peace. It is evenness of temper and undisturbed state of mind. 

A serene mind is unclouded or unruffled. In a serene mind alone the divine light descends. 

Serenity comes when you annihilate all desires and cravings. Desires and cravings produce restlessness. If you are serene, it is the greatest manifestation of power and strength. When one is serene, the mind is kept in the chambers of the heart and is not allowed to join with the senses and to move outside into sensual objects. The mind is fixed in the source.  
Serenity of mind is the most important qualification for an aspirant. This is difficult of attainment, but the aspirant must have this qualification at any cost. It demands incessant and protracted practice.
The mind is the commander of the five organs of perception and the five organs of action. If the commander is subjugated first of all, the soldiers (the sense-organs) are already conquered. Control of the sense-organs cannot become perfect unless their head-the mind-is controlled first. 
 If one is established in Sama, Dama (control of the sense-organs) comes by itself. Do not hurry, do not worry. Do not fret and fume. Regret not. Control irritability, control your temper and be contented. You will have a serene mind. Practise daily prayer, Japa and meditation. Serenity does not come in a day, or week. You will have to struggle hard for a long time in cultivating this fundamental divine virtue. Be serene. Meditate and know that you are the all-pervading immortal Atman.
Dama is control of the Indriyas (sense-organs). 
Dama is control of the Indriyas (sense-organs). This is rational control, not blunting or deadening of the sense by foolish austerities. This body is the moving temple of God. It should be kept healthy and strong. It is a vessel to take you to the other shore of fearlessness and immortality; it is a horse to take you to the goal. 

Ignorant people adopt foolish methods to control the senses. For instance, some aspirants amputate the organ of reproduction. They think that lust can be eradicated completely by such a procedure. What a great foolish act! Lust is in the mind. If the mind is subdued, what can this external fleshy organ do? Some swallow tons of nux vomica to kill this organ. They fail in their Brahmacharya. The state of their minds is the same, though the nur vomica makes them impotent. 
Remember, it is only the abuse or misuse of the organs that brings misery and untoward results. The senses should be consecrated at the lotus-feet of the Lord for His services. They should be utilised in serving one's Guru and other Mahatmas. The ears should be used for hearing the scriptures and the tongue should repeat the Guru-stotras. This is the right use of the senses' In the peace Mantras of the Upanishads it is said: "May my limbs, Prana, eye, ear and all my senses grow vigorous. O gods, may we with our ears hear what is auspicious. O ye fit to be worshipped, may we with our eyes see what is auspicious. May we enjoy the life allotted to us by the gods, offering our praise with our bodies strong of limb!" There is no mentioning here of weakening the body, killing the senses or tormenting the body and the senses in a variety of ways! 
What is wanted is judicious control. The senses should not be allowed to run riot into sensual grooves, nor throw us ruthlessly into the deep pit of worldliness, just as the turbulent horse carries away the rider wherever it likes. If the senses are disciplined properly and if they are kept under control, they become your useful servants.
"He who has no discrimination and whose mind is always uncontrolled, his senses are uncontrollable like the vicious horses of a driver; bur he who has understanding and whose mind is always controlled, his senses are under control like the good horses of a driver. He who has no discrimination, whose mind is not under control and who is always impure, does not reach the goal but enters into the round of births and deaths; but he who has understanding, who has his mind always under control and who is pure, reaches that goal whence he is not born again. He who has understanding as the charioteer and who holds the reins of the mind, reaches the end of his journey, and that is the highest place of Vishnu" (Katha Upanishad.) Observance of Mauna (silence) for two hours daily, dietetic adjustment and continence or moderation are all of great help.
People ask: "Where is the necessity for the practice of Dama, when one practises Sama?" Dama, control of the senses, is also necessary. Then only will one get supreme control of mind. Though the senses cannot independently do any havoc when the mind is under control, yet their control ensures perfect safety and supreme peace of mind. 

When one's inclinations and emotions, desires and appetites, senses and mind are under control, it is called self-control. Control yourself first, then you can control others' Self-control clears the mind, strengthens judgment and elevates your character. It gives you freedom, peace, bliss and joy and strengthens your will. He who conquers himself is greater than the Commander-in-chief who conquers a country. Self-control is the master-key that opens the realm of eternal bliss and immortality. Through self-control you will be purified of all of your sins and gifted with energy and character. You will acquire the highest blessedness.
There is no triumph more glorious than that of the victory obtained over your own self. Till you have done this, you will only be a slave of the senses. He who is subject to his passions is the worst slave on the surface of this earth; he who rules his passions, desires, cravings and senses is the real King of kings.
Every temptation that is resisted, every evil thought that is subdued, every desire or craving that is destroyed, every bitter word that is withheld and every wrong action that is checked, paves the way to the attainment of everlasting peace and bliss.
There is no other duty equal to self-control.  It is the highest virtue in the -world. Through self-control you can enjoy the highest happiness both in this world and in rhe next. Gifted with self-control you will win great virtue.
The self-controlled man sleeps happily and awakes happily and moves in the world-happily. He is always cheerful. The man who is wiifrout self-control always suffers misery. He. brings upon himself many calamities, all begotten by his own faults.
Forgiveness, patience, abstention from injury, impartiality, truth, sincerity, control of the "senses", cleverness, mildness, modesty, firmness, liberality, freedom from anger, contentment, sweetness of words, benevolence, freedom from malice, mercy and respect for the preceptor all combined make up self-control.
The man of self-control avoids both adulation and slander. Depravity, infamy, falsehood, lust, covetousness, pride, arrogance, fear, envy and disrespect are all shunned by him. He never incurs obloquy. He is free from envy.
That eternal region in Brahman which originates from Vedic penances and which is concealed in a cave can only be acquired by self-control. The self-controlled man is never fettered by the attachments originating from earthly connections and sentiments. The man of self-control acquires great reward in the next world. He acquires esteem in this world and attains to a high end hereafter. He acquires the state of Brahman. He attains liberation.
Uparati is satiety,  it is resolutely turning the mind away from desire for sensual enjoyment.     
Some define Uparati as renunciation of all works and taking up Sannyasa.
This state of mind comes naturally when one has practiced Viveka, Vairagya, Sama and Dama.
Sri Sankara defines Uparati in his Vivekachudamani as follows: "The best Uparati, self-withdrawal, consists in the mind function ceasing to act by means of external objects." According to Atma-Anatma Viveka, Uparati is the 'Abstaining on principle from engaging in any of the acts and ceremonies not enjoined in the scriptures."  
Otherwise, it is the state of mind which is always engaged in Sravana, Manana and Nididhyasana, without ever diverting from them. Some take Uparati to mean taking up Sannyasa by renouncing all works.
Uparati implies an inner satisfaction gained through constant discrimination and unshaken faith in the spiritual fact that the experience of true bliss and plenitude is to be had only in the Atman. 

The objects of this external universe are incomplete and defective. The experience of the Atman alone is of the nature of fullness and perfection. Firmly convinced, the wise seeker turns his mind away from passing names and forms of this phenomenal world show and is content to engage himself in constant reflection on the Self. 
When one perceives the worthlessness of all lower things and is convinced of the true worth of a higher thing, then one turns away from the former and gets absorbed in the latter. The seeker is unaffected amidst distractions of diverse objects. He is centered within. This state of mind is Uparati.
The mind of the student who is established in Uparati will never be agitated when he sees a beautiful object. There will be no attraction. He will have the same feeling when he sees a woman as when he looks at a tree 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 any particular object or dish and will never say "I want such and such 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 experiences 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 celibary must be fully conversant with the technique of Sama, Dama and Uparati. Then only they will be established in its practice.
Titiksha is the state of enduring or bearing

It is the capacity or power to endure without opposition, and to suffer pain, distress, hardship or any very prolonged stress without succumbing,-murmuring, complaining, lamenting or repining. It is patient fortitude. It is the ability to bear and continue in spite of destructive forces.

He who endures conquers. Through endurance, will-power and patience are developed. Through endurance, evils and difficulties are overcome. Your strength often increases in proportion to the obstacles imposed upon you. Endure them bravely. Difficulties and troubles, adversities and calamities have often built the character of men. The palm-tree grows best beneath a ponderous weight, and even so the character of man. The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Through endurance you exhibit your divine grandeur and make alliance with God. Titiksha is a condition of wisdom. It is a means for acquiring knowledge.

Though Titiksha develops your will-power and brings happiness herein and hereatter, it has one detect. People misconstrue those who practise forbearance for impotent, effeminate men.

Power of endurance is a virtue to be possessed by a Yogi, a Jnani and a Bhakta. Many hardships and privations have to be faced by the students in the successful performance of Yoga. The weak man emerges as a strong and sublime man from terrible trials and adversities. Trial is a crucible into which nature throws a man whenever she wishes to mould him into a superman. Therefore do not be afraid of troubles and adversities. They are blessings in disguise. The aspirant should patiently bear the pairs of opposites such as heat and cold, pleasure and pain and the rest. 

Sri Sankara defines Titiksha in Vivekachudamani as follows: "The bearing of all afflictions without caring to redress them, being free at the same time from anxiety or lament on their score, is called Titiksha, forbearance."
According to Atma Anatma Viveka, Titiksha is the showing of forbearance to a person to whom you are capable of awarding punishment for some wrong-doing.

Lord Krishna advises Arjuna to bear heat and cold: "The contacts of the senses with the objects, O son of Kunti, which cause heat and cold, pleasure and pain, have a beginning and an end; they are impermanent; endure them bravely, O Arjuna. That firm man whom, surely, these afflict not, O chief among men, to whom pleasure and pain are the same, is fit for attaining Immortality." Bhagavad Gita (II-14, 15)

A little practice will serve the purpose. One should be able to walk bare-footed without an umbrella, to sleep on the bare ground without any pillow. Those who wish to take the path of renunciation should practise these while they are in the world. Occasionally walk bare-footed in the compound of your house. Train the body for physical labour. You should not be entirely dependent upon the  servants. Wash all your clothes and understand the dignity of labour. Take medicine only when there is absolute necessity. Gradually develop your power of endurance. Increase it by all means, bearing heat, cold, pain, hunger, etc.

Some saints make Titiksha the goal of life. Till the end of life they stand on one leg in cold water in winter and in the hot sun in summer. Some remain naked in winter, some stand on one leg raising their hands above, some stand in water waist-deep and do Japa, some stand in the hot sun, some hang from a tree head downwards with a fire lighted below, while some sleep and sit on a bed of nails. These are all pracrices in Titiksha. They develop will-power, but such endurance by itself may not be able to secure the highest human end.

Foolish austerities of a rigorous kind are condemned by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. "The man who performs severe austerities unenjoined by the scriptures, wedded to vanity and egoism, impelled by the force of their desires and passions; unintelligent, tormenting the aggregated elements forming the body and Me also, firm in their resolves..."

Some ignorant people think: "If there are no diseases in this world, if there is no burning heat in sumrner, if it is always winter, if there is no pain in the world, if this world is free from tigers, cobras, scorpions, centipedes, flies, mosquitoes, bugs, etc., it will be a veritable heaven on earth. A wise man never grumbles. He tries to fix himself up in that unchanging, permanent, witnessing consciousness which is hidden in his heart and which is beyond all the pairs of opposites, and then watches the movements and the phenomena of this universe with an unruffled mind.  Everything appears as the Lila of Brahman. He sees intelligence in every inch of creation. He has a very comprehensive understanding of the eternal laws of nature and the pairs of opposites. He now understands the reason for the existence of pain, snakes, scorpions, tigers, etc. This is true of Titiksha based on knowledge. The practitioner can endure any kind of difficulty or catastrophe and is
not shaken even by shocking news of heavy sorrow. He is superior to those who have trained themselves by physical torture, because the latter will show signs of failure when confronted by serious disasters.

Study the psychology of men. Analyse human nature. When you move with others, adjust yourself well. Have perfect adaptability, develop tolerance. Then only will you be happy. Be calm, serene and poised always. Practise this, Never get impatient, excited or neryous, be composed and unruffled. When you are calm and tranquil, you can get help and strength from within and you can hear the still inner voice. The divine energy will flow into you.

Wherever you go you carry your own mind, subtle desires and innate tendencies with you. Attraction and repulsion are everywhere, even in the caves of the Himalayas. Create your own world and environments from within, then alone can you be happy anywhere and under any circumstances.

The best of all virtues is even-mindedness. Therefore, develop this virtue with patience and perseverance. Other virtues will cling to you by themselves. Bear difficulties patiently. Adjust the mind to all circumstances and places; then only can you be really strong. That Yoga student who tries to evolve amidst trying conditions, temptations and unfavourable circumstances will become very powerful. Mother Nature knows fully well how to train and mould her children. Therefore, don't murmur, don't grumble. Keep your mind cool at all times, under all conditions.

If you are impartial; if you are master of your senses; if your mind is unruffled in the midst of unending troubles, difficulties, sickness and festivities and if you neither desire nor renounce any object, you are in possession of tranquillity. Truth will dawn by itself in the tranquil mind only. Therefore, cultivate this virtue by all means.

Failure is only the stepping stone to success. Do not be discouraged by failure. Gird up the loins, stand up, be bold. Face difficulties and overcome them one by one. Do not become despondent on any account. Walk like a spiritual lion. Be not afraid of public criticism. People are still abusing Lord Mahadeva, Sri Sankara, Lord Krishna and Lord Rama. They will continue to do so from eternity to eternity. The world abounds with Tamasic people. Sattvic people are very rare. Discipline your mind. Stand adamantine under all conditions and at all times. Keep a cool balanced mind. This is the highest wisdom.

To an aspirant who wrote of difficulties in his work I replied: "Are you the Atman or mind or body? Even though you have read my writings hundreds of times, you identify yourself with mind and body and lose the balance of mind when a trifling criticism is made, so strong is your egoism. People can criticise your body and mind. You yourself dislike your body and mind. Those who criticise your body and mind become your friends. Then why do you get agitated, my dear friend? You are still weak. You have not grown spiritually. Ignore criticism. Why do you brood over past events? This is a very bad habit. You can't have peace of mind. Rise above criticisms and petty remarks and stand firm like the rock. Do good to those men who attempt to poison or hurt you. Put this in practice.

"You should try to love all, even your worst enemy who wants to destroy you, who is planning to poison you, who is drawing the sword to chop off your head. This is of course difficult, but you will have to practise this if you really want spiritual growth and salvation. This is real Sannyasa. A real Sannyasi is one who feels that he has no body. You should live, work and meditate amidst people who are aiming at your destruction and amidst the worst of unfavourable surroundings. Then only can you grow spiritually. Then only you can have the unruffled mind of a sage. This method is doubtless difficult, but it will make one really adamantine.

"It is a great loss for you to leave the public service because some jealous persons attempted to vilify and injure you, and when you will have to face various sorts of bitter experiences. your spiritual growth will be terribly retarded. you must have moral strength and moral courage to face public criticism, harsh remarks and persecution. Your suffering is nothing when compued with the persecutions undergone by Sri Rama and the five Pandavas. Show your manliness, moral courage and spiritual strength now. The inner strength thit you obtained by meditation during these six years is tested now. Had you really done sincere meditation you ought to have abundant strength now to face these difficulties with a smile. If you have no strength, it shows that there has been some error in meditation. Real meditation gives immense inner strength.

"Do not be afraid of insult, disrespect, dishonour, abuse, or harsh words. Wear them as ornaments on your body.

Many worry themselves a lot if they hear a little scandal about,themselves. Don't be afraid these are vain sounds, vibrations in the air. These are nothing. What is mocking? What is scandal? Analyse these. They will dwindle into airy nothing. Allow scandals to enter through one ear and pass out immediately through the other ear. You are the immortal Atman where there is no sound. Nothing can affect you. You are invulnerable."  
Sraddha is intense faith
Sraddha is intense faith in the words of the Guru and in the sayings of the Vedanta scriptures and above all in one's own self.
Faith is belief in the truth of revealed religion. It is confidence and trust in God and in one's own self. It is belief in the statements, utterances, and teachings of one's Guru, preceptor or saints. It is belief in religious scriptures. It is not blind faith but faith based on accurate reasoning, evidence and experience. Then only can it be a lasting unshakable faith. Faith is a firm conviction of the truth of what is declared by another by way either of testimony or authority without any other evidence.
Any clear conception of subtle ultimate truths is almost impossible without proper faith. When there is faith, the mind can be easily concentrated on the subject to be understood and then the understanding quickly follows. Faith is that personal attitude by which divine revelation is subjectively appropriated. Faith transcends reason.
It does not originate from logical processes, but from an immediate inner experience. No spiritual progress is possible without faith. We give credence to a report and assent to a proposition or to a proposal. Belief is stronger than credence. Conviction is a belief established by argument or evidence. Assurance is belief beyond the reach of argument. Faith is a union of belief and trust. Faith is chiefly personal, whereas belief may be quite impersonal. We speak of belief in a proposition and faith in a promise, because the promise emanates from a person. Confidence is a firm dependence upon a statement as true, or upon a person as worthy. We have reliance upon the uniformity of nature. We have trust or faith in God. Faith should not be forced. Trying to compel religious belief leads to unbelief.
Faith in God elevates the soul, purifies the heart and emotions and leads to God-realisation. Faith is the soul of religion. It creates new hopes and awakens immortality. It is the eye that sees the Lord, and the hand that clings to Him. Faith is power, strength and abundant energy. Men with no assets but tremendous faith in themselves have accomplished wonders. He who has faith is strong, he who doubts is weak. Strong faith precedes great actions, while doubt cramps energy. 
Much divine knowledge is lost to you through lack of faith. Faith illumines the spiritual path, builds a bridge across the gulf of death and takes the aspirant to the other shore of fearlessness and immortality.
Faith in God is the first rung in the ladder of spirituatity. It inspires hope in the seeker of Truth to attain divine grace. You need neither art nor science for attaining God-realisation, but faith, purity and devotion. 

Have a definite purpose. Be determined. Be sincere. Be serious. Understand clearly and definitely what you are really aspiring for.
Only with faith will the strong yearning for attaining the Divinity dawn in your heart. Understand clearly the nature and glory of the Lord, nature of the divine life and God-realisation. Seek the company of the wise. Lead a life of selfless service, renunciation, dispassion, prayer and meditation. Only then will you be able to do self-surrender.  

Without faith, an intense desire for Darshan of the Lord and self-surrender you cannot attain God-realisation. Therefore strive to possess these things. Strengthen your faith through Satsanga or association with the wise and the study of sacred scriptures.
The Lord is everywhere. Feel His presence everywhere. His eyes behold everything, His hands protect all. Have perfect faith in Him. Surrender your entire being unto Him. He will take care of you. Trust in Him. Take refuge in His sweet Name. You need not despair nor be afraid of anything. You will ever remain at ease.
Faith is power. Faith is strength. Faith is abundant energy. Faith is the soul of religion. It creates new hopes and awakens immortality.
Brahman is to be learnt through the Srutis, and independent thinking and reasoning have nothing to do with it. Srutis are revelations. They are the direct superintuitive experiences of Rishis. Sages and Srutis give an accurate knowledge of Brahman. Brahman is beyond the reach of the senses, is beyond the reach of the mind and speech. Some learned fools, big wise fools who pose to possess reason, whereas, they really mistake their fancies and preferences for reason, declare that they will accept that portion of the Srutis which appeals to reason. They wiil never get out of this Samsara Chakra.
Though any subject has been established by means of arguments and valid authorities, still people's minds being entirely taken up with gross external objects, any clear conception of subtle ultimate truths is almost impossible without proper faith. When there is faith, the mind can be easily concentrated on the subject to be understood and then the understanding quickly follows.
Faith is belief in the Unknown. Faith and devotion speak together. Faith heals, faith creates, faith works wonders, faith moves mountains. Unshakable faith in God gives mysterious power to overcome any difficulty. Faith makes the weak, strong, and the timid, brave. Faith makes the impossible, possible. 
Faith argues not, thinks not, reasons not, cogitates not. Reason is an unreliable, frail and finite instrument. Faith is the search-light for God-finding. Life is a dreary waste when it loses its faith. Life loses its effulgence when it loses its faith. Know that everything is lost when faith is lost. The water of life is faith. Have perfect faith in ths Lord.
Samadhana is mental balance, equipoise and calm

The last of the sixfold virtues is Samadhana. It is mental balance, equipoise and calm. There is perfect concentration now. It is fixing the mind on the Atman without allowing it to run towards objects and have its own way

Sri Sankara defines in Atma Anatma Viveka: "Whenever a mind engaged in Sravana and the rest wanders to any worldly object or desire, and finding it worthless returns to the performance of the three exercises -such returning is called Samadhana." 
The mind is free from anxiety amid pains, there is indifference amid pleasures. There is stability of mind or mental poise. The aspirant or practitioner is on every side without attachment. He neither likes nor dislikes. He has great deal of strength of mind and internal peace. He has unruffled, supreme peace of mind.

Some aspirants have peace of mind when they live in seclusion, when there are no distracting elements or factors. They complain of great tossing of mind when they come to a city, when they mix with people. They are completely upset. They cannot do any meditation in a crowded place. This is a weakness. It is not achievement of Samadhana. There is no balance of mind or equanimity in these persons. Only when a student can keep his balance of mind in a battlefield when there is shower of bullets all round -as he does in a solitary cave in the Himalayas- can he be really said to be fully established in Samadhana. Napoleon had Samadhana to some extent, although this is not of the aspirant type. He could keep perfect balance of mind even amidst the din and tumult of a raging warfare.

Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: "Perform all actions, O Dhananjaya, dwelling in union with the divine, renouncing attachments, and balanced evenly in success and failure." This is Samadhana. Again you will find in the Bhagavad Gita: "The disciplined self, moving among the sense objects with senses free from attraction and repulsion, mastered by the Self, goes to peace."

This is also Samadhana. A seeker possessing this invaluable quality of Samadhana is unperturbed amidst the pairs of opposites like pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, gain and loss, praise and blame, honour and insult, success and failure, fulfilment or disappointment.  

It is a settled state of cool serenity in which the mind does not set up any reaction to the impacts of external contacts and the variegated experiences of earthly life. This serenity of disposition deriving from inner composure based upon discrimination and dispassion is verily the essential factor of Yoga. It is a distinctive feature of the man of spiritual attunement. To the seeker it is indispensable. In its ultimate reaches it is itself Yoga. It is one of the sure tests of inner progress and development.

The practice of the four means

The aspirant should practise all the four means to a maximum degree. Proficiency in one Sadhana alone will not make you perfect. That aspirant who is endowed with these four
qualifications should hear the scriptures from a Guru who is a knower of Brahman and then reflect and meditate on the inner Self. He will soon get Self-realisation.

There is a definite significance in the sequence of the four means. 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 will come by themselves. If you possess Viveka, Vairagya, Sama, Dama, (Uparati, Sraddha, Titiksha 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 limb, or shall we practise all the limbs simultaneously? If we practise one by one, perhaps we will not be able to get mastery over even one or two limbs in this life. We may require several births for perfect mastery over all limbs. 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.

  The first-class student 

Another vedanta 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 student can adopt this method, because he had cultivated the four means in his previous births.
The mediocre student 

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 it is turbulent and the senses are jumping and revolting? Absolutely impossible. He may sit for thinking on the Selt but he will be building castles in the air and 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 in an illumined state through the practice of these four qualifications!

~ Sri Swami Sivananda